The Mainstreaming of Homosexuality. Cultural and Social Consequences
Rome, (Zenit.org) Father John Flynn, LC. The recent spate of legalization of same-sex marriages in a number of states in America is one more piece of evidence showing the growth of both legal and social approval of homosexuality.
This change in views about sexual orientation has a number of important consequences for society, pointed out Robert R. Reilly in his recent book, "Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything," (Ignatius Press)
Reilly starts by explaining that his thesis is very simple, namely that there are two fundamental views of reality. One, that that there is a nature ordered to ends, which leads to the primacy of reason. The other, that we can make of things what we wish and that our wills and desires have primacy.
He stressed that the arguments presented in the book have nothing to do with religion, but are based on reason. Neither, he added, is it an attack upon homosexuals, being only a critique of those who want to redefine the rest of society.
In order to be at peace with their conscience active homosexuals need not only to rationalize their behavior to themselves but they also need social approval and legitimacy, Reilly explained. "In other words, we all must say that the bad is good in order for the rationalization to be secure in itself," he said.
The book examines a wide range of arguments, one of which is a comparison of Aristotle’s thought on ethics and anthropology to that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Happiness, Aristotle taught, is not whatever we say it is, but only that which is consistent with our nature.
Moreover, Aristotle founds society upon a man and a woman and the family without which the rest of the state cannot exist.
Rousseau, by contrast, argued that reason is not natural to man and neither is family life.
Reilly also pointed out that same-sex marriage proponents have subverted the classical notion of justice of giving to things what is their due according to what they are. Instead now it seems justice is giving things that we feel are right.
Following a lengthy chapter in which Reilly analyzed a large number of legal cases, criticizing the courts for judicial activism and of inventing morality he moved on to the second part of the book in which he examined the impact of homosexuality in various institutions.
Starting with science Reilly noted that the decision by the American Psychiatric Association to remove homosexuality from the list of mental illnesses in 1973 was orchestrated by a group of pro-homosexual activists.
Another area of scientific debate is over whether homosexuality is a genetic trait or a learned behavior. There is sound scientific evidence, Reilly argued, that homosexuality is mutable and not simply a predetermined behavior.
On the issue of same-sex parenting Reilly rejected the argument that children of homosexual parents are just as well off as those whose parents are heterosexuals. Aside from rare situations, depriving a child of one or both biological parents is unhealthy, he said, quoting a 2012 paper from the American College of Pediatricians.
There are conflicting studies over this issue, but Reilly detailed a number of methodological deficiencies with those that purport to show children of same-sex parents do not suffer and disadvantages.
The legal protection of marriage between a husband and a wife involves a public judgment of the nature and purpose of sex, he noted earlier in the book.
Therefore, same-sex marriage undermines the family, which is the best environment in which to raise children, he affirmed.
The field of education is another area where the pro-homosexual lobby is making its influence felt. Reilly explained that once we accept that homosexual acts are morally legitimate then it stands to reason that homosexuality should be taught in schools as something that is standard behavior.
"Education is an essential part of the drive to universalize the rationalization for homosexual behavior; so it must become a mandatory part of the curriculum, as it now is in California," he said.
Following other chapters that discussed the impact of the homosexual agenda on the boy scouts, the military and American foreign policy, in his concluding chapter Reilly observed that:
"The problem with our civilization is that the moral convictions underlying its public order have been undermined to the point of near collapse."
He referred to numerous cases where people have been prosecuted for not accepting the homosexual ethos, from florists providing wedding flowers, to photographers, to those providing accommodation. Tolerance is now not enough, people are obliged to actively support homosexuality.
It is wrong to blame homosexuals for all of the problems related to the decline in public morality, Reilly observed. The acceptance of contraception, abortion and no-fault divorce paved the way for what is now occurring.
"Almost every contemporary cultural signal militates against chastity, which is why the fabric of society is falling apart," Reilly concluded. How to bring about a change to this situation is not something he addressed, but it remains a vital question.