Gay Marriage: America Outdoes Ancient Greece?

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The cultural tsunami that is gay marriage is crashing upon us. And make no mistake, this tsunami gains astonishing force every day, with a corresponding damage we can’t begin to imagine. The number of people swept along, especially young people, is breathtaking. Legalization and acceptance by the vast majority of Americans, let alone a small majority, seems rapidly upon us.

As the tsunami storms ahead, I’ve heard many gay-marriage opponents observe that our culture is going the way of ancient Greece.

But that may be only partly true, and, frankly, an insult to ancient Greek pagans. Consider a fascinating article by Robert Reilly at Catholic Exchange. Reilly writes:

“Though some ancient Greeks did write paeans to homosexual love, it did not occur to any of them to propose homosexual relationships as the basis for marriage in their societies. The only homosexual relationship that was accepted was between an adult male and a male adolescent.”

shutterstock_132085355Of course, that in itself is wicked, though Americans will probably warm to that someday as well. Nonetheless, notes Reilly, this male-male relationship in ancient Greece was to be temporary, as the youth was expected to get married—that is, a heterosexual marriage—and start a family as soon as he reached maturity. Such was the cultural expectation.

Reilly says that the idea that someone was a “homosexual for life” or gay “as a permanent identity” would have struck the Greeks as extremely odd. Reilly says that there wasn’t even a word for “homosexuality” in Greece at the time (or in any other language until the late 19th century). He says that homosexual relationships between mature male adults were not accepted by Greek culture.

What does this mean? Well, it means that modern Americans are relentlessly pursuing a level of depravity far surpassing even the ancient Greeks. Think about that.

As Catholic Christians, we’re supposed to have hope. But it’s hard to have hope for a culture and country quickly descending to cultural hell in a hand-basket. I’m increasingly realizing every day that my only hope can be in Christ and His Church.


Image credit:

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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  • John

    ” I’m increasingly realizing every day that my only hope can be in Christ and His Church.” Great article, Dr Kengor. And that statement sums it all up perfectly.

  • Kevin A-Z

    This article sums it up well. Unfortunately gay marriage will be inevitable. But not legalizing gay marriage isn’t going to stop people from being gay either. It’s just a matter of the definition of marriage.

  • Firelordozai

    So we’re making progress?

  • Richard III

    Great job, Dr. Kengor, you and Mr. Riley are so right. We are not going the way of ancient Greece. We resemble more the last days of the dying Roman Empire.

  • andreagregorio

    God, might we have some new level of analysis? Perhaps how the Sense of the Faithful (and others) is leading the Church towards a far more rational understanding of human sexuality than the archaic position currently held? It gets rather boring to here talk of ‘wickedness’ and ‘intrinsic moral evil’ and grave offences against the ‘natural order’ (whatever that in reality is). The writer might take the more intellectual position of considering how accumulated scientific knowledge demonstrates that homosexuality is part of Nature’s diversity and how it is an integral component of natural population control (what if all gays procreated? We would have an eve greater over-population crisis than we have at the moment). As an integral part of natural populatiopn control, homosexuality is entirely ipso facto natural. Gioven this fact, denial of human rights to gay people (e.g. equality, full marriage, etc., becomes unjust – not just – discrimination. Time, I think, to retire all of the homophobic writers and get some scientists on board in these arguments! Unless this is done, all we will get is the same old anti-gay rubbish dressed up in differing formats. That approach may well serve childrens’ comics, but it ill serves a publication such as this which (we have been led to assume) is supposed to be ‘serious’!

  • Paul

    Great article, Dr. Kengor. Increasingly also see these types of discussions with long diatribe comments afterwards that try to shame others into abandoning their Faith by calling them “haters”. Amazing to me how disagreeing with a liberal progressive dogma (abortion, homosexual “marriage”, etc) gets you labelled a racist/bigot/woman-hater/homophobe/etc. Funny, I don’t hate anyone nor am I afraid. And, given the choice between following society’s latest whim or the only institution that Jesus promised the Gates of Hell would not prevail against, I’m going with the Catholic Church. Hang on, though, all Believers … the ride we’re on is only going to get bumpier.

  • msdolphinbaby

    God would never have punished the people of sodom and gomorrah for an act he created himself. homosexuality is against God’s commandment to procreate and fill the earth. and you claim that the world is over populated? the world is not over populated. if you did your research you would know that the scientists and analysts at the UN report that in a few years the world will in fact be under-populated. plus homosexuality does not ‘heal’ the over population you are worried about, because remember there is test tube babies, surrogates, etc. how do you think elton john got his twins? he certainly did not birth them!

