The government of the United States has now officially declared war on sexuality itself and, in doing so, attacked the very idea of man made in the image of God. On Monday, May 9, the U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, and the Justice Department sued the State of North Carolina for legislating that men’s rooms were for men and women’s rooms were for women. Four days later the Obama administration issued a joint statement from the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education declaring that transgendered people are the sex they say they are and are to be treated as such in all institutions affected under the jurisdiction of Title IX. This would be the entire public school system. School districts that resist may lose their federal funding.
In her statement suing North Carolina, Ms. Lynch accused the state of “legislating identity and [insisting] that a person pretend to be something they are not.” If George Orwell were alive he would feel himself eclipsed by the double-speak genius of Ms. Lynch. 1984 has nothing on the U.S. Department of Justice. The power of the federal government now stands behind the concept that a man who considers himself a woman contains no pretense while a state that considers a man, as well, a man, is engaged in the act of pretending by asserting that what one sees is what one sees. According to Ms. Lynch it is not the eye of the viewer that determines the object seen but the object dictating how it must be seen. In other words, there is no objective reality to our identification as male or female.
The federal government has officially declared our material bodies immaterial. This is more than nonsense. This is a direct attack on what it means to be human. Even more frightening is that many of us do not see the attack for what it is. Early in his papacy, John Paul II anticipated this attack. In his Theology of the Body he asserts that not only does biology matter but written into our biology is the answer to who we are and who God is. Specifically, that message is written into our sexuality as persons created either male or female.
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To see our sexuality as both inherently biological and yet greater than the individual is a matter of simple reflection. Our sexuality is the one part of our biology that is larger than our self. With the exception of our sexual organs, the remainder of our biological makeup exists for the use of the man or woman to which they belong. But our sexual organs make no sense without the complementary sexual organs of another. The genitalia of a man would be merely comical in a world without women. They might be a source of pleasure, but there would be no inherent reason why that pleasure should involve another. In such a world, a man’s sexuality would not be larger than himself. In fact, without the existence of women, such a man would not even be sexual. Even if two men in our imagined world shared mutual genital pleasure, the relationship would remain unsexual. Without complementarity there is no larger meaning, only pleasure shared. In a world without women our two men could be best friends, but their friendship would not differ qualitatively from other friendships based on different shared pleasures.
What makes our sexuality larger than ourselves is that it is not about ourselves but about another. It is not even about a man and a woman. Our sexuality can only be bigger than us if it is about man, woman and child. Only then can we truly use the word “sexual.” Anything short of the trinity of man, woman and child denies the very meaning of sexuality. Just as our imagined world of men is inherently unsexual, so would be a world of men and women with reciprocal body parts that had no procreative meaning. Without the procreative purpose found in a complementary biology meant to produce children, without the connection of mother to woman and father to man, there is no sexuality.
In the Theology of the Body, John Paul II makes it clear that we are made in God’s image not as men and women separated, but as sexual men and women who can unite in the act of life-creating, self-giving love. In our sexuality, lived out in its truest sense, we image God as a lover. Only when the sexual act images the self-giving, creative love of God, does the sexual coupling becomes a truly unitive act of love, one uniting man, woman, child and God. Every child born to such a union is born into love. In living this unity through our sexuality we learn to love as God loves. Only in so knowing our self as lovers can we truly begin to know who God is.
In a divided world, it is true sexuality, real biological sexuality, that unites us. In assuming our role as lovers, as people fully sexual, we come together as one to ensure that all children are born into love. To be fully sexual is to be chaste. In living chastely, our bodies become sacramental, revealing as visible the invisible love of the divine. To live chastely is to love ourselves as creators and to love all children before they come to be. In truly living our sexuality we participate fully with God in the ecstasy of creation.
To suggest our sexual biology does not matter destroys the sacramental nature of our bodies and reduces love to a state of mind. Our goodness becomes a matter of what we think rather than what we do. However, biology does matter. It is who we are and how we live as human beings. Our sexuality is a direct expression of our biology. The denial of this biological reality does not enhance our humanity; rather, it desexualizes and reduces our humanity. We are no longer a people completed by others but individuals self-fulfilled.
Unfortunately, we have spent the last two generations denying our biology. Our denial began with contraception. With pill and latex we could replace the truly sexual with the merely pleasurable. In separating sexuality from its biological purpose we re-ordered it from its end to its means. When driving without destination becomes its own pleasure, driving to one place is just as good as another. With the sexual act divorced from procreation, homosexuality made perfect sense because sex (as in male/female) lost any inherent meaning. There was no longer a destination, just a pleasure drive to nowhere. With the complementary roles of male and female neutered, how people paired did not matter. In fact, even the idea of a pair had no intrinsic meaning; pornography also made perfect sense. But the worst was yet to come.
With true sexual identity lost, sexual desire became the new anchor for gender definition. A definition anchored on desire is one with no anchor at all. Biological sexuality morphed unrecognizably into genders divorced from any biology. Unmoored from biological reality, today’s “sexuality” proclaims the right of men and women to become eunuchs while maintaining the illusion of being male or female. In the name of this false sexuality, “doctors” remove the real biological sexuality of these troubled people. It is we who complete the operation by covering their scars with our lies. The biology that leads to true love is literally destroyed and the hell of self-absorption put in its place. The remarkably high rate of transgender suicide is not an anomaly but a natural end to a life without real meaning. Somehow, in this devolution from something real to something imagined, from a sexual biology with meaning to one immaterial and without meaning, we have also convinced ourselves that this is how people love one another.
In denying our true sexuality, we have created the illusion of love. Rather than a life lived, one with real pain and real joy, love has become a spiritualized sentiment that engenders good feelings, particularly about one’s self. But we exist as bodies, not spirits. We cannot deny our own natures and not deny God. With love reduced to feelings, God has become whatever each man or woman wants him to be. With sexuality disembodied, with the challenge to love as real bodies removed, modern spirituality has also disembodied the real historical Jesus. No longer God truly incarnate and crucified, the new Jesus exists in the misty fog of imagined mythology, spirit rather than body, and, like the new sexuality, a mental construct rather than a physical reality.
A disembodied sexuality is simply a lie. It is not sexuality at all but the rejection of sexuality. Initially, really good lies, those that captivate even good and well-meaning people, are freely accepted. The more often a lie is repeated the more its contradictions multiply. Ultimately, a lie can continue to exist only if the truth is suppressed. Last week, the government of the most powerful country on earth has aligned itself with the lie that biology does not matter. Our Justice Department has now declared war on a truth that we have let slowly slip away. In our sexuality as male and female we are made in the image of God. We cannot succumb to the destruction of our sexuality and still know who we are and who God is. We are at war with a lie that seeks the destruction of body and soul. To not see it, to not fight it is to choose slavery and death over freedom and life.