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Volume 13, Issue 5: Anvil

Thundering Naivete

Douglas Wilson

Lee Irons, a well-known Reformed writer and thinker (OPC), has done it now. He has posted on his church's web site an article by his wife calling for "civil same-sex marriage." Not only so, but this is trumpeted as a "conservative Christian case" for same. And herein lies a warning.

Richard Weaver taught us years ago that ideas have consequences. If this is right, and we think it is, it follows that pesky ideas have pesky consequences. The pesky idea in this instance is the factory-direct two-kingdom muddle that frequently attends all amillennial attempts at cultural relevance.
The muddle could have been kept at its normal muddle level if she had argued that "of course homosexuality is vile and abominable, but there are these two kingdoms out there, so what is a poor pastor's wife to do?" And that is what I thought she was going to do, staying safe and close to the shore. In part she does do this, and her basic argument at least has the virtue of being understandable. If we do not support the rights of homosexuals in a pluralistic society, then how can we ask for Christians to have any rights in that same pluralistic society? But note the given—gotta have that pluralistic society. The Great Commission does not apply to America, and so we have to make our peace with the idols.
At the same time, the article is shot through with phrases that indicate she is more than a little sympathetic with the homosexual line. For example, she assumes throughout the possibility of "committed and sexually responsible relationships" in homosexual marriages, and she is more than a little impatient with the standard biblical responses to homosexuality.
But the really breathtaking thing about the article is the thundering naivete, and despite the show of learning, she is shilling for a position, and not really following an argument. For example, in responding to the slippery slope argument against legal homosexual marriage, she says, "People who like having sex with family members or dumb animals are making perverse sexual choices. By contrast the vast majority of homosexuals did not choose to be homosexual." I see. Incest and bestiality are flatly out, no matter how pluralistic our society gets. Why? They are "perverse sexual choices." Okay. But who says? By what standard? Other basic questions come to mind, but not to her mind apparently.
I am very sorry to be put in the position of having to show rudeness to a lady. But Mrs. Irons wants to be a Christian writer and thinker, and she is not up to the task. And if she can't stand the heat, she should get back in the kitchen.


The Thrill of Crisis

Douglas Jones

You must know someone who thrives on personal crises. They suck it in like a drownee, it makes them glow a bit more, and they secretly wish they could be attached to it intravenously. Whenever things calm down a bit, they turn despondent, depressed, watch reality TV. If the drought goes on for more than a day, they start to manufacture problems on until something bigger comes along.

This is all a brilliant cover for laziness. Crises give us permission to set aside hard responsibilities, especially the boring ones. It's easier to live as a martyr than an ant.
Politicians love crises for the same reasons. Everyone pays attention. People do what you say. They pay anything, just to make the crisis go away. The trick, of course, for politicians is to make the crisis last as long as possible.
Even good, decent politicians slip into this without blinking. Politicians don't actually create anything to sell but their own power. So if they get the chance to do what they love—protect with power—they jump at the chance.
One doesn't have to question the justice of the current war to realize that it's the perfect war for politicians. The targets are elusive and scattered. They can show up in any country, and in a flash they can sneak in our back door. They have no borders or headquarters. "This could take years." And a planet of money.
Non-Christians especially like a crisis because it supplies suffering and resentment that might add up to a meaningful life. The Left can get all pious and weepy; the Right can get high on just causes and civil unitarianism. It raises everyone out of tedious responsibilities; it permits transcendence of the mundane. It's what people love who don't embrace the permeating glories of Trinity and Incarnation. It's for people who want the thrill of magic and supernatural awe but can't squeeze it out of cosmic accident.
As I write, I hear in the background that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says it intends to create mandatory universal rules for the nation's electricity markets. Somebody's bound to be drowning somewhere. Quickly, give us an air pump to suck. Necessity is the prostitute of crisis.

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