Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rejecting "Sexual Identity"

In addition to following the news, American pop-culture, social media and politics regarding the same-sex controversy, I am also reading actual books. Y'know, those things with no ads beside the text? Multi-page writing that might take a week or more to finish? First and foremost, of course, I read the Bible. Every day. And here are some of the Christian books I've read (or am currently reading): "Is God Anti-Gay?" by Sam Alberry, "Homosexuality and the Christian" by Dr. Mark A. Yarhouse, and "Compassion without Compromise" by Adam T. Barr, Ron Citlau.

There's a growing body of research showing young people identify themselves as "being gay" at an earlier age than would have been imagined a generation ago. If a teen in the 1980s experienced a same-sex attraction (like author Citlau above), it could be a harrowing experience, but a phase that passes. Not these days. The steady drum-beat of the "gay movement" in recent years has crescendoed with no less than the President of the United States declaring himself in favor of same-sex "marriage." A handful of states voted to legalize it, and several others have been forced by courts to institute it. In a week or two the U.S. Supreme Court will announce whether all states must not only recognize such unions formed in other states, but also be compelled to legalize such "marriages" themselves.
(Update: SCOTUS did indeed mandate recognition and compelled legalization in 2015.)

The kids don't have a chance. American pop culture is actually celebrating their confused emotional/sexual feelings as "heroic" and "natural." The politically-correct theory is that the kid was born that way, and must embrace it. Of course a teenager's grasp of good judgement is fleeting at best, and their inability to keep things in perspective is an understandable fact of their limited years on the planet.  But those vulnerable ones who may struggle with same-sex attraction are pressured into anchoring their very identity in sexual terms. The Weeping Prophet quotes God commenting on those who put their children through fire: "I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind!"

It's no shock in this fallen creation that some teens will experience a same-sex attraction—often prompted by someone older (perhaps another teen, often an adult). I myself was propositioned by a fellow student at Bible school. Everybody on earth is tempted to indulge one or another appetite. Absent the recent societal tsunami to embrace same-sex couplings, these attractions could more easily be resisted. But with all the voices today calling out to define-deviancy-down,* the teen's attraction will more likely be nurtured, acted upon and reciprocated. We haven't even mentioned the "normal" teenage perils of raging hormones, peer pressure, and who-am-I angst. Answereth today's PC culture: you are The Misunderstood Gay Teen, Who Was Obviously Born That Way. 

Balderdash. No scientist has discovered "the gay gene," though not for lack of trying. So-called sexual-identity is an example of the psychological process called cathexis, wherein we invest ourselves deeply in a chosen direction. What is it everybody tells me about forming good new habits or disciplines, like dieting or exercise? "If you can stick it out for 30 days, it'll become second-nature." Uh-oh, that applies equally to bad habits. 

Attractions, like all appetites, can be resisted. We all do it, with varying degrees of success, every day. Those who quit resisting their temptations are on a death-spiral, whether via debauchery, rage, gluttony, thievery, or a myriad of addictions. Think of the ramifications if what we've been saying all along is true—nobody is "born gay." Just like nobody is "born a smoker," or "born a drunk," or "born a thief." There are different propensities, but I believe susceptible youths are convincing themselves they are "gay," and surrendering the fight. A teen whose first romantic experience is with a same-sex partner has imprinted homosexual desire onto their psyche. They don't need much pushing to believe they were born that way.

What Christians believe is that everyone born into this world is a sinner needing a savior. We each struggle with different temptations, act out different youthful misbehaviors, and arrive at adulthood humbled by our weaknesses. If we've come to Christ by this time, we have come to hate our own sin more than anybody else's. Jesus followers have always proclaimed—and most of us live by—the concept of hating the sin, loving the sinner. These days, of course, the cultural threshold for hatred could hardly be lower: just stating you are an evangelical Christian will be deemed a "trigger warning," and you will be required to shut up immediately. You hater.

