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The “Ick Factor”

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 • 12:11 pm

The “ick” factor, at least as the term is used in the narrow confines of revisionist blogdom, usually refers to the sense of revulsion that the “unenlightened” experience when considering what actually occurs during a sexual encounter between members of the same sex. The “ick” factor is the outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible homophobia animating those who stand in the way of “justice” and “inclusion”...


The “ick” factor, at least as the term is used in the narrow confines of revisionist blogdom, usually refers to the sense of revulsion that the “unenlightened” experience when considering what actually occurs during a sexual encounter between members of the same sex. The “ick” factor is the outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible homophobia animating those who stand in the way of “justice” and “inclusion”.

Elizabeth Kaeton+ defines the term:

“The “ick” factor, of course, has been defined as the visceral reaction some have in response to thoughts about oral sex in general and anal sex in particular.

You can hear the “ick factor” in statements such as that which good Roman Catholic William F. Buckley once said to his equally Roman Catholic gay brother, Andrew Sullivan: “It’s not who you are that’s a problem, it’s what you do.”(posted at “Telling Secrets” September 29th, 2007)

Kaeton, strangely, seems willing to accept the distinction between “being” and “behavior” in this case, a distinction that revisionists generally refuse to acknowledge. The common phrase, “hate the sin, love the sinner” is, for example, routinely met on revisionist blogs with incredulous disdain.

There is good reason, however, for revisionists to highlight the distinction with regard to the ick factor.

For Anglican “centrists”, the ick factor is the visceral reaction that necessarily prohibits the reasoned assessment of homosexual behavior, an assessment that may end in acceptance and normalization. The Lambeth 1.10 sanctioned “listening process” demands, some believe, that the ick factor be overcome. How, they ask, can we listen to the experience of homosexual people if our consideration of that experience is tinged with revulsion?

Beyond the Anglican realm, to secular observers the “ick” factor is a clear sign of discrimination, like the response of a racist to the idea of integration or intermarriage. Below is a selection from a German opinion article from the magazine Die Zeit translated and excerpted in Harper’s. It applies the ick factor more broadly to all sexual relationships but the point is the same:

There is a correlation between the level of Puritanism and the “ick-factor.” The more puritanical a society, the less tolerant it is towards gay partnerships, divorces and unmarried people living together—indeed, of anything which departs from the old moral concepts; indeed, sexual impulses erupt and strike out on their own, into the secretive. When a society is more tolerant, then these types of scandals begin to disappear from the headlines. American will not free itself of the “ick-factor” until Americans are able to accept the fact that a president is in his fourth marriage and a governor lives with his friend.”

The ick factor is for this secular writer a sign of bigoted intolerance.

Given such widely perceived connection, both among “centrist” Anglicans and secular observers, between revulsion and prejudice revisionists are especially keen to seize upon and categorize almost all negative reaction to homosexual display under the ick factor label. This allows them to both reap the political benefit of portraying the orthodox as homophobic bigots and it reinforces their own self-justifying perception of the same.

The “gay wedding” in the Church of England last weekend provided a fantastic opportunity to employ this tactic.
 
Here, by way of illustration, is an English blogger’s take on the conservative response to last weekend’s gay wedding ceremony:

So many things we do now would be considered “not what god wants” from a strictly scriptural standpoint. Marriage, at least according to the bible, used to mean anything up to a man and a hundred women, some of whom were as young as 12 years old. That’s changed. So I’m thinking this “one man, one woman” idea is something that can be negotiable as well, and the insistence on it is really just the “ick” factor that certain people are unable to get past.”

The insistence on heterosexual marriage is, according to this blogger, not theological but rather it is rooted in the orthodox’ inability to quell their irrational revulsion.

It is important, I think, to agree that in our fallen condition our emotional reactions are often skewed. We are drawn to what we ought to despise and we are repulsed by what we ought to love.

God created human beings with faculties designed for his glory. Our conscience and emotions, if properly tuned, would reflect his character. We would always be repulsed by sin and always be drawn to purity.

One key element, in fact, of the process of sanctification, of being conformed to Christ, is the re-tuning of our conscience and our desires. God changes our minds and our emotions follow. Over time we begin to love what God loves and hate what he hates.

Paul, in Romans 7:14-25, expresses deep loathing for his inability to act in accordance with his new love for righteousness. He does what he hates and he does not do what he loves. He cries out for rescue from his “body of death” (v.24). Paul is repulsed by his own sin. His new heart wants to please Christ. 

The fact is that if homosexual behavior is morally neutral or if it is a moral good in certain contexts, say a monogamous relationship, then the “ick factor” reflects an unsanctified aspect of our nature, something that must be changed in order to be brought into conformity with Christ. 

If, however, homosexual behavior is an abomination (Leviticus 18:22); if the desire is inherently disordered (Romans 1:26-27) and the action is contrary to God’s design and intention (1 Corinthians 6:9), then a visceral negative reaction to it reflects a conscience and a heart aligned with the mind of Christ.

It is a good thing to be repulsed by sin. 

The “ick factor” tactic is essentially question begging. The real question is whether the behavior that evokes the “ick” ought so to do.

The answer to that question is, of course, quite clear and the tactical shaming from the left serves only to callous good consciences.

There is, however, a more difficult question to be raised. Why do some of us feel revulsion for some sins and not for others? Is there a sort of prejudice at work here that causes heterosexual men, for example, to react with disgust at the thought of gay sex but with titillation at the exploitation of young female bodies in the media?

Shouldn’t both be sickening? Both offend God and hurt others.

The revisionist answer to this sort of inconsistency is to suggest that the ick factor needs to be overcome altogether. The orthodox answer, I think, is that the ick factor ought to be far more comprehensive and extended. We should be at least as viscerally disgusted with heterosexual promiscuity as we are with homosexual monogamy, with malice, greed, slander, and pride as we are with same sex blessings.

The “ick factor” is a fine and good thing but felt, unfortunately, all too infrequently and inconsistently. 


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Comments:

There is a good Aristotelian case to be made that well shaped emotions are internal to well formed moral dispositions. Thus it is entirely reasonable and indeed admirable that actions of certain kind should incite our repugnance. Indeed we should be deeply troubled if certain actions did not incite repugnance - it would be the sign of a poorly formed character.

The debate to be had is about which kinds of actions should reasonably and properly incite repugnance.

[1] Posted by driver8 on 06-17-2008 at 12:52 PM • top

Great article.

[2] Posted by Phil on 06-17-2008 at 12:54 PM • top

Very nicely penned on a difficult subject, Fr. Matt.
I have been fascinated to receive the reaction to a gay sex scene I wrote into my novel of last year, “Lest Ye Be Judged”.  Since the controversy over homosexuals in the Church issue was one of the central themes of the book, I felt it necessary to explore the “ick factor” in telling the story, because I believe many who claim to be supportive of a homosexual lifestyle do so without fully grasping what that lifestyle is.  It has been quite interesting - many people who have styled themselves “liberal”, “progressive”, and/or “pro-gay” have experienced the effects of the “ick factor” in reading my chapter 19, some to the point of putting the book down at that point.  The most marked contrast is found in several women I know, in their 70’s and 80’s, conservative as they can be, all of whom said the scene didn’t bother them, that it was no more graphic than heterosexual sex scenes in other novels. 
I agree with your assessment that the so-called “ick factor” is inappropriately used as a tool or device to accuse one of bigotry or intolerance.  I also think you are spot-on in asking why the “ick factor” does not equally apply to such events as John Bennison’s sexual abuse of a 14-year old girl - why didn’t several Episcopal clergy experience the “ick factor” when they learned of it?  What they experienced was the “if we ignore it they will go away” factor.

[3] Posted by Horseman on 06-17-2008 at 12:56 PM • top

The orthodox answer, I think, is that the ick factor ought to be far more comprehensive and extended. We should be at least as viscerally disgusted with heterosexual promiscuity as we are with homosexual monogamy, with malice, greed, slander, and pride as we are with same sex blessings.

