If you read the news, there’s enough there to know why you might be feeling a bit left behind as we watch a lurch to the far right. New restrictions on gay families adopting children, Bible studies in the Presidential cabinet led by the man who teaches homosexuality is “an abomination,” and packing the Supreme Court enough to put all prior decisions, like marriage equality and Roe v Wade, in play.
Now there’s help from an entirely new direction and that direction is up, high enough to hoist religious conservatives by their own petard. Let’s start with the fact that the Declaration of Independence (The Founders’ coming out letter!) and the US Constitution were written by men who were not intent on creating a Christian nation. They had no interest in creating a nation that would be dominated by any religious group.
The key to understanding their revolutionary intent is to understand their use of the terms “Natural Law” and “Natural Rights.” When St. Aquinas began using these terms in the 13th century he based his conclusions on the oh-so-advanced 13th century observations of the natural world. It is from him that we get laws referring to “crimes against nature” that applied to anyone having nonmarital sex or even sex in a way in marriage that couldn’t result in childbirth, like oral sex. Old people who were sterile were, shall we say, “grandfathered in.” These crimes against nature included (even in the US) oral sex between married people.
Fast forward in the Wayback Machine to the 18th century where the Founders simply let go of the notion of using naturalists’ observations to determine rights and instead, and this is good, replaced it with the notion of observations of human nature. Only took about 500 years to achieve this breakthrough in reasoning that uses observations of human nature to comprehend regulating human behavior using the principle, “that government governs best that governs least.” Instead of telling people what they couldn’t do, the Constitution was designed to protect us from those control freaks who couldn’t get enough control.
In the Declaration, preceding the Constitution both temporally and logically, we learn that our revolution was designed to protect our inalienable rights, the ones that cannot be taken away by any government because they are part of our nature. You know the phrase, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” Consider this: if “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” doesn’t apply to human sexuality, then it doesn’t mean anything at all. In terms of the human race’s nature, sexual diversity is the norm. Don’t want to suck off Mr. Centerfold? Then don’t, but get out of the way for the rest of us who, as they say in the Bible Belt, have a weiner dog in that fight. Don’t want an abortion? Don’t get one. Again, if a woman can’t own her body then she can’t own anything.
On to the Bill of Rights. Although SCOTUS nominee Robert Bork referred to the 9th Amendment as an “ink blot,” the 9th Amendment is so large we could crash an 18-wheeler of human sexual rights through it without touching the sides. In the 9th Amendment are contained natural rights like getting up out of bed when we want to, working out as much or (Please Jesus!) as little as possible. It included our right to imbibe our favorite drugs (Make mine a mojito bartender!). When we tried to, hmmm, meddle with this last one in the 18th Amendment (beloved by control freaks everywhere), we repealed this in the 21st Amendment because we discovered that we couldn’t effectively enforce a law that went against natural rights.
But at the same time that the Bill of Rights was being written, the US was passing statutes to control human sexuality. And here’s a rule we must never forget: there’s never enough control for someone addicted to it and control addicts will not stop controlling even if they get everyone’s sexuality under their control. That’s right, the intent is to control even straight guys. They too were forbidden to get blow jobs—even those provided by their wives. The rule, learned from the Romans, was and is, “Divide et impera,” or for those of us who skipped Latin class: Divide and conquer. Dividing humanity into seemingly disconnected sexual subcultures made such control seem less overreaching. “We’re only controlling deviants, you see, not you.” This division of humanity or sexual balkanizationis the name of the game when it comes to controlling human sexuality. But if they couldn’t control whether or not you put a beer bottle in your mouth how are they going to control whether we put anything else in there? And yet they try.
Gays, trans, women, and yes, even straight men are all victimized by this controlling behavior. Thanks a lot Aquinas, and thanks for never getting suspicious of how the natural world totally confirmed God is Catholic. But when we look at human nature and its diversity, we see that some religious folk are only using the Constitution to force their preexisting religious beliefs on the rest of us in the name of the Constitution. Actually, a better name for their subversive efforts to control our natural rights would be “counterrevolutionary.” Your Constitution loves you and protects you and all of your gay friends. It deserves our loyalty.