So a Christian teen has a same-sex fling. A married Christian friend of mine had romantic affairs (yes, more than one), and told me it takes about 90 days for the bloom to come off that rose. Emotional attachments to the paramour begin to weaken—especially for married Christian guys who have kids and a loving wife. But my friend hadn't been romancing other guys, so when he repented and came back to his wife, he didn't have to unlearn long-term attraction to the same sex. 

When our hypothetical teen's first tryst ended—badly, I'm sure—he was already pretty far down the road. At this first speed-bump of his "gay" lifestyle, if he is in a church that faithfully teaches scripture, and if no other partner comes along, then his development of normal affections could be restarted. No easy road, perhaps, but since the same-sex coupling isn't natural anyway (per scripture, and per ninety-five-plus percent of humanity), the shorter his fling, the more time that passes without a relapse, the better his chance at love, marriage and family. 

But if instead of Biblical input, he seeks out voices assuring him the Bible doesn't really condemn same-sex relations (hello Tony Campolo & Justin Lee), or if he embraces the cultural drift, he is backsliding. Sitting in a Biblically-committed church during this phase must be difficult. But the truth is preached to everyone sitting in those church pews. Strong preaching calls out all sinful behavior, and good preachers get very specific about bad behavior happening in their own congregations. Hearing those words, the same-sex attracted teen has a choice we all have to make: follow the Savior, or follow our own base desires. 

* "defining deviancy down" is a phrase famously coined by the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D–NY)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Remove Not the Ancient Landmark

That a great many Americans seem OK with overturning 6,000+ years of civilization by legalizing same-sex "marriage" is inexplicable in any other than a mass- and social-media age. The speed with which this purported consensus has "immediately [sprung] up, because it had no depth of earth" has been breathtaking. Hopefully we will one day say of this movement: "when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away."
A wedding; from Spiegel des menschlichen Lebens, Augsburg 1475
The founding document of the United States—our Declaration of Independence—opens by acknowledging Nature's God, along with an obligation owed by the upstart Congress to its oppressor and all the other nations on earth . . . to wit: "a decent Respect to [their] opinions". When eleven years later, having thrown off the King of England and established the United States of America, they opened their organizing document—the Constitution—by explicitly linking "the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". What odd statements from a group of rebels who had just thrown off a long-reigning, world-dominating hereditary King. Turns out these statements were not made in a vacuum.

Two famous Englishmen admired, counseled and interpreted the Americans. Thomas Paine (1737–1809) and Edmund Burke (1729–1797) were leading commentators—and dueling philosophers—during that long-ago age of revolutions. I recently finished Yuval Levin's landmark book about these two giants of social and political philosophy, entitled 
The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left.

I got to know Burke through Russell Kirk, in The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot. So I understood conservatism's "prejudice and prescription" concept, and was persuaded of its wisdom. Being a Christian, I found Burke's 
scripture-tinged expressions quite thrilling. Lines like "A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views" and "People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors" reminded me of my late Yorkshire-born friend, revival preacher Leonard Ravenhill.

I had certainly heard of Paine and the many renowned quotes from his famous books, and I was familiar with his basic biography. But I'd always thought Leftism got its start with Marx and Lenin. I guess my boyhood preoccupation with world Communism (my paternal grandfather had run-ins with Bolsheviks) kept me from considering revolutions prior to 1917. Of course the French and American revolutions differed in many ways, yet Paine assisted in both—publishing what were arguably the preeminent works inspiring American (Common Sense) and French (The Rights of Man, Age of Reason) revolutionaries. He wielded a prodigious and powerful pen. 

But when author Yuval Levin finished peeling back the rhetorical layers of Paine's philosophy it became clear that the man was a burn-down-the-house radical—quite possibly addicted to revolutions. He repudiated Christianity, was convicted in England of seditious libel, was elected to the French National Convention, then arrested and imprisoned by Robespierre. He called for a mandatory minimum wage, denounced George Washington, never married, and died alone at age 72 in New York's Greenwich Village. His obituary in the New York Evening Post: "He had lived long, did some good, and much harm." The seeds Paine planted would yield an even more bitter harvest a century after his death, even as his roguish life prefigured the prototypical Leftists of our own day.