[*Standing Ovation*] Preach IT!!

I do wish I had less of an “ick” factor for another’s sin and much more for my own, then I’ll be a long way in abstaining in my behavior without omissions in mercy for others while upholding the Lord’s decrees. The truth is we often should to not base our morality on the “ick” factor, but on something objective ... oh let’s say ... Scripture!

[4] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 06-17-2008 at 01:10 PM • top

“We should be at least as viscerally disgusted with heterosexual promiscuity as we are with homosexual monogamy, with malice, greed, slander, and pride as we are with same sex blessings”.

Yeah, I am.  And, in my view, that makes me an “EOE” rather than some sort of “bigot”, another revisionist tactical “we are victims” strategy. 

Matt largely addresses the moral/theological here but I’ll change the terms a little to the practical/medical—ask any good gastroenterologist/proctologist who’s treated a lot of “gay bowel syndrome”(and straight women can get it, too, if they’ve engaged in a lot of anal sex with men, of course as the “receiving” partner) whether or not there are good reasons for having “ick factor” about sodomy—trust me, it’s not a very pretty medical picture, without even mentioning the sexually transmitted diseases that can accompany said behavior.  So, based on our biology(the anus/rectum is not built to be an entrance, just an exit), not to mention the Holy Scriptures and THEIR treatment of sodomy, were I clergy you wouldn’t catch me putting a blessing on any of that stuff.

The Scriptures also apply equally, in my view, to the acts of homosexual women as well as men, so no dice there, either.

Thus, if people want to do it, that’s their business and between them and their Lord.  But, to expect or demand a blessing on it, or think that one can just arbitrarily change foundational Christian doctrines that have been around for thousands of years, is, to me, the height of   misplaced, self-centered presumption.

[5] Posted by Passing By on 06-17-2008 at 01:18 PM • top

I have heard that humans have an innate fear of snakes, a natural “Ick Factor” encoded in our mind that tells us that snakes are potentially dangerous.

Normal and healthy people have a natural “Ick Factor” when it comes to their own feces.  Even without knowing about germs and disease, people knew not to poop in their kitchen. 

I won’t go into some of the extremes of homoerotic practices, but I can tell you once you start disregarding the “Ick Factor” in some ways, other things start to lose their sense of Ick.  And every time we indulge in “unlcean thoughts” or practices, we become more tolerant of all sin.

Personally, I don’t find homosexual sex any more “icky” than any other sinful behavior.  I find it a million times less Icky than abortion, for example, but note how many people support abortion AND homosexuality (note VGR’s praise for “the work” Planned Parenthood does).  The fact is once you start losing your natural “Ick Factor”, everything else seems to be fine.

As realignment in Anglicanism continues, let’s not, as Matt notes, lose our “Ick Factor” for ALL sin.  If one of my churchmates calls out homosexual sin without recognizing their own sins, I will be the first to call them out on it.  All sin under the surface is vile, my sins as well as Gene Robinson’s.  The difference is, of course, he sees his sins as beautiful and wants the One, Holy, catholic and apostolic church to bless it.

DoW

[6] Posted by DietofWorms on 06-17-2008 at 01:23 PM • top

Matt+, I think the ‘ick factor’ is there for the most serious situations of “don’t do that”.  It doesn’t seem to be present for most people for every sin.

What is interesting is the revisionist contention that my God-given ‘ick factor’ is wrong, oh so totally wrong, but same sex attraction is right, so totally right.  If they both have genetic and environmental components, who’s to same that the majority of people (the ‘ick’ people) are wrong?

There is apparently a lot of angst and disbelief amoung some people when the ‘realize’ they have same sex attraction.  Could it be that gay people also have some level of ‘ick’ factor?

[7] Posted by Paul B on 06-17-2008 at 01:34 PM • top

Great articel Fr. Matt! I have a heavy dose of “ick factor” and I thnak my Lord for it. But, like Hosea6:6, I wish the Lord had given me a does of “ick factor” for my own sins before I commit them.

[8] Posted by TLDillon on 06-17-2008 at 01:37 PM • top

Very well put, Matt+! One of your gems.

It struck me, reading it, that it’s characteristic of liberals to focus on “causes” and try to ignore “individuals” or “specifics” or “facts”. “Equal rights for homosexuals!” they cry—but try to get you not to think about what homosexually actually is, or whether or not it’s reasonable or coherent to demand those rights on that basis. (The same “equal rights for a category of sexual practitioners” arguments they use can be applied - with equal logical coherence - to polygamists, adulterers, paedophiles, zoophiles, nercrophiliacs… really, to any “category” of sex practice.)

Those who model their care and charity on the Christian ideals—and on Christ’s example—focus on the individuals, not on the “generalizations” or the “categories” or the “causes”. Jesus did not advocate social reform to change the place of Samaritans in secular society… He simply was loving to the Samaritan woman. He condemned the hypocritical practices of the Pharisees in general, but He still met with love the Pharisee, Nicodemus, who came to Him. And so forth.

The homosexualists by contrast, as you observe, want us to get over the “ick” factor because they don’t want us to think closely about what they’re actually advocating. They want to argue, for example, “this is just another social justice issue, as with race or gender”... they don’t want us to think closely about the fact that its actually about chosen behaviors. This policy and pattern of deception and misdirection is explicitly advocated as part of the homosexualists’ program in trying to normalize their behaviors in the ‘80s manifesto After the Ball.

You can see the same pattern in the pro-abortionists: phrase it in terms of “a woman’s choice”; present it as a “social justice” and “freedom” issue… and, above all, don’t let people stop to think about what you’re really discussing—which is the stabbing, poisoning, even the dissecting!, of a living, silently screaming, infinitely vulnerable human being in their own mother’s womb.

I suppose the Nazi Fascists worked in very much the same way as their modern cousins, these American liberal fascists. Focus on the general, anaseptic “cause” (e.g. “Jews are responsible for national ills”) and not on the specifics of what’s being done (e.g. “whole-sale torture and genocide of innocent people in mass-murder camps”). No need to trouble the average German citizen with details about individuals… just get them behind the cause.

I imagine that Christ, by contrast, would focus on individuals—lovingly urging the active homosexual to repentance (as He did with the adulterous women He met); saving the unborn babies and the German Jews, speaking out against their murderers, and striving to get those murders, as individuals, to repent.

Because, to Christ, society only matters insofar as it helps souls… while to these fascists, souls only matter insofar as they serve society. Or, at least, that “better society” into which they’re trying to deceive, co-opt, or just drag the masses.

pax,
LP

[9] Posted by LP on 06-17-2008 at 01:38 PM • top

#6 DoW hits the ick on the head. Momma always said, “Don’t play with caca.” A sense of “ick” can be desensitized by repeated exposures and positive reinforcement. The same desenstization occurs with other pleasurable sins. It probably occurs faster if it has the blessing of the Church.

[10] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 06-17-2008 at 01:48 PM • top

I meant “mama Church.”

[11] Posted by Undergroundpewster on 06-17-2008 at 01:49 PM • top

I recall back in the late 80s and early 90s hearing all too often about how we can’t impose our own personal morality on others, and how it’s wrong to be judgmental, how morality cannot be legislated, and so on.  Those days are gone. 

Now, it seems we’re not entitled to our thoughts and feelings if they conflict with the Brave New World Charter and it cultural watchdogs.  For revisionist/progressive/enlightened prophetics, it would be wrong not to pass judgment on those who find anything about homosexual acts repulsive and grotesque.  You may NOT have those thoughts and feelings. 

“We have ways of making you adore GLBT acts.”

[12] Posted by DaveW on 06-17-2008 at 01:50 PM • top

My generation in my family(siblings and cousins) is full of identity confusion and disorientation, addictions of all kinds, both parents has lost their same-sex parent, alcohol, cigarettes, anger, bitterness, divorce, sexual, physical and emotional abuse…I know the damage and the pain that identity disorientation entails and brings on the next generation.
‘Gay’ does not accurately describe the situation, rather the opposite.  This is a condition of pain, hunger for love that was not given…I know this personally so very well.  The deprivations must be filled with Christ and within the redemptive body who will love unconditionally, and help them to truth and healing.  This healing body should would be Christ’s Church.  But when the Church says evil is good and good is evil, she becomes an instrument of hell.

