When historians look back at some of the moral currents of the early 21st
century, they will call it an “era of anthropological confusion.” It is
good that we are no longer imprisoning consenting adults for private
activity and that there is robust dialogue of gender and sexual identity
have forthright opinions of sexual identity and morality; however,
these are not the focus of this essay. Persuading folks that disagree
with my Christian convictions is better done in civil, personal dialogue
or in lengthy communication. Here I want to argue that all sides of the
current disputes on gender and sexual identity and practice are missing
an important factor as they seek to persuade, or, in some cases, coerce
conformity to their understanding of what is moral and tolerable.
mistake our entire culture is making on sexuality is profound: we have
made Eros the Almighty and sexual pleasure the defining characteristic
of human identity. This is tragically deficient anthropology, reducing
identity to one’s current sexual proclivities. There are great
complexities involved in how people feel and think about gender and sex,
and no one should feel marginalized. We do, however, need to dialogue
on these issues, especially regarding the education of children, without
labeling and libeling those who disagree with us.
agape love is our starting point, then other loves will find their
place. Agape compels thoughtfulness concerning our loyalties and
pleasures, our motives and our practices. At this juncture I am only
calling for thoughtfulness about sacrificial love. Agape sees people as
made in God’s image, worthy of dignity and respect. Agape love helps
people not objectify others or abuse people for pleasure. Friendships
rooted in mutual interests are possible without the intrusion of
unwelcome erotic demands. Comradery in a cause can include people of all
orientations and persuasions as they sacrifice for the common good.
are more than our erotic passions, wonderful as they are (in boundaries
of morality and mutuality). Choosing self-restraint is not repression,
but a loving decision. People of all persuasions can offer their best
efforts toward the common good. There is still a place for debating
gender and sexual issues in an environment of love and respect. Even
where we radically disagree, a commitment to sacrificial love allows us
to unite for noble causes.
we stop bowing before idols of immediate pleasure and choose noble
pathways of love and service? Can we debate without rancor and stop
labeling and libeling? Our preferred future depends upon a social
compact of principled liberty for all.
In 1984, a Christian poet and dissident from the
Soviet Union wrote a book, “Talking about God is Dangerous.” The wall
has fallen – and our angry culture is building a new one. Freedom for
one is liberty for all…let’s be civil and wise, but never give way to
censorship of ideas. Disagreement is not intolerance and choosing moral
and religious values does not make folks, “phobes.”
Debating our deepest differences with civility is the heart of ordered liberty. My Muslim friends regard Jesus as a prophet…I regard him as God, crucified and risen for my salvation. We disagree. I do not regard Mohammed as a prophet, but I respect my Muslim neighbor’s right to disagree with me. Atheists find my convictions quaint or even dangerous. I disagree with their arguments…and we can be friends. My biblical sexual ethic is at odds with many – and we can make the world a better place together caring for the vulnerable. But please do not castigate my ethics as intolerant.
Will we continue our historical progress toward true toleration or retreat to oppression and castigate anyone not sharing our precise language? I am confident that a free market of ideas produces much better fruit than a world of self-appointed, politically correct marshals waiting to pounce.
Let’s get to work and make our world better, one conversation at a time.
To all who are “triggered” by the free exchange of ideas:
careful what you agitate for…once you go down the road of restricting
liberty of conscience and expression, you will find there is no end to
the paranoia, lust for power, and totalitarianism lurking just below the
surface. We now have the marginal at the center and the center at the
The lessons of the French Revolution, the evils of the USSR’s formation and expansion, Mao’s murderous Cultural Revolution, Pol Pot’s destruction of Cambodia, Iran’s self-immolation…all of these started with words like “freedom” and “the people” and ended with authoritarians killing “counterrevolutionary” people.
Now we have feminist pioneers being eviscerated for not wanting men to compete in women’s sports. Science is thrown out the window and feelings reign supreme. Religious business owners (only Christian, by the way) are targeted for destruction. Arresting thieves becomes a cause for accusations of a “history of racism” with college leaders agitating…and when found out, hiding behind the very First Amendment they hate so much.
Cambridge scholars cannot speak at Oxford. Former Muslims are forced off platforms. Exposure of jihadism becomes a cause for accusation of another “phobe.”
can do better in a free and virtuous society. But we must have the
character and courage to debate without rancor and live peaceably with
our deepest differences.