Why a Lavender Mafia is Incompatible with a Christian Witness

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In ancient times paganism and sexual immorality worked hand in hand. It’s hard to know which influenced the other more but it is certain that Christianity, like the Judaism before it, could not have flourished without a moral code that directed and channeled sexual energy in ways that the surrounding pagan culture would perceive as a censure and challenge.

Christianity drew from the Jewish Scripture. The Holiness Code of Leviticus limited sexual behaviors by essentially defining which relationships were prohibited and which were not. Our age invariably reads the prohibitions is what could loosely be called “Puritanical” terms, as if they dealt with the behaviors alone. Moses knew better. Yahwism would falter and collapse if the Israelites adopted the licentiousness of their pagan neighbors. The God of Abraham would be reduced to a fertility god or other ancient deity rendering His self-revelation mute and the forthcoming salvation impossible. That’s why prophets like Elijah stood against the priests of Ba’al regardless of the threats of the morally corrupt Jezebel for example. That’s why the Prophetic message always won out in the end, even if the Prophets themselves were persecuted.

In our day, it works from the opposite direction. Sexual activists challenge the Christianity (and the Judaism that a robust Christianity protects) that declares that licentiousness is decay. Homosexual activism is one obvious example, although certainly not the only one. It has laid to ruin once prominent assemblies like the Episcopal Church and will diminish other mainstream denominations such as the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) in short order.

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If you doubt that sexual behavior and religion are related, we need to go no further than San Francisco, perhaps the next best thing to Gomorrah we’ve got going. Recently, the city council passed a resolution banning circumcision, calling it Male Genital Mutilation (MGM). Their target was observant Jews who practice circumcision. Proponents of the ban created a comic-book series with a character named Foreskinman. Look at the anti-Semitic tropes: the virile, blond, blue-eyed hero with the uber-WASP name of Miles Hastwick, and his nemesis, Monster Mohel. Both characters could have been lifted straight from the pages of the Nazi tracts of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Muslims get a pass. Foreskinmann doesn’t dare challenge the Imams who also circumcise Muslim boys but then we don’t live in a culture built on Muslim morality. (Having said that, I doubt we ever will see Foreskinman staying the hand of Insidious Imam as he gets ready to remove the foreskin of baby Abdullah.) This shows us that the problem is not really about circumcision at all because all agree that there is no medical necessity for circumcision in the first place. Instead religious freedom is derided, specifically the religious freedom of people who believe in the God Who calls all men to account.

Think of it, circumcision has been part of Jewish practice since at least the time of Moses (ca 1500 BC). Well over one hundred generations of Hebrew men have been marked by this ritual with no untoward effects. What’s the big deal? Nobody raises a word about aboriginal tribes in New Guinea who practice scarification or African cultures which put bones in their nose. Our own Lord and Savior was circumcised as were all of his disciples. Maybe that is the point.

The homosexual lobby is driving the legislation. We are witnessing the emergence of a moral sensibility informed by a code of conduct that despises the prohibitions of the moral tradition. It strikes the proponents as a denial of their individual freedom and desire. It rightly sees religious precepts as the wellspring of these prohibitions. If it can close the well, it can also remove the prohibitions drawn from it the reasoning goes.

Where we Orthodox get it wrong is that many of us fail to see the relationship between sexuality and religion. On Monomakhos and elsewhere, discussions about homosexuality invariably shift to the pastoral dimensions and emphasize the idea that we are all sinners, we should not judge the homosexual, and so forth. While that is true, it is only true in part. Outside of the Church the effort to homosexualize culture is aggressive and continues unabated. Within the Church, the toleration of homosexuality has led to such overt crimes like the molestation of boys that went on for decades in the Astoria scandal or, more insidiously, contribute to the muting of the prophetic voice in other areas that require moral clarity. When, for example, have you ever heard an GOA bishop (apart from Met. Isaiah) speak unequivocally and clearly on any vexing moral question with any consistency?