The wonderful Gospel good news is that God is able to heal and deliver us from all kinds of sin (I Corinthians 6:9-11, Hebrews 7:25)...but sin must be dealt with honestly, not covered up like the Bennisons.  (I John 1:5-10) We must confess our sin and come into agreement with God about sin’s evil and harm.  (James 5:16)
God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.  It takes humility, courage and wisdom (which God supplies in abundance) to change…but when we begin to surrender to follow His will, He supplies more than sufficient grace and mercy and strength and peace.  He gives Himself as all we need.  (II Corinthians 12:9)

[13] Posted by Floridian on 06-17-2008 at 02:11 PM • top

A very useful message, Matt.
It brought to mind the moment, as described, at the ‘consecration’ of VGR in NH, when the good priest (sorry, I’m not sure of name) stood at the appropriate moment and began to describe some implications of gay behavior.  He may have mentioned aspects like Geek did in his comment above.  But he didn’t get far because PB Griswold cut him off!  That indicated to me that even the crowd gathered there could be susceptible to some level of ‘ick’ factor revulsion and it was necessary to prevent it welling up.  Consciences or sensibilities may be seared, and some completely hardened, but not all. 
Mothers - dare I say, good mothers? -  instinctively know to foster preventative ‘ick’ factor development in their children to protect against all sorts of ills and evils, wrongly joined body parts being only one of many such factors.

[14] Posted by TACit on 06-17-2008 at 02:54 PM • top

Please let me add - the worst things my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles did was to rebel against God, ignore His Word and His Church and choose their own way instead.  (Romans 1:20-32)  In doing so, they misrepresented and distorted their children’s inner definitions of God, Love, Truth, Life, man, woman, husband, wife, family by in their ungodly actions, words and thoughts.  Even the Cross was crooked and distorted in our family…we were taught that Christians were hypocrits…but they took us to church anyway. 

Our home and family was not safe and the church was not safe.  Really, it wasn’t, for the leaders had secret lives we soon found out in such a small town..they actually were hypocrits. 

So, we had no real home, no real church, no solid holy reference points, no God-tuned inner gyroscope to guide us into life, to help us make good choices.  So many tragedies resulted.  In my generation, among the 5 of us, there are 11 divorces and multiple addictions from food to spending to plastic surgery…perhaps relationship addictions. 
The Sick New World that the sexual agendites are panting for will bring societal, emotional and spiritual ills they never imagined. 

The Real True Church had better get ready to minister Christ to these severely broken people.

[15] Posted by Floridian on 06-17-2008 at 03:35 PM • top

When I read the accounts of what was disclosed in the Bennison trial, the victim’s experiences, I experienced the Ick factor x 3.  It was disgusting that a grown man could do those things to a young girl who as yet had no experience of life. She styated that it had ruined her ability to have a normal relationship and I believe it. The ick factor in spades!
Dumb sheep.

[16] Posted by dumb sheep on 06-17-2008 at 03:55 PM • top

Matt—thanks for this article.  Now we can simply link to this post when people bring it up and move on.

; > )

[17] Posted by Sarah on 06-17-2008 at 05:12 PM • top

Note the remarkably INCONSISTENT use of feelings by many ECUSA revisionists.

If something feels right to them, then it must be right.

But if it feels wrong to the orthodox, then there must be something wrong with the orthodox.

[18] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-17-2008 at 05:47 PM • top

Matt: Thank you for a prompt and cogent response to a revisionist rhetorical device that just recently started appearing on these pages.

A good example of timely apologetics.

[19] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-17-2008 at 05:57 PM • top

Strange that MS Kaeton should bring this up, I wonder if she is projecting her own feelings on others.
Homosexuals have been known to divorce their wives or husbands, presumably, because the Ick factor is so powerful that it prevents them from finding happiness with the parent of the opposite sex. Some even expect their ex -wives and children to understand the power that their sexual preference and sexual distain (the Ick factor) have over them.

[20] Posted by Betty See on 06-17-2008 at 06:46 PM • top

Hosea:

I do wish I had less of an “ick” factor for another’s sin and much more for my own, then I’ll be a long way in abstaining in my behavior without omissions in mercy for others while upholding the Lord’s decrees.

Out of the mouths of babes!  (OK, I know you are somewhat older than that, but you nailed it! wink )

La Rochefoucauld said that we all have the strength to endure the misfortunes of others.  By the same token, I think we all have enough “ick factors” to truly loathe those sins which we are least likely to commit ourselves.  Father Kennedy’s post is a challenge to avoid the posture of the pious Pharisee: “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like other men—especially these (fill in the blank).”

My own “ick factors” aren’t primarily about sex, unless some horrendous crime is involved.  But a fairly robust sense of humor has kept me reasonably sane thus far and, in addition to understanding that certain behaviors are inherently disordered and gravely sinful, I have also come to appreciate the extent to which some of them are utterly ridiculous!  At least, I now know that they would be for me.  Chastity and sanity go hand in hand.

No, the subject of “ick” turns my thoughts to a hospital emergency room.  All of those people in great distress who are admitted in very bad shape, and some near death, from all sorts of injuries and illnesses.  I marvel at the wonderful ability of the surgeons and the nurses and the technicians to handle it all.  I don’t think I could do it, I would find the blood and gore too much to stomach, but I certainly do thank God for those who can.  We would be lost without them.

Where the Church is concerned, the “hospital for sinners” admits some who are suffering on a spiritual level from sucking chest wounds, or who are eaten away with cancer, or coming in with severed limbs and bloody stumps.  And that is the place where all who bear the name of Christ are “on duty.”  Whether we serve in ministry as laypersons or clergy, in this particular emergency room we must all overcome our “ick factors” and our gag reflexes or whatever it is that might distract us from the care of the one in distress.  Christ Himself is the Great Physician but much of His work is done with our hands. 

The Church is the kind of hospital where all the trauma care patients are ultimately expected to become doctors and nurses and aides themselves, once they’ve recovered, so that they in turn can treat others.  Our personal preferences and hang-ups ought not prevent us from doing that.  But no one who has helped to heal another of his injury or illness will wish to take that disordered condition upon himself.  So, let us keep in place the “ick factors” which can help to preserve us from sin, but may they never get in the way of ministering to those who now occupy the place of suffering we were once in ourselves, even if their particular malady is not the same as our own.  The Divine Infirmary is open to one and all and the way we proceed must give witness to that.

[21] Posted by episcopalienated on 06-17-2008 at 07:22 PM • top

In my humble, bigoted AND homophobic opinion people should have “Exit Only” tattooed on their butts.
Politically incorrect and wallowing in it,
AP+

[22] Posted by Anglican Paplist on 06-17-2008 at 07:25 PM • top

Referring to the WF Buckley dialog noted above, my main problem is neither with homosexuals nor with what most do in bed: that is indeed between them and their Lord. No, what bothers me beyond measure is the “religion of lifestyle” that has arisen in my lifetime. It appears to have arisen on no particular basis, and no particular thought or insight seems to inform it, yet as a result of that religion, distortions and demands are made in our society that can be good for no one. From that alone, a strong case for the activity of the Great Adversary in this matter could be sustained…

[23] Posted by ears2hear on 06-17-2008 at 07:42 PM • top

Hosea6:6 and episcopalienated, thanks for both your posts on this thread.

[24] Posted by oscewicee on 06-17-2008 at 07:55 PM • top

The strategy seems based on Pope’s maxim:

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
as be hated need but to be seen;
but seen too oft, familiar with her face,
we first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Imaginative of them to think of running it backwards.

