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The Right to Do Wrong Print E-mail
By Brad Miner   
Monday, 19 May 2014

Robert R. Reilly’s new book, Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything, is about Nature, understood as that telos towards which every created thing seeks its perfection.

It’s also about sodomy, which behavior is clearly unnatural, and – as Reilly carefully, meticulously proves – it was always considered so. Look to Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle – Greeks, of course, whose culture is often (wrongly) portrayed as homophile – all of whom condemned sodomy as disordered.

The evidence of emerging American homosexualism has been before our eyes for decades, but most of us, seeing the signs, simply assumed the endgame was nothing more or less than that most durably persistent American virtue: tolerance. Who’d have thought – even twenty years ago – that the Gay Rights Movement sought a culture-wide transformation?

Heck, two years ago, one could say – with what now seems foolish confidence – that, after all, whenever and wherever American voters were asked to decide the issue of same-sex “marriage” the initiative always failed. But then the courts in their wisdom decided to straighten the crooked will of the people. How did this happen?

Western political philosophy split into two very distinct branches in the 18th century: one came from Edmund Burke and William Blackstone through the American Founding to modern conservatism; the other, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the French Revolution, led to contemporary liberalism. This second branch, the liberal, remains under the spell of Rousseau’s anti-teleological view and is further besotted by existentialism, multiculturalism, and other leftist enthusiasms. The first branch, the conservative – which retained teleology – has spent most of the last two centuries trying to figure out how, short of totalitarianism, to restrain the pagan passions unleashed by the second branch.

Because if Man alone is the source of meaning, if humanity does not see the moral ends inherent in Nature, given by Nature’s God, then, as Mr. Reilly writes, we have a paradox, especially for those who make a claim to “gay rights,” because . . .

 . . . the proponents of homosexuality are supporting a cause that can succeed only by obliterating the very understanding of Nature upon which our existence as a free people depends. . . .Their appeal to rights subverts the rights to which they appeal.
Why? “If Nature is denied, then justice will necessarily be reduced to what is willed, which, in turn, becomes right as the rule of the stronger.”

To say, after thousands of years of believing the opposite, that same-sex unions are normal “is to cast aside Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Old Testament and the New, Augustine, and Aquinas.” Reilly cites examples – in changing cultural mores and in recent court decisions – through which this casting aside has proceeded.

Of course, it’s not just sodomy that’s been released by this anti-teleological-determinism but contraception and abortion too. Also divorce, pre-marital sex, and perhaps, soon, pedophilia and bestiality.

Writing about the SCOTUS decision in Lawrence v. Texas (2003), which struck down a law banning “gay” sex, Reilly asks: “Why did it take more than two centuries for the court to discover the right to sodomy?” Because the Court decided the Framers simply didn’t understand liberty and “its manifold possibilities.” Reilly responds:

Neither apparently did the court in Bowers [v. Hardwick, a Georgia anti-sodomy law] only seventeen years earlier, when it declared that there is no constitutional right to sodomy.
The judges and their pep squad in the media have decided that tradition is most often another word for oppression. As for those of us who “cling to our gods and our guns,” the elites see us as lost in what Marx’s partner Engels called “false consciousness.”

And here’s Bob Reilly’s key insight about what ought to have been the Court’s rule (and that reveals its decadence): “Given that the state should not be demeaning the existence of homosexuals, should it also not be affirming their existence by showing ‘respect for their private lives’?”

     Robert R. Reilly

The government has been moved to action not so much because of compassion but more because of media and lobbying pressure. The same is true throughout the culture.

Such pressure led to the successful campaign in 1973 to have homosexuality removed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the American Psychiatric Association’s bible of mental disorders, where it had been listed since 1952.

The liberal entertainment media have gone out of their way to populate movies, sitcoms, and talk-TV with homosexual characters intended to desensitize us to the “love that dare not speak its name.” Now the love that won’t give us a moment’s peace.

Making Gay Okay includes short chapters about the impact and consequences of same-sex parenting, LGBT “studies,” and the queering (to use the chic word) of the U.S. military, American foreign policy, and Scouting.

In the 1980s, I attended a dinner at which a homosexual activist expressed to some feminists the “absolute support” of “gay” men for abortion. I wondered why their interests coincided. I was too thick-headed – or naïve – to grasp their shared inversions of reality.

