Tribulation Saint

Historic Christianity in the Twenty First Century

Month: October, 2016

SEX AND POLITICS

donald-trump-hillary-clinton

The public has rightly been shocked at the revelation that Donald Trump openly bragged about groping women, and the subsequent claims by a number of women that he was indeed telling the truth – he actually had groped them.  But on this score Donald Trump is virtually the clone of Bill Clinton, and Hillary was in some ways her husband’s enabler.  It is a sordid state of affairs all the way around.

What is perhaps more disconcerting, however, than the private behavior of a pair of cads is the fact that on the matter of sexual morals the Democratic, Libertarian and Green parties are all basically the same – they have all openly embraced the “Sexual Revolution.”  In some ways Mr. Clinton and Mr. Trump are simply practicing what these parties are all preaching as a matter of principle – all forms of sexual activity are condoned, as long as it is between consenting adults.

The Libertarian Party platform, for example, puts it like this: “Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration or military service laws.  Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.  Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships.”

What the Libertarian Party is advocating, in effect, is the abolition of marriage as a legal institution.  “Government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships.”  According to them, people should not need a license from the state in order to have sex.  People should be as free to copulate as dogs.

But is this policy either safe or wise?  Virtually every human society since the dawn of history has defined, licensed and restricted sexual relationships, and for good reason.  They recognized that the stability of society as a whole depends upon stable marriages.

First of all, sex involves an intimate relationship between two different people.  According to the Libertarian Party it should be between consenting adults.  But at what point does it cease to be consensual?  Does “no” always mean “no”?  What if one of the parties is under the influence of drugs or alcohol?  Donald Trump would have us to believe that women simply couldn’t resist his advances.

But in a long term relationship the repercussions can be even more far-reaching.  What about emotional abuse?  Cheating on one’s partner?  What if one partner wants out but the other wants to continue the relationship?  What about finance and property rights?

But perhaps most serious of all are the consequences that our sexual behavior has on our children.  The inability to form committed, long-term relationships has left a multitude of children growing up in single parent families without good role models.  They are the victims of their parent’s irresponsible behavior.  This, in turn, results in neighborhoods riddled with crime, poverty and drugs.  And what should the government do about all of this?  The Libertarian Platform is not explicit on this point, but given the party’s general opposition to government interference in either the economy or our personal lives we can only assume that the answer is “nothing at all.”  Let them starve.

The plain fact of the matter is that because of our capacity to hurt each other human relationships must be governed by law.  Rights and responsibilities must be defined.  And ultimately democracy itself depends on the citizens being able to act responsibly in the family sphere.  When the family structure breaks down a paternalistic and even tyrannical government fills the vacuum.

Our Creator knows what is best for human society and His intention in the matter is plain and clear: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”  Marriage is supposed to be a formal, recognizable relationship, one that carries definite duties and responsibilities.  And sex outside of marriage is absolutely forbidden.  A man and a woman should make a formal commitment to each other first, and procreate afterwards.  That way children are brought up in stable, two-parent families raised by their biological parents, not by a series of mom’s shiftless boyfriends drifting in and out of the household.  The Libertarian Party’s policy is a sure prescription for social catastrophe.

In this election cycle there is only one political party committed to Judeo-Christian morality, the Constitution  Party and its candidate for president, Darrell Castle.  “The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries . . .”

“The law of our Creator defines marriage as the union between

one man and one woman . . . No government may legitimately

authorize or define marriage or family relations contrary to what

God has instituted.”

(Constitution Party Platform)

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THE GREEN PARTY’S MORAL DILEMMA

 

  Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein

          In this very unusual and unprecedented election cycle attention has been turned to possible third party alternatives to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump.  One such alternative sometimes mentioned is the Green Party and its candidate, Jill Stein.

The Green Party has a very long and detailed platform, and a quick survey shows it to be very liberal and “progressive.”  Yet on closer examination we can see the underlying moral contradiction of the political left.

The party’s platform has a great deal to say about various kinds of “rights,” and in one sense it presents a very idealistic agenda.  But it raises the fundamental question of where these rights come from.  What exactly is their foundation?

