Same-Sex Lie By Ryan T.Anderson

12 09 2013

the big same sex lie

Even though the Supreme Court has endorsed it,  Same-sex marriage will never be accepted by many ordinary Americans for a simple reason: It’s based on a lie. But don’t take my word on this; leading LGBT scholars and activists say as much.

Take Masha Gessen, acclaimed author and former Russian director of Radio Liberty. “Fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there — because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change,” Gessen said last year.

Last month, I was part of a debate at the NYU School of Law at which Judith Stacey, a sociology professor at the university, declared: “Children certainly do not need both a mother and a father.”

Stacey went on to suggest that three parents might be better than two. In fact, while asserting she is in favor of same-sex marriage because of “equal justice,” Stacey admitted she isn’t a fan of marriage. “Why should there be marriage at all?” she asked.

I pointed out that marriage exists, and the government takes an interest in marriage because the sexual union of a man and woman produces children — and children need both a mom and a dad.

I quoted President Obama making a closely related point:

“We know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.”

Stacey’s response? President Obama “was deeply misled.” Indeed, “Obama was dead wrong.”

But most Americans know that on this point, Obama is right. Children are better off with both a mother and a father. And marriage is the institution that unites a man and a woman as husband and wife to be father and mother to the children their union produces.

Obama is wrong, though, in his “evolved” thinking that we can redefine marriage to make fathers optional while still insisting that they are essential. This inherent contradiction empowers those who want to weaken the foundation of the nuclear family.

Take Stacey, for example. In congressional testimony against the Defense of Marriage Act, she expressed hope that redefining marriage would give marriage “varied, creative and adaptive contours,” including “small group marriages.”

Stacey was among more than 300 scholars and advocates who signed a statement, “Beyond Marriage,” calling for legal recognition of sexual relationships involving more than two partners. During our NYU debate, she asserted that nothing gives the state an interest in monogamy.

The very day of the debate, Slate posted an article headlined “Legalize Polygamy!” The author, Jillian Keenan, argues: “Just like heterosexual marriage is no better or worse than homosexual marriage, marriage between two consenting adults is not inherently more or less ‘correct’ than marriage among three (or four, or six) consenting adults.”

She concludes: “Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist and sex-positive choice.”

And this is why the marriage redefiners are doomed to fail: Redefinition has no logical stopping point. Its logic leads to the effective elimination of marriage as a legal institution. This will harm women, children and society as a whole.

If we redefine marriage to exclude the norm of men and women complementing each other in (ideally) a lifelong familial bond, Gessen admits, “The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change . . . I don’t think it should exist.”

What an amazing claim: Radical advocates of same-sex marriage don’t think marriage should exist, at least not as a state-sponsored institution. They think marriage is simply an intense emotional union — whatever sort of interpersonal relationship consenting adults want it to be.

Their victory would leave marriage with no essential features, no fixed core as a social reality. And if marriage has no form and serves no essential purpose, how would society protect the needs of children — the prime victims of our nonmarital sexual culture — without government growing more intrusive and more expensive?

Same-sex marriage rejects the anthropological truth that men and women are different and complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman and the social reality that children need both a mother and a father.

In the end, the truth about marriage will win out.

Anderson is the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society at The Heritage Foundation. He is co-author of the book “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”


Should We Have Sex Whenever We Want?

8 09 2013

If sex is good why should we have it all the time

Just because a thing is good, this does not mean that it is without boundaries. For example, because sleep is good, imagine that you decide to sleep until one in the afternoon on a school day. You walk into school with the creases from your pillow still embedded in your face. When your teacher asks where you have been, you yawn, wipe the drool from your chin, and remind him that sleep is good and so you were enjoying sleep. You add that when you go home you will probably eat thirty pounds of Girl Scout cookies because eating is good, too.

Needless to say, while sleep and food are good, they do have their limits. Similarly, the good gift of sex has its boundaries as well—and the boundary for sex is marriage. When we take sex outside of marriage, it is like taking fire out of the fireplace. The beautiful gift can quickly become destructive. But what about the fact that sex feels so natural?

Suppose that one day at work I decide to have an affair with my secretary. When I come home, my wife Crystalina asks how my day was. I tell her that work went well, the drive home was pleasant, and that I cheated on her. Upon hearing this, she throws my belongings onto the front lawn. To ease her pain, I point out how “natural” the affair was. Needless to say, she would not be comforted. She is well aware that the fact that sex is natural is not a sufficient reason to engage in it.

Although pleasure is a natural result of sex, it is not the purpose of sex. If you confuse the purpose of sex (babies and bonding) with the additional benefit of pleasure, you abandon love and use the other person as an object of lust.

