G. K. Chesterton: It’s Not Gay, and It’s Not Marriage

g-k-chesterton@ desk

One of the pressing issues of Chesterton’s time was “birth control.” He not only objected to the idea, he objected to the very term because it meant the opposite of what it said. It meant no birth and no control. I can only imagine he would have the same objections about “gay marriage.” The idea is wrong, but so is the name. It is not gay and it is not marriage.

Chesterton was so consistently right in his pronouncements and prophecies because he understood that anything that attacked the family was bad for society. That is why he spoke out against eugenics and contraception, against divorce and “free love” (another term he disliked because of its dishonesty), but also against wage slavery and compulsory state-sponsored education and mothers hiring other people to do what mothers were designed to do themselves. It is safe to say that Chesterton stood up against every trend and fad that plagues us today because every one of those trends and fads undermines the family. Big Government tries to replace the family’s authority, and Big Business tries to replace the family’s autonomy. There is a constant commercial and cultural pressure on father, mother, and child. They are minimized and marginalized and, yes, mocked. But as Chesterton says, “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”

This latest attack on the family is neither the latest nor the worst. But it has a shock value to it, in spite of the process of de-sensitization that the information and entertainment industries have been putting us through the past several years. Those who have tried to speak out against the normalization of the abnormal have been met with “either slanging or silence,” as Chesterton was when he attempted to argue against the faddish philosophies that were promoted by the major newspapers in his day. In 1926, he warned, “The next great heresy will be an attack on morality, especially sexual morality.” His warning has gone unheeded, and sexual morality has decayed progressively. But let us remember that it began with birth control, which is an attempt to create sex for sex’s sake, changing the act of love into an act of selfishness. The promotion and acceptance of lifeless, barren, selfish sex has logically progressed to homosexuality.

Chesterton shows that the problem of homosexuality as an enemy of civilization is quite old. In The Everlasting Man, he describes the nature-worship and “mere mythology” that produced a perversion among the Greeks. “Just as they became unnatural by worshipping nature, so they actually became unmanly by worshipping man.” Any young man, he says, “who has the luck to grow up sane and simple” is naturally repulsed by homosexuality because “it is not true to human nature or to common sense.” He argues that if we attempt to act indifferent about it, we are fooling ourselves. It is “the illusion of familiarity,” when “a perversion become[s] a convention.”

In Heretics, Chesterton almost makes a prophecy of the misuse of the word “gay.” He writes of “the very powerful and very desolate philosophy of Oscar Wilde. It is the carpe diem religion.” Carpe diem means “seize the day,” do whatever you want and don’t think about the consequences, live only for the moment. “But the carpe diem religion is not the religion of happy people, but of very unhappy people.” There is a hopelessness as well as a haplessness to it. When sex is only a momentary pleasure, when it offers nothing beyond itself, it brings no fulfillment. It is literally lifeless. And as Chesterton writes in his book St. Francis of Assisi, the minute sex ceases to be a servant, it becomes a tyrant. This is perhaps the most profound analysis of the problem of homosexuals: they are slaves to sex. They are trying to “pervert the future and unmake the past.” They need to be set free.

Sin has consequences. Yet Chesterton always maintains that we must condemn the sin and not the sinner. And no one shows more compassion for the fallen than G.K. Chesterton. Of Oscar Wilde, whom he calls “the Chief of the Decadents,” he says that Wilde committed “a monstrous wrong” but also suffered monstrously for it, going to an awful prison, where he was forgotten by all the people who had earlier toasted his cavalier rebelliousness. “His was a complete life, in that awful sense in which your life and mine are incomplete; since we have not yet paid for our sins. In that sense one might call it a perfect life, as one speaks of a perfect equation; it cancels out. On the one hand we have the healthy horror of the evil; on the other the healthy horror of the punishment.”

Chesterton referred to Wilde’s homosexual behavior as a “highly civilized” sin, something that was a worse affliction among the wealthy and cultured classes. It was a sin that was never a temptation for Chesterton, and he says that it is no great virtue for us never to commit a sin for which we are not tempted. That is another reason we must treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with compassion. We know our own sins and weaknesses well enough. Philo of Alexandria said, “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a terrible battle.” But compassion must never compromise with evil. Chesterton points out that balance that our truth must not be pitiless, but neither can our pity be untruthful. Homosexuality is a disorder. It is contrary to order. Homosexual acts are sinful, that is, they are contrary to God’s order. They can never be normal. And worse yet, they can never even be even. As Chesterton’s great detective Father Brown says:  “Men may keep a sort of level of good, but no man has ever been able to keep on one level of evil. That road goes down and down.”

Marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the order. And the Catholic Church teaches that it is a sacramental order, with divine implications. The world has made a mockery of marriage that has now culminated with homosexual unions. But it was heterosexual men and women who paved the way to this decay. Divorce, which is an abnormal thing, is now treated as normal. Contraception, another abnormal thing, is now treated as normal. Abortion is still not normal, but it is legal. Making homosexual “marriage” legal will not make it normal, but it will add to the confusion of the times. And it will add to the downward spiral of our civilization. But Chesterton’s prophecy remains: We will not be able to destroy the family. We will merely destroy ourselves by disregarding the family.

Dale Ahlquist

By

Dale Ahlquist is the president and co-founder of the American Chesterton Society. He is the creator and host of the Eternal Word Television Network series, "G.K. Chesterton: The Apostle of Common Sense." Dale is the author of G.K. Chesterton: Apostle of Common Sense and the recently published The Complete Thinker. He is also the publisher of Gilbert Magazine, and associate editor of the Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton (Ignatius). He lives near Minneapolis with his wife and six children.

