Russell and Duenes

Public School and the Nature of Things

with 10 comments

In a recent post I suggested that any discussion of gay “marriage” ought to begin with questions about the nature and purpose of being human and the nature and purpose of human sexuality. Of course, to suggest these kinds of questions today is to be an outlier, to put it mildly, even in Christian circles. But why?

Peter Kreeft puts it well in a recent essay in Touchstone Magazine (Clashing Symbols: The Loss of Aristotelian Logic and the Social, Moral and Sexual Consequences), wherein he concludes:

By far the most radically changed area of morality in both belief and practice is sex. We routinely speak of “the sexual revolution.” We do not use that word for any other aspect of ethical change. For today, most people find the traditional language about “unnatural acts” not only politically incorrect and offensive, but literally incomprehensible. This is because they no longer accept the legitimacy of the very question of the “nature” of a human act . . . Who today still debates issues like homosexuality, contraception, masturbation, divorce, adultery, or even incest, pedophelia, and bestiality, in terms of the “nature” of sexuality, the “nature” of femininity and masculinity, and the “nature” of marriage? Traditional Roman Catholics. No one else.

Kreeft is largely correct (though I am a particular non-Roman Catholic who attempts to debate these issues in such terms). Yet how does this relate to public school education? Here’s how.

Do you imagine that “the nature of homosexuality, masturbation, contraception, divorce, adultery, etc” has even a remote possibility of being broached in the public schools? Do you think your son will sit in a classroom where the “nature of femininity and masculinity” will be the topic? Do you think your daughter at the public school will engage her social studies class in a discussion about the “nature and purpose of marriage?” These things are hardly, if ever, discussed in Christian schools. How in the world would they ever be discussed in public schools?

Will they be discussed in the church youth group, or really, in any other venue in typical evangelical church ministry, do you suppose? Based on the students I had at my own Christian school, my hunch is no. Further, do you think that most Christian parents, even conscientious ones, can make up for this lack by teaching their children to think and engage in such terms, when everything in their public school education ignores it? Some may, but my suspicion is that most won’t. I suspect it’s not dinner table fare, and once the soccer games and the piano lessons and the social life kick in, when might serious attention to these questions happen? The tide mitigating against it, coming from the public school priorities and their wrongful framing of all issues, will prove too strong. Our children will fail even to know that they are being trained to NOT think that there is a “nature and purpose” to such things. He or she will largely come to think of issues from the godless starting points and frames of reference which the public school education is inculcating in him or her.

No doubt the gospel can go forward without many Christians being able to articulate the nature and purpose of the things God has designed and created, but I submit that our souls are impoverished in the process, and we forsake a very important way of loving our neighbor. For we allow our faith to become largely ghetto-ized and privatized, which may cause our neighbor to think Jesus irrelevant and narrow. Further, I think our children will ultimately find the command to love God with all of our minds a more daunting task.



Written by Michael Duenes

November 16, 2012 at 5:07 am

10 Responses

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  1. It’s easy for society to not look too deeply at the purpose of marriage/sexuality/etc. because Christians themselves don’t do a good job at addressing these issues. Christians need to go deeper than just telling people
    ” homosexuality is a sin ” or ” marriage is between a man and woman. ” Most Christians can’t even explain the truth to these claims. They will simply declare oh because the Bible says so and as a result non-Christians are just as lost as ever. Christians need to educate themselves! They need to understand what causes homosexuality and stop only targeting that specific sin. It’s a bad example when Christians put so much effort into stopping gay marriage that they don’t care to understand gay people in the first place. It’s also a bad example when Christians act like pre-marital sex is a more “natural, acceptable sin.” We need to stop calling homosexuality so “unnatural” when we have our own sin to worry about. ALL SIN IS “UNNATURAL” IN GOD’S EYES BECAUSE IT’S NOT IN HIS PLAN. That’s why I think the world gets so offended when Christians call homosexuality “an unnatural abomination.” This is VERY HYPOCRITICAL because all sin is “an unnatural abomination.” Homosexuality shouldn’t be singled out.


    November 16, 2012 at 9:53 am

    • M – Your points are well-taken, and some of them I’ve addressed in my post. I agree 100% that Christians have not done a good job of this. That was the point of my post. They’ve not done a good job of it because they have not by trained, by the church or by their education, to engage in discussion of it.

      However, you are incorrect to say that Christians just single out “homosexuality.” That’s just not true. I’ve been in Christian circles a lot longer, and a lot more broadly than you, and I can tell you that, not only is homosexuality NOT singled out, but it is rarely discussed. Heterosexual immorality is FAR more often discussed and criticized in the Christians church. I criticized it plenty in my classes, but most of my students were daydreaming or something.

