What’s Wrong with the World

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Social sadism

Someone on Facebook recently used the phrase "social sadism" for the use of coercion to make people affirm things that are manifestly absurd as a means of social control and never-ending revolution. This move is, of course, familiar to readers of 1984 in the famous, "How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?" scene.

I had, however, never heard that particular phrase, and it struck me as profound. In 2009 my small city passed an early version of a "sexual orientation and gender identity" law, with some of us die-hards fighting against it. Not long after it passed, the following story made the rounds: Two men visited a local department store and went to the women's clothing section, where a young lady was working. Taking a skirt off the rack, one of the men went into the women's changing room and tried on the skirt. As the story went, that wasn't all. He then came out, wearing the skirt, approached the young, female employee and asked her, "How does it look on me?"

That, my friends, is social sadism.

The man who pressured a young female employee to tell him how he looked in a skirt was not a poor, oppressed minority who requires our deep, sorrowful sympathy. He was a bully, plain and simple. He enjoyed making the girl uncomfortable. He enjoyed throwing around his social weight and forcing the girl to say something, anything, while worrying about whether or not she would lose her job if she said the wrong thing. He was a man picking on a woman, for the fun of it.

Who was the oppressed and who was the oppressor, in that scene? It is quite obvious that it was the "transgender" person--the man in the skirt, who was the oppressor.

When a young adult "comes out" and insists on talking about her "sexual orientation" to her grieving Christian parents at every opportunity, pressuring them to show how much they love her by taking such continual references to her hoped-for later "marriage" to a woman with a smiling face, who is the oppressed and who is the oppressor? It certainly isn't the parents.

When a lesbian supervisor repeatedly tells a fellow employee that she is going to "marry" her "girlfriend" this next weekend and then gets him fired when he finally says something mildly negative about her lifestyle, she is the oppressor and he is the victim.

And yet, for some strange reason, our churches are still filled with well-intentioned people who insist, insist upon talking about entire groups of people who routinely engage in such social sadism as if they are the oppressed, they are the ones with the hurt feelings, they are the ones whom we need constantly to be thinking about how to "reach" and not alienate.

Let us be clear: When someone has rejected not only God but nature and continually seeks to hurt and harm those who continue to hold on to God and nature, trying to force them to normalize his confusions, he is not at that time in a position to be reached. Maybe later God will soften his heart. But if God does, we need to have a church and a place left to which he can return, a place that uncompromisingly continues to uphold the truth about both God and nature. It is precisely the wrong thing to do to try to "reach" such a person by trying to "hang out with" him in a "non-judgemental" way, trying to use the language he prefers and asks you to use for his perversions, and trying to attract him by so doing. (And no, by the way, Jesus did not "hang out with sinners" in the sense that people will tell you he did.)

It's a little bit interesting to me that the very people who get the oppressor-oppressed identification wrong in such cases are so often, at least in their own minds, advocates for the little guy. Why, then, are they so blind to the many "little guys" who are being run over by the Mack truck of the homosexual and transsexual agenda? Why do we never hear one peep from them about the florists and bakers being sued out of existence or about the many, many ordinary men who have to worry on a daily basis about losing their jobs if their "hateful" opinions are discovered? Why can they not see the 1984-like social sadism in forcing people to call a man a woman? Why are they not indignant on behalf of the real victims of bullying?

I think one part of the answer is this: The kind of person I have in mind still thinks that he is a conservative himself! Perhaps this is because he is an orthodox Christian, for example. Maybe it's because he has (and genuinely loves) orthodox Christian friends and relatives. And such a person is strongly averse to thinking that the group that he himself identifies with is the victim group in systematic social bullying. While excusing victim-mongering in leftist-preferred groups (you'd never hear such a person getting impatient with a black person who claims that he has suffered from racism, for example), the type of person who urges us to be more seeker-sensitive towards "LGBTQ+ people" has no ear and no patience for the genuine victimization of Christians and social conservatives. Having set up a certain set of boxes for victim and oppressor, he finds it difficult if not impossible to switch the contents of the boxes.

