Don’t Let an Old Social Issue Come Between Friends

By Ronald Glenn
America’s Right

It may be the economy, stupid, but with Friday’s unanimous decision by Iowa’s Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage, talk this week may turn from businesses to families.

In 2008, I overheard a great deal of discussion among conservatives as to whether the Republican Party should give up on the abortion issue. On one side, some argued that the zealous pursuit of the pro-life agenda pushed otherwise fiscally conservative voters more to the left side of the political aisle. Others feel that the issue of life must not only remain uncompromised upon, but must remain the focus, even above more timely and more currently relevant issues such as the economy. Most, it seems, were able to agree that an adequate compromise has been made within the religious right, allowing for toned-down cultural language about unwed mothers and the like in favor of turning attention instead to preserving the lives of unborn children through pro-life services and adoption.

Now, I am not going to comment on either side (this particular piece isn’t the right place for that) but I nonetheless wanted to introduce it as a bridge to another central social issue that a great majority feel uncomfortable discussing — gay rights. And, even more specifically, gay marriage.

As the debate over Proposition 8 rages in California, and most recently as Iowa became the third such state to legally accommodate gay marriage, it has become apparent that the attitude towards the gay rights issue is beginning to mirror the attitude toward abortion. For example, just as conservatives who refuse to abandon their core principles with regard to abortion are depicted and dismissed as religious zealous, the inherent value of human life be damned, conservatives who refuse to budge with regard to gay marriage are painted as bigots and hate-mongers. Likewise, if conservatives sound negative about either abortion or gay rights, the argument goes, they are likely to lose voters. Besides, the logic continues, since sexual preference is a right, and conservatives are all about freedom, why even argue the point?

Such a perception ignores the hard truth that gay rights is a central, defining issue to the left, and to simply let is pass by is similar to putting one’s head in the sand. In order to understand the importance of this issue, it is best to begin with a look at classical Marxism as it existed in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Among other aspects of this complicated, multi-faceted system of beliefs, classic Marxism is rooted in the behavioral model of reward and punishment. Every human being is born as an empty vessel, which means the personality of the individual is determined by the substance that fills the vessel. Taken far enough, this meant the government could determine the behavior of every individual through training from birth, and can be connected with reasons why the political left in the 1960′s insisted that all problems could be solved through a change of environment — including proper speech, proper dress, and proper behavior. (If you want some quick amusement, took a look back at 1960′s unisex fashion.) This philosophy was not kind to the gay community. Take a serious look, for example, at how gays were treated in Cuba under the Castro/Leninist model; Marxists, see, did not want to create homosexuals for their totalitarian purposes. This is also why it is important not to jump too quickly on the “Obama is a Marxist” refrain with regard to every single issue.

The left became an advocate for gay rights as part of a a liberal religious tradition which began in the nineteenth century. Consider two great American writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and you will see an American religious state of mind that does not emphasize sin and judgment but rather champions the individual. Such a perspective allows the traditional sacredness of marriage to be questioned and is apparent in liberal theology, which emphasizes “love” over judgment.

By the end of the twentieth century, there were numerous Protestant religious sects that felt it was the condemnation of homosexuality which was misguided and sinful rather than homosexuality itself, a perspective enhanced by some geneticists who held that homosexuality was determined by DNA, by nature rather than nurture. Fast forward to now, and this issue is considered by the left to be the single most important civil rights issue to the left, supposedly agreed upon by both biology and God — what an unbeatable combination!

On this issue, Conservatives must acknowledge two main points:

First, not all Christian sects are being condemned by the left for their views on gay rights. Only particular sects are under attack, chief among those the Evangelicals, closely associated by those on the left with the Republican Party which, of course, is the lead punching bag for the Democrats. Therefor, as go the Evangelicals, so goes the Republican Party.

