Anyway, some of you probably noticed when President of the United States Barack Obama (God, that gives me a headache) announced publicly his support for the same-sex caricature of marriage. Certain commentators called it an 'epiphany,' others an 'evolution' or 'progression.' That is, Obama had arrived at that point that sometimes follows years of earnest soul-searching, deep thought, and a thirst for truth. Like many a good penitent before him, he felt compelled to confess the error of his ways and to share that truth with the world. The theological bent of his mind had experienced a development of doctrine; he can now find permanent rest in the comfort of divine assurance.
It is from his own words that we know enlightenment came by way of an irrepressible Christian piety, for he saith:
...you know, we [he and Michelle] are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids and that’s what motivates me as president and I figure the most consistent I can be in being true to those precepts, the better I’ll be as a dad and a husband and hopefully the better I’ll be as president.You know.
Using the Golden Rule to bestow upon homosexual sexual liasons his moral imprimatur puts our president firmly in that camp of theologians known as the avant-garde. However, since it is the theology of the modern "rights" regime, there is about it nothing particularly pioneering, though it certainly remains bizarre to people who take Christian history seriously. Frank Beckwith points out that
...the Golden Rule is not about merely protecting your neighbor’s preferences, but rather, advancing your neighbor’s good. The president, ironically, must rely on this latter, and ancient, understanding in order to make sense of the appeal he makes to his responsibilities as a “dad” and “husband.” For the received meanings of these terms are embedded in an inherited moral tradition that he did not invent, but now rejects.
Jesus places himself and his teachings squarely within that moral tradition: “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator `made them male and female’… `For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
Furthermore, to take Obama's understanding of the G.R. literally, as I presume he meant it, is to...well, let's just say that what some homosexual men would like to do unto other men, and have likewise done unto them, presents an excellent case for either ditching Jesus or letting the Rule slide.
Some of us, of course, never believed there was any presidential ephiphany or even any sort of gradual evolution toward his present position. I am among those. Some went further and asserted that he had been lying all along. I am also among those. And among those who don't believe that his Christianity led him there, or that he's a Christian at all.
But my purpose in beginning this post was not to pick on Obama by spending all my time pointing out the obvious. It's too easy. It was rather to point out a disheartening resemblance (in fact, an identity) between Obama's moral and theological revisionism and that of certain conservatives. I knew they were out there, but in perusing several websites in the wake of Obama's announcement, seeking the encouragement of like-minded conservatives, I was hoping not to run into them. Yet they kept popping up like zits on an otherwise promising countenance. I found that there is at least one regular blogger at The American Spectator who supports gay marriage even as he decries Obama's conversion as politically expedient. Did you know that John Bolton, a "hero to conservatives" according to Dennis Prager, also supports it? (The qualifications for 'hero' these days are minimal.) Jonah Goldberg, who thinks it "inevitable," seems to fall on the spectrum somewhere between sympathetic and 'I don't care.' Dick Cheney supports it. This writer calls us The Gay Old Party and proceeds to level charges against eminences like Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, and Chris Christie, the validity of which I don't have time to research. And now we find out from Rod Dreher that Maggie Gallagher's longtime "friend and mentor and one-time boss," David Blankenhorn, has thrown in the towel. (I've never heard of the guy but if everyone says it's a tragedy, I'll defer.) Says Mr. Blankenhorn, "Whatever one’s definition of marriage, legally recognizing gay and lesbian couples and their children is a victory for basic fairness," wherein he, a conservative, finesses with liberal aplomb the bald fact that gays and lesbians do not "have" children. And he voices another oft-heard, to the point of nauseating, theme:
In the mind of today’s public, gay marriage is almost entirely about accepting lesbians and gay men as equal citizens. And to my deep regret, much of the opposition to gay marriage seems to stem, at least in part, from an underlying anti-gay animus.This is a theme that can be traced back at least as far as Justice Kennedy's poignant protest in Lawrence v. Texas against that state's law's attempt to "demean" the "dignity" of the "private, consensual" relationships of homosexuals, which dignity appears to embrace the nature of their sexual activity. That's the real purpose of Blankenhorn's use of the word "animus," to protect that sexual activity. It's a very sweeping word, covering everthing from distaste for an action to hatred of a person. To oppose SSM renders one guilty of it in some degree.
Well, pardon me, but this is just crap. Not a single person I know who opposes SSM (and I know a lot of them) evinces 'animus' toward homosexuals. They do express a moral animus (which can range from mild discomfort to major disgust) against certain of their sexual acts and against the state's offering its moral approval in the form of a 'right' to marry. But as to that basic dignity innate to all humans made in the image of God, not a one denies it and is in fact at constant pains to affirm it. (The people I know do not hang with the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church.)
Still, it cuts no ice. I sense in virtually all of these 'conservative' apologias a preening concern for the emotional hurt inflicted upon homosexuals when the rectitude of their sexual behavior is impugned. Obama's shriveled version of the Golden Rule offers this same protection against emotional pain and moral insult; one cannot be offered without the other; thus, he and certain conservatives are in bed together on this one. So to speak. Homosexuals want marriage because they want approval of the sex that accompanies it, the same approval that heterosexuals enjoy. Without the sex, the controversy disappears, their 'romantic' relationships devolving (or evolving) into the chastity of friendship. Everyone knows this, but not many want to talk about it, forthrightly at any rate. There are certain conclusions conservatives need to come to, and certain things they must be willing to say about the nature of love and sex - if they would protect marriage, that is. I hope to say a few of those things in a follow-up. In other words, to be continued. Maybe. If I get to it.
It's possible because it's raining now, predicted to continue for several days thanks to a tropical storm in the Gulf. This puts yardwork and beer out of the picture, and you know which I'd choose if I had my druthers.