The sensibility that is emerging among the moral libertines of San Francisco and elsewhere will coalesce in time as an anti-monotheistic force. It is inevitable given the strength of unbridled sexual desire and the religious precepts than decry as illicit the behaviors fueled by those desires. If left unchallenged, militant homosexuality will become the legal ground upon which the persecution of Christianity begins anew. The fall of the Episcopalian Church and others is just the first salvo of the assault. Cowardice prevailed over courage but make no mistake that the rot first began within.

It remains to be seen whether the collapse of moral tradition as a cultural force will result in the emergence of a neo-paganism. So far it recalls the libertine licentiousness of ancient Rome. Think of gay pride parades for example. They flaunt and ridicule traditional moral norms. But this may be temporary. The rebellion organizes itself as a mirror opposite of the tradition norms, which shows that the tradition still has cultural force. If these norms collapse completely however, the only other option is nihilism. Culture cannot go back to Paganism, to a worldview containing a multiplicity of gods because Christianity vanquished Paganism. If Monotheism disappears, only the celebration of death, of non-existence, remains. The lusts driving the rebellion will be increasingly fueled by any means available and the descent into depravity will deepen. Man becomes animal and will live to extinguish that breath of God that marks him as created.

The great rebellion must persecute the Jews, just as the reemergence of Teutonic mythology under Nazism did. The Jews are still the root. Moses gave the commandment to the children of Israel first and through them to us. The attempt in San Francisco to define circumcision as abuse and the caricatures of the Jews that mimic the anti-Semitism of the Nazi tracts should warn us that this is more, much more, than the febrile imaginings of the sexually addicted. This is an ideology springing from the well of promiscuity and licentiousness that holds in utter disdain and contempt the moral tradition and seeks the destruction of order, progress and harmony in order to sate primal desires to their fullest.

What happens if the San Francisco initiative passes? What happens when San Francisco (or California or the Federal government) passes “hate crimes” laws that prohibit Jewish and Christian clergymen from lecturing on the plain text of Scripture? Think it can’t happen? It already has in Canada.

Think about this: we live in a day and age in which the worst anti-Semitic stereotypes are used in a cartoon and nobody gives a rip. Why are our own bishops on the West Coast (there are four of them) silent about this travesty? Do they think that just because it is observant Jews who are made fun of that we Orthodox Christians will get a pass? The only way we will be unmolested is if we acquiesce to the culture –at which point we will stop being the Church. After all, nobody recognizes the Episcopal Church as a Christian entity anymore. Their descent into lunacy may not have been by design but it is the reality.

To their credit, our bishops on the West Coast lent their moral support to the forces against Proposition 8 in 2008, but why the silence now? More to the point, if Bishop Benjamin Peterson can fly all the way to Alaska to protect the way of life of Orthodox Aleuts, can’t he take a cab and go visit City Hall and urge them to protect the religious freedom of San Francisco’s Jewish citizens? If not for their protection, then eventually for ours?

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Comments

  1. John Panos says

    Maybe we need a ‘Lavender Mafia’ comic book – then they’ll take notice?

    I know an artist….

  2. I first heard about the legislation in California against circumcision on NPR news and was immediately reminded of Nazi propaganda tracts. Matthew Hess, with his “comic”, has made a direct attack on the ethical and moral code which comes from Moses and then Jesus.

    The idea that what is at stake is the loss of this ethical code is exactly right. It is paramount that Biblical orthodoxy, both Jewish and Christian, stand up and be strong. Without that back bone there won’t so much be hurt feelings, but a lot of bloodshed and many injustices, not much different from Nazi Germany.

    People need to be awake and the Orthodox community needs, very desperately, to insist on Orthodox precepts!

  3. Wesley J. Smith says

    George:

    I live near San Francisco and am very cognizant of the circumcision controversy.

    If I may make a few factual corrections: SF is both a county and a city. It has a County Board of Supervisors, not a city council. The Board did not pass the anti circumcision measure. Rather, it qualified for the November election because supporters garnered more than 7000 signatures on petitions.

