Monday, February 25, 2013

Should Homosexuals Marry People of the Opposite Sex? PART TWO

As I noted in PART ONE of this series, this issue is especially important to me. As I near my 30's and all my siblings and friends are married with children (hopefully not like the show), I am well aware that I'm going to have to make a decisions about this pretty soon. What I really want to do in this part of the series is get down to the question itself, though, both from a natural law and a personal perspective. That is, whether a homosexual person should consider marrying a person of the opposite sex.

The first thing I think people should realize is that this question is basically impossible to address today. The way the modern world views sexuality and marriage is so different from the way natural law views it that without a proper background, any attempt to really tackle the question is pointless. I'd like to discuss, at least for a moment, why I think this is. Most people, I think, view marriage as really, really special. Natural law does the same thing. But the modern world views it as special in a different sort of way. The modern world says that marriage represents a sort of emotional completeness, where a person can finally feel happy, no longer longing (longest?) for someone else sexually. I think many people, in fact, think that this sort of emotional happiness is the purpose of marriage. They will even go so far as to say that a marriage that isn't founded on this emotional completeness (also known as "love") is not really a marriage at all. Conversely, they will say that anything that has love transforms that relationship into a marriage (despite it having nothing to do with marriage in a metaphysical sense at all). Such people would no doubt (and do) advise others to end marriages when the spouses no longer have feelings for one another.

This is the reason, I think, divorce is so popular, as people come to realize that love, or at least that feeling of it, fades. I think it's also the reason why people rear back in horror when they hear about a homosexual marrying someone of the opposite sex. "IT'S A LIE!" they'll say. Truth being that "special" emotional connection between the two people. If the feeling of love is not there, in other words, it's not really a marriage. "But do you love him?" girls will ask one another when deciding whether marriage is the proper course. "But I love her," the justification for any unseasonable behavior of many men. Put simply, love, the special feeling of emotional completeness, is seen, by the modern world (secular or religious), as the end, or purpose, of human sexuality. And it's become a pretty popular standard. It's all anyone does or talks about. It comes to completely take over most people's lives. I'd even go as far as to say that it is the point of most people's lives.

I think there are interesting philosophical reasons why this is the case. Namely, I think as the world came to accept a huge split between mind (or maybe even soul in the spiritual sense) and body, we began to associate "love" (that special thing) with the mind, and everything else (often including sex) with the body. As the mind, something that appears to be eternal, to exist beyond the material world, is superior, we began to associate that special feeling with the superior thing. You can have sex with lots of people, sure, but if you don't love them it doesn't really matter. This, incidentally, has had a huge effect on how people view the actual sexual act in general. Anyone I know who is a least a little thoughtful will come to view sex as a dirty little physical need. It's also had an effect on how people view marriage, which has become sort of livingtogether+, without any real guiding principles or idea what the + might mean---especially when the couple has decided "not to have any kids." I don't mean to imply, necessarily, that a modern philosophical movement changed the way we universally view human sexuality; I just think it had a lot to do with how we even begin the discussion---a discussion which necessarily starts with the love > all premise.

Natural law says something, perhaps radically, different here. Natural law sees those inextinguishable sex drives as pointed at an end, intercourse, which is pointed at a higher end, family. And natural law sees romantic love as merely a part of that puzzle, something pointed as well at a higher end, not an end in itself. It says, in other words, that romantic love helps us to come together and to stay together and raise the children that we necessarily create because of our sexuality. As such, natural law sees romantic love as special in the sense that it is so important to our flourishing as the things we are, but not special in the sense that it is outside of what we are as human beings, like a transcendent sort of magic. Christianity (and Catholicism specifically) will tend to add more layers to this, of course, saying that marriage represents Christ's relationship with the Church, a sacrament to some. I think viewing it this way has had some interesting, and probably unintended, side effects. Namely, as marriage became merely "an expression of love," romantic love (not marriage) was elevated to the level of divine sacrament. The Christian tradition served to justify (even if not intentionally) the weird split between mind and body.

