Sex: The Fundamental Issue of The Culture War

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America is terribly divided. If you love America, it is a discouraging time.

Our country has only once before been this polarized — over slavery during the period leading up to and during the Civil War.  Slavery was resolved only through the Civil War, after 600,000 men died.

The differences between Red States and Blue States today are about as profound as the differences between North and South back then. And as in 1861, there are also the Purple States (called Border States then).

And we all know, and as Lincoln famously said in his great speech in 1858, drawing from Jesus’s words in the gospel of Matthew, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” The possible consequences of our current divide are troubling.

What are the fundamental causes of this divide? The polarization is not about the economy; it is not about America’s foreign policy and our military posture in the world; and it is not even about race, as problematic as that issue is.

In America, there are those who believe strongly in capitalism, and others who lean more towards socialism.  There are some who believe that America should return to more of an isolationist approach in foreign policy, and others who wish to see America continue as the leader of the free world.

And there are certainly enormous differences between those who see America as systemically racist and those who see America as the fairest and most successful multi-racial country in the world.

But these differences are not the real cause of the extreme polarization in the country today. And none of the opinions and feelings about these issues are likely to lead to secession or violence.

The heart of the Culture War is sex. It’s Judeo-Christian principles on human sexuality versus LGBTQIA+.

From the earliest days of this country (in the 17th century), the American culture was built on Judeo-Christian principles. And, in regard to sex in all its aspects, this meant that the overwhelming majority of citizens held to a general belief and understanding that sexuality was rightly governed by the Biblical worldview.

The Bible is not silent about sexuality; it covers all aspects of sexuality:  The Bible states that there are two sexes, not socially developed genders. It also deals with pre-marital sex, adultery, sodomy, marriage, divorce, and the sanctity of human life.

In Genesis, the Bible states that God creates human beings as male and female. There are no other genders or options. In the Torah (or the first five books of the Old Testament, which in Greek is called the Pentateuch), the rules and guidelines for sexual relations are clearly defined, as are the penalties for breaking these rules.

Sexual intimacy is forbidden until marriage. And marriage is defined as a sacramental act between one man and woman blessed by God.

In the Old Testament, the Bible teaches that God knows the baby in the womb from conception. Accordingly, throughout all of Jewish and Christian history up until recently, abortion has been seen as the taking of an innocent life. It is therefore forbidden (along with all other unjustified killing) by the Ten Commandments.

Human beings, of course, are not perfect, and many of these principles and rules were honored as much in the breach as in the observance at various times and places in America. People are weak, and often do things they shouldn’t, even when they know they shouldn’t.

But the point is that this Judeo-Christian worldview was understood and agreed upon by the vast majority of Americans as moral, right, and true. And there were laws that enforced these principles – prohibiting adultery, abortion, and sodomy, and encouraging marriage — until the great social revolution of the 1960s and its aftermath swept them all away.

This brings us to the current worrisome situation where the country is deeply divided between those who still believe in and uphold Judeo-Christian principles and libertines for whom these values are anathema.

What is especially alarming is that sexual expression, which, for millennia, has been seen simply as an act, is now being presented as the essence of who a person is. Throughout all recorded history, a person has been seen or judged be his or her character, personality, and actions. In other words, a person was not defined by what particular sex act one preferred; one’s identify was a blend of personality and behavior.

But now, one’s persona is defined by many primarily by preferred sexual behavior. Sex is no longer seen as something you do; it’s seen as what you are.

This leads to the current animosity engendered when a person believes that certain sexual acts are wrong and even immoral. Those who hold to the non-Christian worldview about sexuality not only see the Christian as wrong but as somehow attacking the very essence of who they are. They see this person’s religious beliefs harmful and hateful. Hence all the signs that “hate is not a family value.”

This culture war over sexuality is even more alarming for two reasons. The first is that one America’s great political parties is firmly on the non-Christian side of the divide. Whether it be sodomy, same-sex marriage, abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, or so-called “gender-affirming care” (chemicals and bodily mutilation for minors), the Democratic Party supports all of these, hammer and tong.

The second reason is that many progressives are so sure that they have the moral high ground on these issues that they will encourage their acolytes to go to almost any extent – legal or not – to have their way.

It is not easy to discover a way out of this culture war.

How do you compromise on whether non-reproductive sex acts should be encouraged or discouraged among children?

How do you compromise on whether marriage is necessarily between a man and a woman or isn’t?

How do you compromise on whether a girl is a girl or a boy is a boy?

How do you compromise on whether an unborn baby lives or dies?

And how do you persuade people who reject religion that sex is for permanent life-giving love, that actual marriage is between a man and a woman and no other arrangement, that people are either males or females but not anything else, and that an unborn child ought to be allowed to continue living?

How do we in America think about morality and justice?  Our heritage — our legacy – is the Judeo-Christian worldview.  This is the reason a sculpture of Moses holding the Ten Commandments is the centerpiece of the east side of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington. And the relentlessly secular anti-Christian forces in this country hold firmly to the Bible’s teachings about tolerance and non-judgmentalism about sexuality in all its forms but despise the very people who practice the tenets of the Christian faith, from which their idea of justice and mercy emanates.

In Washington’s Farewell Address, he wrote, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens …   And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

He was right. The only question is:  Whose religion will we choose as a nation?  Will we choose Judeo-Christian values or pagan values? Will we continue to see the family — the most important institution in any society, the first and most important department of health, education and welfare — decline, bringing untold social and economic pathologies? Will government and national corporations encourage and recruit individuals as “minorities” primarily because of their sexual proclivities? Will we finally need to separate into two nations – one Judeo-Christian and one secular and pagan?

When a nation becomes hedonistic, when the primary focus of many people is perceived sexual fulfillment, the nation has fallen into decadence. This can lead to a failed state or empire. Visit the ruins of Pompeii with its pornographic art everywhere, and you see a culture destined for ruin. If the volcano hadn’t gotten them, they would have done the job themselves.

The culture war is real, and there is no good way out except to heed what Washington wrote. Morality stems from religion, and our heritage and values, which has stood America in good stead for 400 years, are the very ones upon which this country was built.

How to get the country to embrace this heritage is not obvious. But one thing is essential:  People who know the truth about sex, marriage, gender, and life must never endorse lies about them — and must, from time to time, stand up for the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable.

May churches and persons of faith reclaim the public square. May our obsession with sexuality in all its aspects wane. May Americans come to their senses and cling to the values that have made this nation, as Lincoln wrote, “the last best hope of earth.”


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