An enormously informative website, The Gospel Coalition, has posted a review of the book Victory: The Triumphant Gay Revolution by Linda Hirshman, a retired feminist philosopher and law professor who exposes why the movement to normalize homosexuality has been so successful.
The reviewer David P. Murray, a professor of Old Testament and practical theology, argues that as unpleasant as the book is to read, it’s “worth using this book to conduct a post-mortem on why the church has lost so many battles in this fight.”
The author of this book is none other than the infamous Linda Hirshman who in 2005 wrote a much derided article titled “America’s Stay-at-Home Feminists” in which she harshly critiqued the decision of bright, well-educated women to stay home and raise families, which she views as a failure of feminism.
Here’s how Hirshman summarized some of her ideas from that article:
Everybody started hating [me], apparently, when I published an article in the progressive magazine the American Prospect…saying that women who quit their jobs to stay home with their children were making a mistake….I said that the tasks of housekeeping and child rearing were not worthy of the full time and talents of intelligent and educated human beings. They do not require a great intellect, they are not honored and they do not involve risks and the rewards that risk brings. Oh, and by the way, where were the dads when all this household labor was being distributed? Maybe the thickest glass ceiling, I wrote, is at home.
Okay, I’m judgmental….But I’m a philosopher, and it’s a philosopher’s job to tell people how they should lead their lives.
Here is an excerpt from Murray’s review of Hirshman’s book:
[W]hile accepting that the church has lost many battles in this arena, I’m not conceding ultimate defeat in this war. There are many worrying signs, and the momentum certainly seems to be against us. But who knows, perhaps the title and message of this book might be a Haman moment that stirs up many Christians at such a time as this to take one last glorious stand for the biblical definition and institution of marriage. As we examine Hirshman’s analysis of “The Triumphant Gay Revolution,” let’s pray that God will use it to teach us and to stir us to action.
Hirshman argues that while there are some similarities between the black rights and the feminist movements in terms of tactics, the gay rights movement had a far superior strategy, and therefore achieved much more than these other movements. She argues that while blacks and women sought tolerance and equal rights, they failed to achieve all they could, because they made the great mistake of merely trying to defend their difference. Gay activists’ aims, however, were much higher—not just tolerance but approval of their difference; not separate and equal but integrated and admired.
To achieve this strategy, gay leaders had to make a staggering moral claim: “Gay is good.” Not just acceptable, not just okay, but a moral good. Few Christians have grasped this essential element of the gay agenda. Gay men and women are not like most adulterers and fornicators who know their immorality is bad but still do it anyway. Gays have convinced themselves that their morality is superior to Christian morality and therefore should replace it.
As Hirshman says, “It is the moral certainty of the gay revolution that explains why, unlike the racial and feminist movements, it has been able to stand up to that powerful counterforce [the morally driven religious right] and, slowly but surely, prevail.”
Identify Your Enemies
Standing firmly on this “moral foundation,” gay activists identified four major obstacles to achieving their strategic objective: (1) The churches considered them sinful; (2) The state criminalized their sex acts; (3) Doctors—mainly psychologists—thought they were crazy; and (4) The military feared they would be traitors to the nation. For gays, then, conformity with mainstream norms was not an option. The accepted versions of sin, crime, sanity, and loyalty were mortal enemies that had to be dismantled and replaced.
Hirshman provides a stunning wealth of detail about how the gay movement worked to overcome these “four horsemen of the gay apocalypse”: Sinful, Criminal, Crazy, and Subversive. However, their core moral claim—“Gay is good”—required a ruthless focus on two traditional institutions of heterosexual morality—marriage and the military.
Same-sex marriage guru Evan Wolfson recognized that marriage was “the central social and legal institution in any society.” Barring gays from marriage focused “on the core of what makes them different: their sexual and emotional relationships. Challenging marriage discrimination would challenge the core of gay exclusion.”…
Despite many political and judicial victories over the years, the gay movement would not stop short of victory over the military and the church. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) was the unacceptable sop that President Clinton offered to the many gay supporters he had cultivated by over-promising during the 1992 presidential campaign.
But tolerance of secret conduct was nowhere near enough to achieve the longed-for moral approbation. Repeal of DADT was finally accomplished in 2011, together with the removal of the ban on gays serving in the military. We can expect the same no-compromise approach to the one remaining bulwark—the prohibition on gay marriage. And we must understand that no amount of “civil partnership” compromises will satisfy the demand for moral approval.
Many thought AIDS would be the end of the gay movement. However, in what is perhaps the most stunning claim in the entire book, Hirshman says, “AIDS was the making of the gay revolution.” When you read of how the gay community leveraged this setback to secure massive funding not just for medical treatment, but also for educational and community initiatives (in a way that blacks and women never did), you cannot but agree with the claim.
Hirshman says that gays benefited from the legal profession’s “nostalgia for the heroic role it played during the racial civil rights movement. . . . For young lawyers aspiring to be the next Thurgood Marshall, the gay revolution was the civil rights movement of their generation.” In a section that goes a long way in explaining why the legal culture is so anti-Christian, Hirshman points out that law firms have “become among the best places in America for gay and lesbian employees. . . . The legal sector has the largest number of top-scoring companies in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, an annual measure of how equitably large private businesses in the United States treat their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees, consumers, and investors.”
So it all looks rather grim for Christians. We are facing opponents with a well-defined strategy and an energizing moral certainty. Their “kill list” has claimed three out of four targets, and they are pursuing the last (“the most resilient horseman of the gay apocalypse—sin”) with a united, uncompromising, never-give-up, laser-like focus on gay marriage. And many lawyers—including our President—are out to make a great name for themselves in this final “triumph.”
Is there anything we can do? I believe there is. We can repent. Yes, let’s begin with ourselves, the Christian church, and our own sin: apathy, cowardice, defeatism, pragmatism, and inconsistency. Let’s confess it and seek the empowering pardon that Christ alone can give.
We can also pray. Despite our failings, we can pray for God’s mercy to his church and the nation. We can plead, “For your name’s sake, for your glory’s sake, intervene for your beautiful and blessed institution of marriage.”
And we can love. Although the majority of the gay movement hold us in contempt—and, make no mistake, they do—let’s not return evil for evil. In our relationships with gays, and in our public words, while holding firmly to biblical morality, let’s do all we can to smash the caricatures of Christians as gay haters. Gays have declared themselves our enemies. As such, they are entitled to our love—especially the love of evangelism.
Last, let’s not give up on the legal and political avenues open to us. Let’s prayerfully and practically support courageous Christian individuals and organizations who can speak truth to power.
IFI is encouraged to hear a Christian leader like Dr. Murray speak truth on the failure of the church to publicly participate in the war on sexual morality. It’s encouraging to hear a Christian leader accurately characterize as sinful our “apathy, cowardice, defeatism, pragmatism, and inconsistency.” And it’s encouraging to hear a Christian acknowledge that loving those who hold Christians in contempt does not require either silence or acquiescence in the public square.