In another case in the annals of conservative "adaptation" to yesterday's liberal innovation, Ohio Republican senator Rob Portman has just announced that he now supports faux marriage. The change was motivated, he said, by his son having come out to him and his wife as a homosexual.
Well, it's a good thing his son didn't announce that he was involved in bestiality.
Talk about a pandering parent.
We can also talk here about letting your personal life influence your public policy. If I were a statesman and learned that a child of mine were hooked on cocaine or had joined the Taliban, I wouldn't change my position on drug policy or terrorism. Of course, Portman has said that his son's revelation inspired some soul searching, and, true, life events can spur thought and intellectual growth. But is his decision really the fruits of sound intellectual analysis?
In an interview on his Obamaesque evolution, Portman talked about his "Christian faith," "love and compassion," and the Golden Rule. As to the last thing, I would certainly want others to do unto me as they would have me do unto them (unless they happen to be masochists), and this would include leading me toward Truth and virtue — not away from them.
And while Jesus espoused the Golden Rule, He also said, "[H]e that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me." The fact is that God and His law come even before family; "Blood is not thicker than morality," as Dr. Laura Schlessinger once put it. And while this may seem a harsh prescription, it is actually the only way to do right by your family. I'll explain.
Portman cares about his son's happiness, as any parent would. But what breeds happiness? Aristotle pointed out that virtue (good moral habits) is a prerequisite for a happy life, and this is where God's law comes into play. To start with a simple example, it may seem to make a little child happy at the moment if you allow him to eat a quart of ice cream for dinner, play all day instead of tending to education, or steal a toy from a store. Yet we know that such indulgence wouldn't breed the virtue of temperance, industriousness, or honesty and wouldn't lead to happiness. Likewise, would we encourage a grown son to deal drugs or steal cars if the money realized thereby seemed to make him happy?
The point is that the loving thing isn't always to give people what they want, but what they need. And this is where a person's yardstick for decision-making matters. If we're emotion-oriented, we'll likely put too much stock in someone's feelings and give him what he wants even when those feelings contradict moral law.
Unfortunately, this is common nowadays due to our descent into moral relativism. After all, we can't use morality — which, properly understood, refers to rules for man's behavior that originate outside of man — as a yardstick if we don't believe it exists. And this is precisely relativism's underlying message, with its claim that what we call "morality" is just a function of man's collective preferences. And without this awareness of moral reality, emotion becomes the most compelling yardstick for behavior available.
And we live in the age of emotion. As American Thinker's Rick Moran recently put it when discussing Portman's situation, "As more and more Americans realize that they are related to, or work with, or live next to someone who is gay, it is inevitable that acceptance follows." It's absolutely true that this is how it works — among people detached from Truth — which is a good argument for why certain things should never be allowed out of the closet in the first place. But, again, it makes no sense and, furthermore, is a recipe for disaster. Why? Because it eliminates morality by reducing decisions about human behavior to popularity or "majority vote." The Vikings stole for a living, the Aztecs engaged in human sacrifice on a massive scale, and for most of history slavery was a universal. And these things were accepted because they were common. But if a people wishes to become or remain civilized, their yardstick for behavior cannot be "Hey, everybody's doing it."
Mr. Moran also said in his commentary, "More and more sons and daughters are outing themselves [as homosexuals] to their parents who are then faced with the stark choice of disowning their children or embracing them." But the second part of this is untrue. If a child is hooked on drugs, are the only two choices disowning or embracing? Between those two extremist errors is an enlightened position called "hating the sin but loving the sinner."
Of course, it is true that more and more children are coming out as homosexuals. What is also true, however, is that more and more are getting into homosexuality in the first place. I know, the common response here is that people are "born that way." Save it. Pederasty was institutionalized in ancient Spartan military camps, with 12-year-old boys being attached to older men who would become their mentors and lovers. But were the Spartans so different genetically? Were they all "born that way"?
Regardless of what genetic and intrauterine factors one may consider relevant (I treated this in-depth here), any sane person understands that there is an enormous psychological component to man's sexuality. This is why it's so destructive when, through the schools and popular culture, we send kids the message that sexual experimentation is okay. "Hey, try it; you may like it. It's all genetic, anyway, so you need to discover what you really are." The fact is that a young person's sexuality can be twisted with relative ease, but, unfortunately, cannot be straightened out nearly as easily, which is why sexual problems can be so intractable. This is why Judeo-Christian sexual guide rails are so important and why C.S. Lewis once wrote, "Sexuality is not messed up because it was put in the closet. It was put in the closet because it was messed up."
Mr. Moran concludes his commentary about the increasing acceptance of homosexuality with the line, "All we can be sure of is that the future will look different than the present." No doubt. And it is clear how the future of the American republic looks.