In previous articles I have noted that the proverbial American man-on-the-street’s first response to a prospective societal change is to check his wallet. If the new way seems not to affect his own financial well-being, he usually says, “I don’t care – let ‘em do what they want. Naught to do with me…”
A keen grasp of this quintessential American attitude toward cultural-change has carried the rampant sexual-revolution to what looks like a remarkably easy victory. The campaign to legitimize homosexuality has gained acceptance across institutions of government, media, jurisprudence, education, the arts, and even religion. Wherever you look, acceptance of behaviors and lifestyles once considered perverse – even criminal – now seems fully established.
As expected, many Americans have indeed responded in their customary style – checking only to see if the new “morality” (using the term loosely) hits their pocketbooks. Even the rapid endorsement of same-sex “marriage” by courts, government agencies, academia, and churches has not shaken Americans out of their cultural reverie.
Some of our apparently unflappable indifference to these fast-moving, radical changes in our social morality is clearly due to a lack of complete information on what lies ahead within these new cultural constructs. The check-your-wallet test generally applies to right now. It rarely evaluates what costs might show up when more is revealed about the new ways.
Moreover, the wallet-test is mostly financial and strictly personal – i.e., what’s the cost to me, personally? More far-reaching questions are seldom considered, let alone answered: i.e., What will society look like in five years? Or in ten years? How will the changes affect my children, their education and their futures? What about my religion? Can I live in a culture where these changes have fully played out? Will I even want to? As a people, we generally wait until they’re “coming down the chimney” before we rouse ourselves to action.
Naturally, the movers and shakers of the fast-moving sexual revolution realize the importance of keeping these questions from being asked or addressed in any but the vaguest, most sweeping terms. “Nothing to worry about” is their benign assurance – helpfully amplified by Big Media.
This familiar technique goes back to the gay movement’s earliest days, when advocates for acceptance of homosexuality pleaded piteously: “We just want to be left alone to love those whom we choose.” Being a tolerant and generous lot, Americans took them at their word. “OK, do as you please,” we said, “so long as it’s private and doesn’t scare the horses or hurt business.” Even our Supreme Court endorsed the right of homosexuals to be free of prosecution for their sexuality.
This seemed to smooth the troubled waters – for a time. But someone had lied – at least by omission. To be “left alone” was not the gay caballeros’ entire aim. Yes, they wanted freedom from laws that harassed and even criminalized their sexual expressions. That was certainly their first objective. But true visionaries of cultural-change were eyeing a much greater prize: full national acceptance and cultural legitimacy. And beyond that goal, glimmering out on the horizon, was the veritable pot of gold at the rainbow’s end: legal recognition as an oppressed minority, and entitlement to preferences in enrollment, hiring, promotions, government benefits, housing, lending, insurance – yea, in every corner of American society. (Anyone want to check his wallet now?)
With legal legitimacy fully achieved – at least in the courts – sexual revolutionaries have removed the masks (and the gloves). It’s full speed ahead on several fronts. One of those fronts is education, where homosexual activists want full inclusion in curriculum-definition. A halt to any teaching that heterosexual marriage is our nation’s preferred social construct is being loudly demanded. And quotas in both hiring and enrollment are moving rapidly forward in schools at every level. Social observers predict that gay affirmative-action in business, government and academia will soon follow. Will any of this hit the man-on-the-street’s wallet? (I leave it as an exercise for him.)
Even faith-based colleges have received warning shots for “discriminating” against homosexuals. A venerable Christian college in Massachusetts was implicitly threatened with loss of its accreditation by the board which inspects whether colleges are complying with regional hiring and enrollment standards. Those policies had recently been revised to include acceptance of homosexual behavior. The panel granted the college a year’s grace period to ensure that their hiring and enrollment policies conform to those standards.
This was, of course, a veiled threat to deny accreditation if the college did not align with regional standards of “morality.” Loss of that accreditation could damage a college’s eligibility for federally-funded student-aid, to the point of actually bankrupting the college.
In response to the threat, however, the college’s leadership declared their intention to continue the college’s historic alignment with Biblical standards of sexuality – including bans on any sexual behavior outside the bounds of conventional heterosexual marriage. This produced other repercussions. Local officials disinvited the college’s students from practice-teaching in the public schools. Facility-sharing arrangements between the town and the college were also cancelled.
After much publicity and pushback by outraged alumni, local citizens, and national religious leaders, the accreditation board cancelled the “policy-review period” and endorsed the college’s policies. The town also reversed its practice-teaching ban and renewed previous arrangements with the college. The crisis had passed, but savvy observers say this was only a first skirmish in a long war ahead.