At its worst, romantic love taking center stage has perverted the entire marriage institution, separating it from the physical actors in question. But natural law says that marriage is a natural institution, necessarily related to the people (and their bodies) doing the loving. As people are driven together sexually (like any other appetite), they necessarily create children. As those people create children, they come together to protect, raise, and teach those children, which requires patience, fortitude, and love (and not just the feeling)---both between the spouses and for the children. In other words, natural law says that marriage is the natural end of human sexuality. And this seems sort of obviously correct. As it is good for lions to live in prides, it is good for humans to have marriages and family. Even people who resent the conclusions of natural law at least agree with this on some level. In fact, they are often the biggest proponents of "family," merely extending (or perverting) the definition of family, pulling it from its metaphysical roots, but keeping the underlying principle.

Why am I going into all this? Well, one, I think it's important to establish a good starting place, clearing away a lot of unnecessary modern baggage. But two, I want to make it clear that there is nothing necessarily in natural law that forbids a homosexual from marrying someone of the opposite sex assuming he or she were able to have sex with the spouse. Natural law does not say that we pervert our faculties by having sex with people we aren't necessarily especially attracted to. Natural law merely says that when we use our faculties (in this case, our sexual organs), we use them in line with their nature. In this sort of analysis, it is best to see homosexuality as a simple kind of psychological defect, wherein the particular homosexual is less able to use his body in a way that is aligned with its nature. Assuming that sex is necessarily heterosexual (as I have argued elsewhere), homosexuality is akin to something like psychological impotence. As such, a homosexual who does choose to marry and have sexual intercourse with his spouse (assuming he would be able to) would not be perverting the natural end of human sexuality; instead, such a person would be acting perfectly line with his metaphysical nature. Such a thing would be something like a person with a disability attempting to overcome that disability and use his body as it naturally should be used (say, like a person with an eating disorder forcing himself to eat, even if he absolutely had no appetite for it, or a person with a clubbed foot forcing himself to walk).

But this, of course, is not the end of the analysis. This sort of thing just represents the bare minimum for moral behavior. Even taking homosexuality as a disability, it is sometimes very imprudent to try to overcome a disability where such an attempt will unnecessarily harm the actor. For example, assuming someone had a digestive disorder, it would be incredibly imprudent to force food down that person's throat, even if eating by chewing and swallowing, etc., are perfectly in line with natural law. Homosexuality is a bit different in that it feels less physical (although the disability in question is just a physical disability of the brain (most likely)), but the principle still holds. If a person had an irrational fear of something (based on a strange brain disorder), it would clearly be imprudent for that person to live his life in a way that unnecessarily made him come in contact with that fear (assuming that fear just cannot be overcome without some medical procedure or serious medication). And in many cases, the homosexual may be harmed, in various ways, by marrying someone of the opposite sex. If such a decision would lead to depression or emotional illness, he should clearly not do it, even if the actual act itself does not directly violate the natural law.

Furthermore, marriage is necessarily related to another person. It takes two to tango and all that. As such, a gay man, even if it is morally licit for him to have sexual intercourse with a woman, may be harming that woman in a different way. Women, I have found, have much more trouble viewing marriage as disconnected, in any way, from romantic emotions. I have gotten in arguments with women, on a number of occasions  in which they say something like a man has to "find them attractive" and "love them," or else the sex would be bad (as in morally) in some way. They are much more likely to say things like their lover is "emotionally cheating" on them. I don't say this to denigrate women; I think the underlying reason women do this is good, a virtue, something that allows (when used properly) the family unit to grow. I mention it only to note that a gay man would have a lot of trouble convincing a woman that he has special romantic feelings for her. While he may love her (in the sense of willing the good for her), it is questionable whether she would feel the things she longs for. This may, over time, come to harm the spouses and the marriage. (I think this, at least in part, is why lesbians marrying men is more acceptable and more common. A lesbian, as a woman, can feel more comfortable with her husband finding her ravishing and emotionally loving her, even if she doesn't necessarily find him all that attractive and isn't really aroused by him. But if a man, straight or gay, does not find the person attractive, he has a lot of trouble devoting himself to that person, especially since he is the one who has to be aroused, at least on some level, and give his seed---a necessary part of what sex is to a man. There are other reasons why lesbian-straight marriages are more acceptable than gay-straight marriages, but that's not really the point of this post.)

