Personal Holiness VS. The Homosexual Agenda
By Rev. David W. Kime
In the last several months we have seen an explosion of news regarding the legalization of same-sex unions. These stories are the clear effort of the secular media to whittle away the natural definition of marriage. There is a powerful, anti-family agenda, which seems to be picking up steam and leaving in its wake a disfigured view of our human sexuality. This agenda seems to be inextricably moving toward the goal of normalizing homosexuality and same-sex unions. But how did we arrive at this point? If the nature of marriage is so evident from the truth of the male and female body – why are there so many people lobbying for the legalization of same-sex unions as a proof of both the fairness and the progress of our society? While the majority of Americans are innately certain that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman, it seems that we Christians are nevertheless losing the battle to defend the natural definition of marriage. How should we respond?
Our greatest problem in the debate regarding same-sex unions is that we don’t know how to enter the arena of dialogue. Our fatal error is that we are failing to make our presence felt in the debate. Simply stated - we are not showing up for the discussion! Because we don’t know how to debate the issue and we don’t want to be labeled as “insensitive” or “rigid,” we timidly avoid the issues and hope that it will simply sort itself out on its own. Please note: we are not losing the battle because we are being outsmarted; we are not losing the battle because we are wrong. We are losing the battle because we are not showing up for the debate and do not offer adequate answers to our society in order to convince others of the inferiority of same-sex unions and the impossibility of equating them with a real marriage.
I would like to forward the discussion by presenting three things that must change in the Christian community if we are going to present a positive and comprehensive response to the question of the legalization of same-sex unions. It is my hope that this article will help the Christian community to respond more effectively to this societal issue and that it will also encourage Christians to engage this issue without fear.
First, we must understand that secular society and the Christian communities are speaking two separate languages when it comes to the definition of marriage. For civil society marriage is seen as a contract, whereas the Christian sees marriage as a covenant. In a contract a person attempts to enter into an agreement with another party wherein both parties receive a mutually agreeable benefit. But if the parties concerned in the contract arrive at a point where the contract is no longer useful, it may be revoked by the consent of both parties. Civil society no longer sees marriage as a life-long commitment within a covenantal bond. The increased number of divorces exemplifies this change of vision. This accumulated number of “failed” contracts inherently changes the idea of marriage in the minds of the American people.
Since our society views marriage as merely a contract and the state has the right to regulate contracts; it therefore becomes “obvious” that the state should permit contracts between two persons of the same gender. When marriage is seen only through the lens of a contract, the possibility of preventing a contract between two persons - based solely upon sexual gender or sexual orientation - seems preposterous in connection with the American view of law and marriage.[i]
As Christians, however, we speak a different language. Marriage is not simply a contract. It is also a covenant. This covenant is binding for life and is made within the context of a belief in the Divine Person. The covenant of marriage is only possible when a man and a woman recognize that the covenant is established within their own bodies by the mutual exchange of the sexual act – an act which is open to new life in children. Because the same-sex couple is incapable of openness to life in their sexual acts, it can never be equal to marriage. A gay union is not a covenant and never can be. No matter what ridiculous laws the State may establish – the union of same-sex couples will always be inferior to that of a covenanted marriage. This is not because of hatred or bigotry or rigidity. It is the nature of our male and female bodies which are designed by God and which speak this language of life-long commitment and openness to children through an appropriately applied sexual act.
If we as Christians wish to enter more forcefully into the debate regarding same-sex unions, it is imperative that we Christians reclaim the language of covenant within marriage and that we clarify the vocabulary we use in this debate. We are not simply talking about contracts, but about covenants. It is also imperative that Christians live their married lives in such a way as to witness to this idea of covenant. We cannot effectively enter this debate until the Christian community discovers and lives the difference between a contractual and the covenantal marital union, which is established by the nature of the male and female body.
