Princeton University professor, Robert George, has an excellent essay at Public Discourse that calls out Christians and cultural conservatives for our lack of moral courage in the face of the take-no-prisoners LGBTQ cultural onslaught of the past decade.
The essay is part of a conversation begun when George and Ryan T. Anderson published a piece in USA Today “on the steep costs—personal, societal, political, legal, and moral—of the so-called ‘progress’ on LGBT issues . . .” The USA Today piece elicited a response from Rod Dreher in an article posted at The American Conservative. While writing appreciatively of George’s and Anderson’s work to defend the biblical, conjugal definition of marriage and the traditional understanding of human sexuality and identity, Dreher says that “George and Anderson, and all of us who consider ourselves their allies, failed to stop this thing. But this failure ought to be judged as a loss in a war that was unwinnable.”
In his Public Discourse essay, Professor George takes issue with Dreher’s contention that the war was unwinnable. Unlike Dreher, he doesn’t even believe that it’s permanently lost. But he does acknowledge that “those of us who believe in marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife and who uphold basic understandings of sexuality and norms of sexual morality have been knocked back on our heels—hard.” And George places the blame squarely on the moral cowardice of those who support these norms but are afraid to make the sacrifices necessary to stand up to the pressures deployed by the cultural forces arrayed on the side of the LBGTQ movement.
According to George:
So when push came to shove, many, many supporters of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife and of traditional understandings of sexuality and sexual morality yielded to the bullying or simply abandoned the field. While left-wing (and even a few otherwise right-leaning) millionaires and billionaires poured money into referenda and legislative battles to redefine marriage, many well-to-do Christians (fearful of adverse consequences for themselves and their businesses of contributing money to the pro-marriage cause) declined to donate to efforts to uphold the traditional understanding of marriage. Some gave anonymously, but when one or two of these were “outed” and vilified by the left, others became too frightened even to do that.
This was cowardice.
We’ve seen this happen time and again–whether with individuals, organizations, corporations, or even states. When the cultural forces on the side of the new morality attack, they eventually prevail. And when they prevail,”human well-being and fulfillment” suffer. Because, as George writes, “moral norms and requirements are not abstract rules or arbitrary commandments . . . [t]hese are the goods of flesh and blood human beings—ourselves and our precious brothers and sisters in the human family—whom we are called to love and serve.”
When we fail “to muster the courage to do what’s right, what God is calling us to do,” George continues,”there is behind that failure a still deeper failure: a failure of love.” So while we’re often accused of hatred when we don’t dance to the LGBTQ tune, George says the real act of hatred occurs when we’re too afraid of the accusations to stand for what we know to be right.
Take a few moments to read both Robert George’s essays in USA Today and Public Discourse, as well as Rod Dreher’s responses. They will give you something to ponder on this winter’s day.