the imaginative conservative logo

soul of madnessMadness reached these shores long ago. Just like the frog sitting in a slowly heating pot of water, the souls of the West soak luxuriantly in an ethos heating up by imperceptible degrees. Death has been kept at bay by the cooling effects of moral capital amassed by our forefathers, but the moral reserves are nearly exhausted. The corrosive effects of liberation ideologies on the American soul have been dramatic. Dark ideas have blotted out the light of moral truth. We have stood as witnesses to the transformation of our national character from honest inquiry into blind relativism. We are soul-sick, and soul sickness precedes physical death the way day precedes the night. We are in the twilight of our days.

Freedom has been traditionally understood as the freedom from vices so as to be virtuous. Modern madness claims that freedom is freedom from traditional morality, from the life of virtue expressed by religious adherence to the Creator. Freedom in the distorted terms of this debate is to be uninhibited by conscience or government to do one’s own will, to be licentious. Our moral inversion is nearly complete. Nowhere is this inversion more troubling than in the area of human sexuality. Instead of the created order’s obvious sex categories of male and female, we can now enjoy up to fifty-six different gender choices. The confusion is exponential. No longer are homosexual unions the only unnatural sexual pairings encroaching on public morality and public policy—and though they are not in the limelight yet, there are now too many aberrations to mention, but each one takes as much offense as the homosexualists to the suggestion of disorder. And each one will demand their day in court for public affirmation.

The pink wooly Mammoth in the room is the enormous double-standard of free speech. One can scream from the rooftops an erotic love for animals, for oneself, for several folks at the same time, for relatives, for small children and any number of unhealthy liaison, without fear of public scorn, and indeed with the expectation of being greeted by sympathy and perhaps even applause. Yet when a well-ordered and ethically-cultivated man expresses a belief in a moral standard concerning monogamy and properly ordered sexual acts (these occurring solely inside the bonds of sacramental marriage), there will be hell to pay. Simply to hold a belief that sex acts outside the bonds of sacramental marriage are intrinsically disordered will draw insults and threats at the least, and, very likely, lawsuits and jail time down the line.

Hitching-Post-Idaho-638x425Who can really imagine an age that does not flinch at the absurdity of the charges against David and Evelyn Knapp, a couple married for forty-seven years. They are Christian ministers and run a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. They refused to perform a “same sex wedding” because it goes against their Christian beliefs. They have been sued. In the lawsuit they are threatened with penalties wildly out of proportion to any imaginary offense. By the misapplication of the anti-discrimination law, the Knapps are threatened with three years of jail time and a seven-thousand-dollar fine if they refuse to perform a “gay wedding” within the week. If they refuse for thirty days. they risk fourteen years in jail and $30,000 in fines. And if they refuse for a year, they risk jail for 180 years and fines exceeding $365,000.

The case of the Knapps is a thermometer indicating an unhealthy rise in the temperature of our body politic. Externally, this is an attack on Christians and good men and women still in possession of a Christian worldview that holds virtue and vice in their proper spheres. Is it really no longer “allowed” in this once great land to hold that the sex with which one is born carries with it an ontological weight too heavy for applied science to transform? Is it really an offense to believe that sex acts outside the bonds of marriage are immoral and do real damage to real human souls and their families? Does holding this belief call for time in prison or exorbitant fines? Does one deserve to be stripped of his First Amendment rights just because he believes that sex acts between two people of the same sex are unnatural and disordered? It is very troubling to note that our laws are transmogrifying to support one group of disordered souls in absurd claims, and to punish well-ordered souls for holding positions grounded in moral law.

The sides of this tragic moral debate have been cast in false stone to the detriment of our future. The sexual liberation debate is similar to other reductionist ideologies in that everything is reduced to the grounds of pathology. Those in favor of sexual liberation call themselves nice and tolerant. Those against sexual liberation are said to be mean and intolerant. However, this is a false dichotomy. On the right side of this fiasco we are not intolerant of persons, but intolerant of immoral behavior because we know it decays civilization and harms the very souls promoting it.

Those in favor of sexual liberation are intolerant of persons who stand morally against their licentious behavior but are nice and accepting of all manner of immoral behavior. Our objections to sexual license are for the good of our opponents and society. Their objections to a morally ordered society are destructive, and they mean to harm us as evidenced by this sham of a lawsuit against the Knapps. There are mounting cases of homosexual activists attempting financially to ruin folks who by conscience cannot provide particular services.

The side promoting sexual license is hateful towards their opponents. They wish real ill on Christians and moralists alike. They would see real and measurable loss inflicted upon souls of good will simply because they hold an opposing view. In contrast, excepting of course the pharisaical moralist, the rightly ordered Christian loves his enemy. If we are on the right side of things we will wish goodness and reconciliation on those afflicted with disordered habits, not for their own sakes, but for truth’s sake. In short, we welcome civil discourse; they do not.

