Recently the Scottish parliament announced it would consider a measure born of a petition from a man that is calling for the overthrow of laws that are “breaching the rights to sexual autonomy for all consenting adults that is accepted in other more developed countries.” In a world that is increasingly embracing gay marriage, this would be par for the course. Except the petition was not talking about anti-gay laws. It was not even talking about anti-polygamy laws. It was talking about laws against incest.
What’s more is that the logic behind the man responsible for the petition is very familiar.
Public fears, prejudice and bigotry about ACI [Adult Consensual Incest] are mostly due to ignorance created over many years mostly by the church and church-influenced governments and newspapers, in much the same way as public fears and bigotry about homosexuality were created.
The Scottish Parliament will no doubt reject the request to legalize incest. Furthermore, apologists for gay marriage will be quick to point out that one random person using the legalization of homosexuality as precedent to legalize incest is not enough to vindicate the warnings of people of faith who said that gay marriage would open the flood gates for other behaviors.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the legalization of homosexuality has been used to justify incest. The truth is there has been a growing campaign from the legal, academic, and cultural nerve centers of society to push for the legitimization of incestuous relations for years.
As early as 1984, Carolyn S. Bratt of Kentucky University was calling for the legalization of incest based on the Loving v. Virginia decision, which declared marriage to be a fundamental right. The gay rights activists used this same argument for their cause.
In 2010 political science professor David Epstein of Columbia University was convicted of conducting a three-year consensual incestuous affair with his twenty-four year old daughter. Matthew Galluzzo, his lawyer, argued “It’s ok for homosexuals to do whatever they want in their own home. How is this so different?” Galluzzo later doubled down saying,
In 2003, the Supreme Court…declared that constitutional right to engage in sodomy in the privacy of his own home, and that public opinion about the morality of such conduct was no longer a valid basis to deny…that liberty. In the dissenting opinion, Scalia countered that as a result of this logic, there is a very valid argument…that there is now a constitutional right to engage in acts of consensual adult incest. That is the argument that I am now making on behalf of my client”
Recently, during a case involving a man charged with repeatedly raping his sister, Australian District Court Judge Garry Neilson compared incest to homosexuality, saying that it too could be eventually accepted as the norm. He suggested that the risk of genetic abnormalities, which he said was the only reason it remained illegal, could be bypassed with the “ease of contraception and readily access to abortion.”
In 2014, the German Ethics Council recommended that the government abolish anti-incest statutes. “The fundamental right of adult siblings to sexual self-determination is to be weighed more heavily than the abstract idea of protection of the family.”
Academia also has a record of calling for the legalization of incest using the same arguments the gay rights activists once used.
Bioethicist Jacob M. Appel, whose writings have appeared in the Journal of Clinical Ethics, the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, has advocated for the legalization of incest and bestiality. “The state has very little interest controlling what people do in their own private lives in their own bedrooms unless it directly and negatively affects other people in a tangible way.”
Debra Lieberman, an Assistant Professor in the Adult and Health department at the University of Miami, is on record of saying that “My bottom line is this: consensual sex between two adults should always be legal, sibling or otherwise.” When pressed about the family instability that would come with such behavior, she responded,
Sure, but there are other things that mess around with family relations as well. Children of divorced parents have trouble — and you’re not outlawing divorce… [I]t might be a little more uncomfortable. But guess what? Life is hard and there are other situations that cause a lot of discomfort, like divorce. And then the big question is, ‘Are we going to let disgust dictate our moral norms?
Kenneth Eisold, Former President of the International Society for the Psychoanalytic Study of Organizations and a founder of the Organizational Program at The William Alanson White Institute also invoked similar arguments in his support for consensual incest.
“If you…allow for incest, but caution them or prevent them or guide them away from the idea of producing children, it’s their business. I don’t see why society should prohibit that…If we enforce laws on the subject, then we are creating a sort of fundamentalism about who people need to be. I don’t think we want to be that kind of a society. We want to be more open and free.”
Finally, cultural nerve centers such as people in cinematic arts, political commentators, think-tanks, and the blogosphere have pushed for the legalization of incest using the same arguments and tactics the homosexual lobby used to successfully overthrow traditional marriage.
While promoting his film Yellow, which featured an affair between siblings, Nick Cassavetes, director of the film The Notebook, used the pro-gay marriage logic to justify incest. “Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want? If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody.”
