Stephen Measure

Why It's Worse
November 11, 2015

Those of us who believe sex is only appropriate between husband and wife have grown accustomed to living in a society that says the opposite. Premarital sex is common in movies, books, and TV shows. It's become a lazy way to indicate that a fictional couple is getting serious. Are writers today even capable of showing emotional intimacy in the absence of sex? It doesn't appear so.

Indeed, we live in a society where the assumption today is that sex before marriage is normal and those who choose otherwise are abnormal (and perhaps backwards). Those of us raising children worry about the choices our children will make about sex when such negative influences are pulling them in the wrong direction.

Yet humanity never stands still, and the moral landscape has shifted even further. Now it's not sex before marriage that is the main source of friction within society. Now it's same-sex sexuality. And seeing this change, it's natural to ask the question: Is it any worse? We've already been dealing with widespread acceptance, even encouragement, of sex before marriage. Is dealing with same-sex sexuality any worse?

Yes, it's worse. Allow me to explain why.

But first, some ground rules and clarification. As should be obvious by now, I am writing this from the point of view that same-sex sexuality is morally wrong. If you believe the opposite, then you will disagree with many of my conclusions. However, if your mind is open enough to view the world through the eyes of someone with different beliefs, then perhaps you will gain some insight into how others think about this topic.

In addition, let me be clear that I am not comparing the actions themselves. Both sex before marriage and same-sex sexuality are morally wrong. I see no benefit in saying that one act is more wrong than the other. What I'm doing is comparing the situations around the wrong actions, for it is the situation surrounding same-sex sexuality that is worse. Here are three reasons why.

Reason One: The Remedy Is Worse

If it's wrong for a boyfriend to have sex with his girlfriend, what is the remedy? How do they correct their moral error? In this case, the remedy is straightforward: They need to get married. Then, once married, the action that was immoral is now moral, and the relationship can continue.

That's why it's possible to cheer for the relationship of a man and woman who fall in love, even if they are having sex before marriage. You can recognize their mistake, yet you can know the mistake will go away if they continue forward as a couple and get married.

Think of it like a path. A moral life involves walking along a specific path in a specific direction. Those who choose to have sex before marriage are not on that path, but they are at least headed in the same general direction. And so, correcting their moral error is a matter of stepping out of the briers and stepping onto the path. They can then continue in the direction they were traveling before, except now they will be walking on the smooth path that was designed for the journey.

Contrast that with a same-sex couple who are engaging in same-sex sexuality. What is their remedy? Can they resolve their moral error through marriage? No they can't, because same-sex marriage is a moral nullity. It's nothing more than a legal partnership that some governments have created (often against the express wishes of their citizens). The moral error remains. Same-sex sexuality is morally wrong whether in a same-sex marriage or not. What then is the remedy? It's a harsh one: The couple must break up.

Consider the example of the path once again. Someone who is engaging in same-sex sexuality isn't simply off the side of the path in the briers, they are actually heading in a completely different direction. If they wish to return to the correct path, they must turn around and reject the direction they were previously going. Same-sex marriage only makes this worse. It creates a roadblock in their way, blocking them from returning to the moral path.

If you disagree with same-sex sexuality, why would you ever support same-sex marriage? Why would you support legally locking someone in the wrong direction? Why would you want them to make it harder to correct their error and live as they were meant to live?

At the heart of this comparison is a common misconception. When discussing same-sex sexuality, many try to compare same-sex couples to unmarried couples, but that is not the correct comparison. An unmarried couple has a potential moral future, but a same-sex couple does not. The correct comparison for same-sex couples is to an adulterous couple. Just like with same-sex sexuality, adultery has no clean resolution. A relationship must end. The remedy requires pain.

Reason Two: Our Society Forbids Change

Should a parent worry more about their child having sex before marriage, or should a parent worry more about their child engaging in same-sex sexuality? They should worry about both of course, but they should worry doubly about same-sex sexuality. Why? Because the moment your child has taken one step down that path, our society will forbid them from ever leaving.

