This is the month we get to see whether SCOTUS will “redefine” marriage. That “redefinition” was entirely avoidable if either the protagonists or the opponents of same-sex civil marriage had challenged the concept of state defined marriage to start with, but our political debate is not up to such an idea–not yet, at least…
In the meanwhile, let’s think about some things. We all know that the charge for same-sex civil marriage was made by the leadership of the LGBT community. That acronym doesn’t contract (and it used to be the GLBT community until the lesbians got bent out of shape) but it expands, sometimes two or three times the size. We should ask: why are all of these sexualities so important? Why should any or all of them form an aggrieved group?
The answer to these questions is fairly simple. In a society where sex is a private matter–and we used to have that–one could keep many things out of the “public” eye. But the sexual revolution put paid to that: today one’s bedroom (or car back seat or wherever) activities are pretty much out there. For people whose sexual activities don’t fit the “norm” for whatever reason that can be painful. So it’s easier to follow the footsteps of others, form an aggrieved group, and demand “rights”.
One letter of the alphabet soup that falls in and out is “A” for asexuals. It’s a fact that there are people whose interest in sex is little or nothing. For those whose life is defined by their sexual activity–and gay and lesbian people are that par excellence, if nothing else in opposition to the majority of society–it’s hard to get one’s head around that concept. So the letter falls in and out.
The one letter that never gets into this collection is “A” for abstinent. The whole concept that someone would voluntarily abstain from sex for any reason is anathema to just about everybody in this deal: gay, straight, in between, you name it. It’s particularly odious to those who, as noted earlier, define their lives by their sexual preference (and the activity that goes with it). It’s the main driver why a) the LGBT community hates real Christianity the way it does and b) that hatred resonates with the heterosexual community. (I’d remind my readers that the French enthroned a “Goddess of Reason” during their revolution: hatred for the traditional Christian sexual morality predates our current mess).
So how do our churches respond to this? One way are the “chastity rings” that some of our youth pastors exhort their charges to wear as a sign that they will save themselves for marriage. We should first say that this commitment may turn into a lifetime vocation, in which case many apologies to the Roman Catholics are in order. And apologising to the Roman Catholics is a hard thing for Evangelicals to do.
Beyond that, as a South Floridian, I’ve always been uneasy with the whole concept of chastity rings as a way of showing one’s commitment in this regard. That’s not because of the abstinence outside of marriage; I’ve defended that more than once on this blog. I grew up in a culture where it was very difficult to have a high-profile commitment like that. If you did, you were subject to enormous peer pressure to cave to the culture, and that’s only gotten worse in the intervening two score. It’s hard enough to be a Christian young person in this society without painting a target on your back–or hand–to boot.
Evangelicals by definition exhort their people to witness for their faith. We’re coming into a culture–and some of us have had a taste of that–where it won’t be necessary to put out a lot of publicity about being a Christian. If you are one, and especially if you’re serious about the Christian sexual ethic, you won’t need publicity as much as pain relief. That’s because we live in a bully culture, where societal norms are formed through peer pressure, sometimes forcefully. The LGBT community is well aware of that; that’s why they work the system the way they do.
The problem our opponents face is that they haven’t figured out how to translate the satisfaction of hormonal desires into real happiness, and I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for them to make the connection.