So what are we supposed to do with all of this? Honestly, I don't know. While it's true that a homosexual marrying a person of the opposite sex is morally permissible, at least on its most basic level, it is incredibly dangerous and perhaps even immoral in that it is so imprudent. (There was this Philippa Foot quote I like that went something like this: "Prudence is a virtue, you know; it's a very modern thing to try to separate the virtuous from the moral" or something like that, but I can't find it anywhere.). But, if a person were able to have sex with his or her spouse (and not just like once every couple years or something), and if the non-homosexual spouse were fully aware of what this might mean, it could be advisable. Of course, this will depend almost entirely on a person's particular circumstances. For some gay people, this is probably a completely legitimate and good option. I've mentioned Josh Weed. For others, it's disastrous. I have read it being disastrous for more people, honestly. But when I read those stories, there is always something wrong about how they approached it, something that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with sexuality: normally the gay spouse (usually the man) never tells the woman that he is gay, for example. This doesn't really provide much guidance for gay people who are interested in marriage. How do they know whether they are lucky, or if they're setting themselves up for horrible, horrible failure? How would they know without trying it first? 

For me, I have no idea. Sometimes I see women that I would consider marrying. But then I think of what our lives would be like in 20 years, and I get genuinely terrified. But is this just because I'm a normal person? Or because I'm gay? And how do you even bring that up? "Hey, I know you were hoping for Mr. Wonderful to come sweep you off your feet, hoping for someone who can't live without you, who will make your toes tingle when he whispers sweet nothings into your ear, but you get me, someone who only finds you intellectually attractive at best. Let's get married." I would have no trouble having sex with a woman (I don't think...of course, I don't know), and I think I would make an excellent father, but I still have a lot, a lot of trouble getting behind the idea. To be honest, though, sometimes I'm not sure if it seems like a bad idea because of the world today, or if it actually is a bad idea. Beyond all other issues in my life, I am the least certain about this one in particular. It's difficult distinguishing where the modern bias ends and common sense begins. People married one another all the time in the past, and very few people were concerned with whether one of the spouses were a homosexual. And I don't think all the gay people (and there were no doubt many) cheated all the time; I think they just said to themselves, "well, this is marriage, and this is just part of life." People today are no doubt offended by such propositions, but understood with the underlying moral background, it makes perfect sense. Love, as a feeling, while wonderful and good, was merely part of a greater good. And even if the members in a marriage did not have those feelings, whether they lost them or never felt them in the first place, they were still part of that greater good. That said, maybe it would have been better if such people did have a valid outlet outside of marriage to seek goodness.

It is a difficult issue, and I apologize for not having a better answer to the question. But I will say, for the people who are worried (as I sometimes am), you commit no wrong by entertaining the idea. Sex is a good. And marriage is necessarily an even greater good. And while you may not be able to even imagine a future without the possibility of at least one of those things, remember that they are not necessarily for everyone. Furthermore, I will add this. And I mentioned this in my post on quitting masturbation. If men, gay, straight, or otherwise, did not have continuous access to pornography and masturbation, they would marry much more often. Masturbation provides a false and very perverse end to one of our greatest goods, and people, through continued use, become unaware of what it is pornography and masturbation are really replacing: sex, marriage, family, goodness itself. (This, of course, would be a bare minimum to a mixed-orientation marriage; the male spouse especially should not be homosexually sexually active (either with himself through pornography or masturbation or others) for a significant period of time. If you are gay and are still masturbating but are considering marrying someone of the opposite sex, don't even think about it until you get the rest of your life in order. (This is actually good advice for straight people too, but yeah.)) I, for example, have considered marriage much more likely ever since I quit my terrible habits. Does this mean I will marry someone in the future? I have no idea. I do know, though, that if I were to marry, I would be much more able to be a man, both in the masculine sense of the word, and in the man and wife sense of the word.

22 comments:

  1. For me, I have no idea. Sometimes I see women that I would consider marrying. But then I think of what our lives would be like in 20 years, and I get genuinely terrified. But is this just because I'm a normal person? Or because I'm gay? And how do you even bring that up? "Hey, I know you were hoping for Mr. Wonderful to come sweep you off your feet, hoping for someone who can't live without you, who will make your toes tingle when he whispers sweet nothings into your ear, but you get me, someone who only finds you intellectually attractive at best. Let's get married."