      There is no one, particular “cause” for homosexuality. Human sexuality is complex and mysterious. But we certainly are correct to begin with the Bible. You seem to want to minimize it. The Bible is what God says, and if He says it clearly, as He does with all manner of sexual immorality, not just homosexuality, then we don’t need to always have all sorts of complex arguments about “causes.” We don’t need to understand the cause of thievery to call it sin.

      Christians who act or imply that pre-marital sexual sin amongst heterosexuals is somehow better to God than homosexual sin are simply wrong. Neither is better. Both need healing and repentance.


      russell and duenes

      November 16, 2012 at 10:29 am

      • It’s difficult to be celibate your whole life regardless of your sexual orientation. I’m not saying homosexuality isn’t a sin. I’m saying it’s easy to be straight, get married, and have a family and not consider that 10 million other Americans don’t have these same privileges. I really don’t understand the conservative argument that oh a gay man could just marry a girl. It’s not that simple! If you can’t marry a man because you aren’t attracted to men, what makes you think a gay man could marry a woman when he’s not attracted to women? It’s the same exact thing. Also, some things most Christians don’t know is that your sexual orientation isn’t a choice and a gay sexual orientation often comes about from unpleasant experiences: sexual abuse from an older male, the lack of a father figure, being rejected by society’s definition of masculinity…etc. Most Christians don’t know how brutally psychological homosexuality is! The point of Christians learning about these causes is to be able to help homosexuals. We need to target the deep emotional pain these individuals have. Merely telling them what their doing is wrong doesn’t cut it. As Christians, we need to address the deep psychological issues at the forefront. I really believe the world’s homosexuality could be fixed if Christians looked at this issue more with addressing these problems than only preaching that homosexuality is a sin and then not going a step further.


        November 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      • Manny, I don’t know whose arguments your replying to, but their not mine. It’d be nice if you conversed with ME, and not some “Christian conservative” bogeyman out there in the ether somewhere.


        russell and duenes

        November 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

      • Also Manny, you tar with a broad brush, and frankly, you don’t know what you’re talking about. There are many, many Christian ministries devoted to addressing the very issues you raise. Have you taken the time to ask any pastors about them? Have you asked me about them? Mr. Russell? Mr. Hearne? Of do you just want to rant on my page here? I take all of your points, and they address nothing that I’ve said. But, it may interest you to know that I that I actually went to conference once on sexual wholeness, and I recommend to you this ministry:

        Will they make everything “perfect?” No, that doesn’t exist in this world. And there will be sexual pain for everyone, gay or straight. I speak from experience.


        russell and duenes

        November 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

  2. With my experience with the many gay friends I have,(some Christian and some non-Christian) I think homosexuality is sociological construct. It’s possible that genes could have to do with some cases of homosexuality, but I would say over 90 percent of the time it’s environmental factors like the ones I’ve mentioned. It’s my job to educate Christians in understanding these psychological issues better!


    November 16, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    • Likely, Manny, I understand them very well. I’ve been around the block a time or two. There are plenty of Christians who also understand them. But if you insist on finding “Christians” who don’t, you’re sure to find them.


      russell and duenes

      November 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm

  3. I also disagree at least in regard to “Christian youth.” Homosexuality isn’t always directly mentioned among Christian youth, but it’s INDIRECTLY mentioned constantly. Young Christians make fun of the gays; they don’t make fun of fornicators or porn addicts. It’s a lot easier to say you struggle with porn or had sex with your girlfriend among young Christians than it is to come out of the closet or admit homosexual acts. Gay jokes, ” that’s so gay, ” fag being said constantly…. I’ve seen more mention of these things than anything related to heterosexual sin. This might not be as present among an older generation of Christians, but the new generation of Christians is going to determine the future of Christianity.


    November 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    • Let me be frank with you, Manny. I don’t know anyone’s spiritual destiny for sure, but one thing I can say with confidence: A lot of the guys at Redwood who said and did ungodly and unjust things were likely not Christians, but were instead acting on the power of Satan. Don’t equate the student body at Redwood with Christians. I’m not saying there aren’t any at Redwood, but I’m under no illusions. Many of the guys at Redwood were unspiritual, devoted to the god of self, devoid of the Spirit. They acted as they did, toward you and others, because their father is the devil. That may sound harsh, but in my view, it wasn’t said enough. Those who showed every evidence of being sons of hell were too often spoken of as if they were obedient children of God.


      russell and duenes

      November 16, 2012 at 5:57 pm

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