REVIEW OF Rachel Lu, “The LGBT Movement Will Self-Destruct,” The Federalist (May 31, 2016)
Rachel Lu begins her controversial thesis by describing the innocuous rise and fall of “inventive spelling,” which proposed liberating options like “girl,” “gurl” and “grrrrl.” This is hardly reason to think that the supremacy of pan-sexuality will disappear as speedily. While many “normal folks” will warm to her prediction that “Within my lifetime, the LGBT movement will die,” her shallow analysis makes her prediction seriously misleading and deceptive.
For Lu, the present bizarre LGBT gender practice is simply one of the “foolish idea[s]” growing out of the Sixties sexual revolution. Other than that, she leaves the phenomenon virtually unexplained.
Because Lu does not go to the heart of sexual perversity, she fails to measure its power. The rise of unrestrained sexual expression must eventually be seen in the light of the parallel rise of religious paganism in the modern world. For an accurate perspective, we need to go to the heart of things. In Romans 1, Paul defines “ground zero” of human existence: only two ways of being a human—we either worship God the Creator or we worship creation. The very starting point of faith, what Paul calls “the truth,” is recognition of the Creator and of the contingent nature of the creation. This is the truth upon which all human existence depends, including human sexual existence. He explicitly argues (vv. 26–28) that the rejection of God as Creator ultimately explains sexual deviancy.
His logic is flawless. The physical exchange (overturning foundational natural sexuality in favor of perverse sexuality) is understood in light of two preceding and parallel exchanges:
- the exchange of the theological “truth” of God as Creator, for “the lie” (v. 25), which makes nature god, and
- the exchange of spiritual worship (v. 23) of God the Creator for worship of idols
Thus, dishonoring God in idolatry (1:21) is exhibited by dishonoring our bodies in dishonorable passions (1:26).
Ms. Lu makes a number of valid points as to why sexual perversity will go away. She predicts: “Eventually, Nature Comes Roaring Back.” In other words, the practice of anything-goes-sex is “too incoherent and too inimical to real human good.”
She also appeals to pragmatism. “Society’s wealthier and better-educated tend to reject life patterns quickly when it becomes clear they beget widespread misery and dysfunction.” Unfortunately many “gays” are “wealthy and better educated.”
She points to the lack of scientific studies establishing the normativity of LGTB sexuality, demonstrating the value of unrestrained sex, so “when the wheels start coming off completely, it’s worth remembering that a wheel-less vehicle is no longer able to drive.”
These points are generally well-taken. A society constructed against the pattern laid down by the Creator will eventually implode. But we have no reason to think that this implosion will occur in Ms. Lu’s life-time, because the rebellion is spiritually profound.
Her solutions you could place in the naively “all we need to do” category. “We must protect our own children from this culture, especially from the blight of pornography and a hyper-sexualized media.” However this liberated sexuality controls the media and, increasingly, the education system, and no one seems able to control pornography. Her proposals, therefore, lack practical effectiveness.
She calls on present traditional culture to “build and preserve communities in which morally important truths can be instilled at least in our own offspring.” She gives no basis for morals, however, nor reasons why existing communities should be any more successful at instilling morals in the future than they are now.
Her final solution is to “engage our compatriots in civil discourse concerning the body, sex, marriage, and parenting.” But how can we define a legitimate and convincing “civil discourse” that gets to the heart of the issue, when we live in a multicultural public square where every opinion is valid, and where incivility, especially among the LGBT people, is now the norm? So the deep problem goes unaddressed. Alas, no discourse that fails to take account of the spiritual can succeed.
I pray that Ms. Lu is correct and that health-denying idolatry will eventually implode because civilization must reproduce and can only do it according to God’s design. The solution must nonetheless include an awareness of the great depth of our rebellion against God the Creator. A cultural implosion will not be like the end of “inventive spelling.” The “wheels coming off” will bring enormous cultural devastation, as God gives our culture over to the consequences of its deep rebellion. Hopefully that disaster will eventually lead to repentance, to spiritual revival in a new search for the deeply religious basis for human dignity and to a turning back to God by trusting in and obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.