By JAMES K. FITZPATRICK
I would wager that readers of this publication have heard — or made — comments like this for many years now: “Can you believe this?” “There’s got to be an end to this madness somewhere.” “Twenty years ago people would have thought you were insane if you said the country would be considering something as ridiculous as this.” “Will they ever be satisfied?”
The comments are directed, as you probably have guessed, at the seemingly endless demands by the secular left to transform the borders of what should be acceptable regarding sexual behavior. The pattern is now routine: as soon as we surrender to one demand for greater permissiveness, we get another demand for something more radical, more outlandish, more bizarre by the standards of the past.
Think back. We have gone to demands for looser standards for divorce, to the insistence that the sale of contraceptives be made legal, to the demand that taxpayers provide them free of charge; to calls for an end to restrictions on the distribution of pornography; to the push to end legal sanctions against homosexual behavior; to the legalization of abortion; to the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage; to court cases requiring bakers and photographers to provide their services for same-sex marriage ceremonies; to the campaign for LGBTQ rights and transgender bathroom rights; to requirements that prisons and the U.S. military provide transgender medical procedures.
Once the left secures the “reform” in question, they gather their forces and move on to the next demand. Were you among those who were startled when the left moved so quickly, once their demand for civil unions for homosexual couples was accepted by society, to demand the legalization of same-sex marriage? I was.
What will be the next demand? Will it be an end to restrictions on sexual behavior between adults and minors, as called for by groups such as the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA)? Or perhaps a drive to legalize polygamy and incest?
I would put my money on a call for acceptance of NAMBLA’s demands. Regardless of the protestations to the contrary by “respectable” and “mainstream” homosexual activists, “gay” literature and films glamorize the sexual behavior championed by NAMBLA. It is not treated as beyond the pale in those venues. “Gay” standup comics routinely joke about the excitement of seducing the high school quarterback.
There is another question we have to consider: What is the common denominator in the long track record of these demands from the left regarding sexual activity?
It is not self-evident to me that those who want to make it easier to secure a divorce or an abortion should also want legalized pornography; that someone who wants the taxpayers to provide free contraceptives in our high schools would also want those schools to provide transgender bathrooms. Yet they do. It always happens: the next, more radical phase of the sexual revolution moves to center stage, with broad-based support in “progressive” circles.
Why is the left never satisfied?
The answer seems to me clear. It is because the individual calls for “reform” are part of a package, a continuum. The goal is to “free” mankind from the idea that there is normalcy regarding sex. One can see why: If normalcy exists, there must be guidelines defining it, a natural law. And if there is a natural law it must be based on a design for the universe, and a Creator who defines that purpose, a God.
There is no way around it: The denial of the existence of God is central to the sexual revolution — even if not every supporter of each specific demand along the way gets the big picture. (There are fellow travelers in this campaign.)
The goal is to deny the existence of God as the source of truth, to deny the Christian belief that Jesus was the Word made Flesh who provided mankind with a universal path to salvation. The sexual revolution’s call to “do your own thing” is the bumper-sticker version of this view of life. It is why the proponents of the sexual revolution call upon us to live by the maxim “If it feels good do it,” which is the antithesis of “Take up your cross and follow me.”
If there is a God and a natural law for mankind based on His design for the universe, then the pursuit of pleasure, sexual or otherwise, is not the ultimate goal for the individual. Beyond that, if there is a God who is the source of truth, it ought not be the objective of a good society to make the pursuit of individually defined pleasure available to its members as freely as possible. A good society recognizes higher stakes.
It was this understanding of a healthy society that led American lawmakers in the not so distant past to make it difficult to secure contraceptives and abortions, to engage in homosexuality and access pornography. It is why our laws promoted traditional marriage and families. Sensual pleasure was not seen as an end in itself. Indeed, it was the consensus that pursuing sensual pleasure without self-discipline and moral guidelines would lead to both personal and societal disorder, to lives in turmoil. And disorder equals unhappiness. Look at Madonna. Look at Ashley Judd.
Whittaker Chambers understood this as far back as the 1950s. In the following passage from Witness, he was speaking specifically of the Soviet Union and its supporters. But we should keep in mind that Marxism is a subset of leftism. Leftists of every sort share in the syndrome Chambers describes:
“Hence the Communist Party is quite justified in calling itself the most revolutionary party in history. It has posed in practical form the most revolutionary question in history: God or man? If man’s mind is the decisive force in the world, what need is there for God? The crisis of the Western world exists to the degree in which it is indifferent to God. It exists to the degree in which the Western world is so dazzled by the logic of the materialist interpretation of history, politics, and economics, that it fails to grasp that, for it, the only possible answer to the Communist challenge: Faith in God, or Faith in man? is the challenge: Faith in God. . . .
“It is not new. It is, in fact, man’s second oldest faith. Its promise was whispered in the first days of Creation under the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil: ‘Ye shall be as gods’.”