Ten Years of "The River Is Always Waiting"
In December of 2013, ten years ago last month, I first released “The River Is Always Waiting”, a novel I had spent multiple years constructing. I’ve been asked over the years why I chose to write this book, particularly given how uncomfortable the subject matter is. The answer is that I fundamentally disagree with the way our society talks about same-sex sexuality. I see the way our society handles it as profoundly wrong and misguided. So, more than a decade ago, I came up with a strategy of how to best communicate why I thought our current approach was so wrong-headed, and “The River Is Always Waiting” is the result.
Go back in time a few decades and we reach a point where the LGBT alt-religion had multiple paths it could have followed. Really just “LGB” at that time, this belief system centered around the claim that the same-sex attraction they felt was integral to the meaning of their life. They felt, rightly, that the society of that day did not allow them the same freedom to pursue their life as they believed it should be lived as it did to people who belonged to organized religions. Something had to change, but how should that change be brought about?
Consider a road not taken: The LGBT alt-religion could have embraced the type of belief system it actually is and declared itself a religion. It could have identified the centrality of same-sex attraction to the meaning of its believers lives as a core religious belief and could have demanded religious accommodation of this belief, the exact same accommodation granted to all other religions. Had things progressed along this road, then gay rights would be seen properly as falling within the framework of religious freedom, handled in the same way as Muslim rights or Christian rights, with the rights of the believers, the rights of the non-believers, and the duty of the secular state, all given the appropriate weight.
But that is not the road that was taken. Instead, the LGBT alt-religion chose to claim that their sexual desires were part of who they objectively are. In the same way that one is male or female, they claimed that people were gay, bisexual, or straight. Instead of pushing for gay rights within the framework of religious freedom, they bent the civil rights movement into an unrecognizable shape and betrayed the secular social contract (with much further damage coming in later years via gender ideology) in order to force their desired legal and social changes to take place.
And let’s be frank: they have been successful. But at what cost? It would certainly be convenient to the LGBT alt-religion if opposite-sex attraction and same-sex attraction were the only sexual desires that humans felt, but unfortunately that is not the case. What happens when the other, generally reviled (today), attractions successfully push for the same handling, all because of the foolish choice to claim that our sexual attraction was objectively a core component of what we are instead of a desire that some believe should be accepted and some believe should be rejected?
And ten years after writing “The River Is Always Waiting”, we are seeing the expected movement in this direction. People referring to themselves as “Minor-Attracted Persons” (or MAPs) are demanding to be let in underneath the LGBT umbrella. How long will popular society be able to deny them? And as if that debasement of common morality were not enough, we see evidence of normalization of another type of deviant sexual desire: e.g. a prominent philosopher inviting people to “read and ponder” an essay entitled “Zoophilia Is Morally Permissible”. In both cases, if we are going to treat the sexual desires we feel as a core part of who we as humans objectively are, how long will society be able to resist the normalization of these as well? Ten years later, the cracks are clearly visible.
Unfortunately, the problem with slippery slope arguments is that once society has, as predicted, slid down to a lower level, they become comfortable there, so pointing out that they have fallen to where you predicted they would fall does little good. And so, as always, I speak to those willing to step outside of popular society, those willing to open their eyes, consider what is happening, consider why it is happening, and be brave enough to stand against it.
In the end, we can depend on no one else (among humans at least) to provide our moral base. If someone demands you replace your morals with theirs, understand they are not promising those replacement morals will stay firm in perpetuity, or if they are promising that, they are lying. Do not give up what you already know to be solid.
Yes, there is a difference between what is moral and what is legal. Yes, everyone has as much right to pursue happiness (as they define it) as you or I do, but there is a right way and a wrong way to solve a problem, and our society continues to handle same-sex sexuality in the wrong way. Here’s hoping that our path will have changed when “The River Is Always Waiting” turns twenty.