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Against Obsessive Sexuality

For the March issue of First Things, I wrote an essay called “Against Heterosexuality.” In brief, my argument was that the concept of sexual orientation is not historically inevitable, not empirically accurate, and not morally useful. The heterosexual-homosexual dichotomy is counterproductive to encouraging the virtue of chastity, so we Christians should do our best to eliminate “gay” and “straight”—especially “straight,” actually—from the way we think and talk about sex, always with prudence directing us as to the particulars. Continue Reading »

Why Gay Rights Are Not The New Civil Rights

Supporters of same-sex marriage love to make analogies to the African American Civil Rights Movement. Analogies are rhetorical devices that require careful scrutiny. While I do not find the attempt to connect bans on gay marriage to miscegenation laws persuasive, nevertheless there is nothing inherently wrong in trying to find parallels between these two social movements. In that spirit, let me offer my own reflections on what we can learn by comparing them. Continue Reading »

The Uses of Clerical Scandal

When the Pope visited the United States last fall, the media indulged in a predictably frenzied examination of the general state of “crisis” in the American Catholic Church. Oddly, though, few reporters devoted space to what only a few years previously would have been described as the . . . . Continue Reading »

Man and Woman: An Old Story

Man and woman. What are they, and why—each alone and both together? How are they alike and how different? How much is difference due to nature, how much to culture? What difference does—and should—the difference make? What do men want of women or women of men? What should they want? Do they . . . . Continue Reading »

The Constitution and the Erotic Self

The history books tell us that Gavrilo Princip, the Serbian nationalist who shot and killed Austrian Archduke Francis Ferdinand in 1914 at Sarajevo, started World War I by providing the occasion, or excuse, for the release of long-smoldering political tensions and ambitions. Thus can small trickles . . . . Continue Reading »

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