Trac­ing the road to same-sex mar­riage

The Washington Times Weekly - - Culture, Etc. - By Wes Ver­non

If you are puz­zled that mil­lions of main­stream Amer­i­cans have been steam­rolled into ac­cept­ing same sex mar­riage, this is a book you will want to read. More­over, if you can’t un­der­stand how it is that the same Amer­ica where 36 of 50 states had en­acted laws ban­ning same sex mar­riage pulled a dra­matic flip-flop in lit­tle more than a decade, again Paul Ken­gor’s “Take­down” traces that rad­i­cal change.

Above all, Mr. Ken­gor, (best-selling au­thor of pre­vi­ous books about Ron­ald Rea­gan, Barack Obama, spir­i­tu­al­ity and the cul­ture) probes what drove the most mas­sive and dra­matic public opin­ion switch in re­cent history. Amer­i­cans have changed di­rec­tions on so­cial is­sues be­fore, but in mod­ern times, one strains to re­call another in­stance where it all hap­pened so quickly. That story is out­lined in “Take­down: From Com­mu­nists to Pro­gres­sives: How the Left has Sab­o­taged Fam­ily and Mar­riage.”

De­spite that sub-ti­tle, “Take­down” is not another vol­ume of pure com­miebash­ing. Com­mu­nists do play a sup­port­ing role very late in the game, al­beit with a con­sid­er­able ve­he­mence.

The best known 20th-cen­tury Com­mu­nist tyrants de­tested ho­mo­sex­u­als. Stalin, Mao and Cas­tro sent gays to filthy dun­geons or worse.

Most U.S. Com­mu­nists (or those of the “old left”) — though de­void of con­cern for cen­turies-old tra­di­tions of moral­ity — led lives of tra­di­tional mar­riages in the Cold War. They backed public po­si­tions that would weaken mar­riage, but they did not yet seek to re­de­fine the cen­turies-old in­sti­tu­tion. That would come later and in Mr. Ken­gor’s view, was the ul­ti­mate con­ceit.

Mar­riage is not ours to “re­de­fine,” he writes, just as a dog is a dog, a cat is a cat and mar­riage is mar­riage.

The au­thor pin­points the early-19th cen­tury as the start­ing point for a slow, two cen­turies long “de­sen­si­tiz­ing” where monog­a­mous mar­riage, along with prop­erty rights, would hope­fully cease to ex­ist. That, of course, was Marx­ism be­fore Marx, though he surely would have ap­proved.

The book probes the ques­tion: How to coun­ter­act the rapid public un­do­ing of ba­sic Chris­tian prin­ci­ples with­out alien­at­ing the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of ev­ery­day Amer­i­cans who ac­cept gay mar­riage or en­cour­age it. For the first time, the great ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans and to­day’s Com­mu­nist Party (wel­com­ing a public re­la­tions coup) agree. Yet a large mi­nor­ity sees it­self as a vic­tim So we’re to see even more of a cul­ture war over the mean­ing of mar­riage.

Speak­ing of which: There is a chap­ter on “The Gay Mar­riage Pres­i­dent [Obama]”—and his men­tor, the late Frank Davis, a Com­mu­nist — with a cap­i­tal “C”—and a cred­i­bly iden­ti­fied pornog­ra­pher. Davis fa­vored any­thing that would de­stroy man-woman mat­ri­mony or any prac­tice that is sup­port­ive of cen­turiesold Chris­tian be­liefs. In fact, Mr. Ken­gor’s re­search strongly in­di­cates Mr. Obama ac­tu­ally fa­vored same-sex mar­riage long be­fore he pub­licly claimed he was “evolv­ing” on the is­sue. That would sug­gest a po­lit­i­cal bal­anc­ing act be­tween wealthy gay donors and re­li­gious vot­ers.

The au­thor, a con­ser­va­tive Catholic, in­cludes a chap­ter on the late iconic Bishop Ful­ton Sheen who cited as one sign of Com­mu­nism’s dim view of the tra­di­tional mar­riage an early Bol­she­vik de­cree that all women ages 17 to 32 were prop­erty of the State, with the right of the hus­bands to con­sider them their wives “abol­ished.” Vari­ants of “group mar­riages” are pre­dicted by an au­thor who sees gay mar­riage as ul­ti­mately smash­ing the last bar­rier to the long ef­fort to down­grade cen­turies of our civ­i­liza­tion’s tra­di­tional mar­riage.

Notwith­stand­ing that U.S. Com­mu­nist or­ga­ni­za­tions in the 21st cen­tury have climbed aboard the same-sex mar­riage band­wagon, to­day’s Rus­sia, writes Mr. Ken­gor has no spe­cial affin­ity for gays per se.

Not to be over­looked in this maze of seem­ing con­tra­dic­tions is the “Frank­furt School” (real name: the In­sti­tute of So­cial Re­search) formed in Weimar Ger­many. The “school” moved to the United States and found refuge at Columbia Univer­sity, from there fanned out across our na­tion to spread its far-left world­view. Among this group were the likes of ul­tra-rad­i­cal sex­ual Marx­ist Wilhelm Re­ich.

Dur­ing the years, as same-sex mar­riage in the United States re­mained mostly in the back­ground, “smash­ing monogamy” did gain some open no­to­ri­ety in the coun­ter­cul­ture Six­ties. Mr. Ken­gor in­cludes a chap­ter on sex or­gies by high-rank­ing mem­bers of the in­fa­mous Stu­dents for a Demo­cratic So­ci­ety (SDS). The reader may want to take a shower af­ter that one.

Now that gay mar­riage is openly sanc­tioned here, the great ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans and the Com­mu­nist Party agree on a ma­jor so­cial is­sue for the first time.

Paul Ken­gor’s word­ing here aims to dis­tin­guish those de­lib­er­ately plan­ning the “take­down” of Amer­ica from those “who have no idea” of the agenda they’re fol­low­ing. To the lat­ter, he says, “I would im­plore them not to get an­gry at me for point­ing out what is hap­pen­ing.”

If try­ing to rea­son with peo­ple rid­ing a tidal wave doesn’t work, the au­thor con­cludes, well, this “take­down” has been a long time in com­ing.”


Wes Ver­non for many decades was a broad­cast jour­nal­ist, in­clud­ing with CBS Ra­dio. His reg­u­lar col­umn ap­pears at Re­newAmer­

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