By John Binde
Sept. 24, 1971, Oberlin Review
Senior John Binde is combining an interdisciplinary major with organ studies for combined B.A. and B.M. degrees – Ed.
Gay Liberation is a reflection of a general cultural outlook that declares truth and morality to be meaningless or non-existent. That is, it implies a basic denial of a very fundamental law of logic, the law of non-contradiction.
This law can be stated thusly: if a given statement is true, its opposite is false. For example, if 7 + 5 = 12, it is not the case that 7 + 5 ≠ 12. Or, it cannot be the case that it is both raining and not raining at the same time. If we choose to reject this law and say that both contradictory statements are true, any conclusion can logically (or illogically) follow. If both are true, then both are also false. In other words, truth ceases to exist. It no longer has any meaning. Statements are reduced to nonsense.
Do your own thing
Compare this with our present day attitudes. We are told that either all religions are true or they are all false—nothing is true. In the area of morals we hear, “Do your own thing.” “If no one gets hurt, anything is o.k.” “Everybody else is doing it, why shouldn’t I?” “What is, is right.” Is morality only a sociological average of what society in general is doing? Or is there a real right and a real wrong? Recall the caption describing the movie Blow-up: “Murder without guilt; Love without meaning.” Or examine Juliet of the Spirits. It is deliberately made to prevent the viewer from distinguishing between objective reality and fantasy. One does not know what is real, or illusory, or psychological, or insane. (Dr. Francis Schaeffer: The God Who Is There). There is no standard, no truth, no meaning, no reality. Our culture demands total freedom (or should I say anarchy?) in all areas of life. In one sense, we have taken a leap of irrationality in the name of tolerance and proclaimed every belief true—and thereby also false. Where now is the law of non-contradiction?
No right or wrong
Homosexuality can be viewed as one specific example of this general outlook. It proclaims that there is no right or wrong. This is usually heard in the form of, “It’s right for some and not right for others.” This kind of statement can only apply to amoral questions such as ones of taste or preference. I would content that homosexuality is not at all an amoral issue but very definitely one that holds the individual morally responsible for his action.
By now, you should be asking by what authority or standard I can so presumptuously make such absolute statements about so obviously controversial issues. “Who does he think he is, God?” And that is precisely the appropriate question, for only God has the authority to declare a given act right or wrong. That is not to say that He’s sitting up there arbitrarily deciding how best to trip man up. Rather, He is the standard Himself. Is is His nature that declares and act right or wrong. In addition, He is not “way up there,” some impersonal “force” that simply is. Rather, He is personal and has reveled His nature in verbal propositions to me through both the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ. It is God who has said that homosexuality is wrong.
Homosexuality not a condition
Do notice that I consider homosexuality an act and not a condition. That is, it is not a condition in the sense that a person’s body chemistry determines whether he be homosexual or heterosexual. Rather, it is a learned behavior, a conscious, volitional activity. For man is far more than a chemical machine, and even more than a thinking animal. He is created in the image of God—a personality—responsible to his creator for his actions. That he was made in the image of God indicates that man is something truly wonderful. It explains why he can love and needs love.
It is for this very reason that many of the underlying demands made by Gay Lib are legitimate. The most important of these is that homosexuals be treated as persons—not as maladjusted cases. Communication and understanding have never been founded on ostracism and condemnation. Gays should most certainly have the same rights and privileges as any other person. To deny them these is to deny their personhood.
Love and acceptance
Another important demand is for love and acceptance. By love, I mean, not merely companionship or a sexual relationship, but rather the ordering of one’s actions such that another individual’s highest good is furthered.
Let me illustrate. The individual most in turmoil over homosexuality is the one who thinks he might be a homosexual but isn’t sure. He has certain homosexual tendencies; he may have a certain feeling of rejection by his peers; he is constantly introspecting to find out whether he’s gay or not. And of course, he’s terribly afraid that one day he might actually discover that he really is a homosexual. At some time he might be involved in a homosexual act. The first time, it will usually not be sleeping with someone, but nevertheless his conscience will be overwhelmed with guilt and shame. He will be deeply depressed. Far too often, an aggressive homosexual will intimidate such a one who is unsure of himself and coerce him further into homosexual activity. This usually results in severe guilt feelings and deep depression. Is it here that one can see how selfish and unloving sexual gratification can be. This is not love but lust.
Violation of the conscience
If love is truly the motivation behind our treatment of one another, then in this situation the consistent thing to do would be to prevent the individual from violating his own conscience. Such a violation is self-defeating and sheer agony.
It is in not violating one’s conscience that true freedom is found. In this there is no guilt, no fear, no double-life. One need not be bound by guilt and fear.
I might add by way of conclusion, that is anyone doubts the validity of the above illustration, let him come to me and ask me about it. This is what happened to me. I have written this because I have known the agony of this guilt and now feel that I am truly liberated. It is my hope that others who are unsure might realize that they don’t have to be gay. Do remember that the basics of all I have said is that there is a real right and a real wrong. This is true because God is not dead. He has liberated me to prove it.