The Midwest Region Leadership of the Society of Christian Philosophers, Richard Swinburne, and Homosexuality

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Distinguished Christian philosopher Richard Swinburne spoke at the Midwest Regional Meeting of the Society of Christian philosophers and defended the view that homosexual acts were objectively disordered and morally wrong. This has been the traditional Christian position from the beginning, until pseudo-sophisticated contemporary “Christians” decided to oppose traditional Christian morality. For Swinburne’s sin against “diversity” and political correctness, Michael Rea, president of the Midwest Region of the SCP, on his Facebook page, sharply criticized Swinburne, stating that Swinburne’s views “are not that of the SCP” and that he (Rea) is committed to “diversity” and “inclusion.” Disappointingly, the Evangelical philosopher Tom Morris and the Thomist, Eleonore Stump, praised Rea’s post. The latter is a particular disappointment, for I have long admired her treatment of St. Thomas, and in the past she was wholly orthodox (with a small “o”) in her beliefs. I hope I am misunderstanding her point.

Rea’s statement that Swinburne’s views do not reflect those of the SCP is misleading–Christina van Dyke argued in a response to Rea’s post that the point was that the SCP does not have official positions on issues. ┬áVan Dyke’s statement is disingenuous, since the tone of Professor Rea’s message was clearly negative toward Professor Swinburne’s positions, and the sense was that any member of the SCP should agree with Rea’s commitment to “inclusion” and “diversity.”

It is a shame that Christian philosophers have decided to exclude people because of their positions on issues, clearly a form of exclusion and a denial of diversity. I hope that orthodox Christians are not forced to form their own separate organization for the protection of their academic freedom, but they may be driven to that point.

So here is my own heresy against political correctness on the issue of homosexual practice: Homosexual orientation itself is not sinful, but is contrary to nature (objectively disordered). However, acting on homosexual desires is morally wrong and a sin against God. It is not the worst of sins; people who hate homosexuals are sinning far worse than homosexuals who act on their feelings. But bad behavior by Christians who oppose homosexual behavior does not make homosexual practice right. That has been the historic teaching of the church, and despite Pope Francis’ ambiguous statements, it is still the official position of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Churches and a number of conservative Protestant denominations. I will never apologize for this position.

 

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Curt Shilling and Corporate Support of Perversion

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It is no surprise to me that ESPN fired Curt Shilling over his Facebook post criticizing “transgendered” people. While the photo Shilling used was a bit risque, his comments were in line with natural law and common sense. Despite those academics and leftists who believe in the “social construction of reality” and that “sex is biological, but gender is socially constructed,” reality continues to rise above the grave the Left has tried to dig for it.

Leftists claim that since there are some people born as hermaphrodites, and the doctor “chooses” their gender for them, this means that gender distinctions are wholly social in nature. However, this is not the case–it is inaccurate to look for standards of normality in the aberrant. No one does this in ordinary life. If a child is born with a heart defect, no one says, “This is normal, so we should accept the child as is and do nothing for her.” Instead, surgeons correct the problem. If a schizophrenic cannot function due to paranoid delusions, we do not say, “That’s just normal for him; we can let him be as is and protect his schizophrenic status.” Instead, we give him medication to regulate his serotonin levels. If someone says, “I was born as a man but feel like a woman,” then the best thing for that person is treatment of his delusion rather than celebrating his alleged “self-chosen gender.”

Gender is sex. That is a biological fact, and no amount of slick language by social constructionists can change that face. Transgendered people are pretending they are something they are not. They are men play-acting at being women and vice-versa. Their behavior is a perversion of human nature. The contemporary “acceptance” of such perversion as “normal” is insane and a denial of reality.

Mr. Shilling’s comments, while stated in rather colloquial language, were on the spot. They are true. ESPN cannot hide that truth by firing Mr. Shilling. ESPN and other multinational corporations have become supporters of perversion. They oppose North Carolina keeping the common-sense distinction between men’s and women’s restrooms. They bully states who pass such laws or who try to pass such laws, attempting to force them into submission–or they make policies forcing their radical social agenda on the public. An example is Target’s recent decision to allow “transgendered” men and women to use restrooms of the opposite sex.

As James Kalb has noted, Corporations desire human beings to be machines who can be molded at will into tools for the corporations to make money. They promote a libertine attitude toward perversion because people who “exclude” get in the way of a “harmonious workforce,” that is, a group of interchangeable parts.

States must resist such corporate pressure. North Carolina is doing the right thing in holding firm to the law requiring separate restrooms for the sexes. It is time for states where most people still hold to some kind of natural law view of human beings to resist the corporations. Support small business and much as possible. Stop giving mega corporations tax breaks. If companies bully over “the transgendered,” ban those companies from doing business in the state. We are submissive to corporate support of evil because we have willingly submitted ourselves as de facto slaves to powerful multinational corporations. It is time for people who have not been brainwashed by academia, the media, and Hollywood to stand against corporations who desire to force the anti-natural down people’s throats.

ESPN, like most media, is controlled by Leftists who are reshaping the United States into a twisted wasteland of moral relativism and sexual perversion. Mr. Shilling should be proud of standing for the truth, even though he lost his job. If enough people stand for the truth, perhaps corporate profits can be cut, and that is the one factor that matters to corporate executives. This was shown when Cracker Barrel reversed its decision to avoid carrying “Duck Dynasty” products after Phil Robertson’s statements against homosexual activity. Many of its customers were Christians, and they stood up in mass against the new policy–and their voices mattered. More Christians and other people of all backgrounds who oppose sanctioning perversion should stand up to corporate moguls and say, “No more!”

A Failed Experiment

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On June 26, 2015, the United States of America became a failed political and social experiment. With the legalization of homosexual marriage by the United States Supreme Court, the destruction of the American family via law came to final fruition. The destruction began with easy divorce, which had already occurred in some jurisdictions as early as the late nineteenth century. This trend was completed by “no-fault” divorce in the 1970s. Easy access to new birth control techniques led to a separation of marriage from procreation. Such separation need not have occurred; society should have affirmed that a marriage should be open to children at some point even if birth control were used at other times in the marriage. That did not happen, and marriage became a matter of “feelings” rather than a sacred institution surrounded by particular rules and expectations. The only rules and expectations now allowed are feelings of “love;” thus the obscene phrase used in some contemporary weddings that the couple stay married “as long as love shall last.” Marriage became separated from permission to have sexual intercourse, and millions of people took that point to its logical conclusion and practiced premarital sex. Abortion was legalized in case birth control failed or was not used. Longer-lasting relationships became what used to be called “shacking up.” With marriage only a voluntary contract involving love between two people, the next logical step was the legalization of marriage between homosexuals. The majority opinion by SCOTUS followed the trends in societal “development” to their logical conclusion.

The social harm caused by easy divorce and rampant illegitimacy is clear to anyone who is not blind. Rising crime rates, children without a sense of identity or purpose, heartbroken spouses and children after a divorce, abortion used merely as birth control, the loss of a coherent sense of family, the redefinition of “family” to include almost any voluntary association, and lonely old people are all the products of this social revolution.

Modern people believe that they can redefine natural relationships by the exercise of their wills. Thus, many moderns believe that if they call gay unions “marriages” that they are marriages. For thousands of years human societies have defined marriage as between a man and a women (or a man and women or a woman and men in polygamous and polyandrous societies). Marriage was rightly thought to be a natural relationship, and at its best this understanding emphasized both procreation and the union between one man and one woman. Marriage cannot be as easily separated from procreation as the so-called “progressives” claim. This is because a man and a woman are essential for the formation of new human life. Even if homosexuals adopt or use artificial insemination to have children related at least to one partner, a woman must carry the child to term. There are differences between men and women’s emotional responses to children that are complementary to one another. The terms “maternal instinct” and “maternal bond” did not arise out of mere imagination. There have already been studies revealing that children of homosexual couples do not fare as well emotionally as children from a man-woman home. The Left tries to discount or suppress these studies–or they attribute the difficulty of such children to societal prejudice against homosexuals–yet any violation of the natural order will harm people–inevitably.

The United States (as well as Canada and some countries in Western Europe) are engaging in a social experiment that is bound to fail. The fall of Western society may not take a year or five years, but without a fundamental turning back from the course it is taking its collapse is inevitable. President Putin of Russia understands this and understands that rampant homosexuality is one of the causes (though not by any means the only or main cause) of Russia’s population decline.

Advocates of homosexual marriage become angry when opponents use the slippery slope argument, but they should take it more seriously. If marriage is only related to “love” to “feelings” between two individuals, why can’t a fifty year old man and a fifteen year old girl get married if they are in love? How about children even younger? Why can’t a man marry his sister or mother or aunt? What about animals? Some people are fond of animals and engage in sexual intercourse with them. In Western Europe, animal brothels, in which people pay for sex with animals, are becoming more common. While everyone may condemn animal brothels, what if the animal is a beloved pet who does not mind sex with the human being. Why not hold a marriage ceremony? A chimpanzee can use sign language; it might even “assent” to a marriage. These are indeed horrible things, but their legalization follows from the same logic that generated the legalization of homosexual marriage.

There is also a danger that traditional Christians who oppose homosexual marriage will be persecuted for their beliefs. What if a homosexual “married” couple tries to join a church that opposes homosexual practice? Suppose this couple is told of the church’s teaching and continues to affirm that they are right and the church is wrong. If the church excommunicates or disfellowships the couple, can it be sued for discrimination? Can a minister or rabbi that refuses to marry a gay couple be arrested? Given the invention of a constitutional right to homosexual marriage, is the written constitution really a guarantee against laws discriminating against traditional Christians and Jews (and Muslims as well, though the Left tends to make them an exception since they are not Christian)?

The country in which I was reared no longer exists. In the meantime, I will in my garden, pick my crops, can, and be outside in a world where natural law operates despite human will. I will go to church and worship the Trinitarian God. These things help me keep sane in a world that has gone mad.

The Supreme Court Abuses Power Yet Again

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English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

English: The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2009. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Antonin G. Scalia, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I can understand why the Supreme Court would invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act (marriage has been traditionally a state, rather than a federal, matter), I do not understand its voiding of California’s Proposition 8 banning same-sex marriage. That act was passed by the majority of the people of the state of California–yet the majority of the Supreme Court (with Justice Kennedy getting up on the left side of bed this time) once again imposed its radical view of morality onto the American people.This ruling is a clear violation of state’s rights (if the term has any meaning left after being gutted by the federal courts). With the 14th Amendment imposing de facto slavery on the states to federal decrees, any other state that tries to ban same sex marriage will probably not be able to do so without its law being overturned by dictatorial decree. Any attempt to defy federal law via nullification will result in a stiff monetary–or worse–penalty by the overarching federal government onto the states. The United States is, in effect, a dictatorship in which the majority of people have been overwhelmed by elitist academics, Hollywood radicals, and their supporters in government. The federal government has the long arm of power enforced by tax policy, by federal law enforcement agencies, and by perhaps one of the greatest threats to American freedom, a large standing army.

The Supreme Court ruling affirmed a lower court ruling that described moral views on marriage as private matters not to be imposed on all people. To call marriage, a fundamental institution of all human societies, a private matter and not a matter of public policy is absurd. The radical individualism ensconced in the Enlightenment has finally come home to roost.

Traditionalists of all religions and ideologies who oppose this ruling may find themselves subject to persecution in the future. In academia, such persecution is already in place in some colleges, universities, and in the public school system. The radicals who, since 1969, have been pushing a homosexual lifestyle down the American people’s throats (pun intended), have won politically. They should focus on changing the culture, and if persecuted, pray and live virtuous lives, as the ancient Christians in the Roman Empire attempted to do. At least Christians know that evil–whether it be the evil of federal abuse of power or of radicals finishing off the destruction of traditional marriage that had already begun with easing divorce laws in the nineteenth century–will not finally triumph over good.

In a fallen world, even the best of intentions for good government go wrong over time. The United States has outspent its time as a republic, and with the virtue of people falling and the family failing, the end of the nation as those of my age has known it is only a matter of time (and a short time, I believe). May God strengthen those who have not bowed their knees to Baal.

Ideology as Platonism

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English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco...

English: The School of Athens (detail). Fresco, Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I was responding to a Facebook post regarding same-sex marriage. As usual, I was irenic, I presented the classic natural law arguments against that practice, and since the person to whom I was responding was Christian, I presented the arguments from Holy Scripture and from Catholic tradition. Instead of engaging in a reasonable discussion over an important societal issue, my respondent (who is homosexual) proceeded to say I was demeaning her, that made her feel less than a person, that she despised people like me. In other words, she resorted to an abusive ad hominem attack instead of rationally responding to my arguments.

