My column, “An Embarrassment to Higher Education,” went viral in August thanks to Clash Daily, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. I thought the feedback from that column had died down. But, then, out of nowhere, I started getting hundreds of emails from Russia after the column went viral over there during the first week of the New Year.
It seems that Russia is grappling with the issue of political correctness and free speech in the wake of Putin’s new law preventing the promotion of homosexuality among the nation’s youth. Many Americans have criticized the law, but many Russians seem to support it. At least that’s the impression I’m getting from readers of my August column, which criticizes the excesses of sexual politics in higher education.
Earlier this week, I received a Facebook message from a beautiful Russian woman named Tatyana Baikova. I almost deleted it thinking it was a mail order bride scheme (or maybe an invitation to join Match.commie or KGB-Harmony). However, Tatyana claimed to be a reporter from the Russian newspaper, Isvestia. After I verified her authenticity as a reporter, I accepted the request for a brief interview. Given a) the weight of issues involved, and b) the likelihood that some details of what I said could be lost in translation, I decided to reproduce my responses below. I hope readers will get something out of this. The idea of actually participating in the free exchange of ideas with a Moscow newspaper is a thrill for those of us raised in the Cold War era.
Here are Ms. Baikova’s questions and my unedited responses:
Baikova: Your statement is that marriage has to be just between woman and man. Why is that necessary?
Adams: For the same reason a triangle must have three sides and a square must have four sides. That is simply what marriage is. Real marriage between one man and one woman confers three benefits on society: 1. It protects women. 2. It tames men. 3. It provides a healthy and nurturing environment for children. So-called same sex marriage does none of these three things – at least not nearly as well. Therefore, the government has no business treating same sex marriage as if it were the same. It is not equally beneficial to society. Therefore, it does not deserve equal recognition.
Baikova: Don’t you agree with some of America’s state laws, which allow homosexual marriage?
Adams: No, I do not. Marriage is a creation of God. If He created it then He alone has the right to define it. Governments can choose to recognize or to ignore marriage. But they have no authority to redefine marriage. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s but give to God what is God’s.
Baikova: Do you accept homosexual relationships in general?
Adams: I accept that they exist. But I do not accept them in the sense of approving of them. Therein lies the problem. The gay rights movement in America seeks affirmation while refusing to affirm or even respect the views of those who disagree with the gay political agenda. I think Russians are trying to avoid a similar state of affairs in a nation that has suffered more than its share of religious oppression. However, the question of whether they are going about it the right way is a different matter altogether.
Baikova: How you feel about gay people?
Adams: The same way I feel about straight people. We are all sinners and in need of a Savior. I believe that Savior is Jesus Christ. The gay political agenda in America is bent on banning the idea the homosexuality is a sin. That is deeply harmful to gay people, in my opinion. By denying their sin, they are denying the opportunity for salvation.
Baikova: What do you think policy should be to such people?
Adams: I do not believe governments need to have different policies for gay and straight people. That is one of the reasons why I oppose hate speech and hate crimes legislation. I believe in equal protection of the laws. Unfortunately, gay rights activists in America do not really think they are equal. They think they are superior and deserving of special treatment. For example, gay men think that their decision not to marry a woman gives them a right to create a special right to marry someone of the same sex. People do not deserve new rights simply because they choose not to exercise the ones they already have.
Baikova: Don’t you think that democracy and freedom of choice should be in the choice of partner too?
Adams: Absolutely. Gay men, for example, have a right to choose men as their partners. But that does not mean the government has an obligation to affirm their decision or to attach it to government entitlements or benefits.
Baikova: What do you think about the Russian law against the promotion of homosexuality among children and youth?
Adams: I have not read the law. However, I would say that we should not limit such laws to the promotion of homosexuality. We need to let children be children. We ought not to be promoting any kind of sexuality to them, whether homosexual or heterosexual in nature.
Baikova: Do you think that Putin’s policy to gay people is most correct?
Adams: I cannot say whether it is mostly correct or incorrect until I have read it. I can, however, speak to one aspect I have heard about that I suspect is wrong. This idea of banning “pro-gay” propaganda is, in my view, a big mistake. It is okay to prevent the discussion of sex with children without making a distinction between homosexual and heterosexual discussions of sex. But society then needs to decide when people are ready to hear discussions of sex. Whatever age that is – whether it is 12, 15, 18 years or whatever – society needs to mark the beginning of a truly open discussion of sex. When it comes to homosexuality, people need to be free to promote it and they need to be equally free to criticize it. Let the free and open marketplace of ideas sort out the difference between truth and falsity on the issue of homosexuality.
Right now, America is in a crisis because it is starting to ban criticism of homosexuality. At the same time, Russia will be headed for a crisis if it only allows criticism of homosexuality. Censorship doesn’t work because it causes people to rebel. People long to express their God given rights and they desire to see those ideas tested in a free and open marketplace of ideas. The government needs to remain viewpoint neutral in such discussions. If Americans or Russians forbid either side from speaking it will be to their own detriment.
Let me conclude by saying that America was once the greatest nation on earth, bar none. I no longer think this nation is great. I am not even sure it is good. The reason for my harsh assessment of America is her abandonment of religious liberty. Universities have led the way. Now, at least two branches of our government are following suit by abandoning religious liberty. This will be our downfall. We will not be attacked from the outside. We will crumble from the inside. And it will all be because we were too foolish and arrogant and irresponsible to appreciate the freedoms that were granted by our God and defended by our forefathers.
Russia has new found religious freedom. But she also has new found responsibility. She must learn from the reality of her murderous past. But she must also learn from the reality of America’s suicidal present
Religious and secular ideas are currently at war in the former Soviet Union. So Russians must find a way to strike the balance between these warring factions. As old ideas collide with new ones, I hope that one old idea will survive the collision. The idea of which I speak is that truth is best ascertained and appreciated via its juxtaposition with falsity. Accordingly, censorship will never serve the truth seeking function that is best served by the unfettered discussion of ideas. An understanding of this truly radical idea marks the progress of a truly mature and enlightened society.
Baikova: Do you know the country where the policy on gay people is most appropriate?
Adams: Yes. It used to be called America where we generally kept sexuality out of politics. That was back in the day when rights belonged to individuals, not to groups. And it was long before group identity was determined by the manner in which people chose to have sex. It was back when one’s ideas, not one’s identity, mattered most.