Skip to comments.Against Heterosexuality
Posted on 03/03/2014 6:30:00 AM PST by sitetest
Alasdair MacIntyre once quipped that facts, like telescopes and wigs for gentlemen, were a seventeenth-century invention. Something similar can be said about sexual orientation: Heterosexuals, like typewriters and urinals (also, obviously, for gentlemen), were an invention of the 1860s. Contrary to our cultural preconceptions and the lies of what has come to be called orientation essentialism, straight and gay are not ageless absolutes. Sexual orientation is a conceptual scheme with a history, and a dark one at that. It is a history that began far more recently than most people know, and it is one that will likely end much sooner than most people think.
Over the course of several centuries, the West had progressively abandoned Christianitys marital architecture for human sexuality. Then, about one hundred and fifty years ago, it began to replace that longstanding teleological tradition with a brand new creation: the absolutist but absurd taxonomy of sexual orientations. Heterosexuality was made to serve as this fanciful frameworks regulating ideal, preserving the social prohibitions against sodomy and other sexual debaucheries without requiring recourse to the procreative nature of human sexuality.
On this novel account, same-sex sex acts were wrong not because they spurn the rational-animal purpose of sexnamely the familybut rather because the desire for these actions allegedly arises from a distasteful psychological disorder. As queer theorist Hanne Blank recounts, This new concept [of heterosexuality], gussied up in a mangled mix of impressive-sounding dead languages, gave old orthodoxies a new and vibrant lease on life by suggesting, in authoritative tones, that science had effectively pronounced them natural, inevitable, and innate.
(Excerpt) Read more at firstthings.com ...
This is an open thread. Have at it, one and all.
This one’s for you.
A while back, you posted an article, something about the possibility of the positive giftness of gayness, in the context of orthodox Catholic theology and practice.
I think that this article has something to say in that conversation.
Yes, homosexuality is a 19th century invention. And we’re stuck with it.
I read this in the hard copy when it came out. I thought it was persuasive in many ways. It’s heavy reading, though ... I got the idea that the author is a philosophy graduate student!
Nonsense. 2000 years ago the Apostle Paul declared that homosexuality was unnatural and thus by inference declared hetrosexuality normal and natural. All of which is pretty self evident.
Yeah. I've read it through completely just once so far. I've read parts a couple of times. It IS heavy reading.
Some of what he's saying resonates very clearly, but some of it is a little murky to me, so far. It may be in part because I'm kind of behind the times. “Heterosexuality,” as a reified “sexual orientation” does bless or sanction, in my mind, various heterosexual sins. So, perhaps for that reason, I'm not so willing to overthrow “heteronormativity,” since, in my mind, that umbrella doesn't excuse sexual sins committed by folks who like folks of the opposite sex.
He can’t get past the anatomy , so he doesn’t mention it ( please excuse me if he does, I didn’t labor over reading it ,though I read it all). His lumping it with heterosexual activities such as adultery, pornography, masturbation, etc, which I agree are just as sinful, overlooks the fact that none of these are the basis of a poitical movement and are sooner or later recognized as shameful.
The author isn't arguing that homosexual acts are not sinful. He's not even arguing that there aren't some folks who are more tempted to these sins than others. He's arguing that the reification of “sexual orientation” is a false, pseudo-scientific notion.
What he's saying is that there are certainly folks who commit sins of homosexual acts, but calling them “homosexuals,” and proclaiming them to have a stable identity as such is false. An analogy is someone who commits, say, adultery. Someone who often steps out on his spouse, while he is engaged in those activities, is justly called an adulterer, a philanderer. But suppose a man, at some point, decided that such behavior was unbecoming, and he ceased his immoral activities. And five years hence, he had not repeated his prior sins. And 10 years later, he had not.
Would you still call that man an adulterer?
Or someone whose weakness is alcohol, and for many years, often winds up drunk. You might, while he actively pursues the bottle, rightly call him a drunkard. But then, he gives up the bottle, or manages to learn to drink in moderation. Ten years later, when you see him sip a single glass of wine at dinner, would you be just to call him a drunkard?
But, as the author points out, the current model includes a supposedly scientifically-backed notion that sexual orientation is a permanent, stable feature of the personality, rather than saying, some folks are tempted toward this sin, others toward that one.
Try to read the article from that perspective.
The day we began identifying people as homo and heterosexuals (in an attempt to explain & isolate the behavior) we put the two on the road to equivalence.
OK, I think I understand the point being made. It goes with what I've often said that "gay is something you do not something you are."
“... overlooks the fact that none of these are the basis of a poitical movement and are sooner or later recognized as shameful.”
I think that's kind of his point, that by creating this idea of stable “sexual orientation” as a part of a person's innate personality, we have elevated a sin to a lifestyle in a way that we don't with things like adultery, etc.