Imagine your son is cohabiting with his girlfriend. If they choose to get married, what is society likely to say about it? Nothing really, certainly nothing negative other than corny jokes. In general, everyone will congratulate them. Getting married will be seen as a good thing. The couple certainly won't be told that getting married is denying who they are.

The situation with same-sex sexuality, however, is very different. The moment someone starts to engage in same-sex sexuality, our society will immediately label them as 'gay.' And that label is not something anyone is permitted to ever remove. No, our society claims that that is who they are and they can never change because to change would mean they are denying who they are.

But what if they do change? Sure, the attraction might linger, but behavior is a choice, and what if they choose to reject same-sex sexuality? What if they decide they want to turn around and return to the correct path? What is our society likely to say about that? I think you already know, and I think you can imagine how loudly society will scream at anyone who dares even consider the possibility.

Because if one person can change, then that means others can change too, which means the whole idea around 'being gay' is incorrect. Consider the stakes that are involved here. Consider the enormous political weight.

We are not our attractions. We can choose to reject them. But if the attraction you are rejecting is same-sex attraction, then you should expect fierce resistance when you try to do so. And that's why it's worse. Yes, premarital sex is wrong, but at least our society won't declare war against you when you decide to change for the better.

Reason Three: The Magical Cloud Elves

If an eighteen-year-old college student moves into the dorms of a party campus, isn't it common sense that they will be more likely to engage in the hookup culture than someone living at home and attending a church university? We are influenced by those around us. We know this. Yet, for some reason, we ignore this simple truth whenever the discussion turns to same-sex sexuality.

It's as if we believe everyone is labeled by magical elves in the clouds, making us permanently gay or straight before the stork swoops out of the sky and drops us off to our parents. What nonsense. We aren't magically locked in one position or the other. We're flexible. We're open to influence by others.

But on the topic of same-sex attraction, we turn off our brains. "Yes", we say, "everything else about us might be open to influence, but not our sexuality. No, our sexuality is special. Our sexuality is predetermined. No matter what happens around us, our sexuality will never change. Why? Because of the magical cloud elves, of course!"

And that's why it's worse. This is a desire that anyone could have developed. But now when someone does develop it, we declare that they are different from the rest of us and must live a different life from the rest of us even though the rest of us might be in their shoes if only our circumstances had been different.

Is that too much for you to accept? Fine. Let's set the development of the desire to one side and just focus on the reaction to that desire. When a youth first realizes they feel same-sex attraction, how should they react? Should they say, "I feel same-sex attraction. I guess that means I'm gay. I guess that means I should follow the example of X, Y, and Z and live in a same-sex relationship just like they do." Is that what you want youth to say in that situation? Or would you rather they were given examples that would lead them to say: "It's not uncommon for people to feel that attraction to some extent. I should just ignore it like others do. I want to live like A, B, and C, so I'll reject my same-sex attraction and follow in their footsteps instead."

We are not gay. We are not straight. We are people, just people, and people follow each other. People watch how others live their lives, and people model their lives based on what they see. Yesterday, this meant that children would grow up thinking there is nothing wrong with premarital sex, and many would throw themselves into the hookup culture, many would cohabit before marriage, many would see no reason to marry at all. Today this means that children will grow up thinking there is nothing wrong with same-sex sexuality, and many will choose to enter same-sex relationships who would otherwise not have chosen to do so.

"Don't be ridiculous", comes the mocking retort. "Society can't turn someone gay! People are gay because the magical cloud elves made them gay, not through the influence of others!"

But what if there are no magical cloud elves? What if sexuality really is just like everything else about us? What if it really is open to example and influence? What if our careless actions today are actually causing people to live differently than they might have lived otherwise?

That's why it's worse.

It's worse because we aren't honest enough to admit that we ourselves are causing its increase. The media has opened the floodgates, unleashing a deluge of same-sex-seeking role models, and they will do so more and more, aiming at a younger and younger age, the whole time claiming they are presenting to an unalterable audience, claiming that the same people are going to decide they 'are gay' no matter what anyone does.

Our society believes in magical cloud elves.

And that's why it's worse.

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