by Blake Adams
“When ranks are almost equal in a people, all men having nearly the same manner of thinking and feeling, each of them can judge the sensations of all the others in a moment: he casts a rapid glance at himself; that is enough for him. There is therefore no misery he does not conceive without trouble and whose extent a secret instinct does not discover for him. It makes no difference whether it is a question of strangers or of enemies: imagination immediately puts him in their place. It mixes something personal with his pity and makes him suffer himself while the body of someone like him is torn apart…On the contrary, as peoples become more like one another, they show themselves reciprocally more compassionate regarding their miseries, and the law of nations becomes milder.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.
I confess I approach homosexual temptation from the luxury of having never suffered from it. We all have our pet sins. Homosexual behavior is not one of mine. The notion itself was so foreign to me I would not hear about it until I was twelve. Yet no matter how acquainted I’ve become with the issue, the initial and enduring sentiment is that it just makes no sense.
I have sexual urges. I also, by God’s enabling grace, do not act on them. I do not need sex. Whatever your sexual orientation, there is no reason you must act on it ever. People have not died of virginity. Thus to engage in sex at all suggests some element of choice. I do not need a “why” to eat or breathe. These are self-apparent. Eating and breathing ensure life. But there is a “why” to sex, because the end of sex is not itself.
Someone might say the role of sex is to please. That is the “why.” Yet it is bad form to say a thing is meant to please because it tends to please. If pleasure were the ends, I would be licensed to any sexual behavior I liked, provided it was pleasurable. Even rape. But this won’t do…
…because there is an actual point to sex, found prominently in its results. Namely, to procreate. I never needed the chat from my father about the “birds and the bees.” I was raised with puppies and kittens. I knew from an early age it took a mommy dog and a daddy dog to make puppies. Consequentially, I understood sex as something natural, but without the erotic baggage; it was sensible, not sensual; every spring, it made the world blossom with color – it was not something nasty committed under cloak.
Babies are not a result to the ends of pleasure, but are a legitimate cause to engage in a pleasurable activity.
Sex committed without cause, or reason, has no reason to be about. It has no point. If you crave sexual relations with a member of the same sex, so what? The desire does not warrant the deed. You don’t have to do it. If you do, it is because you want to.
That said, nobody, least of all society, needs homosexuality.
Aside from the intellectuals at the head of the movement, most practicing homosexuals consider their chosen lifestyles to be exactly that: chosen. It is a thing they want. Yet bizarrely, in the wanting, they consider themselves entitled. It is not necessary to have a rational basis. One is free to live irrationally. This is America, after all.
Studies show an infinitesimal number of Americans fall under LGBT categories (about 4% of the total population). The majority of people supporting homosexuals, then, are people like me who do not have homosexual urges.
Forgoing the rational basis for sex (to procreate), I would think heterosexuals would see homosexuality as I did: sexual license, committed by selfish people looking either for pleasure or sexual release. Perhaps it was so in a bygone era. But a few things began to reveal to me how the modern age sees it.
The thing is, Americans are free to engage in aberrant sexual behaviors. They are also free to live together. They do not need permission to share a bed. It’s when they want to be legally recognized as married that I scratch my head. If it was just about two people desiring to indulge with each other…well…no one was stopping them. They got what they want, it seemed, so why are they still complaining?
Clearly, there is something more than sexual urges at work. They want to engage in the enterprise of marriage! That is the whole modern debate.
Now for the big revelation: in a bizarre historic turn, modern homosexuality is not actually about sex.
Most people who support homosexual marriage are not themselves homosexuals, nor care to become so. What two people do in bed is not actually a part of the debate. In fact, the issue isn’t even open to debate. It is a battle of wills, with those on one side shouting “Nay!” and the others “Yay!”
We have a culture infatuated with equality and liberty. And for good reason: these were championed by our founders, and have proliferated human happiness and prosperity. They glue our democracy and ensure our rights. They are our rights. The very word “freedom” puts a warm-fuzzy in our bellies and fireworks in the sky. At the cry of “equality,” our society redirects its course, without the term being questioned or defined. As would happen to anyone who worships the virtue, but loses its God, a nation will pursue “equality” to its fatal extremes. The church is placed as a restraint. And that is why the church is now the enemy.
No wonder the church is a bunch of “haters.” Because they’ve forgone any rational basis, they see the issue as our wills clashing with theirs. To them it has been reduced to a battle of passions. We cannot merely disagree, because the issue is being fought on the emotional front. They cannot understand our position as anything more than emotional, because that is how they understand theirs. It makes perfect sense we would be “haters” and they “lovers” – theirs is the romanticized side of “freedom” and “progress.” Ours is the ugly, scared one of “restraint” and “bigotry.”
Homosexuality does not need a reason for existing. It does not even have to contribute to society. It merely has to be something people want, and want badly enough, and those who are not homosexuals will want it for them. To step between a person and their desires is to trample their freedom and individuality, after all, which have become their own indisputable ends. One no longer needs a “why” to be free.
The issue of homosexuality has united the American people because it has taken advantage of those values which all Americans share and cherish. As Tocqueville points out, if one American suffers, the others flock to liberate him, because his rights are their rights. Homosexuality today has reached an unprecedented status in the minds of the people: to oppose it is not to oppose any philosophy or legal case, but the very culture democracy has produced.
I am persuaded those in favor of recognizing homosexual marriages have no actual arguments. And they don’t need them. They have megaphoned ideals of “equality” and “progress.”
This is not isolated to the homosexual debate. In fact, a great jumble of issues fall victim to the same thinking. Notably, abortion. What gave it such success legislatively was the rosy language of women’s health and the right to choose, which any lover of liberty would support. The anti-abortion position has grown in popularity of late because through horrific photographs and teary testimonials people are being confronted with its ugliness. And people do not want to live with ugliness.
If we made the issue about sex, the homosexual community might lose support.
People support homosexuality because it seems to include those values people find beautiful. Perhaps someone ought to repulse the heterosexual majority with graphic photographs and nauseating anecdotes of what really transpires under the sheets. Though I have witnessed passive supporters of sodomy gag at its descriptions, I doubt this method (for its obscene nature and inflammatory focus on nastiness) would benefit most people. People who identify as homosexual themselves, least of all.
If we made the issue about sex, the issue could reenter the debate forum.
Sex would be given back it’s “why” – and a “why” can be questioned. But again, the issue is not about sex. It’s not even about marriage. It is about the right of a person to live as he chooses. It is about the right of a person to shape himself and his own identity, to pursue what he thinks is lovely, and what will result in his personal happiness. It is about getting what you want. It is about freedom. Aye, there’s the rub!
The mob has spoken. Whether this nationwide fad will pass or stick remains uncertain. However, in the words of Horace, the Latin poet, “You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.”
Blake Adams is a junior enrolled at Patrick Henry College, majoring in journalism.