    The creator of FS Man lives in San Diego. He authored the measure, and is one of its most prominent supporters, but is not the local leader pushing it. And I don’t think it is fair to say that the measure is being pushed by the gay community–at least not generally or in whole. Indeed, One of San Francisco’s most prominent political leaders, Mark Leno–gay, Jewish, and very liberal–decried Monster Mohel in a quote given to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial decrying the hateful anti Jewish images. That isn’t the same as opposing the measure, but hopefully, that should sink it–although anything is possible in SF.

    The anti Semitism of Monster Mohel caused an anti circumcision activist–they call themselves “intactivists”–to back out of trying to get a similar measure on the Santa Monica ballot.

    The intense emotionalism exhibited by some supporters of the initiative makes me very queasy. There are a lot of currents working at once, including some that are legitimate, and some that, to me, reek of rank anti Semitism, anti religionism generally, and a bit of fetishism.

    In any event, if anyone is interested in obtaining more info than George could provide here on the SF circumcision initiative, I have covered this matter very extensively at my blog Secondhand Smoke, starting with this post: http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2011/05/18/circumcision-is-none-of-san-franciscos-business. I got into explicit and vile anti Semitism of “Monster Mohel” here http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/secondhandsmoke/2011/06/02/anti-semiticism-of-sf-anti-circumcision-referendum-author/ with follow up posts that can be found by using the search function on the blog:

    Thanks.

  4. Chris Plourde says

    Speaking of what flows from sexual immorality, did you know that Tulsa has a higher incidence of gonorrhea than San Francisco?

    (Tulsa: 391,906 pop / 1471 cases; San Francisco 805,235 pop / 2082 cases; all stats 2008)

    • Lola J. Lee Beno says

      Well, gee, I don’t know, except that maybe it means that heterosexuals are cheating on their partners and infecting them with gonorrhea in Tulsa? Stop with the redirection and stick to the issue at hand as laid out by George.

      • Chris Plourde says

        If the issue is sexual immorality, then the issue is sexual immorality.

        • Geo Michalopulos says

          I agree Chris, sexual immoralilty is bad. As I’ve said countless times, if adultery, drunkenness, and embezzling of church funds becomes endemic among the hierarchy and priesthood, then I will definately take up arms against those who engage in such vices.

    • Geo Michalopulos says

      Chris, as I understand it, gonorrhea is heavier in hetererosexual contact. Heptatis B is more specific to the recipients of anal coition.

      • Chris Plourde says

        Interesting understanding, George. Do you have anything that validates it?

      • Geo Michalopulos says

        Yes, being in the health field, I can tell you according to the literature which I must imbibe on a regular basis to keep my licensure, that Hepatis B is very endemic among homosexuals who are passive.

        • Chris Plourde says

          George,

          I brought up gonorrhea rates because that disease is passed via genital contact with the vagina, anus or mouth. That is, pretty much the run of things.

          You say that it’s more easily passed via the vagina, and I’d like to see the data that proves that.

          It seems to me that a 50% greater incidence of gonorrhea speaks to an incidence of sexual immorality and everything that flows from it quite eloquently. And it doesn’t matter if it’s gay or straight.

          And there’s a reason I bring this up. Consider this: Playboy was established for more than a decade and “mainstream” before the Stonewall riots. The ECUSA refused to tell its clergy to abstain from sexual contact outside of marriage more than a decade before it elected Gene Robinson. Straight sexual immorality is always the cutting edge, homosexual demands that they be treated as leniently as heterosexuals come later.

          The solution to this is to proclaim the value and rightness of living chastely, not to declaim homosexual licentiousness a thousand miles away while ignoring the swingers partying next door.

          • Harry Coin says

            Next door? how about down the middle of main street in a parade?

            Here’s a photo from downtown Boston a couple of weeks ago.