  • Veritas

    As Catholic Christians we are taught to love our gay brothers and sisters. And I do. But I’m concerned for my gay friends who will inevitably be “married”. Their “marriages” will never have Gods blessings and fruits. Marriage is difficult enough, but a homosexual union (whether there is love present or not) goes against Gods perfect design and is certain to crumble….like ancient ruins….

  • The are so many faulty premises in you statement andreagregorio, that it is difficult to think of where to begin. There has been no scientific support for homosexuality. The fact that some pro-gay agenda scientists notes some obscure species of monkey engages in some act that they perceive to be a reflection of human sexual behavior is dubious at best and pitiful at worst. The APS changed their stance on homosexual relations on the basis of political maneuvering by homosexual psychologists and psychiatrists not on the basis of any scientific research. All honest research that has been done shows that children whose parents are involved in same sex relations ships have higher incidents of drug abuse, suicide and mental. Suicides and high death rates are high amongst those who chose to engage in homosexual activity and have been for as far back as such records are kept. People who engage in such activities feel bad about it not because society disapproves, but because such activities are self destructive.
    No one is denying any human rights to anyone. Gays are free to marry people of the opposite sex just like everyone else. Since marriage is by definition the permanent life long paring of a man and a woman, primarily for the formation of a family and the creation and raising of children how could it be otherwise?
    Why should natural population need to be controlled? The populations of almost every nation in the western world is collapsing. Most will face huge economic and social problems due to their population collapses.
    Wrong on almost every count.

  • Doughlas Remy

    Until recently, homosexuality was not understood as a life-long identity, which it in fact is. The ancient Greeks would have been invested in not recognizing this, because young homosexual men were expected to eventually marry and procreate for the sake of the polis, which needed warriors. Homosexual activity had to be either put aside or extra-curricularized.

    Like the Catholic Church throughout history, all archaic societies engaged in competitive breeding. So it’s not too surprising that the ancient Greeks viewed homosexuality the way they did.

    Gay marriage only represents a higher “level of depravity” if you accept the imperative of competitive breeding, which most people apparently do not. I fail to see how gay marriage can be more “depraved” than gay civil unions or gay promiscuity. Haven’t you got things backwards?

  • Frank Lozera

    No, Veritas, this is not an accurate perception of gay marriages. They’re not “certain to crumble.” In my state, which recently legalized same-sex marriage, many of the gay and lesbian couples that married had already been together for 20, 30, 40 years. And you can be assured that these couples DID love each other. My partner and I have been together for 13 years and we plan to marry in a couple of months. We’re extremely happy together.

  • Frank Lozera

    Hi Paul, I’ve blogged with you for several months, at least, and I thought those who disagreed with you were very fair, and I don’t remember anyone calling you a “hater.” Paul McGuire? Jimmy Jones? David Page? TheBentAngle? All very respectful guys on the whole.

  • Frank Lozera

    I couldn’t agree more, Andrea. I think the Church has arrived at a tipping-point where its teachings about homosexuality will be widely perceived as “homophobic rubbish,” to use your term. It’s already happening. Catholics outnumber any other religious group in all but one of the U.S. states where same-sex marriage has been legalized. Spain, Portugal, Argentina, France, Uruguay, and parts of Mexico and Brazil—all traditionally Catholic jurisdictions—have legalized same-sex marriage. What’s going on?

    Catholics aren’t waiting for the magisterium to come around on this issue. They’re taking matters into their own hands. The sheep are out of the pen.

    The magisterium will eventually bring up the rear, but only after disgracing itself again and again by propagating this kind of rubbish. And someday, someone like Jonah Goldhagen will write a NYT bestseller called “A Moral Reckoning” about the Church’s horrible record on this issue. (Goldhagen’s actual book by that name, published in 2001, was about the Church’s role in the Holocaust.)

  • Frank Lozera

    Msdolphinbaby, according to U.N. data, the Earth’s population has more than doubled since I was born (1944). It is expected to continue growing for at least another 30 years, at which time it may level out. There is no danger that we’ll be “underpopulated” anytime soon.

    Anyway, what do you think I (a gay man) should do? Do you want me to procreate? Explain how, please.

  • Frank Lozera

    Terry, I’m afraid your comment is full of misinformation.

    About homosexuality among animals:

    Surely you must be aware that homosexuality is very common in many, many animal species, including bison, brown bears, brown rats, caribou, domestic cats, cattle, chimpanzees, dolphins, marmosets, dogs, elephants, foxes, giraffes, goats, horses, koalas, lions, orcas, raccoons, barn owls, chickens, common gulls, emus, king penguins, mallards, ravens, seagulls, at least 16 species of fish, at least 30 species of reptiles, four species of amphibians, and 75 species of insects.