  • http://twitter.com/ahm Avery

    “Carpe diem religion”, indeed! As the kids today say, YOLO! And the nihilism that exclamation implies is linked directly to the core of American life, the “religion” that gay marriage denounces.

    • Algie Herries

      I encourage my children to consider that the expression YODO! You only die once.

      • Bono95

        I like that expression. :-D

      • Maria

        Thanks for that. I am so tired of YOLO, even when said wryly.

  • Grant

    Oscar Wilde’s “Carpe Diem” is balanced by his letter from prison “De Profundis” in which he admits the necessity for the dreadful suffering he is undergoing. You could say that carpe diem must always lead to de profundis. Of course, Wilde became a Catholic on his deathbed, and may now be expiating on Mt Purgatory anything not expiated in Reading Gaol. Say an Ave for him…

    • John O’Neill

      Wilde also wrote some beautiful tributes to the Blessed Mother.

  • Ford Oxaal

    A golden article with many gems!

  • Kenny Williams

    I certainly agree about heterosexuals making an industry of the degradation of marriage before the rest of us got to it. Most “mainstream” contemporary Americans hold marriage AT BEST in dubious regard, and young people think it’s a joke, and that’s the monster YOU created. I’m not buying your attempt to conflate Wilde’s sexuality with his “carpe diem” philosophy. Fin de Siecle Europe was swarming with Decadents, most of whom were activity heterosexual. Chesterton’s allusion to the Greek “worship of man” has nothing to do with homosexuality but rather the Greeks’ “man as the measure” philosophy. Besides, the Greeks did not have any tolerance for homosexuality. They practiced what we would recognize as child-rape under a pall of what was practically state-mandated heterosexual marriage. Chesterton certainly would not be a proponent of gay marriage, but I only know of him making one specific allusion to homosexuality in his writings (Wilde in prison). How many zillion times does Chesterton condemn divorce and disparage the idea of votes for women?

    • MarkRutledge

      Kenny, if that is the way you see the world then perhaps a change of company would serve you well. It would be quite difficult to make objective cases for your claims, for example “Most “mainstream” contemporary Americans hold marriage AT BEST in dubious regard.”

    • Mike Seder

      “The Greeks did not have any tolerance for homosexuality.”

      First, it is silly to speak of “the Greeks” as a homogenous unit with one overarching regime. Second, it is obvious that the Lacedaemonians, at the very least, promoted homosexuality as a boon to the fraternity of the politeia. That this was coeval with heterosexual marriage only proves that the Spartans, concerned with their survival as a people, didn’t buy into that lovely story with the stork.

      • Dan Li

        Foolishness. While several of the city-states may have had relationships between mature men, they most certainly did *not* treat it as an equivalent of marriage.

      • John200

        “That this was coeval with heterosexual marriage…” is false.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Noonan/100000355350670 Mark Noonan

      Having read a lot of Chesterton, I don’t recall him ever disparaging women voting – he merely pointed out that women not voting wasn’t a result of some nefarious plot by the White Male Power Structure but a recognition of the superior place of family in society…you might think that women trolling around in the political gutter is an improvement, but others might dissent from your view.

      • Dorothy

        Mark, if Chesterton didn’t recognize the role of patriarchal systems of power in depriving women of the vote, it could because he was a man. If males today enjoyed the level of power that they had in Chesterton’s time, naturally the view that women should stay in the home would be nearly dominant. It’s a wonder that women were ever able to break free and assert their desires for political participation.
        You seem to have a low opinion of women who become involved in politics. (“trolling around in the political gutter”). Do you think the women’s suffrage movement was a big mistake? What role do you envision for women?

        • cestusdei

          Women broke free and immediately began to kill their babies, render themselves infertile, and become sex objects. That’s freedom? Modern feminism is debased. It is anti-woman and seeks to make women into men. Hence the obsession with power and patriarchy.

        • Tasha

          Dorothy, I am a woman. I believe women should have the right to vote, but please don’t pretend politics is a noble thing to partake in. I take a low opinion of women like Sarah Palin who have put career and fame over family. Also, Chesterton was the greatest defender of women and children that probably ever lived. He respected and protected women, was a devoted and loving husband, and tirelessly defended the rights of the unborn. What have feminists done for the world? Supported and funded the murder of unborn children, and told women that the tyranny of the workplace is a higher calling than rearing of their own precious children, and are fascinated by power, which is corrupting. Unlike Chesterton, I don’t have a glowing opinion of women and they have largely used the influence and power they have achieved for evil purposes.

    • Grant

      In his book on St Francis, Chesterton talks of the Greeks as setting out to worship nature, and yet ending up by doing the most unnatural thing possible. Writing in the 20’s, Chesterton does not say explicitly what he means, but I think the answer to the question “Does he mean…?” is Yes.

  • Michael

    Contraception IS sodomy.

  • sajetreh

    Great article. You can never normalize the abnormal. It can only lead to the destruction of those who try and the civilizations that embrace it. It is our moral decline that the Islamist is abhorred with. But, unlike the Islamist, Christianity preaches forgiveness, mercy and compassion. May God give us courage and confidence to speak out against the abnormal and still have compassion for those who embrace it.

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  • Gina101

    “’Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a terrible battle.’ But compassion must never compromise with evil.”
    The clarity of truth. :)

  • HigherCalling

    The ‘carpe diem religion’ referenced above comes from the essay “Omar and the Sacred Vine” in Heretics, in which Chesterton discusses the subject of wine and drinking as a medicine versus drinking as a sacrament. The essay is one of my favorites. He shows the error in the ‘carpe diem’ approach to pursuing happiness, which can be compared to the equally erroneous notion of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die” that is so popular today. He says that the ‘carpe diem’ religion is not the religion of happy people, but of very unhappy people. Rationalizing happiness, “for tomorrow we die,” turns eating, drinking and merry-making into a medicine and not a sacrament. This defies true Christian teaching, because a Christian world picture sees that living only for the moment requires a rejection of the eternal and immortal love that creates and fills those moments. Enjoying the moment for the moment’s sake is too short to satisfy man’s need for eternity. Things like love, happiness, sex and even drinking, properly viewed, must be fixed on something that includes the universe, is immortal, poetical and apart from just oneself, lest they become abnormal, unhealthy and destructive. Rationalizing them destroys them. He goes on to compare this “seize the day” doctrine with a better one:

    “Dionysius made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. Jesus Christ also made wine, not a medicine, but a sacrament. But Omar [the rational wine-bibber] makes it, not a sacrament, but a medicine. He feasts because life is not joyful; he revels because he is not glad. ‘Drink,’ he says, ‘for you know not whence you come nor why. Drink, for you know not when you go nor where. Drink, because the stars are cruel and the world is idle as a humming-top. Drink, because there is nothing worth trusting, nothing worth fighting for. Drink, because all things are lapsed in a base equality and an evil peace.’ So he stands offering us the cup in his hand. And at the high altar of Christianity stands another figure, in whose hand also is the cup of the vine. ‘Drink,’ he says, ‘for the whole world is red as this wine, with the crimson of the love and wrath of God. Drink, for the trumpets are blowing for battle and this is the stirrup-cup. Drink, for this is my blood of the new testament that is shed for you. Drink, for I know of whence you come and why. Drink, for I know of when you go and where,”

    • debsaid

      Most excellent comment, thank you for it.

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  • Giovanni De Feo

    I strongly disagree. Family is just changing. And there is really nothing ‘natural’ and ‘truistic’ about families as they are. Have you ever studied anthropology? The Barthesian concept of myth? (anything in culture that is accepted as ‘natura’ it is in fact not so). Father Mother and Son/daughter? They had those in roman times too but the ‘son’ was chosen, and was not by blood. Family will stay, of course. How can it not? It will just change what we call a family. However, in spite of what I say, it would have been fascinating to see Chesterton argue against my opinion. I don’t have to agree with him. But I deeply admire his intelligence and writing ability: expecially when I think he is wrong.

    • Bob

      “it will just change what we call family.” Sounds like each man and woman with his/her own relativistic personal definition of “family.” Anything goes when we redefine family according to your philosophy. My “family” then will be myself, an armchair, an elm tree and the neighbors golden retriever Daisy. This “family” will be as good and equal as anyone elses. And I want all the legal protections and tax deductions for my “family.” let’s take that ride down the slippery slope……

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        Yes because people are really trying to bring inanimate objects into their families. Your slippery slope is never slippery to begin with. Like it or not, gay and lesbian couples are already forming families and raising children even in the absence of legal recognition of those families. It is sad to think that the very group that places high importance on protecting families would want to prevent giving legal protections to these families that exist. The children are going to be raised by these families with or without protection. It is disingenuous for anyone to suggest that these children would not be better off if their families had the benefit of the same legal protections as other married couples can provide to their families.

        • Bob

          Bottom line: man marrying man is against nature, against scripture, against God’s wil. At its core, gay marriage is built upon the mortal sin of sodomy. A family does not have as its basis and foundation mortal sin.

          • Dorothy

            Bob, as I was just telling you, lesbians are not really known for practicing sodomy, and many or most gay men don’t practice it (we may never know the numbers). At the same time, many heterosexual couples DO practice it. So, while your little formulation may settle the issue in your mind, it is grossly inaccurate.

            • cestusdei

              What they do is immoral and that’s the bottom line.

          • happiernow

            LOVE, not sodomy, is the basis of my family. LOVE, not sodomy, is the basis of my marriage. In fact, my wife and I don’t even practice sodomy. But hey, don’t let reality get in the way of a good anti-gay rant.

        • anon

          The would be better off never having been exposed to such absurdity. How terrible.

    • anon

      All it takes is homosexual acts to make a family?

  • Dorothy

    Ah, Mr. Ahlquist, it seems you are either trying to redefine both “gay” and “marriage,” or you’re trying to reinstate older definitions of these words. But it won’t wash. Ever since Cary Grant appeared wearing a lady’s feathery robe in “Bringing up Baby” (1938), “gay” has had at least two meanings, one of which is “homosexual.” As for “marriage,” it has had a new and expanded definition for many years. The Netherlands was the first to legalize same-sex marriage in 2000, and now it is legal is about a dozen U.S. states and as many countries. Marriage no longer has just one flavor. Dictionary definitions now reflect these changes.
    Was Chesterton consistently right in his pronouncements and prophecies? I don’t think so. He thought women’s suffrage was unnecessary because women didn’t really want it. He thought women’s place was in the home. As it turned out, women’s suffrage was not a “fad” and plenty of women didn’t really want to be stuck in the home. And that is not all. By our standards, some of his views were borderline racist.
    I would certainly agree with him that anything that attacks the family is bad for society. So why are you attacking the families of married gays and lesbians? Do you want them to divorce? Why would you want to “minimize and marginalize” them, even mock them as you do? Do you think this is helpful to them?
    Is birth control really incompatible with acts of love, as you suggest? So, do you mean that non-procreative sex cannot be loving? Barren couples and couples who do not want children cannot love each other? Homosexual couples cannot share their love? They are only selfish? Their sexual acts are lifeless?
    This seems like a really hard sell, and in fact the vast majority of U.S. Catholics are not buying it, but I must give you credit for trying. Are you aware that all but one of the U.S. states that has legalized same-sex marriage is predominantly Catholic? And I bet you already know the figures on contraceptive use among Catholic women.
    I can’t imagine why you would cite Chesterton as an authority on homosexuality when medical understanding of it was almost non-existent in his time. His opinions are presumably derived mostly from Catholic teaching, which is still, after 38 years, completely out of step with the consensus opinions of the 14 major health and social welfare associations of this country, representing the fields of sociology, medicine, pediatrics, psychology, psychoanalysis, marriage and family therapy, and even anthropology. The most concise statement of their opinion that I’ve found is from an APA publication: “Lesbian, gay, and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding. Therefore, these mainstream organizations long ago abandoned classifications of homosexuality as a mental disorder.”

