Resources

Homosexuality and Deconstructionism: De Sade, Foucault, and the Postmodern Mind

By Roger Schultz
September 01, 2004

The recent enthusiasm for gay civil unions and the proposal for a Federal Marriage Amendment have made homosexuality a major issue. According to gay propaganda, Adam and Steve simply wish to marry, secure a home and mortgage, adopt 1.7 children, and settle down to life-long, monogamous marital bliss. This idyllic picture of homosexual goals is a ridiculous fabrication. In truth, the homosexual agenda is revolutionary and seeks to overthrow the Biblical foundation for society.

The Biblical Framework
A Christian worldview rests in the doctrine of creation. The sovereign God created the earth and established a social and moral order. God fashioned Adam and Eve and gave them their respective roles and their callings of fruitfulness and dominion. In the New Testament, Jesus clearly affirmed this creation order (Mt. 19:3-6). God ordained multiple spheres of authority in human society (family, church, state), and the family is a central building block.1

Revolutionaries have always attacked God’s established order. In the Communist Manifesto (1848), Marx was clearly hostile to the family, which he considered an instrument for controlling wealth, a prop for the capitalist order.2 Marx’s first advocate in America was Victoria Woodhull (1838-1927), a notorious feminist, free-love advocate and quirky spiritualist, who advocated the abolition of marriage.3

In a recently published study, R.J. Rushdoony argues that modern, anti-Christian thought is rooted in rebellion against God, His Word, and His created order. The original temptation for Adam and Eve was to “know” and “determine” good and evil — and thus be as gods (Gen 3:5). By attacking the family and defying the Biblical sexual order, moderns seek a “world of their own creation. They resent any world they never made.” Rushdoony notes that there is an inherently self-destructive end to modern philosophy, for as Proverbs 8:36 teaches, “All they that hate me love death.”4

We see this in the lives of two philosophers who laid the groundwork for today’s homosexual movement.

Marquis de Sade
For Rushdoony, the “first self-consciously modern man” was the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814).5 A French pornographer and sexual libertine, de Sade was notorious for his hatred of God, his sacrilegious debauchery and eagerness to shock people, and his final insanity. He spent considerable time in prison (including the Bastille) for his perverse behavior and gave his name to “sadism” — the deriving of pleasure from hurting others.

De Sade’s philosophy is sometimes called “amoralism” because of its absence of moral absolutes and ethical imperatives. I used to lecture on de Sade at a secular college and I loved the interaction with students. Most students believed (or professed to believe) that anything was ethically acceptable “as long as it didn’t hurt anybody.” “Why draw the line there,” I’d argue, “why should you have any limits on your pursuit of pleasure?” (In short, “What makes it wrong to hurt others?”) My point was to show that moral absolutes did exist, that students instinctively knew that they existed, that students should discover what they were, and that the commands of God were the only real place to start. (My students had enough residual Christian capital that this tactic was successful — in another place or in another generation it might not work.)

Rushdoony demonstrates that de Sade’s amoralism arose from rebellion against God. Seeing freedom from God as a “moral absolute,” he rebelled against God and pursued an “ethical anarchism.” A consistent rebel, de Sade also attacked the created order and defied traditional notions of propriety and sin. He had to follow his desires and pursue pleasure, no matter what it involved. De Sade pursued perversity, filth, and corruption — anything that was “the antithesis of the good and the holy.” The basic nature of the modern spirit, Rushdoony concludes, is “pure perversity.”6

Michel Foucault
The best recent apostle of the Sadean philosophy is Michel Foucault (1926-84). A French intellectual with wide-ranging and challenging writings, Foucault has become the poster-boy for postmodernism and deconstructionism. A notoriously debauched homosexual who loved San Francisco’s sadomasochist scene, Foucault died twenty years ago of AIDS.

Foucault’s upbringing spans 20th century intellectual history. He was trained by Jesuits; he belonged to the Communist Party; deeply influenced by Sartre and Existentialism, he was a fashionably leftist social activist. He faced depression and suicidal periods related to his homosexuality. Foucault was interested in categories of sickness and abnormality, in medicine, psychiatry, prisons, and sexual norms. By the end of his life, he held a prestigious position at the College de France.

In 1999, I was a Jesse Ball du Pont Fellow at the National Humanities Center for a special summer seminar dedicated to Foucault’s thought. Having read Foucault in graduate school, I wanted to learn more, believing that he was a key to understanding the direction of modern culture. My main question at the seminar was this: Why and how does the philosophy of a homosexual intellectual shape the post-modern world?