    And those are just the ones that have been “observed.” (some organisms are very discreet.) Biologists, MDs, psychologists, and sociologists do not consider homosexuality at all “unnatural.”

    About scientific support for homosexuality:

    The following health and social care associations have declared there to be nothing unhealthy or “disordered” about homosexuality:

    American Psychological Association
    California Psychological Association
    American Medical Association
    American Psychiatric Association
    National Association of Social Workers
    National Association of Social Workers, CA Chapter
    American Sociological Association
    American Academy of Pediatrics, CA
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Psychoanalytic Association
    American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
    American Anthropological Association
    The World Health Organization

  • msdolphinbaby

    Frank, i cannot tell you what to do. even i don’t always know what to do!! I can only refer us to God’s original plan. Btw, his plan has never changed. In the beginning, and since then, God’s intention has been for procreation to be between a man and woman, in the sacred union of marriage.

  • Frank Lozera

    Are we making progress? Absotively and posilutely. If marriage is to be preferred to promiscuity, then gay marriage is definitely a move in the right direction.

  • Alex

    Dear Frank: You have the love of many around you that disagree with your lifestyle. Hopefully you already know that. I also hope that those that discuss this topic with you don’t use hateful speech.
    My point: Unfortunately no matter how far Man goes in destructive and evil laws, God’s laws will never be changed or redefined, no matter what. Marriage is, and always will be, a heterosexual union. I hope you notice the positive feedback from those around you, and I pray that will help you and your partner to someday realize God loves for everyone, no matter how far we as sinners fall.

  • Ref the quote from Robert Reilly summing up ancient Greek culture: “The only homosexual relationship that was accepted was between an adult male and a male adolescent”. Simply not true. The statement would be much more, but not perfectly, accurate with a simple one word change from “accepted” to “idealized”. Being practical people the ancient Greeks would think our cultural debate about marriage and gay marriage simply absurd and that Christianity has it right in thinking the center of marriage is procreation. Reilly apparently assumed that quotable writing is the only evidence. Even there he neglects the cultural approval of the Achilles-Patroklos relationship in the ILIAD. As for cultural acceptance he neglects hundreds if not thousands of surviving pieces of what we would call erotic pottery detailing adult males as well as the fact that in several places in the Hellenic world Alexander the Great’s male lover Hephaistion came to be worshipped also as a divinity.

  • Frank Lozera

    Alex, I get so much love from people who accept me for who I am. I feel so blessed. I am just looking at the guest list for our wedding and feeling their incredible support around me and my partner. Out of about 100 guests, only six are even gay. The rest are friends and family who always loved us and for whom our coming-out changed absolutely nothing about the way they feel about us. We are thankful for that and hope to return their love in kind. We don’t think of ourselves as “sinners,” and we don’t worship a god who would do less than our friends and family have done.

  • Frank Lozera

    Thomas, as I wrote earlier, the ancient Greeks valued procreation for the same reason that some modern societies do: political power and military might. You can’t make an army to defend your city unless you have a dependable supply of manly and aggressive young men. Everybody is recruited into this endeavour. It has been aptly called “competitive breeding.” When your side suffers a huge loss in a battle, all you can think about is pumping out more babies. This mentality carries over into Catholic thinking bigtime. What better way to spread Catholic ideology and political power than to open the spigot on procreation and then come down hard on anyone who want to slow down the flow?

    But that is a sure road to overpopulation, which now plagues the world.

  • Alex

    Frank: Thank you for your response! I don’t mean to change you or your life by my one statement here, but if a mustard seed or two are “planted” and make a difference sometime in your life from all the truth, beauty and love of God, then that would only be a good thing.

    I wish you, your partner, and your family and friends the best in life, Frank. And for everyone on this great Earth God has given us, including you, your partner, and your family and friends, Frank, I wish for all to discover the truth, light and beauty of God’s Creation before their time is called.
    Since I don’t blog much, I will leave it at that!

    God Bless!

  • Richard III

    Perhaps they’re not certain to crumble, but are they certain to last? You, your partner, and your fellow same-sex couples may be the exceptions (same-sex relationships almost certainly crumble), or only part of the rule (some same-sex relationships last, but there are no guarantees)

  • Richard III

    We are not plagued by over-population. Rather, we are, or will soon be, plagued by underpopulation. And I don’t know any Catholic couples who engage in “competitive breeding”. That sounds more like an Islamic ideal, especially considering that Muslim families average something like 5 children while other races average 2 children or less per family.

