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Making Gay Okay by Robert Reilly

Review of: Making Gay Okay
Robert Reilly

Reviewed by:
On February 22, 2016
Last modified:February 21, 2016


Making Gay Okay is a sobering philosophical analysis of the movement to destroy the concept of rational morality. It is a highly thoughtful examination of the conflicting views on what it is to be a human being and the consequences of abandoning the concept of morality as a derivative of reason.

Making Gay OkayMaking Gay Okay is a sobering philosophical analysis of the movement to destroy the concept of rational morality.  It is a highly thoughtful examination of the conflicting views on what it is to be a human being and the consequences of abandoning the concept of morality as a derivative of reason. The title of the book does not necessarily lead one to think that it examines such deep philosophical questions. Instead, one might expect that it is an anti-homosexual treatise. The author seeks to allay those concerns in his introduction.

It should be emphasized that this critique of the homosexual cause is not an attack upon homosexuals, nor is it generated by any animus against them.

Notwithstanding the author’s protestations, the fact that it is published by Ignatius Press, a publisher devoted to supporting the teachings of the Catholic Church, also does little to change such an initial assumption. In this case, however, the adage is true, one should not judge a book by its cover – or its publisher. This is neither a “homophobic” rant against homosexuals, nor a compilation of religious arguments against it. In fact, the author does not invoke religion in his arguments against the nature of homosexual activity and the movement to change the definition of marriage. This leaves the question: If the author is not some “anti-gay” bigot, why should he, or anyone be opposed to so-called “gay marriage?”  After all, only a tiny percentage of the population is even interested in availing themselves of this “right.”

The Principle of Non Contradiction

In the introduction, Reilly answers the question “Why all the fuss?” He explains, that the concept of homosexual marriage is part of a larger “false reality.”  That false reality may be understood as a failure to understand the principle of noncontradiction.  “… a thing cannot both be and not be in the same way, at the same time, in the same place.”  

There are two fundamental views of reality.  One is that things have a Nature that is teleologically ordered to ends that inhere to their essence and make them what they are. In other words, things have inbuilt purposes.  The other is that things do not have a Nature with ends: things are nothing in themselves, but are only what we make them to be in according to our wills and desires.  Therefore, we can make everything including ourselves, anything that we wish and that we have the power to do.  The first view leads to the primacy of reason in human affairs, the second leads to the primacy of the will.  The first does not allow for sodomitical marriage, while the second does.  Indeed, the problem is that the second allows for anything.  This is what the same-sex marriage debate is really about — the Nature of reality itself.  Since the meaning of our lives is dependent upon the Nature of reality, it too hangs in the balance.  Emphasis WWTFT

Reilly doesn’t waste any time in his blunt assertion that it is justification of the act as a legitimate alternative to the marriage act that is at the heart of Making Gay Okay. Behavioral justification is central to the goal of breaking down societal norms.  When the author says that the book  “… is also about how to live rightly in respect to our sexual Nature.” The reader might ask himself how one can make a moral argument without making a religious argument, especially, when Reilly asserts that in the course of the book:

I make no case from religion or revelation in this book, only from reason as it discloses to us the Nature of things.

Indeed, making such an argument is the point of the book. It is a critique based upon reason. The author argues that by separating the nature of the act from the person performing the act, this distinction “removes any moral onus …” 

However, even if not religiously derived, the nature of the act is a moral issue. Reilly contends that it is possible to evaluate morality through reason. In other words, it is possible to know things.

Reilly argues from first principles. Either one believes that things have an inherent purpose and may be understood accordingly, or one does not.  The eye has a purpose – or end, as Aristotle called it.  The purpose of the eye is to see, perfection in the eye is the ability to see 20/20 – any diminution in that ability is a worsening. The purpose inherent in marital coitus is generative and unitive.  It takes two parents to form a new life and create the familial unit upon which society depends for its existence.  Two same sex partners cannot, by definition do this. Reilly also contends that there are consequences to subverting natural functions.  In this contention he is on solid philosophical ground.

Aristotle and Rousseau

aristotleReilly goes back to Aristotle and his Laws of Nature.  There are some fundamental questions to consider with regard to “morality” — specifically the ability to distinguish between what is natural and what is unnatural, right and wrong. “… how we perceive reality is at stake.”  Each side of the debate has their own view of reality and they are mutually exclusive.

The classical view on natural law states, in Reilly’s words:

Nature is what is, regardless of what anyone desires or abhors.  We are part of it and subject to it.  We do not make Nature.  It is not subject to us.  It is the given. 

In the Aristotelian view, “man is by Nature a rational, political animal for whom the basic societal unit is the family.”

rousseauOn the other hand, there is a Rousseauian view that claims that “man is not a rational political animal and that society in any form is fundamentally alien.”

Consequently, there are two opposing metaphysics to support each conflicting view.