Foucault was especially interested in epistemology. Absolute truth did not exist, since he believed that truth was contextually determined, based upon one’s historical and cultural environment. “Power is knowledge” was a famous Foucaultian maxim; he argued that “knowledge” and “truth” were controlled by those wielding power. Foucault was particularly critical of the state, which controlled access to knowledge, engineered the intellectual structure of a society, and ultimately sought to control individuals.7 (For fun, apply Foucault’s insights to the public education system in the United States.)

Foucault applied his theories to the ethical realm, especially regarding sexuality. Having been diagnosed as “sick” and “abnormal” because of his homosexuality, he argued that sexual morality was an artificial construction. Archaic and repressive systems of ethics must not be used to condemn the individual or restrict his pursuit of pleasure.

Deconstructionism
Foucault and others attacked comprehensive worldviews. (This also included modern liberal and secular worldviews, which claimed to have a complete explanation of reality.) All worldviews are arbitrary human constructions, they insisted, both in their intellectual substance and their ethical imperatives. The goal of postmodernists was to “deconstruct” truth systems. (Postmodernists, of course, were governed by their own worldview, including affirmations that absolute truth doesn’t exist and that all morality is relativistic.)

Many postmodernists are self-consciously revolutionary. At professional academic meetings, I frequently attend history sessions sponsored by Marxists, feminists, and gays and lesbians — so I can see what’s on the radical cutting edge. For many radicals, the enemy is “heterosexism”—a system used to oppress “womyn and sexual minorities” — and the goal is a revolution against the “phallocracy.”

In January of 1995 I attended an academic meeting in San Francisco. (It was immediately after the Republican Revolution of 1994.) The lead speaker in a session on “Feminist Pedagogy” was the butchy Dean of an Ivy League school. “Do you know what I’d like to do to Gingrich?,” she growled, sharply jerking her knee upward, simulating an attack on Newt’s groin. The audience roared with laughter. (I was stunned. What would have happened if a man joked about sexually assaulting a woman? And this was done by the Dean of a distinguished American university!)

Her demonstration and the presentations that followed illustrated the real motivation of gay and lesbian activists: the emasculation of men and the subversion of marriage.

Later that day, some colleagues and I decided to do a Sixties retro-tour of San Francisco, and we traveled to the Haight-Ashbury District. Time has not been kind to the old center of American hippie culture. I’m pretty jaded, but I was stunned to see sadomasochist supply stores along the street. One could easily see the result of America’s cultural decay, and the city’s churches were doing nothing to prevent it.8

Christians must defend the Word of God and the social order He has ordained. Rushdoony notes, “[T]he homosexual faith will prevail unless the priority of … Jesus Christ, and His law word are established and extended.”9

Notes

1. Rousas Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law (Vallecito: Ross House Books, 1999), Vol. III, 109f.

2. For an excellent overview of Marx, see Paul Johnson’s Intellectuals (New York: HarperCollins, 1989).

3. Woodhull was the first to publish Marx’s Communist Manifesto in America. For a fascinating study of the free love movement, its association with Marxism and the occult, and its revolutionary goal of undermining the institution of marriage in the 19th century, see Page Smith, The Rise of Industrial America (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984), 258-283.

4. Rousas Rushdoony, To Be As God: A Study of Modern Thought Since the Marquis de Sade (Vallecito: Ross House Books, 2003), 38.

5. Ibid, 4.

6. Ibid, 4, 12, 21, 38. Elsewhere Rushdoony notes that for such rebels, sex is not motivated by love but is merely a weapon to be used “against God and His law order.” Rousas Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity (Fairfax, Virginia: Thoburn, 1977), 50.

7. For more on Foucault and Postmodernism from a Christian perspective, see Millard Erickson, The Postmodern. ( Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2002), 40-48.

8. A year earlier I had taken a tour of San Francisco’s old churches. There is nothing left of a Christian legacy. See Roger Schultz, “Strolling Through Sodom” Contra Mundum 11 (Spring, 1994). http://www.visi.com/~contra_m/cm/columns/cm11_academy_1.html.

9. Rushdoony, To Be As God, 23.


Topics: Biography, Dominion, R. J. Rushdoony, Biblical Law, Culture

Roger Schultz

Dr. Roger Schultz is Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Liberty University.  He previously served as Chair of the History Department at Liberty and has taught at Virginia Intermont College, the University of Arkansas, and Oak Hills Christian College. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.  He holds degrees from Bemidji State University (B.A.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A.), and the University of Arkansas (Ph.D.)

His specialty is American religious history.  His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications and have been translated into Hungarian and Spanish.  Dr. Schultz frequently preaches in local churches and speaks at academic and Christian conferences.  The Schultzes have nine children.


More by Roger Schultz