The Love Child of Baghdad Bob and Tokyo Rose

In The Ballad of the White Horse, Chesterton has a great line about the men who will come to threaten the West in the future, men who work “by detail of the sinning, and denial of the sin.” As Chesterton put it in another context, to be wrong, and to be carefully wrong, is the mark of decadence.

In my post yesterday, I made a play on words on a rap artist who wants to be a bad ass, and a catamite who wants an ass that is bad. This was objectionable to a few commenters, and opaque elsewhere, and so here I am, following up.

If the culture wars were a tennis game, the besetting sin of Christians in the game is that of not keeping their eye on the ball. What is at stake, what are they trying to do, and what are we trying to do?

When we engage on the subject of homosexual relations, and we say something clear and pointed, they always want us to back down, to unsay it, to qualify it. The demand for apologies is routinely used as a weapon of choice. Those on the other side want us to withdraw the substance of the whole thing, and then, because we are suitably abashed, sign ourselves up for the next available session in their tolerance camps.

Fellow Christians, who do not yet understand the game that is being played on us, want us to retract what we said for the way that we said it. We are hurting the cause. We are making heterosexuality look mean-spirited. They say this because they are tender-hearted and believe the protestations of outrage from the other side, which, in my mind, is like believing editorials written by the love child of Baghdad Bob and Tokyo Rose.

The Christians who do this are divided into two groups. One group is conscientious about following Christ, but confused about what He requires of us in His rules of engagement. The other group, usually the really indignant one, is the group that was busy paving the way for future compromises, busy helping (unwittingly) to throw magic powder on the fire, and your recent ribald comment smells like burnt marshwiggle.

The only place where I would take issue with Thabiti’s valiant response to the barrage he went through is in a related area. I know that I am Monday morning quarterbacking here, but this same point came up in my exchange with Thabiti a few months ago, and I think it bears mentioning again. In his second piece, he apologized (unnecessarily, in my view) for the way he had used the phrase “gag reflex.”

“But I do see how such a loosely defined and provocative term can be hurtful—not only to my cause, but more importantly to people. For writing in this way, I offer my sincerest apology to every reader, not just those hurt.”

Now I also want to say that the mere existence of controversy is no ground for refusing to seek forgiveness, whenever forgiveness must be sought. But the necessity of doing so must be governed by what the Bible defines as an offense, and Thabiti was guilty of no biblical offense in his first post. He was just being the man, and people didn’t like it very much. They never do. In contemporary discourse, there are few things as offensive as that.

His apology was principled, just like his first post was principled, but in the case of the apology, it just happens that I differ with the principle. But given that disagreement, what difference did it make to those advancing the cause of sodomy? None at all. They will throw whatever rocks they have available, whether it is “that man refuses to apologize, the desperado!” or it is “even he acknowledged that he went too far . . .” That is how Jonathan Merritt played it.

Now, to my line in my post. I made a play on words — not a joke — and I did it to draw attention to what we are actually talking about. Chesterton says somewhere (this is my Chesterton morning) that when we are comparing a blunt or vulgar word with a polite euphemism, the blunt word is the one that carries the moral assessment with it. That is why people in these circumstances don’t like them. They want parades in favor of “committed relationships,” and not parades celebrating anal intercourse. But that is what this is about. Right?

We want the euphemism, not because we are too delicate to hear, but because we are too cowardly to fight.

Thus it is, in our day, we can have numerous Christian men developing a swish in their walk, along with a metrosexual limp-wristedness, and coy ironies suffused throughout their lisping words, and everyone is okay with the drift. If you object to the development, you are a Pharisee, and who wants to be a Pharisee? So there we all are, lazily circling the drain. But if, looking at all this, somebody else in the Christian world comes along and says something like poofter, the moral universe suddenly rights itself, absolute moral standards come suddenly into focus, the Bible becomes the black letter Word of God, and such things must not even be named among you (Eph. 5:3). All of sudden, moral clarity, like a flashbulb went off, rebuking and blinding the legalist, and then we are all back in the dark again, trying to cop a feel.

Do not use the Pauline injunction to keep people from saying “cop a feel,” while maintaining those dimly lit conditions in the church that enable us to actually cop one.

First, to do so is the strain the gnat and swallow the camel. Second, that is not what Paul meant. Paul named that kind of sin, and the prophets did also. We need to define propriety by the Bible, cover to cover. We do not define propriety by what the laugh tracks of gay-friendly sitcoms have catechized and conditioned us to scorn.

And third, this is worldview sumo-wrestling. You are either pushing them in a direction they do not want to go, or they are pushing you. If they are pushing you in a direction you do not want to go, you cannot fix that problem by changing your mind, and finding a verse that make it okay to lose.

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Jason
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“Do not use the Pauline injunction to keep people from saying “cop a feel,” while maintaining those dimly lit conditions in the church that enable us to actually cop one.”

This sentence gets an “A” from me.

RFB
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RFB

“Smells like burnt marshwiggle” sounds like a riff put together by C.S. Lewis and Phil Keaggy. And this is one for the quote list: “We want the euphemism, not because we are too delicate to hear, but because we are too cowardly to fight.”

Doug Shuffield
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Doug Shuffield

I love reading this blog! The flashbulb of moral clarity is a wonderful thing to behold!

– Doug

DanielBlowes
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DanielBlowes

No one’s going to hell for homosexuality: the’re going o hell for their Sin nature. ( of which homosexuality is just one of the myriad ways this nature expresses itself) None of us earned or discovered our salvation; He chose us to SPEND the mercy He lavished on us, on others.. THAT’S what it means to love your neighbour as yourself, to desire their salvation as you desire your own. Mercy is the currency (see all the monetary examples in Christ’s parables) of the Kingdom. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to deal with sins ONCE a person… Read more »

Ken
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Ken

Poofter……had to google that one. Glad I did.

RFB
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RFB

I would assume that you mean the work of the Holy spirit in a manner like this: “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Mark H.
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Mark H.

Doug – I’m surprised at the stilted construction of your controversial phrase. I would have put it: a rap artist who wants to be a badass, and a catamite who simply wants a bad ass.

Doane
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Doane

Doug,

if you were Led Zeppelin, this would be your “Black Dog”.

Moses Bratrud
Guest

Tying this (long) post back to the (brief) remark that occasioned it, it is my understanding that the word “catamite” referred to a specific and exploitative man/boy sexual relationship, and the homosexual counterpart to Mohammed’s “marriage” to six-year-old Aisha. It was violently exploitative in that the catamite was frequently a very, very unwilling partner–not a homosexual sinner so much as a poor, scared boy. That is certainly how it works today, in tribal Afghanistan where it is still practiced. Perhaps in earlier ages it was less exploitative and better fodder for, ahem, wordplay. Pastor Wilson makes the excellent point in… Read more »

Ray Nearhood
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Ray Nearhood

Moses,
When I queried “catamite” using Google the Wiki link was the first provided. The first line of that page (referenced from the Oxford English Dictionary, 3rd Edition [2003]) reads:

In its modern usage the term catamite refers to the passive partner in anal intercourse.

That definition would fit with the usage of μαλακοι by Paul in 1 Cor. 6:9. It is probably that modern definition (and reference to Paul) that Doug was using.

Justin Whear
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Justin Whear

When in doubt, place Pastor Wilson’s statements about 21st century America in the context of tribal Afghanistan or ancient Greece. Moses, does your hermeneutic have a name?

Moses Bratrud
Guest

@RayNearhood – I believe you, and I’m sure the OED has its reasons, but I really don’t think that usage is common. I’ve never heard it used to describe anything besides what my Mac dictionary has (“a boy kept for homosexual practices”) and though it’s *probably* valid to refer to such as “catamites,” the traditional definition does *not* imply willing participation in the homosexual act, and thus is more akin to “rape victim” than to “sodomite.”

But now that we’re getting into semantics, I think that underlies my point about the ineffective nature of the original wordplay.

Katecho
Member

And if there is any lesson that modern culture has taught us, it is that we have a right to our offenses, however we construe them. Offenses have become a form of currency. And, like the other fiat currencies, they succumb to hyperinflation.

Moses Bratrud
Guest

@Pastor Wilson – No further questions, your honor.

@Justin Whear – Well, what comes to *your* mind when you think of the word “catamite?” See, I think of nasty Greek vases and horribly sad article I read recently about the sex trade in Afghanistan, not Gay pride parades, but I guess your knowledge is more current than mine. I had no idea the term had been resurrected for modern use. We should have left it for dead, imo.

juan
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juan

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Ianopolis
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Ianopolis

katecho: “And if there is any lesson that modern culture has taught us, it is that we have a right to our offenses, however we construe them. Offenses have become a form of currency. And, like the other fiat currencies, they succumb to hyperinflation.”…..Fantastic, can I quote this?

J. Clark
Guest

Moses, the ancient use of catamite (and or the tribal Afgan use of it) that you refer to is alive and well in modern U.S.A. Though, I understood Doug from the beginning to simply mean the “wide reciever” of the relationship. How many U.S. boys grew up into their homosexual self because they were first made a catamite (Afgan use)? This is statistically unanswerable but is supported by anecdotal evidence. We of course know why it is no longer “heard” of in the U.S; because we know now that people are born “that way.” When you are a 5 year… Read more »

Justin Whear
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Justin Whear

@Moses Bratrud The first meaning that comes to my mine is Paul’s when he talks of catamites as people who have made what we might call a “lifestyle choice” and need to repent. But more generally, the entire post which spawned this is clearly about contemporary American culture and the particular comment compared catamites in a drag parade to rap artists. If you think that shoe fits the victims of child abuse, then we ought to be offended by you, not vice versa.

Justin Whear
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Justin Whear

Whoops, the word “artist” should have been in double quotes with the appropriate finger gestures.