Is Sexual Immorality “Brave” or “Courageous”?

Last week Nancy stirred up a few of Lady Gaga’s “little monsters” by pointing out something that would seem painfully obvious — it’s simply wrong to equate the sexual self-indulgence Lady Gaga embodies with any virtue, much less the virtues of bravery or courage.  We’ve apparently moved beyond characterizing sexual immorality as merely acceptable and now must view it as actually noble, as something praiseworthy.

It is undeniable, however, that certain sexual behaviors and lifestyles can be difficult — that some people are scorned, ridiculed, and even bullied.  But does choosing to embrace a sexual sin make you courageous?

Let’s take a step back and think about the very definition of “courage.”  If you look at the dictionary definition, the term is morally neutral — in essence, it’s the act of facing difficulty or danger without fear.  According to the dictionary definition, both a bank robber and the police officer charged with stopping the crime are “courageous.”  The robber is facing the danger of the law, while the officer is facing the danger of the robber.  Yet that’s not how most people interpret the word (how many news stories begin, “Courageous bank robbers struck a downtown branch in a daylight heist . . .”)  Most of us (quite properly) understand that godly courage requires us to face difficulty or danger for the sake of virtuous goals or purposes.

C.S. Lewis said that courage was not just one of the virtues, “but the form of every virtue at its testing point.” In other words, courage depends on and enables virtue. By that measure, I can’t call coming out (even though it is difficult for many) “courageous” because it is in almost every case a declaration of sinfulness and willful sinful activity. Not everything that’s difficult or challenging to do is “courageous” — especially when that difficult or challenging thing also happens to contradict God’s commands. If a husband breaks his marriage vows, alienates his friends, and runs off with the secretary, do we call that “courageous?” Why not? It’s hard to do, but he’s following his heart (like the culture tells us we must), and his action will cause an extreme counter-reaction from those closest to him. We might call that “audacious,” but not “courageous.”

To be clear, sin in one area of our lives of course does not preclude courage or bravery in other areas.  Many gay men and women have courageously served our country, giving their lives for our freedom.  Resisting a bully can require courage — regardless of the reason for the bullying.  We’re all sinful, but we’re all — by God’s grace — capable of courage.  But it doesn’t take “courage” to engage in extramarital sex.  If it did, then your average frat house would supersede Parris Island as the proving ground for national greatness.

  • James F. McGrath

    Ah, but the problem is that most of the Christians who would simply dismiss even monogamous love between gays or lesbians as “sin” are themselves far more tolerant of behaviors which would have seemed every bit as sinful, if not more so, to the Biblical authors – Women in leadership? Women not subjected to some male or other? Opposing attempts to lift up the poor and provide greater access to healing among them.

    It is precisely because conservatives with these sorts of views have in the past and continue in the present to make life a living hell for those who disagree with them, whether about science, theology, or sexuality, and often have the power or social influence to inflict real harm, that being different does indeed take genuine courage.

    • Amalia

      No, they wouldn’t. You obviously don’t know a whole lot of Christians. Furthermore, not all Christians think exactly the same.

      The problem with you and people like you is that you confuse love with lust. If a monogamous gay couple were celibate, then there would be no problem. However, if they are engaging in sexual activity of any kind, that would be a sin, according to the Bible. Sexual activity outside of marriage is a sin, regardless of who is engaged in it – gay or straight. The Bible also clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Now, if you are not a Christian, you are obviously free to define marriage however you wish, but for the whole of this country’s existence, marriage was generally understood to have the Biblical definition – a union between a man and a woman.

      Once again, you make the assumption that all Christians feel the same way regarding women in leadership. Some are opposed to women in any leadership role, and some Christians think that women in secular leadership roles are okay, but that women cannot be leaders in the church.

      Nobody believes that a woman should be her husband’s “subject”. Women are called to “submit” to their husbands, but this is quite different to being subject to her husband’s every whim, and there are different interpretations of what “submitting” to one’s husband really entails.

      It’s cute how you think conservatives make other people’s lives a living hell. Well, I think liberals make my life a living hell. The economy has gone to crap no thanks to liberal policies, illegal immigrants keep taking advantage of our emergency rooms, which is one reason why health care is so expensive. Taxes are high and will probably go higher if Obamacare is not repealed, and when taxes go high, businesses stop hiring, wealthy people stop investing, and often end up leaving the country, like Denise Rich. Then there’s the character assassination that is waged on conservatives via the entertainment media complex. The left wants to ban all guns, robbing me of the right to defend myself. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s a matter of time.

      Then there’s the global warming issue, and how the left keeps coming up with one stupid scheme after another to address this fake crisis when in reality each and every single “solution” is designed to move money out of this country and to third world countries so they can be big polluters.

      And what about gas prices? High gas prices (despite what you may have heard in the news, they’re not going down enough and they’re still way too high) makes everything more expensive.

      All this crap above affects every facet of my life. All this crap above will also heavily affect my future and the future of younger people, who will be on the hook for the enormous amount of debt racked up by both Democrats and Republicans (RINOs who act like Dems to court independent voters).

      What’s also completely ridiculous is that you act as if conservatives have the power to “inflict real harm” when it’s your side that owns the entertainment media complex, of which churns out anti-Christian and anti-conservative messages on a regular basis. The same media complex that millions of Americans consume every single day. The same media complex that has steadily brainwashed millions of Americans into accepting the homosexual agenda. The same media complex that has waged character assassination on prominent conservatives like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Jan Brewer, Glenn Beck, Bristol Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, the Tea Party, and Republicans in general. I could spend all night listing the amount of celebs who bash Tea Partiers and conservatives on Twitter – these are the people with untold amounts of influence and power, and by supporting the Democrats and Obama in particular, these people are definitely doing me harm, because they all support an agenda that will hasten the demise of this country if it’s ever fully implemented.

      Why the hell do you think so many people are increasingly pro-gay? It’s the media (and public schools). It’s the decades of propaganda that has promoted homosexuality and demonized conservatism and Christianity in particular. Don’t tell me about how conservatives make a living hell for those who disagree with them – your side does a fine job of making life a living hell for people on my side.

      Don’t believe me? Just go to Twitter and do a search for “Michelle Malkin”, “Ann Romney”, or “Sarah Palin”. It’s not enough for your side to just disagree with whatever they’re saying or doing at the moment – your side has to say the nastiest, most evil things any human being could ever say. It’s not just prominent conservative figures that get hatred – it’s plenty of innocent conservative citizens who get frothing hatred from your side too.

      • kathy

        i like how well written this was…bravo!

      • BabyRaptor

        You wrote a long page of factless opinion there, but I’m only going to call you on one thing.

        “It’s not enough for your side to just disagree with whatever they’re saying or doing at the moment – your side has to say the nastiest, most evil things any pony being could ever say.”

        Democrats don’t advocate for the deaths of people who disagree with them daily. Democrats didn’t make a website with gun targets on Republican-held counties, encourage the deaths of those politicians and then sit back and act like innocent stupids when someone took them seriously. Democrats don’t constantly lie and twist Republicans’ words to make them look bad. Democrats have never called a good half the populace of the country misogynistic, insulting terms for wanting healthcare. Democrats don’t want to rip the Constitution to shreds–We want what the thing ACTUALLY SAYS respected. And we’ve actually READ it, unlike most of your side. Democrats want equality, and freedom for everyone. Your side wants your personal beliefs made law.

        Disagree with the Democrats all you want, but don’t act like they’re the only problem. Your side DAILY says and does things EXACTLY like what you’re accusing us of doing. And if you can’t see that, you need help. Your freedoms are NOT being threatened. My right to exist is CONSTANTLY under attack by your side. Who has the real problem here? Not you.