    Well, as you point out wonderfully - part of the problem is that straight people have a bizarre view of marriage at this point too. The 'soul-mate' or 'being madly in love FOREVER' aspect is one that strikes me as particularly harmful. I imagine harm could also possibly come in another direction (marrying someone you are entirely apathetic about), but still, it's worrying.

    I agree with you that it's a complex topic, but you're giving some interesting insight into it. I remember reading a newspaper comic strip that actually got into this somewhat - 9 Chickweed Lane (which is usually atrocious because of how the characters talk.) The plot was that this large/handsome/muscular but gay ballet dancer male found himself madly attracted to a female ballet dancer, entirely because he thought she was an extremely great dancer and her skill functioned as a turn-on for him.

    The plot itself was interesting, though I won't comment on the realism of it. (Is it possible to be so intellectually attracted to someone that sexual attraction kicks in?)

    I also really wonder about the 'love' part of a relationship - mostly, what it's supposed to mean, how it should manifest, and if it could legitimately be considered something that should be striven for and worked at as opposed to something you either just feel or just don't.

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    1. I think you bring up a really interesting issue, and I Sort of tried to address it in this post, but it needs a fuller treatment probably. That is, let's say that the modern world is absolutely messed up when it comes to how it views love and sexuality. I think it is, and I think there are a lot of things you could point out that show that it is objectively disordered. But let's assume for argument's sake that the modern world is wrong.

      Okay. But what does that mean about how we live our lives being part of the modern world? When we date and marry people, those people are often (usually) part of the modern world. So when we don't give them what they expect (and this is assuming that what they expect is wrong and disordered), they will feel incredible pain. While they may be objectively wrong, their pain is still quite real. And even while it may be their own faults that they're in the situations they're in (and in many cases it's actually not their fault, as the world just hammers this stuff in), their pain is still real. As such you can't really go into a relationship, cause the person harm by not giving them what they shouldn't even be seeking in the first place, and then tell them, "well, that's not what real love is anyway, so just get over it!" That relationship will just not work, even if you're Right about what love is or what it's supposed to be. You have to treat people as they are, not as they should be.

      It's a really tricky dilemma, and I think people deal with it All the time. People are often unwilling to step back and reevaluate Love itself instead of the particular relationship they are in (because that is way, way too disorienting), but I think it's often the underlying issue.

      I think the solution to the love thing is to view love less like a feeling and more like an action. I think it's obviously impossible to separate the two completely (you have to feel Something as you choose what to do), but I think any attempt to chase a feeling of love (that is, immeasurable happiness/euphoria---and I know it well) will Inevitably lead to failure. For one thing, feelings just Don't last. I've never seen any couple in the history of time ever who Always had loving feelings for one another. That's just not how people work. And for another thing, it's an unrealistic goal. Chasing happiness (in the sense of warm, content feelings) always leads to sadness.

      Now, can a modern relationship be based on something that doesn't at least start with Both parties feeling Some of those euphoric loving feelings? I have no idea. I do know that most successful relationships I do see have a lot more to due with the virtue of the people involved (fortitude especially) than it has to do with loving feelings. I also know (despite what people might say) that those loving feelings are not a Requirement or even a prerequisite to it being a good and true marriage. Whether you can pull it off is a different question entirely.

      Point is, if there are any hot single ladies out there who are interested in a tall, dark, and handsome young man (who just so Happens to be gay), shoot me an e-mail. ; )

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  2. I found this post really beautiful, in a tragic way. Great stuff.

    Arranged marriages are a good example of how the ancient view of love impacted society. Modern people (at least in westernized countries) find few things as disgusting as this practice, but it had a long tradition in every corner of the world. The core of marriage is the deep, unique friendship between the husband and wife, and this friendship is something that can be learned with practice. Arranged marriages were built on the idea that men and women can learn to love each other in this sense. I think that in itself is extremely romantic, in an odd way.

    Obviously, arranged marriages can end in abuse--just like marriages based solely on emotion--, but that doesn't say anything about the idea of love that they were built on. Every husband and wife should focus most of their attention on building that deep friendship. Properly, the special emotions will flow out of this connection, even though that isn't always the case. It's likely that things work differently for homosexuals, but I have no idea.

    In any case, keep up the amazing work, Joe.

