A Review of Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything by Robert R. Reilly
As the demand for acceptance of same-sex marriage marches forward, onlookers are increasingly bewildered over the severe punishments meted out for noncompliance, the case of Aaron and Melissa Klein, who have been fined $150,000 for declining to bake a wedding cake for two women, being but one recent example. In Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything, Robert R. Reilly explains why this is happening.
The divide over same-sex marriage is about a lot more than sex. At root, it's a clash between two fundamentally different perceptions of reality. On one hand is the Natural Law understanding, which stretches back to Aristotle. It sees man as a rational being, for whom the basic social unit is the family, and it sees nature (reality) as teleological. That is, nature and the things we find in it are ordered toward a purpose that preexists them and is immutable and inseparable from their being.
According to Natural Law philosophy, sex is spousal. Its purpose is to unite husbands and wives in stable marriages that will foster stable families for the stability of the polis. Because sex is so powerful, its energy must be channeled toward this generative end for the good of all. This has historically been the justification for state endorsement of sexual continence in heterosexual marriage and public censure of sodomy as disordered and universally destructive.
Challenging this longstanding view is the historically novel conception of Jean Jacques Rousseau, which says that man has passions but no inherent nature, purpose, or primal familial ties. His purpose and place in the world, indeed, the very meaning of his existence, is left for him to construct for himself, usually in relation to the state. In the Rousseauian view, there is no teleology to sex. Therefore, anything goes.
The Psychology of Rationalization
Anything, that is, except the proscriptions of Natural Law. The reason for this lies in the psychology of moral failure. "For any individual, moral failure is hard to live with because of the rebuke of conscience," Reilly writes. Such failure "can be tolerated only by creating a rationalization to justify it." This is the animating force driving acceptance of homosexuality. "Since only the act of sodomy (along with other peculiarly homosexual practices) differentiates an active homosexual from a heterosexual, homosexuals want 'government and society' to affirm that sodomy is morally equivalent to the marital act."
This rationalization must then be universalized, because those who suppress the rebuke of conscience "are interested not in finding the truth, but in maintaining the illusion that allows them to continue their behavior." The rest of us will be compelled to cooperate, and holdouts will be eliminated by whatever means necessary. Such is the temper of a revolution.
The End of Revolution
Same-sex marriage acceptance has advanced under the banner of human rights, but its activists have apparently forgotten that the very concept of human rights rests on Natural Law. "Without the family," Reilly writes, "there are no villages . . . and without villages, there is no polis. In other words . . . there is no state." "Marriage does not need the government to exist. Rather, the government needs marriage in order to exist."
If the Natural Law understanding is true, then the triumph of homosexual marriage "rights" will end up annihilating the state. In other words, if they win, they lose. Trouble is, as Reilly shows, the rest of us lose, too. Such, too, is the nature of revolution.Terrell Clemmons is a freelance writer and blogger on apologetics and matters of faith. This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #31, Winter 2014 Copyright © 2019 Salvo | www.salvomag.com https://salvomag.com/article/salvo31/the-temper-of-a-revolution