Faith

Mother and Son Say They're in Love, Should Have the Right to Be Together

A mother and son in New Mexico who say they “fell in love” have been charged with incest, but intend to take their case to the Supreme Court, which legalized homosexual marriage last year. Their defense — that their relationship is consensual and that “love” should not be penalized — shows the danger of the LGBT sexual ethic.

“It is every bit worth it,” Monica Mares, the 36-year-old New Mexico woman in a romantic relationship with her 19-year-old son Caleb Peterson, told Britain’s The Daily Mail. Each faces up to 18 months in prison for the fourth-degree felony of incest. “If they lock me up for love then they lock me up. There is no way anybody could pull us apart, and I really do love him.”

Peterson did not grow up in his mother’s house — he was adopted. Mother and son were reunited recently, and while they have different stories of how they met, they agree that their romantic love is real and should be acknowledged by society. Mares recalled taking Peterson in as his mother, and then developing romantic feelings. She said she is willing to sacrifice her relationship with her two younger children (who call Peterson “dad”) in order to preserve the romance.

Peterson said he started things by kissing her.

“I never thought I was crazy for having these feelings because I didn’t see her as my mom, it was more like going to a club and meeting a random person,” Peterson said. “It didn’t feel wrong, it felt normal.”

“Honestly I never thought we would get into trouble for our relationship,” the son said. “We were both consenting adults — when it comes down to it. She’s adult I’m adult I can make my own decisions.”

This ideology that romantic love should be societally accepted on the basis of consent alone opens the door to incestuous relationships like this. Some refer to incestuous feelings as “GSA,” or “genetic sexual attraction,” a twist on the “SSA” acronym for homosexual (same sex) attraction. Normalizing incest may become merely the latest push of the LGBT movement.

Indeed, Christina Shy, a friend of the couple, who runs the advocacy website www.lilysgardener.com, said the couple is willing to take their case to the Supreme Court. She compared their movement to the legalization of gay marriage achieved in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.

“It was the same with gay people just a few years ago and now they can get married they are accepted,” Shy told the Daily Mail. “Well why not consanguinamorous people like us? We are not pedophiles, there’s no domestic issue we are in love, we want to be together but we are related.”

“Consanguinamorous”? Did Shy take a Latin class to find the least offensive way to say “incest”? Even so, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Con-san-guin-am-or-ous is a sexta-syllabic word cloaking the bare reality: that she wants family members who “fall in love” to be accepted as normal, and perhaps even celebrated. What’s next, the Incest Pride Parade?

This extreme merely shows the bankruptcy of sexual permissiveness. If “love is love,” and the only legitimate limit is the decision of consenting adults, then all sexual norms are suspect — emphatically including the prohibition against incest.

It starts with normalizing homosexuality: What’s wrong about two consenting men or women having sex with one another? Then it moves to transgenderism: Children who think they were born in the wrong body should be able to use the bathrooms and changing rooms for the opposite sex. Then incest: genetic sexual attraction is nothing to be concerned about — they’re just consenting adults after all.

This sounds like a “slippery slope” fallacy, but it isn’t a slippery slope — it’s the slow (and sometimes not so slow) unraveling of the Christian sexual ethic. The ’60s were about “free love,” and now much of the culture has bought it, hook, line, and sinker.

But “free love” meant more than everyone thought it did. It didn’t just mean you can sleep with someone you aren’t married to — it also means you can sleep with someone of the same sex, you can deny and change your birth sex, and you can sleep with your father, mother, sister, or brother.

I am not arguing that this movement will legitimate pedophilia, pederasty, or polygamy next, although no sexual norm is truly safe. Indeed, this particular quote from Peterson is telling: “I didn’t see her as my mom, it was more like going to a club and meeting a random person … it felt normal.”

So sleeping with your mom is normal — just as normal as sleeping with a random person you met a club. A conservative orthodox Christian might reply that neither of these things are normal: that sex should be between one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage.

Next Page: How Christians should respond to this permissive sexual ethic.

You could even argue — like the greatest minds in the Western tradition — that the Christian sexual ethic is not just a faith-based standard but the best way for men and women to live together and to make sense of their sexual nature. This is what is called “Natural Law,” and it was considered a scandal that Justice Clarence Thomas believed it.

When a man and a woman come together, they can produce a child. Human children need a very long period of care, so it makes sense for their parents to stay together and to provide a home for them. Biologically, the making of children is not all that happens in the sex act, however. There are also hormones which bind each partner to the other, strengthening the feeling of being “in love.”

Christianity finds many reasons for marriage: the birth and rearing of children, the mutual joy of the couple, the prevention of sin, but also the self-giving love fundamental to Christianity.

Love is not confined to marriage, even though sex should be. Christianity takes a specific view of love, that it entails doing good to another person. When Jesus commands his disciples to “love one another,” this is not sexual, and the highest form of love is self-sacrifice, not romance (1 Corinthians 13).

Marriage is a way of ordering society so as to care for children, provide joy for adults, and create structure in the most fundamental social unit. It clarifies the sexual dimension of life, and it preserves the peace by insisting that each man and woman who desires a mate should have one, and should be content with one. How much sexual suffering is caused by the rejection of this humble idea?

Christianity does not deny that people have desires that do not conform to this ideal. Every man and woman has sinful desires, and they come in many different forms. This is not necessarily that person’s fault, but acting on wrongful desires is still sin and will separate each person from the source of all good and joy.

Because marriage is even more than a sexual union, for the Christian. It is a microcosm of the union between God and redeemed humanity — it is a sign of the ultimate fulfillment of every longing of the human heart, only satisfied in that heaven which each soul privately longs for.

Each person was made to celebrate and enjoy one part of the glory of the Creator, and will never be truly happy away from His presence. But that means everyone has to give up their less fulfilling desires. The Christian has to train himself to love and enjoy God because God is the ultimate joy, and each joy he rejects on the path to God is a pale shadow of the fulfillment he finds in heaven. (For more on this topic, I heartily recommend C.S. Lewis’ The Problem of Pain, especially his fantastic chapter on “Heaven.”)

The LGBT sexual ethic ignores these natural and supernatural truths, grasping for the smaller pleasures and insisting that the freedom to choose one’s mate should not be limited by biological realities like gender and familial relation. It should not be tied to the conception and rearing of children, and it should not be limited to one person for your entire life.

Rejecting these norms, it must reject more and more, until it is the ruling sexual morality of our culture. Even in victory, it goes further and further, running roughshod over fundamental rights like religious freedom.

Faithful Christians will continue to uphold their sexual morality, but as America’s culture and politics embrace more and more of the opposite sexual ethic, each historic norm will be stripped away, one by one. What can we say? They are “both consenting adults.”