In 1986, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, writing for the majority in Bowers, upholding Georgia law forbidding sodomy, said: “Decisions of individuals relating to homosexual conduct have been subject to state intervention throughout the history of Western civilization. Condemnation of those practices is firmly rooted in Judeo-Christian moral and ethical standards . . . . [Sir William] Blackstone described ‘the infamous crime against nature’ as an offense of ‘deeper malignity’ than rape, a heinous act ‘the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature’ and ‘a crime not fit to be named.’ To hold that the act of homosexual sodomy is somehow protected as a fundamental right would be to cast aside millennia of moral teaching.” His historical perspective was accurate, and his citing Blackstone revealed his reliance upon one of the masterful authorities in jurisprudence.
Soon thereafter, however, the Court discarded Blackstone and millennia of moral teaching! Seventeen years after the Bowers decision, the Supreme Court, in Texas , reversed itself and effectively legalized sodomy. A few months later a Massachusetts Supreme Court case ordered the state legislature to draft legislation facilitating same-sex marriage. Thus we’re alerted to what Alan Sears and Craig Osten consider in The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today Nashville : Broadman & Holman, Publishers, c. 2003). R. Albert Mohler Jr., President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recommends the book, declaring that “The sexual revolution of the last half-century amounts to the moist sweeping and significant reordering of human relationships in all of human history.” The revolution was orchestrated by a cadre of activists who now make “the legitimation and celebration of homosexuality” the next stage of sexual liberation.
Indeed, “As one observer of the homosexual movement [the Orthodox Jewish columnist Don Feder] has warned, ‘Gay activists are sexual Marxists. Legitimizing same-sex unions as a warm-up act. Ultimately they want to eliminate any barriers, and signposts, that limit or channel the exercise of human sexuality'” (p. 96). As is evident in Sweden, they also want to eliminate any criticism, much less opposition, of their behavior. The Swedish parliament recently forbade “all speech and materials opposing homosexual behavior and other alternative lifestyles. Violators could spend up to four years in jail” (p. 183). Deeply influenced by sociologists Gunnar and Alva Myrdal, the Swedes have sought, as Alva Myrdal urged, to treat all adults “in the same manner by society, whether they lived alone or in some sort of common living arrangement.” Same-sex, as well as heterosexual, “living arrangements” are fine. In the U.S. , under the guise of “hate crimes” legislation largely written to appease homosexual activists, teachers and pastors may very well become liable to prosecution simply for upholding biblical standards regarding sexual conduct. Indeed, Senator Ted Kennedy, a constant supporter of hate-crimes bills, has “called religious objections to homosexual behavior ‘an insidious aspect of American life'” (p. 202).
To attain their goals, sexual revolutionaries have known they must destroy (or at least immobilize) the family and the church, the two social institutions most opposed to sexual license. To expand the definition of “family” to include many sorts of “loving” relationships, to force the church (in the name of “love”) to validate such bonds, has been a basic part of the homosexual agenda. Courts have increasingly granted gay and lesbian couples to adopt children. Revealingly, “Al Gore and his wife Tipper donated $50,000 to the Human Rights Campaign to help its ‘FamilyNet’ campaign promote homosexual adoption. Their book, Joined a the Heart: The Transformation of the American Family, prominently featured homosexual ‘families'” (p. 111).
One of the longest levers slowly easing the public’s hostility to homosexual activity is the entertainment industry. Portraying gay and lesbian activities as healthy–and branding any criticism of such as hateful–have become pervasive in films and television. Comedies have been especially effective by first disarming and then appealing to viewers for “tolerance.” As Michael Medved noted: “A Martian gathering evidence about American society, simply by monitoring our television, would certainly assume that there were more gay people in America than there are evangelical Christians” (p. 28).
