Saturday, June 26, 2004

Why Care About So-Called "Gay Marriage"?

A Deafening Silence

By Steve Kellmeyer (The Fifth Column Blog)

Isn't it odd? Although the leaders of dozens of Christian groups have
denounced gay marriage, the rank and file have not had much to say about
it. From such disparate sources as the Washington Post and Chuck Colson,
the chattering class is beginning to become aware of a simple fact: most
Christians don't care.

It raises an obvious question: why don't they care? Colson opines that
the lack of outcry is due to pessimism and defeatism amongst the
rank-and-file. Christians are so oppressed by the culture that they are
throwing in the towel. Other Christian leaders pin the problem on larger
distractions: the war in Iraq, the economy, etc. Everyone says it may
have something to do with it being an election year, arguing that this is
traditionally a time when controversial issues are avoided.

Bunk and balderdash.

Election years are precisely when controversial issues are embraced.
Christians haven't thrown in the towel: they are still pushing hard on
things like television and radio decency controls, for example. Nor have
they surrendered on a myriad of other issues. The problem is simply this:
no one thinks homosexuality is a big deal. The left won this issue before
the religious leaders even woke up to the idea that there might be a
fight. And I can tell you exactly how it happened.

I became aware of the problem over a year ago in a discussion with a
local activist. She and her husband were working to stop a strip bar from
opening in a city neighborhood in Peoria, Illinois. They were gathering
signatures in front of every church. I stopped after Mass to sign their
petition, and to ask them a question. Peoria had recently passed an
ordinance outlawing job or rent discrimination against active
homosexuals. Why hadn't I seen them out in front of the churches trying
to stop that ordinance, which had been front page news just before the
strip bar surfaced?

The answer was simplicity itself: "Well, we don't get into bedroom
issues." "Really?" I responded. "So how is the door to a bar different
from a door to a bedroom? They are both doors. They are both guarding
access to private property. Would you drop your opposition to the strip
bar if someone actually slept there every night, thus making it a
bedroom? Would you drop your opposition if the bar featured live sex
instead of simply featuring strippers?"

She was offended by the question. She insisted that gay sex was not
something she had a right to an opinion on, but a strip bar was: it would
lower property values.

You see? She was only allowed to have an opinion on the strip bar because
it wasn't a bedroom issue, it was a tax issue, a property valuation
issue. Gay marriage is neither a tax nor a property valuation issue -- at
least not in any obvious way -- so Christians don't care.

But it goes much deeper than this. The Christian attitude towards sex is,
today, very simple: "as long as no one is hurt," you may engage in
whatever sexual practice you like. Dr. Dobson of the Family Research
Center has no problem with masturbation. Most Christian denominations
have no problem with contraception. So why should we oppose gay sex or
gay marriage? After all, what is the real difference between
masturbating, having condomized sex, or having gay sex? Each provides
about the same amount of physical gratification, and sex -- like marriage
-- is primarily about gratification, right?

I am married as long as my spouse is willing to serve me, as long as I am
being fed, as long as I am getting something out of the relationship.
When that stops, when the relationship is "spiritually dead" or my spouse
is getting physical pleasure elsewhere through an affair, then I can
divorce. If we assume that this is a reasonable way to act, it is not
possible to make a case opposing gay marriage.

The reason we can't make the case is we don't have a case, not anymore.
You see, contraception within marriage redefined marriage, just as the
Washington Post and the Pope predicted it would back in the 1930's. Once
contraception is acceptable, marriage is no longer about family, it is
now about me. Now every relationship hinges on one thing: what's in it
for me?

The public acceptance of gay sex and gay marriage is functionally
identical to public acceptance of contraception. Heterosexual
contraception has already brought us legal abortion, a fifty percent
divorce rate and a pornographic society: all of these problems mushroomed
only after contraception was legalized. Gay marriage is just
contraception without the chemicals or condoms. How can you convince a
woman on the pill or a man with a wallet full of condoms that gay
marriage is going to harm heterosexual marriage? It can't be done because
it isn't true. Marriage was dealt a death-blow when the Protestant
Comstock laws were struck down. Once we were no longer permitted to
forbid the manufacture or sale of contraceptives, we lost the ability to
deal with deliberately sterilized sex in any form whatsoever.

Like masturbation, gay sex and gay marriage are just another form of
contraception. Indeed, the beauty of gay marriage is that their divorces
are much less likely to affect children, since they will, by definition,
tend not to have any. Contracepting heterosexuals know a kindred spirit
when they see one. They certainly aren't going to cast a stone at gays.

The move to amend the Constitution to defend heterosexual marriage will
fail. If it succeeds, it will follow Prohibition in being repealed. It
cannot be otherwise.

No one quarrels about contraception anymore. The people who used to do so
are mostly dead. Likewise, the only generation that quarrels about the
gay issue will be dead in another thirty to sixty years. The next
generation will care even less than this one about that topic. The next
fight will be over pedophilia, bestiality, necrophilia, sado-masochism
and the rest. And Christianity will lose those fights too. Pleasure is
the measure. The war was over when we surrendered the Comstock laws. And
that surrender could not have happened if Christians had not acquiesced.

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