Conservative Colloquium

An Intellectual Forum for All Things Conservative

Flawed Premises of the Homosexual Agenda

Posted by Tony Listi on April 18, 2009

This past summer I had a discussion with a friend of mine, a fellow D.C. intern, on the topic of gay relationships. It was the most enlightening and surreal experience that I have had in quite a while. Bits and pieces of it have been replaying over and over again in my head, and I can’t help but write about it. Only now have I gotten around to publishing it.

Though I’ve heard or participated in quite a few debates on this topic, this discussion in particular seemed to crystallize in my mind the false premises that underlie the push for so-called “gay rights”:

1. Biological urges, feelings, and attractions dictate and/or are equivalent to morality.

This was the most important and disturbing tidbit that I learned (or re-learned). When talking with people of the opposing point of view, the conservative soon gets the impression that the opposition recognizes no morality whatsoever. Talk of “imposing morality” on people and how we can’t know “whose morality” is correct inevitably arises. And when this happens, conservatives can’t help but label liberals as moral relativists because moral relativism is exactly what they are espousing.

But this is actually mere posturing of an impossible neutrality. Liberals often pretend that life in a moral vaccuum, a moral neutrality, is possible and desirable. They do this for for a moment or two, or rather, for as long as it takes to stonewall and deny the Christian view of sexuality (or of morality in general) without examining and critiquing the view in itself.

But liberals cannot logically even begin to chastise conservatives for anything if they really believe that there is no morality or that even if there is that we can’t know it. If liberals think conservatives are wrong about something, they must be appealing to some code of morality, however perverse and incorrect, which they think they know with sufficient certainty.

So one has to dig down deeper, past the contradictory rhetoric, to understand what the liberal is really trying to say. “It is wrong to discriminate against someone for something they are born with, something they can’t help or change. No one chooses to be gay.” Here we go! Finally, the liberal firmly plants her feet and takes a moral stand. The moral relativism of just a few minutes ago magically vanishes from ear and memory. A real discussion can finally begin.

This is where I ask my friend, “Are sexual acts chosen?” It is crucial to establish that people freely choose to engage in sexual relations of any kind, that human beings are not mere animals that cannot control themselves. In this way, one makes a fundamental distinction between a person’s freely chosen behavior and a person’s urges, feelings, desires, and attractions.

The situation was all the more ironic to me because I am a man and my friend is a woman. Surely, a woman would not say that human beings are unable to control their sexual desires. To say such a thing is to give license to the rapist, the supreme violator of sexual morality (even the liberal does not condone rape). If the homosexual cannot control his or her own sexual urges, neither can the rapist or the pedophile. We must be fair and equal and consistent, right?  Thankfully, my friend embraced some notion of individual responsibility.

Now a radical liberal may deny that we have free will at all and thus once again undermine any notion of morality (to be a wrong act, it must be freely chosen); you are back to where you started and unlikely to make progress. Thankfully, my friend did not go down this path.

So if all sexual acts are freely chosen, then all homosexual behavior is freely chosen. At this point in the discussion, the conversation should have focused specifically on the nature of homosexual acts. But my friend temporarily would not retreat from talk of feelings and attraction. “It is not right to force someone to deny who they are, to deny they’re feelings for other people.” So I couldn’t help but ask point blank the fundamental question, “Do biological urges determine morality?”

She said yes, more or less. I was shocked. Did she realize what she was saying? So sexual acts are freely chosen AND sexual morality is determined by our urges? This was more radical than saying people can’t control themselves. Her logic had managed to vindicate the rapist and the pedophile anyway. According to her logic, it would be immoral not to act on one’s sexual urges when they arise.

2. Sex is a necessity.

“So you want homosexuals to just deny their urges and never have sex?!” my friend asks. Oh no! Never have anal or oral sex at all?! What a cruel, unfulfilling fate! I guess people who don’t have sex at all aren’t fully human in some way? If conservative Christian morality deprives homosexuals of this “necessity,” we are apparently uncompassionate. As if our morality were depriving them of food and water! But my friend insisted that sex is a necessity.

This second premise is actually a logical continuation or corollary of the first. Morality is a necessity, so if biological urges, especially sexual libido, determine morality, then sex is a necessity too. And strictly speaking then, it is a necessity every time one feels the urge!

I guess the left would argue, more or less explicitly, that anal and oral sex with someone of the same sex are necessary for “individual self-fulfillment,” for reasons of “authenticity.” But this kind of talk merely turns the individual ego into the arbiter of morality, thus destroying any notion of morality. For what is morality if not independent of individual egos and wills? It is nothing, nonexistent then.

3. There is no ideal family structure.

What exactly do we mean by “ideal”? Ideal for who? For adults? For children?

Family and its structure is most relevant and important for children. Adults have acquired knowledge and skills that naturally make them independent of their parents; adults start their own families by having their own children. Children on the other hand are weak, dependent, and immature both intellectually and biologically. Therefore, any discussion of family and its structure must primarily revolve around what is ideal for children, not the fulfillment of adults.

Empirically, there is no doubt that the family structure of two biological parents is ideal for children in comparison to all other conceivable variations. We do not need to rely merely on Scripture to tell us this ideal when social science (reasoned observation) can tell us this too.

