Mr. Church: That is the Sound of the Barbarians at the Gates
Yesterday I was directed to a Tweet picture that spoke volumes. Here it is:
Pictures can say more than a thousand words, to be sure. And this picture speaks volumes. But I would like to respond to Mr. Church’s interpretation, which I would call the “interpretation of inevitability.”
First, the issue of the abuse of language, the constant ploy of those seeking to degrade the moral and ethical foundation of a culture. The term “homophobe” is one of the most absurd, vacuous, mind-numbing terms ever introduced into the English language. It has no meaningful function, since its actual meaning, and its usage, are rarely concurrent. I do not know any homophobes, personally, since that term would refer to someone who has an irrational fear of their own kind. But that is not how Mr. Church is using it. It is a convenient, if untruthful, term used to slander those who believe homosexuality, as an act and as a lifestyle, is immoral and destructive to human flourishing. Hence it is a convenient way of demonizing an entire position without even offering a meaningful moral or ethical argument. The regularity of its use is witness to the bankruptcy of the position espoused by Mr. Church.
Next, when I look at this picture, many issues crowd my mind. Some I will not enter into here (military readiness, the on-going degradation of the strength of the US and the results that will have in destabilizing the political structures around the world). The main issue though is this: if this is supposed to be a “marriage,” who is the husband, and who is the wife? I am not talking about dominant/submissive roles. I am talking about husbands and wives. See, words have meanings. Marriage has meaning. To marry, as a verb, has meaning, and hence, that meaning is filled out by the direct object of the verb. I, a man, married a woman. Hence, I am a husband, with all the meaning that term carries, to a specific woman, who is my wife, with all the meaning that term likewise carries. All the public education and eradication of human nature in the world cannot remove from those who are created in the image of God a basic, instinctive understanding that “husband” is a gendered term, “wife” is a gendered term, “father” is a gendered term, and “mother” is the most gendered term known to humanity. Hence, “marriage” has a meaning that this picture can never represent, since there is no husband, and there is no wife, in it. Without a husband, you have no marriage. Without a wife, you have no marriage. You can have relationships of all kinds, but what you do not have is a marriage. All the glazed eyes of judges or the wild eyes of zealots can not change this basic reality. This is why we instinctively show pity and compassion to the child who has lost a father or a mother: we recognize the need for both. This is why we likewise look down upon the abusive parent of either gender, and we do so properly. Shame is a proper and good thing when it is used to curb the evil of men and women. But all of these considerations are irrelevant to the picture above, for there is no father, there is no mother, no husband, no wife, no marriage. Just two men kissing, one in uniform. Their strong feelings for each other can never surmount the insurmountable: they cannot be married anymore than they can bear children, fly, leap over tall buildings, or live under water. They were made one way, and their rejection of their God-ordained roles does not redefine marriage.
So the sound I hear when I see this picture has nothing to do with abusing the English language through absurd non-terms like “homophobe.” It has nothing to do with advancement in the 21st century. It has everything to do with the sound the citizens of Rome heard in the early 5th century as those they called “barbarians” swept into the Eternal City. Rome had been crumbling from the inside for centuries—much more slowly, I note, than Western Society today, where such processes take place in the span of a few generations rather than centuries (mainly due to our advanced communications technology). Civilizations that fundamentally reject God’s creative purpose collapse, in time. How else could it be? One will either have a culture of life, or a culture of death, and homosexuality, no matter what else is said about it, does not foster life. It is fundamentally self-centered and narcissistic at its core. The profaning of marriage seen in the above graphic has one inevitable result: it cannot produce life. That which does not produce life tends toward death. That is the bent of this society, just as it became the bent of the later centuries of the Roman Empire. And thus we prove yet once again that those who forget the lessons of the past are doomed to repeat them.