Introduction to Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything (Ignatius Press, 2014) by Robert R. Reilly
Many people are puzzled as to why anyone would or should get exercised over the issue of homosexual “marriage” because, when seen in isolation, it may appear to be a small matter that affects only a very tiny proportion of the population. If homosexuals constitute some 2 percent, an even smaller percentage of them will avail themselves of marriage, if it is allowed. That is certainly the evidence from countries, such as Canada and Sweden, where it has already been permitted for some years. So why all the fuss?
The concern can be understood only when the issue is seen within the broader perspective of the false reality of which it is a part and, in many ways, the completion. The foundation stone of this false reality, as we shall see particularly in terms of Supreme Court decisions, was contraception, and the capstone is same-sex marriage. The progression from the one to the other was logically inescapable.
In my last year in college many years ago, I was discussing with a classmate the status of objective morality. He was strongly inclined toward moral relativism, and soon we got down to the bedrock principle of noncontradiction (i.e., that a thing cannot both be and not be in the same way, at the same time, in the same place). To my amazement, my classmate was willing to dispute this, stating that we do not know if this is true and speculating that at some point it might be shown not to be so. The conversation had to end there because there was no longer any basis upon which it could proceed.
At the time, I did not know that he was a homosexual. Later, while still a young man, he died of AIDS. Put bluntly, he denied the principle of noncontradiction, and the principle of noncontradiction denied him. Ideas have consequences, and so do actions based upon them. This is what is going to happen to us as a society if we put the capstone of same-sex marriage into place. We will be living a lie.
My thesis is very simple. There are two fundamental views of reality. One is that things have a Nature that is teleologically ordered to ends that inhere in their essence and make them what they are. In other words, things have inbuilt purposes. The other is that things do not have a Nature with ends: things are nothing in themselves, but are only what we make them to be according to our wills and desires. Therefore, we can make everything, including ourselves, anything that we wish and that we have the power to do. The first view leads to the primacy of reason in human affairs; the second leads to the primacy of the will. The first does not allow for sodomitical marriage, while the second does. Indeed, the problem is that the second allows for anything. This is what the same-sex marriage debate is really about—the Nature of reality itself. Since the meaning of our lives is dependent upon the Nature of reality, it too hangs in the balance.
This book is also about how to live rightly in respect to our sexual Nature. This issue is addressed within the opposing perspectives of a teleological and nonteleological human Nature. In Plato’s Gorgias, Callicles said to Socrates: “He who would live rightly should let his desires be as strong as possible and not chasten them, and should be able to minister to them when they are at their height by reason of his manliness and intelligence, and satisfy each appetite in turn with what it desires.” As he so often did, Socrates responded with a question: “And the culmination of the case, as stated—the life of catamites—is not that awful, shameful, and wretched? Or will you dare to assert that these are happy if they can freely indulge their wants?” (491e–492a). Is right the rule of the stronger, as Callicles asserted, and can one therefore freely indulge one’s desires? Or, as Socrates suggested, is there something in the constitution of human Nature that makes the sexual use of boys shameful because it is wrong? We will address these questions.
The plan of this book is first to present the nature of the culture war of which the struggle over same-sex “marriage” is a major part, to examine how rationalization operates as its animating force, and then to lay out the issues in a philosophical way, including the meaning of Nature as it was first used in Greek philosophy. Next, I will explicate the opposition to that understanding of Nature, utilizing the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau as its exemplar. The second part of the book will show how the homosexual rationalization and the thinking upon which it is based have marched through and devastated the institutions of American society and government—especially the judiciary, science and psychiatry, education, the Boy Scouts, the military, and US diplomacy. It is one thing to grasp the issues in the abstract and another to see how they work their way out in the practical details of daily life. Much of the natural-law argument against same-sex marriage will be given in responses to the arguments made in its favor in each of these settings, especially in the courtroom. I make no case from religion or revelation in this book, only from reason as it discloses to us the Nature of things.