    • anon

      Ah, the same old nonsense. No such thing as a square circle.

      • MariaJC

        Interestingly, Dorothy saw no need to comment on Wilde’s personal turmoil, no doubt emanating from they way he was living his life and/or perversion of the truth. I’m sure former lesbians, gays, bisexuals who knew their lifestyle to be anything but normal and who have/are found/finding truth wouldn’t interest Dorothy and her ilk.

        • dorothy

          Maria, I’m delighted you mentioned Oscar Wilde. That was another whole topic that I couldn’t address given the space constraints.

          “Wilde’s personal turmoil,” you say, emanated from his way of life? Try putting yourself in his shoes for a minute.

          Imagine this, Maria: You live in a society that is almost entirely homosexual and where you cannot even reveal that you are heterosexual. If you do, you will be shunned by polite society, you may be unable to find work or lodgings, and you will be imprisoned if caught in an opposite-sex relationship. To conceal your true nature, Maria, you must marry a woman and pretend to have a loving, stable relationship with her. But, Maria, you cannot deny your sexual nature forever, and you have an occasional affair with a man. The father of one of them decides to expose you, and he publicly accuses you of gross indecency and heterosexual behavior. There is a trial, and you are found guilty and sentenced to two years of hard labor. After release, you are unable to return to your country of birth, and you die, destitute, only two years later in a foreign country. You were only 46 and you had been one of Britain’s most brilliant writers. You could have written many more works like “Picture of Dorian Grey” and “The Importance of Being Ernest.”

          Blaming Wilde’s sad fate on his “personal turmoil” is unkind in the extreme. If you had lived in England in his time, would you have been one of his accusers?

          • cestusdei

            Part of Wilde’s turmoil was his penchant for picking up young boys for sex. A common practice among homosexuals. Fortunately he repented before his death.

          • Paco

            But… but… but such a society would be extinct within a single generation! =O

            “True nature,” you say? Darn, I guess the nature that made us male and female was wrong for some reason…

          • TheodoreSeeber

            “Imagine this, Maria: You live in a society that is almost entirely homosexual and where you cannot even reveal that you are heterosexual.”

            I don’t have to imagine. I’m already at that point with my belief in the Sacrament of Marriage.

            • Bono95

              I don’t know that society’s entirely homosexual, but, yes, it is entirely heterophobic.

          • msmischief

            Imagine that we live in a society that will be dead in one generation?

            It is no accident that society is almost entirely heterosexual. Furthermore, it will always be almost entirely heterosexual. Indeed, one consequence of “gay liberation” is that if there is any genetic element in homosexuality, it will grow steadily more heterosexual, because “gay liberation” broke down the cultural structures that forced homosexuals to pass on their genes. (Artificial means don’t cut it, because they require more time and effort and money than the natural ones; differential fertility drives evolution.)

            • Andrew Patton

              Unless of course these people think that Brave New World is an instruction manual (for those who haven’t read BNW, natural conception and pregnancy is nigh unheard of, while IVF has been taken to its logical end- children are not only conceived but gestated in vitro, and in the case of the lower castes, they are mass-cloned as well).

    • Dan Li

      When the APA notes “normal forms of human bonding” kindly understand that they not only *aren’t* making moral judgements on anything, they’re just saying that such relationships do not lead to grievous mental disorders. Also note that the APA is… not the most balanced or objective of our scientific associations.

      • Dorothy

        Dan, the APA seems to have a bad reputation among people who don’t agree with its position on homosexuality. Do you have an equally poor opinion of all the other associations (about 13 of them) that have taken the same position? And the World Health Organization? If so, I guess you’re left with the Catholic Church, which is not much of an authority on mental health issues.

        • Dan Li

          I apologize for my late response… However, you seem to have missed the point, or ignored the main point and attacked my snarking. The point is that the APA can say nothing regarding the moral or ethical standard of a condition or thing. They can only make summary judgments pertaining to psychology, though there have been instances of them trying to reason out a moral judgment. For those wondrous associations you refer to, I doubt that they make any moral or ethical judgments.

          My ‘snide remark’ was simply there to point out that the APA has a tendency towards factionalization that at times makes the philosophical establishment look like a unified front.

        • SocrateaseRedux

          Maybe the fact that the APA only changed its pronouncement on homosexuality because of ideological pressure from gay groups during the 70’s has something to do with people’s mistrust of them on this issue?

    • Micha Elyi

      Ever since Cary Grant appeared wearing a lady’s feathery robe in “Bringing up Baby” (1938), “gay” has had at least two meanings, one of which is “homosexual.”
      Dorothy

      And before the word was appropriated as an euphemism for ‘sodomite’, ‘gay’ meant ‘bachelor’. Today, ‘gay’ refers to a certain militant pro-perversion politics or one of the promoters of such politics. ‘Homosexual’ is a lifestyle. ‘Same-sex attraction’ is a kind of temptation.

