Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Does Monogamy Mean?

I suppose you thought that was clear. I'm sorry to inform you that, while you were out of the room, the definition became highly problematic. It is a telling commentary on the whole sexual revolution that in order to achieve its social-political-legal goals the English language itself must be abused and violated - I almost said raped.

The other day news outlets reported on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America vote to ordain unrepentant, practicing, homosexuals with headlines like this one from The Washington Post: "'Monogamous' Gays Can Serve in ELCA." Straight-forward, right? Wrong.

"Monogamous" here doesn't necessarily mean what you think it means, although there is no hint of the ambiguity pumped into this word by the advocates of the pansexualist agenda in the article - naturally. For an explanation we turn to Terry Mattingly, who is quoted in a recent post by Rod Dreher.

Mattingly, reporting on his experience covering the Ilif School of Theology, a United Methodist seminary attached to the University of Denver, described by one University faculty member as " the most liberal institution in American that still called itself Christian," explains the varying definitions of monagamy held by various liberal groups:

"First of all, there are gay theologians whose definition of this term is very traditional, arguing that gay unions are forever and that those taking vows must remain sexually faithful to one another. Twin rocking chairs forever.

Then, there are those who, in effect, say that “monogamy” essentially means serial monogamy (this, of course, is the definition used by most heterosexuals today in a culture rooted in easy divorce). In other words, things happen and relationships break up. However, partners are supposed to be sexually faithful to one another while the relationship lasts. Twin rocking chairs for right now.

Finally, some say that gay, lesbian and bisexual Christians can be “emotionally” faithful to a partner, while having sexual experiences with other people — secondary relationships that do not threaten the primary, “monogamous” relationship. The twin rocking chairs are symbolic.

There are, of course, lesbigay theologians who reject monogamy and almost all other traditional limits on sexual experience. Take, for example, the trailblazing Episcopal priest and
seminary professor Carter Heyward, author of books such as “Touching Our Strength: The Erotic as Power and the Love of God.”

I think that the radical liberation theologians who think that the future belongs to them and who advise heterosexuals to loosen up and come along for the ride are the most honest of all. They don't just want tolerance for their lifestyle; they want to change your lifestyle because heterosexism (what used to be called the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic) is evil and harmful.

Dreher also points us to some forthright quotes from Andrew Sullivan posted on Kendell Harmon's blog, Titus Online. Sullivan writes:

"Dan [Savage] and I agreed that moderate hypocrisy - especially in marriages - is often the best policy. Momogamy [sic] is very hard for men, straight or gay, and if one partner falters occasionally (and I don't mean regularly), sometimes discretion is perfectly acceptable. You could see [Erica] Jong bridle at the thought of such dishonesty. But I think the post-seventies generation - those of us who grew up while our parents were having a sexual revolution - both appreciate the gains for sexual and emotional freedom, while being a little more aware of their potential hazards. An acceptance of mild hypocrisy as essential social and marital glue is not a revolutionary statement. It's a post-revolutionary one. As is, I'd say, my generation as a whole."

"Same-sex unions often incorporate the virtues of friendship more effectively than traditional marriages; and, at times, among gay male relationships, the openness of the contract makes it more likely to survive than many heterosexual bonds. Some of this is unavailable to the male-female union: there is more likely to be greater understanding of the need for extramarital outlets between two men than between a man and a woman; and again, the lack of children gives gay couples greater freedom. Their failures entail fewer consequences for others."

This is a peek into the post-sexual-revolution world. It is a world where couples are "friends" and promiscuity is normal because "monogamy is hard." You don't hear this kind of honesty on the floor of liberal Protestant denominations as the debate is going on because it would spook the little old ladies and naive bishops who think it's nice that the homosexuals want to become just like us - respectable and all that.

But the deeper problem here is that they are becoming like some of us because once heterosexual monogamy becomes optional (as it did in liberal circles in the 1960's and 70's) then homosexual behaviour starts to look much less alien and ceases to be unthinkable. The unifying principle here is "promiscuity is good, monogamy is bad" - not just for homosexuals, but for all of us.

I have more respect for the radical sexual liberation theologians who are honest enough to tell us ahead of time what is coming down the pike - like Hitler did in Mein Kampf - than the liberal Protestants who pretend that all we are doing is extending the old, traditional, institution of marriage to a group which has up to now been unjustly excluded from it and that no one is trying to change your view of marriage at all.

Please, for the sake of honesty, let us stop pretending. We know where this is heading: toward a society in which marriage as it was prior to the sexual revolution no longer exists and the hook-up culture is universal (except for barely tolerated whackos and nutjobs who still believe in the old traditions). Sex and procreation are becoming completely separated and even sex and friendship will be only loosely connected in this "brave new world."

Aldous Huxley saw it all coming 80 years ago and wrote it down in his book. We can't say we weren't warned that one day soon we would regard monogamy as dirty.

3 comments:

Mr. Brooks said...

I love this blog Dr Carter. Best one on my feed reader. Keep up the great writing!

-Keith Brooks

Craig Carter said...

Keith,
Thanks. Feel free to drop a comment anytime!

D. Chambers said...

Great blog indeed. I was laughing all throughout. Someone said it best when they said reality is more interesting than fiction.

Darnnell