Sunday, May 24, 2015

How I Evolved on Gay Marriage

A young Christian, I arrived at college in the fall of 2004 with some of the usual intellectual difficulties: evolution, creation, the authority of Scripture, and so on. But I could think through them undisturbed, working them out in my reading rather than in debates. No one was asking, “Where do you stand?”

With gay marriage on the horizon, that soon changed. It was a time when everyone was supposed to evolve—and I did, just not in the way I was supposed to. Unlike for many other young Christians, coming around to approving gay unions as marriages never became a possibility for me.


One source I turned to for intellectual friendship was Nicolás Gómez Dávila, a Colombian aphorist who’s helped me see through the clichés of our time. The merits of the argument for gay marriage, such as they are, are obscured by the movement’s extreme rhetorical shallowness. Advocates seem to think that progress is inevitable, that history only turns one way. Against such a conceit, Gómez Dávila whispers a warning: “The fool is disturbed not when they tell him that his ideas are false, but when they suggest that they have gone out of style.” Accusing someone of being on the wrong side of history says nothing about whether he is on the right side of the argument. It is a mere threat, and a somewhat hollow one. History is an arbitrary enforcer.

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