In 2003, a political event occurred that brought homosexuals and their supporters to the brink of rationality. Their proximity to the edge caused a furor that made news nationwide. The event brought to mind the legendary reaction of vampires to the light. When it hits their skin, they burst into flames, screaming in panic and pain, thrashing with violent efforts to escape illumination.
In 2003, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum made the following statement in a press interview:
“If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”
The public was appalled, and Rick Santorum was universally excoriated for his comments. “How dare you equate homosexuality with sick, deviant behaviors like incest.” Santorum was attacked mercilessly on all fronts because his comments were perceived to be prejudiced and homophobic. The airwaves were awash with talk of Santorum’s despicable equation of homosexuality with pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, incest, polygamy, and others.
The world that excoriated him was brushing up against the light of rationality, flailing defensively at the prospect of illumination. They reminded me of gremlins screaming frantically about the “Bright Light! Bright Light!” Gay rights advocates snarled, “How dare he! Everyone knows that pedophilia is immoral. Homosexuality involves sex between two consenting adults. Children are not capable of consenting to such activities. Rick Santorum is despicable for making such a comparison.”
Unfortunately, this response falls short of answering a crucial question—If homosexuality is right, what justifies the condemnation of other sexual behaviors as aberrant? Another way to ask the question is “To what absolutes do you appeal to justify certain sexual behaviors while at the same time condemning those with which you disagree?
The question of absolutes must be posed in order to justify moral judgments of another human being’s moral choices. Therefore, if you believe that pedophilia is absolutely wrong, by what absolute do you then affirm homosexuality? During the controversy, the ubiquitous defense was the criteria of mutual consent—Children, of course, are unable to give mutual consent. Therefore pedophilia is wrong.
My question in response is “Can you demonstrate that the criteria of “mutual consent” is absolute? Or is this simply an assertion based upon natural or cultural sensibilities?" If it is only an assertion based upon natural or cultural sensibilities, what makes those natural or cultural sensibilities superior to the natural or cultural sensibilities of those who disagree? For example, what about cultures throughout history that have practiced pedophilia or the marriage of young children? Many ancient cultures infamously practiced both pedophilia and homosexuality. Many modern countries and cultures still endorse the marriages of barely pubescent children. My own great-grandmother was thirteen when she married her twenty-eight year old husband (No comments about West Virginia please). What makes the natural and cultural sensibility that objects to pedophilia superior to the sensibilities of these other cultures?
On the other hand, if their defense is grounded only upon an appeal to natural or cultural sensibilities, why then are the natural and cultural sensibilities of modern millions who condemn homosexuality regarded as homophobic and prejudicial? In other words, what makes their support of homosexuality right and my vehement opposition to it wrong?
The answer to these questions must exist in the form of an absolute—a principle that transcends time, place and culture, and obliges all people everywhere to affirm the same moral conclusions. I do not believe that homosexuals and their supporters have such an absolute to appeal to—one that affirms homosexuality while condemning, for example, pedophilia. If homosexuality is morally permissible, then there are no absolute grounds to condemn other aberrant sexual behaviors. The bottom line is that the embrace of homosexuality is irrational when juxtaposed with the condemnation of pedophilia, polygamy, incest, bestiality, and any other sexual behaviors depraved minds can imagine.
Rick Santorum’s comments brought supporters of homosexuality to the edge of the precipice of rationality. However, they shrunk back in frantic, defensive terror at the implications. When the light of rationality was shed upon their depravity, they screamed bloody murder. Like vampires and gremlins, those who affirm homosexuality are terrified of illumination.
John 3--This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
Romans 1--For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Post Script--Rick Santorum embraced a moral political agenda that I believe was beyond the scope of governmental authority. While his comments shed some light, there were serious problems with his political agenda, and I am pleased that he is no longer in office to impinge upon the domain that belongs exclusively to the Church. See this post for an explanation.