Cheers,

Phil Hobbs

[25] Posted by gone on 06-17-2008 at 08:05 PM • top

RE: “La Rochefoucauld said that we all have the strength to endure the misfortunes of others. By the same token, I think we all have enough “ick factors” to truly loathe those sins which we are least likely to commit ourselves.  Father Kennedy’s post is a challenge to avoid the posture of the pious Pharisee: “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like other men—especially these (fill in the blank).”

Heh heh . . . so very true.  Somehow our own shortcomings and sins seem somehow so . . . noble and strong and at least sincere, even if granted quite wrong.  ; > )

Seriously Episcopalienated, this line below is a beautiful metaphor—thank you for it:

“The Church is the kind of hospital where all the trauma care patients are ultimately expected to become doctors and nurses and aides themselves, once they’ve recovered, so that they in turn can treat others.”

[26] Posted by Sarah on 06-17-2008 at 08:38 PM • top

It seems to me a perfectly natural reaction for a heterosexual person to be grossed out by the idea of homosexual activity. I expect people with homosexual attractions experience the ick factor when picturing the mechanics of heterosexual hijinks.

[27] Posted by HumbleAccess on 06-17-2008 at 09:10 PM • top

The gay marriage in London (only a fool would attempt to say that is not what was intended. E. Kaeton must have wept with joy) was the ancient marriage rite with the words: “With my body, I thee worship.” These may be, in my opinion, the strongest liturgical words short of “This is my Body.” The formula is sexual in the most sublime way. It is why some godly people slip with “Oh God” at the moment of climax. Gays obviously have this experience. To bless it in divine worship is a new dimension of ick.

[28] Posted by Gator on 06-17-2008 at 09:22 PM • top

I want to make an observation regarding ‘Stand Firm’ in this regard. I think the issue here is that whenever something major happens, as with the London ‘Gay Wedding’, we reasserters get very upset when the reappraisers start creating facts on the ground and effectively dare us to respond - and all we can do is watch in horror when nothing is done, and then the ‘ick’ language starts from us, as PadreWayne noticed in a former thread.

It used to happen on T1:9 as well, whenever there was a thread that mentioned VGR. People just couldn’t help themselves. Kendall simply closed comments on those threads after a while, but seems to be a bit more lenient now.

Times like these call for hot hearts but cool heads.

[29] Posted by Derek Smith on 06-17-2008 at 10:33 PM • top

then the ‘ick’ language starts from us, as PadreWayne noticed in a former thread.

The ‘ick factor’ is a presumed motivation, and so any expressed opposition to homosexuality is sufficient warrant to bring the charge.  It does not matter how carefully the argument is made.  It does not matter the degree of civility employed.  As soon as you say that homosexuality is immoral, you expose yourself to the charge of being driven by the ‘ick factor.’ Why?  Because (liberals presume) there is no legitimate moral case to be made against homosexuality.  Liberals have to find an alternative explanation for the opposition.

Liberals presume that otherwise reasonable people will resist the normalization of homosexuality for any of three reasons: emotion, ignorance, and malice.  The one reason they exclude a priori is the true reason for the opposition - moral principle consistently applied.  This is the entire (condescending) basis of the listening process.  They refuse to deal with conservatives on any other level, for liberals will not - cannot - take seriously the idea the homosexuality is morally defective. 

Today they will trumpet ‘ick factor.’  Tomorrow they will pound the desk with a shoe, and scream ‘Bigot!’  We cannot be civil enough to avoid these charges.

carl

[30] Posted by carl on 06-17-2008 at 11:23 PM • top

Carl

I do take your point, and agree with you. My point, however badly expressed, is that in situations as I have described there is a rise in intemperate language. We should still set a guard over our mouths.

[31] Posted by Derek Smith on 06-18-2008 at 01:48 AM • top

Following up on #5 with further medically based ‘ick’iness, I just noted a sidebar headline “Oral sex blamed for throat cancer” (while looking at a site I never visited before). Not something I have ever thought about long enough to imagine the connection - but there it is, more information that folks should be aware of as the relentless and pervasive campaigning particularly among the young, by the likes of Ms. Kaeton et al., continues in attempts to dial down a reaction of ‘ick’, in the very ones who need it to protect themselves.  Looking back to the ‘60s -‘70s I often feel thankful to have simply been suspicious of the untruths promulgated even then, and due to my ‘ick’ reaction not to have bought in to the idea such practises were harmless, because there was then a real dearth of public information (nor was there internet) getting the word out, for young people as ignorant (on this topic) as I was.  I know I am responsible for ensuring my son has access to the needed information, rather than relying on any other adult to do that job.

[32] Posted by TACit on 06-18-2008 at 02:51 AM • top

Humble access,

No doubt many homosexual men experience the ick factor when thinking about heterosexual sexual intercourse. The ick factor itself can occur when considering just about anything. The question my article raises is whether the ick factor is always a bad thing. My point was that when it arises over sin, then it is a very good thing.

As Episcopalianated points out, wisely, it is never something that should cause a Christian to withhold love, care, compassion etc…but it is good. A doctor who feels revulsion toward cancer seeks to rid it from the patient. A doctor who is drawn to cancer ought not to be a doctor.

[33] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 06-18-2008 at 04:44 AM • top

The “ick factor” tactic is essentially question begging. The real question is whether the behavior that evokes the “ick” ought so to do.

I agree with this. And I think that’s the revisionist point. Just because I find something “repulsive” or I am squeamish about it doesn’t mean it is morally bad. There are plenty of things that are repulsive to some (including, say, childbirth, surgical procedures, caring for people with unpleasant diseases such as leprosy etc) but are not immoral, and some that are even morally admirable. I find the idea, for instance, of tending to an incontinent person with senile dementia quite a disgusting idea; I would rather not read a chapter of a book which described this in detail, or watch a video of it; but I am full of admiration for those who devote their lives to doing so.

The revisionist’s point is that some people (not all!) seem to find it hard to engage rationally with the moral arguments because they are so fixated on their visceral responses to the thought of certain sexual practices that they can’t even attempt to look deeper. This leads them to produce “arguments” against homosexual love which are crude in the extreme—little more than sniggering immaturity. Like 22 (or was that intended as a parody?).

As I understand it what Matt is saying is different: he is pointing out (a) (perhaps) that it is not necessarily wrong to allow some play to our emotional responses in these matters and (b) (certainly) that it is not wrong to cultivate a sense of disgust about things that we are convinced on moral grounds we ought to find disgusting. With that I agree.

Three further tiny points, however:

1. If you are going to allow emotional responses to be valid “data” for moral inquiry, you are going to have to reckon with those whose emotional responses to the things you disapprove of are not “ick”, but “how delightful”. To do that you have to be able to go behind the mere fact of these responses, however strong they may be, to explain why you are “right” to find two men kissing disgusting and I am “wrong” to find two men kissing beautiful.

2. The argument from “ickiness” tends to be very unpersuasive to the unpersuaded. People who find gay sex icky already may well be allies already. People who don’t (especially of course gay people ourselves) are not likely to be converted.

3. The arguments from ickiness often don’t seem to map closely to the whole range of the argument. Self-evidently, for example, arguments about the alleged unpleasantness (or risks) of anal sex don’t provide much of a foothold against lesbianism ... but they do provide a case for regulating heterosexual anal sex. So too with oral sex, which I would have thought was now a thoroughly mainstream heterosexual practice.

[34] Posted by Paul Stanley on 06-18-2008 at 05:14 AM • top

Paul, 

God’s Person, will and intent is consistently revealed throughout His Creation and His Word.

Disbelieving His Word is sin and the opposite of faith - it is idolatry.

God says NO to certain acts and attitudes *for our benefit* and this is, or should be, our guide. 

The whole counsel Scriptures consistently shows us that what we give ourselves to and what we do, (spiritually, relationally, emotionally and physically) is of concern to God because He considers this to be WORSHIP. 

We are changed by what we believe and WORSHIP for better or for worse by our actions, thoughts and words, or that of others, whether sinful or Godly. 