The second reason why we are losing the debate in the area of same-sex unions is the proliferation of the “contraceptive mentality.” Although the raw numbers about who is using contraception are difficult to gage and the reported number of users is not perfectly consistent, it is nevertheless certain that a majority of women of child-rearing age are using artificial contraception. The proliferation of artificial contraception has had devastating effects on our society. It has created a negative attitude toward children in general; it has made women victims of abuse through the sexual revolution and it has marginalized couples who authentically understand their human sexuality and children as a gift from God. The net effect of this is that we have definitively separated the sexual act from its procreative power. This change is unprecedented in history and has drastically deformed the beauty of our sexuality. Sex no longer has as its goals the unity and love of the couple as well as the gift of new life. Instead, the primary goal of sex is simply pleasure. The gift of new life as a goal of sex has been nearly universally replaced with the simple goal of - PLEASURE! Although pleasure is a gift of the sexual union, it is not its singular and ultimate goal. In our society there is a general attitude that the primary and singular goal of a sexual encounter is pleasure. And herein is the problem: If the goal of sex is simply pleasure – then what is the difference between a homosexual sexual act and a heterosexual sexual act? They both have pleasure as their ultimate end. If the psyche of our society no longer sees new life as a goal of sex – then there is effectively no difference between what a heterosexual and a homosexual couple is doing in their sexual union. Because of the proliferation of artificial contraception among heterosexual couples, the procreative goal of sex has been lost. Once the connection between new life and the sexual act is lost, lost too is the distinction between heterosexual and homosexual acts.
If we want to wage an effective campaign to promote the dignity of a true sexuality, then heterosexual couples must STOP using artificial contraceptives. Christian married couples must rediscover the intimate and intrinsic link between their marital, sexual act and openness to children. We must re-instill in the psyche of the American people the true goals of marriage and the sexual act. This intimate expression of our sexuality should not be reduced to pleasure because it would then become nothing more than a form of selfishness and individual gratification. If we do not practice - within the Christian community the dignity of the sexual act and its natural movement towards new life – than we will never be able to convince the world that homosexual acts are disordered and a grave offence against the dignity of both the human person and the beauty of our sexuality.
The final reason I would like to present as to why we are losing the battle to protect marriage as an institution between one man and one woman is because the Christian community is not living an authentic witness to the discipline of chastity and the joy that comes from a life of purity.
As a priest I have celebrated around two hundred weddings. The sad reality is that about 90% of these couples were living together before they were married. I understand that this is only anecdotal information, but it points to a larger problem within the Christian community: Christians are no longer living the beauty of sexual purity before marriage. Although there are many, many negative effects caused by this sad reality, one of these effects is the paralysis that it causes within the Christian community. We are no longer free to talk about the importance of purity to persons with same-sex attraction since we do not even talk about purity to the heterosexual person. If we tell persons with same-sex attraction that they may not engage in sexual experiences with a person whom they “love” – we are setting a double standard. Many Christians in the Church in America do not expect heterosexual couples to refrain from sex before marriage; therefore they can’t expect anyone else to refrain either. Many Christians are saying things like, “It is impossible for you to not have sex before marriage in today’s world.” Or “No one could ever be expected to make that commitment in the times we live.” If we have arrived at the point where we give tacit approval to impurity outside of marriage for heterosexual couples – than how can we place even stricter demands upon persons with same-sex attractions? Many people respond to this dilemma by admitting defeat. They say, “Well, no one can really live purity, so we should allow gay marriage.”
This manner of responding is the exact opposite response than what is needed. Rather than admit defeat and surrender to the culture of promiscuity, the Christian must defend the virtue of purity by personal example. Although the battle for purity may be difficult, it is an affirmation of true love. If we are going to help persons with same-sex attraction to live according to their real dignity, we must show them the joyful effects of living that purity. We cannot succumb to the lies and tyranny of our culture, which suppresses our human freedom and proclaims unmitigated defeat when confronted with temptations against purity. Undoubtedly, we must ask Our Lord and his Mother Mary for grace to battle courageously in this area. It will mean frequent use of the Sacrament of Confession in moments of weakness and regular strengthening of our will through reception of Holy Communion. But – purity is possible and always brings with it a sense of peace and joy.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, together we can defend and promote a true image of Matrimony. Together we can become the voice of Christ calling out in the silence. Together we will triumph with Christ and promote a true and viable image of marriage if only we are faithful to the dignity that is ours – a dignity given to us by the Father at the moment of creation and imbued with divine grace through the gift of Jesus at our Baptism.
[i] The premise here is actually incorrect because the state already limits marriage in many ways. For example the state does not allow marriage to persons with direct bloodline – as for a marriage between a grandchild and a grandmother. Nor does the state allow marriage to persons who have not reached the age of majority. The state, in fact, does have the right to limit marriage to only between one man and one woman because it already limits the contract of marriage in many other ways.