Thursday, June 24, 2021
It's Thursday, June 24th, 2021.
I'm Albert Mohler, and this is The Briefing, a daily analysis of news and events from a Christian worldview.
Is “Coming Out” Soon a Thing of the Past? Not Yet, But The Sexual Revolutionaries Want to Take Down the “Heteronormative Patriarchy” So That Everyone On Earth is “Out"
One of the phrases most central to the moral revolution that has taken place around us in Western societies is the phrase, "coming out". Coming out is an expression that generally means coming out in terms of claiming or identifying some kind of sexual orientation, sexual relationship, sexual interest or gender identity. Coming out in the context of the sexual revolution has been a statement of independence, independence from the moral norms of heterosexuality.
Now, behind that is an entire argument, and that argument's a part of that moral revolution that has taken place. The argument goes back at least to 1869, Carl Heinrich Ehrlich's a German figure who argued that the way that homosexuals would liberate themselves is by refusing to be invisible, that is making themselves visible, making their sexual identity an issue of public significance. But that was 1869. That was a long way from 1969, not to mention the 1980s when the phrase became extremely common in the United States when the phrase was often referred to as coming out of the closet, but coming out doesn't actually require a closet. Although, that's a metaphor that most Americans would recognize.
This is a part of the moral revolution in which those identified originally as homosexual activists or gay activists argued that the invisibility must end and that the way towards gay liberation was by making the presence of gays in community visible, undeniable, loud for that matter. The closet was a metaphor because it was understood as something that had been in the darkness now coming into the light. It was something hidden that was now made visible, but the original language and the power of the phrase, "coming out," wasn't tied so much to the closet. Some argue that's actually anachronistic. Rather, it was tied to the coming out that traditionally had been a part of upper middle-class and upper-class experience for young women when they came out, did something like a debutante ball, being introduced to society.
That coming out was very much a part of the experience of young women in many societies. In cities like New York and London or Berlin or Paris, coming out was a major part of a young woman's experience. The phrase thus meant being presented in public visible and proudly, and it was the sense of pride that was tied to this with gay pride or now, LGBTQ pride, now with June being declared pride month being a part of the moral revolution. Rather than being something shameful, there was the argument the LGBTQ identity is something that should be the source of pride.
Now, just a footnote here, but a very important footnote, this is a reminder of the fact that in order to get to any such conception as pride, there has to be a complete revolution in morality. There has to be a complete rejection of historic Christian biblical morality that does identify sexual sin as shameful. And in the revolution, that morality is entirely excluded and the new morality is put in place. That's exactly what we have seen reshaping Western societies, the United States most particularly.
But you saw all of this taking place just in recent days where the headlines about an NFL player coming out. In this case, the player was Carl Nassib, the defensive lineman for the now, Las Vegas Raiders. This was a big issue and it was not only ricocheting across the media headline after headline. USA Today sports section had not one headline, but several, and it also caught the attention, not surprisingly, of the president of the United States.
President Joe Biden has declared himself to be the most pro-LGBTQ president in American history, and he seems intent upon proving that in every way at every opportunity. So he tweeted about this as well as a transformative event. Is it transformative? Is it even big news? Is Carl Nassib the first homosexual player for the NFL? The answer to that is almost assuredly no, but he's the first current player on a current roster to make this kind of declaration and thus, the headlines. Scott Gleeson, sports writer for USA Today, went so far as to say that Carl Nassib's coming out could change the world. He means, of course, in moral terms, in cultural terms, celebrating this kind of LGBTQ identity. And of course, the congratulations from the sporting world and from the larger world of American culture came overwhelmingly.
In order to be seen as on the right side of history, you had to believe that this was a great moral development and that it was indeed a world changing moment. In order to be on the right side of history, according to the sexual revolutionaries, you had to see this as the first of what should follow being an avalanche of similar kinds of coming out identity statements. There were still those who warned that this kind of coming out might continue to be somewhat rare in the NFL because of its hyper-masculine reputation. Dr. Susan Wilson, who was a treatment clinician for the NFL and we're told counseled numerous causative players said, "He's," speaking of Nassib, "He's humanizing an issue that needed humanizing, but there are several things that make it challenging to come out. Football is very masculine, macho sport. Being gay in that environment embedded in homophobia is not easy."
So there again, you see the therapeutic language along with the language of the moral revolution. Coming out is this great cultural moment that achieved the headlines that were sought in order to declare this is moral progress. But if you think the coming out is actually the end game of the sexual revolutionaries, you would be wrong. That's what you see here portrayed in USA Today and other mainstream media, by the president of the United States and numerous others.