The section on “Social Justice” begins by saying that “Historically, America has led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination.”  But the U.S. Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness . . .”  And at one point the Green Party platform itself says that “We acknowledge the spiritual dimensions of life, and we honor the cultivation of various types of spiritual experience in our diverse society.”

But then the platform goes on, under the heading of “Religious Freedom and Secular Equality,” to call for “the elimination of displays of religious symbols, monuments, or statements on government buildings, property, websites, money or documents,” including the removal of the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of  Allegiance.

But if we are not “one nation, under God,” where do our rights come from?  At one point the platform mentions the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights,” which would imply that rights are man-made.  Something is “right” because everyone says so.  But that would mean that we are subject to the moral guidance of an international body made up of the likes of Russia and China.  Are foreign politicians like Vladimir Putin or the Chinese Communist Party really safe guides to right and wrong?

At other points the platform appears to appeal to raw pragmatism.  It points to a variety of social, economic and environmental problems, and takes it as a given that we would all be better off if these problems were resolved.  But that is tantamount to saying that what is right is what happens to be convenient at the moment.

But in the absence of any clear moral standard the platform is led into some perplexing contradictions.  Perhaps the most astonishing of all is its position on “Youth Rights.”  Remarkably that section begins with the statement that “All human beings have the right to a life that will let them achieve their full potential.”  That is, unless they have a right to life itself.  For in the section “Women’s Rights – Reproductive Rights” the party insists that “It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remain available.”  But if a mother has the right to terminate the life of her unborn child in utero, then the whole section about “Youth Rights” is utterly meaningless.  There is no guarantee that the youth will even make it out of the womb alive, let alone enjoy “a life that will let them achieve their full potential.”

All of this raises a profoundly disturbing question about the nature of morality itself.  Presumably the reason that women must have the right to have abortions is that “Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable.”  “Unplanned conception takes control away from individuals and makes them subject to external controls.”  Moreover, “The Green Party affirms the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex.”

“The Green Party affirms the right of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”  It calls for “ending governmental use of the doctrines of specific religions to define the nature of family, marriage, and the type and character of personal relationships between consenting adults,” and “the use of religion by government to define the role and rights of women in our society.”  And yet the platform itself notes that “Single mothers are the largest and most severely impoverished group in the United States, which explains why 22% of the children in our country live below the poverty line.”  Duh!

But if people have a “right to self-determination” and “to control their bodies,” why would they be required to do anything against their will?  And if the government cannot use religious doctrine to define sexual relations, then what does govern such relationships?  What would a society, free from such restrictions, look like?

The answer is, Donald Trump.  When asked about his numerous bankruptcies, lawsuits and use of eminent domain to force people out of their homes, and the fact that he hasn’t had to pay income taxes for a number of years, he replies by saying that he is a smart businessman who knows how to take advantage of his legal options.  In other words, his concept of right and wrong is whatever he can legally get away with.  For him life is all about the right of self-definition and self-determination.  Welcome to the Green Party’s vision for a secular America!

The Green Party, then, is caught on the horns of a moral dilemma.  It professes to believe in the lofty ideal of social justice; but it advocates a social philosophy of raw narcissism.  What it gives with the one hand (a vision of a just and humane society) it takes away with the other (the radical autonomy of the individual).  Absent some transcendent moral authority (God) we have exactly what we see today: a society of self-serving individuals looking for ways to game the system.  Any notion of character, duty, honor or integrity has all but vanished.

We must all face the fact that we live in a universe that was created by an intelligent Supreme Being.  And as human beings we are ultimately subject to His moral law.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good;

And what does the Lord require of you

But to do justly,

To love mercy,

And to walk humbly with your God?”

(Micah 6:8; NKJV)

HOMOPHOBIA?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton recently delivered a speech in which she declared, “To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I would call the basket of deplorables.  The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it” (Wall St. Journal, Sept. 12, 2016).  It is a comment that is probably all too typical of the elitist mentality of America’s privileged class.

But what exactly did she mean by “homophobic”?  The dictionary defines “homophobia” as the “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality” (Random House Webster’s, 1991).  Christians, of course, if they are at all trying to be faithful to Scripture, regard homosexuality as a sin.  But does this constitute “homophobia”?   Is this an “unreasoning antipathy toward homosexuals”?