  • Richard III

    You do not have to procreate. You do not have to marry a woman. As for what you should do, I would recommend that you pray and try to contact Courage, a Catholic outreach program that helps men and women with same-sex attraction to live chastely.

  • Richard III

    The Magesterium will never promote gay marriage, and neither will any faithful Catholics. Gay marriage in the countries you cite got legalized by false Catholics who don’t really respect their faith, by people of other faiths and/or no faith, and by overbearing, godless governments.

  • Richard III

    Careful with the animal argument, Mr. Lozera. You make it sound very much like you think animals doing something makes it OK for people to do it. If that argument goes for OKing homosexuality, is it also OK for a woman to kill and eat her husband and children like a praying mantis, or for parents to conceive and give birth to their kids then leave them to fend for themselves (spiders, sea turtles, etc.), or to feed parasitically on hosts of other races/species (fleas, tapeworms, etc.)? Again, think carefully. Do you really want to take your cues from the animal kingdom?

  • Frank Lozera

    Richard III, you need to get out more often. There is nothing intrinsically “crumbly” about same-sex marriages, and I can assure you that my 13-year relationship with my partner is not an “exception.” What if we were to find out that the divorce rate among heterosexuals is higher than that of homosexuals? Would you want to deny heterosexuals the right to marry? Of course not.

  • Frank Lozera

    “Competitive breeding” may be a term that you’ve never heard before, but it perfectly describes your church’s program. Strange that you can recognize it in Muslims but not in Catholicism.

  • Frank Lozera

    Richard III, my philosophy is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    So, according to your plan for my life, I would leave my partner of 13 years, move into an apartment and perhaps get a dog. I would say goodbye to sexual intimacy and perhaps even human intimacy altogether. I would enter my old age without the support of a companion, without anyone to greet me when I come home, without anyone to share my evening dinner with. I would break my partner’s heart and leave him to face his own declining years in the same way.

    What a plan! Why don’t you try it out for me first, and let me know how it goes?

    Anyone who trades happiness for misery on someone else’s ill-conceived advice is just a fool.

  • Frank Lozera

    Wow, Richard III, there must be a lot of false Catholics out there! Of the one billion Catholics in the world, I wonder how many of them are actually faithful? Maybe the total number of “real” Catholics is actually quite small.

    After what has happened in seven predominantly “Catholic” countries, I’m beginning to look upon Catholics as allies.

  • Frank Lozera

    No Richard, I am not making that particular argument, only refuting Terry’s implied claim that homosexuality is unnatural.

  • Frank Lozera

    Thank you, Alex. I think that is by far the kindest and most Christian thing anyone on this site has ever said to me, and I deeply appreciate it.

  • Richard III

    It’s hard to get out often when you’ve been buried in the ruins of a monastery for 500 years, and even harder when those ruins have in turn been buried under a parking lot for a while.

  • Richard III

    Catholics who have lots of kids do that because they love God and children, not because they want to take over the world. The Catholic faith does not regard women as property, mandate that anyone who leaves the faith must be killed, or that anyone who does not belong to the Church must (A) convert, by force if necessary, (B) die, (C) be made slaves, or (D) pay heavy taxes and send so many women to the local sultan’s harem annually. These are hallmarks of Islam, whose highest ranking sultans are expected to add on to the conquests of their forbears, until all the world is taken.

  • Frank Lozera

    That would explain why you’re so out of touch. Come up for air sometime and I’ll show you around.

  • Richard III

    I don’t really need air since my lungs have been gone for 5+ centuries too, but I’ll take you up on your offer if you don’t mind carrying me because I also have no muscles and my feet got lost when someone built an outhouse near my grave in the early 19th century.

  • Wolfie

    I’m no bible scholar but I remember that somewhere it said something like “give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto god what is god’s,” in other words the church and state are separate. The church should have no opinion about CIVIL unions, regardless of whether they are called marriage because they are recognized only by the state and not by god. There are two options. If marriage is sanctioned by the state then all marriages, gay and straight, must be recognized because the state cannot discriminate. The other option is to have marriage sanctioned only by religion, any religion. So if you Catholics don’t want gay marriage in your church that’s fine, but if the Methodists and Unitarians want gay marriage that’s fine too. Sorry folks this is America, love it or leave it.