Burke was famously appalled at the French. He wrote his most enduring work, Reflections on the Revolution in France, predicting it would end badly. The rabid Parisian crowd's literal tearing apart of a family in the first moments of their revolutionary rage was soon forgotten as the bloody guillotine became the icon of that movement. But the baying crowds and the revolutionaries urging them on were always hostile to the traditional family. The inclination of Paine and his French radical pals, right down through Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Guevara and Castro, Alinsky, and Cloward and Piven, has ever been to destroy the deepest emotional connections of citizens to the existing order—family and faith always prime targets. That is the unbroken record of Leftsim. And that is what we are seeing today in the same-sex "marriage" debate.

"You're not seeking to join the institution, you're seeking to change what the institution is."
Chief Justice John Roberts to plaintiffs

           Proverbs 22:28 "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." (KJV)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bold, Persistent Obfuscation!

Last night as I was despairing over the long list of unfinished drafts in my queue for this blog, it finally dawned on me why I haven't finished so many of them. By the time I take a day or three to mull over the subject and try to find time to actually write something coherent, a whole 'nother outrage has been foisted upon this weary nation by the indefatigable Obama regime. And my previous topic is now passé.
"Obama as FDR" © Gateway Pundit
Here's the list of towering canards I've begun to write about, but haven't yet published. 

  1. U.S. Support for Israel 
  2. Net Neutrality
  3. Banning Bullets
  4. Prez Raises Taxes w/Pen 
  5. Income Inequality 
  6. Out of the Shadows
  7. 'Get Off Our High Horse'
  8. Our 'Broken' Immigration System
  9. The Press 'Speaking Truth to Power'
  10. Bipartisanship
  11. Obamacare
  12. The 'Just-Us' Department
  13. Etcetera...

I've long wondered about the quip that "nations get the governments they deserve." But the 2012 re-election of a failing President, largely enabled by Republican voters who trust Mormons less than Radical Socialist Thugs, has at last persuaded me that we asked for it. 

America has elected a man of low character—duplicitous, argumentative, arrogant, and without shame—to the highest office in the land. As a disciple of both the Cloward-Piven Strategy (named for two professors at Columbia University, from which BHO graduated), and Chicagoan Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals," this President aims to keep opponents off-balance. Thus does he unleash a new offense almost every week. The intent is to overwhelm America; her opposition party, the several states, their county and municipal governments—not to mention entire industries and The People—keeping us all in a perpetual state of flummox.
And yet America is a nation of laws, and not of men. So when a Canadian friend asked on Facebook why we're not impeaching Obama for his many un-constitutional over-reaches, it became obvious to me that America has been traumatized. The antithesis of George H.W. Bush's thousand points of light is Barack Hussein Obama's assault by a thousand cuts. The political act of impeachment is simply beyond our present capability. We are so busy fighting all the fires he has started, that the long, uphill slog to impeach would only take us away from preventing the whole edifice from burning.

The best we could do in the 2014 mid-term elections was take the U.S. Senate away from the Democrats and their corrupt leader Harry Reid. And less than two months into the new congress, feckless Republicans have given it back to them. 

But we-the-people must not give up. Next year we have an opportunity to elect a man to stand in the gap (yes, unless Carly Fiorina does a whole lot better than I expect, it will be a man). I have met Ben Carson, and I like him a lot. I have long been impressed with Scott Walker...and his fellow governor Bobby Jindal could be a good choice. Former Texas governor Rick Perry might be ready for primetime this time. Or not. I don't think Senators make particularly good Presidents, though I am a Ted Cruz fan. If Marco Rubio runs, he could end up as Veep. I admire Rand Paul, but he makes me nervous on foreign policy. In any event, absent a leader in the White House, our republic will continue its decline.

So let us pray God has mercy on America.