We most certainly do think that homosexuality is sinful; but that does not mean that we hate LGBT people.  The fact of the matter is that all of us as human beings are fallen sinners.  And we are called upon to love our neighbors as ourselves – even our enemies.  But granted that we are to love LGBT people, how should we treat them?  What is the most compassionate and humane way to deal with them?

The answer is not to encourage them in their sin.  That would only lead them to their eternal destruction.  Rather what we should seek is their redemption.  Human society functions on the basis of a male / female dynamic.  Happy, well-adjusted people learn how to function successfully in that environment.  Seen from that perspective LGBT people are profoundly maladjusted.

But why do some people turn out to be “gay” in the first place?  The answer is not, as some would have us to believe, that they are born that way.  There is no hard scientific evidence for the existence of a “gay gene”; and there are, in fact, cases of identical twins in which one twin turned out to be “gay” and the other “straight.”

What, then, causes the difference?  Interestingly a compelling explanation comes from no less a secular liberal than the celebrated feminist author Simone de Beauvoir.  She devotes an entire chapter of her famous book The Second Sex (Vintage, 1974) to the subject of lesbianism.  In it she makes the interesting observation that “Sexologists and psychiatrists confirm the common observation that the majority of female ‘homos’ are in constitution quite like other women.  Their sexuality is in no way determined by anatomical ‘fate’” (p. 451).  “The psychoanalysts have strongly emphasized the importance of early relations established between the homosexual woman and her mother” (p. 463).  (Either the mother was overprotective or abusive).  De Beauvoir then concludes that “there is never a single determining factor; it is always a matter of choice, arrived at in a complex total situation and based upon a free decision; no sexual fate governs the life of the individual woman: her type of eroticism, on the contrary, expresses her general outlook on life.”  “Environmental circumstances, however, have a considerable influence on the choice” (p. 466).  Her final conclusion is that homosexuality “is an attitude chosen in a certain situation – that is, at once motivated and freely adopted” (p. 473).

[It has to be borne in mind, however, that as an Existentialist and feminist De Beauvoir is concerned to show that a female gender role is not determined by anything intrinsic to a woman’s being, but is imposed upon her by the surrounding society.  This may partially explain why she goes to such pains to argue that sexual orientation is a matter of external circumstances and voluntary choice.  And yet we are undeniably responsible for the way we react to our circumstances.]

That being the case, what is the most humane and compassionate way to treat LGBT people?  What is in their own genuine best interest?  In her campaign book Stronger Together Mrs. Clinton says she want to “Demand equality for the LGBT community” (p. 220).  She says, among other things, that she wants to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes.  She wants to “continue President Obama’s LGBT equality executive actions.”   And she says “we will end so-called conversion therapy, the harmful practice of trying to ‘cure’ LGBT and gender-questioning young people” (p. 221).  In other words, she wants society to treat homosexuality as a normal, healthy, and legally protected lifestyle.

But that would create the perception that, as far a sexual conduct goes. Anything and everything between consenting adults is permitted.  And that, in turn, would create even more social problems.  The “Sexual Revolution” has already left countless children in single parent homes, usually with no positive male role models..

Simply allowing people to indulge in their sexual fantasies does little to help them to become well-adjusted members of human society.  Nor does it deal with the underlying emotional traumas that led to the homosexual behavior in the first place.  And for parents not to give guidance to their “LGBT and gender-questioning young people” is nothing less than criminal neglect.  Thus accepting homosexuality as somehow normal places both society and the gay person at risk.  The most compassionate thing we can do to help a gay person is to help him confront the emotional scars of his past and accept his or her biological identity as either male or female.  Only then can he become a happy, well-adjusted member of human society.

But the real solution is salvation in Christ.  In salvation a person repents of his sins, commits his life to Christ, receives forgiveness, and is inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit.  “. . . knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:6; NKJV).  The past becomes irrelevant.  The only real question is, what kind of person does God want me to be today?  And we learn to deal with the traumas of the past in a godly, Christ-like way.

What is needed is individual healing, not more social dysfunction.  Salvation is not “homophobia.”