Progressivism’s Dark Frontier
How can a secular society make moral distinctions? How can it separate right from wrong? This is more of a problem than most people realize, especially in the realm of sexual ethics. A generation of “everything is normal” sex education, mixed with “everything is desirable” Hollywood sit-com and cinema seductions has morally disarmed our civilization. Politicians frame the issue as, “the freedom to love whom you choose,” which it is not. Of course we can love whomever we choose. We may love our parents, our children, and our neighbor’s children. However, we may not have erotic relations with them. The language of freedom and equality, as in “marriage equality” has added to the confusion. Can we say that any form of sexual expression, any form at all is wrong? Or must we say, as it seems we must, that various lifestyle choices are merely a matter of personal preference lying outside the categories of moral judgment? After all, who can be against freedom and equality?
The traditional Christian view is that humanity has a God-given nature. There are those things that are consistent with human nature (e.g. breathing air with lungs; walking with feet) and others that are inconsistent (e.g. breathing underwater; winged flight). Humanity has a given design, purpose, and nature. We ignore that nature at our peril, as when we try to breathe under water or flap our arms as we leap from tall buildings.
So it is with our sexual nature. God made us for heterosexual, monogamous marriage. That is the physiological and biological reality. That alone is the context in which sexual expression may safely take place. The lifelong union of one man to one woman alone is suited to our design. The sexual act is a procreative act. It has other dimensions, but that is its fundamental meaning, its basic biological meaning. When we make other meanings primary, or when we move sexual expression outside of marriage, we pervert it. When we “exchange the natural for the unnatural,” to use the Apostle Paul’s language, we do harm to ourselves, as when we pretend to have gills or wings (Rom 1:26,27).
Christian-influenced civilizations understood this for over a millennia. The west was never in doubt – until recent times. “Everything is normal” sex education, has given us “anything goes” sexual ethics, with dire results.
Are homosexual acts natural or normal? Of course not. They are physiologically unnatural. They are “contrary to nature” (Rom 1:26). As such, they are “shameless acts” driven by “dishonorable passions,” and a “debased mind” (Rom 1:28). Again, western civilization understood this for the better part of 1500 years, and its legal systems were designed to discourage this form of human degradation.
The campaign to normalize homosexuality has been successful. With the acceptance of the “gay” way, a wall came crashing down that may never again be rebuilt. What wall? The wall separating the moral from the immoral. We warned years ago that if and when homosexuality was normalized our ability to make sexual moral distinctions would vanish. Many scoffed at the suggestion.
No one is scoffing anymore. We predicted that polygamy would be next. Today we get to watch “Sister Wives” on television now. Muslims condoned polygamy for centuries and Mormon sects for decades. Consenting adults? What is the objection?
We predicted legitimizing prostitution would follow. “Sex workers” as they are called, have a right to making a living, don’t they? They do in Holland, don’t they? One can choose one’s source of pleasure from the “workers” sitting in display windows in Amsterdam. What possible objection can a secular society raise? Consenting adults, right? Freedom of choice, right? And why not? Sounds animalistic to me, but then, I bring with me the quaint idea that human beings are not animals, that we have a different nature, which the Amsterdam meat market degrades. Consistent with this, have you noticed the mainstreaming of porn stars?
The cover story of the June 9, 2014 issue of Time magazine was entitled, “The Transgender Tipping Point: America’s next civil rights frontier.” The basic idea is that there are women, against all physical evidence, trapped in men’s bodies, and men in women’s. They are “transgendered.” Apparently, what is in the mind of said persons, their feelings of “gender,” their inward, subjective sense of sexual identity, is to be regarded as reality and is beyond question. They are what they think they are. The medical community can assist by prescribing hormone suppressing and hormone enhancing drugs, surgically amputating the organs misassigned by nature and constructing new ones consistent with a transgender’s true identity. Reality is malleable. The transgendered become the transsexual.
On May 30, 2014 the federal government ruled that Medicare can pay for sex “reassignment” surgery. Rapidly laws were passed in California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts barring counselors from attempting to restore normal gender consciousness to those minors with transgender feelings. The public schools in Massachusetts were required to permit transgender youth to use the restrooms that correspond with their gender consciousness though contrary to biological reality: transgender boys may use the girls’ restroom and, we suppose, locker room. Expect crafty boys to make the most of this new civil right. July 26, 2015 the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision made gay marriage a fundamental right in all 50 states. On June 15, 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from discrimination on the basis of sex.
Severed from our Christian roots, our civilization is at sea, adrift, and destined for the rocks. One cannot fight Mother Nature, that is God, for long. Flapping our arms as we plunge toward the street below will sustain flight for only so long.
Back to nature
Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief of Johns-Hopkins Hospital, dealt with the transgender phenomena with refreshing straight-forwardness in his July 13, 2014 article in the Wall Street Journal. It is, he says, “a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.” He calls it an “intensely felt sense” (that of being transgendered) which “constitutes a mental disorder.” The idea of “sex misalignment,” he says, “is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality” (my emphasis).
He likens transgender consciousness to the disorder suffered by the anorexic and bulimic, whose self-perception “departs from physical reality,” believing they are overweight when, in fact, they are dangerously thin. “The disordered assumption,” he says, “is that the individual differs from what seems given in nature – namely one’s maleness or femaleness.” A more complete rejection of physical reality, of creation, and the Creator can scarcely be imagined.
Back to God
The emperor has no clothes. No surgical procedure coupled with a hormonal drug regimen can alter reality. The patient remains a man or woman, though mutilated by the removal of certain organs. “‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” McHugh insists. “Rather,” he continues, “they become feminized men or masculinized women.”
Among the more compelling qualities of Christianity is that it corresponds with reality. The universe exists; the Bible teaches there is an external Source from which it came. The universe displays intelligent design; the Bible teaches there is an Intelligent Designer. The world is in a flawed condition; the Bible teaches there was a fall. Human beings have moral convictions; the Bible teaches us that God has written His law into human hearts. Human beings aspire to know God; Jesus is the Bread of Life who satisfies our soul’s hunger and quenches our soul’s thirst.
So it is with God’s law. What God commands is for our good. His laws are suited to our nature and promote our well-being. If only our contemporaries would see this, and turn back from their rebellion against Reality and restore sanity to our once Christian-shaped civilization.
Terry L. Johnson is the senior minister of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA. He is author of various books, including Leading in Worship, Worshipping with Calvin, Serving with Calvin, The Identity and Attributes of God, and Who Am I? What the Bible teaches about Christian identity.
TAGS: marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism, Paul McHugh, Romans 1:26-28