        • Sharon

          Hmm, sounds like you are stating a lot of opinion as fact. Not sure what media sources you are ignoring (although, it appears to be many) which would allow you to believe that Democrats don’t advocate for the deaths of people who disagree with them. Have you missed the news on Brad Pitt’s mom? Do you not read the hostile comments made by supporters of President Obama to any Mitt Romney article posted on the web? Seriously, your comment lacks credibility. Sorry, but it appears the pot is calling the kettle black.

      • Sharon

        Thanks, Amalia, great post!

    • Paul Duggan

      MR McGrath:

      The “problem” is that people opposed to gays marrying are also in favor of egalitarianism? Also in favor of female pastors? huh? What people are these?

  • Mark Evansa

    Despite Jesus “The poor will always be with you” comment, He did indeed preach and practice giving good news, healing and aid to the poor, James. Helping the less fortunate would have been perfectly in line with the New Testament authors’ views. On the women issue, it’s true Paul would have blanched at some denominations having female pasators. Yet several women were praised for their work. I don’t think many of the authors would have objected (as Paul apparently would have) to women teaching classes, heading committees or leading music.

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  • Wayne Dequer

    We sometimes mistake arrogance and audacity for courage. Marital love is truly fulfilling because it ideally grows to include charity (the pure love of Jesus Christ – see 1 Corinthians 13) as well as the love of friendship and sexual love (See 1 Corinthians 13). Unfortunately not all marriages develop all 3 loves (Greek – agape, philia and eros). The audacity born of arrogance present in extra marital affairs tends to inhibit the full maturing of all 3 loves and intended by God.

  • Jesse

    Here’s something to think about:
    Same-sex marriage is allowed in 6 states, while sex with a horse is allowed in 27 & while both are listed as acts of indiscretion, the bible is against the idea of bestiality, “kill the beast & the man” more than it is seemingly toward homosexuality. Weird, huh? To think that MARRIAGE, the true form of boundless love is rationed by the government in such a way, while religious sects spend their time trying to condemn people who are in LOVE as well as opposed to going out & trying to help those hundreds of horses in those 27 states!
    Come David! Get Nancy & your whole family on this chizz dude & give Gaga a break now. Just run that idea by her the next time you guys are “shaking the sack” ;D lol
    (Can Christians do that? Or is it a high five nowadays?)

    • Sharon

      @ Jesse:
      Leviticus 18:22-28
      22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
      23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion.
      24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:
      25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.
      26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you:
      27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;)
      28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.

      I think God speaks pretty definitively on homosexual relations. BTW, God in Leviticus 18 also lists a bunch of other sexual no-no’s in the preceding verses.

  • Timothy (TRiG)

    Yeah, yeah. You’re want your parochial beliefs encoded in civil law, think I’m less than fully human and should have full equality. I get that.

    But do you really have to keep going on about it?


  • Andy

    Another day, another David French post about gay people. But please remember, there’s no obsession. No, sir. It just keeps coming up again and again and again just because.

    Dave, I had the displeasure of knowing you. As it happens, I also know many gay people. They, or at least the ones living in hostile circumstances, show more bravery and courage in a day than you have shown in your indulgent life. They live in a battlefield. Not as a paper-pusher, as you did for a little while, but as real combatants. And they don’t write a self-congratulatory book about it either. On top of everything else they deal with, they also must contend with little men like yourself who feel the need to opine on their lives. In the past week, a Christian church was bombed in Nigeria and the Christian populace in Syria is facing an uncertain future, but David French, keyboard at the ready, is there to weigh in on homosexuality for the umpteenth time. Even if everything you had to say about gay people were true, your priorities would be warped and would mark you as a pathetic, petty man.

    I wish you would take a look at yourself. You think you are developing this persona in the evangelical world. You think you are young-ish, culturally attuned evangelical who will tell all the Millennials how to think, because you have seen and thought through it all. Your schtick is obvious and your persona repulsive. Please just stop.