Thus, I think he would ask you this - Is someone who experiences, from time to time, twinges of temptation to commit adultery, but who fails in anyway, either mentally or physically, to act on those twinges of temptation, an adulterer? Of course not!
If someone experienced same-sex attractions from time to time, but failed to act on that attraction in any way, neither mentally nor physically, not even fantasizing about it, should that person be labeled “homosexual”? The author is saying that that's reification of an act or even just a feeling, even an involuntary one, into a personality attribute.
I think, perhaps, we need to read Paul more closely. I think what he does do is use categories of natural and unnatural, and then he says that those engaging in practices in the latter category have been turned over to their depraved mind and are (using my own terminology here) in very serious trouble.
I’m not sure that Paul would affirm the existence of the social constructs that we have today, of the “gay” person and the “straight” person.
I think he does affirm that there is again a healthy, natural sexual practice between men and women who are married and committed to children. Then there’s everything else, which is not part of the Kingdom of God....and part of that other basket of everything else there is also something very unnatural and especially depraved and that is what we know as (and Paul knew as) sex acts between people of the same sex.
Again, I’m not sure Paul would buy into the recent category that the left insisted that we adopt, that of the “gay” person.
I’d like to hear your reply as I am generally sympathetic to the thrust of argument in this article...and I love it when we turn the left back on itself. But I am primarily committed to what Scripture says above all else, and I’m not entirely sure that the article does that testimony enough justice.
I think you've succinctly gotten at a large part of what the author is trying to say.
I think, thought, the author would replace "deviant" with "sinful," and "small group of human beings" with "some human beings."
I've often thought that Paul's characterization of homosexuality (or is it just homosexual behavior?) as "vile affections" (Rom 11:26 KJV) to be quite similar to what modern society is describing as "homosexual orientation", although Paul is certainly adding a moral componant to his characterization.
You’re absolutely right. Calling the behavior deviant falls into the same trap the writer describes.
What the author says here is partly true, and partly false:
“The Bible never called homosexuality an abomination. Nor could it have, for as we have seen, Leviticus predates any conception of sexual orientation by a couple of millennia at least. What the Scriptures condemn is sodomy, regardless of who commits it or why. And yet, as I have argued throughout, in our own day homosexuality deserves the abominable label, and heterosexuality does too.”
The law condemns acts, that much is spot on.
The problem is that Paul does in fact state point blank that those committing the unnatural acts are in an identifiable place outside of God’s grace and under God’s wrath (they have been turned over to their depraved mind).
So....it seems....that in a sense, Paul does “sort of” affirm the depraved category as a category of persons who are committing such acts.
But, Paul also spoke out with perfect clarity against categorizing followers of Christ as being bound by sin...so I think the author is right in that Paul would not endorse the contemporary of “homosexual” and “heterosexual” in the identity game of today....anymore than he would endorse someone calling themself a “Thief” and giving that social identity its own sinful reality.
So that’s the rub.
I think this article is good....but I don’t think it is yet perfect.
You guess the writer is a philosophy graduate student. I agree. He is immersed in the bone gnawing examination of an idea which gnaws when there is no meat left on the bone.(
The street talk version is this I think. We are human beings. We are not heterosexual or homosexual. As humans we are subject to various inclinations especially in regards to our erotic attributes. If we act on those iinclinations
we set up a physiological psychological stimulus response, which as repeated becomes habitual.
Seems to confirm the general concern as well that if we normalize homosexuality as a lifestyle, the same thing can happen by the same means for pedophilia, polygamy, bestiality, etc.
Still thinking this through....see the post I just did to myself....
As did Peter and Jude, not to mention that the OT gives the account of God’s judgement on Sodom and Gomorrah. We act as though this is myth, but they have found evidence of its existence.
I actually don't know enough about the gay-chaste-gifted group (the ones whom Austin Ruse engaged in conversation), to make any kind of overall judgment. I don't know quite that they're saying, or even if they're all saying the same thing.
My present guess, or hunch, is that they are confusing sexual orientation with temperament. And, as this author, Michael Hannan suggests, temperament may be a legitimate "Christian anthropological" category, but "sexual orientation" isn't.
Thanks again for pinging me.
The author does say that the Bible is silent on homosexuality as a class or category. While I am slightly aware of Paul’s many moral injunctions, I am not sure if he explicitly described (interpreted?) sinfulness in the context of a homosexual “class” or as “sodomy,” (for example)— a sinful act that present society most generally associates with that class, but which may be a act related to either class —homo/hetro— and sinful only to the extent of the circumstances under which it takes place ie. orgy, outside of marriage etc..
In any event, a very good read that has changed to some extent my views on this matter (and which probably receives way too much attention in the public square given the importance and urgency of other problems the nation faces).
