General Pace: Collision at the Crossroads of Morality

Michael Craven | Center for Christ & Culture | Monday, March 26, 2007

General Pace: Collision at the Crossroads of Morality

In comments reported March 13, 2007 by the Chicago Tribune, Marine Corps General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Peter Pace, compared homosexuality to adultery, saying he believed both were immoral. In response to questions regarding the military’s current policy toward gays, Pace said, “I do not believe the military is well served by a policy that says it is okay to be immoral in any way… I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts… Saying that gays should serve openly in the military, to me, says that we, by policy, would be condoning what I believe is immoral activity…”

The swift and condemning reaction to General Pace’s comments demand that we each know how to correctly respond to the rhetoric being thrown around, which is attempting, albeit indirectly, to establish a new morality. To be clear, General Pace said he thought “homosexual acts” were immoral thus he limited his comments to the behavior and did not condemn persons as he has been repeatedly accused of doing. Furthermore, General Pace placed homosexual acts in the same moral category as adultery, so he was not singling out “gays” or suggesting that homosexual acts are worse than any other immoral behavior.

The reactions to General Pace’s comments reveal a critical shift in the moral consensus that the Church, in particular, but also everyone concerned with a free and healthy society should be concerned with. At issue is the basis upon which we as a society determine and enforce the moral order. Those opposed to Pace’s comments accuse him of bigotry and hate – accusations which clearly represent absolute moral distinctions. Additionally, Jo Wyrick, Executive Director of the Stonewall Democrats said, “It is immoral to send our service members into battle without the proper equipment or plan. It is immoral to deny them proper medical care upon their return and it is immoral to revoke support for our troops…” I would agree, however Ms. Wyrick demonstrates the arbitrary nature of her morality and herein lies the problem – she clearly still holds moral convictions but she, like her counterparts in the gay lobby, selectively chooses which moral positions to which she will adhere.

At the heart of this dispute are the differences regarding the source and nature of morality and the proper relationship of moral judgment to law and public policy. On one hand we have the Judeo-Christian basis of morality and ethics, which derives from the longest surviving (and most successful) moral order in human history while on the other we have the modern secular perspective. The former is believed to be absolute in that it emanates from the infinite God and Creator while the latter, which is regarded as “evolving,” springs from the minds of men and takes its cues from the prevailing culture. The problem for all of us is that the secular approach to morality is arbitrarily determined and subsequently imposed by those capable of achieving the power to do so. This calls to mind the “morality” of the French revolutionaries (aka the Reign of Terror), National Socialists in Germany, the Bolsheviks and just about every other tyrannical regime in history.

Therein lies the test for any moral perspective – does it work? The issue is not one of religious fundamentalism vs. reason as it is often posed. Whym Rhymer, writing in the American Chronicle said, “General Pace has unwittingly provided us with an excellent example of the problems that are caused when a person allows his…religion-based views to overrule common sense.” On the contrary, it is precisely the application of reason, or common sense, which will affirm the biblical understanding of morality and ethics and expose the secular approach as flawed and therefore false. Simply test these two moral perspectives on the subject in question: sexuality, and see which one works.

A society of chaste people, in which sex is limited to monogamous couples of the opposite sex within a socially reinforced relationship, (i.e. marriage in which the societal expectations of fidelity, complimentarity, provision and parenthood are encouraged), experience more stable families, less crime, more children, economic growth and a greater sense of personal responsibility. In effect, these societies are the most successful. Conversely, the prevailing body of historical and sociological evidence demonstrates that those societies which tolerate and/or promote sexual activity apart from monogamous marriage have less family stability, more crime and fewer children. This then necessitates more government intervention and results in a diminished sense of personal responsibility giving rise to the “nanny state.” Increased public assistance discourages private enterprise and inhibits the economy. The socialized democracies of Western Europe are a living testimony to this fact.

Europe has the most liberal sexual ethics in the world today and they coincidentally include the highest public expenditures, out-of-wedlock birthrates and rates of family dissolution. Seventeen European nations have suicidal birthrates from which no country in history has ever recovered. The fact is these nations are reducing their populations by more than half every generation and the burden upon each subsequent generation only increases. Their economies are rapidly declining, unemployment increasing and economic opportunities diminishing. The demographic situation in some European countries is so far gone that it is irreversible without first collapsing. Were it not for the massive immigration of Muslims, the demographic and economic consequences would have been visible sooner. Unfortunately, this holds no hope for Europe as this will only produce a shift from the secular worldview to the Islamic worldview which is likely worse in every other respect and will make for some really “weird” European vacations in the not-to-distant future.

In short, both now and throughout history, the evidence, common sense and reason overwhelmingly affirm the biblical view of sexual morality – one man, one woman joining together for life that are prepared to procreate and raise children – and conversely condemns the secular approach of pan-sexuality.

Ironically, in all of the responses to General Pace’s comments, there is not one argument offered to advance the moral equality, much less superiority, of homosexual acts and the subject of adultery is ignored altogether. Instead those looking to legitimize homosexual behavior carefully avoid the morality of homosexual acts and instead redirect the issue to one of “civil rights.” Utilizing carefully crafted language, which is intended to portray gays as victims, serves to make all who agree with General Pace feel “intolerant, bigoted, or narrow-minded.” This is taken directly from the infamous “manifesto” of gay activism, After the Ball by Kirk and Madsen in which they write, “In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection… The purpose of victim imagery is to make straights feel very uncomfortable…” The result of this rhetorical misdirection and ideological manipulation is, in effect, the imposition of a new morality that will inevitably produce disastrous societal effects.

If we want to engage this issue effectively, we must address the source and nature of morality, applying the test of reason and experience. The truth of biblical morality is self evident to those willing to listen. Sure, it is unlikely that the radical homosexual activist will listen; however, these are a miniscule minority; the majority of people I am convinced, exist in the ideological middle where they are tossed too and fro by the opposing camps. Reach these and you influence the culture; disciple these and you spread the Kingdom!

© 2007 by S. Michael Craven

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S. Michael Craven is the Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to the renewal and reformation of society through the renewal and reformation of the Church. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit:

Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.

General Pace: Collision at the Crossroads of Morality