Friday, May 27, 2011

Here Comes LGBTQIP Marriage

Here are some stunning developments in the culture. Gallop reports that 53% of the population now supports same-sex marriage. Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, told Marvin Olasky that the battle against same-sex marriage in this country is "probably lost." Bottom line: "I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture."

This prompted a number of reflections in me. One, however, was that it is not just same-sex marriage. That opens the floodgates. Hence my Worldmag column this week: "Marriage Equality Floodgates."

The argument from the innovators gos this way:

...there are these marriages out there, but some are legally recognized while others are not. It’s just baseless discrimination, they say. As a consequence, some get inheritance advantages, tax breaks, employer benefits, and visitation rights in the emergency room, whereas others do not. So let’s just treat all marriages the same way.

Here is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo making the case:

To which I respond:

“all marriages” is an expandable concept limited only by the imagination. If Americans make their peace with same-sex marriage, there is no logical reason that marriage should not include any combination of people in any number. Incest? Polygamy? A cultic, free-love commune? Why not? People who are presently in incestuous and polygamous relationships are waiting in the wings, eager to get in on this “marriage equality.”

One cheeky commenter on the column quipped: "LGBTQ marriage is discriminatory. It blatantly discriminates against LGBPTQSI marriage, not to mention LGBPTQASIF civil unions," and "Let’s sanction LBBTQENGUFDNSRIJSD#$&%@RZXPWV+SOI@#$! marriage and civil unions too, at public school expense!!! How would that hurt YOUR marriage, anyway? We are all equal or not."

The left-wing Slate magazine back in 2003 saw the logic as clear as a bright day in San Francisco (“Incest repellent? If gay sex is private, why isn’t incest?). And polygamy? The lobbying effort in popular culture is already operating full tilt on HBO’s Big Love, a successful show that concluded its last of five seasons in March.

Of course, children will suffer the most, as they always do in liberal social experiments. Read Freedom's Orphans by my colleague David Tubbs. But aside from that, Daly is right: "I think we need to start calculating where we are in the culture."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Barrowed Bride

My Worldmag column on the William and Kate's royal wedding received good traffic ("A Royal and Christian Wedding"). It was a reflection on the remarkably Christian character of William and Kate's wedding at Westminster Abbey in London last week. The means of grace is there to direct their hearts to Christ, and thus to put William's future reign where is was for young King Edward VI in the sixteenth century, squarely under the Lordship of Christ for the blessing of his nation.

Among their reasons to thank God are that he gave them such lovely weather for the big event, and that the edge of the American sword did not reach bin Laden's throat until the following Sunday.

But I began the column playfully with a reference to an old practice among very common people that my Scottish Aberdonian parents once described to me. "After last week’s royal wedding, I was disappointed not to see William wheel Kate through the streets of London in a barrow. So much for the modern monarchy."

You can view film of a barrowed bride here. The website says that the reason for this WWII era instance was the wartime transport shortage.

Here is a man who wheeled his daughter to the church in his wheelbarrow, but there is no historical reference in the story.

Here is groom and barrowed bride on a cake.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

No You Kahn't

Rich and powerful guys often to think they can just have anything they want. There must be a feeling of omnipotence when you are Domenique Strauss-Kahn or a big actor or rock star. It offends our belief in human equality, whether democratic or Christian.

So it was with some anger that I received the news that the head of the International Monetary Fund and soon to be candidate for the French presidency pounced on his New York Sofitel maid as though she were a amenity like the mint on his pillow. And it was with some pleasure that I thought of the man in leg irons, eating prison food on Rikers Island (A Frenchman eating prison food! American prison food.), and doing his privacies in full view of the prison guards. Ha!

It was even more entertaining then to read an April 16 article on Strauss-Kahn, "French Presidency: Yes He Kahn." As in America, people are beginning t put themselves forward for the highest office to challenge the incumbent president, though for the Socialist Party. Strauss-Kahn was widely suspected of gearing up for a run, though because he was president of the IMF (he has just resigned that post) he was contractually forbidden to discuss French politics.

The irony of these speculations a few weeks before the big man's humiliation is hilarious.

"A source close to the IMF says that Mr Strauss-Kahn’s diary is busy in May, but clear after that."

"The best guess is that Mr Strauss-Kahn will quit the IMF and declare in late May or early June."

"While out of the country, Mr Strauss-Kahn has been able to glide above the grubby business of French politics."

"With his years on a big salary in Washington, not to mention a rich wife and a house in Marrakech, Mr Strauss-Kahn needs to show that he is in touch with ordinary folk."
That last one is particularly precious.

For a little more fun, here is Jon Stewart. Much of the first clip pertains to the discovery of Osama bin Laden's pornography indulgence, gets around to other stories that tragically overloaded Stewart's comedy agenda for that show, Strauss-Kahn's faux pas included. S-K shows up at the 4 minute mark.

This one came after Strauss-Kahn posted $1 million in bail.

I hope that a certain African hotel maid presently hiding from the media somewhere in New York is taking some satisfaction in her (alleged) assailant's torment at the hands of professional clowns.

Same-Sex Marriage Response

There is much that has been written explaining how same-sex "marriage" is wrong morally, philosophically, socially, and so on.

Here is my two cents on "A Bronx Cheer for Real Marriage" (, May 18, 2011).