      The meanings of words sometimes change over time. Dictionaries, unless their editors are trying to prescribe a word usage,* document the word usage that was common about a decade or two before their publication.

      *Example: ‘feminism’. Despite its ordinary usage by the general public and feminists as meaning a politics of female privilege, most dictionaries insist on prescribing the word’s meaning as ‘advocacy for equality of the sexes’. But if feminism were really about equality, it wouldn’t have such an obviously sexist name.

      • Micha Elyi

        oops

    • Kara Devlin

      Wonderfully said. I have a very hard time with people making hypothetical arguments about what someone would’ve said about a subject. “I can only imagine he would have the same bojections” is a dangerous statement to make.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/robtish Rob Tisinai

    Another analysis of homosexuals by a man who doesn’t understand homosexuals.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Angelo-Ocampo/100000081911147 Angelo Ocampo

      I beg to differ.

    • anon

      What does he not understand?

    • Dan Li

      Bakabakashii.

    • Bob

      The article’s mostly about sin and the right order of family. I don’t need to do an analysis of thieves to know that stealing is immoral. Similarly, one doesn’t need to understand homosexuals to know that sodomy is immoral. A thief with a tendency towards stealing should never claim what they does is moral. Any person with a tendency towards perverse sexual acts should never claim said acts are moral and justified. Do you know what you call a person with an attraction or tendency towards great sin (whether it’s stealing, murder, sodomy, fornication, adultery, etc.) and that person says no and abstains from that sin? A SAINT! We all have our temptations and crosses. As the article says everyone is engaged in a terrible battle. A homosexual that says no to gay sex and follows Christ is nothing less than a saint amongst us.

      • Dorothy

        Oh, Bob, that’s so circular of you! (Why is sodomy immoral? Because it is like stealing. Why is it like stealing? Because it is immoral.) You never established that sodomy was immoral.
        Anyway, as everyone knows, homosexuality does not equal sodomy. Many homosexuals do not practice sodomy (think, lesbians! duh.) and many heterosexuals DO. Where does the “immorality” between two lesbians begin? With desire? With a kiss? A caress?
        I don’t think most lesbians care that much about becoming saints.

        • SocrateaseRedux

          Do you not have anything better to do than troll Catholic websites?

          • Billiamo

            I disagree with much of what Dorothy says, but I think she’s asking good questions.

        • Bob

          Agreed, Dorothy. Lesbians don’t care much about becoming saints. In a nutshell, that says it all, doesn’t it?

        • James, Son of Francis

          “Oh, Bob, that’s so circular of you! (Why is sodomy immoral? Because it
          is like stealing. Why is it like stealing? Because it is immoral.) You
          never established that sodomy was immoral.”

          Actually Dorothy, the immorality of sodomy lies in the fact that it is a misuse of our natural design both spiritually and physically.

          The anus is not designed for intercourse. In fact, it is designed for one purpose only – to excrete the most dangerous byproduct of the human body. Couple that with the fact that this orifice (by it’s very design) is rife with harmful bacteria and is prone to tearing, and you have the recipe for some rather nasty side effects. i.e. the well established medical diagnosis of “gay bowel syndrome”. This term has been driven out of popular use thanks to the militant gay activists of our day, but the original pathology of the term is undeniable.

          Spiritually, there is one paradigm for true sexual love: The heterosexual paradigm of man and woman.

          But tell me Dorothy- what exactly is “natural” about homosexuality?

          • Bono95

            Yuck! If I didn’t believe before that sodomy is NOT love, I do now. Those facts are totally gross, James, but it’s their very grossness that makes them effective.

          • Sage

            Ironic how you claim fecal excretion to be “the most dangerous byproduct of the human body”, James, considering the original subject on which this discusdion thread is predicated and how AIDS ( a disease most commonly associated with nor incorrectly with the sexually promiscuous and born by BLOOD, not excretory matter ) and similar STDs are often more injurious and or deadly to our species. It is a FACT that AIDS and even some STDs damage and kill far more people than cases of externally distributed fecal infection.

          • Andrew Patton

            Quibble: feces is not the most dangerous waste product produced by the human body; that title belongs to ammonia. Ammonia is produced as a byproduct of protein metabolism, but it would be highly poisonous even at 1 part per million in the blood. It’s so toxic that the liver has to convert it to urea just to make it safe to excrete in urine. Still, your point stands. Anal sex can result in septic shock even when neither partner has any STDs or other illnesses, simply because the e-coli that naturally populate the large intestine can enter the bloodstream through tears caused by anal penetration and cause sepsis.

    • Dick Prudlo

      Well, Rob, give us all your take on this issue instead of blindsiding the commentaries.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robtish Rob Tisinai

    “When sex is only a momentary pleasure, when it offers nothing beyond itself, it brings no fulfillment.”
    Are you saying elderly people should not have sex?

    • vitto

      Actually there is at least a theoretical chance of an elderly woman getting pregnant… And in case of contraception this chance is not only theoretical, but actually rather often comes to reality, probably as often as in the case of NFP, so they both are equally open to life. The only situation where conception is impossible is the state of pregnancy. Pregnant women could not get more pregnant, so the only reason they are having sex must be “momentary” pleasure.:)

      • ACCER

        That’s actually not true. A pregnant woman CAN get more pregnant. There are cases of women getting pregnant with another baby while pregnant with the first one…..having them a few months apart. It’s rare but it does happen.