Sensing a weakness, militant homosexuals have also invaded an area where one might have expected scant success – namely, the Church. To the surprise of many pundits and analysts, gay advocates have made remarkable gains there – in large part because Christians are not of one mind about: (1) whether homosexuality is a sin, and (2) how far foundational Christian precepts of love, acceptance and ministry should go.
I can offer no numerical measures on the division of attitudes among churchgoers’, but my experience tells me that many Christians no longer believe homosexual practice is “sinful,” in the Biblical sense. With accusations of “hate-speech” ringing in the ears of its adherents, the Church is literally coming apart at the seams over the issue of Biblical morality.
Many Americans – including some of my readers – might well be saying, “Well, it’s about time that the Church revised some of its old-fogey ideas about sex.” And many Christians say the same. They note that St. Paul’s prohibitions on women cutting their hair or speaking in church are just outdated cultural ideas. They say it’s the same with sexuality. We’re far more “enlightened” now. We know that some people are born with homosexual desires. They can’t help it. Those hoary Biblical ideas don’t apply any more. As openly-gay Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson put it: “The Bible is an outdated book.”
Smarter apologists than I have argued these matters up one side and down the other, so I won’t attempt to, except to mention two obvious problems here. One is the elimination of objective truth as the foundation of two faiths: Christianity and Judaism. Is this really a good idea? Once you toss that rock-solid foundation, what’s left? The whole thing becomes just a gaggle of warring opinions – your “truth” vs. my “truth” – and it all collapses in a pile of irreconcilable differences. No one – certainly no thinking person – will follow a system that flimsy, let alone base one’s entire life on it. Whatever we might think about Muslims, you don’t see them ditching the foundations of their religion because of media-criticism.
The second problem with deconstructing Christianity is the practical matter of limits. Once you start brushing aside the Bible’s definitions of “sin,” where does it stop? And what’s next? Pedophilia? Adultery? Robbery or contract-killing as vocations? (After all, weren’t these people born that way?) Obviously, there’s no limit. “Christian morality” will become an oxymoron – a bad joke. Wreckage of what we once called “the normal culture” – solidly based on Judeo-Christian values – will be just a matter of time. Indeed, even referring to those values might become “hate speech.”
Over twenty years ago I sat in the office of a senior vice-president of the company where I had worked for two decades. During a discussion of the company’s handling of social interest-groups, I predicted that gays would soon demand a “place at the table,” as minorities and women had already done. “Oh, that’s ridiculous,” he dismissively replied. Over the years since that conversation, I have wondered if he ever dreamed how far things would go. (And we’re not done yet.)
We haven’t touched on what has already happened to the arts and entertainment. Obviously they’re in a mess, but we’ll leave all that for another discussion. To close things up, let’s go back to the “pocketbook-test.” What will happen to those who reject the new, enlightened sexual morality? Will they still be able to earn a living? Recent experience puts this in doubt. Free speech and free exercise of one’s faith have already become casualties during the early stages of our sexual “reformation.” Opposition to same-sex “marriage” is being denounced as “hate speech,” with some bakers and florists (and even pizza shops) being drummed out of business because they won’t supply services to a gay wedding. Those convicted in the Court of Public Opinion are punished by fines and loss of livelihood. Some are publicly ostracized in the print- and broadcast-media. Even college trustees opposed to the wonderful new “moral diversity” are getting the bums-rush.
All these are precursors of what lies ahead in our Brave New World. Our new masters will brook no opposition. They will tolerate no dissent. If you don’t accept the new morality, you might find yourself out of work, ruined, and branded as a societal pariah. You’ll become a cultural misfit who enjoys fewer rights than illegal aliens who sneak across our borders or terrorists who want to blow us up.
Right now, the American people resemble the frog in the pot of water. Comfortable in the growing warmth, froggy relaxes. When he finally awakes to the danger, it’s too late, He is cooked to the point of disability and can no longer escape.
Just so, American culture – its business, government, arts, education, and faith – is in the “pot” of change. We’re snoozing blissfully on – serenely tolerant and warmed by our own moral superiority – as our society reaches the boiling point. When we finally sense the danger, we’ll be so far gone that we won’t be able to escape. Indeed, we might not even care.
The “water” is getting hotter by the day. It’s not too late to escape, but soon it will be. Only We the People can overturn the pot, douse the fire, and bring our nation back to its collective senses.
Do something while you still can. Most of all, be wise and discerning about choosing a new president. (And don’t forget to check your wallet…)