Yes, Ms. Parker, We Can Control Our Behavior
December 30th, 2010
I think the anti-gays are launching a new assault on us, this time trying to convince people that we’re the ones saying gays and lesbians can’t be moral. Conservative columnist Star Parker writes:
Americans are becoming more prone to believe that individuals cannot take personal responsibility for their sexual behavior. Thirty six percent believe today that homosexual behavior is genetically determined compared to 14% who believed this forty years ago.
Is Star lying or merely confused? I found the poll she’s talking about:
This poll says nothing about behavior — it’s about identity. Not what you do, but who you are.
I’ve written before about those on the Right who claim there are no homosexuals, just homosexual behavior. The Family Research Council reveals the political motive behind this deliberate obfuscation:
[H]omosexual conduct is not comparable to other characteristics usually protected by civil rights laws (“race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”). Protection against private “discrimination” has historically been offered only for characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, and/or in the Constitution-yet none of these describe homosexual behavior. [emphasis added]
Star Parker’s going somewhere else, though. It’s one thing to say that you can’t control your sexual orientation. But saying you can’t take personal responsibility for your behavior means you cannot be trusted. It means you have no power to choose a right action over a wrong one. It means, basically, that you are amoral.
That’s not just false, it’s insidious. When we say being gay or lesbian is an immutable characteristic, Star Parker wants people to hear us saying we can’t control our conduct.
What does that accomplish? Quite a bit. It creates a climate of fear. If gays claim they can’t control their behavior, then how we trust them as parents, as teachers, as soldiers? If Star Parker has her way, every time we stand up for our rights, we’ll be damning ourselves as amoral creatures.
And she’s doing this by lying.
Or perhaps it’s just confusion. If so, she’s confused a lot in this piece. For instance, she writes:
As a Christian, I believe in the truth of traditional morality as transmitted to us through our biblical sources. And I believe, along with George Washington, who stated clearly in his farewell address to the nation, that religion and traditional morality are critical to the maintenance of our free society.
Homosexual behavior is unacceptable by these moral standards.
She’s twisting Washington’s speech here. It’s true Washington declared the importance of religion and morality. He even said that religion (not Christianity, not Protestantism, not any specific anti-gay religious doctrine) is necessary for morality. But he never mentioned traditional morality. You can see why Star snuck it in, though. It’s not enough to be moral; your morality has to be traditional — otherwise you’ll end up getting sassed by good and moral Christians who have no problem with teh gays.
Now Washington was no gay liberationist. He did say this about morality in that speech, though:
It is substantially true, that virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government. Who, that is a sincere friend to it, can look with indifference upon attempts to shake the foundation of the fabric ?
Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.
I’m not sure how Star’s misrepresentations serve the general diffusion of knowledge or the enlightenment of public opinion. Yet she does seem to be concerned with the nation’s moral condition — though, once again, in a pretty confused way:
When asked… for the principal reason that the moral condition of the nation is worsening, the greatest response – 15% – was “disrespect for others.” Only 2% said teen pregnancy, 3% homosexuality, 3% abortion, and 7% breakdown of family/unwed mothers.
When asked for the principal reason that our moral condition is improving, the largest response – 25% – was “better understanding about other people and cultures/more diversity/less racism.”
It should be clear that what is happening is that any prevailing sense that there are objective standards for right and wrong is disappearing and that this is being displaced with a relativism and nihilism that values nothing other than tolerance of everything.
Hold on. What does this Christian lady have against Jesus? You know, the Jesus who said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And who commanded, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus must really get her steamed – he sounds like one of those nihilist relativists who think “disrespect for others” is a core moral problem and that “better understanding about other people” could improve our moral condition.
[As an aside, I have to apologize for making this my most rambling blog post ever. But when Star jumps from DADT to Christianity to George Washington to Gallup polls on abortion to nihilism to the Declaration of Independence (!)...well, I did my best with the mess that I found.]
At the beginning of her article, Star Parker writes, “I’m feeling increasingly like a minority in our country. Not because I’m black, but because I am a Christian.” But I can’t see any connection between Jesus in the Bible and the way she’s presented herself. Still, if it’s making her feel isolated and marginalized, maybe there’s hope for our nation’s moral condition after all.