Second, to a large degree the business sector of the Republican party agrees with the left on gay rights, a viewpoint motivated not so much by principles as by priority. The business community, after all, is worldwide in scope and, for the most part, frankly could care less if two men who are married to each other buy their products. To them, this issue is not the life and death issue that those on the religious right have tried to make it. Preachers in this country have depicted gay marriage as an attempt to destroy the fundamental fiber of the nation; those in the business community I associate with do not agree.

Therefore, the importance of gay rights for conservatives resides in the willingness of the religious and business sectors of the Republican party to reach a satisfying resolution. In the midst of an economic nightmare, this will not be easy. Since conservatives have never won the congress or presidency by big margins, a loss of even five percent of loyal voters could be very damaging. Right now, the business community wants to fight for the economic well being of the nation, and losing support for their economic plans by engaging in a fight over gay rights does not interest them. On the other hand, social conservatives must understand that the favorable balance of power necessary to advancing socially conservative values may only be able to be brought about by a focus on fiscal issues.

If the Republican Party cannot reclaim power, the future may not bode well for conservative social issues as long as the economy does not show adequate signs of recovery, as Democrats will be able to use any perceived crisis to advance an agenda diametrically opposed to that of the American conservative movement. Therefore, social conservatives cannot execute any influence without the transformative help given by their fiscal cousins. Acceptance of that idea, reliance upon conservatives’ abilities to spread the word, reminds me of what doctors tell family members when they are about to visit a dying relative.

“Don’t talk about things that don’t matter now,” the Doctor inevitably advises. “Stick to the necessities.”

The claim du jour, however, persists that all the bigots in the world are on the right, even though the struggle over gay rights has been a struggle within the leftist community as well. I knew many gay activists in the 1990′s who told me over coffee that the gay community had not decided whether it was better to remain separate from society but unharmed or fully integrate into society. Even they acknowledged there were members of the old, hardcore left that did not have much sympathy for the gay rights movement. A decade later, it appears full social integration is on the horizon. This is a triumph for liberal protestant theology, which has advocated full integration of gays into society and the church for decades.

Just as religious conservatives must place faith in American business and industry, the business community needs to stick with religious conservatives even if they feel the religious right is wrong on this particular issue. The liberal church, after all, is no friend to the conservative movement as a whole, and right now the business conservatives and religious conservatives need all the friends they can get.

—————
Ronald Glenn has worked in real estate and law for more than twenty years. He now works in Philadelphia, and lives outside the city with his wife. Ron has been writing for America’s Right since January 2009.

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Comments

  1. bigalber says:

    Religion and Politics are a poisonous mixture, and as a conservative on economic, foreign policy, defense, and social (welfare) issues, I get quickly turned off when religious issues creep into political philosophy.

    Religious value are important, as they provide a moral basis how we conduct our lives. But if religious leaders articulate their views, and make their case to individuals, and those individuals choose to not follow these religious teachings, I believe it is wrong to seek to impose these religious concepts on others through the power of Governemnt. Punishment for “sin” is an issue for the after life, not for punishment in civil life.

    Muslim extremeists would punish those who choose not to follow the “will of Allah” (who gets to say what the “will of Allah” is). Other religions preach the “word”, but individuals have the freedom to believe what they want. Freedom of an individual to live his or her life in accordance with his or her befiefs is a fundamental conservative principle A religious conservative should live his or her life in accordance with his or her deeply held convictions, but a line should be drawn where conservatives seek to impose these views on others through a political process.

    Gay rights ansd abortion are divisive social issues that, in my opinion, sidetrack discussion from other conservative issues. Fiscal conservatism, strong defense, a foreign policy which advances America’s interests, adherence to the fundamentals of limited Government the Constitution, and the rights and responsibility of the individual under the Constitution should take precedence over religious beliefs associated with Gay Marriage and abortion.

