(Originally posted in slightly altered form as a comment on Dr. Feser’s blog.)
I think it is extremely important, even vital, that we understand where LGBT rights supporters are coming from if we want to make any headway at all in discussions, so to that end, I’ll try to explain what I see from experience. I’m 19, to give you an age range to look at.
I learned not long ago that a person I knew as an acquaintance was gay. I didn’t really care. He didn’t act at all effeminate and it’s none of my business anyway. He was a good friend of one of my best friends and he was very popular, with good reason. He was funny, a nice guy, a talented actor and singer…pretty much a heartthrob, actually.
It’s people like him, I’m sure, who are nice and talented and popular and gay, who influence what my friends are thinking. They see all of these examples of homophobia in the media and on Law and Order: SVU (sometimes there are HOWLERS), and that’s their image of people who think gay sex is immoral. Then they see their friend (let’s call him Ken), who has no obvious issues and whose sexual acts, whatever they might be, aren’t really affecting us in any way, and they wonder why they ever thought they were immoral in the first place.
It seems like an emotional appeal, but try and think from their perspective here. You’re against homosexual acts because you’re a Catholic. You’re not really sure why. You watch the media and see people like the Westboro Baptist Church make the news. They really are bigoted and their “arguments” are awful. You have this image of signs quoting Leviticus then remember that it also condemned eating shellfish. And so you wonder: Why am I associating with these people? What is my reason?. And they can’t think of any. Then they meet Ken – nice, smart, funny Ken, who is such a great guy even if he has a boyfriend, and it just seems funny – how is what he’s doing harming anybody? Why do I think what they do in bed is immoral if it doesn’t affect anybody else? And how come Ken and boyfriend AREN’T allowed to get married? Doesn’t that seem WRONG?
Natural law, of course, is a terrible argument to them; after all, people used to think it was “unnatural” for blacks to marry whites, but we outgrew our prejudices. And there’s the rub: It’s about outgrowing prejudices to them and making sure homosexuals are “treated equally” “aren’t discriminated against” and have “equal rights”.
Do you see where the logic is coming from? In its own way it actually makes a twisted sort of sense. It’s dangerous to argue against because it truly is a moral crusade, and if you disagree you’re a bigot just like the Governor of Alabama or whatever. That immediately knocks you down a peg, and your arguments are never going to be taken seriously because you’re the equivalent of the “r” word – racist. And now you can’t win.
In the end, it’s really not some ultra-calculated move on the part of gay people, nor is it mindless adherence to LGBT propaganda. The real truth is a lot more dangerous because it’s a lot easier to understand.
So, how DO you argue against it, then? I’m not sure, but we at least need to know where we’re starting.