Advocates of the change present same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue. They ask, if you can, why can’t we? ...

But there’s a problem. It’s not marriage. As I enjoyed my first and perhaps final stroll through the Bronx, I searched for a plausible analogy and settled on another unique human relationship: the church. In our society, churches have certain tax advantages over other organizations and a respectability that not every organization has. What homosexuals want is comparable to insurance companies demanding that they too be recognized as churches. This would improve their public image and their bottom line at the same time. There is a surface resemblance, no? Like churches, they have buildings, they bring in money, and they take care of people.

But there’s a problem. They are not churches. There is something essential to a church that does not and cannot happen in an insurance company as an insurance company, namely the worship of God. So, too, there is something essential to marriage that does not and cannot happen in an intimate, homosexual friendship, namely reproduction. Granted, there are heterosexual couples who cannot have children. But that is an accident of nature. In homosexual couples, it is a principle of nature.

I will have a fuller argument in my forthcoming book, Left, Right, and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics, which I co-author with Lisa Sharon Harper who argues in favor of this novel arrangement. Russell Media will publish it in October.

Worth reading on the subject:

Esolen, Anthony. “A Requiem for Friendship: Why Boys Will Not Be Boys & Other Consequences of the Sexual Revolution,” Touchstone, September 2005.

_____________. “Same-Sex Marriage: Anthony Esolen’s Ten Arguments for Sanity,” Touchstone Magazine: Mere Comments, January 25, 2010.

Shell, Susan M. “The Liberal Case Against Gay Marriage,” The Public Interest, Summer 2004.

Tubbs, David L. Freedom's Orphans: Contemporary Liberalism and the Fate of American Children (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007).

Tubbs, David L. and Robert P. George, "Redefining Marriage Away," City Journal, Summer 2004.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obama killed Osama. Got it?

I'm glad that I'm not the only one. I think this is why Fox News has started referring to bin Laden as "Usama." I thought it was out of kindness to Obama, but it's more likely it was to protect against these slips of the tongue.

I got this from

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dancing at a Hanging

There is a buzz of debate among students at The King’s College where I teach. I don’t think anyone regrets that our Navy SEALs caught up with Osama bin Laden and plugged him. But not everyone is comfortable celebrating the fact.

It’s good, but are high fives in order? Should we party at Ground Zero? A man is dead. An evil man, to be sure. But a life that God made in his image has come to its earthly end, and a soul has been sent to judgment. Isn’t this an occasion for awful silence?

I think that such reserve is unwarranted because it fails to give proper weight to the central fact of the killing in question, namely, justice. Osama bin Laden ordered the murder of what turned out to be almost 3,000 people on September 11, 2001, and of 17 sailors on the U.S.S. Cole the previous year. He’s a mass murderer.

Regardless of what you think the role of government should be, it is indisputably to protect those under its care from murderous assault. And where someone has unjustly taken a life, it is government’s proper role to punish that injustice.

Osama bin Laden’s offense was even more serious in that it was an assault not only on private individuals, but upon the nation as a whole. It was an act of war by a foreign, sub-national organization. New York City and Washington DC were paralyzed. The nation was terrorized. And this was precisely what the al Qaeda leader hoped to accomplish.

When our special forces—arms of the American government—finally caught up with bin Laden in his Pakistani bunker-estate and popped him between the eyes, they not only secured the nation. They did justice. More specifically, the American civil government that God instituted by the will of the American people executed justice on a monstrous evil doer. Scripture tells us that civil government is God’s instrument, “an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19), and he executes his dread vengeance in part through the civil authorities he has appointed for that purpose.

A Christian can and should rejoice in all good things, among which is the execution of justice in the world. I work in Midtown Manhattan. I’m sorry I missed the party at Ground Zero.

Consider, however, qualifications and disagreements from John Piper, Albert Mohler, and Warren Cole Smith.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Word Went to the Ends of the Earth

This was a remarkable moment. James Middleton--brother of Prince William's bride, Catherine Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, future Queen of Great Britain, Canada, and many other nations--read the word of God to a listening world, and read them well.

I expect that, given the occasion, he received professional training in how to deliver the reading. He looked seriously and intently at the assembled guests. He enunciated clearly. He paced himself and paused at the right places and for appropriate lengths. He emphasized the right words with understanding and care for the effect of the words.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect. ... Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
He is reading Romans 12:1-2, 9-18 in the New Revised Standard Version. He is 24 years old.

It is worthy of note that the future king sat under that reading (did he choose it himself?) and under the following sermon by the Bishop of London. It is not a Christ-centered sermon. He speaks of our life "spiritually evolving" leading to "a creative future for the human race." But that sort of vague nonsense tends to float away like so much seasonal debris.

He speaks of being "converted to the promise of the future" by various means which do not apparently include the person of Christ the Savior. He exhorted them to Christian ethics without mentioning Christ except as an example to be followed.

He closed his sermon by quoting the prayer that the couple themselves wrote, a prayer that closed with "we ask this in the spirit of Jesus Christ."

The Lord can use the weakest note from the most poorly fashioned trumpet to rally a soul to life. Here in this service of worship that was witness across the globe, and that had the full attention of the future king and queen of Great Britain we heard the pure word of God and a wobbly sermon. May the Lord give the increase.