Saturday, December 10, 2011

A first

For the first time that I can recall, a comment of mine was rejected (twice) at a conservative web site, obviously because I am gay. It was without explanation but also without the namecalling and death-wishing I sometimes have gotten from liberal gay sites.

So here's the deathless prose of which they deprived their readers.

Although a "gay" man, I am of pretty conservative political attitudes and a knowledegable appreciation for, but distinct distance from, Catholicism & Orthodoxy. I am also not a fan of gay marriage.

My reasons are three: first, since marriage is a bedrock institution and is already under severe stress (from, among other things, a combination of no-fault divorce and feminism), a natural conservative reaction is to avoid fiddling with it anymore. Intentions never control consequences.

Second, even if, on a logical plane, there may be no necessary connection between arguments for same-sex marriage and for polygamy, it seems to me that in our political and cultural world, once you make the gender of spouses irrelevant, how can you argue in principle against a number different from two? Same-sex marriage is a brand new idea; polygamy, like it or not, is an ancient human tradition. I can see the pictures one day of weeping Muslim women, asking why their culture and religion's different idea of love should be banned --making their children illegitimate--when the law allows two men to wear wedding rings? And anything that comforts Islam in the West, for a man such as myself, is very bad news.

Third, and here your readers will likely find it hard to take, I do not think that matrimony does justice to the kind of love and attachment that two men can have with each other. To put it bluntly, taking the very gender-specific connection that makes some men comrades-lovers-kin and trying to fit it into the marriage box is just putting on straight drag. Until the last five minutes, marriage has always assumed the male-female polarity and, at least in principle, the creation of a family, offspring. Consequently, it is not made to institutionalize (or dare I say it, sacramentalize) the union of two male souls and bodies and lives.

To me, the push for gay marriage is part of liberalism's compulsive egalitarianism, with marriage really being a marker of social standing and one more battle against society's "exclusions". The triumph of mere power over imagination.

A man cannot be a mother, nor a woman a father. And if marriage requires both one bride and one groom, one wife and one husband, --at least--then in a gay "marriage" someone is standing in a spot not meant for them. I know that you consider such a same-sex union immoral. But from my standpoint, I consider that gay marriage does not properly honor the specificity of such a union.

The closest natural or archetypal structure men have made for themselves when they wish to ritualize a unique bond is blood-brotherhood.


In some cultures, this bond was considered even more sacred than marriage. I am not at all asserting that most of these rites were covert marriages. Very unlikely. I merely wish to say that when men are left to their own natural devices to create institutions honoring their deep attachments to each other, something like this, almost totally unique to males, is what they do. Were gay men more self-aware and less fixed on playing the role of the righteous victim, something like this, indigenous to male souls, would be the starting point, not matrimony.
The site, Touchstone, included the Thomas Merton piece I recently posted on. And it had an article on closed Communion by a Baptist minister, explaining why his church limits access to Communion to those who are baptized by immersion; baptism by pouring or sprinkling he considers invalid. Funnily enough, he is a Southern Baptist, whose tee-totalling denomination replaces the wine of the Lord's Supper with...grape juice.


Anonymous said...

My gues is an editor found too much the reference to the outside (or inside?) extremo sacramental bond of blood brotherhood.

A grape juice Lord's Supper "memorial meal" isn't that electrifying, but "blood brotherhood" could feel to an editor too likely to replace institutional Christianity altogether, especially for any readers who have strong latent homoerotic potential. I think hetero or mostly hetero guys would roll their eyes at the blood brother mysticism, but might join in with the androphiles in a religion involving paintball warfare, which most all young guys are likely to find a lot more "meaningful" than Christianity, which late Roman Mithraists try'd to bury as "things for women," I recall.

If man and woman are to be separated for the sake of avoiding the nightmare of "gender essentialism," then separate religions will become necessary. ... Maybe removing your comment was merely a futile rearguard action in a culture "war" that Christianity has alreaduy agreed to lose?

How would Clausewitz define "culture war," I wonder. Apoliticalness carry'd on by other means?

Anonymous said...

I can't really apologize in any way for the contempt imply'd in my reference to eye-rolling vs "blood brotherhood" rites. Seems to be simply intrinsic to "orientation." To an androphile such as Allan Bloom, marry'd guys no doubt seem'd absurdly "whip'd" -- although he would never have used such a vulgar term. Lesbians rather roll their eyes at their hetero sisters' absurd girlish ways (eyeliner especially, I think), as well as at their willingness or even preference to have a guy in their life (since after all hetero feminists' and lesbian feminists' complaint list against men is almost identical, but hetero feminists don't draw the obvious conclusion "Why bother?!") ... Maybe no gender orientational essence rolls their eyes at lesbians, and this because they do seem simply to "not bother about" a lot of stuff (daydreaming about future houses one might live in, femininity, vampire romance movies), which leaves the rest of us with the impression that they don't have anything going on -- no androphile stuff or gay stuff; no femininity or relationship reharsh mania and wedding planning mania; no guy stuff [both straight and apparently straight]. This is presumably a mistaken conclusion by the rest of us -- but they don't seem eager to fill us in on what they're really about ... unless maybe some lesbians do go in for a certain sort of ideological "politics," which does seem crazy to the rest of us.

Anonymous said...


Sacrament of Blood

Sacrament of Wine

Sacrament of Grape Juice

Drinking the Grape Kool-Aid


Leah said...

This is why you have your own blog. btw, my guess is they got too uncomfortable with your stating that men can have very deep ties that have nothing to do with the Male/female relationship.
Everyone creates a box called 'gay' and yours is nothing like what they imagine and although there was nothing sexual about it - it simply made them very very uncomfortable.
The left may be vocally nasty - the right simply shuts you out.

Leah said...

This is why you have your own blog. btw, my guess is they got too uncomfortable with your stating that men can have very deep ties that have nothing to do with the Male/female relationship.
Everyone creates a box called 'gay' and yours is nothing like what they imagine and although there was nothing sexual about it - it simply made them very very uncomfortable.
The left may be vocally nasty - the right simply shuts you out.

Anonymous said...

@Leah. Maybe, but I'm not sure. ... Your explanation is possible only if they would feel threaten'd by e.g. C.S. Lewis's discussion of strong relationships of friendship in "The Four Loves."

I think ex cathedra would definitely oppose any thesis that all friendships between men are crypto-homosexuality, homosexuality in denial etc. (Lewis leaves open such theses by treating Eros only as between man and woman in his treatment of erotic love in that book!)

I feel a sort of considerateness or pity -- I hope not a condescending pity -- for the need of nonhetero men in 'internalized homophobia' etc to pass off a not "consummated" erotic attachment as friendship, especially when friendship is a strong element of the attachment. And I suppose a lot of friendships have a strong homoerotic component that isn't recognized by the friends.

Touchstone editors might have been aware that religious fraternalness (brothers in Christ etc) can carry and only sort-of conceal a strong homoerotic component -- one rationale for the rules against "particular friendships" within monasteries and convents. A warrior brothers-in-Christ fraternity might seem rather more exciting to nonhetero youngsters than the moralistic brothers-in-Christ that Christianity is heir to.

In my experience, the difficulty in friendship between a gay guy and a straight guy is that the gay friend wants something -- something major -- with the straight friend that the straight guy doesn't want. This easily somehow insinuates into the friendship that the straight guy is better or on a higher level etc than the gay guy. Any sort of betterness conflicts with the spirit of friendship, as C.S. Lewis's account of friendship makes clear. ne doesn't want, for instance, the intrusion of social rankings and hierarchies and so on into friendship. Friendship like eros dissolves those rankings. (Kierkegaard: the king in love with the peasant girl doesn't want her to feel that she is on a lower level of psyche or spirit than he is, even if he might be quite pleased if she is impress'd with his royal status -- a womangirl wants a man she can 'look up to' but that is as much within classes as outside them. Her proper sense would be that she can feel rather ego-gratify'd for having marry'd up -- not by his condescending pity but by his love for her. And if this means he supposes that a peasant girl is more wonderful and loveable than all the girls of the aristocratic class that he properly should marry from, well, who is she to find fault with a king's preference? If this impresses her family with how well she can do in marriage, so much the better. etc.

She wants a man she can look up to but this doesn't mean that a man wants a womangirl he looks down on. There isn't a set phrase that precisely encapsulates the guy's longings, but he wishes to feel lucky and grateful in love. Besides Darcy, Darcy brings to the marriage his estate. Elizabeth brings only Elizabeth -- and even brings a negative dowry (her family's financial position and her sister's scandal -- that he must rectify). But he still feels lucky and grateful, and wants to feel this way.

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