            This is about generating irritation, waving the flag in front of the bull and taking power, not asking for even handedness or tolerance:

            “Downtown Boston Parade”

            Let a man and a woman do that down the middle of main street in the middle of the day and what you get is arrested.

            Had the clergy of the Catholic Church, so much a part of Massachusetts life, lived as preached their people would not have not chosen in civic decisions as the RC clergy taught them to do toward clergy same-gender personal misdoing in church life — ignore, cover up, look the other way, visit shame on those who speak out and turn on the lights, point out they personally weren’t immediately harmed, etc.

            Women no longer die during the priest’s working life, for the first time in church history and it isn’t changing back. We’ve lost the voices of the predominant clergy in community life (not monasteries)– the widowers and the married. The Gospel was clear about not barring the married from being bishops. We ignore, we reap.

            • Chris Plourde says

              Let a man and a woman do that down the middle of main street in the middle of the day and what you get is arrested.

              You don’t get out much, do you Harry? There was a time when it was true that what was legal on the streets in New Orleans could get you arrested in Atlanta. No longer.

              “Girls Gone Wild” used to be a Southeast phenomena, but that, too, has gone national.

              Then again, no-one blinked when Chippendales went national back in the 1980s….

          • Geo Michalopulos says

            Chris, I’m not disagreeing with a thing you say. I’m not a “gay-basher,” I freely take heterosexual licentiousness to task. Hugh Hefner is far more to blame for our present condition than the Stonewall riots.

            My concern is not that fornication or adultery are “lesser” sins than homosexuality –they’re not. It’s just that we don’t have a fornication/adultery problem in our episcopate. Instead we have a homosexual problem and even if the men in question aren’t active homosexuals, their thought processes are still remarkably immature and on occasion misogynistic. Hence the problem with married priests being thrown out of their parishes because their bishops don’t care about the fact that they’re married.

  5. “To their credit, our bishops on the West Coast lent their moral support to the forces against Proposition 8 in 2008,”

    The bishops opposed the amendment to recognize only heterosexual marriage? I would expect the opposite. Typo?

  6. John Panos says

    The real issue here is that gay bishops – and we have several living actively homosexual lives – are morally incapable of addressing moral issues, particularly those in which they are personally compromised. I think we see this in the deafening silence on most real moral issues assailing western civilization today.

    All bishops must be ‘chaste’ as must all priests and deacons. If they can’t do that, they fail the most elementary test of being qualified for Holy Orders – self-control.

    • “The real issue here is that gay bishops – and we have several living actively homosexual lives…” Are you speaking about Orthodox bishops in America? Are they identifiable?

  7. Jane Rachel says

    YES!!!!!!!!! The issue is also non-gay bishops who fail as bishops because they do not lead according to God’s precepts. We are talking not to each other, but to YOU, bishops! Would that you would HEAR US!

  8. Pox on All Houses says

    Obsessive behavior. As a liberal Antiochian, I spend no time thinking about the details of the sexual practices of gay people, and find it odd that anyone would want to spend time doing so.

    One other thing – as a circumcised straight male, I think I would have appreciated the opportunity to make a decision of my own regarding my ritual genital mutilation, which is, as I understand it, the focus of the circumcision opponents.

    • George Michalopulos says

      Pox, as a straight male, I can assure you that I go way out of my way to NOT think about the mechanics of homosexuality. Your point thus is a non sequiter. What I do care about and what has been demonstrated by psychology, is the mental disorder behind those who engate in such behaviors. We are talking about major immaturity here. Yes, narcissicism at the least but also misogyny. I for one do not want to be led by men who have major hang-ups about women. On that principle alone they are disqualified. However in the real world, men of this ilk cause great damage. I know of married priests who have been thrown out of their parishes because lavender bishops simply don’t give a rat’s ass about the financial consequences that married men have to bear. Since they disdain women anyway, they justify their behavior by saying to themselves “well, there is no room for a married clergy anyway, after all, I’m not married.”