    (Somewhat ironically, one of the CAPTCHA codes offered to me for this post included the sequence "LGB".)

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    1. I often imagine what arranged marriages were like for homosexuals in the past. I have no idea how we could ever figure out what it was like for them. I genuinely doubt they were viewed with the horror with which we'd view it today. I'm really very interested in the history of arranged marriage, if anyone out there has some books they can recommend. I sometimes wonder if it would be better for someone like me who is open to the idea of marriage but who doesn't know exactly how to go about it/if he should go about it, etc.

      But yes, the modern mind basically equates arranged marriage with slavery. And it really is impossible to convince such a person that that position is unjustified. It's impossible to separate marriage from a vague romantic ideal. It's actually sort of interesting; the more materialist society gets, the more it emphasizes hazy things like "love."

      And it probably sounds like I think marriage should be some chore. I don't, obviously; marriage is wonderful. I just don't think you can answer any questions about marriage until you really figure out what marriage really is. And no one, as far as I've seen, Really wants to figure that out. And it's even wilder in a sort of post-religious West, where people have marriages in churches for religions they don't even believe in anymore.

      Also LGB! The LGBT movement is sneaking itself in! They're on to me! In fact, someone searching "gay hate beatus homo" or something like that was directed to this blog. (Also "parts of lion" got someone here and, perhaps most confusing, two people were directed here by searching "stupide black power." I really am genuinely confused by that one.)

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    2. I was trying to pull this blog up on my ipad, since I wasn't sure if it was blogspot, wordpress or what. So I googled for 'beatushomo joe k'.

      "Did you mean best homo jokes?"

      Google's not a fan of latin, I suppose.

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    3. Well...? What did you find? What are the best homo jokes!

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    4. Ha. :) I didn't bother looking.

      I do hope the blog gets more attention. Really, if you thought you had enough material to be consistent about it over time (would probably involve covering the news) I'd almost say you should check into Patheos.

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    5. Thanks, Crude, I really appreciate it. Even if I don't get a lot of readers, this process has been really therapeutic.

      But a quick question; what do you mean by this: "check into Patheos." Like, join it? I'm not totally sure how Patheos works. I've read Leah Libresco's blog as well as Bad Catholic a few times, but I'm not sure how the whole website works or how one goes about getting a blog on there; do you just sign up?

      I don't know if I want to make a career out of this or anything, but I wouldn't mind more exposure. If you have any info, toss it my way.

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    6. Well, I know that Patheos hosts a variety of bloggers all across the spectrum. I know Patheos isn't a place where you go 'Oh, hey, I'd like to join, where do I sign up?' - but I assume there's some way to get yourself noticed by them. I also assume what they look for is regular output (you've been going steady on this for a while), a unique perspective (you have this in spades), a good method of communication (you have this as well), etc.

      I suppose the best thing to do is comment, and make sure people know of your views and your site. I also suppose, be prepared in case you do get known - I think if your writings got wider circulation, it would short-circuit some people. Here's hoping, though.

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    7. Thanks, I'll look into it. I keep thinking of funny ways to interject myself into comments. A post on Buddhism and Economics?: "Well, these are some great points, guys, but a deeper understanding of my recent post on homosexual adoption is absolutely necessary to move forward with the discussion here." Ha, no, but I'll see what's up.

      And yes, getting popular might be a little much. This is not an issue people take lightly. This concern had a lot to do with starting the blog in general.

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    8. Well, luckily the gay marriage issue comes up a tremendous amount, so it's not like you'll lack opportunities to discuss things - and your perspective allows you to go beyond gay topics anyway. It's not like your writing isn't worth reading when you talk generally about natural law, etc.

      Even better, I think you occupy a unique position that allows you to bring up your topic on sympathetic sites and not be preaching to the choir. The more socially conservative and traditionalist need to understand the difference between Act-Up and LGBT organizations, and "gay people". (This one took me a while to personally learn, and once I realized what was going on I felt like I was the victim of a con game, and I still feel like most are victims of a con game to a degree.) I think some socially liberal people may benefit from interacting with a gay man who views things the way you do, even if some of the reactions are going to be obviously negative.

      I know nothing about how to operate in a way to attract attention, but if I were to suggest I'd say - Catholic blog sites would be good to pop in on now and then, give some input when appropriate, and mention your blog. Libresco's place, Shea's place (even though he's a bit nutty), Feser's of course. I guess my advice would be, if you want to be known, make an effort to check out sites where Christians/Catholics* tend to discuss such matters, give your input as you normally would.

      (*I think more than C/Cs would benefit from reading your take on things, but at the very least you'd be speaking something close to their language early in - and there are liberal C/Cs who particularly need to read what you're writing, if only to make them appreciate the issue's complexities more.)

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    9. Yes, I was just being silly. But in a certain way I wasn't. That is (and another gay celibate Catholic fellow mentioned this on his blog: www.stevegershom.com), while it's true that I have an advantage in showing people an alternative, I also have the disadvantage in looking too invested in the issue.

      That is, a lot of people will say, "Oh, you Poor Self-Hating Homosexual; you don't need to hide behind all of this!" Of course, with this issue, everyone seems a little too invested. "You bigoted heterosexual, it doesn't matter if it grosses you out!" or whatever. The most frustrating part about any exposure, of course, is that you have to take about 100 steps back to even begin discussing sexuality morality, and most people aren't willing to take even 1.

      But I think you are right. People do at least recognize the nuances of the issue when someone says, "Hey, wait, I'm not any of those things you think that I am." It's just always a hard balance. Whenever I am discussing sex in person with friends, for example, I really want to bring my situation up, but I don't. I don't want to bring up something so important just to score some points in an argument.

      But I am interested in what you said about the con game. Why do you think it is that you felt there was no difference? I mean, why do you think people only view it as gay=Out and Proud (or whatever)? Surely it has a lot to do with the fact that Most gay people Are homosexually active (at least secretly so), but do you think there's something else going on there? That is, who and what cons people?

      I don't think you've ever said your age, Crude, and you don't have to or anything, but do you think younger Catholics (or at least conservatives) view this issue differently? I mean, I know the modern world as a whole sees homosexuality as more and more a-okay every day, but I think there's a sort of movement among young conservatives who want to appreciate the gay person himself without abandoning the underlying argument. This seems like a much bigger deal for younger conservatives than it does for older conservatives. I think there might actually be a lot of tension here.

      This is just personal experience, though, so I really don't know. I do agree, though; I do think someone in my position (not necessarily me) would present an alternative that conservatives can appreciate and at least some sort of frustration to the more liberal crowd who never wants to see nuance in anything. I'll see what I can do.

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    10. The most frustrating part about any exposure, of course, is that you have to take about 100 steps back to even begin discussing sexuality morality, and most people aren't willing to take even 1.

      Absolutely. I understand what you mean about the disadvantage. I think it's at the point where, for some people, it doesn't even matter if you're Catholic. I recall hitting a philosopher's blog where he was arguing that the very suggestion that same-sex sexual behavior may be immoral or wrong to engage in should not be tolerated (!!) among philosophers. To ask the question was to be a hateful bigot, to entertain the question was to encourage hate. And I think the saddest thing (aside from this being a philosopher who was advocating it) was that part of his reasoning for it was because someone in some philosophy group was demanding an argument for the morality of same-sex sexual behavior - and, while most of the philosophers agreed it was moral, most couldn't articulate why to their satisfaction.

      I know, anecdote, isolated case. But to me that was stunning. Here was a philosopher, and it hit a point for him where the question was being treated with a Anscombe-style verboten attitude that used to be reserved for things like cannibalism or infanticide. And both of those are subjects where you can get intellectuals giving you time to make your case now.

      On the other hand, I think many people can still be reasoned with, particularly in anonymous contexts. A lot of people, I think, just sort of go with the flow on these things. That's one of the tradeoffs for refusing to think deeply about these issues - the commitment ends up being kind of skin deep for most.

      But I am interested in what you said about the con game. Why do you think it is that you felt there was no difference? I mean, why do you think people only view it as gay=Out and Proud (or whatever)? Surely it has a lot to do with the fact that Most gay people Are homosexually active (at least secretly so), but do you think there's something else going on there? That is, who and what cons people?

      I'll answer this question in a followup. Busy tonight, and I want to put this coherently.

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    11. When I talk about a con game, I'm talking about a lot of things. Some of them I feel are conscious decisions, some of them less conscious decisions and more cultural forces. But the central con is "getting everyone to think of any given gay person, or person with same-sex attraction, as an inevitably devoted foot soldier in left-wing LGBT politics". To the point where people - left and right wing and points in between - make that association. "The opinion of the major LGBT group(s) is the opinion of any gay man (for example) or vice versa. If there is deviation, it is not in goal, but in method. There is no reasoning with them as individuals. This is utterly central to their being."

      I think LGBT groups encourage that mental association for obvious reasons: they need commitment, they need numbers, and they need emotional investment. I think there's a very strong push not only on individuals to think of themselves such that 'If I'm gay, then I'm LGBT, and I'm a devotee of this group', but on everyone else to think of gays in that way. You can see it even in those movies you've talked about, I think - the fictional gay person is presented as either not on board with the whole lifestyle and bandwagon (and therefore repressed or screwed up and in need of help or in an unstable state because it's not rational to think what they do), or they are (and they are Correct and this is Right.) It's the same in other fiction - if there's any mental friction for a gay person, it's almost always in 'admitting/accepting they are gay'. What happens once someone admits/accepts they are gay is practically scripted - now they support gay marriage and so on and so on.

      And I think many socons get conned on this unintentionally. They see these associations, they accept them, and now 'gay person' == 'LGBT person' == 'this person with these political views, which they have essentially and their minds will not change'. Which LGBT groups just love, because that means socons will rant about 'the gays' and sound like they're singling out every person who's attracted to someone of the same sex, instead of targeting LGBT groups - and if you target people like that, well, good job because now you're very easily seen as a bully. The very idea that gays may be victims of these groups in a sense - that there is some emotional manipulation going on, some harming of their perspective - just doesn't register. So now Every Gay is One Of Them, which suits the LGBT groups just fine. Better gays have nowhere else to go, right?

      So I think it goes beyond merely being sexually active. I think there's this package being pushed heavily, this mental association about gays that socons often unwittingly buy into, and it's a status quo I'd like to see broken. I can understand if, say.. 95% or whatever of gays are (homo)sexually active, and regarding that as a poor situation. But (and conservatives seem to generally be poor at realizing this) that doesn't mean you can't make an argument, that you can't reach out specifically to those people and try to persuade them.

      Hopefully I've made myself a little clearer here. Feel free to ask more questions.

      As for me - I'm 35. I'm not totally in tune with Catholics my age, however, so I'm not the best person to ask there. I'd like there to be such a tension, though I haven't seen anyone approaching it in a way I think will actually work best. OTOH, I'm freaking combatative, so I may not be the best judge there.

      Do you have any examples of 'good approaches' you've seen?

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    12. If I had to guess, this is one of the main things that keeps (or at least has kept) a lot of gay people from "coming out," or whatever. That is, a lot of gay people (at least when they are younger) don't feel like necessarily becoming part of the LGBT political movement when they discover that they are attracted to people of the same sex. I don't think Any young person is born wanting to be a part of that movement, really. It just sort of, as you pointed out, happens, as such a person doesn't really have an alternative. Being gay just Means being "LGBT" today.

      Which is kind of the point of this blog. I want to provide at least some alternative, even if a difficult one. And not just because I think homosexual activity happens to be immoral (and hope that people do it less), but because I think the whole LGBT thing is even worse. I understand sexual attraction being a struggle. It's hard for anyone to fight sexual urges, so I understand and empathize completely with someone wanting to fulfill those desires. But LGBT stuff is different. You have to become so philosophically shallow and singleminded to endorse all that goes along with the LGBT movement. You have to pervert a lot more than just your body to really endorse all of it.

      I think, as you imply, this is sort of the fault of both sides. Conservatives think gay must mean LGBT, which just reinforces what gays think about themselves, even though they know, deep down, that being gay doesn't really necessarily mean they have to support gay marriage and unconditional "equality" to the point of absurdity. They know they don't have to be political cliches; it's just easier. And the movement is so strong. What are you going to do, oppose it? The best you can do if you don't like the movement is just ignore it. Even that's risky, though. There's a very "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR EQUALITY TODAY" sort of thing going on most of the time.

