Americans continue to pay a terrible, terrible toll for one of the longest (and most ill-conceived) wars in our nation’s history.
In this war, the casualty count keeps rising, day by day, year after year. Hundreds of millions have been engulfed by it, and whole generations have been forever changed by their experiences with it. It has compromised us in the eyes of the world, and – worse – compromised our own intrinsic understanding of who we are as individuals, and as a nation.
The war I have in mind is the so-called “Sexual Revolution.” And on every scale that ultimately matters, it is a complete and utter failure. Like the famous revolutions in France, Russia, and Cuba – all of which promised one thing yet delivered another – this revolt has turned out to be no more than a means for ushering in an even more murderous, corrupt, and invincible regime.
The would-be-overthrow of the once cherished mores of Western civilization has only brought us 50 years of licensed depravity, and with it social decline, spiritual disarray, and political and legal confusion.
What’s more, our Sexual Revolution has provoked a massive identity crisis.
Consider: for decades, Hollywood has been working with the Hugh Hefners and Helen Gurley Browns to persuade us that the highest purpose and pleasure of life is sexual experience – the more varied and insatiable, the better. Living together is better than being married; “hooking up” is preferable to living together; orgies are better than one-night stands.
Anything that stands in the way of unrestrained sexual stimulation and activity is dissatisfying… and therefore evil, old-fashioned, phony, hypocritical, tyrannical – unbearable. So we have unisex bathrooms and dormitories, “family hour” television programs devoted to jokes about human genitalia, newsstands stacked with magazines whose covers present women uncovered for general leering and ogling.
We can’t get enough of it. We want the oldest actors in movies telling the raunchiest jokes. We want our children taking sex-ed in kindergarten, if not before. We want our teens to know intercourse is fine at any age as long as they’re “responsible.” Life is about sex, and if you’re not having it, thinking about it, planning for it, or enjoying it vicariously, you’re not really alive.
That is the message of the culture. But the message of our courts is something else.
In our courtrooms, the culmination of a half-century of hedonism is that sex doesn’t matter at all. Indeed, it doesn’t exist. Gender is irrelevant, a social constraint extrapolated from an increasingly adjustable physical reality. If, say, a man wants to dress like woman, be treated like a woman, have access to the women’s bathroom, the appropriate legal response these days is not compassionate psychological treatment or spiritual care for his soul, but a mass transformation of all laws and restrictions that might inhibit his sad delusion. In bathrooms and barracks, locker rooms and work places, gender and sexual behavior don’t matter at all, to hear the lawyers tell it.
And now, in halls of justice coast to coast, judges and attorneys are working diligently to eradicate the gender components from marriage and parenthood. Marriage, they tell us, is about sex and insurance benefits, not providing children with both a mom and a dad. Parenthood is about soothing some people’s needs to have a little boy or girl of their own … not what’s morally and emotionally best for the child. (Children are being treated as commodities or accessories in this modern formulation of “family.”)
Add all that up, and the long, long Revolution comes to this: sex is the ultimate objective of everything … but it means nothing. The one thing our society tells us we are supposed to want most is the one thing our judges and politicians insist we should disregard as unimportant. Sexual fulfillment is everything; sexual identification is irrelevant.
The casualty list for all that confusion is staggering: dramatically increased rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion, pornography, crime, disease, and mental illness. Education has deteriorated, entertainment has gone puerile, moral standards have evaporated, and personal and professional ethics have slid sharply. Not only have we lost millions of lives, but the quality of life itself is profoundly lessened for our nation in a world where we’ve given up striving toward moral betterment with the understanding that we are the unique creations of a loving God.
Ultimately, it’s not a Culture War we’re engaged in. It’s a civil war. And we’re fighting it in our own souls, against our own better judgment, at the loss of our freedom, our peace, and the eternal truth lost man so desperately denies.
Alan Sears, a former federal prosecutor in the Reagan Administration, is president and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal alliance employing a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.