A recent Pew Poll has found that most Americans, regardless of their perspective on same sex marriage, view its coming as inevitable.
Yes, the tide is turning, and the Pew Poll surely sounds like the ringing of victory bells to those for whom the bell’s tolls are a welcome and much anticipated sound; not just advocates of same sex marriage but those who have pushed for the demise of any sort of “traditional” sexual mores from American life.
Even though such numbers can be misleading due to the wording of questions, nobody can doubt that the general acceptance of same sex marriage is on the rise. Nor can anyone deny the chilling numbers on out-of-wedlock births, abortions, fatherless children and divorce rates. The tide is indeed turning.
But perhaps not in the direction you think.
The impetus for the same sex marriage movement has been the continuation of a line of logic that began long ago and was accelerated by a complex nexus of cultural developments in the 1960s.
My generation of young adults is now living in the wake of the destruction of the institution of marriage and traditional sexual norms, and the result has been an entire demographic confused about and longing for authentic intimacy, unsure of how to manage opposite sex friendships, romantic relationships and their own sexual desires.
Of course, the sexual revolution itself was just the next step in a process the goal of which has been the conquering—or subjugating—of human nature and its pesky way of imposing limitations on our wishes.
Increasingly, America’s young people are beginning to pierce the web of lies that we can enjoy sex without strings attached, ignore the biological and spiritual dimensions of our being, contradict the normative structures of our embodied existence and remake God’s creation according to our likeness.
Scores of books and articles are being written about how the sexual revolution has been destructive for women especially. Such works can fairly be considered their own genre, the gist of which is simple: It was a lie, and we’ve been duped.
Young men, too, are realizing that the basic truths that society has repressed and replaced with fantasies of freedom and autonomy are inescapable. More and more men are finding a voice and speaking out against the sorts of insults to manhood that our media presents through sitcoms.
Religious institutions are largely responsible for carrying the torch during the dark times, although it must be said that a massive failure on the American Church’s part in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council to properly evangelize and catechize its faithful is partially to blame for the way things are now. Nevertheless, if it weren’t for the Church’s voice crying out in the wilderness against the emptiness of the world’s wisdom, many young people now would never find the mooring that has proved the stabilizing factor in a time in which many are adrift on the Sea of Lost Self.
I recently attended the Ruth Institute’s “It Takes a Family” conference in sunny San Diego, where a group of scholars and experts presented a more robust vision of the sexual good than I have ever seen the world offer. From the perspective of biology, theology, philosophy, legal theory, political thought and common sense, we attendees were treated to graceful and eloquent articulations of the intuitions and recognition that had brought us to Ruth in the first place: it’s not true, what the world is telling us about our sexuality, about happiness.
At the Gala event that concluded the conference, a lady at my table leaned over and said of Dr. Morse, the dynamic founder and president of the Ruth Institute, “When she arrived here, everybody just seemed to come out of the woodwork.” Americans across the country are doing the same, emerging from the margins of a public discourse ruled by militant secularists to proclaim with vigor the vision of life and love they hold dear.
This vision, upheld almost exclusively now by the religious institutions and their adherents, has a way of dashing the plans of those who plan for its demise from the public square, just as a South Carolinian valedictorian dashed the plans of his supervisors when he tore up his approved speech and prayed the banned Lord’s Prayer at his commencement ceremony to the raucous applause of the assembly.
In France, not exactly a conservative bastion, one million people recently took to the streets of Paris to defend children and the family. That’s considerably more protesters than took to the streets of Washington DC this past January to witness to the pro-life cause, another tide that is turning with mounting swiftness and power.
In Illinois, a group of black clergymen led the opposition to a same sex marriage bill that would have badly infringed on religious liberty.
Kermit Gosnell’s recent sentencing has turned even the heads of the most ardent pro-abortion advocates, giving pause to those who are typically unwilling to examine the heinous conclusions of their logical positions on abortion.
Same sex marriage is just one of many fruits on a tree that was planted at the beginning of time and has flowered and been pruned back over the course of history. The roots of this tree – the logic behind it all – are crumbling in America now after having usurped too much of the sun and soil and wrecked too many lives to count.
Yes, the tide is turning, and for the better and brighter shore, marked out by the light of a vision that endures.