Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Morality of Gay

Pat Buchanan's column today examines the issue of homosexuality insofar as it pertains to the culture wars:

Before an editorial board of the Chicago Tribune, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, not only endorsed presidential policy by which active homosexuals are discharged from the service, he declared that policy to be right morally.

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immorality. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way."

Naturally Pace is under fire.

[I]f declaring homosexual acts immoral is an "expression of intolerance," the Post is charging the Catholic Church and traditional Christians with 2,000 years of intolerance, as well as all U.S. Armed Forces prior to 1993, when homosexuals were routinely severed.

Silly Buchanan, history is bunk. But seriously, the number of people who state, and apparently sincerely believe that the morality of yesteryear is no longer applicable in the modern world is astonishing. Being an evolutionary skeptic and a confounded moral absolutist, this strikes me as peculiar, but it need not. Laying claim to mutable truth is the easiest way to circumvent a particularly meddlesome facet of a previously accepted moral code.

Keweenaw Pride, the gay group on my campus, brought up a minister who gave a talk on why homosexuality and Christianity should be proud to hold one another's hands. Naturally I went along to offer my (sometimes) tactful criticism. Ultimately though, I fell far short. It's very difficult to convince a sophist of truth, and this woman was a sophist through and through. This isn't surprising of course. As lapsed Catholic Camille Paglia has pointed out, Christianity frames sexuality on the issue of procreation. There is more to it than that, but ultimately, acts which are intrinsically opposed to pro-creation are held to be immoral. Thus the opposition to homosexuality on behalf of Christians.

What those who believe homosexuality to be morally acceptable ought to do is make a moral case therefor. This they do not do. It is far easier to hoist platitudes: "My God loves everybody." But it is not very loving to make no demands on the sinner; when Christ did not condemn the woman caught in adultery, He nonetheless commanded that she sin no more. But Jesus, unlike many of his present followers, knew something of the unquenchable fires of Gehenna.

I am presently working my way through Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae. She postulates that Christianity has not conquered paganism, and that it never will because of the inability of Christians to understand sex. I happen to disagree, but her critique is fair, and backed up with several hundred pages of erudition, examining some of the more fascinating writers, poets, and artists in the (mainly) Western tradition. To Paglia, consensual sex is of itself moral. But in believing such, she is wise enough to know that she must first reject Christianity. And such a move brings with it many other consequences.

The moderns do not have the intellectual honesty of Paglia. Thus they will try to keep that which is good in Christianity, in a word what they like, and toss out all that infernal stuff about damnation and sin. What one does with such a core is anyone's guess, but this picking and choosing will serve to unravel the whole of Christian morality, and with it, the civilization in which we live and which is built upon that very system of morality.

Fifty years ago, only a handful of hippies believed that homosexuality wasn't immoral. Today, the slight majority--evidenced by the success of conservatives in defining marriage between a man and a woman in a number of states--is largely silent on the issue, not wishing to appear unchristian. Those who speak up, like Pace, face the wrath of the tolerant. Within another generation or two, those who believe that homosexuality is immoral will be confined to the fringes, where the believers of similar antiquarian ideals--the immorality of birth control springs readily to mind--presently dwell. There is something to be said for the periphery of a society which has lost its moral compass.


troutsky said...

I think you might want to check that "fifty years ago only a handful of hippies.." statistic, although, based on your reasoning, historical trends shouldn't make any difference.What was good for Augustine is good for us.Did Christ (after whom the whole project is named) have anything to say about men laying with men?

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Did Christ (after whom the whole project is named) have anything to say about men laying with men?

Nope. All of the New Testament condemnations of homosexuality come from Paul, but as a Catholic, I believe the entire canon to be inspired, and one can no more reject Paul's words than those of Christ, who speaks through the former.

Jesus had no reason to speak out against homosexuality. He dealt with the "lost sheep of Israel" who understood the immorality of homosexuality which is laid out in the Torah.

Had Jesus said anything about homosexuality, a dubious assertion, it was unlikely that the evangelists would have had the forsight to write such a sensible teaching down.