David Warren is a writer of rare skill, and a foreign affairs analyst of even rarer subtlety. Today, however, he slides down the slippery slope on the issue of gay marriage:
Sex — what is male and what female — was written into each of them; and in extracting it, all intra-familial relations were thus abrogated. There can only be “partners”, henceforth; and as the whole notion of “parentage” was founded in the “heterosexual monopoly” on childbirth, children themselves can only have “guardians”. The common paternity and maternity of brothers and sisters may continue to exist as fact (progressively undermined by new technology). But by degrees such facts must cease to be publicly acknowledged.
This is not alarmist. No other possible course is available, in the logical wake of the “same-sex marriage” ruling. It leaves no way back. In Canada, the Charter of Rights has empowered our courts to strike down, successively, every attempt to maintain such distinctions.
The family itself has thus been driven underground. It can now exist only by the private consent of its members, on extra-legal terms. It most certainly no longer exists as a model or example, binding one generation to another.
Somehow, the inclusion of more people into legally-binding families will destroy families. I suppose shoving bourgeois constitutions down the throats of Germany and Japan after WWII diluted the power of elections and free markets.
But what most interests me is this paragraph:
They were the Jews, in ancient times, who fully realized the significance of this fact: that God “had made them male and female”. Who realized, in a theological development of the idea of marriage, the deep truth of this anthropological fact. The deep truth that men and women are necessary to the completion of each other, that “man” in the male aspect of Adam, cannot be alone. That “man” in the sense of human, was Adam completed by Eve. This is the “beast with two backs”, of Shakespeare’s droll image — the one animal in nature who embraces face-to-face.
That last sentence is revealing. If Warren wishes to enjoy and approve of nothing but the Missionary position, that’s his (boring) business. But to give it, and nothing else, God’s sanction is simple prudery dressed up in the language of the Bible and Shakespeare. Although if you read or watch his works, you’ll find that Shakespeare was anything but a prude. And while I’m no Bible scholar, I can’t imagine that all the begatting going on in Genesis didn’t involve at least a little healthy variety.
Now let’s apply Warren’s slippery logic to the rest of the paragraph. If God made us male and female, to be completed by complimentary pairing, then it must follow that gays and lesbians are lesser creatures, undeserving of protection under our laws — or God’s. No gay marriage today, and back alley beatings tomorrow? Stonings starting next week! Hate the sin, love the sinner — but no touching, please.
No, I don’t think Warren actually thinks such things — but the slippery slope descends both ways, so to speak.
It shouldn’t shock you that Warren would come out against gay marriage — it is possible for reasonable people to disagree reasonably on such a fundamental issue. What should shock you is that he has done so in such a callous and offensive manner.
UPDATE: Judith Weiss adds in the Drinks section something so good it needs posting here:
I hate it when people take the Hebrew scriptures out of context and present them as examples of Jewish law. According to the Talmud, which is as binding on Jewish law as the Torah for observant Jewry all over the world, all forms of mutually enjoyable sex are permitted between husband and wife. So much for the missionary position.
Also, polygamy was permitted under Jewish law until sometime in the Middle Ages, when the rabbis ruled that this law would be suspended for the indefinite future because it was out of step with the civilization they were living in. But few families in the Scriptures look like the stereotypical “nuclear family” (which also rarely existed in history – because of adult mortality, there were just as many stepfamilies then as now).
David Warren should do some research. But he has put his foot firmy in his mouth before, so I’m not surprised at this.
UPDATEDY UPDATE: Scott Wright adds his own thoughts here, and I’m inclined to agree that there is a lot of anti-gay bigotry on the Right. Let me add that I don’t believe any and all arguments against gay marriage are homophobic — far from it. But David Warren, John Derbyshire, and (to a much lesser extent) Stanly Kurtz, all fall on the wrong side of reasonableness.
HOTDAMN WE GOT UPDATES: Click on the Drinks below and read Arthur Silber‘s comments. Turns out that Western Civ fetishist Warren doesn’t know his Bible or his Shakespeare.