By Rev. Louis P. Sheldon
In his 1979 book, Our Dance Has Turned To Death, Christian sociologist Carl
W. Wilson outlined the dangers facing traditional marriage and the family in
America's increasingly sexualized culture. Wilson could clearly see what was
going to happen to the American family if our society continued to be sex
Wilson noted that history reveals that nations decline and eventually die when
sexual immorality becomes rampant and the traditional family is discarded in
favor of group sex, homosexuality, infidelity, and unrestrained sexual hedonism.
He pointed to the writings of British anthropologist J. D. Unwin, whose 1934
book, Sex and Culture, chronicled the historical decline of numerous cultures.
Unwin studied 86 different cultures throughout history and discovered a
surprising fact: No nation that rejected monogamy in marriage and pre-marital
sexual chastity lasted longer than a generation after it embraced sexual
hedonism. Unwin stated it this way, "In human records there is no instance of a
society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a
tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence."
Unwin found that nations that valued traditional marriage and sexual abstinence
were creative and flourished. He described this as "cultural energy" that can
only be maintained when sexual activities remain restricted within marriage.
Sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, in The American Sex Revolution, found essentially
the same thing when he examined sexual immorality as it relates to cultural
decline. Sorokin noted in the late 60's that America was committing "voluntary
suicide" through unrestrained sexual indulgence. He observed that as individuals
began engaging in pre-marital sex unrelated to marriage, the birth rate would
decline and our nation would be slowly depopulated. He predicted an increase in
divorce, desertion, and an epidemic of sexual promiscuity resulting in a rise in
illegitimate children. His predictions, unfortunately, have come true.
Sorokin's study of decadent cultures convinced him that a healthy society can
only survive if strong families exist and sexual activities are restricted to
within marriage. Sexual promiscuity leads inevitably to cultural decline and
eventual co l! lapse.
Carl Wilson notes that decadent cultures display seven typical characteristics:
Men reject spiritual and moral development as the leaders of families; men begin
to neglect their families in search of material gain; men begin to engage in
adulterous relationships or homosexual sex; women begin to devalue the role of
motherhood and homemaker; husbands and wives begin to compete with each other
and families disintegrate; selfish individualism fragments society into warring
factions; and men and women lose faith in God and reject all authority over
their lives. Soon, moral anarchy reigns. When the family collapses, the society
If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the
past. And, once the decline begins, it will be very difficult to turn things
William Bennett, in The Broken Hearth says it well: "My concern is that we are
now embarked upon an experiment that violates a universal social law: In
attempting to raise children without two parents, we are seeing, on a massive
scale, the voluntary breakup of the minimal family unit. This is historically
unprecedented, an authentic cultural revolution-and, I believe, socially
calamitous. We may be under the illusion that we can cheerfully deconstruct
marriage and then one day decide to pull back from the brink. But as a friend of
mine puts it, once you shoot out the lights, can you shoot them back on again?
As the long record of human experimentation attests, civilizations, even great
civilizations, are more fragile and perishable than we think."
Our culture must strengthen traditional marriage, promote abstinence before
marriage, and reject any attempts to undermine the natural law by redefining
marriage to include same-sex couples.