Opinion

How Justice Anthony Kennedy Helped to ‘Define Deviancy Down’

There’s talk that Justice Anthony Kennedy may retire from the Supreme Court. I say, good riddance. He was the deciding vote in the 5-4 Obergefell v. Hodges pro-homosexual marriage decision in 2015. Justice Kennedy may be the deciding vote in a case involving a Christian baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. What should be an easy decision in favor of the baker, Kennedy’s comments are not encouraging:

“If you prevail, could the baker put a sign in his window, ‘We do not bake cakes for gay weddings?’” he asked a Trump administration lawyer supporting the baker’s position. Kennedy suggested that would be “an affront to the gay community.”

This is not a good sign. Will a homosexual-owned printing company be forced to print t-shirts for an anti-gay pride protest?

Justice Kennedy’s vote to redefine marriage made a mess of marriage. He opened a Pandora’s Box for future litigation. Polygamists see that they’re next in line for judicial satisfaction. It’s not that people are not living as adulterers, bigamists, and polygamists and won’t in the future. It’s been so since the beginning (Gen. 4:19). Such behavior was not paraded in the streets (e.g., gay pride parades) and taught in our nation’s government schools morally acceptable and even praiseworthy.

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This brings me to Charles Lindbergh (1902–1974). There are probably millions of people today who have never heard of Lindbergh. Lindbergh was a national hero after he made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean on May 20–21, 1927.

Then there’s the kidnapping and murder of the Lindberg baby (Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.) and the Trial of the Century that followed. “Newspaper writer H. L. Mencken called the kidnapping and subsequent trial ‘the biggest story since the Resurrection.”

If you don’t know much about Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight, I suggest you sit down and watch The Spirit of St. Louis (1956) starring Jimmy Stewart. It was a huge event that drew worldwide attention.

The hero Lindbergh had a secret. While married to Anne Morrow, he had two families in Germany. He was a secret polygamist.

“[F]rom 1957 until his death in 1974, Lindbergh had a relationship with German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer (1926–2003) who lived in a small Bavarian town called Geretsried (35 km south of Munich). On November 23, 2003, DNA tests proved that he fathered her three children. The two managed to keep the love affair secret; even the children did not know the true identity of their father, whom they saw when he came to visit once or twice per year using the alias ‘Careu Kent.’ . . .  At the same time as Lindbergh was involved with Brigitte Hesshaimer, he also had a relationship with her sister, Marietta (born 1924), who bore him two more sons.”

The Court has turned the law on its head. Now everything is up for grabs. The moral fallout will be devastating. It didn’t stop with same-sex marriage, and it won’t stop with bigamy and polygamy as a federal judge made evident in a Utah case.

For example, “Brazilian football legend Ronaldinho will reportedly ‘marry’ two women at the same time during a small wedding ceremony in August” of 2018.

The issue is the sanctioning of these relationships by the courts. It’s one thing to acknowledge that people act immorally, it’s another thing to legitimize such behaviors with the force of law and feed the deviancy to millions of people. Actor and homosexual “Ian McKellen says at least 50 percent of his Hollywood peers are gay…. Mr. McKellen, who has been open about his sexuality for years, said the entertainment industry’s LGBT representation far exceeds its percentage of the population as a whole.” (Washington Times) This explains why nearly every film and TV show has at least one homosexual or implied homosexual relationship even though homosexuals make up a small percentage of the population. The goal is to normalize the deviancy.

There is no longer a moral standard, a behavioral pou sto, a fixed moral place to stand. We are left with judges creating fiat law. We shouldn’t be surprised that they are doing this since the government has been making fiat money for a lot longer (see Isa. 1:21-23). Once the debasement starts in one area, there’s no arguable way to stop the debasement.

Today’s defenders of homosexual behavior have, in the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “defined deviancy down”1 so that what was morally shocking twenty years ago is acceptable, or at least tolerated, behavior today. Robert Bork explains the phenomenon:

Emile Durkheim, a founder of sociology, posited that there is a limit to the amount of deviant behavior any community can “afford to recognize.” As behavior worsens, the community adjusts its standards so that conduct once thought reprehensible is no longer deemed so.”2

What’s true in politics is doubly true in the entertainment business that includes its share of homosexuals, serial polygamists, cohabitationists, drug users and addicts, and an assortment of gypsies, tramps, and thieves. To get ahead, like in politics, there is only one commandment to follow: “If you won’t judge me, I won’t judge you.”

  1. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Defining Deviancy Down,” American Scholar (Winter 1993). []
  2. Robert H. Bork, Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline (New York: Regan Books, 1996), 3. []
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