Perhaps this was because, earlier in my life, I briefly (but vigorously) embraced the enthusiasm known as “sexual freedom,” in some ways the prime inversion of truth. There are many Baby Boomers who feel reluctant to criticize sexual choices, having made so many poor ones themselves when they were young.

Time to grow up.

Making Gay Okay is an education: in philosophy, psychology, history, law, politics, and science. Frankly, you’ll learn things you may wish you didn’t know: “bug chasing,” for instance. But to find out what that is, you’ll have to buy the book.

Brad Miner is senior editor of The Catholic Thing, senior fellow of the Faith & Reason Institute, and a board member of Aid to the Church In Need USA. He is the author of six books and is a former Literary Editor of National Review. His book, The Compleat Gentleman, read by Christopher Lane, is available on audio and as an iPhone app.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. 

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Comments (16)Add Comment
written by Jim S., May 19, 2014
Would the charge of adultery in a court of law be rendered moot by the innovation of same-sex marriage? Recently a U.S. Army general was court martialed on charges having to do with an adulterous affair with a junior female officer. But the Pentagon recognizes same-sex marriage. This raises the question of whether it would proceed in a similar case if the person so charged was in a same-sex union. That is, would the Pentagon be willing to argue in court that persons in a same-sex union are capable of committing adultery? If A is the same as B and B is the same as C, then A must be the same as C. If a heterosexual marriage is the legal equivalent of a same-sex marriage, and if a same-sex marriage considers marital fidelity to be entirely subjective, defined exclusively by its partners, then it would seem that equity requires that such a definition be applied to heterosexual unions. The state should have no scruple in the matter. Thus, unless the Pentagon is willing to proceed with adultery charges in any court martial involving an officer in a same-sex union, it should cease bringing such charges against persons in heterosexual unions.
written by Myshkin, May 19, 2014
I suppose to support Mr. Reilly one would "have to buy the book", but I already know more than enough to reject these immoralities and to support political candidates who reject them as well. So despite my desire to be supportive, I won't be buying the book. Instead I'll give the money to a candidate who opposes these things in the upcoming midterm election.
written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, May 19, 2014
Miss Anscombe was prescient, when she wrote in her 1958 paper, Modern Moral Philosophy, “In present-day philosophy an explanation is required how an unjust man is a bad man, or an unjust action a bad one; to give such an explanation belongs to ethics; but it cannot even be begun until we are equipped with a sound philosophy of psychology. For the proof that an unjust man is a bad man would require a positive account of justice as a “virtue.” This part of the subject-matter of ethics, is however, completely closed to us until we have an account of what type of characteristic a virtue is – a problem, not of ethics, but of conceptual analysis – and how it relates to the actions in which it is instanced: a matter which I think Aristotle did not succeed in really making clear.”

This is as true today as the day it was written.
written by Augustine Thomas, May 19, 2014
Boomers are probably the most evil generation in history, perhaps tied with those immediately before and after them.
Posterity will remember our generations like those of the Fall of Rome and other dysfunctional, society-destroying generations.
We're still living off of the prosperity created by good Western Christians. By the time people have to start paying for the Hell we're creating, they'll hate us more than any other group in history for what we've done.
written by J Fischer, May 19, 2014
I own this book. If you only can have one book on the culture wars, the culprits, the wide path taken toward the destruction of morality in America and the world, this is the book you need. The chapter on Aristotle and Nature's Laws is outstanding on its own. For people like me, who try to defend marriage between men and women but end up tongue tied and thinking up marvelous replies hours after the fact, this book has been a great help. I don't write many comments so I'm sorry if this isn't very articulate.

written by Manfred, May 19, 2014
Thanks for a fine book review, Brad. One of the great gifts we receive as Catholics is the Catechism of the Catholic Church which explains in para. #2357 "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered"........ "Under no circumstances can they ever be approved."
It is God's world and His Rules bind all of us.
Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
written by Michael Paterson-Seymour, May 19, 2014
Jim S

The notion, entertained by its supporters, that SSM will produce a unisex institution of marriage, with identical rights and incidents for same-sex and opposite-sex couples is false in fact.

Despite the recent efforts of the French National Assembly, a leading jurist has analysed the result of their labours as follows:

“It is necessary, since the law of 19th May 2013 (2013-404) opening marriage to persons of the same sex, to distinguish two marriages
1.The union freely agreed to, of a man and a woman in order to found a family. Only this marriage between a man and a woman affects filiation (Title VII of Book I of the Civil Code) [This is a reference to Art 314 of the Civil Code, “The child conceived or born during the marriage has the husband for father”]

2.The union, freely agreed to, between two persons of the same sex, which permits them, within the limits of the appreciation of the interests of the child by the administration and then the judge, to adopt (Title VIII of Book I of the Civil Code) the child of one of them, or a ward of the State or, subject to what is permitted by conventions between states, a foreign child.”

Marriage equality, even in the hands of its proponents, reveals itself to be an illusion.
“Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.”
written by Howard Kainz, May 19, 2014
As long as non-procreative sex is approved in the form of contraception, nothing can stop the advance of gay sex, which is the ultimate non-procreative form. The latter is logically entailed by the former. As analytic philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe says in her famously counter-cultural 1972 article, "Contraception and Chastity": "If contraceptive intercourse is permissible, then what objection could there be after all to mutual masturbation, or copulation in vase indebito, sodomy, buggery, when normal copulation is impossible or inadvisable (or in any case, according to taste)?"
written by Jack,CT, May 19, 2014

BUT: We need remember Popes words at the recent ordination
of thirteen new Fathers,"Never tire of being merciful"
"We do not come to condemn but to forgive"

So "Tolerance" and Mercy are different and we
seem to focus so much on the ladder.

The Unitarian Church seems to have a strong grasp
of "Inclussion" as we simply do not,?

So all true but why do we focus so much on some
sins and not other,a book to sell, OK one gets
it but I will wait for the book on "Adultry"
or "Lies"...........on and o as the focus is
Stolen from MERCY!

written by DeGaulle, May 19, 2014
Mr Paterson-Seymour, your post clarifies what I have always believed on this issue, which is that same-sex marriage is an impossibility, an illogicality, a self-contradiction, similar to trying to conceive a circle that is square. Of course, every human on the planet could be rendered insane enough to vote that some circles are square, but this wouldn't make it true.
written by Pietro Pantalones, May 19, 2014
The comment about the Unitarian Church's "Inclusion" makes me think of an old joke. "How do I find the local Unitarian Church? Just look for the big building with the question mark on top."
written by Jack,CT, May 19, 2014
FAITH as well Pedro!
written by Jim S., May 20, 2014
Michael Patterson-Seymour:

"Marriage equality, even in the hands of its proponents, reveals itself to be an illusion." Agreed. SSM proponents are in a bind advancing a workable model for marriage equality. Some of them might say that marriage can be thought of as kind of genus under which there are two species labeled heterosexual and same-sex, and like all species, they have the main characteristics of the genus in common, save but the critical difference that separates them. The alternative model would be one in which there are two stand-alone genera of marriage, which seems to fit the French example you cite. In the latter case, one kind of marriage is rooted in human nature and natural law; the other is a human construct, having no grounding in nature. The latter case would also set up a kind of "separate-but-equal" distinction, which would undermine the SSM movement's claim to a civil right.
written by Tiago Rodrigues, May 21, 2014
Western political philosophy split into at least one third branch, following Marx then Gramsci and the Frankfurt School, the so-called Cultural Marxism, and which actually influences Leftist thought in the West.

Rousseau and the Jacobins actually created what in the US is known as Libertarianism, that child of the Enlightenment which did so much damage to Western Christendom in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Nowadays there isn't much left of the old order for the Libertarians to destroy any more, so it looks innocuous; but have a gander at our good friend Mr. Ron Paul and you will see the potential for destruction it still packs...
written by Nancy D., July 08, 2014
Marriage equality is not grounded in reality because not every couple is able to exist in relationship as husband and wife; once you make the erroneous assumption that in order to be married to one another, it is no longer necessary to exist in relationship as husband and wife, you have, in essence, invalidated the validity of marriage.
written by Nancy D., July 08, 2014
What the Court should not do, is demean the inherent Dignity of any person, by identifying any man or woman as an object of sexual desire/ orientation.

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