Despite the ancient opposition of Christians to homosexual acts, today’s Churches have gradually moved from “loving the sinner” to endorsing sodomy as an appropriate expression of sexuality so long as it occurs within the context of “love.” Though this is most evident in the consecration of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, evangelical activists, such as Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy, have aggressively promoted “the radical homosexual agenda (p. 128). Peggy, particularly, has argued Paul’s apparent condemnation of same-sex relations in “Romans 1 does not apply to monogamous, ‘loving,’ homosexual relationships, and that evangelicals who feel differently than her are ‘grossly misinformed'” (p. 129). Such statements appear in one of the books’ most disquieting chapters, entitled “The Silence (and Silencing) of the Church.” Rarely these days does one hear words such as Martin Luther’s: “The heinous conduct of the people of Sodom is extraordinary, inasmuch as they departed from the natural passion and longing of the male for the female, which was implanted by God, and desired what is altogether contrary to nature. Whence comes this perversity: Undoubtedly from Satan, who, after people have once turned away from the fear of God, so powerfully suppresses nature that he beats out the natural desire and stirs up a desire that is contrary to nature'” (p. 123).
In part, as the authors carefully document, Christians have been silenced through violence and intimidation–as when gay activists invaded S. Patrick’s Cathedral and disrupted a mass being conducted by Cardinal John O’Connor. Others threw condoms in a service of Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs because a prominent layman, Will Perkins, had supported an amendment to the state constitution which would have banned any preferential treatment of homosexuals. In part, homosexuals have moved into the church through doors opened by radical feminists “who have tried to reshape the church and the gospel I their own image. That dodge can be best summarized as ‘the Bible has to be interpreted in the context of the time it was written and therefore that passage is no longer relevant today'” (p. 126). When churches rewrite the Scripture, using “gender-inclusive language” and approve praying to “Mother and Father God,” there is no reason to deny homosexual arguments regarding a new version of the Christian faith, suited to gay and lesbian desires.
In response to the homosexual agenda, Sears and Osten urge Christians to be true to Scripture and Tradition. They cite the words of Titus Brandsma, a Dachau martyr, who said: “Those who want to win the world for Christ must have the courage to come into conflict with it” (p. 205). There’s no question that opposing homosexual activists requires courage. It’s the courage evident in the words of the Anglican archbishop of Sidney, who said: “‘The Christian Gospel is the insertion of truth into the untrustworthy discourse of the world. Some of us want to be kind, so loving that we will not speak the truth. The therapeutic model of pastoral care has been perverted into mere affirmations of human behaviour. Our love is no love, for it refuses this great test: will it speak boldly, frankly, truthfully?” Sadly enough, he continued: “We have contributed towards the gagging of God, perhaps because we are frightened of suffering. But there is one fundamental task to which we must be committed, come whatever may: Speak the truth in love'” (p. 211).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Christopher Wolfe has edited Same-Sex Matters: The Challenge of Homosexuality (Dallas : Spence Publishing House, 2000). In his introductory essay, Wolfe argues that “there is no question that our current family instability–and the growing acceptance of homosexuality–reflects, among other factors, the influence of changing social mores on contraception, premarital sex, cohabitation, and no-fault divorce.” The moral relativism pervading contemporary culture justifies “whatever is pleasant and does not immediately harm others in some relatively tangible way” (p. 17). Refusing to condemn fornication and adultery, so long as they involve “consenting adults,” one cannot easily express outrage at homosexual acts.
Patrick Fagan, along with several of the other essayists, roots today’s sexual permissiveness in the contracepting culture that emerged in the 1940s. He cites Sigmund Freud, interestingly enough, who asserted, “in ‘The Sexual Life of Human Beings’ that the separation of procreation and sexual activity is the most basic of perversions, and that all other sexual perversions are rooted in it: ‘The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it'” (p. 29). The Anglican Church abandoned its historic opposition to contraception at the Lambeth Conference in 1930, other Protestant denominations soon followed along.