I summarized it for my husband by saying, humans are male and female, designed for reproductive complementarity. Those are facts of nature. Our sex is part of our nature and essence. However, our various urges regarding the use of our bodies are NOT our nature and essence.
In analogy, our need for nutrition is part of our nature. However, our taste for waffles, or crickets is not our nature, merely “accidentals.” And eating disorders are also not our nature, but are distortions.
“...I will quibble with you in that Christ did say, But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”
In Catholic terms, there is a clear distinction between fleeting temptations that enter the mind unbidden and deliberate ideation that mentally “acts” on those otherwise-fleeting temptations.
This guy writes like a nasal-droning Eurodweeb advertising a luxury car.
This is because they trick us into focusing on "How do I feel? --- because how I feel is who I am") --- rather than on objective acts.
In terms of objective acts, consider the word "sodomy." This is a morally wrong ACT, not a "type of person." Biblically, the act of sodomy is condemned whether it's done by so called heterosexuals or so-called homosexuals, whether it's done with a male, a female, or the family pooch.
The author here is defending traditional Judeo-Christian moral norms and rejecting as a distraction the 19th century (not Biblical!) concept of "sexual orientation."
You're welcome. I thought it would be of interest to you.
I guess my view is that anyone who identifies as “gay” has embraced “sexual orientation” as a stable, inherent attribute of the personality. Which this author would reject.
To then attribute some sort of positive “giftness” to a “gay” orientation, then, is to miss the point altogether.
[ Yes, homosexuality is a 19th century invention. And were stuck with it. ]
??? Didn’t the Romans and Greeks and Ancient Persians and a bunch of other ancient people who were/become corrupt have it as well...
Or is it just the Agenda Mongering these days as recent invention?
That's a great analysis!
However, I would add that the author is also saying that, for example, sodomy is sodomy, whether it's between two men or between a man and a woman.
So basically the gist of this article is that we took the sin and the sinner and gave them a “Tribe” to live in because the Secularo naturalists demanded that in order to fit their cetergorical world view?
Adultery, pornography and contraceptives were once illegal, you know --- in criminal law --- and now they are ubiquitous. Playboy magazine's editors and lawyers and their pornographic allies slogged their way through the courts, from the 1950's until just fairly recently, when all restraint quietly fell away. You didn't notice it, perhaps, but there was a fight. You didn't notice it, but they won.
The victorious political movement that brought us the moral perversions of publically admired adultery, contraception, porn and masturbation has now moved on to the mainstreaming of the many forms of sodomy/onanism -- the overall Biblical word would be porneia --- which are now a bit outre, but soon to be mainstreamed as well.
[ For heterosexuals in particular, getting close to a friend of the same sex ends up seeming perverse, and being moved by his or her beauty feels queer. To avoid being mistaken for gay, these days many self-proclaimed straight peoplemen especiallysettle for superficial associations with their comrades and reserve the sort of costly intimacy that once characterized such chaste same-sex relationships for their romantic partners alone. Their ostensibly normal sexual orientation cheats them out of an essential aspect of human flourishing: deep friendship. ]
I agree 1000% on this, It is hard for two same sex friends to be friends these days without other people thinking they are “Teh G’hey” even if there is no sex/sodomy involved at all.
I would agree with this charactization, which is why, as noted above, I always respond to the left by saying, "Gay is something you do not something you are."
Yes, true --- except I think the author goes further than that.
He points out that according to traditional Christian morality, sodomy with anyone (man, woman, married, unmarried) and for any reason (cold-hearted lust, disordered warm romantic affection, method of avoiding pregnancy, servile pederasty) was condemned as an objectively sinful act.
But now, because of this focus on sexual "orientation," we tend to focus not on the act but on the personal feelings. This tends to valorize mere heterosexuality per se, and thus excuse heterosexual sodomy, marital hetero porn (e.g. spouses watching porn together as an excitant), marital mutual masturbation, and various other forms of hetero sterile buggery.
The author said: The Bible never called homosexuality an abomination. Nor could it have, for as we have seen, Leviticus predates any conception of sexual orientation by a couple of millennia at least. What the Scriptures condemn is sodomy, regardless of who commits it or why.
It strains credibility to read these verses as only condemning the sexual act itself. It seems clear that it is the participants (two males) and not the act who are the problem which Moses condemns.
Leviticus 18:22 - You shall not lie down with a male, as with a woman: this is an abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 - And a man who lies with a male as one would with a woman both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be PUT TO DEATH; their blood is upon themselves.
ConservativeDude wrote: The problem is that Paul does in fact state point blank that those committing the unnatural acts are in an identifiable place outside of Gods grace and under Gods wrath
Paul writes this as someone who knows what it is like to be outside of God's grace and under God's wrath. He was once there. If a hard case like Saul of Tarsus can be converted, then there is hope for even the hardest heart in the homosexual community. It should be pointed out that the pre-grace Paul was thoroughly trained and knowledgeable of the Hebrew Scriptures (including Leviticus) and he apparently saw no reason, post-grace, to abandon condemnation of homosexuality.
