Courage, Love, and Sacrifice in the Fight for Marriage Reality

Jan 6, 2020 by

by Robert P George, Public Discourse:

Every time we fail to muster the courage to do what’s right, what God is calling us to do, there is behind that failure a still deeper failure: a failure of love.

Author’s note: On January 1, 2020, Ryan T. Anderson and I published a piece in USA Today on the steep costs—personal, societal, political, legal, and moral—of the so-called “progress” on LGBT issues over the past decade. Rod Dreher responded with an article in The American Conservative. Below, you’ll read an excerpt from his article, as well as my (brief) response, which I originally posted to Facebook. The post has been lightly edited, but the substance remains the same. If you find the exchange interesting, you can read Dreher’s answer to my Facebook post here.

In his deeply thoughtful commentary on the piece Ryan T. Anderson and I published in USA Today, Rod Dreher says the following about the redefinition of marriage, the decline of sexual morality, and the erosion of people’s basic understanding of sexuality:

George and Anderson, and all of us who consider ourselves their allies, failed to stop this thing. But this failure ought to be judged as a loss in a war that was unwinnable. George and Anderson fought harder than almost anybody, and with real moral and intellectual excellence. But they, and their allies (I include myself in this number, though my contributions have been very modest compared to theirs), were the equivalent of the mythical Polish cavalry charging into the face of the Wehrmacht. (This didn’t actually happen, but it’s a powerful symbol nonetheless.) We trads were having to fight nothing less than modernity, with its valorization of the sovereign individual, its technocracy, its abandonment of God and transcendence, and an economic force (capitalism) that is both powered by these factors, and also magnifies them. It obliterates everything in its path.

I don’t agree that the war was unwinnable. (In fact, I don’t believe it is permanently lost, though those of us who believe in marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife and who uphold basic understandings of sexuality and norms of sexual morality have been knocked back on our heels—hard.) What has been missing on the “conservative” or “traditional” side is not something that was unavailable to us. Rather, it was something too many conservatives or traditionalists (or whatever you want to call us) failed to muster. People could have mustered it, but too many didn’t.

I am referring, of course, to courage.

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