Research has shown that our actions, words and thoughts change the structure, chemistry and function of the brain cumulatively and interactively and thus affecting the quality of our lives in a snowball effect.

No sinful activity, though it seems pleasant and tempting in the shortterm, is beneficial in the long run, but produces societal, personal, relational distress and confusion, destruction, death. 

Sin grows, takes over, becomes addiction, compulsion, obsession becomes our master.

Could this be why our loving wise holy God has proscribed certain activities and blesses others? 

Either we believe in His love and good will and trust His wisdom and believe His Word…or not.

This is the pivotal decision of a Christian according to Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, and he quoted I John 4:18.

God wants to be our only master, The Good Master. He has paid the price and has the power to redeem us from the power of sin, to give us truth instead of lies, love instead of fear, freedom instead of bondage, so that we can live in holy Truth, Love, Life, peace, and freedom.  Isaiah 61:1-4, Luke 4.

God’s motives and will is good and in our best interest.

To believe that is our decision and choice.

[35] Posted by Theodora on 06-18-2008 at 05:53 AM • top

One further thought…our collective minds are inundated and conditioned by our past experiences, by the culture, the media and the PC agenda propaganda and become disoriented that we cannot and should not trust our discernment and ‘ick’ or ‘like’ responses. 

We program our inner instruments of discernment as we read, mark and inwardly digest God’s word, as we worship Father, Son, Holy Spirit in Spirit and in Truth, as we receive His Body and Blood, receive His Gift of Himself.  God Himself, by the revelation of His Beauty, Sweetness, Holiness, transforms and tunes us to Himself, to His Word and to His true faithful Church of the Ages.

[36] Posted by Theodora on 06-18-2008 at 06:02 AM • top

Paul Stanley—-Well said. 

It is exactly what I’ve been thinking all along.  Ickiness is a very unpersuasive argument against homosexuality.  It’s just not a logical argument, for the reasons you pointed out so well.  And in fact, I’ve often had to laugh at the number of commenters (especially men) who get quite particular or graphic about the means by which gay mean have sex.  Makes you wonder…..or at least “see” inside their heads for a minute about their own proclivities.  (Not whether they are gay——just wondering about an over-developed interest in the particulars of someone else’s sex life.) 

The means by which gay people have sex, while unnatural, is truly unimportant.  It’s not the “real” sin anyway.  The sin is in not allowing God’s word to be sovereign over their “natural” desires.  It is in refusing to give up what they want to the extent that they completely mangle the spirit and the letter of the Law. And we would all do it, if we could get away with it. (and in fact, we do). I have been in many many Bible studies with women where the “prayer requests” are just an opportunity for gossip about all kinds of things.  (“Let’s remember to pray for Laura—-you know she and George are still struggling in their marriage….oh you didn’t know? Well, I heard in Sunday School that they are back in counseling—-her cousin told me;  It’s been really bad since he told her about his affair. Oh you didn’t know about that?  I am so sorry. Bless her heart, but she’s just been through it—-especially after Mike dropped out ....etc.etc) And gossip and slander are no less grievous to God than gay sex.

You are right that lots of things that are very good indeed are extremely icky.  As a nurse, I appreciated your reference.  And it’s not just in nursing.  In childrearing, staying up all night with a vomiting child with diarrhea has an extremely high IQ*, yet is not sinful in the least. Working with the poor, or with prison populations, or with old people can all have a high IQ.  Sometimes I look on toleration of high IQ as a blessing, and thank God (truly) that I have a gift of being able to set aside revulsion so that I can serve in ways others might not be able to.  Because, like everything else we do “good,” it is only via a gift He’s given us. 

I think gays are compelled to have gay sex, the same way heterosexuals are—-and it’s in the same way some are compelled to drink, or overeat, or “shop til they drop”, or lie, or gossip, covet, etc. The great divide comes, as Sarah always points out, that liberals are attempting to put this area of sin (homosexuality)  into the “Not Sin” category.  And even more, are attempting to put it into the “Special Blessing” category. It really is two different Gospels we believe in.

(*Ick Quotient)

[37] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-18-2008 at 06:07 AM • top

A doctor who feels revulsion toward cancer seeks to rid it from the patient. A doctor who is drawn to cancer ought not to be a doctor.

I see what you are saying, but if you will allow me to quibble a bit:  Certainly no doctor seeks to create or promote cancer in human patients (though I imagine some do in animal testing), but I would imagine that doctors, especially those that specialize in such things do have a professional and intellectual fascination with cancer and other pathologies.  Certainly coroners (or morticians for that matter) have more than a passing interest in dead bodies.  That doesn’t make them murderers or necrophiles, however.

[38] Posted by AndrewA on 06-18-2008 at 06:40 AM • top

There is still a lot of begging the question in many of these posts.  The “ick” factor one experiences in matter of homosexual behavior of any kind, is vastly different than the one experienced when taking care of a sick three year old with a nasty case of gastrointeritis.  Let’s not add lack of discernment to the illogic that comes from post-modern, disconstructionalist, nihilistic narcisstic, PC thinking which is the latest operative means to come out of Hell to kill, steal, deceive and destroy.

Ironically, I found Matt’s treatise to be a blessing and a reminder of the deposit that the Holy Spirit has made in my life and of His sanctifying work in my life.  I spent the early part of my adult life (well over a decade) as an apostate.  I did not return to a faith of any kind until I was over 30.  I have become hardened to so many things, that no longer prick my conscience or gave me any kind of “ick”.

The Lord and I will be celebrating of 25th year reunion this summer. 

As we have journeyed together, I have noticed my “ick” or IQ* increases in different ways.  For example, over the past couple of years I noticed that I am experiencing “ick” when I hear people blaspheme.  It is particular pronounce when I hear someone use our Lord’s name as a curse word.  It’s gotten to me in the workplace and fortunately I’m in a work situation in which it is not a problem.  I am prepared for what may happen when I ask someone not to say that in my presence, or better yet to follow the expletive with “Blessed be His name”.

I think that the point of Matt’s post, that the transforming grace of our Lord should increase in all areas of our lives.  I experienced a great deal of ick when reading the “wedding” bulletin of the homosexual pair in London, a revulsion not until the one I described above.  For me, to equate the words to two men, to compare their relationship to the union betwixt Christ and his Church was just another form of blaspheming the holiness of God.

[39] Posted by Gayle on 06-18-2008 at 07:21 AM • top

Richard John Neuhaus wrote in 1997, citing an anecdote involving Sidney Hook, champion of philosophical pragmatism:

Many have been momentarily intimidated into not expressing their objections and misgivings, but they have not been persuaded, and I do not believe they will be persuaded. On the contrary, they were frontally assaulted by a proposition that most of them had never had occasion to think about, and didn’t want to think about. They had good reason not to think about it. The philosopher Sidney Hook, late in life, asked a friend, “But what do they actually do?” When told, he recoiled in disbelief and declared, “But that’s disgusting!”

Sidney Hook’s response—reinforced by habit, moral teaching, and devotion to marriage and family—is the response of most people. It is a response that is largely intuitive and pre-articulate. People were told, and many came to believe, that they should be ashamed of themselves for their irrational prejudice. Many intellectuals—those who belong to what has aptly been described as the herd of independent minds—readily believed it and eagerly performed the appropriate rituals of self-denigration to expiate their sin of homophobia. But for others, what was intuitive and pre-articulate is increasingly being thought through and articulated. . . .

http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=3739

[40] Posted by Mike Watson on 06-18-2008 at 07:30 AM • top

One aspect of the “ick” factor that I didn’t notice anyone talk about is the fact that throughout most of mankind’s history, and even in many third-world areas today, humans did not, and still don’t, have access to the sanitary and washroom facilities we take so for granted nowadays.  The “ick” factor gets a lot “icky-er” when you think about only having a dirty rag to clean up with, after the fact. 

And everybody, please, please, please, go to the Centers for Disease Control’s website (cdc.gov), find the index of “Diseases and Conditions” and start going through descriptions of the various diseases and notice how the majority of them can be passed by contact with feces.  And also, while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the CDC’s index of human parasites.  That’s a “fun” read too.

The bottom line is, there is no more effective way to spread diseases from one individual to another that the act of anal intercourse.  And not even the most ardent supporters of gay rights have ever tried to dispute that basic fact of human biology.

[41] Posted by wildiris on 06-18-2008 at 08:52 AM • top

Paul Stanley, I have to disagree with you wholeheartedly.

1. If you are going to allow emotional responses to be valid “data” for moral inquiry, you are going to have to reckon with those whose emotional responses to the things you disapprove of are not “ick”, but “how delightful”. To do that you have to be able to go behind the mere fact of these responses, however strong they may be, to explain why you are “right” to find two men kissing disgusting and I am “wrong” to find two men kissing beautiful.

Paul, if we are on the shore and a shark appears and everyone flees, but one man thinks, “Hey, pretty shark, neato” and swims out to the shark and is killed, was his response, albeit a minority response, valid?  You are saying that the majority of people are wrong, you are right, and the majority of people need to “get over it”.  That is not logical.

2. The argument from “ickiness” tends to be very unpersuasive to the unpersuaded. People who find gay sex icky already may well be allies already. People who don’t (especially of course gay people ourselves) are not likely to be converted.

Explore why there IS an ick factor.  Read wildiris’ post, above.  There is a reason for the ick factor.  The fact you don’t have one should be a cause for concern, not rejoicing.

[42] Posted by Paul B on 06-18-2008 at 09:10 AM • top

Paul B,

Paul, if we are on the shore and a shark appears and everyone flees, but one man thinks, “Hey, pretty shark, neato” and swims out to the shark and is killed, was his response, albeit a minority response, valid?  You are saying that the majority of people are wrong, you are right, and the majority of people need to “get over it”.  That is not logical.

It’s got nothing to do with majorities or minorities, as you will see by imagining in your example that the majority think the shark is a dolphin and only one person decides to get out. It’s not a very pertinent example, because the question you raise is not a moral question. But in a sense it illustrates the point. Whether there is a shark or not, and whether that shark is dangerous has nothing whatever to do with what people (one person or lots of people) think about it or sharks in general. The victim’s response in your case is stupid, but not because it’s a minority response. It’s stupid because of the objective facts about sharks.

Explore why there IS an ick factor.  Read wildiris’ post, above.  There is a reason for the ick factor.  The fact you don’t have one should be a cause for concern, not rejoicing.

But that’s exactly the point. What matters is the merit of the arguments in objective terms. If I think something is unreasonably risky I may decide not to do it for that reason. Whether I have an ick factor or not is irrelevant. I may think it’s hugely enjoyable and still decide not to do it because it’s risky. I may find it unutterably icky, but conclude that it is also risk-free.

As it happens, the argument that anal sex is risky, even if true, is (1) not a moral argument, (2) only an argument against one form of sex practiced by homosexual men, (3) also an argument against one form of sex practiced by heterosexuals and (4) made no better or worse by the “ick” factor. The fact that Wildiris has chosen to add some bizarre color to the CDC data with speculation about dirty rags in pre-modern societies adds nothing to the strength of the argument, which rests, for whatever it’s worth, on the (objective) data.

[43] Posted by Paul Stanley on 06-18-2008 at 09:51 AM • top

Paul Stanely, I noticed that you didn’t dispute anything I asserted.  So if we’re keeping score, Paul B. is still ahead.  As far as my observation about a dirty rag being bizarre, could you explain to us then, just how people did keep themselves clean in ancient times?  Especially desert living tribes like the ancient Hebrews and city dwelling peoples like the Cannanites.

[44] Posted by wildiris on 06-18-2008 at 10:33 AM • top

Paul,
Okay, the subtle art of analogy is sometimes lost between people and what’s meant isn’t accepted by the recipient.  So, let’s go straight to the real issue.  The majority of people have an ick factor about various things.  Upon reflection, we see that there is a natural reason for most of these revulsions.  As wildiris explained, they ofttimes are involved in health and sanitation or sanitariness, if you will.

Your argument seems to be that the ick factor is absolutely unnecessary and shouldn’t be heeded if one doesn’t want to heed it. 

So, then, what IS the ick factor?  A vestige of our misogynistic, patriarchal society?

[45] Posted by Paul B on 06-18-2008 at 11:00 AM • top

Paul,

There are many reasons why people find things distasteful. There may be a rational basis for some. A social/cultural basis for many others (e.g., the foods which some cultures love and others find repulsive: horsemeat, duck’s tongues, jellied eels). Often just personal feelings and experience. I don’t think we need any over-arching theory.

Whatever the “ick factor” is, I don’t think it’s a useful substitute or shortcut to moral or scientific inquiry.

As Matt points out, once we have done that hard and rational work there may be good reasons to cultivate an inner emotional response which sets us against things we believe are wrong. But that’s another matter.

Paul

[46] Posted by Paul Stanley on 06-18-2008 at 11:10 AM • top

So, if I am following this thread correctly, then #46 Paul Stanley is advocating sort of a heirarchy for decision making, where we should place scientific or moral inquiry above our personal “ick” factor, no matter how educated.

That seems reasonable.  Any chance we could pass that argument on to my repparaiser friends, who demand of me that I accept same-sex relationships, blessings, and marriage as ordained and natural despite the fact that we have exactly ZERO repeatable scientific evidence that sexual preference of ANY kind in humans (hetero or homo) is hard wired into us in any way?  In other words, since we cannot prove or identify sexual preference as something people are “born” with scientifically (and certainly not morally) then we should default to science and examine the body itself, and which couplings produce life, and which encourage none? 

That sounds both scientifically and morally sound to me.  Yet I still don’t seem to be able to get that across to the reappraiser community at large.

So I guess I actually agree with you.  I just can’t get anybody else to embrace such rational decision making.

KTF!...mrb

[47] Posted by Mike Bertaut on 06-18-2008 at 11:42 AM • top

Paul Stanley.  If what you are arguing is that an ick factor is not a basis for a rational discussion, then I agree with you.  But it does not logically follow from that assertion, as you seem to be trying to argue, that there is no rational basis for a person’s ick responses.

If you want to argue from science, then I would be happy to oblige.  Your liver is your body’s main filter.  The waste that it filters out is secreted into the colon where it mixes with “what’s there” and is eliminated from the body when you have a bowel movement.  For any infection that your body is fighting, some components of it are going to be included in the waste products that the liver filters out.

So, because of the way a body’s filter system works, it’s generally true, that some amount of any virus or bacterial infection, the body’s immune system is fighting, is going to end up in ones feces.  That’s why feces is such a universal carrier for so many diseases.  Now if that doesn’t qualify as a rational basis for an ick factor, then I don’t know what could possibly convince you. 

That’s it for me on this particular aspect of the ick factor topic, since I can’t think of any more graphic way to make my point.  Apologies to those who might have found this discourse offensive.

PS, Paul B, thanks for the backup.

[48] Posted by wildiris on 06-18-2008 at 03:40 PM • top

If what you are arguing is that an ick factor is not a basis for a rational discussion, then I agree with you.

Yes.

But it does not logically follow from that assertion, as you seem to be trying to argue, that there is no rational basis for a person’s ick responses.

I’m not trying to argue that, which would be absurd. There may or may not be in particular cases. If I ever feel drawn towards coprophilia I will bear your information in mind.

[49] Posted by Paul Stanley on 06-18-2008 at 05:40 PM • top

The “ick” factor, at least as the term is used in the narrow confines of revisionist blogdom, usually refers to the sense of revulsion that the “unenlightened” experience when considering what actually occurs during a sexual encounter between members of the same sex. The “ick” factor is the outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible homophobia animating those who stand in the way of “justice” and “inclusion”.

One observation:  the very phrase “ick factor” strikes me as a possibly patrionizing or trivializing (one thinks of a child saying EEUUWWW, that’s icky!!) way of neutralizing a strong and deeply rooted revulsion at something that is instinctively perceived as opposed to the very order of God’s creation.  And it’s not just at the thought of sexual practices—even the idea of a supposed wedding with two grooms or two brides can provoke a deep negative reaction of “No, this is NOT right, it is not the way things are meant to be.”

[50] Posted by Laura R. on 06-18-2008 at 06:00 PM • top

Don’t apologize, wildiris #48; you are doing a sort of service rather than causing offense, since most people most of the time probably don’t have their imaginations taken in that direction, so are not thinking holistically about the issues.  By an odd coincidence, having just had my gallbladder removed last week I have concentrated my imagination on that part of the digestive tract recently.  It is the types of information you provide that the good priest was about to expound on at the VGR event in 2003, when Griswold cut him off mid-sentence and dismissed his statements as irrelevant - a blatant move to control the imaginations of those present. 
I also think it is crucial to make people realize what you have pointed out, in the context that many activist homosexuals are in medical professions.

[51] Posted by TACit on 06-18-2008 at 06:02 PM • top

Wildiris, I have to disagree with you wholeheartedly.  No, the most effective way of spreading disease is not, as you postulated, via anal sex. It is via the hands, and also via respiratory droplet. And these are the most common, and there is not much you can do about the spread of infection this way, unless you wish to wear a mask around abnd avoid touching anything or anybody.
Yes, I know there are many people, and you may be one, who believe in liberal use of items such as hand sanitizer, and using clorox wipes for the counter, thinking they are protecting themselves, spraying down surfaces with a mild bleach solution.  These things are not all bad, but they are typically unnecessary.  Our healthy bodies do an excellent job of warding off all kinds of infection on an hourly basis, just by the God-given way in which they were constructed.  And in fact, the better they learn to ward off germs, the more effective they become at it.
It is a false illusion to think that people are healthy because of their habits of trying to control their environment.  Especially in first world countries.  No, we are healthy in the largest part, because we have been genetically gifted, have decent diets, information about disease prevention, etc.  A lot of the things people do to “protect” against disease actually end up backfiring, because they give rise to “supergerms” who learn to combat the effects of these methods, the same way that too-frequent or unnecessary use of antibiotics gives rise to resistant bacteria.
Just something to consider.
Am I advocating anal sex? By no means.  I’m, just saying that going to the CDC site to read all about it is no way to convince people that homosexuality is wrong.  Have you ever tried to convince a smoker to quit because his lungs are turning black?  It doesn’t work. Bear in mind that most people have access to the same information you do, so when you try to make a point about how nasty anal sex is, people just hit the snooze button.  I imagine that gays think that heterosexual sex is gross. So what?  We are no further along the road of understanding or consensus.

[52] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-18-2008 at 06:08 PM • top

#52, please point out to the readership where wildiris suggested that anal sex is the *most effective* way to spread disease.

[53] Posted by TACit on 06-18-2008 at 06:24 PM • top

In #41, she states

And everybody, please, please, please, go to the Centers for Disease Control’s website (cdc.gov), find the index of “Diseases and Conditions” and start going through descriptions of the various diseases and notice how the majority of them can be passed by contact with feces.

and actually I just extrapolated from her rant about anal sex, to believe that she was making the point that anal sex (contact with feces) led to “the majority of them” [diseases].  And of course, this is not true. 
And even if the “majority” of diseases were proven to be caused by contact with feces, then guess what?  Rather than trying to control the practices of non-celibate gay males, we might be better off really encouraging people to wash really well after wiping——since for most of us, this is a daily opportunity for “contact with feces.”

[54] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-18-2008 at 06:32 PM • top

I just have to say that I am very much relieved when my two step-sons ages 10 & 12 see two guys or two girls kissing on TV and both will say “Ugh! That is just gross!. And yes we turn off the show immediately at that revealing moment as it was unknown to us that it might have a scene like that in as there are no disclosures for gay content! Sadly!!!!!

I am a happy mom that they have the ick factor!

[55] Posted by TLDillon on 06-18-2008 at 07:25 PM • top

Here is the substance of Rev. Earle Fox’s remarks at the 2003 event in NH:
http://www.massnews.com/2003_Editions/11_November/110603_mn_episcopalian_priest_who_spoke_against_the_consecration_of_a_homosexual_bishop.shtml

Sorry for the long URL.  It seemed appropriate to do the homework, having brought up the matter.

[56] Posted by TACit on 06-18-2008 at 08:28 PM • top

OK, so again, TACit….how does the above link add anything to the discussion?

[57] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-18-2008 at 10:42 PM • top

HeartAFire, yes, I did say “most effective”, but by your response I can see that you read it instead as “most common”. 

Of course, the most common way most of us get colds or flu bugs is by breathing in the germs someone else coughed or sneezed out.  The most common way humans have gotten typhoid, cholera, or polio is contact with polluted water.   

Historically, the worst human plagues were either spread by contact with polluted water (i.e. feces) or carried from one individual to another by an insect bite (blood to blood).  Though to be complete, there are some like the 1918 Swine Flu epidemic that were spread as you indicated.

But if coughing or sneezing on someone were the most “effective” ways to transmit diseases in general, then we would all be dead from any number of scourges by now. 

Here is the question you need to answer, would you feel safer having anal intercourse with someone with AIDS or would you feel safer if they only coughed on you?  Your answer to that question will indicate which form of contact you “really” think is the most effective way to spread a disease?

And just for the record, I’m a he, not a she.

[58] Posted by wildiris on 06-18-2008 at 11:39 PM • top

Ack! #58 - is there also an ‘ack’ factor, just for grossness overload?!
Anyway - perhaps I should apologize to HeartAfire since ‘no more effective’ could almost mean ‘most effective’.  Took me a while to locate the phrase wildiris used.
What I meant to contribute to the comment thread with the URL is, to make available the reference I had already mentioned twice and, since the article is very much on the same track as this post by Matt went along, to add support to that, much as Mike Watson did in #40 with the link to Neuhaus’ excellent commentary on the topic of an ‘ick’ factor.

[59] Posted by TACit on 06-18-2008 at 11:54 PM • top

OK, Wildfire, so what you are REALLY saying is that the most effective means of transmitting HIV is via anal intercourse.  Fair enough. It is one of three, and you’ll have no disagreement from me on this.  However, this knowledge is common, and does not require reading through any CDC reports, and I did not understand your plea to do so,  (#41). 

TACit,  my responses to this thread, all along, were in agreement with Paul Stanley’s excellent comment above.(#34)
It’s not that the “Ick Factor” is not abundantly applicable in any discussion regarding homosexual behavior, from the heterosexual point of view, [which is my own, BTW] I was merely underscoring the point that the “Ick Factor”  is NOT a valid, effective, persuasive, logical position from which to proceed in discussion about the subject.
Therefore, I consider that appalling link to add very little to the discussion.  And again, state:

I’ve often had to laugh at the number of commenters (especially men) who get quite particular or graphic about the means by which gay men have sex.  Makes you wonder…..or at least “see” inside their heads for a minute about their own proclivities.  (Not whether they are gay——just wondering about an over-developed interest in the particulars of someone else’s sex life.)

[60] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-19-2008 at 12:40 AM • top

Anglican Paplist [#22]: No thermometer for you.

[61] Posted by Irenaeus on 06-19-2008 at 12:54 AM • top

Ummm, for the record, I’m a woman.
And am at a real loss to understand what is appalling about the link I put in #59 - ???

[62] Posted by TACit on 06-19-2008 at 12:56 AM • top

Or rather, in #56.

[63] Posted by TACit on 06-19-2008 at 12:57 AM • top

Alrighty then, TACit, if you see nothing “appalling”  in the descriptions of homosexual behavior abundantly covered in your link, then I guess you have a much higher “ick” threshold than do I.

[64] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-19-2008 at 01:01 AM • top

I think the link in #56 is absolutely apropos. Leftists want to dance around the acts that LGBT engage is. This whitewash seeks to normalize what is in essence unsanitary, unhealthy, dangerous from both an epidemiological and public health point of view, not to mention SINFUL. Sunlight is an excellent disinfectant. Orthodox need to get over the “Oh we can’t say that, it might be disagreeable. It might ruin the wine and cheese.” Its not all about the ceremonies and the “loving long term monogamous relationships.” I have a relative who left his wife and entered the lifestyle. In the 14 years I have been married, he has had 4 “long term monogamous relationships.” HE also got HIV/AIDS. The activities LGBT engage in are relevant, and the fact that they want to teach my 6 year old that their behavior is normative and capable of be blessed is an abomination and should be labeled as such. Oh wait, the bible already did that.

[65] Posted by lost in texas on 06-19-2008 at 01:17 AM • top

Thanks, #65.  I acknowledge its content is partly unpleasant but overall the article seemed to me important in several ways.  Let me re-iterate, only removal of my gallbladder provoked me to this level of awareness of anything to do with the lower GI tract, which awareness happened to overlap with medical facts that Geek first mentioned in #5….
If Matt wanted to start something he succeeded!  Looking back his real question was:  “Why do some of us feel revulsion for some sins and not for others? Is there a sort of prejudice at work here that causes heterosexual men, for example, to react with disgust at the thought of gay sex but with titillation at the exploitation of young female bodies in the media?”
Not being male I didn’t presume to respond to that, but it may have an answer like this.  Men are not equipped with any instinctive ick factor w/r/t young female bodies insofar as they are meant to respond positively to a particular one in God’s good time.  Any ick factor is in their common displeasure at being restricted to just one; the titillation is what a (Godly) man has to train himself to *recognize* as ‘ick’ and not as an invitation (according to basic rules of civilization, anyway).  Putting the desires in submission to God’s will may mean a 180-degree sort of change as in homo- to hetero- (metanoia?), or it may require the reining within firm limits of a God-given but Fall-corrupted desire. In either case the imperfect human desire can be redeemed and perfected by subjecting one’s will to God’s - probably over and over again, in spiritual discipline. Can’t expect God to do it all for you, since he gave you free will!

[66] Posted by TACit on 06-19-2008 at 02:18 AM • top

It seems to me a grave error of judgment to think that ethical judgments can, let alone, should be stripped of the emotions that are internal to their meaning.

Of course people may disagree in their evaluation of the goods that are pursued in ethical action. It is the place from which discussion begins. But to think that is is possible to separate emotions from dispositions without losing their very ethical shape seems to me deeply misguided.

Of course we want to discuss is such and such a disposition well shaped or well directed. Christians have characteristically wanted to argue that sin is a disposition to love a good thing inappropriately. Of course, there will be emotions internal to this disposition and it is this very complex - becoming one who loves inappropriately - that we want to be attentive too as we confess our sins and are forgiven.

Thus, of course, dispositions (such as love, as well as surely shame) can be mis-shapen or misdirected. The church is called to be attentive to exactly this. We’re right to want to look at them, attentive to the Scriptural witness and the life of the Body of Christ. But that they (e.g. love, shame) can be misdirected - doesn’t mean that it is desirable or even possible to imagine an ethical world without them.

To suggest that moral life, discussion, debate can proceed without love or shame and so forth - is to imagine a world denuded of ethical judgments altogether.

[67] Posted by driver8 on 06-19-2008 at 03:01 AM • top

“They also approved the election
as bishop [C045] of someone living in an unashamedly sexual relationship outside marriage.”

Really that is what it comes down to.  It is not about who is gay and who isn’t.  It isn’t about the medical merits of anal vs oral vs vaginal sex.  It isn’t about the ick factor.  It is about sexual relationships outside the bonds and boundaries of holy matrimony established by the Creator of the Universe when he created mankind, and reaffirmed throughout Scripture and by the Church Catholic.

[68] Posted by AndrewA on 06-19-2008 at 10:49 AM • top

Matt, good article.  I note that the ick factor has to be educated out of us.  So, not only are homosexual acts against nature, so is the non-ick response to them.

As far as the ick factor being extended to a male’s natural response to the beauty of a woman’s body…true, we should turn away, but is it really comparable to our natural revulsion to one man having annal intercourse with another.

[69] Posted by Mark C. on 06-19-2008 at 06:08 PM • top

“.....true, we should turn away, but is it really comparable to our natural revulsion to one man having annal intercourse with another.”

YES, MARK C…..IN GOD’S EYES IT IS! 

And that’s exactly my point.  I am sick to death of those who try to highlight and delectate over other peoples’ sins (ones that they are not subject to, BTW, very fortunately) AS IF THEIR OWN SINS ARE NOT EQUALLY BAD IN GOD’s EYES.

You have helped me make my point better than I was able to, despite several posts.  Which is to say, why should we immerse ourselves in the activities and behaviors of non-celibate homosexuals?

Really, TACit? Really, lost in Texas? You think it’s not enough for Christians to understand the basics of sex outside of marriage, and agree that the Bible teaches it’s wrong, you feel it necessary to IMMERSE yourselves and encourage others to do so, in the particulars of gay sex?  NO THANKS. 
My point is, the reason this is so delectable to you, is because it is zero temptation for you to sin in this way, so it’s sort of satisfying to parse someone else’s sinful behavior.

Well, is that not sin as well?  To slander with delight? To murder? (because that’s what it is, you know…)
And that sin, is perhaps even as dangerous a sin as the activist homosexuals’, because you don’t REALIZE it as sin, and therefore don’t confess/repent/receive forgiveness for the hatred.

[70] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-20-2008 at 02:37 AM • top

Mark,

we should not have an “ick factor” regarding beautiful women and the bodies God gave them. It is perfectly fine to notice and appreciate their beauty. We ought to cultivate an “ick” toward the exploitation of that beauty in such a way that the PERSON is objectified and de-personalized in order to incite lust.

[71] Posted by Matt Kennedy on 06-20-2008 at 03:37 AM • top

Matt, agreed completely

[72] Posted by Mark C. on 06-20-2008 at 03:38 PM • top

heartafire, no, actually it isn’t, unless you believe that Adam’s pre-fall reaction to eve was sin.  Matt is correct in stating that it is perfectly fine to notice and appreciate a woman’s beauty.  However, only the most aesthetically challenged could make appreciating a woman’s beauty analogous the one man putting his penis in another man’s anus.

[73] Posted by Mark C. on 06-20-2008 at 03:51 PM • top

Mark C.
Oh!  I get it!
You didn’t mean you were appreciating her body in “THAT” way——you meant you were simply appreciating the aesthetic aspects of her overall beauty.
Oh my goodness…. I beg your pardon.

I thought you meant that possibly you felt lust for her body or were coveting a woman who was not your wife, or maybe thinking something impure as you gazed upon her beauty.
In which case, you would, of course, be no less sinful that the active homosexual.  [And, in fact, could even be “more” sinful, as one recognizes that this behavior is against God’s Holy law, and may try to minimize or justify it, rather than confess and repent,  whereas the unrepentant homosexual does not agree that his behavior is sinful in the first place.]

I apologize for being strident in my previous post.  It is a rare and wonderful thing for a man to be able to have a “natural response to the beauty of a woman’s body” without feeling lust.  Good for you.  I think this is more of a problem for a lot of men, and for the purposes of this topic, my point stands:  Sin is sin, in God’s eyes, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a “tiny little sin” that everyone commits, or a so-called BIG sin. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and untoward immersion in one particular area of sin can sure blind us to that beam in our eye.

[74] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-21-2008 at 09:23 PM • top

And of course, Adam’s PRE-fall response to Eve was not sinful in the least.

But, then after The Fall, everything was changed and we all became subject the the laws of sin and death.

And because of this, we had to have a Savior.

But I don’t think that any sin is forgiven, until and unless, we *recognize* it as sin, and then repent, confess, and are absolved.

[75] Posted by HeartAfire on 06-22-2008 at 12:18 PM • top

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