        • musicacre

          That’s actually wrong. You’ve got to be joking. The right hormones aren’t even present. Not only that, there is a plug at the cervix to keep the pregnancy going. If that plug weren’t there, there would be a miscarriage. I know several people this has happened to. You should see an anatomy textbook:)

          • http://www.facebook.com/rich.kardell Rich Kardell

            A simple search sows ACCER is correct. It’s called superfetation. Incredibly rare.

        • musicacre

          Not a few months apart; only in twins, and only a few weeks apart. Literally almost never, since it is so rare. They deliver at the same time, hence your thoughts on a few months apart are once again, not being familiar with basic anatomy and physiology.

    • anon

      No, he is saying that deviant acts are not equal to the marital act.

    • Jacqueline

      LOL- Elderly people can still have sex. When they are offering each other sex as a proclamation of love for one another its goes beyond momentary pleasure. True sex is a physical exclamation of love and desire for one another in God. It means that, “All that is mine is yours. I give myself to you.” Sex for pleasure is a lie. Pleasure from sex is just bonus.

      • http://wakingupnow.com/ Rob Tisinai

        Jacqueline, that’s my point, of course: That it would be ridiculous to tell people not to have sex just because they can’t procreate. You’re exactly right to say elderly people can offer each other sex as a proclamation of love for each that goes beyond momentary pleasure.

        Just like same-sex couples, of course.

        • Moran

          Perhaps not “just like” same-gender sexual interaction. There would be many fundamental differences.

          This brings to mind the “equality” symbol.
          M+F = F+F
          There are similarities, but there are fundamental and universal differences between the two sides of the equation. Similar, but not the same.

          I also think it’s ridiculous for an adult to tell another adult seemingly arbitrary instructions on what he or she must or should not do in the bedroom.

          However, my university tells me what to do or not to do in the bedroom, because they want to be sure I know how to use every type of flavored condom, and they want to inform me about all the diseases I will get if I don’t use the flavored condom, dental dam, or other recommended item as described. I had no idea people even did some of these things. But thank goodness my university felt it was obligatory.

          Today’s adults do, in fact, get into the business of telling people what to do. As a celibate person by choice, I am told on a weekly basis by young adults and baby boomers around me that I am deeply flawed and must begin doing something in my bedroom with some kind of person.

          I would much rather they kept their thoughts to themselves on this topic. But they won’t. So I must accept that I live in a pluralistic society. And I’m actually glad we do have the opportunity to express our ideas in a free environment.

          On the other hand, if caring about the structure of society is important, and if you genuinely believe in a God who gives intentional instructions about how to live, behave sexually, and even how to control one’s thoughts, then it is clear why many people wish to speak up on this issue.

          People who do not seek God will never understand faith. And often people of faith feel that things God demands of them are incomprehensible. But on occasion we get a glimpse of what could be a “common sense” reason behind something. Many of today’s people of faith(s) are approaching this from an angle of using common sense to explain their obedience to God, but for whatever reason on this issue many people’s sense of the common is no longer clear. We can only pray to get a clear vision of what is truly following, and hope for the best.

          In the meantime, nobody will easily understand anyone who follows Christ, because He was the author of paradox. And who was the author of Chesterton? A great mystery writer, that is certain.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mark-Noonan/100000355350670 Mark Noonan

    Nothing better illustrates the failure of gay rights than the experience of the Netherlands – where gay rights have gone the furthest, along with all other attacks on the family. Well, the family in the Netherlands is pretty dead, and so, too, is the Netherlands…they are being swamped by Muslims (there are areas in the Netherlands where homosexuals dare not show themselves for fear of being set upon by Islamist mobs) and fearfully hoping that at least the welfare State will last them to their graves.

    But, also, this is no longer the homosexual moment – while it appears to be striding to absolute and final victory and we’ll soon all accept it that a gay marriage is the same as a heterosexual marriage, the reality is that the moment is past. Homosexuality is a sterile, futureless activity. It leads precisely nowhere. The old, secular world which took over from Christendom is in its death throes…the only real question is what parts of the old West will be retained by the Christian remnant and which parts will be secured by resurgent Islam; and then we’ll get back to the real battle which was always there.

    • Bob

      Very good post!

    • markogrgurich

      Mark you nailed it. Excellent.

  • vitto

    Well of course every thinking human being knows what birth control or gun control or any other control means and objection to this phrase is as silly as as an objection to the phrase, say, “cancer treatment” on the grounds that it is neither “cancer” nor “treatment” (you don’t treat it, you try to kill it). I don’t know why is everyone so fond of Chesterton and his cheap and tiresome paradoxes. I’ve read a few of his books and I admire his sense of humor but his arguments are often very superficial and bordering on banality. His paradoxes are often either simply wrong or just picking on words.

    • Katrina

      I think there is cancer there, and you do treat it. We do this all the time in my family.

      Chesterton’s defense of meaningful words (as opposed to deconstructivism) is unique in that he cares deeply about keeping words sharp and strong instead of dull and weak. A fallacy doesn’t cease to be wrong when it’s a fad. Just because lots of people recognize the term “gun control” doesn’t mean it’s good intellectual practice to throw two words together that mean the opposite of what they are or some altogether different thing.

      “Life Insurance”
      “Capital Punishment”

      Most often these sorts of tems are created with a mind behind them, promoting an agenda. And most often people go ahead and use them. It doesn’t help keep language from becoming meaningless.

      I want a sharp language, or I will never be able to carry on an argument that points to common sense.

      I do believe in “Common Sense” as a term. We need it in order to make a society or to communicate with one another.

