Yesterday when I turned on my computer I saw this headline on Drudge: “City subpoenas church pastors for sermons dealing with homosexuality…” And much to my surprise this city is in the deep red state of Texas. Here is another piece I found on the situation. The city of Houston passed an equal rights ordinance, and local pastors opposed the law and conservative Christian activists sued the city. In response:
The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.
This is interesting in light of some lively and mostly respectful debate I’ve had with some people because of my post on Blue Bloods and its latest episode that dealt with homosexuality. One of the themes of the comments went something like this: You can just turn off the TV, not watch the show, so quit your bellyaching. I’m afraid it’s not so simple. As I mentioned in the piece, there are real world consequences with the way this debate and issue is trending in American culture. You could say Houston is only the latest example. Yes, Houston, we have a problem.
What is communicated through cultural media such as TV has consequences. Why do you think it is that you never see anyone smoking on prime time TV anymore? Simply because the arbiters of culture think smoking is evil, and they know that what they produce influences people. Today’s arbiters of culture have a pretty simple moral framework, which goes something like this: you can do whatever you want as long as it’s consensual and doesn’t hurt anybody else.
At the heart of this incredibly simple but powerful moral framework is human sexuality; sexual fulfillment and sexual expression are the essence of what it means to be fully human. It is no longer cogito ergo sum, but rather copulate ergo sum. As such, no one can dare say one person’s sexual preferences or activities are morally wrong, because to this view of morality, their choices and what they are doing is morally right, and no one can say otherwise.
The problem arises when this view of morality butts heads with the previously dominant moral framework of Western civilization, the Judeo/Christian worldview. Despite what some Christians may say, the Biblical moral framework is completely antithetical to the self-fulfillment ethos of postmodern Western culture. Christianity and Judaism have a very specific set of moral commitments, and those commitments regarding sexuality are abundantly clear.
The reason the Blue Bloods episode was so offensive is that it completely bought into the left/liberal/progressive secular notion that to express any kind of moral judgment on the sexual activity of homosexuals is bigotry. The only thing, the episode says or at least strongly implies, that can motivate such a view is animus. Christians and religious Jews, however, believe the same thing about any sexual activity outside of a husband and wife, married relationship, but the guardians of today’s culture don’t call our moral judgment against adultery or fornication bigotry (yet). If we say that sex is legitimate only in marriage, and we don’t agree that homosexuals can marry, we are condemning such people to a life of deprivation. If sexual expression is the highest ideal of life, they may have a point. But it isn’t.
Moreover, the entire debate about redefining marriage and gay rights assumes that sexual orientation is an ontological certitude. Funny, in twenty-first century America it is claimed one cannot change their sexual orientation, but they can change their gender; the former is unalterable, the latter malleable.
If you look in the comments of the Blue Bloods post, you’ll notice that people such as I are accused of wanting to tell people what they can and cannot do in their bedroom, because we affirm certain ideas derived from Biblical morality. This characterization is pure and simple calumny, a lie that either willfully distorts what we believe or refuses to actually listen to what we say. Conservative Christians do not care what people do in their bedrooms; it is none of our business, and we don’t want it to be. But marriage is not a private privilege; it is a public good that exists solely because men and women can have children.
The proponents of redefining marriage have convinced enough people that marriage is all about affirming two (why just two?) people’s romantic relationship. If you are against that, then they also want everyone to believe you are a bigot. The writers of Blue Bloods want you to believe that too.