  2. Gail B says:

    The second paragraph of the unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, dated July 4, 1776:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    To me, it sounds like it is up to the states to decide whether gay marriages are accepted, not federal policy or law. I am not “for” gay marriage personally; I am not a homosexual and have no stake in the matter; but (to me) it seems that if it makes someone “happy” to sign a contract to spend the rest of his (or her) life with one of the same sex, (s)he should be allowed to do so and receive the same benefits as a heterosexual couple receives insofar as entitlement to such governmental programs as social security are concerned.

    I have done some research on the matter, and there is a difference in the brain of a homosexual and a heterosexual. It’s genetic, not an option or something to be “cured.”

    My neighbor in NC and I could not even discuss the matter. In my opinion, God makes no mistakes, and He made the homosexuals the way they are. Why should they not be granted the same benefits of a marriage that heterosexual couples enjoy?

    Over the years, I have had some homosexual friends, and they were nice, law-abiding people. As long as they did not seek to form a sexual relationship with me, their sexual preferences didn’t matter to me. It’s not up to me to judge; that comes under God’s pay grade.

    Good article, Ronald. Glad to see you back again.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can I get an AMEN?!!

  4. andrewp says:

    It’s come to the point whether a biblical christian must choose between supporting sin or be successful in politics. We are talking sin incorporated, legislated, and rubbed in everybody’s noses and not just someone doing wrong and recognizes it as wrong. The Designer of humans clearly says to resist this activist sin, especially we, as citizens are part of the government. Can a biblical christian approve of abortion up to birth? No. Can a biblical christian support acts that are against nature such as homosexuality? No. Of course we don’t persecute them (I’ve always advocated conceal/carry firearms for homosexuals) but have the privilege and duty to resist them as citizens and christians. If biblical christians become marginalized, disempowered, and eventually legally persecuted…well…we’ve been through that before in history. I’ve tended to be more economically libertarian (Mises, Rothbard)which will force me to accept voluntary transactions (prostitution, drug using) but there are limits and life and privileges for unnatural acts are two that cannnot be acquiesced. Does that make me homophobic? No, it makes me heterosexist. Does that make me anti-woman? No, it forces to be in the camp that discriminates against females in the womb. “It’s my body?” Every DNA test I know tells me different.

    P.S. I love this website.

  5. Gail B says:

    Another thought: Isn’t this ado about same-sex marriages/relationships related to discrimination, just as when the “colored folks” had to ride in the back of the bus before some thinking person realized that “all men are created equal” and deserve equal protection under the law?

    I do NOT believe that one’s sexual preference is going to keep him out of heaven at the end of his road. If a homosexual accepts God as his savior and has the same beliefs of a heterosexual Christian, what’s the problem? It’s beyond my pay grade to judge; it’s God’s heaven, not mine. He is the One who has prepared the house of many mansions.

  6. suek says:

    There are several aspects to the issue (duh!)…

    But on the Marxist issue… One of the precepts of Marxism is that there is no God. Instead, it substitutes the State as the ultimate authority. In that context, sexuality has no moral significance. Do whatever you want – there is no morality other than what serves the State. If your goal is to establish the State as the ultimate authority, how do you destroy the authority of religion and the family? First, by the same means they use with all groups – divide and conquer. Diversity is simply a means of elevating the importance of an identifiable group so that they can be split off from the general society and create acrimony and remove support from the general society. Homosexuals are one of the diverse groups. Can you imagine such a question (homosexual marriage) even arising 50 years ago? What changed? Are there more homosexuals? What if you legalize homosexual marriage…what then happens to churches that consider homosexuality sinful? I propose that it would then be considered “hate” speech to preach that homosexuality is sinful. We then have conflict between the one group and the main group – heterosexuals – and between those who consider homosexuality to be neutral and those who consider it immoral. When you raise this conflict, you also work to destroy the authority of the group who considers it immoral…”see…they’re just old fuddy-duddies – pay no attention to them”. Gradually, you destroy the authoity of the churches to determine what is moral. (this has already been done insofar as fornication and adultery are concerned) You work towards a goal of the morality of society being a non-factor if it’s out of step with the “morality” of the State, which is defined by law. If the law is your only determinant of behavior, you have to make a _lot_ of laws. If you have a _lot_ of laws, then you have to have a _lot_ of enforcers – or, you can enforce those laws you choose to enforce when you choose to enforce them…that’s called corruption.

