Friday, July 15, 2011

Overheard at a Denny's - IV


“So I’m still waiting on your answer, Derek. What is it with the Catholic Church and gay people?”

“Good grief, Mark. Can’t even let a guy finish his pie before the interrogation?”

“No! You’ve been stalling the last couple of weeks. I think you’re chicken.”

“Yep. That’s your postmodern Christian for you … willing to die for Christ but not to be socially embarrassed.”

Laughter. “C’mon, I promise I won’t get you fired!”

“Okay.” Sigh. “Part of the reason that science is at an impasse is because the psychologists aren’t talking to the biologists. Let’s pretend for a minute that I’m not a Catholic and you’re not a Southern Baptist … we’re both Darwinians without religious convictions of any kind. So what does homosexuality represent in biology?”


“Oh, I don’t know … what?”

“A closed genetic path. We postmodern heathens tend to think of the external sexual equipment — breasts, penises and all that — and conveniently forget that it’s all hooked up to internal plumbing.”

“Oh, no! You’re not going down the sex-is-only-for-reproduction trail, are you?”

“Don’t jump ahead of me! I haven’t and won’t say only. But we’re Darwinians right now, remember? As far as a Darwinian is concerned, the only reason we have sexual organs is because that’s how we reproduce. Like Robin Williams said: ‘If you were an amoeba, you’d split in two and say, “Was it good for me? Who knows?”’”

“But not every act of straight sex ends in pregnancy.”

“That’s because the means of getting the male and female gametes together is … um, shall we say, a tad inefficient. According to Darwin’s theory, it has to be that way, to make the natural-selection engine work. Not every torpedo blows up, because some are duds and some are training rounds; but does that mean submarines fire torpedoes just for the hell of it?”

Laugh. “Okay, you got me there.”

“So okay, there’s a very small window of time where a woman is at her peak fertility. Moreover, bearing children isn’t all beer and skittles — just ask my wife, Denise — and the very thought of raising the pups can be pretty daunting. So how do you think God — oops, Mother Nature gets us over this little bump in the reproductive road?”

“Ah. Make it fun, so Mom and Dad have an incentive to get it on frequently and increase their chances of reproducing.”

“Right. Moreover, she tweaks it so it reinforces pair-bonding, helping to stabilize the relationship and keep it together for, oh, the next eighteen years or so. And, by the way, the chemicals released in foreplay have this interesting effect of depressing critical judgment skills, so the two involved tend to forget potential consequences ….”

Laugh. “So okay, I get it. Homosexuality takes a person’s genes out of the pool. But you know they’re working on ways to overcome that.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t change the biological realities of sex, nor does it make them irrelevant. With the odd exception, like that study done last year that you yourself said ‘proved too much’, the bulk of the studies are showing that kids do best with their biological mothers and fathers remaining together as a family unit. And that’s not to speak of the ways that things like surrogate parenthood and getting the wrong embryo screw up the legal system — suddenly, a child is a bit of property to fight over, not a miniature person in her own right with her own fundamental human dignity.”

Pause. “Y’know, I didn’t think of it like that. So what you’re saying is that it’s becoming more of a case of what adults get out of kids than what kids get from adults.”

“Right. You think of things like in vitro fertilization, genetic designer kids, sex-selective abortions — what do you think those are about? It’s like ordering a car from the factory with the options you want, trying to avoid all the mess and fuss of getting a less-than-perfect child who stubbornly grows up to be an individual person and not an extension of yourself.”

Pause. “Okay. I can kind of see your point there. Alright, being gay takes you out of the gene pool. Is that really all there is to it … reproduction?”

“No, now we add the Catholic layer to it. Reproduction is an animal act. Marriage is a sacrament; it’s Man’s participation in God’s ongoing act of creation. In splitting our species into two kinds, God made man and woman both different from each other and complementary to each other. ‘In His own image He created them; man and woman He created them.’ And in the balance of man, woman and child is imprinted the mirror of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

“Okay …?”

“Homosexuals get wound up because the Church teaches that gay sex is wrong, but you know as well as I do the Church teaches that fornication is wrong, adultery is wrong, cohabitation’s wrong, masturbation’s wrong ... not because sex is dirty or evil or nasty, but because these things abuse the gift, they abuse the self, they abuse other people.”

“How do you figure?”

“It comes back to inherent human dignity. Nobody has the right to use you as a masturbation tool. Nobody has the right to trample across your bond with someone else. But more than that …. People think that being free consists of doing what you want, but if you’re just obeying every urge that crosses your mind or your libido, how really ‘free’ are you? I mean, it’s just as natural an urge to strangle someone who pisses you off as it is to nail someone who turns you on.”

Laugh. “Okay, yeah. And you’re right; there are guys I wouldn’t sleep with for a million dollars.”

Sigh. “Okay, I gotta get back home; Denise is waiting for me. But let me tack this on: Animals can’t help it; they’re preprogrammed. We’re humans. We may not be able to help how we feel, but we can choose whether we act on it, and how we act on it. That’s an awesome power … and an awesome responsibility.”

“Okay, I got it. Oh, let me get the ticket.”