May 31, 2012

Objectified Men and Same-sex Marriage

I would be remiss if I failed to share Marc Barnes’ most excellent blog, Bad Catholic. Although I’m not in the Roman fold myself, I benefit greatly from Mr. Barnes’  interspersed memes, loving audacity, side-busting humor, and terrifyingly true theological-philosophical insights. I mean, seriously man, how do you write that well that often? It’s like a daily shot out of a cannon into the divine sphere. I recommend any of our readers to check it out; there is solid food to be digested there. Did I mention that this critic of contemporary buffoonery is only 18? (Unless he had his 19th birthday since last February–I’m not the guy’s stalker…yet). From what I understand, the majority of his ever-burgeoning readership falls within the same demographic as well. Kudos.

Especially big kudos for this excellent article on our objectification of men with same-sex attraction. In one portion, Barnes goes after the media portrayal of the Gay Man, someone whose identity is found in their sexuality:

According to Hollywood, gay men are not allowed to be screw-ups. Gay men are, well, just fabulous. You can hardly turn on a sitcom or cartoon, read a novel, or watch a movie without seeing the Media running their fingers through the hair of the Gay Man Abstraction, telling the world that, “Oh my goodness, well (Gay Man) here is incredibly funny, cute, kooky, has great taste in clothes, and will always solve (straight female protagonist)’s problems by the end of the episode, like the fantastic little helper he is!”

We have turned the human being–with his real desires, sufferings, characteristics, and talents–into a pet.

Culturally speaking, this safely trained/cage pet helps in various agendas. To make something otherwise detestable to a society (whether it be stealing, sexuality, or lying) more palatable to said society’s denizens, one needs to remove the “ick factor.” To make something detestable, the ick factor must be added. Horrible, manipulative, and hazardous meat packing industry? Write The Jungle. Good manners? Uphold a populist “common man” that is the very archetype of democracy and shows deference to no man. Abortion? Show the horror that is the murder of the unborn. Opposition to homosexuality? Make the archetype of fun, tasteful, sassy, fashionable, loving, and safe gay man the standard societal image. Nevertheless, this culture war discussion doesn’t touch the core issue: the human soul.

The post continues:

The “Gay Best Friend” must — above all things — be safe. He must have all the emotional benefits of being a male, without the emotional threats. He must be supportive, without reminding her of the father-figures in her life. He must provide the emotional affirmation of male, physical touch, without touch ever meaning anything. He must be a girl, provide fashion advice, and — in general — have all the characteristics of a puppy on happy pills.

But he is made for more. He is made for infinite love.

When it comes to the whole gambit of issues lumped into pansexuality, I think Kevin De Young said it well: different conditions require different responses for the Church. When it comes to the public sphere of debate, you will have to deal with political theory and such concerns as “human flourishing.” We need to decide of government is primarily about providing the best conditions for the satisfaction of our desires that leave each individual to his own OR if there is something else to politics.

But that is in the abstract: the realm of lobbyists and protestors and full-time activists. What about the headwaters? Indeed,  what do you tell a person–a true human person, the Man–about the Savior Christ, also a true Man? The abstracts peel away and our pet sins of all sorts try to find a darkness to hide in. Some of the darkest shadows are public approval. Some are the lighted backdrop of a computer screen. We should be discussing what IS Man and what SHOULD he be if there’s something amiss now. As another fine post posits: “Only when we have ceased to argue for Traditional Values, and have begun to argue for love of that singular, human person — only then will anything change.” And things must change.

7 Responses to Objectified Men and Same-sex Marriage

  1. I just discovered Bad Catholic a couple of weeks ago, and I am glad you are introducing him to IRD readers. I can’t believe he’s 18!

    • Bart Gingerich says:

      That was the desired effect: discuss an issue while plugging for a great site. I hope others glean some good stuff as I have from BadCat.

  2. […] Bart Gingerich recently argued on this blog, quoting “Bad Catholic” author Marc Barnes, political debates surrounding the issue tend to […]

  3. Emily Schatz says:

    I had no idea he was that young either. Cool.