When people argue that couples should be free to have sex outside of marriage, they do not realize what they are asking for. “Liberating” sex from the confines of marriage is like liberating a goldfish from its bowl—not a great idea. In the same way, the intimacy of sex was never meant to be separated from the total intimacy that makes up married life. It was not meant to be “free.”

One woman explained, “So-called sexual freedom is really just proclaiming oneself to be available for free, and therefore without value. To ‘choose’ such freedom is tantamount to saying that one is worth nothing.”[1] When we divorce sex from marriage, we inevitably meet with disappointment. We are trying to grab the privileges of marriage without accepting the commitment and sacrifice that must accompany the gift of total intimacy.

The Pill Made Same Sex Marriage Inevitable

5 08 2013

The Pill Made Same Sex Marriage Inevitable

Opponents of legalized same-sex marriage say they’re trying to protect a beleaguered institution, but they’re a little late.
The walls of traditional marriage were breached 40 years ago; what we are witnessing now is the storming of the last bastion.
Marriage is primarily a social institution, not a religious one. That is, marriage is a universal phenomenon of human cultures in all times and places, regardless of the religion of the people concerned, and has taken the same basic form in all those cultures. Marriage existed long before Abraham, Jesus or any other religious figure. The institution of marriage is literally prehistoric.
The three monotheistic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) actually recognize this explicitly in their holy writings. The book of Genesis ascribes the foundation of marriage in the very acts of God himself in the creation of the world: “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him. . . . A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:18, 24).
The three great religions base their definition of marriage on these verses and others that echo them. In Christian theological terms, the definition of marriage is part of the natural law of the creation; therefore, the definition may not be changed by human will except in peril to the health of human community.
Psychobiologists argue that marriage evolved as a way of mediating the conflicting reproductive interests of men and women. It was the means by which a woman could guarantee to a specific man that the children she bore were his. In biological terms, men can sire hundreds of children in their lives, but this biological ability is limited by the fact that no one woman can keep pace.
Siring kids by multiple women is the only way men can achieve high levels of reproduction, but there is no adaptive advantage for women in bearing children by men who are simply trying to sire as many children as possible. For a mother, carrying and raising a child is a resource-intensive, years-long business. Doing it alone is a marked adaptive disadvantage for single mothers and their children.
So the economics of sex evolved into a win-win deal. Women agreed to give men exclusive sexual rights and guaranteed paternity in exchange for their sexual loyalty and enduring assistance with childbearing and -rearing. The man’s promise of sexual loyalty meant that he would expend his labor and resources supporting her children, not another woman’s. For the man, this arrangement lessens the number of potential children he can sire, but it ensures that her kids are his kids. Guaranteed sex with one woman also enabled him to conserve his resources and energies for other pursuits than repetitive courtship, which consumes both greatly.
Weddings ceremoniously legitimated the sexual union of a particular man and woman under the guidance of the greater community. In granting this license, society also promised structures beneficial to children arising from the marriage and ensuring their well-being.
Society’s stake in marriage as an institution is nothing less than the perpetuation of the society itself, a matter of much greater than merely private concern. Yet society cannot compel men and women to bring forth their replacements. Marriage as conventionally defined is still the ordinary practice in Europe, yet the birthrate in most of Europe is now less than the replacement rate, which will have all sorts of dire consequences for its future.
Today, though, sexual intercourse is delinked from procreation. Since the invention of the Pill some 40 years ago, human beings have for the first time been able to control reproduction with a very high degree of assurance. That led to what our grandparents would have called rampant promiscuity. The causal relationships between sex, pregnancy and marriage were severed in a fundamental way. The impulse toward premarital chastity for women was always the fear of bearing a child alone. The Pill removed this fear. Along with it went the need of men to commit themselves exclusively to one woman in order to enjoy sexual relations at all. Over the past four decades, women have trained men that marriage is no longer necessary for sex. But women have also sadly discovered that they can’t reliably gain men’s sexual and emotional commitment to them by giving them sex before marriage.
Nationwide, the marriage rate has plunged 43% since 1960. Instead of getting married, men and women are just living together, cohabitation having increased tenfold in the same period. According to a University of Chicago study, cohabitation has become the norm. More than half the men and women who do get married have already lived together.
The widespread social acceptance of these changes is impelling the move toward homosexual marriage. Men and women living together and having sexual relations “without benefit of clergy,” as the old phrasing goes, became not merely an accepted lifestyle, but the dominant lifestyle in the under-30 demographic within the past few years. Because they are able to control their reproductive abilities–that is, have sex without sex’s results — the arguments against homosexual consanguinity began to wilt.
When society decided — and we have decided, this fight is over — that society would no longer decide the legitimacy of sexual relations between particular men and women, weddings became basically symbolic rather than substantive, and have come for most couples the shortcut way to make the legal compact regarding property rights, inheritance and certain other regulatory benefits. But what weddings do not do any longer is give to a man and a woman society’s permission to have sex and procreate.
Sex, childbearing and marriage now have no necessary connection to one another, because the biological connection between sex and childbearing is controllable. The fundamental basis for marriage has thus been technologically obviated. Pair that development with rampant, easy divorce without social stigma, and talk in 2004 of “saving marriage” is pretty specious.
There’s little there left to save. Men and women today who have successful, enduring marriages till death do them part do so in spite of society, not because of it.
If society has abandoned regulating heterosexual conduct of men and women, what right does it have to regulate homosexual conduct, including the regulation of their legal and property relationship with one another to mirror exactly that of hetero, married couples?
I believe that this state of affairs is contrary to the will of God. But traditionalists, especially Christian traditionalists (in whose ranks I include myself) need to get a clue about what has really been going on and face the fact that same-sex marriage, if it comes about, will not cause the degeneration of the institution of marriage; it is the result of it.

