The War on Norms
This line of thinking doesnt stop there. It occurred to me today that although I regularly pray for my own safety, Im not in the habit of praying that I wont hurt others. Its not as if Im totally innocent and harmless. When we confess that we are sinners, we are admitting not only that we offend God, but that we may also pose dangers to other sinners too. One of these dangers is giving scandal, which includes a bad example that may make it harder for others to follow Gods way.
Giving scandal seems to be a special fault of our generation, which is less concerned than its ancestors about giving scandal to the young. The sexual revolution has taught us that what consenting adults do is strictly their own business; if children follow the bad example we set, thats tough. Who is to say whats bad, anyway?
The other day a local radio pundit of the liberal persuasion inveighed against Christians on the subject of gay rights. He appealed to the Bible, though he didnt really seem to believe in it, or even to have reflected on it.
His argument was trite, but he delivered it as if it were a novel and seminal idea: that Jesus never condemned homosexuals. It follows that Christians who oppose gay rights are, yes, un-Christian.
Well, in the first place, Jesus didnt come to condemn us; he came to redeem us. From what? From our sins. And he had a pretty clear notion of what those sins were. He sharply reminded the Samaritan woman whod had five husbands that the man she was currently living with wasnt her husband; he told the woman caught in adultery that he didnt condemn her, but she should sin no more.
In neither case did he use the exculpatory phrase consenting adults. It was precisely what these women were consenting to that was sinful. Neither of them disputed that. But the liberal ethos would make these stories pointless.
Jesus isnt recorded as specifically condemning sodomy. He didnt have to, any more than he had to condemn pedophilia or writing bad checks. Every kind of sin has countless variants, and this is where he tended to be severe. He taught that mere anger is the seed of murder, and that merely looking at a woman lustfully is the essence of adultery. Sin is in the heart before it takes the form of action.
St. Paul, Christs most eloquent apostle, does include sodomy in his by no means exhaustive list of mortal sins, along with murder, slander, drunkenness, and so forth, not because these are all of equal gravity for society, but because they are all destructive to the soul. Human law may permit them, but Gods law is another matter.
In the case of gay rights, its not as if Christians have singled out homosexuality for special obloquy. On the contrary, homosexual activists themselves have made it an issue. Having taken the initiative, they are in no position to complain of persecution when others merely resist their claims.
Those claims boil down to the demand that sodomy be legally normalized as a matter of justice; that any refusal to treat it as normal, even as eligible for marriage, be taboo. The supposed right of homosexuals to equal treatment, like so many so-called civil rights, is meant to trump others moral convictions, property rights, and freedom of association. Is this justice, or a war on ancient norms of human behavior?
Since the ancient Greek attitude on this is often contrasted with the Christian one, its pertinent to quote the wise scholar C.S. Lewis here: It is untrue to say that the Greeks thought sexual perversion innocent. The continual tittering of Plato is really more evidential than the stern prohibition of Aristotle. Men titter thus about what they regard as, at least, a peccadillo: the jokes about drunkenness in Pickwick, far from proving that the nineteenth-century English thought it innocent, prove the reverse. There is an enormous difference of degree between the Greek view of perversion and the Christian, but there is not opposition.
We are all sinners; but nothing is gained by pretending that sin isnt sinful.
|Copyright © 2005 by the
Griffin Internet Syndicate,
a division of Griffin Communications
This column may not be reprinted in print or
Internet publications without express permission
of Griffin Internet Syndicate
Archive Table of Contents
Return to the SOBRANS home page.
|FGF E-Package columns by Joe Sobran, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried, and others are available in a special e-mail subscription provided by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation. Click here for more information.|