  4. Marco Bell says:

    Is ‘Bad Catholic’, Gay?
    Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  5. Debbie N says:

    Forgive me for a long post, but your blog entry triggered thoughts I’ve had unfolding in my mind for the last week or so and, in trying to compose my response, became more clear to me. I think they are worth sharing, so here goes.

    God presents the true definition and description of a man in His Word. Jesus modeled it. Christians must proclaim it with wisdom and humility through speaking, story, broadcasting, film, song and any other medium or vehicle available. We who know Christ must understand and embrace the biblical measure of a man and his role in upholding and securing righteousness for himself and those he leads. Our greatest need is for men to model biblical manhood and women to respectfully encourage them in it.

    I was reflecting recently on the terrible state of things, the rampant confusion about and abuse of God’s incredible gift of sexuality.

    I started to think about how it might have started, or at least when it became obvious we were going astray. Then I thought about a little pill that came on the scene in 1960 that opened an enormous Pandora’s box. There was potential in that pill to grant women some measure of control of when and how many children each would bring into a marriage and family, while also providing the option for work to be a larger part of the equation of her life if she chose it. These are not bad on the face.

    Instead, the worst of choices burst onto the scene. Men and women selfishly exploited it.

    Men, by seeing in it a new opportunity to commit fornication even though to do so is to steal from a woman and another man a gift intended for them alone and, also, to expect women to more freely agree to fornication or to co-habitate with them without commitment – all because a baby was now an avoidable inconvenience and ultimate responsibility in the sex act somehow lifted. It’s terribly shallow and selfish. Men miscalculated how negatively this newfound “freedom” would alter their integrity and women’s respect. How it would impact everything. Men objectified women and today, men suffer a virtual onslaught of sexual temptation and many find themselves adrift, lost, having missed their true purpose.

    Women, by giving in to wrong pressure from men and to questionable motives and expectations, miscalculated what they would lose and gain and, also, the pitfalls in abandoning in small or great measure their core role in fostering healthy standards for sexuality, marriage, family and a civil society. That role was taken for granted, as if changing the rules would not change the condition of any of the institutions women so strongly influence or alter their own dignity and value apart from the sexual function. That little pill granted the chance for greater autonomy, which tempted men and women to wield newfound “liberty” and “power” to the detriment of each and to God’s design for sex, marriage, family and an ordered, law-abiding culture. Women objectified men, aided corruption by consent and now search high and low for authentic commitment.

    “The Pill” and selfish human weakness helped usher in a social experiment of enormous proportions. I am a woman of this era. Since my life is interwoven with the experiment and affected by its consequences, I sit not in judgment. Still, I recognize the realities of what has been wrought.

    In light of the awareness we have after 50 years of this unfolding drama, regardless of certain matters or aspects about which we may not be in full agreement, the problem is evident. I would suggest that the subject of this article is yet further evidence of the ever-expanding fallout of this “liberation.”

    I think of John Wesley walking the sin-racked streets of England’s cities passionately preaching the gospel and what his and a few other’s efforts eventually birthed in the hearts of a nation’s people – an authentic repentance that reformed the nation. I know that such a zealousness for righteousness is the cure for our day. We have hidden, denied, rationalized, and justified our sins – believers and non-believers both among the guilty. Our misplaced identities are wrapped up in dissipation of one kind or another. Our nemesis is our collective duplicity. We are awash in a wayward culture and evaluate ourselves on a relative scale rather than asking God to weigh us. (Psalm 139:23,24 – “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts;. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”) We want anything but to be weighed.

    Are we, as Wesley’s legacy, willing to be purified, then to be salt and to purify? Are we willing to be in the light, our sins exposed, to repent, be made clean and to shine Jesus into every corner of darkness? God awaits.

    “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
    – 2 Chronicles 7:14

  6. […] friend Shane Ayers and I have talked about the dehumanizing effects of our current public discourse before. The bias of our social innovators […]

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