      I also love Chesterton’s mirth. I would be hard-pressed to find a political pundit of today (or philosopher or literary critic or poet or journalist or debater) with such an entertaining humor and healthy sense of respect for the “other” in equal combination with one another. He recognizes we are all the many individual types of cheese in one big refrigerator of humanity, and even people who disagreed with him were well-loved friends.

      I hope this helps you understand why at least one person likes Chesterton so well. You don’t have to like him, but I highly recommend exploring his writings.

      • Katrina

        Correction, “linguistic deconstruction” is the term I think I mean. I’m still trying to learn about this movement, and apparently it has a different term in architecture. I also just realized I don’t know what “hard-pressed” means, or where the expression comes from. I’ll be thinking more on this. Clearly I cannot uphold my own standards of accuracy in language, but I do try, and I enjoy thinking about words.

        Here is more about the idea of deconstruction:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deconstruction

  • http://www.facebook.com/bernadette.shonka Bernadette Shonka

    Right on!

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  • bookbutterfly

    I can understand some of the reasoning that this article presents, I do not however agree that the tone was a positive one. Yes we should be building up the family, and a strong family union is essential for a strong society, but how are we “catholics” if we are pointing the finger at others and undermining their God-given dignity? It is one thing to be homosexual and lead a pure life, and another to commit acts that degrade their human dignity. “The problem of homosexuality as an enemy of civilization….” Really?
    You cannot condemn people because they sin differently then you.

    • John200

      Question: Who wants to condemn homo”sex”uals?

      Answer: They themselves are working enthusiastically at getting condemned. That is a pity, but condemnation goes with the actions, unless repented. Homo”sex”uals cause it to happen. No one else is responsible.

      This is not a deep argument. I hope you can follow it and act on its implications.

    • Micha Elyi

      You cannot condemn people because they sin differently then you.
      bookbutterfly

      I disagree, unless you are using the word ‘condemn’ to exclusively mean ‘damn to hell’ bookbutterfly.

  • John200

    Dear Admins,

    Notice this finely reasoned, well-balanced argument and how well it goes with the poster’s name.

    That ought to do it.

  • djpala

    Excellent article !

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  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Living systems are by definition chemical data-processing systems that self-perpetuate (those that do not self-perpetuate, cease to exist).

    Processes that are “adaptive” are those whose output does not inhibit self-perpetuation; namely: territoriality; reproduction; competition; self-amelioration; inter-education; and affiliation into groups.

    Homosexuality is not “adaptive,” but a malfunction.

    • Dorothy

      Michael, there’s something wrong with your theory. Homosexuals don’t reproduce, and yet their proportion of the population seems to have been pretty stable over the centuries. Maybe homosexuality is adaptive in ways you haven’t thought of. Have you heard of “group selection?”

      • http://twitter.com/waywardson23 James

        Execellent point. Michael’s theory fails because it applies equally to vows of celibacy as homosexuality. Celibates do not self-perpetuate either.

      • James, Son of Francis

        On the contrary Dorothy, the proportion of Homosexuality in populations never increases. However, the far-reaching negative implications of their moral acceptance always does.

      • msmischief

        Heretofore, homosexuals have been forced to reproduce despite themselves. Plato in the Symposium casually described male homosexuals as needing to be forced by law to marry and begot children.

      • msmischief

        Homosexuals do reproduce. And furthermore, by the same methods as heterosexuals.

        In The Symposium, it is lightly tossed off that they must be forced to marry and get children by law, but the idea that they are incapable of that does not even register — and that was in the height of classical Greece, so often cited as the heyday of toleration for it.

        What the revolution was was a systemic breakdown of the cultural evolution that coerced them into reproducing whatever they thought of it. Decline will, no doubt, follow.

  • http://jscafenette.com/ Manny

    Outstanding piece Mr. Ahlquist.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristinaArche9 Christina Archer

    Very clear. Very true. Very uncomfortable to read. Our society has confused ‘compassion’ with granting permission.

  • http://www.facebook.com/walter.e.engelken Walter E Engelken

    Solid comment in the article … Compassion must never compromise wth evil …

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  • Black Talon

    homosexuality should have never been de-criminalized, wilde went to jail for homosexuality, that should the be the law again, homosexual behavior should be re-criminalized with jail time. Uganda got it right.

  • Kara Devlin

    Could you please cite the source of each quote? I would like to read them in context. I have never read anything of Chesterton’s where he writes about homosexuality. Thank you.

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  • Jer

    This is disturbing. This whole article. However I’m glad the author is making compassion the focus. But why can’t we focus on what people do right, and encourage people to be more like Christ, even gays! That doesn’t mean to be sinless, cause that is an impossibility, but it means to nurture, love, forgive and be compassionate. This whole idea of “pointing at something and calling it ‘sin’ should die.” Better your family and live by example.. But do not frown upon a homo-sexual couple who does the same thing. That is their biological sexual preference and it’s none of our business what they do. If Christian straight couples are the most ideal for marriage than why are their so many divorces within the church?! People aren’t perfect! Lets stop trying to lump people’s sin into a category and just accept that people are complicated and love them.

    • Bonchamps

      Your thinking is fundamentally confused. You’re conflating compassion, one of the Godliest of virtues, with antinomianism, something that’s been understood to be a heresy for the past 1800 years. Jesus came to “fulfill the law, not destroy it,” after all.

      Sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do is forcefully point out that what someone’s doing is wrong. When that’s understood, then you can extend the hand of fellowship and lift them back up.

      And yes, that applies to divorcees and fornicators as much as sodomites. And to those among us that might be tempted, in our fervor, to Pharasaic pride.

