IO 70: The Gospel for 21st Century Sodom
Regarding “gay marriage” the brilliant New York Times social commentator, Ross Douthat, is batting .500. He is right that present society will not be able to refuse it. He is wrong that it will help salvage our morally challenged world.
It is surely true that the Sixties’ “liberation” of sex from marriage and gender (by no–fault divorce, out–of–wedlock births, serial monogamy, pornography, abortion and the deconstruction of patriarchy) has left us with no moral ground for refusing any form of “liberated” sexuality.
But Douthat suggests that the life–long commitment implicit in “gay marriage” will offer a moral model for the immoral “straight” world. His reasoning is seriously flawed, for two reasons:
- 90% of gay relationships lasting more than five years practice promiscuous sex, in line with the movement’s programmatic declaration: “Gay liberation was founded on the sexual brotherhood of promiscuity”;
- in spite of elements of love and sacrifice, homosexuality is, at its heart, immoral. The Apostle Paul chose homosexuality, not the dissolute heterosexuality of the Roman world, as the ultimate expression of pagan rebellion. On a worldview level, heterosexual immorality is heresy: homosexual immorality is apostasy, turning everything on its head.
Our moral/sexual collapse cannot be undone by the rare long–term homosexual “marriage,” for the collapse is linked to our Sixties “spirituality,” which rejected “the plausibility structures” of the Creator/creature distinction. Glenn Beck won’t discuss “gay marriage,” which he naively considers secondary. For him the real problem of America is a lack of “faith,” but we are awash in faith—including spiritual communion with the higher divine self. Just last week, Julia Roberts, raised a Catholic, expressed her faith in Hinduism, which C. S. Lewis described as the very antithesis of Christianity.
Things are being turned upside down, just as in Paul’s day when, he says, paganism turned “natural” life upside down in three organically related acts of apostasy:
- Theology: “They exchanged” the transcendent Creator for Nature as god (Romans 1:18–22, 25);
- Spirituality: they exchanged the true worship of the immortal God for the worship of images of Nature and of the self (1:23–24);
- Sexuality: they exchanged the practice of natural heterosexuality for the unnatural practice of homosexuality (1:26–28).
These three exchanges are inseparable. Denying the transcendent God leads to spiritual communion with the (higher) self, which leads to sex with the self. Such “spiritual” sexuality is classically expressed in androgynous Hindu Tantric sex. Here “androgyny” means the self–contained person, embodying both male and female. Tantric sex is sex without the need of the other. In a similar way, homosexual sex is androgynous, since both partners play the male and the female role. It is sex not with the “other” (hetero) but with the “same” (homo). Homosexuality has been called by its intellectual practitioners the religious “sacrament of monism” (spiritual One–ism)—the “joining of the opposites,” the perfect expression of “non–dual spirituality.”
Western civilization has long been based upon a male–female contract of commitment to the “different and equal” other. Such commitment requires self–sacrifice for the sake of spouse and children. What will happen when this final apostasy from Christianity (approval of “unnatural sex”) is enshrined in law? In the coming Sodom, appeals to normative heterosexuality will be declared politically–incorrect hate speech. The art and literature of Western civilization will be judged homophobic and consigned to the dustbin of history. The fact is, by legalizing “gay marriage,” America is becoming officially pagan. We are converting from a “hetero–cosmology” of Two–ism, to a “homo–cosmology” of One–ism. We no longer believe that there is a transcendent God, outside the universe, who has revealed to us how we are to relate unselfishly to Him and to one another.
Ironically, in the name of “life–long commitment,” “gay marriage” (though it includes expressions of human affection) ultimately deifies self–love. It does not see the other, but narcissistically sees a reflection of self in the other. A society that makes selfishness sacred, as a defining principle of communal life, will be deaf to the Gospel, and will eventually implode like the Sodom of old.
We are exchanging our worship of the great Other, the divine Lord our Maker, for an idolatrous worship of ourselves as self–serving little gods. In such a civilization, Christians must cling to (and declare) a different basis for living: life–long, self–giving commitment to the other who is different. If there is no other, no difference, we have lost the saving key to the cosmos—the Gospel of the Cross, reflected imperfectly in human heterosexual monogamy, but supremely in the selfless love of the God/man Jesus. This Bridegroom went all the way to death in self–sacrificial love for his sin–stained bride. That love washes her clean and reconciles her to the Other, her Creator, the God of all mercy, her only hope.