All this ought to concern us much more than it seems to. We do worse than nothing if we stand idly by and watch our children suffocate in this moral quicksand. We must at least stand together and object to the above-mentioned lawsuit and similar movements to quash the rights of conscience and remove Christianity from public life. We must object to these efforts of our enemies on the grounds of truth measured by natural and divine law. The very existence of Western Civilization is at stake. Let us stand up and defend our sons and daughters from this encroaching madness.

caabchurch2If we are not willing to risk public persecution for binding ourselves to natural and divine law, let us at least in the privacy of our own homes lead our children upwards to the narrow path of virtue. It is nearly impossible to shelter our kids completely from the moral squalor so ubiquitous in the present climate. Yet it is our moral duty to arm our children both intellectually and morally against the prevailing and shifting “norms” of the day. Let us confront this soul of madness by prayerful courage and then cooperate with grace for the sake of all in our society.

Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore

Print Friendly

Published: Nov 3, 2014
Author
Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg
Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg is a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative. A convert to Catholicism, he is a catechist, a school teacher, and a writer and speaker on matters of faith, culture, and education. He holds a degree in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Steven is a member of the Teacher Advisory Board and writer of curriculum at the Sophia Institute for Teachers, a contributor to the Integrated Catholic Life, Crisis Magazine, The Civilized Reader, The Standard Bearers, Catholic Exchange, and a founding member of the Brinklings Literary Club.
"All comments are subject to moderation. We welcome the comments of those who disagree, but not those who are disagreeable."
7 replies to this post
  1. it really an offense to believe that sex acts outside the bonds of marriage are immoral and do real damage to real human souls and their families? Does holding this belief call for time in prison or exorbitant fines?”

    Yes.

    Now that we’ve progressed from the traditional idea of “a nation” as a distinct, related people with a shared history, language, and culture, citizenship in our liberated age means unity of thought. So if you don’t believe in absolute equality, the interchangeability of all peoples, then you aren’t thinking the right way. That makes you an enemy.

  2. We live in dark times where sensuality and ignorance rule. The centralized state appears to have occupied the place where locality, custom, religion and good taste were our guides and foundation. A dark god indeed and one who extracts a heavy price.
    It was a pagan who said, “one must prepare oneself a fortress in one’s own impregnable thoughts.” Antisthenes. That and the reminder of Isaiah’s Remnant ought not be forgotten.

  3. Brother in Christ,

    You said, “Does one deserve to be stripped of his First Amendment rights just because he believes that sex acts between two people of the same sex are unnatural and disordered?”

    We have lost the understanding of the true source of our Rights. Rights do NOT come from documents drafted by men – there is no such thing as a “constitutional right”!

    One of our Founding Principles, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, is this: That Rights were bestowed upon us by THE CREATOR GOD. Rights thus pre-date and pre-exist the Constitution and the federal government.

    Another Founding Principle is this: THE purpose of civil government is to secure the rights GOD gave us. Thus, civil government, rightly understood, and as our Framers understood it, is a servant of GOD in that its sole function is to secure the Rights God gave us.

    We could never have gotten to where we are, had we kept the above in mind.

    Our federal Constitution implements this Principle. The enumerated powers delegated to Congress all secure – in those ways appropriate to the national government of a Federation of Sovereign States – certain God-given rights. [I can show this if anyone wants to know.]

    The notion, foisted on us by the enemy, that rights come from the Constitution, has been a disaster. It is also what gave the federal courts jurisdiction over our “rights”:

    Article III, Sec. 2, clause 1, sets forth the jurisdiction of the federal courts. The federal courts are given judicial power over “…. all matters arising under this Constitution….”. THAT is what gave the federal courts jurisdiction over the 1st and 2nd amendments. And I trust you are all aware of the consequences of that.

    So, before we can rebuild, we must disabuse ourselves of the false notion that rights come from the Constitution – and we must regain a proper understanding of the relationship between GOD given rights and the purpose of civil government as set forth in our Declaration of Independence.

    And, BTW, If you look at the actual wording of the first amendment, you will see that ALL IT DOES is list 5 things Congress can’t make laws restricting. It makes no pretense of “granting” rights. THAT lie was foisted upon us by activist federal judges who wanted to use Article III, Sec. 2, cl. 1 to regulate and restrict our GOD-given rights.

    • Dear Publius, Thank you for your concise and clarifying comments- Certainly rights come from God- and our ability to speak freely here is simply a matter of free will- I suppose I should have more clearly discussed the bizarre consequences merely for holding moral positions, compounded by speaking them, much less acting on them. It is just that we have reached that point of civil decay that our govt aids and abets the pathologically licentious and in general terms it is honestly becoming a dangerous thing to cultivate virtue. This is not as it was intended.

      I especially appreciate that you have drawn out our idolatry of the written word in the movement to have us think that it is our constitution that confers rights only God can give us. Well done!

      Your brother in Christ, Steven

  4. …an excellent essay.

    “If we are on the right side of things we will wish goodness and reconciliation on those afflicted with disordered habits, not for their own sakes, but for truth’s sake.”

    Yes…why it is so hard for people to comprehend! Though I might put it a little differently, so as to stress the impossibility of conflicting demands…

    All who are afflicted, ourselves and our neighbors, reap the benefits of our seeking, following, and proclaiming of the truth encountered when we love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Please leave a thoughtful, civil, and constructive comment: