The “Wrong Side” of History


Countless times I have been warned about how miserable I will be when I discover that civilization has passed me by, while I sit, frothing from the mouth, beating my cane against my rocker, clinging to archaic notions about sexuality and marriage. So, for those inclined to issue the same warning again, or for those who may have been the target of a similar argument, I offer the following response.

First, I am much less concerned with being on the right side of history than being on the right side of eternity. As difficult as this may be to believe, the fact that people disagree with me, or even dislike me over that disagreement, isn’t something I lose sleep over.

But I do lose sleep over the times when I have done really stupid things because I thought other people would like it. Even though I had read the Emperor’s New Clothes as a young child, it wasn’t until I wore pink and blue, ridiculously baggy “Hammer Pants” in junior high that I really understood the regret that comes from doing what is temporarily popular.

There is a long list of things that we thought were true that turned out not to be. In the 1970’s we were told that divorce was good for children and soon abortion wouldn’t even be controversial. Communism was an irresistible force that would soon take over the world because it gave power to the people. We used to believe the earth was flat, the atom was the smallest particle in existence, the kidney pumped blood, and the earth was the center of the universe.

Lies are always exposed because the consequences of acting in reliance on the lie cause problems. Once we experience those problems we begin to reevaluate what we thought we knew. Sometimes it takes months, sometimes it takes generations, but the result is always the same.

The reason racially based segregation and slavery went by the wayside is that it is based on the lie that people’s pigmentation makes them more or less valuable as people.

The lie involved in the debate over same-sex “marriage” is not that people who identify as gay are not worthy and capable of love or kindness or legal protection. The lie is that you can build a healthy enduring culture on the idea that all sex is good sex so long as it involves consenting adults.

Those of us who are not enthusiastic about same-sex “marriage” do so because of our belief that it is best for both the individual and the collective if sexuality be expressed within monogamous, heterosexual marriages. Try as we may, if we separate ourselves from the emotions of the social and political battles, it is very hard to argue that this is not true.

While I appreciate the concern, when historians look back on this debate to see who had the stronger position, I like my odds.


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