Again, I have not read the article, but from the comments I get the impression that the author is just trying to define away Scripture passages which teach something he doesn't want to hear. Maybe his argument is more sophisticated and detailed than most but still of the same ilk. Maybe the Hebrews of the time didn't know of the concept of sexual orientation but they were certainly aware of homosexuality. Anyway, even if the Hebrews didn't understand homosexuality or sexual orientation, the Lord who inspired Moses to write these passages did.
They had views on man-boy love but I don’t think the concept of homosexuality was ever acknowledged. But I’m no expert.
It’s what drives me crazy when people say Leonardo Da Vinci was “gay.”
There is no question whatsoever that the law condemns the acts, and those who commit the acts.
That is not in dispute and cannot be in dispute, b/c that is what is set forth in Scripture. But those same verses do not condemn the “homosexual” in the way that we understand that concept, ie, someone with an orientation...which is real independent of what acts one commits or doesn’t.
I think what can be disputed and I think would be disputed by Paul is that when someone commits a sin (let’s abstract it out here, and deal with theft), that they are then a Thief.
And that somehow that sociological status as a Thief takes on a reality that is something new and not accounted for in Scripture.
It seems that both the OT and Paul agree that there are only two categories that matter: God’s people, and those who are not God’s people. The regenerate and the unregenerate; or, those accepting God’s grace and those living in rebellion.
Those are clearly the main two categories.
The whole of Pauline theology goes to that point.
But...on the other hand, there also does seem to be this indicator from Paul that while categories like Thief (or Homosexual) may not exist in the same way that we modern, sociologically driven folks think they do, still in some way there is a sub-category of those outside of God’s grace who are bring onto themselves a greater condemnation as it were, having been turned over to their depraved mind.
In any event...just a few more thoughts.
On a lighter note, there is long tradition of making comments whether one has read the underlying article or not! I have often availed of that great tradition myself! So no disclosures necessary in that regard!
However, I would add that the author is also saying that, for example, sodomy is sodomy, whether it’s between two men or between a man and a woman.”
Yep, the author is saying that. And that is certainly how I understand the Catholic viewpoint from which the author launches.
I guess my difficulty is that I’m not certain that Paul agrees with that, as he does call out same sex acts as unnatural and deviant in a way which different sex acts are not.
That said, I do think the author is making a very important point and that is that when sinful men create categories, we can’t just acquiesce in them as if they are going to somehow give us a prop against decaying morality. Never works. AT least not in the long term. And that is a very astute reminder!
Delay of game, 5 yard penalty.
“’Heterosexuality,’ as a reified ‘sexual orientation’ does bless or sanction, in my mind, various heterosexual sins.”
Should have been:
’Heterosexuality,’ as a reified ‘sexual orientation’ does NOT bless or sanction, in my mind, various heterosexual sins.”
St. Paul wrote that marriage is an icon of the love of Christ for the Church ... a love that is unique, sacrificial, and life-giving. Do you really think he had oral and anal sex in mind?
I didn’t notice what you considered an error because I thought your first statement was accurate. I think that setting up “heterosexuality,” which is “good and natural,” as a category opposite “homosexuality,” which is “unnatural and abhorrent,” does tend to vitiate heterosexual sins, because, after all, “It’s only natural, it’s the way I was made.”
I don’t think this is required by logic, but I think it naturally follows, because it makes “What one does with Mr. Wiggles” *the* identity-defining characteristic of a person.
My hermeneutic is literal, taking even “fleeting thoughts “ as sinful, as they miss the mark of “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”II Corinthians 10:5; indeed “sin lieth at the door” Genesis 4:7, which as far as I can see is the first use of the term, at least in English translation.
I'm not really sure that the notions of those sorts of activities with a WOMAN ever occurred to Paul.
The author discusses teleology in the article. The ancients were much more accepting of the idea of teleology of things than modern folks in the west, today. It takes a real rejection of the teleology of sex for it to even enter one’s mind to engage in such practices with someone of the opposite sex. My understanding of the ancients was that homosexual acts were meant to mirror, to mimic, the heterosexual act, the difficulty being that men don't have the parts unique to women to actually obtain of the same act, and thus the use of other parts as substitutes.
But why use the substitutes when, with a woman, she's got the right set of parts for the act?
Marriage protection need not rest on religion alone. In fact in the political world to use mere religion to argue in favor of traditional marriage is to surrender the logic and reason side to the enemy.
ALL arguments must be able to stand WITHOUT religion in order to win the day and future.
That's a good question. From what I read on FR ... maybe I was happier when I was a lot more naïve ... there are plenty who have reasons.
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