Then, too, there is the simple fact that almost all human beings are affected, consciously or unconsciously, by the normalization of whatever their society treats as no big deal. This is why it is sometimes good to use other analogies. Would we talk about "reaching" a sex trafficker who regularly beats and tortures "his" women by acquiescing in his activist demand that we refer to his activities as "a gentleman's business"? Would we try to "reach" an active pedophile (in a hypothetical world where his activities are fully legal) by referring to him as a "child-lover" and to his child victims as his "partners"? The sort of "missional" confusions that overtake well-meaning people in this area are possible only because they do not really grasp that a) not every sin provides an opportunity for "reaching" the proud, unrepentant sinner by speaking less judgementally of his sin and b) homosexual acts and transgender "identities" fall into that category.

If this concerned only a few individuals here or there, it wouldn't matter too much. We who are actually social conservatives could just navigate it with a few of our friends.

The trouble is that such blindness is systematically taking over churches, colleges, and other formerly conservative institutions. Under constant pressure and battering from outside, a Christian college that tries to hold the line on homosexual acts and transgender identities now gets undermined from the inside as well. Its current students, professors, and far too many alumni tell the administrators that they need to have more chapel speakers telling the student body how to be more sensitive to the "LGBTQ people" among them. Churches are subject to pressure to bring in speakers to tell them how to talk to "LGBTQ people" about the gospel, and unfortunately too many of these speakers, even those deemed quite conservative, are going to tell them to be more sensitive, more concessive, more "hospitable," and so forth, without anywhere near sufficient concern for the normalization of perversion. I'm lookin' at you, Sam Allberry and Living Out. See here for further discussion. And from what I saw when a summary of this dissertation was available on-line--I can't find it now--I'm full of serious questions about it. Yet its author, Christopher Yuan, is regarded as a very conservative speaker and adviser to Christians on these topics. My concerns about this chapel sermon, though it is a mild example of its type, remain strikingly timely seven years (!) after I wrote the post and more than eight years after the sermon was delivered. And don't get me started on the problems with Mark Yarhouse, who has spoken repeatedly in chapel at Biola University. Yarhouse's "work" on transgenderism apparently inspired this blasphemous trainwreck of a presentation at the ETS by a Biola (Talbott) professor.

Of course, part of the problem here is the failure to recognize that it is not even remotely compassionate to downplay or softpedal the nature of perversion. It only harms those who are led to believe that their lifestyle isn't really that bad, even on Christian terms, and that Jesus would "not judge" them if he were around today, or at least that he wouldn't judge them all that much. That's not love. That's enablement.

Some readers who are in full agreement with what I've said so far, though, may wonder what any of us who see the truth can actually do about it. After all, granted that those who are trying to coerce us are bullies, they do seem to hold most or all of the cards. Many people can lose their jobs for speaking up against them. That knowledge has become so commonplace in such a short time that I can say it now as a fact that goes without question. We're almost getting used to living in that sort of coercive society So what, precisely, am I recommending?

Several things: First of all, speak out within your conservative and/or Christian institutions and circles. Don't be afraid to express concerns even about people like Yuan, Yarhouse, and Allberry who are thought to be our allies on these issues. Don't be afraid to be thought a hard-liner. Speak out to your Christian friends. I'm talking here inter alia about the Christian friends who are often going around talking about how we need to be seeker-sensitive. Warn them of the problems with that attitude. And remind them of the forgotten men--those persecuted for the truth toward whom they are being insensitive and uncaring. Mind you, such friends will probably think you have a bee in your bonnet. But at least you're giving them an uncomfortable reminder that their credentials as being on the side of the oppressed are getting a little tarnished when they forget those who are really persecuted for Christ right here in this country, by the so-called "victims" on the so-called "LGBTQ+" side.