What Does the Utopian Culture of the Sexual Revolution Look Like? Well, USA Today Gives Us a Glimpse, Writing About a Day When Heterosexuality Is No Longer the Norm
But when it comes to the final end game, actually, a couple of weeks back USA Today tipped the hand in a much more radical direction. On the front page of USA Today, not on the front of the sports section, on the front page of the newspaper, on June the first, timed for the beginning of what's been declared as pride month, USA Today ran an article above the fold by David Oliver with a headline, "Envisioning Time When Coming Out Isn't Needed." Well, that's interesting.
So USA Today and the president of the United States are talking and tweeting about the coming out of Carl Nassib, the first openly gay NFL player on a current roster. But the interesting thing is that two weeks before, or just a little bit more, USA Today had run this front page article about envisioning a time when coming out isn't needed. Now, that's a very interesting statement. It's actually far more radical than just about anything else that's been put forward in this argument thus far, but it's also very honest and at the very least, Christians need to pay attention to this argument understanding just how radical it is. It basically does point to the elimination of all distinctions, such that no one would have to come out and identify as anything because anything and everything are just everywhere all the time.
David Oliver for USA Today writes about the coming out experience and says, "Every out member of the LGBTQ community has said these words or a variation to the person or people they love not knowing how they'll react," but then the question is asked, "But what if they lived in a world where they didn't have to disclose anything?" Now, this is not saying that LGBTQ persons, as they are self-identified, should go back into the closet. No, they're arguing instead that the entire world has to be. in terms of morality, absolutely reformulated. Before going far in the article, Oliver asked the question, "Could the traditional coming out narrative someday be a thing of the past?"
Now, you ask yourself, how could that be possible? How could it be possible that this would never be significant so much so that there would not be a coming out experience for those who are going to identify this way? How could it be that when you're looking at something like sexuality, there could be the elimination of all norms so that no one's expected to be anything, there is no default like heterosexuality that is even a part of the picture? What kind of world would that look like? Oliver continues the argument, "The answer, much like the experience itself is more nuanced than waving a pride flag, a future," he writes, "in which LGBTQ members don't feel obliged to explain or qualify their sexuality will require sweeping societal change".
Well, you heard it there, sweeping societal change. This means far more sweeping than what's already taken place in the revolution in morality we've already experienced. That day is coming and we are told it is inevitable. The authority for this cited in the article is S. A. Smythe, an assistant professor in the Department of African-American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. That's UCLA. Professor Smythe said, "There's going to be a future where coming out is not relevant because I politically believe that there is going to be a future where gender is irrelevant." Continuing, "That's part of why we have to come out. It's because there is an overwhelming norm that is called the patriarchy that is called heterosexuality that is presumed, and I fundamentally believe that that's going to be abolished in our lifetimes."
Now, let's just back up a moment and understand what we're being told here. It is the destruction of heterosexuality as a norm. Now, let's state the obvious. For civilization to continue, heterosexuality will indeed have to be the norm. That's the way you get babies. That's the way society continues, but you're looking here at one of the most radical statements we've seen in a long time and perhaps it was missed because it was on the front page of USA Today that bills itself as the nation's newspaper. That tells you just how far along this revolution we already are. It tells you just how plausible some of this becomes.
It's plausible now for a professor at UCLA to tell USA Today, and for USA Today to publish on its front page, that there could well be a day in our future and perhaps in the near future in which heterosexuality disappears as a norm. The patriarchy, that's the way it's described in a normative culture of heterosexual relationships, the patriarchy is abolished and homophobia will disappear. There will no longer be any need to come out because in effect, everybody's out because nobody holds to any normative sexuality. That means such as marriage, as the union of a man and a woman and heterosexuality, as in human reproduction. But USA Today says as much as it may be the utopian dream and vision, that coming out would no longer be necessary because there would be no normative sexuality or gender identity.
USA Today concedes we're not there yet. "For now though, a post coming out world seems more attainable for some than others." So now, we're told that there's an inequity. There is a greater trauma or need for some to come out than others. How would this be described? The paper cites Tonia Poteat, an assistant professor of Social Medicine at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was saying, "It may be that for young people in well-educated progressive families, no one really cares who they love. However, the world is not yet there." Very interesting statement there. It's one of those in an article like this that helps to explain what's going on. We're told that there's a distinction between the rest of the world and those identified as coming from families that are well-educated and progressive. Well, that's one of the things we do know. The worldview does tend to change the closer you get to the intellectual and cultural elites, the educational elites.
Then we're told that if indeed a young person comes from one of those families, there may be little trauma in coming out because, "No one really cares who they love". Now, I'm also going to tell you something else, which I honestly believe, and that is that that describes almost no one at all in terms of parents or families, really having no interest at all, no one really caring about who they love. I think, and I'll go out on a limb on this, I think that an awful lot of these families, an awful lot of people who live in the proximity to the cultural elites say what they think they have to say in order to be considered on the right side of history. I still do not believe that the average family considers it of little significance when they consider the question of the sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender identity, and future romantic relationships of their own children. I think they think they're supposed to say that. I know that in some circles, they almost have to say that, but I think it remains to be seen as to whether they really do believe that.
