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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

What makes us human?

There's a lot of talk in liberal circles about gay marriage and the right of gays to marry whomever it is they feel attracted to. As a Christian, the idea repulses me, and in the Bible it is clearly forbidden. Speaking to liberals, however, even those who consider themselves Christian, this argument is thrown out. They will not hear that God has declared it an abomination (Leviticus 20:13), or that those who practice such things are excluded from exaltation (Galatians 5:19 - 21). As Christians, we are taught in scripture that such sins may be erased through repentance. However, to liberals, the idea that a homosexual should strive to overcome this temptation is anathema.

Some commenters on other posts have responded with the idea that homosexuality cannot be outside of the natural order of things for two reasons. First, if humans do it, and we are part of nature, then it must be part of the natural order. Second, members of other species engage in it, so it is not unique to humans and therefore natural for all species. Both arguments are invalid, as I will proceed to explain.

The first argument is easy to refute using liberals' own logic. Humans pollute. We manufacture and drive around Hummers. We fill the air with toxins and (according to most liberals) are causing global temperatures to spike dangerously. Species are disappearing because of us evil humans. We are destroying nature. If anything humans do is inherently part of the natural order, then we shouldn't worry about such things. Nature must want this to happen, or we wouldn't be doing it. If nature wants to destroy itself, who are we to object? We should not interfere with what is natural, but should simply go with it. If humans want to do it, it's good and natural.

Of course, I don't know of anyone, liberal or conservative, who would agree with that argument. Apply it to sexual behavior, however, and somehow liberals find it totally acceptable. Indeed, liberals have no problem judging and restricting a whole host of human behaviors: smoking, eating or drinking calorie-laden food or beverages, speaking out about one's most profound religious convictions in public spaces, defending oneself against aggression by means of deadly force; the list goes on and on. However, when it comes to sexual activity, everything goes. If you want to engage in sadomasochistic violence for sexual reasons, it's your constitutional right. If you want to have sex and produce offspring with a string of women, who's to stop you? Sexual expression is fine and dandy in all its various forms. Bestiality? Just make sure the animal enjoys it too. If these activities lead to death and disease, with expensive medications being paid for out of public monies? This is as it should be. The alternative is to (gasp!) encourage people to refrain from giving in to whatever sexual impulses they might have. However, commercials against smoking and drug use are fine, and restricting propaganda designed to encourage smoking is entirely proper. After all, we will all have to pay for their treatment when they are dying of cancer and heart disease.

The second argument has already been refuted by none other than acclaimed primatologist Jane Goodall. When asked whether homosexual acts between apes implies that the impulse is also natural to humans, she corrected the very premise of the question. Apes are never homosexual. They do not engage in anal sex; they engage in mounting behavior. No penetration is involved. Mounting behavior is a sign of dominance. It is one male saying to another, "I am stronger than you are. I am able to treat you as if you were a female. You must obey me as such." This same behavior exists in many other species. My family raised Chihuahuas for many years. An older male Chihuahua was accustomed to mounting both our female and, from time to time, the smaller male Chihuahua. The smaller male would growl and nip at the larger one, but he was dominated and humiliated, essentially put in his place. Interestingly enough, as the larger male grew older and the smaller male proved much more virile, the smaller male began to mount the larger one, who would nip and object just as the younger male had done. In addition, the female would mount the poor old dog as well to demonstrate her dominance. Part of me wonders if this theme of dominance may indeed contribute to the psychology of human behaviors, but that is a discussion for another time.

Humans are different from animals precisely because we are capable of controlling and directing our instinctual behavior. We have sufficient intellect to judge between constructive and destructive behavior, between right and wrong. Refusal to judge in this manner is a refusal to engage in full humanity. Do I believe homosexuality should be illegal? No, for it would deprive people of the opportunity to choose between right and wrong. A people forced to behave nobly never have the chance to become noble for their own reasons. People must be free to choose between good and evil, so long as their choices do not endanger others or deprive them of their own right to choose.

However, it would be foolish for society to place a stamp of approval for a behavior that offers no positives and plenty of negatives. The legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman exists to encourage stability within family units. The more reproductive partners remain loyal to each other, the less government must step in and clean up the mess. Homosexuals do indeed adopt, but so do heterosexual couples. I myself was only able to produce one child the "old fashioned" way, and so adopted three more children. I love them as my own. Marriage is not a prerequisite for adoption, so the argument that gays should be able to marry because of adoption is specious at best.

The relationship between a husband and wife is the basis for any and all societal order. As marriage has become less and less common among reproductive partners, society has suffered. Illegitimacy is the greatest predictor of childhood poverty. Let us not compound this problem by removing from marriage any distinguishment from a mere formalizing of sexual relationships. It is much more than this. Homosexual pairings are inherently different from those which are the basis of a marriage. Technically, homosexuals do not engage in sex at all, if you define sex as intercourse. On that basis, homosexual relationships may not even qualify as sexual in nature at all.

It amazes me that we have so lost our moral bearings that things which were universally acknowledged as immoral a short while ago are now being considered for recognition as valid and legally binding by the government. This is a classic case of defining deviancy down. You may disagree with me, but please address my arguments. Do not engage in ad hominem, though such tactics are a favorite of the liberal and amoral. I pray that we, as a nation, will continue to have the common sense to distinguish between things that are obviously different, and thus by definition, unequal. I fear for the day we are no longer able to do so.

We will have abandoned one of the key characteristics that make us human.