In this same vein, speak out to your conservative friends who want to stand up for what is right but are facing purely social pressure for doing so. Tell them, "No, of course you don't have to go to your granddaughter's lesbian 'wedding'." "No, you don't have to have your lesbian friend and her 'wife' come and stay overnight at your house and share a bedroom." "No, that isn't what God is asking of you." Tell them, "Oh, by the way, there's some really bad advice on that allegedly Christian website about homosexual issues. I wouldn't use it as a resource if I were you." Tell them, "You know, if you feel disgusted when you see a homosexual kiss on television, that means you're normal. It doesn't mean that you're unkind or phobic. Don't let the homosexualist lobby gaslight you and make you think you are the one with the problem when you react like a normal person reacts to perversion." "You absolutely do not have to and indeed should not use the wrong sex pronouns for someone just because he 'identifies' as a woman."

Be willing even to say, "Actually, I'm not at all sure that I agree that 'we Christians' have been so unkind to homosexuals in the past and need to repent of it. I think that's mostly just a meme that activists are trying to teach us to say in order to soften our stance right now."

This sort of robust mutual encouragement provides a (small, admittedly) counterweight to the massive pressure telling them that the kind thing, the good thing, the only non-mean thing, even the "Christian" thing to do is to bow to the pressure, to normalize, to go along.

Second, if the worst thing that is going to happen to you is that you're going to get a little grief on social media, if you are one of the lucky people whose entire livelihood does not depend on avoiding the shrieking harpies of tolerance, speak out. Use your freedom before you lose it. (This very post is an example of doing that.) Share this post, for example. And don't feel remotely guilty about doing so.

Third, pray. And pray in the knowledge that God Himself is what the activists for insanity and perversion would want to call "homophobic." The holy God considers these attacks upon nature and reality abominations to a degree that we mere humans can only dimly begin to grasp. When you pray for someone who has "come out," know that the heart of the Incarnate Lord is deeply grieved at what that person is doing. Jesus is not in heaven judging you for your horror and sadness at the sight of a young life on the path to destruction. He sees that even more clearly than you do, He knows the future, and only He can save.

Don't forget to pray for Philip Zodhiates in prison while you're at it, and for all of the co-defendants in the civil suit that will probably ramp up this fall.

And fourth, take a break sometimes, too. That's what my next post will be about.

Comments (11)

But, Brian McLaren said that Jesus was tolerant and didn't judge anything!

Seriously, though, a very timely post. At the school I go to, Northwest Nazarene University, about half of my classmates I've talked to either are unable to articulate why, biblically or by natural law reasoning, homosexuality or fornication generally is immoral. The situation isn't exactly much better: a professor recommending James Martin's book on homosexuality, and:



One freshman I talked to went so far as to say that entertaining pedophilic fantasies is fine as long as you don't act on it, cuz consent and Richard 'don't "harm"' Rorty. Well, he didn't know about Rorty, but he insisted that he was simply following Jesus' words to love our nieghbor!

I definitely see pedophilia going down the same road that these other perversions have gone. The exact same arguments could be applied: Treating all sins as equal. Arguing that we must not "other" people and that the only way to help them "get help" is to encourage them to talk about it all the time. Arguing that discretion is a bad "closet" that people must come out of. Statements like, "There is no sin that we should not talk about in our churches." Arguing that feeling repulsion is a sign that there is something wrong with the person who feels it. Arguing that we should have "support groups" for people who self-identify with perverted desires. It is all stated in such sweeping terms that there is absolutely no principled reason why such claims would not apply to pedophilia.

And I have tried a thought experiment in a Facebook thread with some friends who were arguing that we should use preferred language for the homosexualists. I asked this: What if, in the future, pedophilia should become more accepted in society and the word "child-lover" should be coined as part of the normalization effort, just as letters like "LGBTQ+" have been coined as part of the normalization efforts for these other things. And what if the letter C were added to the list of letters of "orientations" that are supposedly oppressed and so forth. Would you then start referring to "LGBTQC+" people and lecturing others on how we need to be more sensitive, not "other" any of the people in this list, and so forth?