  • Veritas

    The only truly accurate perception of homosexual marriage is Gods. It certainly doesn’t matter what I think, feel or believe. In our finite beings we cannot begin to comprehend all of Gods truths and ultimate plan. We are only given tiny glimpses. I pray for each of us to hear His truth. God Bless~

  • Tom Rocco

    I don’t know how this partisan religious article got into Enet English, where I found it. I read Enet for daily updates about what is going on in Greece. This piece has nothing to do with it; and i am pretty sure that the author has not recently read even Plato’s Symposium. It is still worth reading and thinking about. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is also a communicable disease.

  • you’reabigot

    I came to this column unknowingly. What a spewing of hatred. You are a self-anointed bigot undeserving of the freedom granted to you. May God give you some compassion for those you despise. Oh, and I am as heterosexual as a man can be so don’t assume I write out of self-interest. Your rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness DOES gives you the right to propagandize denying freedom to others, but that does NOT make it morally right. Alex Jones, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh must be proud of you expanding their fear-mongering to a religious forum, you champion of hate!

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    You have it exactly backward: it is charitable and loving to proclaim God’s own truth, with gentleness and respect, as the author has done here. This is so because our only true happiness is knowing and loving the God who created us, our Heavenly Father. God is Love itself, and the Truth is what leads us all to the fullness of happiness in a life lived for God alone. SIn is that which God has directed us to avoid, since it leads us away from Him who is our true happiness. To desire another’s happiness, to proclaim the means by which that happiness may be obtained, to advocate for it, to sacrifice for it, to work for it – even though the message may seem old-fashioned and unpopular to many – is a work of mercy and love, a most praiseworthy endeavor. To *refuse* to proclaim these truths would be the opposite of loving, that is, it would be hateful. Persons who lead others away from the happiness of uniting ourselves with God’s love are behaving in a manner consistent with hate.

    Our God Himself has told us what we must do to attain this union with Him; His commandments are in Holy Writ, and the Church enlarges and explains for His people all that He wants for us, His children, to lead happy lives and to attain life eternal with in Heaven.

  • Richard III

    Right on, Marion!

  • Marion (Mael Muire)

    Imagine a woman who has just been elected President of the United States, and on the day after the Inauguration, having spent her first night in the White House, awakens with the dawn, dresses hastily, and in the quiet of those early hours when few but the Secret Service staff are about, makes her way from the family quarters to the magnificent main staircase, through the splendid hallways to the West wing of the mansion, and into the President’s Oval Office – *her* office now. She looks about her.Here, in recent decades the fate of the Free world has been decided again and again. Here she will continue the work of making a better and safer world. She notes with pleasure how everything is as she asked, when after the election, she toured the House, indicating to the staff her desires and wishes – what should go here, what there. Her merest word or nod resulted in diligent recording by those accompanying her – photos, notes, voicemail, swatches of fabric marked, paint chips marked, floor plans adjusted, assistants sent hastily to deliver this or to fetch that and to return at once. Soon, she would be doing the same with Cabinet departments, with battalions and fleets, with tens of trillions of dollars.

    A small box on a shelf by one of the windows caught her eye – the new President didn’t recall ordering that placed here. She lifted the lid and began to examine its contents: childhood treasures *her* childhood treasures. A beloved doll, now worn, a tattered blankie, some children’s’ books which she had cried to have read to her at bedtime. My how she had fussed when deprived of any of them.

    So it is with us and our earthly attachments, particularly to the sins and the relationships imbued with sin that we sincerely believe we cannot live without. But God wants to invite us to a life fuller, deeper, richer – immeasurably so – than the shallow and limited one we lead without Him at the center of our lives. The analogy is not exact – the attachments of little ones are innocent – but some of us may become ensnared in lives of sin in ways so insidious that they may at times seem innocent to us, as well.

    Choose the life Our Father God wants for you. And if you love anyone, it will not sit well with you to see him or her settle for anything less than that life of happiness in God. A happiness that will last eternally, a happiness that thieves may not steal, nor moths destroy, nor rust corrupt! True happiness is indestructible and will last forever.

  • And where did you get your info on over-population?! Obviously you’ve been sold a bill-of-goods on that one!

  • if the number of ‘real Catholics’ is small, then we are at least Biblical…..’narrow is the gate that leads to life, but broad is the way that leads to destruction.’ Just because everyone believes it is right does not make it so.

  • But you are only assuming it would be misery. When you follow God’s plans, you are not miserable. He makes sure of that. The joy of knowing Jesus and doing His will goes way beyond your list of perceived drawbacks.

  • Ah, but GOD says it’s wrong and so who really cares about these groups of ‘professionals,’ WHO were actually coerced to conform when the APA was forced by homosexuals to drop it from the DSM.

  • Bingo.

  • DITTO!

  • Perhaps you should study what was really meant by the Scripture you quoted instead of putting your own spin on it.