But after discussing the history of coming out and the energy of the LGBTQ revolution on this issue, and the fact that, of course the letters continue to expand because even as it was originally homosexual liberation, then gay liberation and gay activism, it then became LGBTQ. And as we know, that plus sign of the end is going to be a very clear indication of additional romantic relationships and things such as polygamy and polyamory that are coming. And of course, on the gender side, it's hard even to imagine where this may go, but it's going to go somewhere. But in envisioning a world in which coming out is no longer necessary, in which there is no normative gender identity at all, there's no normative sexual relatedness at all, the patriarchy is dead. Heteronormativity disappears. We are told more: "A world with no assumptions about heterosexuality where boys can hold hands on the playground, where women can kiss without a strangers stare." Very interesting.
I think we, as Christians, need to understand two things here. Number one, this radical proposal is exactly what many people consider to be the utopia that is coming according to their revolutionary visions. That's important to note, but there's something else and that is that embedded in this utopian dream are the seeds of doubt that it's ever going to get there. Just consider the examples that are given, such as boys holding hands on the playground. I'm just going to go ahead and say it out loud. I don't think that's ever really going to become normal. People may say it's normal, but that doesn't mean that they actually believe it's normal. And the same thing has to do with a player coming out in the NFL. We can be told that's going to change history. Well, it's an indication of moral change to be sure. Does it fundamentally change the culture of the NFL? Well, I think that's doubtful.
But the article goes on describing this world that would be this utopia in which coming out's no longer necessary. We're told furthermore, "LGBTQ people could encounter a unique opportunity to reinvent how they congregate and see themselves." The professor says that, "We can envision a world in which coming out with no longer be necessary because it wouldn't be interesting because there's really nothing to say since there is no norm that anyone is violating by coming out." But we also see here, the fact that the blame is on society as supposedly holding to this heteronormativity, that is the idea that heterosexuality is the norm. Anything that is against that norm or inconsistent with that norm is indeed non-normative or abnormal. But as we think about this, we just need to recognize every society has something that's declared to be normal in virtually every realm of experience. There's going to be some normal and there's going to be some abnormal.
But of course, Christians have to understand that we look to the holy Scriptures. We look to God's revelation in scripture and in creation for our understanding of these things, and we also just look to the undeniable fact that nature is going to have to be by norm, heterosexual, or when you look at the birds, there will be no little birds. When you look at the bees, there will be no little bees. When you look at the cattle, when you look at the deer, when you look at the fish, well, you get the point. When you look at human beings, unless heteronormativity is indeed the norm, there is going to be a significant fall off on offspring.
But before leaving this, I want to say that an awful lot of this is tied right back to critical theory and the dangerous toxins of critical theory that seep into just about everything these days in terms of headline news. For instance, when you look to the biography of professor Smythe at UCLA, we are told, "S. A. Smythe is a poet, translator and transdisciplinary scholar whose research has focused on Black, Italian, migrant and post-colonial literature and other cultural responses to colonialism, racial capitalism, and other relational aspects of dispossession and inequality stemming from citizenship, borders and belonging in the wake of self-initiated crises of migration across Europe, in particular, Italy, East Africa, and the Mediterranean." Right there in the beginning of a biographical statement is more theory laden language that is almost imaginable in one place in one time. But there it is, just in about one sentence in one phrase, in one biography telling us of one giant problem in the world these days.
But just in case you wonder what kind of academic preparation might produce this? Well, we are told that Smythe earned "a PhD in History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz." Yes, a PhD in the History of Consciousness. But I think you can be absolutely assured that this is the kind of worldview that is increasingly absolutely dominant on America's college campuses and so many different departments and is being mainstreamed into the culture through 18-to-22-year olds who are being told that this is indeed the utopian future and if they want a part in that future, they better get in line with the revolution and take the theory, hook, line, and sinker.
Are We Witnessing the End of Gendered Clothing? Despite the Push from the Fashion Elites, It’s Hard to Imagine a World of Men in Their Summer Dresses
But next, I want us to consider, as we're thinking about pride month, the moral revolution, and yes, these issues are coming up so many days, not only this month, but in this era, precisely because the headlines keep being thrown at us, we're looking at headlines on this issue pushing this kind of moral agenda, they're coming by the dozens every single day. But they're also coming on different pages of the newspaper, they're coming from different segments of the news, different sectors of our cultural conversation. I'm going to shift right now to the issue of fashion. And as we talk about this, I want to ask you the question, does this appear to be real to you? I'm going to go out on a limb and say, I think probably not, but evidently according to the fashion writers at the New York Times, this article makes sense. The headline, "In a Shift (or a Sheath), A New Hemline for Him." The headline of the article is followed by these words, "Gender fluidity enters its next phase as fashion-conscious and fun-loving dressers who identify as male increasingly step out in skirts and frocks."