The homosexual rights movement is one of many ideologies that came out of the 1960s and early 1970s. Feminism is another and womanism still another. All these ideologies shared a Marxist interpretation of reality in which the group advocates represented was the oppressed and society at large was the oppressor. Recently, homosexual advocates have begun labeling those who disagree with their lifestyle “haters.” Now this is a characteristic of an ideology–no matter how much compassion I show for homosexuals who are “advocates” (note that not all homosexuals agree with their “representatives”), I am, by definition, labeled as a “hater.” It does not matter that I do not hate homosexuals–the ideology accepts the following syllogism:

All persons who believe that homosexual activity is morally wrong are haters.

This person holds that homosexual activity is morally wrong.

Therefore, this person is a hater.

Given my respondent’s ideology, she had no other way to respond.

All ideologies are Platonic in the sense that they propose overarching visions of reality and apply them from at top-down perspective. That is, like rationalism in general, they do not look to sense experience for justification. The only justification is in terms of the axioms of their system, which are taken to be self-evident. Thus if one axiom says that “Anyone who believes that homosexuality is morally wrong hates homosexuals,” then that axiom applies by definition to all people in that class and cannot be questioned. As is the case with Plato’s transcendent Forms, Descartes’ Cogito, or Leibniz’s monads, reality is forced into the mold of theory instead of the theory being checked by reality.

Some versions (not all) of feminism function the same way. If, by definition, all classic literary works reflect male dominance, then scholars needing publications for tenure can search through texts for code words and sentences that reflect such male domination. In the case of Marxist ideology concerning the economic system, those who are in the bourgeois are, by definition, exploiting the proletariat. Mr. Obama’s use of class warfare recognizes the power of such a position (even though he has been more of a Chinese-style “state capitalist” than a dogmatic Communist). Envy is a powerful emotion, and if it can be justified by definition, then government should “make the rich pay their fair share” (whatever that might be).

Platonic political philosophy supports a top-down view of government–the same government is best for all people–the rule of philosopher kings (and queens). Such a position is held by Neoconservative and social democratic ideologues who desire to “spread democracy to the entire world.” The geography, history, and culture of a particular state is ignored in a naive attempt to mold the state into the pattern preferred by the Neocons or social democratic hawks.

Ideology has a convenient way of resorting to ad hominem arguments when its basic principles are attacked. After all, if they are self-evident, the person who does not recognize them is, at the very least, ignorant–and possibly reprobate as well. This position cuts the ground from under rational discussion of important societal issues and dangerously divides people into hostile groups. Ideology is, as Nietzsche recognized, a form of the “will to power,” and in a society only filled with ideologues the fundamental ethic becomes “might makes right.” This is a prescription for societal chaos. If people feel forced into a corner because of ideological labeling, and rational discussion is out of the question, what is left but assertion of raw physical force?

Aristotle recognized, in theory at least, that understanding the world requires a bottom-up approach. While all observation is “theory laden,” this does not abrogate the fact that knowledge of reality arises from the senses. Thus, unlike Plato, Aristotle placed forms in things, and held that states should follow the system that best suits their history and culture.

As Alasdair MacIntyre recognized, the only way for communities with different values can rationally discuss issues is by having the person in one community “put himself in the shoes” of someone in another community to understand that community’s values. Once that occurs (and it must be a mutual process), then rational discussion can take place. Agreement may not be reached, but there should remain a feeling of mutual respect.

Russell Kirk famously said that conservatism is not an ideology, meaning that the form that conservatism takes in a particular state will depend on the history and culture of that state. Conserving key societal values is not a matter of imposing them, Platonic-Formlike, from above–most likely one will only come up with one’s own a priori values to apply to everyone. Rather, conservatism should have a deep respect for the way things are in the actual world. There may be need for change, but this is done slowly and with appropriate concern for the history of a people.

God forbid that American society melt into a soup of competing ideologies. The end of the United States as we currently know it (what’s left of it, at least) will most likely result.

The Whining of the “I’m Outraged” Crowd about North Carolina

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State seal of North Carolina

State seal of North Carolina (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

