Did you miss the Democratic candidates boasting their “Pride” credentials at the LGBTQ Presidential forum on September 20? If so, don’t worry: on October 10, CNN will be hosting the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s “Power of our Pride” town hall meeting, in which the candidates will again be taking questions on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues.
Most likely we’re going to hear the same ol’ tune: “Love is love,” “Who am I to judge?” “Love always wins,” and other rehearsed and tested professions of acceptance. All catchphrases, no substance.
The catchphrase is all about feelings, and not about thinking. They function as a smoke screen to keep people’s attention off the deeper questions reasonable people can have about the LGBTQ lifestyle: “Are these sorts of life choices befitting of us as human beings?” “Are they really just different choices?” “Is it really bigotry to oppose these life choices?”
I’m betting you won’t hear these from the candidates at the upcoming town hall. So, let’s consider one here: “Are these sorts of life choices befitting of us as human beings?”
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to focus specifically on same-sex sexual activity, since this lies at the heart of the life choices involved with the LGBTQ movement. When you get down to it, it’s really all about trying to justify the claim that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to having sex.
So why is same-sex sexual activity not an act befitting a human being? Here’s one answer: it goes against our rational nature.
The end or goal of man’s intellect is to know the truth. So, anything that’s true, like the proposition “Socrates is mortal,” our intellect affirms. Anything that’s false, like “It’s possible for a square-circle to exist,” our intellect abhors—or should abhor.
Now, the order of our intellect toward the truth not only pertains to our ability to understand and judge propositions, like in the examples above: it also allows us to judge the intelligibility of human actions. In other words, we use our intellect to direct our will in a rational way—to do and say what makes sense—and to avoid doing and saying things that don’t make sense.
For example, if I were to go around saying, “I’m actually dead,” I’d be guilty of self-contradiction, since my saying the statement makes it not true. What the statement gives with one hand, the act of a living person saying it takes back with the other.
So, if I were to go around saying “I’m actually dead,” you’d think me a fool. And you’d be right! The intellect recognizes this type of behavior as going against human reason, so it directs the will away from affirming it. This is a natural, logical response to foolishness.
The same natural principle applies to same-sex sexual activity, because it entails the use of the sexual faculty in a way that thwarts its natural procreative end. Human sexual organs naturally aim at procreation. So one gives with one hand, as it were, the procreative end of sex just by using the sexual faculty. But at the same time one takes the procreative end back with the other hand by perverting the sexual faculty and intentionally directing it away from its procreative end, thus rendering the act self-contradictory.
Although it is terribly out of step with popular culture to say that it is irrational to use sex for intentionally non-procreative purposes, the underlying logic is actually easy to grasp.
As the MeToo movement has shown, most in our culture rightly condemn sexual coercion: they recognize such coercion as irrational and evil both because it treats a human being as a tool to be used and because sex is supposed to be an act of love, which is free.
Forcing someone into sexual activity is at odds with the other natural end of our sexuality—unitive love. It amounts to an anti-love act of love. Similar irrationality is found in same-sex sexual activity, which thwarts what the sexual faculty naturally aims at—namely, procreation. As such, it’s an anti-procreative procreative act.
Just as a healthy intellect recognizes the inherent contradiction in sexual coercion and thus directs the will away from it, so too a healthy intellect ought to recognize the inherent contradiction in same-sex sexual activity. Neither are befitting of our rational human nature.
This is the same rationale behind the Church’s condemnation of contraception, as articulated in Pope St. John Paul II’s “theology of the body,” and in his earlier writings.
In his essay “The Teaching of the Encyclical ‘Humane Vitae’ on Love: An Analysis of the Text,” then Archbishop Karol Wojtyla writes that when couples have sex, they “can and should intend by it precisely what it means essentially.” In other words, the sexual act has a natural and internal logic to it, and a couple should intend to speak that “language of the body” when they have sex.
He identifies this natural and objective meaning of sex in the two ends or goals that we’ve articulated before: unitive love, which he calls the “special union of persons,” and procreation, which he refers to as the “possibility (not the necessity!) of fecundity.” Consequently, for the couple’s sexual act to be “intrinsically true and free of falsification,” it must signify the objective meaning of sex.
Here is where the self-contradiction of such actions comes most clearly to light. If a couple has sex while intentionally thwarting its procreative end, it follows that they contradict its objective meaning—they “falsify” the meaning of the sexual act. What they give with one hand, engaging in an act that has the objective meaning of procreation, they take away with the other, intentionally rendering a procreative act non-procreative.
To engage in sex in a way that goes against its internal logic is thus irrational behavior, since the behavior contradicts what reason knows about the truth of sex. When there is harmony between the two, sex is reasonable. When there is disharmony between the two, sex violates reason. And this can’t possibly be good for us.
Sex is a good and natural thing, and it is healthy to desire sexual union. But, like all actions, that which makes us properly human must govern this instinct: namely, our gift of reason. Otherwise, our sexual acts would involve a betrayal of our intellects, and that’s not something we should let happen, especially if we want to be a person of reason and good will.
Imagine if we were to hear such a message during the upcoming forum. Yeah, I know it’s probably not going to happen. But at least we can act in rational ways in our own lives, and share the truth about our gift of sexuality whenever it is prudent to do so.