I know, I know... I remain, I realize, impossible to please on the gay issue.[Hat tip to JM]
But in reading all the hand-wringing over the Supreme Court decision by Catholics and Evangelicals, all I see, over and over again, is concern for the future of marriage. Oddly, few are concerned nearly so much by the hook-up culture on college campuses or the fact the living together pre-marriage is now the given almost everywhere unless you are a Traddie or Amish. Gays amount to 3 - 9 percent of the population, whereas the sexually-active-outside-of-marriage amount to what percentage? Of course sex sin has always been an issue, but it used to be a sin of stumbling or weakness. Now it is a sin of deliberation, of lifestyle. College students now bring their girl or boyfriends home as bedmates for the summer, and the parents are ... just happy to have the kids home! It is all seen as not weakness but normalcy.
To my mind what is missing in the current unrest, to the point it neuters the entire controversy from a Christian perspective -- despite arguments of a Robert P George that are downright Thomistic in their awesome expansiveness -- is simply this:
Gay marriage is the societal approval of gay sex, plain and simple. It is "I'm OK -- You're Physical Partnering is OK." And this is the natural, almost inescapable endgame of "We must make sure in every circumstance we affirm the inherent dignity of our homosexual brothers and sisters." Someone with inherent dignity can hardly be affirmed and then also taken to task or asked to deny what is part of what is their inherent dignity, right? What does it mean when the Supreme Court gives a green light to gay marriage, and the only mention of sodomy or immorality in the reams and reams of commentary from countless ministry blogs is in Judge Scalia's actual dissent? When the Evangelicals are busy worrying about how we will now interact and witness to gay people and their loved ones? When Exodus Ministries shuts down and apologizes out of respect for the dignity of homosexual believers?
Rather vaguely I think of the Liturgical Wars, and how people are wildly concerned about the loss of Latin, whereas what is more deeply at stake is just what the translations say or don't say. The Latin is important too, but really the more significant matter has to be what words are used, whether in English or in Latin. True, both ARE significant, but when you realize what was done to the content of the Mass a while ago, the question of the vernacular takes on a secondary importance to what you are or are no longer saying.
I am not sure what any of it means, except that while we think sex is very important, we also don't seem to think that our sexual choices especially matter. A commenter on First Things blog said this. It has been so long since I have read anything remotely like it I was shocked. If a Catholic leader ever said any such thing, I might have to make a pilgrimage to the remotest shrine I could find to give thanks for a miracle. Tough times, battle times, require tough talk, not grave tsk tsks. As bracing as Dolan's commentary first appears, next to this it is tepid:The issue to which I keep coming back as the Church accommodates more and more to the secular gay voices in our society, is our responsibility to proclaim the whole gospel, even the parts we don’t like. Even a cursory reading of Romans 1 and I Corinthians 6 indicates that practicing homosexuals are in real danger of not being a part of God’s Kingdom, however you construe that. That a given “sexual-minority” person is an otherwise well-socialized member of society, perhaps even particularly caring and warm, doesn’t seem to make any difference in Kingdom membership. Whether we like it or not and whether it seems enlightened or not, Scripture, as it reveals God’s message to us, is unambiguous regarding unrepentant homosexual behavior. If we fail to warn those in danger of perdition, then we too will come under a greater judgement. The truth about the Truth sets us free and we owe those caught in sin the same opportunity we have had to find redemption and freedom.
- S. M. Hutchens, "Just Christians: On Homosexuality & Christian Identity" (Tourchstone)
- R. V. Young, "The Gay Invention: Homosexuality Is a Linguistic as Well as a Moral Error" (Touchstone)