I read the response Fr. Hans Jacobse wrote to M. Stankovich’s comment in another thread where Fr. Jacobse outlines what the conflict over homosexual activism in the Orthodox Church could mean for us long term. I think Fr. Jacobse makes a strong and compelling argument. I invite your responses.
As always, Monomakhos is open to debate and response. I also invite Fr. Jacobse and Mr. Stankovich to explain and defend their comments if they so choose.
While the world careens towards a moral collapse that both threatens the Church and presents her with the greatest missionary challenge perhaps since Constantine,* you and other activists expect us to spend our time fighting a homosexual lobby inside the Church that demands that homosexual behavior be normalized. Are you serious?
I recognize a dead end when I see one. Look at what acquiescence to the homosexual lobby did to the Episcopalians. There is absolutely no reason that the Orthodox should travel that road.
Don’t try to take us down it. I will resist it and so will others. I’ve seen too much destruction from the sexual revolution that flooded the culture like a tsunami leaving nothing but wreckage as it recedes. We’ve created a horrible mess for ourselves. Don’t tell me it doesn’t affect the Orthodox either. It does.
Your essay (protected by two priests for personal reasons of their own, sympathetic or not) that argues that homosexual behavior should be normalized is clearly more of the same confusion. And no, it’s not unfair to make this charge so early in the game. Your premise has a predictable trajectory: if the moral prohibition is lifted, then homosexual attraction must, and will, be seen as part of God’s anthropological design. From there it’s a short step to assert that homosexual behavior is normative.
Nor do I buy that a clear defense of the tradition is somehow discriminatory to “homosexuals.” The term “homosexual” is merely short-hand for someone who defines himself by his behavior. I might use the term “alcoholic” to define someone who can’t let go of alcohol, but people are more than their sins and the alcoholic never demands that I treat his chemical orientation as an ontological category.
If I am not faithful to the moral tradition, if my teaching is unclear, if I compromise it in some way, then the man who is struggling with same-sex desire — who recognizes that homosexual behavior is unnatural and who seeks a life of greater interior integration, even if it means that the integration is achieved in a struggle against the desire — is robbed of the hope that integration is even possible.
This is anathema to the members of the Facebook group and other activists. Sure, they give it lip service but they cannot really countenance it if they believe that same-sex behavior is as natural as opposite-sex behavior. The moral relativist is always the greatest absolutist in the room and the movement to normalize homosexual behavior is no different outside the Church than within her. The movement must, in order to succeed, silence voices like Met. Jonah’s or anyone else who refuses to conform to its agenda.
I really wish the activists in the Church had not forced this. Everyone knows that dealing with homosexual desire is a struggle, and before the activists turned the tables and demanded compliance with the homosexual agenda, an accommodation of sorts was possible, not perfect perhaps but workable. That’s not possible anymore. As long as they force a challenge to the prohibition, this conflict will continue.
How to resolve this conflict that the activists have created? Frankly, I see no reason to transform the Church into mainstream irrelevance — the only possible outcome if the Church lifts the prohibition and shifts her self-understanding. Why not save us the grief and join a mainstream church instead?