Saturday, April 04, 2015

Go, and sin some more

I ought to be contemplating, at some length and depth, the Passion of Our Lord, who suffered greatly just to give me a shot at one day looking God in the face. The fact that Christ was on earth at all has made me, as bad as I am, a better person than that thing I was destined to become before He pulled me in.

But, having nothing particularly insightful to say on the matter, I've been stumbling around the internet, more concerned with the state of the state than the state of my soul. (I know; it's a failing.) Along the way, I tripped over an article by a Conor Friedersdorf, who writes for The Atlantic and who, in all good will, wishes to improve the state of my soul. It was titled "Why Christian Photographers Should Work at Gay Weddings." On the bright side, he's opposed to legally coercing Christian business owners to participate in gay marriage celebrations. Neither does he think that "a photographer who refuses to shoot a same-sex wedding [is] necessarily demonstrating homophobia, bigotry, or anti-gay hatred." He does think the photographer "wrong-headed", but that "vilification or fines" should not be levied. He's a big believer in the power of persuasion, and points to how well it's worked so far. Attitudes are changing, he says, and "every trend is moving in the right direction."

I'd very much like to persuade the tiny subset of Christian professionals who feel conscience-bound to decline business from same-sex marriages to reconsider their position. For familiarity's sake, I'll stick with the example of a photographer, a creative professional that represents the most difficult case for my view.
I don't know how he knows it's a "tiny subset." Maybe he's done some research.
An orthodox Christian photographer with a traditionalist, procreative understanding of marriage might feel that, by using her artistic talent on a same-sex wedding, she would be glorifying something she believes to be sinful; alternatively, such a photographer might feel that there is a falseness to using her artistry to portray as a marriage ceremony something she believes is nothing of the sort.
Sounds reasonable to me, BUT...
...there is a different way of looking at things, and I invite religious photographers to consider it, because I believe it is analytically sound and more Christian.
These days, everyone's an expert on what Jesus would do, on which more in a moment. In the meantime, he concocts an analogy to drive his point home:
In this view, a wedding photographer's charge is to capture the reality of an event as the couple is experiencing it. Doing so to the satisfaction of the client doesn't require believing that an actual marriage is taking place, any more than photographing a First Communion requires the photographer to believe that the child is actually consuming the body of Christ. It is enough, at the communion, to capture the joyful tear on the cheek of the mother and the awe in the child's eyes.
I ask you, Christians, should a Buddhist photographer be able to joyfully capture that moment, even while staying true to their [sic] beliefs, out of love for fellow humans?
Well, can I ask a follow-up? Does that photographer believe that his (sorry, her) photographs are freezing for all time the celebration of a thing that is fundamentally immoral, that is, an intrinsic evil? The child and its parents and the whole Catholic Church can be wrong about transubstantiation without committing sin, unless of course it can be proven that a purposeful fraud has been perpetrated. But is there any doubt that homosexual sodomy seems contrary to any natural function, and that as a result the Church might have a point when it calls sodomy sin? Or that Christianity has always with one voice called it so? Until a few Christians decided a couple days ago, historically speaking, to call it otherwise? I ask only because you don't address it. You hint at it when you say, "An orthodox Christian photographer will not believe that she witnessed a marriage, and might disapprove of honeymoon activities to come" - and all activities thereafter, we might add - but you don't explore it. The question is better left begged. Instead, you ask another:
Isn't it right to glory in any moment when, inspired by love, people commit to honor and care for one another in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for life?
Well, yeah, but my parents and I have made that commitment, albeit unspoken, and we aren't married. It's what Christian children do for their parents - honor them - and the only reason that I am their child is that God made them male and female.
And don't Jesus's teachings commend us to associate with people even when we believe them to be sinners? Aside from sinning oneself, isn't going as far as one can to accommodate others exactly what Christ's actions ought to inspire?
This reminds me of a liberal lawyer I saw on a TV talk show the other night. She calls herself a Christian and reminded us somberly that Christ associated with prostitutes and tax collectors, leading us to an obvious conclusion as to the "truly Christian" duty of the modern photographer, baker, and wedding dress maker. She was not pressed on the matter, the segment's time having run out. So I'll ask now: did Christ at any time affirm the prostitute in her choice of career? Did he attend any sort of event - as he did the wedding at Cana - at which he exnihilated wine or wreaths of flowers to facilitate a celebration of this choice? He associated with an adulteress, too, but do you recall what he said to her?

Mr. Friedersdorf is charmingly optimistic in his hope that persuasion will prevail, and oddly naïve if he does not apprehend the unforgiving and utterly anti-Christian, totalitarian impulse motivating those with whom he is aligned. They know that true Christians cannot be persuaded on the essence of the thing in question: the morality of homosexual liaisons. All that is left them is coercion, and they care not that it ends in the professional or personal immolation of Christians who will not bend. What Mr. Friedersdorf advocates, whether knowingly or not, is a state of dhimmitude - consciously, willfully, and gladly embraced by the Christian who will inhabit it. His allies don't care whether it's willfully embraced or not. In fact, one senses that they'd rather it weren't, that the greater pleasure for them would be to destroy you if you will not obey orders: "Be a good little photographer and get on over there and take some pictures. Now."


3 Responses to Go, and sin some more

  1. Beth says:
    We are doomed.
  2. Thomas D says:
    I shared this to Facebook. A lot of my friends, even some Catholic ones, are inclined to see the homosexualist movement as comparatively benign. And I’m willing to concede that it may have started out that way. Anti-bullying initiatives, and such. But I begin to think that “gay rights” — whatever that entails — is ancillary to the main purpose of the movement, viz., to ban any concrete expressions of orthodox Christianity in the public square, and to expunge the influence of Christianity from the national discourse.
    The good news is that such a project has been tried before, countless times. Its successes are invariably temporary. But a lot of good people suffer because of those successes.
  3. William Luse says:
    Damn, Beth, buck up. (By the way, are you writing anything for me?)
    Thanks for the share, Thomas. You should go to Ed Feser’s blog. He has a post up about the root cause of all this. It’s stuff I’ve talked about before, viz., what happens when you start messing with people’s sense of sexual entitlement. It results in a lot screaming. His analysis is fairly in depth.

No comments: