The Slippery Slope to Incest

Dr. James Emery White | Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Monday, April 25, 2016

The Slippery Slope to Incest

The idea of a “slippery slope” is important to understand. It refers to a step down a particular path that, whether intentioned or not, could lead to slipping down and falling much further than you could ever imagine.

Usually, a “slippery slope” refers to a way of thinking, or the basis for a decision that, if applied broadly, would carry sweeping ramifications.

For many, this is the concern for the argument behind the embrace of gay marriage. In other words, the arguments used for the acceptance of homoerotic behavior and gay marriage could be just as easily used for polygamy, bestiality and pedophilia. After all, once you redefine family into whatever people want it to mean, make “love” or “attraction” the ultimate ethic in terms of appropriate relationship, then you have very little keeping you from applying that to almost any kind of relationship.

This caused an outrage on the other side, who said in no uncertain terms that this was reprehensible to even consider.

Yet we now know that soon after gay marriage began its victory lap through the courts, cases advocating polygamy – using virtually the same arguments that the courts had accepted for gay marriage – became legion.

And the legal battle being waged over all things transgender is based on gender being a matter of choice – or simply what emotionally they believe themselves to be.

Again, same argument.

If you can demonstrate that people really have an orientation, then the desire must be legitimated. Nightmarish in its application, yet sweeping our culture like a wildfire.

And now comes incest.

I saw the first stirring of this only a handful of years ago.

An article in the London Times titled “I used to have sex with my brother but I don’t feel guilty about it” offered a detailed narrative of a woman’s sexual relationship with her biological brother from the time of 14 to nearly 30, until he met another person and married. 

Their sexual trysts were revealed as part of a tale of sibling intimacy and friendship that ended with the ubiquitous reasoning that they were not hurting anyone, so why make it so wrong? 

Much was made that her brother, only a year older, never pushed himself on her and that she was a willing participant. The author’s lament is that something “so lovely and natural to me would be regarded as abhorrent.”

Now, there are those who are wanting to label incest just one more orientation. In an article in The Telegraph, referring to the story of a woman who entered into a romantic relationship with her child 30 years after giving him up for adoption, incest is being labeled “Genetic Sexual Attraction” (GSA).

GSA describes a powerful sexual attraction that occurs when biological relatives – parent and offspring, siblings or half siblings, or first and second cousins – meet for the first time as adults. It’s termed a “struggle” – something that is so ingrained (natural?) that those involved can’t be considered in control of the situation. 

“As if their feelings are impossible to change.”

The article goes on to note that in normal families, living together “desensitizes” the sexual dynamic between family members. But with the rise of fertility options (e.g., egg and sperm donation), the article suggests GSA will also rise in frequency.

Here’s a telling line:

“Those who succumb to GSA are not sickos, or freaks, but victims who desperately need…understanding. Their feelings are not controllable.”

Does any of this language sound familiar?

Slippery slopes are real.

And we’re on a very, very large one.

James Emery White

Sources

“I used to have sex with my brother but I don’t feel guilty about it,” as told to Joan McFadden, times2, The London Times, July 15, 2008, pp. 10-11, read online.

“Disgusted by incest? Genetic Sexual Attraction is real and on the rise,” Charlotte Gill, The Telegraph, April 11, 2016, read online.

About the Author

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is available on Amazon. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on twitter @JamesEmeryWhite.

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