Sunday 13 April 2014

The Gay Identity

I really don't want to write another post about homosexuality.  It is not a topic that interests me greatly.

However, it does seem to be at the forefront of the attack on Christianity at the moment, so it has to be addressed.

Today saw the first 'marriage' of a 'gay' C of E vicar to his partner.Mark Lambert has posted an interesting reflection on that here.

I want to step back from the immediacy of this, and reflect on the muddled thinking that underpins this whole movement.

The argument for 'gay marriage' was probably finally won the day someone coined the slogan Equal Marriage.

Who could vote against equality? Certainly several Catholic MPs felt that they couldn't.

And that is because of the conflation of a tendency to same sex attraction, with the notion of 'being gay'.

Same sex attraction is clearly a natural phenomenon (albeit only because we live in a Fallen World).  We do not know its genesis as the Catechism makes clear; it may be something people are born with, or it may be environmental, or (most probably) a mix of the two.  Likewise, for some it may be a temporary phase, but for others it may be deep-seated and unchangeable.

Whilst same sex attraction is clearly disordered (that is, not ordered to the proper meaning and functioning of human sexuality) it is also not sinful.  Indeed, many who suffer from it struggle heroically and are only to be admired.

It is also worth noting two further points. One is that homosexual temptations seem to be as old as recorded history.  The other is that they are by no means unique.  We are all damaged by the Fall, and this damage includes disordered sexual desires for many, if not all, of us.

However, the gay identity is something quite different.  This is a modern construct; a modern fiction, in fact.

The 'gay identity' makes several leaps of assumption that slip under the radar, not least because nobody wants to be unkind, still less homophobic.

Some of these assumptions are:

1 It is meaningful to adopt an identity based on one characteristic (sexual attraction)

2 Someone who experiences only (or predominantly) same sex attraction is 'gay.'
2a Some people are born gay;
2b Because some people are born gay, it must be normal;
2c Because it is normal it must be morally acceptable.

3 Consensual sexual behaviour is morally acceptable.

4 Sexual behaviour is only the concern of those engaged in it, with no consequences for others.

5 Because of 1, 2, 3, 4 above anyone who thinks differently about this topic is irrational.  Their different thinking is the result either of ignorance or bigotry.

6 Because of centuries of such bigotry, it is important to obtain societal blessing for same sex relationships, to help with the eradication of bigotry.

I don't think it is necessary to say much more, except that none of the assumptions from 1 - 6 are self-evident, and none are above dispute, to say the least. Clearly, orthodox Christians (and many others from other religions, or many who have a sense of history, philosophy or intellectual rigour) do not accept these assumptions.

But if one believes the whole package, then one can only conclude, as the vicar who thinks he has got married today must have concluded, that traditional Christianity is quite wrong about this, and must either be changed or vanquished.

The challenge we face is to discover how to teach the life affirming, love-affirming truths of Christ's Gospel, with clarity and charity, in a society that has largely bought the myth of the Gay Identity.

This path is fraught with difficulty: not least because the notion of love has also been corrupted.  But it is the path we must tread, not least out of love for all those who self-identify as gay. If, as we believe, they are on a path that will lead not to happiness, but to hurt and harm, and ultimately may risk their perdition, we cannot stand idly by.

But I foresee that we will be attacked; for the intelligence behind this lie is the author of all lies. 

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, 
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. 
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: 
tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, 
Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, 
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, 
divina virtute, in infernum detrude. 

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