    One of the founding fathers stated that our form of government required a “moral citizenry” to be successful. We are moving in a direction where we will have destroyed our moral foundation, leaving us with only the law as the determiner of behavior. My own opinion is that we need both religion and the law. Religion establishes the ideals of behavior that none of us can live up to. The law establishes the minimal behavior that our society will tolerate. Either one or the other alone creates a society that will be unbearable. If the perfection required by religion is the standard, then you have a taliban-like regime. If you have law only, either you will have laws governing every possible action and courts stalled into inaction due to overload or more likely, corruption as the authorities enforce what they choose on whom they choose.

  7. suek says:

    >>Why should they not be granted the same benefits of a marriage that heterosexual couples enjoy?>>

    What rights? Be specific, please.

    And if we _do_ give special rights to married couples, why do we do so? Maybe the answer is to eliminate those "special" rights.

    What is the function of government in marriage and/or family law?

  8. Gail B says:

    The function of government in marriage and/or family law is control.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would not try and force my beliefs on other people but if you are a Christian and believe the Bible, you know that there is right and wrong based on Biblical teachings. There are various forms of sexual perversion in society…homosexuality, addiction to pornography, child pornography and pedophilia, polygamy, adultery etc. How can we say that one form should be afforded the respect of society by allowing them the benefit of marriage and the other groups are scorned? I believe that God hates all sin and he hates my sin just as much as any who engage in these perversions, or murderers,rapists,thieves etc. By supporting what the Bible says about sin, I am not being arrogant or saying I am better than a homosexual but if I don’t voice my opposition to what I believe is wrong, I have compromised my beliefs. I am against murder, including the unborn, rape, robbery,lying etc. The gay marriage issue is very volatile and those groups that are trying to push it are well organized and forceful. It has become popular to accept anything as long as it doesn’t bother you or your family…whether or not it is right or wrong doesn’t matter because for many people there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. As a Christian, I believe there is and if I do not express my opposition, I am lukewarm. We are supposed to love the sinner but hate the sin..any sin. We are told over and over that if we want to have a relative and effective conservative party, we must separate religion from our politics. In other words, what you do and hear on Sunday shouldn’t affect what you do and feel as a citizen. Then we may as well not have religious belief then…maybe that is the whole intent of these groups..to water down moral and religious beliefs to the point that they are irrelevant..I believe that is exactly what the majority of people want to happen so that there will be no restraints on any type of behavior. How confusing this all must be to our children and how do we teach them morality,integrity and honesty in such a world? The basic foundation of our society is the family and it is being eroded from all directions. Is that really what we want?

  10. Anonymous says:

    The state is a creature of God and has an obligation to uphold the natural law. Any state which fails to do this will eventually destroy itself with the financial form of moral corruption.

    Enter the U.S. Government, which is destroying itself with government intervention. Though it can’t be denied that this is a truly Shakespearean moment, one filled with poetic justice of the highest kind, divinely funny and all that, we on earth face a major catastrophe and we on earth must face it.

    The OTC derivatives meltdown is seriously worse than anyone is admitting. Read “Ticking Financial Nukes” by Karl Denninger.

    The U.S. government’s fanatical desire to protect its political cronies is about to completely destroy the financial system.

    As the president of the European Union stated, the U.S. is going down the road to hell. And its government, whether ignorant, lazy, completely corrupt or just plain stupid, is the cause.

    Government intervention in the free market has brought on every evil in the financial sector. Through government intervention – monopolization of the mint, legal tender laws, the creation of paper money and inflationary banking, the US dollar has been reduced from a valuable commodity to a high risk derivative that is becoming unfit for the market.

    The answer is to get the U.S. government out of the market. Like it or not, the laws of the market are going to achieve that. We will end up with a dead market or a truly free market. My guess is that Americans will eventually opt for a free market, since all Americans like to make money, and we will end up much better off. But first we must clean out the stables in Washington.

    To answer the million dollar question of which Republican will fix the economy – it will be the one who gets government completely out of the market. Of course the people on government subsidies will protest, but not for long because those subsidies won’t hold up for long and eventually voters will want the kind of money that buys food.

  11. Uncle rick says:

    The Left knows it can get more yardage with the courts than with legislatures, and they are trying to get them to re-define marriage. The Right dare not ignore this, but also must not fight this on terms defined by the Left. Those will be strictly legal terms, with a lot of side issues thrown in to muddy the water.

    The best approach, I think, is to remind all parties that marriage is a social institution, not a legal one. As such, it existed in its traditional form long before laws and lawyers did. Therefore, it is not within the legitimage purview of the courts to modify it for any reason.

    Homosexuals are certainly free to form any kind of relationships they want, and make them as binding (or loose) as they want. There is no principle of law, custom or common sense which they can invoke to compel others to recognize those unions as the equivalent of an ancient, cultural institution which has never depended on law for its existence.

  12. tm says:

    This is why local elections are really more important than just the 4 yr ones. If Conservatives sit back and do not vote in local elections i.e.attorney generals , governor, congressional, etc. the deciding factors of big elections are in peril. Look at your judges in your area as well. It is imperative at this point that we take back our rights. America was founded on individual freedom. We should not be making laws on social issues, period.

  13. Jan says:

    As a Christian I want to protect the sanctification (set apart as holy) of marriage. While I have no issue with individual choices, a deeper problem exists in this issue. The homosexuals are crying discrimination because they are not allowed to be married to whom they choose. They claim they cannot help who they are attracted to. While these may be valid arguments they can then be applied also to pedophiles, for example. Will they be the next group in line to argue for marriage because they are being discriminated against based upon attractions they cannot control. This is a slippery slope. Before someone states that pedophilia is against the law, in most states so is homosexual marriage. It takes a movement to accomplish goals. That is what is happening in the homosexual community. Fifty years ago this would not have even been a thought. So would any group out there that has different sexual inclinations be any different when claiming discrimination. Will we eventually see those who practice bestiality want to be married? How about legalizing polygamy? Where will it end when the basis of the argument is discrimination? My Bible calls us all sinners so I do not look upon any person any differently than I look upon myself. However, it seems we must go to great lengths to accept the behavior and choices of these individuals. Their views and ideology is forced upon our children in schools. I do not force my views upon anyone and should not have others views forced upon me. Each person was given free will and may choose to do what they will. I’m just not certain that changing the institution of marriage to accommodate the various sexual preferences is a good idea. I think it leads to further degradation. I have several homosexual friends and love them dearly. I still don’t support homosexual marriage. The Bible I read says that God created the institution of marriage – to be between a man and a woman. As a Bible Christian I also believe that God creates all people. As God is perfect I do not believe he will form you in the womb with a sin that He abhors, that would be contrary to who He is. I take the entire Bible at its word and don’t just discard the parts that I don’t like. This may pit me against people and that is okay because the only judge I am concerned about sits on a throne at the right hand of God.

  14. Jan says:

    Uncle Rick –
    Thank you for your post. You stated my sentiments eloquently. I know what I want to say, the words just don’t seem to come out as well as you put them.

  15. Rix says:

    A wise article. Perhaps the conservative should stop beating the dead (or already dying) dog of gay marriage prohibition, and get a Constitutional amendment that limits marriage to a union of two human beings. I foresee times when both “two” and “human” will be questioned by cutting-edge liberals.

  16. Anonymous says:

    God is the same as He was yesterday, today and tomorrow. His word says abortion and gay lifestyles are wrong and that is all I need to rely upon when forming my opinion. God instituted marriage between a man and a woman and no government has the right to undo what God has done, PERIOD!

    Sally

  17. suek says:

    >>I foresee times when both "two" and "human" will be questioned by cutting-edge liberals.>>

    On what basis do you limit it to two??

  18. Anonymous says:

    To Gail B…
    I read your comments every day. Your gusto inspires me. However, I cannot remain silent on this issue of same sex marriage. The Bible is very clear on the subject, that same-sex intimate relations are an abomination to God. No one will ever be able to convince me that God, who is Love, and desires every person to know Him intimately, would allow an innocent baby to be born with a condition that would cause him/her to be forever and irrevocably separated from God. The writer who said God does not make mistakes is correct. It’s as simple as
    A. God sees homosexual relations as a terrilbe sin (1 Cor 6:9;
    1 Tim 1:10) Keep in mind that in God’s eyes sin is sin. WE ARE ALL SINNERS. Whom among us has never lied or done some other sin we didn’t consider a big deal. TO God it’s all a big deal. That’s why we needed a saviour.
    B. God would never create a person to be without the ability to be forgiven. God is just and fair (except in doling out the punishment evil man deserves-for that he became flesh and took the punishment himself)

    I also know many who consider themselves homosexual, and I am here to tell you that these are wonderful human beings whom I love and pray for every day. Because I know of pain and abuses in their lives that I’m sure led them down the path of believing they are homosexual. Believe is the key word here. God did not create them that way.

    The good news is that this sin can be forgiven as quickly as any sin. The problem is that like any other addiction to sin – alcoholism, drugs, sex, etc, it is difficult to overcome, but with God’s grace it is possible. What we cannot do is allow people to belive it’s just the way they are and there’s no need to stop doing it. Would we say that to a sex addict or a drug addict? And THAT IS EXACTLY what recognizing same sex marriages does…it indoctrinates children from a young age to think that homosexual and heterosexual are both equally acceptable. The “Do what you want…try it all.” mentality. If you need proof of the indoctrinaton, just look at cases in Massachussets where Kindergartners are being read the book “The Prince and the Prince”. The parents were not informed this would happen and were not given the option to remove their child from the class at that time. Or the case where a teacher took her class on a field trip to see a same sex marriage. She called it a tremendous “learning experience”. As adolescents develop, there are many thoughts that go through their minds as their hormones rage. A strong sense of right and wrong, natural and unnatural must be in place to help them navigate this very confusing time. Homosexuals are already given all rights as married couples, just as they should be. But we simply cannot allow the nation’s schools to teach our children this lifestyle as if it is completely normal and acceptable, anymore than we can allow them to be taught that being a drug addict is normal and acceptable. But remember always, God says we must hate the sin, BUT LOVE THE SINNER.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I’m not surprised at the various opinions expressesd in response to Ronald Glenn’s posting, and, as I have predicted previously, these “moral” issues will likely give rise to a third party.

    I agree that these issues would be better left to individuals and spiritual teachers, but it is not we Christians who have forced them onto the political stage. It is those whose perspective is that sexuality is strictly a recreational function of the individual rather than the functional and symbolic purposes intended by “the Creator” referred to in the Constitution.

    The functional intention of sexuality – procreation – has been subordinated to the most casual and irresponsible of recreational activities. The intended, God-given, function – to produce offspring to be raised and nurtured to maturity in optimum circumstances – is regarded as just one of the hazards to be rectified by abortion.

    As for homosexuality, on the functional level, it is simply an abberation of the naural law and therefore, those who practice homesexuality are unquestionably “perverts”. On the symbolic level, for those of us who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ, homosexuality is abhorant simply because a marriage between a man and a woman is clearly portrayed as the representation of Jesus Christ and the church, the union of which creates the optimum environment for the “birth”, training and nuturing of new believers.

    As for those of us who, politically speaking, hold the Scripture in the same light as the Constitution, there can be no compromise. Having said that, I see no alternative to a third party which cares more about values than winning.

    Old Bob

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