Now, even before we go any further than the subhead, let's look at the language. Gender fluidity, yet we're supposed to think that's real. We're told it's entering its next phase. And where would you see that? Well, amongst people described here as fashion-conscious and fun-loving dressers, who "identify as male." Now, in any previous era, indeed, if you went back in this newspaper, say, oh, I don't know, a year, you would see such people referred to as men or male. But now, it's merely "identify as male" because these days, we're told that when it comes to gender identity, we are all merely identifying. There's nothing real. It's just what we identify ourselves to be. Guy Trebay is the author of the article and he cites Erwin Shaw's work, "The Girls In Their Summer Dresses," and he says he probably never could have envisioned a day when those, "girls," he puts that term by the way, in quotation marks, "would just as likely be men."
Trebay goes on to write, "Sexist and dated as Shaw's much anthologized 1939 story may be, it did lay out truths about urban existence and the unalloyed joy of looking". Hold on! Trebay continues, "Those pleasures largely withheld over the past 16 months," as a reference to COVID-19, "have returned as we venture forth from our caves to the delighted surprise of at least one observer." A considerable number of us apparently used the time in confinement to rethink some shibboleths about who gets to wear what. And then we're told about men, or those identifying as male who evidently have decided that in the new liberation after the pandemic, men can use women's clothing, including most especially skirts, or what are redefined now as sheaths.
An individual identified as Mx. Sinclair, that is Mx. rather than Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. Instead, Mx. This person said, "For the longest time, people were so stuck on being one way or the other," and we're told that that person was referring to waning gendered dress codes. "Queer people have been playing with this for a long time, but now you see a lot of guys in dresses that don't identify as all that feminine." Now, we're just a few lines into the article, but I just want to say, I don't think so. I don't think you think so. As I look around the world, I still don't see many men or boys, or those who identify as men and boys wearing skirts or anything like the nonbinary dress that is described in this article. We are told of waning gendered dress codes. I just want to say I actually don't think so.
I think when you go to your local high school, I know they're out for summer break now, but when you go to your local high school, I still think you're going to see gendered dress codes. Or if there's an exception to the norm, the exception is going to prove the very point by being an exception. If you go to the local mall, if you just go out in public, I don't think you're going to come back and say, "You know, sweetheart? I wondered if you noticed what I noticed and that is the waning of gendered dress codes?"
Again, I don't think so. What this kind of article tells us is really two things. Number one, maybe it does look this way in certain neighborhoods of New York City. Maybe it does look this way on the campus of certain American universities. Maybe it does look this way in certain kinds of communities on the East and West Coast. And maybe there are exceptions at points in between, but when it comes to this as a cultural norm, I don't think so. And that just points to the fact that maybe the fashion writers at the New York Times really aren't telling us much about fashions for most of the country. But the second thing is this kind of article is not just about what supposedly is seen, but what we should wish for to see, what we should hope for as we think about the future. This is clearly a statement that it would be cultural progress if we did have waning gendered dress codes.
The clear implication of this article is the human liberation and human happiness will come when boys wear skirts and girls wear, well, I guess whatever boys would wear. Pointing to the future that is much long for here, at least by this writer at the New York Times and presumably others at the Times and those reading the Times. We're told of Robert Saladaris, who said, "I started out wearing feminine tops and then feminine bottoms." Now, again, I don't really think that is a big commercial trend. I'll just say it. I don't think it is. But then along the lines of this revolution, turning the world upside down and destroying reason in the process, you have a statement made by one of these persons who said in celebrating this kind of non-binary dress, "To be able to have that comfort wearing something that's considered to be feminine, that shows masculinity to me."
So yes, hot means cold. Cold means hot. You supposedly show just how masculine you are by dressing in a feminine fashion. If that makes sense to you, well, you probably need to listen to another podcast.
And the article finishes with a flourish of celebration about the waning gendered binary when it comes to dress. One person identified as Mr. Dunlap, who identifies as a queer man and serves as an actual poster boy for gender fluidity as part of Levi's "All Pronouns, All Love" Pride campaign this year.
The article concludes with pointing to this person saying, "Still, there's something refreshing about a cultural pivot point that allows for someone like Mr. Dunlap to wear jeans and sneakers when the mood arises or else, to wear the shortest mini that I have and the highest heels to go out to the grocery store."
Well, we can't say that we weren't warned.
Thanks for listening to The Briefing.
For more information, go to my website at albertmohler.com. You can follow me on Twitter and go to twitter.com/albertmohler. For information on The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, go to sbts.edu. For information on Boyce College, just go to boycecollege.com.
I'll meet you again tomorrow for The Briefing.