One person said he was "thinking about" the example. The other said yes, he would add the C because it would just be a factual designator. This despite the fact that it is an *obvious* euphemism (being a pedophile is exactly the opposite of loving children!!) and that I had stipulated in the set-up that it was invented as a euphemism by those who advocate it.

One person in the exchange said that putting up a sign on one's office door that this was a "safe space" is not actually a social sign of acceptance of homosexuality. (The other wouldn't go that far.) One said that wearing a pin (I had specified a rainbow pin, so it seems like that was probably what was meant) was not necessarily such a sign. These were supposedly only signs of kindness or love for the person, or something.

That's how strong the imperative apparently is to "reach" people. De Nile isn't just a river in Egypt.

"If he was reticent about Tesla, he was more at ease discussing his interest in young women. He said that criminalizing sex with teenage girls was a cultural aberration and that at times in history it was perfectly acceptable. He pointed out that homosexuality had long been considered a crime and was still punishable by death in some parts of the world."


People who only have compassion for those with the political, social, and legal power – who only have compassion for those who acclaimed by the media, academia, and the entertainment industry - who only have compassion for those who are holding a gun to their head… Why shouldn't we believe they would be for the Jim Crow laws 100 years ago, or supporting a communist regime, if they lived under one? Of course, only due to the great compassion…

As for pedophilia, I wonder if that will be pushed through children's rights? After all, children can go transgender or have an abortion without their parents approval. I got to thinking of this after I was talking with an atheist who on the one hand said he saw no objective moral difference between pulling up a weed and molesting a child (though he wouldn't do it due to his empathy, an empathy that didn't extend to Christian bakers or florists), and also saying that children's rights was something that were really neglected, and needed to be developed .

Somebody here once said that the denial of reality must necessarily be totalitarian.

Paul, I think that's the plausible way it would be . . . of course, only for committed monogomous cases.

We're almost getting used to living in that sort of coercive society So what, precisely, am I recommending?

To potentially pay the price for the Glory of Fighting for Lost Causes.

Be willing even to say, "Actually, I'm not at all sure that I agree that 'we Christians' have been so unkind to homosexuals in the past and need to repent of it.

Given the enormous human capacity for mistreatment of others, and given my clear memory of classmates mistreating boys who had the misfortune of merely being on the low side of the normal distribution of visible masculinity without their exhibiting any overt signs of suffering from same sex attraction (SSA), I am sure that people have also mistreated those suffering from SSA. However, given the alterations in our culture, the social celebration of the gay lifestyle and the applause of "coming out" and flaunting sexual perversion over the last 20 years, I am sure that in recent years there have been very few instances of people being unkind to others simply on account of their suffering from SSA alone (and not because of perverted behavior). Note that if a person is suffering from SSA silently and does nothing explicit to give in to his temptations toward perverted behavior, it is effectively impossible for anyone else to be confident that he in fact has an SSA disorder. Certainly there is little or no remaining approved social practice that constitutes mistreatment of people suffering from SSA merely on account of their having the disorder and not on account of their engaging in perverted actions. No, today the social pressure is all on the other side, even to the extent of approved mandatory social AND LEGAL practices of mistreating those who suffer from SSA and who would like to treat it and reduce the strength of their disorder. And the enormous social pressure on those who suffer from SSA that they give in to the disorder and openly join a perverted lifestyle. And, of course, the social and legal penalties for those who attempt to speak clearly the truth about SSA as a disorder, and about certain actions as perverted.

