Warning: disturbing topic ahead. Some readers will find some of this material objectionable.
I was a pump jockey when I was in high school, a noble profession that has almost disappeared in most of America. Not familiar with the term? I worked at a full-serve gas station, filling up gas tanks, checking oil, cleaning windshields. There are a couple states (Oregon and New Jersey, that I know of) that still do not permit self-serve gasoline stations, and they are the only places where my former career is still much plied.*
I was working there during the (first?) great gasoline shortages. The federal government prohibited the sale of gasoline on Sundays. One of my fellow workers there was incensed, and he thought he had a case to make against it. “It’s unconstitutional! The constitution guarantees us the pursuit of happiness, and my pursuit of happiness means being able to work my job on Sundays!”
Well, there are couple of problems with that, I tried to explain to him. (I didn’t bring up working on the Sabbath, that didn’t matter to me at the time.) First, “the pursuit of happiness” is nowhere in the Constitution. There is no such legal guarantee. It’s in the Declaration of Independence. Yes, it’s one of the ideas that led toward the founding of our country, but it’s just one among many, and it’s not enshrined as law.
Second, even if it were law, it’s just not quite that simple. Do we really think the government can take everybody’s idea of happiness into account, and make laws that work for all of them?
All this came to mind today as I was reading WorldNetDaily on “Bestiality ‘OK If Animal Approves.‘” That’s the opinion of gay rights activist Frank Kameny. There’s a lot that’s ridiculous in what they’re reporting on there, and much that’s quite horrifying, not least of which is this from Kameny:
“Absolutely indisputably a central part of the very definition of Americanism is the guarantee, found in the Declaration of Independence, as not merely a Right, but as an Inalienable Right, of the ‘Pursuit of Happiness,'” he wrote. “If something which someone arbitrarily defines as a ‘sexual perversion’ provides happiness for consenting adult participants, then its enjoyment is enshrined in basic Americanism.
“So: Let us have more and better enjoyment of more and better sexual perversions, by whatever definition, by more and more consenting adults. We will all be the better off thereby. And that will be Americanism in action,” he said.
The morality is perverted there. I will not go into any further details on it here. The logic is perverted as well. Can you quite imagine Thomas Jefferson or James Madison agreeing that the last quoted sentence there represents Americanism in action?
What is it that produces this kind of thinking? First, there is sin, and the desire to normalize it to reduce guilt. In the famous Romans 1:18-32 passage that describes a progression into deeper and deeper depths of sin, the culmination is not sexual sin, murder, or hate. The list does not end with “foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (vs. 31, ESV). The culmination, the ultimate is
they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
Need I point out how this is being practiced more and more in our culture, the California Supreme Court being a recent example?
Added to all that is the disdain Americans too often feel toward careful thinking. The logic of this ought not to seem so attractive, even to the man who stated it!
*Interestingly enough, that gas station stayed open as a full-service station, with self-serve competitors right across the street, until rising gas prices finally did it in just a few months ago. I don’t know how it survived that long; I was certainly sad to see it go.