Earlier this month, Timothy Dalrymple of Philosophical Fragments ran a guest post from Ken Hagerty, “Sex and Western Civilization.” In this post, he presents Dennis Praeger’s argument that “The subsequent dominance of the Western world can largely be attributed to the sexual revolution initiated by Judaism and later carried forward by Christianity,” leading to a society that “heightened male-female love and sexuality (and thereby almost alone created the possibility of love and eroticism within marriage), and began the arduous task of elevating the status of women.” Hagerty then takes this argument and tries to show how allowing gay marriage would undo a lot of this. He doesn’t go quite so far as saying gay marriage will lead to the collapse of western civilization, but it’s a pretty fair guess he thinks it would have a deleterious effect.
Where to start? Honestly, I could take a whole post (if not more) on a wide range of points, starting with the whole concept of a Judeo-Christian tradition and the historical claim that that morality led to cultures under Christian influence to advance more quickly than those in other parts of the world. I’m a Christian and I think very highly of some variety of Christian ethics, but if you plot the periods when Christians gained influence in a certain society with whether that society was comparatively strong or flourishing in other ways, it’s not always a pro-Christian picture. (For example, Egyptian civilization predated the time Moses was supposed to live by thousands of years; the western Roman Empire fell shortly after Christianity became the official state religion; when Europe (a very Christian continent) was plunged into the Dark Ages, the (Muslim) Ottoman Empire experienced a golden age of scientific and philosophical discoveries; and the ages of European dominance nicely coincided with an emphasis on secular reason during the Enlightenment). I could also take issue with the claim that eroticism in marriage is a uniquely Judeo-Christian accomplishment or even that it was a component for most of Judeo-Christian history, and with the claim that the “traditional marriage” Mr. Hagerty supports has been particularly good at elevating women.