It should be emphasized that this critique of the homosexual cause is not an attack upon homosexuals, nor is it generated by any animus against them. Over the course of several decades, my professional work in the arts has brought me into association with many homosexuals. I have been at pains to promote the work of those whose art I thought was stellar, without regard to this issue. In fact, in my many interviews and discussions with artists and composers whom I happened to know were homosexual, I have never had the subject of homosexuality arise in connection with their work or, in fact, in any other way. It was irrelevant. When someone once raised the subject when I was with a young homosexual artist who had already reached star status, the artist quickly dismissed the subject and simply responded, “It doesn’t define me.” This book is not about them and is not meant to offend them. It is about those who insist not only on defining themselves in this way, but on defining the rest of us as well.
My apologia would, of course, be hard to believe for anyone who has collapsed the distinction between the nature of an act and the person performing the act. It is this vital distinction that allows one to judge the act, not the person. It is also this distinction that removes any moral onus from a person whose homosexuality or, say, alcoholism is no fault of his own. But even a genetic predisposition, if such exists, to homosexuality or alcoholism does not deprive a person of his free will, so the person is still morally responsible for his homosexual acts or drunkenness. (Of course, if one has no free will—which is suggested by those who declare sexual restraint or abstinence to be impossible—then any notion of morality becomes absurd.) Only an omniscient God can finally judge the true condition of a man’s soul, but this in no way means that we cannot come to an understanding of the moral nature of an act, that we cannot know that some acts are great evils. I am sure this statement will not allay the inevitable charges of homophobia, but it is meant sincerely.
Note on usage. The word Nature is capitalized when referring to the metaphysical concept and lowercased when it is used synonymously with “character”. In different legal and cultural settings, the word sodomy has included different things at different times. But, in every variation, it has always encompassed anal intercourse and is meant to here as well. Among other things, gender means “the state of being male or female”, according to the Oxford Dictionary. I do not surrender the word to those who use it to mean that the masculine and the feminine are artificial constructs socially or politically engineered for men and women. Therefore, someone of the feminine gender is a woman—not someone who thinks he is a woman. The word good is capitalized when it refers to the divine, as in its use by Plato.
More about the book:
by Robert Reilly
Why are Americans being forced to consider homosexual acts as morally acceptable? Why has the US Supreme Court accepted the validity of same-sex "marriage", which, until a decade ago, was unheard of in the history of Western or any other civilization? Where has the "gay rights" movement come from, and how has it so easily conquered America?
The answers are in the dynamics of the rationalization of sexual misbehavior. The power of rationalization-the means by which one mentally transforms wrong into right-drives the gay rights movement, gives it its revolutionary character, and makes its advocates indefatigable. The homosexual cause moved naturally from a plea for tolerance to cultural conquest because the security of its rationalization requires universal acceptance. In other words, we all must say that the bad is good.
At stake in the rationalization of homosexual behavior is the notion that human beings are ordered to a purpose that is given by their Nature. The understanding that things have an in-built purpose is being replaced by the idea that everything is subject to man's will and power, which is considered to be without limits. This is what the debate over homosexuality is really about-the Nature of reality itself.
The outcome of this dispute will have consequences that reach far beyond the issue at hand. Already America's major institutions have been transformed-its courts, its schools, its military, its civic institutions, and even its diplomacy. The further institutionalization of homosexuality will mean the triumph of force over reason, thus undermining the very foundations of the American Republic.
Robert Reilly was Senior Advisor for Information Strategy (2002-2006) for the US Secretary of Defense, after which he taught at National Defense University. He was the director of the Voice of America (2001-2002) and served in the White House as a Special Assistant to the President (1983-1985). A graduate of Georgetown University and the Claremont Graduate University, he writes widely on "war of ideas" issues, foreign policy, and classical music. His previous book isThe Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis.
Praise for Making Gay Okay:
"If you read only one book on homosexuality, natural law theory, and the radical changes now being instituted within our culture, let it be this one!