  • Tasha

    How funny that Chesterton warned in 1926 that “the next great heresy will be an attack on sexual morality.” 1926 was the year of Allen Ginsberg’s birth. He was sexual immorality personified, and he was hell-bent on normalizing perversion and chaos.

  • kalib

    JESUS says:

    “It is against the law to separate what God has united, and he or she
    is always adulterous by getting married again while the consort is still
    alive.

    “Divorce is legal prostitution, as it puts man and
    woman in a position to commit lustful sins. Only seldom a divorcee
    remains the widow of a living man, and a faithful widow. A divorced man
    is never faithful to his first marriage. Both he and she, by passing to
    other unions, descend from the level of men to that of brutes, which are
    granted to change female at each appeal of sensuality. Legal
    fornication, dangerous to families and to the Fatherland, is criminal
    towards innocent children. The children of a divorced couple must judge
    their parents. The judgement of children is a severe one! At least one
    of the parents is condemned by the children. And the children, through
    the selfishness of the parents, are doomed to a mutilated affective
    life. Then, if to the family consequences of divorce, that deprives
    innocent children of their father or mother, a new marriage is added of
    the consort to whom the children have been entrusted, to the doom of an
    affective life mutilated of a member, a further mutilation is added:
    that of the more or less total loss of the affection of the other
    member, who is divided or completely absorbed by the new love and by the
    children of the second marriage.

    “To speak of marriage, of
    matrimony in the case of a new union of a divorce or divorcee, is to
    profane the meaning and the essence of marriage. Only the death of one
    of the consorts and the consequent widowhood of the other can justify a
    second marriage. However, I think that it would be better to yield to
    the always just verdict of Him Who controls the destinies of men, and to
    remain chaste when death has put an end to the matrimonial state,
    devoting oneself to the children and loving the dead consort in the
    children. A holy, true love, deprived of all materialism. Poor children!
    To experience, after the death or the ruin of a home, the hardness of a
    second father or of a second mother and the anguish of seeing caresses
    shared with other children who are not their brothers!

    “No.
    There will be no divorce in My religion. And he who divorces by civil
    law to contract a new marriage will be an adulterer and sinner. Human
    law shall not change My decree. Matrimony in My religion will no longer
    be a civil contract, a moral promise, made and ratified in the presence
    of witnesses appointed for that purpose. But it shall be an indissoluble
    bond stipulated, confirmed and sanctified by the sanctifying power I
    will give it, as being a Sacrament. To make you understand: a sacred
    rite. A power that will help to practise all matrimonial duties in a
    holy way, but that will also be the sentence of indissolubility of the
    bond. ”

    Excerpt from Chapter 529. Jesus Speaks to Valeria of
    Matrimony and Divorce.The Miracle of Little Levi., pages 459-450, Volume
    4, Poem of the Man-God.
    http://issuu.com/ricardodeleon/docs/poem_of_the_man-god_volume_4/1

  • Hugh_Oxford

    Marriage is simply the way normal societies order and structure mating and procreation, and is rooted in the needs of human infants and their mothers.

    If marriage is not the way that we order and structure mating and procreation, then what is? And if marriage is not the way we order mating and procreation, then what is it, and why is it important?

  • Bolland

    When I started my academic work on Chesterton I was entirely unaware that a subculture of hateful bigots attempts to follow in his footsteps these days, taking his arguments out of context and reapplying them without any sense of historical change or of the changing notions of ‘common sense’. The article and the comments are fascinating in their invocations of freedom (as long as it is the freedom to adhere to whatever you have set up as ‘decent’ and ‘natural’), the same obsession with homosexuality (viz the staggering anatomical interest, the half-aroused fascination with ‘orifices’, the gleeful envisaging of homosexual intercourse on display in the comments).

    To invoke Wilde’s prison term as a rightful punishment in 2013 is almost too stupid to warrant comment. It is fascinating, however, how Chesterton is used as an authority to justify hatred and to pretend that personal, idiosyncratic unease has any consistent and ethical basis.

  • Michel Tietie

    Maybe we need to do some deeper research into what these terms mean and what is really going on.

    Marriage – noun
    The formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.
    This is the oxforddictionary.com definition of the term.

    What LGBT rights movements are trying to do
    Marriage – noun
    A legally, religiously, or socially sanctioned union of persons who commit to one another, forming a familial and economic bond.

    Therefor I would have to agree with Chesterton to some extent. It isn’t “Gay Marriage”, but then it isn’t his Judaic Christian notion of love either. This is about law, not about how your cloud painted puppet master dangling strings and laughing at us with the welkin cheering him on; this is about people and love.

    Love is not so narrowly defined as it once was. We also have a greater amount of evidence that not only did Christ heal the young male guards servant, who at the time were in fact used for GAY SEX, but that in fact the whole Yashua Christo story was a fabricated myth made by one of the rising houses in Rome and Greece used to quell the rebellious people of Israel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM2KONcLKQU This is a location to watch the documentary about the conspiracy.

    One of the grandest issues when reading a large portion of this mans work is that, while professing to be a Catholic, there is very little mention of his scriptures, only his opinion, which has no greater sway than any other man unless proven right.

    I’ll continue later on, but I have work to do….I’ll pull research as well for this topic, but while I do I encourage you all to watch this video….educate yourself

  • MotherGinger

    Question: I know there have been societies in the past where people engaged in homosexual behavior, and even cases where animals engage in homosexual behavior. Does anyone know, however, whether either history or the animal world illustrate birth-to-death homosexual orientation? I am contrasting occasional homosexual behavior with an orientation that persists from as long as the individual is aware of sexuality until death, and is purely homosexual, not bisexual.

  • Annemarie

    I like it when people think clearly. It leads to a proper discussion.

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