Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Morality of Gay (Reworked)

As promised, today's column:

Over break General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, gave support to the policy whereby active homosexuals are outed from military service. He then made the mistake of bringing morality into the mess, noting, “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 came under the fire of the tolerance brigade, this time led by the Washington Post. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan spoke up for Pace, explaining: “[I]f declaring homosexual acts immoral is an "expression of intolerance," the [Washington] 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 But seriously, the number of people who state, and apparently sincerely believe, that the morality of yesteryear is no longer applicable in the modern world is astonishing.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 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.

The method works thusly. First, claim is made to the fact that the world of today is different than that of antiquity. This is easily substantiated; Aristotle didn't have YouTube and Marcus Aurelius couldn't listen to music on his iPod. Second, since we have made technological advancements over the years, it is postulated that morality has similarly “advanced”. Such silliness is not confined to the socially liberal. Papal objections to the War in Iraq were brushed off by neo-conservatives as the Just War Doctrine no longer applied in an age of Terror. Meanwhile those tolerant of homosexuality explain that while Paul condemns it in some of his epistles, we now know much more about sexuality than did the celibate disciple, so nothing he says concerning the love that dare not speak it's name will be heard.

Obviously an appeal to technological superiority is an illogical recourse. It is a convenient ploy for the intellectually dishonest, and it affords one a pass from surveying human history and philosophy. Like the accountants of Enron, you can just make it up as you go along.

What those who believe homosexuality to be morally acceptable ought to do is make a moral case for such. This they do not do. It is far easier to hoist platitudes such as "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. It seems Jesus, unlike many of his present followers, knew something of the unquenchable fires of Gehenna. Christians, like Pace, have a two thousand year old example of how to treat sinners, an example first set by their Lord and Savior.

One need not accept that homosexuality is immoral. However, to disagree with Pace while claiming to agree with Christianity presents an insurmountable dilemma. A rejection of intolerance towards homosexuality requires one to reject the total of Christian teaching regarding sex. But cafeteria Christianity is of little to no use. Those who choose to ignore concepts which they deem repugnant start with pride and end with rejecting, not only of parts of the truth, but the very thought of its existence. I believe C.S. Lewis called them men without chests.


troutsky said...

I call them Protestants. There has been plenty of re-working the old, it'sknown as theology and it has a very important role in keeping ideas relevent. Or so Galileo would tell you.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I find it terrible amusing that Protestants are keeping theology relevant. The average heresy lasts a few centuries. I would be very surprised if Protestantism is taken very seriously in fifty years, save for perhaps the vacuous Evangelical kind which we both loathe.

Theology does change as we understand more and more about the Scriptures, but truth and the Scriptures themselves do not. Homosexual acts will always be held to be sinful by anyone who actually bothers to read said Scriptures.

And Galileo was a scientist, not a theologian.