Libertarian political commentator Rachel Burger, whose writings have appeared in Forbes, TownHall, PJ Media, and Red State used the “victimless crime” argument to justify her support for consensual incest “There is no reason why the state should protect people from themselves if the crime is truly victimless … Don’t regulate my body and my choices, and I won’t regulate yours. Enjoy having sex with your brother if you want to.”
Dr. Sean Gabb of the British think-tank Libertarian Alliance also argues that the state has no legitimate interest in regulating incestuous activity. “Consenting incestuous behaviour [sic] is no business of the state. It is up to individuals to make their own decisions.”
Finally, radical sexual activists have taken to the blogosphere to push for the legalization of intra-family relations. As early as 2002, the Guardian documented the existence of “chatrooms and websites that are de facto support groups for people engaged in incest” who “want … to normalise [sic] what we have long considered to be profoundly abnormal.”
Some of these activists have begun to collude and, like the gay-rights activists before them, have created politically correct terms for their sexual deviancy. Rather than call themselves “incestuous,” they use the term “consanguinamorous” because, says one activist, incest “makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, when it is used people tend to think about child abusers and rapists, not people in consensual loving relationships.”
Perhaps most frightening is that the pro-incest crowd is already using the same hermeneutical manipulation of the scripture that the gay-rights movement employed. One activist claims “the Bible does condemn incest in Leviticus, but the same book also condemns eating pork, and wearing clothing made from more than one type of fabric.” Homosexuals routinely used this argument to silence Christian critiques of their behavior. This same activist also justifies incest using the same red-letter hermeneutics the gay lobby used to bless homosexuality.
Jesus, the living representative of God on earth didn’t have a single word to say on the subject, or about homosexuality for that matter. If gay and incest bashing was part of Gods plan, you’d think he might have mentioned it. Instead, what we do get is a general message of love for all human beings.
When one looks at each of the aforementioned arguments for the legalization of incest, the resemblance to the push for homosexuality is undeniable. Both invoke the “victimless crime” argument, both claim privacy rights trump sexual boundaries, both dismiss the opposition as fundamentalists who “let disgust dictate our moral norms,” both claim that the Loving v. Virginia decision justifies their right to marriage, both use happy language to remove the stigma of their behavior, both claim “sexual determination” is a fundamental right, both use the obsolete ceremonial laws in Leviticus to discredit the prohibitions against their sexual deviancy, and both look strictly at the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to charge that He never addressed the subject and it is thus irrelevant to the faith.
The reason these arguments look the same is because they are the same.
Consider these two statements.
“People should not have to live in the shadows because they love each other.”
“Love is a human right.”
One of these statements was spoken in defense of gay rights and the other for incest rights. Without checking the sources, could you tell which one was which?
It is time for the church to realize an unpleasant reality. The slippery slope of legalizing incest is not a hypothetical threat. It is not a future threat. It is developing. It is here. It is now.
Those who insist that the aforementioned examples are just sporadic rants of an unorganized lunatic fringe would do well to remember that the homosexual movement began in a similar fashion. They should also heed the fact that we are not dealing with mere basement-dwelling bloggers. We are dealing with people who can shape cultural and legal climates; think-tanks, government advisors, filmmakers, political commentators.
Those who think that the appeal of incest is too small to pose a threat are ignorant of the power of a minority that has sympathy in high places. Homosexuals constitute 1.6% of the U.S. population and they overthrew 228 years of marriage law. With growing sympathy from Hollywood, political commentators, academia, and government advisors, the incest lobby will be in position to do the same.
If the church does not assert and define biblical sexuality now, it will lose more than just the fight over gay marriage, transgenderism, and bisexuality. Even now, the gay rights supporters in the United Methodist church are pushing for polyamory, or “monogomish” relations.
The church must come to grips with the fact that the logic used to justify gay marriage has provided the argumentative infrastructure to annihilate almost the entirety of Biblical sexual ethics.
We mustn’t delude ourselves into thinking that this new wave of sexual revolutionaries will not wage war against faithful Christians with the same ferocity and tactics that the homosexual lobby did before them.
Brian Ballas works for the INSTITUTE FOR RELIGION AND DEMOCRACY and this first appeared on their blog.