      As such, in finding a "good approach" I think the biggest obstacle is actually the whole LGBT movement. In a lot of ways it's easier to change whether you're having sex or not than it is to change the way you think about society, morality, etc. And if your justification for why your particular mode of sex is good is so tied in with that worldview, it's a pointless struggle. You're not going to convince someone that "good" has a much more complex meaning than they've come to accept for the majority of their lives.

      I do think, though, that there are a lot of just average gay folks who don't know which way to go. I think they eventually fall into the LGBT movement (and everything that goes along with it) by necessity. But if you could reach them and teach them some decent fundamentals before they get to the point where they assume that the status quo is correct, you might have a chance of changing some things; at the very least, you may be able to get them to distance themselves from the LGBT movement.

      Ultimately I do think that sexuality and social movements are very different things. I think, for example, that there are a number of stoic, virtuous homosexuals who can't stand the whole LGBT thing. We of course wouldn't agree on everything (particularly whether one should have sex with people of the same sex), but I'd have a lot more in common with them than I would with the traditional LGBT soldier.

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    13. I can remember, even as a child, being confused as to why homosexuals necessarily Had to support pro-gay candidates. I remember thinking, "Wait, isn't this a little self serving? Why are these people just Assuming that they're right just because they happen to be part of the relevant group?" I Still wonder this. Obviously whether something is good or right is separate from what a group that stands to benefit from it being right says. And we usually follow this standard in other things. But not with gays. If a person is gay, he just Has to feel like everything pro-gay must Necessarily be correct. I mean, at some point, you have to step back and say, "Well, it is sure is convenient that what I want is good!"

      It's even more confusing when certain political parties sort of attach themselves to LGBT stuff, in which case it gets to the point where being gay means being a Democrat or a socialist or something (I am obviously not saying Democrats are socialists; calm down). I mean, think about that for a second. Because you're a man who happens to find naked men attractive, you must necessarily support more welfare. I know there are philosophical connections between the two things (at least in some way), but I doubt seriously that the average gay guy thinks them all the way through. He just joins the party he was destined to join.

      Maybe this should turn into a post.

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    14. Yeah, agreed on all points, particularly the possibility of turning this into a post.

      I was actually surprised to see France (of all places) where there were gays speaking out against gay marriage. I mean, the fact that France pulled what seems like a million-strong march against gay marriage itself caught me out of left field. But the fact that there were some gays there out and out saying that it was a mistake to have gay marriage, that marriage was for a man and a woman and centered around having children, was just boggling to me. Something that would make heads explode if it happened over here. It was encouraging too, since it helped show the world that being gay didn't mean automatic support of gay marriage and the like.

      I actually wish, though I'm sure it seems redundant to pollsters, that there was a poll of gays finding out how many support gay marriage in the US. I'm sure it would be high, but I'd like to know the number who oppose it.

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  3. I've been thinking a similar thing. The more materialist/secular society becomes, the less it values the body/human life.

    Consider atheists, the logical extension of the materialist/secular mindset. Under 1 line of logic, you might think that an atheist would protect the sanctity of human life and oppose abortion, since this life's all we have in their view. Similarly, if their bodies are their entire selves (no soul, etc.), you'd think they'd adhere to a strict moral code when it comes to drugs, sex, etc. You'd think that someone fascinated by science would be amenable to a line of reasoning that says "Penises are biologically meant to go in vaginas." And so on.

    I'm honestly not sure where they're coming from intellectually. But then again, I'm still not sure how the entire concept of a "right" makes any sense without God, and they'll talk about rights until the cows come home.

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    1. You'd think that someone fascinated by science would be amenable to a line of reasoning

      Few people are actually fascinated by science. But plenty of people love to be thought of as a person who's fascinated by science.

      It's like the Cult of Reason. You'd think they'd be very reasonable people, right? I mean, they made a literal cult of reason, they should be like vulcans shouldn't they? And yet...

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  4. Speaking of this topic coming up, it just has over at Venerable Beads' blog (a wonderful blog, by the way). I'd imagine he'd value your input on the matter...

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    1. Thank you for the heads up!

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    2. Lol, love it. Joe K is like the gay marriage cavalry.

      Random Poster: "You're just against gay marriage because you're a heterosexual! How would YOU feel if you were gay?"

      Joe K: "Funny you should ask..."

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