Rev. Sensing is pastor of the Trinity United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tenn. He writes at Donald Sensing.


Does a circle have 3 sides because we say so?

14 07 2013

Gay marriage: Does a circle have 3 sides because we say so?

The current demand to redefine marriage to include same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples is often motivated by goodwill, the will to fairness and happiness, while opposition to this redefinition is often motivated by bad will, the fear or hatred of homosexuals. Nevertheless, the rightness or wrongness of same-sex marriage has to be decided on its own merits, not by taking the moral temperature of the advocates on both sides. For
We have no reliable moral thermometer to stick into people’s motives; and
We often have bad motives for good deeds or good motives for bad deeds; and
We need to judge the deed, not the doer.

When we turn to arguments from reason, the first thing we must agree about is the need to think honestly, open-mindedly, and clearly, especially about important things, and most especially about important things that we feel very passionate about, like sex. This is what I want to explore for a few minutes, as a philosopher.
It is true that we can change our thoughts, and change our definitions of things, of anything at all. Some of these redefinition’s are possible—e.g. we can criminalize or decriminalize many things, including homosexual acts But some redefinition’s are impossible. We can call squares triangles, but that does not make them into triangles. Calling call cats dogs does not make them dogs. And calling homosexual friendships marriages does not make them marriages. This does not depend on whether they are good or bad; it depends on what they are; it depends on their nature, their essence.
Unless there are no natures or essences, i.e. unless we are complete nominalists, and therefore skeptics. (If you are one of these people, and if you actually practice the philosophy you preach, then please do not invite me to your house for dinner, for you must believe that it is impossible to draw a real and absolute line between people and animals, in which case you may be either a vegetarian or a cannibal—two tastes I do not share.)
What Is Marriage?

The whole question of homosexual marriage depends on just one thing: on what marriage is, or rather on whether marriage has a “what” at all, a nature. If marriage is not a natural essence but an artificial human invention, like a game or a human law, than we can redefine it because we invented it in the first place. Because we invented football, we can not only change the rules but we could even call it baseball if we wanted to. We could say there were two kinds of football, and one of them used to be called baseball. If we invent a thing, we can redefine it. If not, not.
The question can be phrased this way: is the answer to the question “What is marriage?” dependent on our reason or our will? Artificial things are dependent on our will, for we willed them into existence. Natural things are dependent on our reason; we discover them rather than inventing them. The decisive question about homosexual marriage is just that: whether marriage is artificial, man-made, and dependent on human wills, or natural, discovered, and dependent on human nature.
The issue is not just psychological, or scientific, or religious, or ethical, but philosophical, in fact metaphysical. The deepest reason why popular opinion has changed in favor of same-sex marriage in industrialized countries (but nowhere else) is that these countries no longer think in terms of what is “natural.” We no longer understand, or feel the force of, the old notion of “nature,” which meant the essence of a thing as manifested by its natural activities. The old notion of “human nature” assumed an inherent, unchangeable telos or purpose or design in it. E.g. “the reproductive system” was designed for reproduction, as the eye was designed to see. (Duh!) But to the typically modern mind “nature” means simply simply stuff, the universe, whatever we can see. It has become an empirical concept, not a philosophical concept.
That is why the notion of “unnatural acts” no longer has a holding-place in our minds. To the modern mind, the difference between homosexual acts (or desires) and heterosexual acts (or desires) is like the difference between the acts on what we now call a football field and the acts on what we now call a baseball field. “Different strokes for different folks” is quite reasonable there. And if football players have traditionally had special privileges which were denied to baseball players, we feel, quite reasonably, that this injustice must be undone. Let us be inclusive; let’s include “baseball” under “football.” Let’s recognize the artificial quotation marks around these two terms. Let’s be Nominalists: they’re just man-made names, after all, not inherent natures.
An Illustration From Geometry