North Carolina voters passed the marriage amendment with a vote of 61% in favor and 39% against. In my own county (Cumberland) the vote was 69% for and 31% against. With the cry from the Left and from many of the “intelligentsia” (notice the quotation marks), one would think that the world is coming to an end. To the elites of society, North Carolina is full of backwoods people who are not enlightened enough to support same-sex marriage. To the majority of the people of North Carolina, the “elites” are out of touch with natural law, with Christianity, and with their fundamental values, values that would have been accepted by the majority of the “elites” only forty years ago. Calm down, ye “outraged.” What has happened in North Carolina is in the state constitutions of thirty states; this is not some new thing that makes North Carolina unique. Instinctively, the majority of people now and throughout history have recognized that marriage is only between a man and a woman. “Oh, the horror,” say the elites. “An appeal to nature is a fallacy.” Really, now. To the modern and contemporary worlds, nature is considered to be infinitely malleable by human will, so it would not make sense to modernity to appeal to a stable natural law. Beliefs do not change facts. Only a man and a woman can produce a child. Appeals to the possibility of cloning do not suffice to argue against the view that in human nature, without massive technological intervention, only a man and woman can bring a child into the world. Usually it is the biological parents that rear the child, and in order for the child to have a stable home, a permanent bond, marriage, has been established by almost all known human societies. There may be differences in the number of spouses allowed and in other details, but all such arrangements are between men and women. Even an enlightened ancient Roman who was tolerant of homosexuality would be horrified at the contemporary attempt to legitimize what cannot be legitimized. Most people recognize this unless they have had this belief educated out of them by liberal and radical elites.

The reason for the vicious anger and personal attacks by supporters of same sex marriage on decisions such as the one the voters made in North Carolina is not mere disagreement. After all, people disagree over many things, but do not post a message on a blog calling the blogger a f….g a…..e, as someone posted to me a couple of weeks ago. This is an issue involving world views: one world view affirms natural law, the other denies it. There may also be a sense among some people that their actions are wrong, and it infuriates them when someone challenges their lifestyle. If they were secure in their beliefs, why would they become so angry? Who knows–judging motivations is risky, but I do know that I am proud of my adopted state of North Carolina for doing the right thing and adding the provision in the state constitution affirming that marriage is only between a man and a woman. If whiners, the outraged, and those who are the real haters wish to attack this vote (and those who supported it) with viciousness, so be it.

Traditional Moral Positions and the Public Square

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Freedom of Speech (painting)

Freedom of Speech (painting) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Canada, it is a crime to publicly assert that practicing homosexuality is a sin. In my ethics class, students regularly write on their essays that being a virgin until marriage is “prudish,” and they do not take seriously the traditional view that couples should refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage. In many academic settings, those who believe abortion to be morally wrong are silenced, to the point that the University Faculty for Life presents an option to its members to hide their membership in the organization so that their colleagues do not find out. The notion that there is objective right and wrong is excluded from most public schools, and moral relativism is taught as the gospel truth (and teaching it as such is, of course a contradiction).

It is true that freedom of speech does not, as the old saw goes, give anyone the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Surely being morally opposed to abortion or to practicing homosexuality or to premarital sex is not the equivalent to shouting “Fire!” Yet such opinions are being increasingly excluded from the public square, in academic institutions first, and then in the wider society.

I believe in academic freedom. If a student or faculty member wishes to defend the moral rightness of premarital sex, of practicing homosexuality, or of abortion, that student or faculty member should be allowed to have a say in the university square. But academic freedom also implies that those with the opposite views on these issues should be allowed to make their case. I am a conservative, but if a liberal student makes a strong case for his position, he will get a good grade on his test and will not be punished for his views. The situation should be the same for a conservative student who makes a good defense of his position in a class with a liberal professor. To give them credit, some liberal professors do give their students such academic freedom and believe in such for their colleagues. There is a subset of professors, however, who want to silence conservative voices, especially on controversial moral issues. Such violation of freedom of speech has taken place in some institutions of higher education, to the point that a professor in one school who presented a natural law argument against homosexual practice (and did not even claim to agree with the argument) was fired–until a court awarded him his job back. The problem is that he should not have lost his job in the first place. What is going on is that hostile rhetoric against moral conservatives is repeated so much that people begin to believe it (“they are haters,” “these people are filled with anger,” etc.). I have never understood why holding moral action A to be wrong implies hating the person who performs moral action A. I wish I could say that such an ignorant position prevails only in academia, but it is present in broader society. More and more the elites in academia, the media, and in Hollywood, are attempting to exclude traditional moral discourse from legitimate discussion and to push their views onto society as a whole. It may be just a matter of time before the United States goes the direction that Canada has gone (depending on election results, court appointees, etc.) and makes illegal conservative moral discourse on abortion and on sexual ethics. I wonder who the real narrow minded people are, the real bigots, the real haters. I would venture a guess that most of them are not moral conservatives.

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