Reilly exposes the unscientific reasons why homosexuality was normalized in the [American Psychiatric Association] diagnostic manual. He offers us some intriguing new material. In a clear, systematic, and engaging style, Reilly show us the inherent futility of same-sex acts, and eloquently explains what marriage really is. This book should be required reading for anyone who writes our laws-in fact, for anyone with cultural decision-making power. We must not allow the surging political tides to obscure what you and I ‘can't not know' about the nature and purpose of sexuality."
- Joseph Nicolosi, PhD, Co-Founder, National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH)
"Reilly has drawn on his extensive knowledge of classical political philosophy to explain the full scope of the dangers inherent in the modern homosexual rights movement. The movement threatens our very understanding of human nature, and hence of the American political regime that derives its understanding of rights and legitimate government from that nature. This book is a stark warning that should be read by every lover of liberty, and a call to action for those who would preserve it."
- John C. Eastman, JD, PhD Chairman, National Organization for Marriage Founding Director, Claremont Institute Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence
"This book is magnificent, a real achievement. For anyone interested in taking our country back from the sexual radicals, you must know how they did it, so rapidly, efficiently, even brutally. The gay rights movement slid through American institutions, both public and private, like a hot knife through butter. I suspect it has surprised even its proponents to see how fast we have capitulated. First philosophy fell, then psychology, the courts, education, the military and even the Boy Scouts followed. No one has told both the broad sweep and the specific details of this story better than Robert Reilly."
- Austin Ruse, President, Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
"In our society, homosexuality has become more than a ‘sexual orientation'. It has now grown into a far-reaching movement seeking to redefine not only morality, but ideas about biology, human nature, law, and politics-indeed, to declare opposing views as beyond the pale of civilization. Robert Reilly has the multiple talents necessary to address the full range of relevant issues, from the philosophical to the practical. A rare tour de force on a defining question of our time."
- Robert Royal, PhD President, Faith & Reason Institute
"Robert Reilly shows that to go with the flow of the homosexual movement is to go against nature, science, children, marriage, the family and the common good; in fact to go against common sense. This movement is now the leader of a long-term pack working to undermine society, a process designed to bring chaos (see Gramschi) and dictatorship before freedom is enjoyed again. The time and the means to oppose are both narrowing. If this book does not move you to action nothing will."
- Patrick F. Fagan, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Family Research Council
"The important contribution of Reilly´s book is explaining the background of the philosophic premises of the relevant Supreme Court cases. What drives those cases is not law, but ideology. This book effectively exposes that ideology."
- John S. Baker, JD, PhD Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University Law School
"Plato teaches that societies take on the features and tastes of the persons most prominent in them. Reilly shows how America's ruling class is shaping our society according to its taste for homosexuality and its distaste for natural families. If you want to know the philosophical and legal background of the revolution that is being imposed upon America-and its consequences-read this book."
- Angelo M. Codevilla , PhD Professor Emeritus, Boston University; Author, The Character of Nations
"The mainstreaming of sodomistic practice is a sign that a culture has lost not only its faith but also its mind. Robert Reilly patiently and convincingly explains how that flight from reason occurred and what can be done about it."
- Charles E. Rice, JD, JSD Professor Emeritus of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School
"Robert Reilly is to be admired for tackling such an explosive topic with reason, balance, aplomb, and moral clarity. He shows how the rationalization of homosexual behavior has worked its way into the nooks and crannies of our public life-from parenting to foreign policy-and will be our culture's undoing if the current trend is not reversed. I hope that the compelling arguments in this book can play a key role in that reversal."
- Jay W. Richards, PhD Author, New York Times bestselling books Indivisible and Infiltrated
"Robert Reilly is a true Renaissance man, an expert in music, Islam, and cinema. In this work he explains how the acceptance of the rationalization for homosexual behavior may bring down our culture and society unless it is exposed, understood, and opposed.
- Fr. C. John McCloskey, Co-Author, Good News, Bad News
"A stiff brush against the fur of today's judicial and journalistic 'wisdom'. Read -- and argue."
- Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute