Freedom: They Keep Using That Word…

Freedom: They Keep Using That Word… December 15, 2012

Some guy named Trevin Wax, part of something called the Gospel Coalition, offers an amusingly idiotic article entitled Sexual Freedom Always Curtails Other Freedoms. And he offers a rather bizarre definition of freedom while simultaneously confusing cause and effect. But let’s start here:

The dominant assumption is that religious people shouldn’t voice their opinions. Government should stay out of the bedroom. People ought to be free to engage in sexual relations with whomever they want whenever they want, as long as it’s not considered harmful to anyone. Even Christians who believe certain sexual activities (adultery, sex before marriage, homosexuality) to be morally wrong often grant the assumption that people ought to be free in their sexual decisions.

First of all, what is that first sentence doing in there? It has nothing to do with the other things he’s talking about. I agree that the government should stay out of the bedroom and that people ought to be free to engage in sexual relations with whomever they want whenever they want as long as it’s not harming anyone. That does not mean I think religious people shouldn’t voice their opinions. I just think their opinions ought to be better informed by reason. Unfortunately, Wax doesn’t seem to be very good at that kind of thing:

But there is no such thing as absolute freedom when it comes to sexuality. The moment we celebrate or endorse certain behaviors, we curtail freedom in other areas. This is the nature of freedom.

Male Friendships

Here is an example.

  • 100 years ago, men were known to be openly affectionate with one another.
  • Men like Teddy Roosevelt wrote letters to other men that expressed great love and tenderness, to the point it makes modern day readers feel uncomfortable.
  • Men took pictures of themselves holding hands and demonstrating physical affection.
  • Abraham Lincoln was open about sharing a bed with Joshua Speed. Though some revisionists have sought to refashion this friendship a homosexual relationship, Lincoln biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin is most certainly right: the fact Lincoln spoke so openly about Speed is a clear sign that his male friendships were just that, friendships.

Today, there is little freedom for men to be physically affectionate toward one another. Writing an affectionate email might be seen as “girly” or “unmanly,” although it’s hard to imagine Teddy Roosevelt as a wimp.

Uh, no. Writing an affectionate email or hugging another man might be seen as girly or unmanly, but it isn’t because we’ve stopped putting gay people in jail. In fact, it seems rather obvious to me that the people who are likely to see that as girly or unmanly are precisely people who think like Wax does, who think that being girly or unmanly is a bad thing because it makes them think that person might be gay. For those who don’t think there’s anything wrong with being gay, it’s completely irrelevant.

And what the hell does that have to do with freedom? Absolutely nothing. He keeps using that word; I do not think it means what he thinks it means.


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