Religious reservations regarding homosexuality were also weakened as divorce and abortion gained acceptance. Focusing attention on “hard cases,” cultivating compassion for “victims,” effectively pulled public opinion toward greater acceptance of what earlier generations condemned. Just as “love” grown cold justified divorce so could “love” powerfully felt justify homosexual relationships. Just as opposition to abortion was effectively branded “hateful” toward women, so opposition to sodomy was labeled “hate” and “homophobia. Indeed, as Michael Medved makes clear in his essay, “the main threats to the family in America do not come from the gay community. They come from infidelity, they come from divorce, they come from all the temptations heterosexuals fear and feel in a hedonistic culture” (p. 167).
For anyone interested in Church history, Robert Louis Wilken’s essay, “John Boswell and Historical Scholarship on Homosexuality” is most helpful, since Boswell’s “scholarship” is routinely cited by homosexual activists anxious to suggest that the EarlyChurch tolerated their lifestyle. Though highly praised by The New York Times and similarly leftist media, Boswell’s work is, in fact, deeply flawed, indeed “bogus.” His writings, such as Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, and Same-Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe illustrate “advocacy scholarship, pseudohistorical learning yoked to a cause, tendentious scholarship at the service of social reform, a tract in the culture wars” (p. 198). From a first-rate scholar such as Wilken, this is a damning indictment. And it properly extends to all “scholars” who try to reinterpret either biblical or historical materials to “christianize” homosexuality.
The impossibility of doing so becomes clear in Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz’s “Homosexuality and Catholic Doctrine. After citing the official teaching documents of the Church, Bruskewitz reminds Catholics that their opposition to homosexuality is derived from a theology of creation, crediting Him with the goodness and design of all that is. By nature, homosexual acts go counter to the created order. They violate the essence of love. Livio Melina, a professor of moral theology at the PontificalLateranUniversity in Rome, makes this clear: “‘In the homosexual act, true reciprocity, which makes the gift of self and the acceptance of the other possible, cannot take place. By lacking complementarity, each one of the partners remains locked in himself and experiences contact with the other’s body, merely as an opportunity for selfish enjoyment. At the same time, homosexual activity also involves the illusion of a false intimacy that is obsessively sought and constantly lacking. The other is not really the other. He is like the self; in reality, he is only the mirror of the self which confirms it in its own solitude exactly when the encounter is sought. This pathological narcissism has been identified in the homosexual personality by the studies of many psychologists. Hence, great instability and promiscuity prevail in the most widespread model of homosexual life, which is why the view advanced by some, of encouraging stable and institutionalized unions, seems completely unrealistic'” (p. 222).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Though written nearly a decade ago, I still regard Jeffrey Satinover’s Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996) the best book on the subject. The author, a medical doctor, has been involved treating AIDS patients from the beginning of the epidemic’s outbreak in the early ’80s. He knows the truth and is bold to declare it. He is also deeply compassionate, distressed by the pain endured by those afflicted with the deadly HIV virus.
The truth is: like alcoholism, homosexual behavior is deadly. One study “found that the gay male life span, even apart from AIDS and with a long-term partner, is significantly shorter than that of married men in general by more than three decades. AIDS further shortens the lie span of homosexual men by more than 7 percent” (p. 69). They inordinately suffer chronic diseases, including syphilis and gonorrhea, such as hepatitis, rectal cancer, and bowel disorders. They take their own lives and suffer mentally.
Amazingly, when AIDS began to do its deadly work, “the first priority” in the gay community “was to protect homosexuality itself as a perfectly acceptable, normal, and safe way of life” (p. 15). Rather than trying to protect individuals from disease, something that would have required amending one’s lifestyle, the gay community orchestrated a political movement designed to protect it, by misleading the public, asserting that homosexuality is genetically programmed, irreversible, and normal. In fact, there is no evidence for a “gay gene,” and homosexuality is largely a learned behavior. It can, therefore, be reversed–and thousands of individuals have been restored, through “reparative therapy” to heterosexuality. And it is, in fact, utterly un-normal, running counter to the most basic laws of nature.