5 Responses to “Flawed Premises of the Homosexual Agenda”

  1. Hopefully I can clarify some of the positions your friend took and explain why they support marriage equality.

    1) I believe that there is some confusion on this first point about why marriage equality is important. It is not a matter of elevating “urges, feelings, or attractions” to the level of morality, but recognizing the basic rights of an individual to choose his or her own destiny. This is the fundamental tenant of liberty. Like Loving v. Virginia, the case that struck down prohibitions on interracial marriage, the struggle for marriage equality focuses less on individual same-sex marriages and more on the freedoms of individuals to join in a union with the person they love.

    It’s not about being “unable to control your sexual urges”, but rather the fact that there is no valid reason to expect that people should have to. Rapists, as you cited, are not prosecuted for their sexual urges, but for their acts of violence. Adultery is a more apt comparison in your model, but since we do not prohibit adulterers from marriage for their “sexual urges”, how can you justify denying same-sex couples the institution for theirs?

    Further, marriage is not rooted simply in sexual attraction, but in a loving partnership between two people. Sex is neither a prerequisite nor a disqualifier for marriage. An individual may control what sex acts they perform, but they cannot control feelings of love toward another human being. To expect that of a same-sex couple is as cruel as it was when it was expected of an interracial couple. That you disagree with their choice of partner is not a valid justification to deny them their right to choose.

    2) For the same reason, the biological necessity of sex is not really relevant to the discussion of same-sex marriage. Stripping marriage down to only its sexual element demeans the institution and removes the human connection spouses share.

    3) While I dispute your position that two biological parents are ideal, even if this were true, it is not sufficient justification to exclude same-sex couples from marriage. There is an article I wrote that explores this idea more in-depth that you can find here, but the gist of it is that we do not currently restrict marriage only to “ideal” parents. While certainly two hearing parents would be, by your definition, ideal for children in comparison to having two deaf parents, we cannot constitutionally prohibit deaf people from marrying or from procreating. Similarly, we do not prohibit single individuals from raising children despite not having the “ideal” two parent household. This same truth extends to any other “less than ideal” parenting arrangement. Even if what is “ideal” were objective and quantifiable, we cannot deny the right to marry to a couple simply for not being the ideal child-rearing environment. Further, the very fact that we permit childless couples to remain married identifies clearly that procreation is not the state’s sole intended purpose for marriage. Thus, we cannot deny the right to marry to same-sex couples on these grounds.

    I understand that people have different beliefs and ideas about this issue, so I welcome your response to my points. While I am not sure we will be able to see eye to eye, I think we could both benefit from understanding each other’s point of view on the subject. Thank you for your response.

  2. […] came across an editorial posted by a blogger at a site called Conservative Colloquialism entitled “Flawed Premises of the Homosexual Agenda” that I feel the need to respond to. The basis of his argument is that because gay and lesbian […]

  3. Brent said

    Tony, I have two things I would like to say:

    1) How the marriage of two consenting homosexuals effect you?

    2) With regards to “ideal family structure,” you provide a link to “Mapping America” which is a project of the Family Research Council, which you also use as your social science “source.” The Family Research Council is an conservative right-wing think tank and lobbying group created by James Dobson; whose views on homosexuality, in psychological terms, are not supported the overwhelming majority of the mental health community. To draw your “empirical” support from this source, which would never publish any evidence which goes against their own biases, is misleading and presents a flaw in your argument.

  4. Jim said

    There are a couple of problem with your arguments.

    There is a common mis-conception about gay people and what makes them gay. Anyone, gay or straight can choose engage or not engage in sexual behavior. A celibate straight person is still straight, and the a celibate gay person is still gay. What makes a person gay or straight is NOT what they do, it is how they FEEL.

    Gay marriage is any more about sex than straight marriage is. My parent have been married over 40 years and I doubt that sex amounts to less than 1% of that total time. The rest is, sleeping, working, raising kids, taking vacations, taking care of the other when sick, talking about their days, snuggling under a blanket while watching TV. Gay marriages will look much the same.

    Believe it of not, gay people are gay. God does not change the heart of gay people because he made them that way. I have attended so call reparative therapy and all these do it teach gay people how to lie about who they are and act straight.

    Consider this, I knew I was gay long before I was able to attach a word to it. I knew that it was “wrong” to be gay and I assumed that what I was told and being gay was only about behavior. So when I was 16 or 17 I decided that I would not engage in that behavior, much like I decided I would not engage in smoking or drugs. In my 20’s I met a woman who became my best friend, she fell in love with me and we were married.

    16 years and 4 kids later, our lives are in shambles. I was never unfaithful to her, but I do not love her like a man should love his wife, and she knows it. So now she is almost 40, with 4 kids (whom we both love very much) and has a husband she who considers her a close friend and nothing more.

    Like it or not, she is a victim of the anti-gay rhetoric found here. And she is innocent. She is a great woman, a fantastic mother, and is the victim of a man who felt compelled by his church and others to pretend to be something that he was not. To pretend to be straight hoping it would make him straight, but it did not.

    Gay people are gay. Nothing than be done to change that, it must be accepted.

    I heard someone say, that we have marriage equality, everyone is equally free to marry a person of the opposite sex. Next time you hear someone say that, think of the straight woman who marries a gay man (or the straight man who marries a lesbian) because that gay person desperately wants to be straight. What is the damage to the straight spouse, no one ever talks about that person.

    How much better would if gay people were allowed to be who they are, be who God made them to be? It would be better for the gay person and they would not feel compelled to form doomed relationships with straight people.

    Think about that.

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