But suppose marriage is not like a game but like a geometrical figure, or a cat: something discovered, not invented. Then redefining it would be confusion. It would mess up the whole geometry of marriage, so to speak, as calling cats dogs would mess up the whole veterinary treatment of both animals.
And if marriage is as natural as geometry, then those who voted for a “Defense of Squares” act would not necessarily be motivated by a personal fear or hate of triangles, but by a love of geometry.
This is the first necessary thing for people on both sides of this deep divide to understand: that their opponents are not loveless cads, idiots or liars. There is an inherent reasonableness to both sides.
But they contradict each other. And therefore one side must be wrong and the other right. For the law of non-contradiction, at least, is not invented but discovered. There is no alternative to it. Its opposite is literally unthinkable. Contradictories are incompatible. The concept of “same sex marriage” may or may not be an oxymoron, but the concept of ”compatible contradictories” certainly is. Two propositions that contradict each other cannot both be true. That’s why neither side can compromise: not because these two groups of people intolerantly exclude each other but because their ideas do.
The traditional definition of marriage contains four properties, as a square contains four sides. If you subtract any one side from a square, you don’t change the nature of squares so as to have a larger set of squares, one that includes three-sided squares as well as four-sided squares; you simply don’t have a square any more, but something else, a triangle.
Four Dimensions of Marraige

That something else may be good or bad—it may be just as good as a square, or it may be less good—but it’s not a square. It’s a triangle. The four dimensions of marriage, as traditionally defined, are:
Permanence, and
It’s the fourth dimension that is most in question today—though the others are also, and there is no reason why any or all of them cannot be questioned and changed if marriage is artificial, like football.
1. Freedom

Small children cannot marry because they have not yet the maturity to make such a binding covenant freely, just as they cannot yet make legal contracts. “Shotgun marriages” are not marriages then, for the same reason. They are oxymorons. Arranged marriages are not necessarily oxymorons, but they are valid (i.e. real marriages) but only if both parties freely consent to them.
2. Exclusivity

Marriage is between two persons, not one, not three, not many. There can be covenant relationships among more than two persons, but they are not marriages. They are friendships or communes or kibbutzes or states.
3. Permanence

Marriage is for life. Perhaps divorce is literally impossible (as the Catholic Church says), perhaps it is possible and permissible as an extreme, emergency treatment, like amputation, but it is not natural, normal, or intended. Marrying a person is not like leasing a car. That’s why the argument for premarital sex and cohabitation (“let’s give the car a road test before we buy it”) is not only a bad analogy but an insulting one.
4. Sex

Marriage, as traditionally defined, obviously has something to do with sex. The sex between the married couple is to be (a) faithful and exclusive and (b) open to children (that’s part of the definition of a family). This second feature is why it has to be heterosexual: because heterosexual sex, unlike homosexual sex, can and often does produce children. That’s its nature, and its natural end, purpose, design, telos. (The “reproductive system,” remember!) And that’s the aspect that’s controversial today. Essential to the traditional idea of marriage is the idea that marriage, by its nature, produces children, is for children, is about children, is for the sake of children’s existence and welfare.
That’s the ultimate point of traditional marriage. To be complete, marriage needs children, and to be complete children need to be born into a marriage and a family. Every child needs the protection of a family, and every child needs two parents, not only to be procreated but also to be educated, by two different role models. Men and women are “hard-wired” with different instincts and different talents, and children need both. Deliberately depriving a child of a father or a mother is child abuse. What motivates (or should motivate) opposition to same~sex marriage is not hatred of homosexuals but love of children.
Notice how dependent this argument is on the old notion of “nature” and what is “natural.” This is an a priori concept, not an empirical one. It’s true that empirical psychological studies have reinforced it. But they cannot prove it. Such studies have shown that many psychological disorders come from the lack of a father or a mother in a child’s life. But these studies cannot of themselves decide the issue, since they can only compare the probable consequences of the two different arrangements, not adjudicate their intrinsic rightness.

There’s no way around it: philosophy is going to have to decide this issue. Or mythology, which is unconscious, instinctive philosophy. Is there such a thing as “the nature of things”? “To be or not to be, that is the question” not only for traditional marriage but also for Mother Nature herself. How big is the camel whose nose is newly under our tent? Read Brave New World, the most prophetic book of our time, to find out.

Peter Kreeft

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