I shouldn't have been surprised at Dan Rather's selective reporting-but it did catch me a bit off guard. The CBS anchor was telling about the decision of major-league baseball's commissioner to require Atlanta Braves pitcher John Rocker to get professional counseling because of some pretty hateful language Mr. Rocker admits he used in an interview in Sports Illustrated.
As Mr. Rather reported the matter, Mr. Rocker had gone out of bounds in his remarks about "gays and other minorities." Implicit in that strange selectivity seemed to be the assumption that Mr. Rocker's slur against homosexuals was the only one that really mattered. The other insults (against weirdos with purple hair, for example, along with single mothers and miscellaneous foreigners) didn't merit a mention.
Maybe Mr. Rather was simply pressed for time that evening-but I don't think so. Mr. Rocker's rudeness had been well documented, and the very breadth and extent of his slurs were what had made them so remarkable. So to characterize the Rocker tirade as being focused on "gays and others" was hardly an accident.
But if not an accident, then what kind of design? The design, beyond any doubt-now evident everywhere in the media-is to keep portraying homosexuals in our society as the nation's most endangered species. That full-court press is unrelenting in its zeal to demonstrate that the real moral failure belongs not to those who practice homosexuality, but to those who see such practice as wrong.
I have friends who wonder why some of us keep worrying about the issues of homosexuality and abortion. Why not put a little focus, they say, on the sins of racism and economic oppression? To which I think we need to respond: Real as racism and economic oppression may be, I don't know many folks who defend them as morally right. We may be insufficiently motivated and poorly mobilized to undo them-but at least we're not running around claiming that racism is a virtue and that economic oppression should be expanded.
Even abortion is surrounded with limited acclaim. While the terrible evil has enjoyed legal sanction for almost three decades now, even its supporters and advocates acknowledge that abortion is not a practice to be preferred. That's why pro-abortion politicians like Bill Clinton still pretend to be trying to make the practice "rare"; they know it's abhorrent.
But defenders of homosexuality more and more brazenly affirm it as a behavior not just to be tolerated, but celebrated. It is a good and even beautiful expression of human relationships, we are regularly encouraged to believe. That is part of Dan Rather's subtle lesson for us in the middle of the evening news.
But if that becomes the assumption of our society, forget every other kind of moral standard. When a culture starts pretending it can go beyond warping the nature of sexuality, which is what we do with heterosexual misbehavior, and start reversing the nature of what God has created, then all the rest of societal structure begins to unravel.
At least three lines of thinking dictate against the acceptance of homosexual behavior as a norm within society.
The first is strictly pragmatic. Anyone who's played with tinkertoys for five minutes knows how impossible the future of the homosexual fantasy really is. But we're not talking just about human anatomy. In a world already so selfish that some trend lines point toward zero population growth within the next hundred years, consider what would happen to the human race if the self-absorption of homosexual behavior were to start dictating reproductive patterns. Mark it down and remember it: Just from a pragmatic perspective, homosexuality doesn't work.
The second argument is logical. If homosexuality is to be tolerated as a norm, on what basis can any other behavior be rejected? If two homosexuals may marry each other with the state's approval, can the state logically withhold its endorsement of the blissful union of a man and a goat? If a St. Bernard, in his own unsaintly way, finds his sexual urges gratified by seeking to mate with a human female-and that woman considers it gratifying herself-who dares to stand in the way? And on what basis? Coming as far as we've already come, who could call it unnatural?
The third argument is God's moral standard. Pragmatism and logic should work to steer us away from the unthinkable; but so twisted has our perspective now become that such tools don't seem to serve the ends they once did. So that leaves us standing starkly with the realities of God's creation plan. It may sound terribly naive in this age simply to say: "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" and then to hang your worldview on that profound reality.
But on gender issues, that's where God has left us. It's high time for people who say they trust God's word to sink their roots deeper than they ever have before into His earliest words on these matters. Without such rootedness, the silly selectivity of Dan Rather and a thousand other voices will continue to sweep away an unsuspecting society.