In my previous examples, the other person in the conversation was someone who experiences same-sex attraction. But most of our unconvinced friends will be heterosexual, and most of the difficulties of conversation with them about the topic arises either from the fact that so many are either leading sexually disordered lives themselves, or confusedly trying to defend friends and relatives who do. They may be reluctant to concede that any form of sexuality could be problematic, just because then they would be forced to face up to what is wrong with the other things they think they have to shield.
One way the discomfort of heterosexuals about their own behavior manifests itself is misplaced fear of not being compassionate enough. They may exercise so little restraint in their own sexual lives that they consider it cruel to expect any restraint at all from anyone else. Perhaps it is sufficient to point out that though compassion is good, there is a difference between true compassion, which is a persevering commitment to the true good of others, and false compassion, which is a lazy disposition to approve of whatever they want.
Another way heterosexual discomfort manifests itself is a misplaced desire not to discriminate. For example, people may say changing the laws of marriage “wouldn’t hurt anyone,” so why not make them “the same for everyone”? I answer this question with a question. Why are there marriage laws in the first place? After all, the law doesn’t take an interest in love in general; it ignores my relationship with my fishing buddy. But marriage is unique. It is the only institution that can give a child a fighting chance of being raised by a mom and a dad. To demand that the law regard two men or two women as married is to proclaim that henceforth family law should be based not on the well-being of children, but on the sexual convenience of grown-ups. Still think it wouldn’t hurt anyone?
Tomorrow: Part 7. This seven-part series is adapted from my chapter in a book to be published by Ignatius Press.