To promote their deceit, homosexual activists engaged, skillfully, in politics! In the ’70s they persuaded the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees to declassify homosexuality as a “disorder,” though a large majority of psychiatrists still judged it such. Political pressure applied behind the scenes, not scientific evidence, dictated the change. Homosexual activists, by disrupting meetings and intimidating officials, gained “scholarly” validation for their sexual behavior. The American Psychological Association soon followed suit. With “science” supporting their cause, homosexuals then turned to legislatures and courts, slowly overturning the nation’s moral consensus.
What’s needed, Satinover says, is a recovery of the Judeo-Christian ethos that once characterized this nation. Secularists have opened the gates to a resurgent Gnostic paganism, ever tolerant of “diversity” in many forms. Himself Jewish, Satinover urges Orthodox Jews and Christians to join together in promoting a biblically based public, as well as private, morality. Sin must be called sin! Christians, especially, need to recover veneration for the Old Testament Law! Ultimately, “it is not really a battle over mere sexuality, but rather over which spirit shall claim our allegiance, [for] the cultural and political battle over homosexuality has become in many respects the defining moment for our society. It has implications that go far beyond the surface matter of ‘gay rights.’ And so the more important dimension of this battle is not the political one, it is the one for the individual human soul” (p. 250).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In Legislating Immorality: The Homosexual Movement Comes Out of the Closet (Chicago: Moody Press, c. 1993), George Grant and Mark A. Horne evaluate the issue from a strongly Evangelical perspective. Thus their main concern is “an uninformed and compromised church” which needs to discern “that whatever is right is actually good, that whatever is good is actually just, and that whatever is just is actually merciful. The kindest and most compassionate message Christians can convey to homosexuals and their defenders is an unwavering Biblical message” (p. 5).
The authors provide both contemporary and historical illustrations, showing the pervasiveness of homosexuality, especially in non-Christian cultures. With the resurgence of paganism in the Enlightenment, the West has increasingly tolerated it. With refreshing candor, Camille Paglia, a highly secularized writer, asserts: “Happy are those periods when marriage and religion are strong. . . . Unfortunately, we live in a time when the chaos of sex has broken out into the open. . . . Historiography’s most glaring error has been its assertion that Jude-Christianity defeated paganism. Paganism has survived in the thousand forms of sex, art, and now the modern media. . . . A critical point has been reached. With the rebirth of the gods in the massive idolatries of popular culture, with the eruption of sex and violence into every corner of the ubiquitous mass media, Judeo-Christianity is facing its most serious challenge since Europe’s confrontation with Islam I the Middle Ages. The latent paganism of western culture has burst forth again in all its daemonic vitality'” (p. 54).
Homosexuals have successfully infiltrated the media and schools, using their influence to dissolve opposition to their orientation and behavior. School administrators, such as Joseph Fernandez in New York, seek to impose curricula containing books like Daddy’s Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies, books published by a company “that specializes in subversive homosexual works” (p. 79) and promoting the acceptance of homosexuality. Though angry parents ousted Fernandez from his position as School Chancellor, the schools for two decades have increasingly urged tolerance–indeed often admiration–for homosexuals.
Churches, too, have eased or eliminated their opposition to homosexual acts. Mainline denomination, especially, have divided over the issue. Grant and Horne see this as a symptom of a more basic issue: their integrity. For one’s position on homosexuality cannot be severed from “the issue of biblical authority, the nature of church ministry, the scope of church discipline, and the church’s responsibility and relationship to the civil sphere” (p. 165). Citing official declarations from United Methodists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, et al., the authors demonstrate the degree to which the nation’s churches have gradually embraced the homosexual agenda. Even self-professed evangelicals, such as Tony Campollo, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott and Letha Scanzoni, open doors of acceptance to gay rights.
What’s needed, the authors argue, is a recovery of the true biblical and historically Christian position. In the Early Church, believers separated themselves from the sexually perverse Greco-Roman culture. This included homosexual practices–something staunchly condemned by every extant pre-Constantinian text. In time, as Christians become numerically dominant, laws reflected their convictions. Thus Emperor Theodosius, in 390 A.D., “declared sodomy a capital crime and various Christian realms continued to enforce that standard for almost two millennia” (p. 209).