Lourdes Torres-Manteufel was 15 when she met Doug Phillips, leader of Vision Forum, back in 1999. On her account, she was an adult when the relationship became sexual. The whole tangled affair is now in the courts, and it looks to become even more tangled and tawdry before we are all done.
My point in writing about this again is not to discuss any of the sensational or lurid details, which are really bad on anyone’s account, but rather to point to some of the larger realities that are perhaps going to be missed in the midst of the recriminations.
In the meantime, I pray that this thing gets settled out of court. I hope that Doug Phillips never even thinks about getting into ministry again. And it is also my prayer and hope that if the whole thing is dropped, that Torres-Manteufel, recently married, will get a running shot at a blessed and normal life.
As an aside, this is not the first time that I have been astonished by the willingness of Christian “worldview teachers” to resort to the unbelieving civil courts. If the stakes are large enough, the thinking goes, then surely it is not realistic to do what Paul said, allowing yourself to be defrauded rather than humiliate the church in the eyes of the unbelievers. In this instance, the sexual sin committed was humiliating enough — but at least the decencies of hypocrisy were observed. Now, with brazen threats of suits, Doug Phillips is disobeying the Word in a flagrant way (1 Cor. 6:1-8), and all to avoid paying consequences that he brought down on his own head. The Pauline injunction does apply to Torres-Manteufel also, but Phillips is the one was a teacher for many years, and who professed to understand this principle, and who should be willing to pay every dime he has to prevent this from becoming a greater laughingstock than it already has. Teachers incur a stricter judgment (Jas. 3:1), and our current problem should be more with what Phillips is doing right this minute, out in the open, and not what he did earlier behind closed doors.
I just recently finished reading Not Cool by Greg Gutfeld. It is a book filled with astounding insights and unnecessary crassness, and all from someone who describes himself as a “troubled agnostic.”
Gutfeld sees, as few other people do, that our politics is a matter of preening, and that the whole country is a maladministered high school, one in which the cool bullies have seized all practical control. The subtitle “The Hipster Elite and Their War on You” says it all, and it is not really overstated. I wish more of our preachers could see the problem that afflicts us as Gutfeld sees it, while continuing to see what Gutfeld does not yet see. The only way out of this morass is the gospel of grace.
I thought of having this be my book-of-the-month next go round, but then I would have dump in so many disclaimers as to make the whole thing a grand exercise in pushing and pulling. So I thought I would write on just one aspect of Gutfeld’s book. He describes himself as libertarian, but I think he is more of a contrarian than anything. He leans against conservative groupthink when he is around them, and against libertarian groupthink when around them. For example, his chapter on the military was much more positive than a thoroughbred libertarian would write.
The aspect of Gutfeld’s jeremiad that I wanted to address was his chapter on homosexual marriage. He is a libertarian, so he is for it. But the chapter largely revolved around his complaints against straights who come out for same sex mirage as a way of increasing their cool quotient. He also remonstrates with all the activists who want to tag opponents of same sex mirage with “hate thoughts” — Gutfeld seeks to be reasonable there as well. Give everybody a minute, he argues. This has been a huge shift, one that has occurred in the course of just one generation, and so why are you hectoring everybody who wants to think about it for a moment? So this was a defense of opponents of same sex mirage by a proponent of it.
Looking over the comments below Gaywalkers, Gaytards, and the Gaystapo, I can see that it is time for a refresher course in why we talk here the way we do. To write the same thing for me is not grievous, and for you it is safe (Phil. 3:1). But, alongside the refresher course, a hearty well-done for those of you who clearly do get it.
First, we must recognize the utter lack of proportion that this kind of thing represents. The strategy of pc-correctness is calculated to silence any form of effective opposition to their despotic agenda, and it does this by inverting the proportions. So what we see is an ever-expanding circle of taking offense at trifles, coupled with an ever-increasing pile of “acceptable” outrages. It is demanded that we never use any language that might, under some circumstances, considered in the right light, hurt a fly, while at the same time insisting that the savage butchering of millions of children be considered a women’s health issue. We have a professional class of feminist offendees agonizing over “micro-aggressions” against women, for example, while simultaneously demanding their right to continue unabated their macro-aggressions against the unborn. We demand groveling apologies from the fellows who fail to strain out a gnat, and give Medals of Freedom to those public-spirited figures who managed to choke down the camel. We are a generation that, in the words of Dabney, are simultaneously sentimental and inhumane. The only way we react with moral outrage anymore is if someone insults our bizarre and disjointed sentimentalist taboos.