I am reminded of C.S. Lewis's comment about how often it is that Satan gets people worried about sins that are the least likely to be their besetting problem, in order to take away awareness of their real problem sins; apparently Satan does it just as well with whole societies as he does with individuals - which St. Francis de Sales mentioned. We certainly need to grow thick enough skins to shrug off accusations of "homophobia" and "unkindness" as being wrongheaded nonsense, as well as developing enough rhetorical poise to turn the tables on people who do such things. I wonder if the term "sodomy pimp" is a useful descriptor for those who are effectively enablers of the perverse lifestyle by their protection and support.

We should also note that the advance of sodomy in our culture could never have gotten where it is if it had not been for the advance of prior sexual sins as (first) culturally tolerated, then treated as benign, then treated as normal. These sins certainly helped deaden our society's conscience toward sexual disorder, and thus toward the perversity of sodomy. One of the wages of sin is that it paves the pathway for even worse to come. And it did.

If the human race lasts long enough on this Earth, we will get past these crazy years. But very likely only with some long and terrible trial - that seems to be God's usual mode of operating.

As someone who lives in Silicon Valley, I can tell you that the bullying has gotten really bad. In fact, high schoolers will sometimes pretend to be some stripe of sexual deviant because it gives them victim status and therefore power. Once you declare yourself gay, you can treat people horribly and then cry about how oppressed you are when you get called out on it.

Right, Tony, and also there's a difference between, "People in general have mistreated people perceived as 'gay'" and "The church, specifically, has done so." It's the latter that we often hear even very conservative people say as though it's a true-ism. It is just not clear to me that that's true.

But now, with the anticipated passage of the Respect For Marriage Act, religious liberty, and freedom of conscience will be protected. That is the lie they are telling us.

The Respect for Marriage Act, abbreviated as [RFMA], is supposedly a bipartisan compromise bill, passed by the House of Representative and now awaiting final consideration in the Senate, to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], requires the U.S. federal government to recognize the validity of same sex and interracial marriages in the United States, and to protect religious liberty. That is the lie that they tell.

We are told that the Senate compromise legislation is great because it does not open the door to federal recognition of polygamous relationships. In reality the Respect for Marriage Act threatens religious freedom and the institution of marriage in multiple ways:

1. It further embeds a false definition of marriage in the American legal fabric.
2. It jeopardizes the tax-exempt status of nonprofits that exercise their belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
3. It endangers faith-based social-service organizations by threatening litigation and liability risk if they follow their views on marriage when working with the government.
4. The truth is the Respect for Marriage Act does nothing to change the status of same-sex marriage or the benefits afforded to same-sex couples following Obergefell. It does however, endanger those individuals and institutions that act on the basis of their religious freedom.

The formerly Christian publication, Christianity Today tells that lie that the compromise version of the law that advanced by the US Senate doesn’t deny religious liberty to those who support traditional unions. So does the Very Reverend Walter Tim, who is described as the President of the National Association of Evangelicals, described the supposed compromise amendment that allowed the bill to advance in the Senate, if it passes as, ‘the first significant bipartisan legislation in many years advancing religious freedom for all, including those who hold traditional views on marriage. In other words, he's saying this legislation, forgetting the parts about same-sex marriage which are very important, but with regard to religious liberty, it moves the ball forward in his view as the President of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is wrong.

In reality all the Senate bill does is pay lip service to religious liberty and freedom of conscience rights; but it does not offer any meaningful protections for those persons,businesses, and institutions that act on those rights. Had the Senate chosen to, they could have explicitly stated that no individual, business, or organization could be penalized by the government for operating according to the conviction that marriage unites one man and one woman as husband and wife. The Senate could have adopted compromise legislation that expressly said that the IRS may not strip any Church or non-profit organization of its non-profit status because of holding or not holding the traditional understanding of marriage could have been included in the bill. The Senate could have passed compromise language that said no commercial business, or individual shall be penalized or subject to civil tort for refusing to provide services to a same sex wedding. But the bill offers no such protections.

The bill effectively enshrines a problematic definition of marriage in our law and then tells people they can have their day in court when they get sued for believing in, and acting on their belief in the traditional view of marriage.

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