One of the rallying cries of, particularly, political Conservatives is that the legitimization of the homosexual lifestyle and the legalization of gay marriages ultimately leads to the downfall of a nation. Or, in the words of Pat Buchanan,
If this country accepts the idea that homosexual liaisons are the same as traditional marriage, which is a God-ordained building block of society, this country is on the road to hell in a handbasket.
Some conservatives, and I for the life of me couldn’t find any online articles to link to, although I am sure you’ve heard the argument, will even claim that it was the acceptance of sexual deviance that lead to the downfall of prominent countries and cities all the way back to the time of Sodom and Gomorrah.
I take issue with this mentality because I don’t think God destroys nations over one issue. Unlike many Americans, God is not a single-issue voter. When He is deciding the fate of the nations, I believe, He takes more things into consideration than just whether or not they are pro-traditional family. But I take issue, also, from a more humanly perspective. My theory is that it is not the acceptance homosexuality that leads to the decline of nations, or even institutions, but rather that it is out-of-control inclusiveness.
Before I go any further, let me state that I am not opposed to being inclusive. In, particularly, the globalizing society that we live in, we, inevitably, are required to be more accepting of those who are different or “not like us” if we are to be, especially, economically competitive. We have to learn new languages and understand different cultures if we are to trade in the ever-expanding global marketplace. For good or ill, globalization is here to stay. And even though it will ultimately be a tool of the Antichrist, we must at least have a working knowledge of the concept.
That being said, the issue is not inclusiveness in general but rather radical inclusiveness. If you look at all great nations at their founding, you will note that the people who planted a city or established rule in a territory had common goals and shared values. Our own founding fathers had shared core values that were influenced by Christianity and the Enlightenment.
To say that the founders were not influenced by their religion is to be ignorant of the culture these men were raised in and of the culture they brought with them. Where they came from was a nation controlled by state-sponsored religion; a theocracy of sorts. When many of the people came across the ocean to plant new cities, they wanted to be free from the oppressive hand of a religious influence they were uncomfortable with. Christian or not, religion was a big player in the founding of America.
As time progresses, though, and as nations rise, those shared values become harder to nail down. As new and different people are brought into the walls of a growing nation, the leadership and established citizens of the nation are forced to become more open and tolerant of the ways in which the new citizens live. New music, new beliefs, different colors all begin to mix. And where a nation once had a majority who held to common values and goals, this majority shrinks and more voices begin to express their wishes and dreams and values and those new wishes and dreams and values become more influential on the decisions made by those in power.
As these new and different ways of doing things become more widely accepted, having common values becomes harder and harder to do. Some may want interracial marriage legalized and others may want it criminalized. Some may want to be free from the rule of outside powers, others may want to remain a part of the motherland. As people debate, unrest follows. The leadership is forced to make a decision that may or may not be popularly accepted.
As more and more views are given a voice, it becomes harder and harder to make stances as a nation because no longer does the decision of those in power necessarily represent the will of the majority. The recent healthcare debacle is a case in point.
The acceptance of things like homosexuality or sexual sin is not the cause for national downfall, but rather merely one example of growing national inclusiveness. It becomes harder and harder to make national claims for or against something when a significant (or even insignificant yet vehemently vocal) segment of your population is in stark disagreement with the rest of the population. And in a country where votes can mean the end of your career, the temptation to become radically inclusive becomes harder to resist.
Eventually, the leaders can no longer make true stances for or against something in representation of their nation because, to make, particularly, moral claims puts you at odds with your constituency at some level. And when a president does make a stance, unrest usually follows. Again, think healthcare.
Nations collapse when the unrest can no longer be stopped by merely catering to a particular segment of the population. When there are no shared values and no shared vision for a nation exists, a country can no longer move forward and will eventually collapse from within. I don’t know a lot of history, but, unless I am way off base, I would argue that a similar scenario can be found in all nations that collapsed for reasons other than being sacked out of the blue.
On a smaller scale, I believe that the same happens with institutions. If you look at what is happening within the Christian religion, you see examples of this all across the board. Mainline denominations are in decline not because they accept gays, but rather because they have, in a general sense, rendered themselves incapable of making doctrinal or moral claims. Individual churches may be able to, and many do, but at a national level, it is nearly impossible as these denominations have become, in a general sense, radically inclusive. The Emerging Church is another example. One of the reasons the movement was a flash in the pan is because they were unable to say, “This we believe.” Many “Emergents” (I know the terms are not interchangeable, but for the sake of argument I am using them as such) spent so much time deconstructing the faith that they alienated the very people they were trying to reach. They even alienated their own. A third example is the Catholic church. Especially under John Paul II, open arms were extended to anyone and everyone. Little was done to protect the members from predators, and now the church is in turmoil over clergy sexual abuse. But no significant claims can be made regarding the morality of the actions as there has been too much silencing and brushing under the rug of the issue. The church has no moral ground to stand on.
So, I conclude, that nations and institutions don’t fall because they accept homosexuality. In fact, homosexuality has absolutely nothing to do with it. What destroys a nation is becoming too big and too inclusive. As the us/them bleed together, which is not in itself a bad thing, it becomes harder and harder to say something is right or wrong. It becomes harder and harder to draft a unified vision and direction for the people to go, and, as the Scriptures state, “Without good direction, people lose their way.”