mainstreaming homosexuality

Last night I witnessed another significant step in our culture’s embrace of homosexual practice. You can tell a minority group has achieved cultural power when it unapologetically ridicules another minority group. And last night the homosexuals of Modern Family took aim at Appalachians, apparently the one remaining group that even enlightened liberals enjoy mocking.

In case you haven’t heard of America’s favorite sitcom, Modern Family is a well-written story about three inter-connected families, one of whom is a union of two homosexual men. Last night the men wanted to have another child, and rather than adopt this time, they considered artificially inseminating the egg of one guy’s sister with the other guy’s sperm. After the wine wore off they concluded that having a child whose aunt is also its mom seems like a “freak show” only found in “Appalachia.”

And there it is. Homosexual practice is so well established that now gay characters are free to make fun of others. And I’m betting that most viewers didn’t even catch this. Modern Family has slowly accustomed its viewers to accept the homosexual lifestyle. The first season the men rarely touched or showed affection, but now they kiss and behave like a normal married couple.

Most viewers probably accept that they have a bona fide marriage, in part because Modern Family wisely never shows them in the act of marriage. Last month Newsweek ran a column asking why you never see homosexual acts in movies. Unlike heterosexual acts, which are often pornographically displayed on screen, homosexual acts always happen off camera and are only implied in the story. The reason, as the homosexual creators of Will and Grace concede, is that audiences would be grossed out and turned off by the homosexual agenda. As long as people don’t think about what homosexuals actually do, they will gladly accept their right to be married.

The strategy is working, for homosexual practice has apparently finally and irretrievably arrived. Just ask the picked-on people of Appalachia.


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  1. Only a relatively small proportion of the population is same-gender attracted. They are the only people who might conceivably be interested in seeing same-gender sex portrayed on TV. TV’s purpose is to sell us stuff. So, there is no point in portraying something in which most people are not interested. Now, with movies, that’s another matter….

  2. But wait a minute Mike, if I’m not fluent in Modern Family I can’t apply for this youth pastor job in Ann Arbor

    Maybe it’s cause I’m getting older, but Piper’s advice to kill your TV looks better and better every day.

  3. I think what you seem to be implying here–that most people turned off by portrayal of homo-erotic activity because they think it is wrong–probably isn’t true. I think Craig is right that many people would be turned off simply because such depictions do not reflect their own sexual attractions, but their opposites. Of course some think it’s wrong, but it’s a mistake to infer from distaste a moral evaluation.

    Additionally, even from a traditional Christian perspective, I see nothing wrong with humanizing gay couples. In fact I think it is crucial, given how much gay people have been marginalized and abused. Traditional Christians often think they have to view gay relationships as if they are completely twisted and wrong, sinful and black through and through–every gesture of care, every motion of affection, etc., is all totally sinful. But I think that is just not true, nor does traditional Christian teaching require such a belief. Gay couples do often genuinely care about one another. For non-promiscuous gay couples, the relationship is not just about sex. And in other cultures–including ancient Jewish culture–same-sex affection itself is not nearly as taboo, nor as associated with homosexuality, as it is in our culture. We can hold on to a traditionally Christian sexual ethic about homosexuality (that same-sex partnerships that involve a sexual component are outside of the bounds of God’s will) and still humanize gay people and gay relationships. Indeed, I think we must.

    I do think you are right to bring attention to the seeming arbitrariness of the moral lines people draw. I thought the same thing to myself – “so why are we drawing the line here?” I found that pretty interesting. And certainly it is true that much of the media is trying to prescribe the moral view that homosexual relationships are just as morally valid as heterosexual ones, and they also send the message that disagreeing with homosexual partnerships is always tantamount to homophobia (part if this reaction, though, is an understandable overreaction to the real abuse gays have suffered). But nevertheless, I see it as a good thing that a monogamous gay couple is depicted on TV. They are human beings. They are people. They love and are loved. They make fun of others. They get made fun of. They are sometimes hypocritical. Why should we single them out? Society has done that enough. At least they are depicted as monogamous amidst all the promiscuity on TV. So they are sinful — so are the rest of us, in various aspects of our lives. I’m not trying to downplay traditional Christian morality here, but I think we need some balance in the way we approach this issue. Gay people are still people, people with beautiful aspects of the image of God (even as they participate in gay relationships), and as forgiving and loving Christians, we need to be able to see that and celebrate it.

  4. Kyle: Because of common grace, there are goods (such as companionship) in even a sinful relationship. But these goods don’t make the relationship any less immoral. This is a tension which we must attempt to maintain. As for why movies don’t include homo-erotic behavior, I suspect it’s not so much because most people find it immoral but rather that they would not enjoy watching it.

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