Monday, March 19, 2007

The Immorality of Truth: A New Irony

For quite some time, the liberal media has sought to separate sex from its ethical and moral anchor, and the result of their largely successful campaign to do so has been the normalization of all types of sexual deviancy that our culture once considered taboo. Furthermore, the attempts of the secular left to marginalize any objection to this new sexual ethic have resulted in a slate of appellatives that can now be readily applied to the objectors: homophobe, bigot, and fundamentalist are three labels that quickly come to mind.

But yesterday, I found that Leonard Pitts of the Miami Herald has a new moniker for those who dare raise the moral question with regard to homosexuality in particular. . . .we are now immoral!

Pitts' Friday column in the Herald addressed comments made last week by General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint cheifs of staff. Having personally heard General Pace's comments, I knew it would not be long before the press picked up on this opportunistic fodder and sent it through the rapidly-revolving cooling-unit. Calls have been made for the General's resignation, the end of the don't ask-don't tell military policy, and for a public apology...all in response to Pace's simple statement below:

"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way."

Still, of all the strong objections given to the General's comments over the past week, I found Leonard Pitts' to be the most peculiar. To be sure, Pitts resorts to the typical lines of response as well:

Name-calling: "People like the general--in other words bigots, often wrap their objections up in claims of fundamental right and wrong where sexual orientation is concerned.

"Categorical Fallacy: "It is immoral to be Jewish? Immoral to be male? Is it immoral to hail from Idaho? How then, can it be immoral to be gay?

"Misrepresentation of the Opposition: "At this point, of course, someone is frantically pointing to an obscure Old Testament passage as his or her authority for the immorality of homosexuality. Thing is, the Old Testament also requires the death penalty for disrespectful children, forbids the eating of meat cooked rare, and obligates the man who rapes a virgin to by her from her father and marry her."

For the record, this "bigot" doesn't need Leviticus. I have Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6. While the proscription of punishment for homosexual behavior in Leviticus is certainly bound within the Mosaic Covenant, the over-arching principle of Biblial sexual ethics remains a universal, and thus, trans-covanental stipulation. And for the life of me, anyone who equates ethnic nationality, gender, and geographic location with sexual behavior makes such an absurd argument that nothing else need be taken seriously.

Still, I was intrigued by the one unconventional approach taken by Pitts: that of referring to those who object to the homosexual lifestyle on moral grounds as themselves immoral. How on earth does a man with the intelligence and eloquence of a Pulitzer-prize winner manage to make such a leap? I found the steps in his column:

1. Re-define Morality: "Morality, it has always seemed to me, has less to do with commonalities of existence then with how you treat other people." There you have it! Morality is now no longer about knowing right from wrong. It is about how I "treat" my neighbor. I smell a false-dichotomy!

Would it be morally reprehensible, for example, for me to walk by my neighbors house while it was going up in smoke, with my neighbor inside? Certainly it would. Why then, is it not considered equally reprehensible to refrain from warning someone that their behavior places them at an astronomically-high risk for the worst kinds of Sexually Transmitted Diseases . . .the "terminal" kind? Why is it not considered immoral to confront a lifestyle that has led so many to depression and suicide?

And regarding the military; why would we consider it "immoral" to prohibit any behavior that might result in a breakdown of discipline? The don't ask...don't tell policy is there for the same reason the "no women in combat" rule is there (oh wait, the politically correct have done away with this one already, haven't they?) Sexual tension..whether heterosexual or the absolute last thing you want on a battlefield!

To say that morality has little if anything to do with "commonalities" and is all about how people are treated is to say we can all have different understandings of what "kindness" and "equality" and "tolerance" mean, yet still treat each other with these virtues. But if the above-described vision of "morality" can find its way into the mainstream, then you can be sure that the "immoral" label will be attached to any evangelical who dares to question sexual behavior prohibited by Scripture.

2. Change the Subject. "Team Bush misled the nation into war against the wrong enemy. It hospitalized wounded Americans in squalor and filth. It left the people we 'liberated' without electricity, gasoline, or medical services for months turning to years because of its failure to plan. How moral is that?"

From my vantagepoint, the jury is still out on the conflict in Iraq. As such, Pitts' claims regarding this war may indeed end up having merit. But even if his assessment of the war is correct, such an assessment changes nothing with regard to the subject matter he seeks to address.

This approach of "who are you to judge us?" is in reality nothing more than a cleverly disguised ad hominem attack. Suppose I am arrested for the armed robbery of a convenience store? Suppose that to answer for my crimes I am dragged before a judge who is corrupt? Suppose, as my defense, I say something like this:

I may be a thief, but how moral is it of you to sit up there behind that bench and judge me? How many times have you taken payoffs in exchange for 'not-guilty' verdicts? How much of the taxpayer's money have you wasted sitting through hours of court hearings only to let someone guilty go free? What about that pedophille you released just last month because of a technicality?

Could all of that be true of a judge who gives me the maximum sentence? Sure. Do I still deserve punishment? Absolutely.

On a similar note, let's just assume that Pitts' claims against the current administration are true. Let's assume the President really is a liar. Let's assume General Pace intentionally placed our wounded soldiers into abhorrent medical conditions. With all these things assumed, what has changed regarding homosexuality?

Not a thing!

In the end, Pitts accuses General Pace of holding to a "visceral" view of immorality. Upon further investigation, it appears that Mr. Pitts' view of morality is itself quite "visceral." If our culture has reached the point of referring to truth as "immoral," then perhaps the viscera is the only foundation on which we can seek to build a common understanding of right and wrong. But making absolute statements based on your "gut-instinct" seems to me the least-likely of ways to perpetuate a civilized society.

Ironic as it may sound to many on the left, I believe I'll find relief from all this "immorality" in the text of Scripture!


Read Leonard Pitt's article here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I, too, read that article in the paper. I only hope that you have sent Leonard Pitts a copy of what you wrote here - not that it would do any good, but he needs to hear it!