I want to point out two things related to our society’s “evolution” on same sex mirage. The first is that — how shall I put it — the whole thing is being conducted with a certain measure of chutzpah, brass, gall, audacity, arrogance, presumptuousness, cheek, crust, effrontery, insoucience, nutmeg, and bay leaves.
The second is that this spindly tower of temerity is being held up, or so they maintain, with the flying buttresses of evolutionary inevitability. When it comes to historical inevitability, these guys are as dogmatic as Hegel on one of his grouchy mornings.
This is what they do. Remember that when Obama changed his mind (he didn’t really, but work with me), he didn’t say he changed his mind. He evolved. That’s just another word for changing your mind, isn’t it? No, it is not. Quite different, at least in the current system. When you change your mind, the next morning your friends might come over and explain that painting your bass fishing boat pink was less of a good idea than was thought earlier, and more like the beer talking. You then say something like “oh,” and change your mind back again. Changing your mind is something people do, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad. “Evolving” is something that history does — at least if you are a soft commie, which all of these people are.
Let us begin, shall we, with some basic distinctions.
The first has to do with the basic sin issue, with politics not involved. When I was in the Navy, and had evangelistic discussions with whoring drunks, sin was always the issue. I was presenting the gospel to them, and the necessary response to the gospel message is “repent and believe.” I would talk with men who were ashamed of their sin, and also to men who were belligerent about it. I would confront them with their tomcatting ways, and they would confront me for being such a Jesus freak. But, to everyone’s credit, after we would have what the diplomats call a frank exchange of views, nobody ran off to tattle.
Those who are tempted with same sex attractions — both those who are ashamed of it and try to resist it and those who are given over to it — are gaywalkers. God built the road, and it is straight road, and he told us to cross at the intersection. Refusing to do so, or wavering on the point, is a sin issue, not a political issue. Let’s talk about it. As we address this kind of thing, the faithful Christian is dealing with the homosexual on exactly the terms as he deals with adulterers, gamblers, liars, drunks, and so on. Sin is sin, and Jesus is the only way out of that death trap. So let’s talk about it.
Andrew Sullivan should receive real credit for saying, as he did, that if the treatment of Brendan Eich is what the gay rights movement is all about, then he, Sullivan, wanted to be dealt out. Eich is the Mozilla CEO who was forced to resign because he donated money a few years ago in defense of heterosexual marriage, which is to say, marriage. In a tweet the other day, Andrew said, “The hounding and firing of @BrendanEich disgusts me – as it should anyone interested in a tolerant & diverse society.”
For those who are opposed to this sort of business, they will have many opportunities to register their dissent. There will be a steady stream of them. As I put it the other day, in this Tolerance Parade, the elephants just keep on coming — ow.ly/vprzA
This stand means that Andrew is not a hypocrite, and I am glad for it. When I debated him a while ago, he said that he would be opposed to some of the things that we opponents of same sex mirage were predicting would come from all this. And good to his word, this incident shows that he meant what he said. He is no hypocrite. If Andrew comes to read this, an honest well done from me.
A number of times I have sought to reinforce the biblical principle that you become like what you worship. This is an inexorable law; there are no opt outs. The passage I have cited most often in this regard is where the psalmist says that those who make idols are “like unto them” (Ps. 115:8) — blind, deaf and dumb.
But there are other aspects to this, and that would include the shamefulness of shamelessness.
“Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved” (Hosea 9:10, ESV).
The sexual disintegration of America over the last generation is a direct function of idolatry. It is no isolated sin. This is not something that happened all by itself. No, we have our very own Baal-peor, and our rulers are busy dedicating themselves to it. Social conservatives have set themselves the impossible task of fighting the effects of all this without dealing with the cause of it. Our Baal-peor, in case you were wondering, is secularism.
After two days wind-surfing the zeitgeist, World Vision went ploosh in the water. They had announced a couple of days ago that they were reversing their policy and would now hire people who were tangled up in same-sex mirages, and that they were not doing this in response to any pressure. Not a bit of it. But this did not mean that they were incapable of responding to pressure. To prove this latter point, they promptly reversed their reversal when the bottom fell out of the bucket of their financial support. They are absolutely committed to biblical values . . . so long as the money keeps coming.
Like a whore who takes money for not doing anything, and calling it purity.