… one is teleological (things have an inner orientation or aim), the other is nonteleological (things have no inner aim), or antiteleological. The first claims with Aristotle that “Nature is a cause that operates for a purpose.”  The purpose is given in the thing itself; it is not man-made.  The laws of Nature are preexisting, immutable, and universal.  The second denies ends in Nature — it is man, not Nature, who gives things their purpose.  Insofar as they pertain to man, these so-called laws are mutable, continued by historical accidents, and therefore malleable. According to this view, reason itself is grounded in the irrational, or accidental.


In turn, Aristotle taught that the essence, or Nature, of a thing makes it what it is and not something else. This is not a tautology. As an acorn develops into an oak tree, there is no point along its trajectory of growth when it will turn into a giraffe or something other than an oak. That is because it has the Nature of an oak tree and not of anything else.  Hence, by Nature or natural law, we mean the principle of development that makes any living thing what it is and, given the proper conditions, what it will become when it fulfills itself or reaches its end.  … This end state is its telos, the reason for which it is—what it is meant to be.  In nonhuman creation this design is manifested through either instinct or physical law.  Every living thing has a telos, and inner aim, toward which it purposefully moves. In plants or animals, this involves no self-conscious volition. In man, it does.

Anything that operates contrary to this principle in any given thing is unnatural to that thing.  By unnatural, we mean something that works against what a thing would become were it to operate according to the principle of its development. …

This implication that everything has an end, and that that end is part of its very structure, is teleological.

Teleological means that the goal of the thing is intrinsic, not extrinsic.  … all living creatures, except for man, are determined by what they are to act in the ways they do.  They are preordained to their end, or their “good”.  Man is also ordained to an end, he alone can choose to conform himself to his “good” or not.

Reilly then ties this in with a succinct explanation about the Aristotelian/Socratic view that every human is fundamentally the same – and made for the same “good.”    This is what it means to be human.  This is what the American founders had in mind when they said all men are created equal and what they meant by inalienable rights.  Such rights come from the universal law of nature which transcends any political order.  In this view, laws are just or unjust only in as much as they are in conformance with this natural law.  “A positive law made contrary to Natural law would be, by definition, unjust.”

Because of Greco-Roman philosophy, reason replaced force as the arbiter of human affairs.

… Behaving according to human Nature therefore means action rationally.  Concomitantly, behaving unnaturally means acting irrationally. This notion of reality necessitates the rule of reason for human beings because of their rational nature.

This is relevant to man alone because only he possesses reason and free will.  He can choose the means to his end or choose to frustrate ends altogether.  This, of course, is why moral laws are applicable only to man.  These moral laws are what natural law means in regard to man.  That man can defy moral law in no way lessens the certainty of its operation.  In face, man not so much breaks the moral law as the moral law breaks man, if he transgresses it.  In short, when we speak of man’s Nature, we mean the ordering of man’s being toward certain ends. It is the fulfillment of those ends that makes him fully human.

Reilly goes into a good deal more detail – but this is the crux of his discussion of moral and immoral – based on the reasoning that things are made for a purpose.  Man is the only being that can willfully subvert his natural purpose because he has free will.  To do so is to deny reality and is the basis of immorality.

Thus morality is no longer arbitrary – might makes right – man is able to tell the difference between good and bad, just and unjust.

The Psychology of Moral Failure and The Need to Rationalize The Irrational

While the bulk of this book is about the movement to normalize homosexuality in society, Reilly points out that this is only part of a larger movement to remove social stigmas from what have been, for thousands of years, considered immoral acts in all civilized cultures. Contrast this with the positive good that traditional marriage and family have been proven to be. Thus society has an interest in encouraging it.

For example, certainly the sexual intimacy between a husband and wife is held to be private and inviolate.  But what are the public manifestations of this privacy? Obviously, wedding rings, children, private property, homes, schools, communities—the whole structure and fabric of society in fact, is built to protect and maintain the conditions for that intimacy and its results. The whole social and political order is supportive of this privacy.  It is encouraged and protected by law because it is held to be a benefit to all.

This is what homosexual activists are seeking – an imprimatur of legitimacy.

What they want is legal recognition that obliges everyone to recognize the legitimacy of their act.

Why is this so?  Reilly explains, quoting Aristotle

Men start revolutionary changes for reasons connected with their private lives.

So what might these private reasons be in this case?

The answer to these questions lies in the intimate psychology of moral failure.  For any individual, moral failure is hard to live with because of the rebuke of conscience.  Habitual moral failure, what used to be called vice, can be tolerated only by creating a rationalization to justify it.


This need for justification explains the reasons for the irrational actions and fierce opposition to anyone who holds an alternate view. The remainder of this review will attempt to summarize some of the key points in this massive effort to redefine norms for the purpose of rationalizing the irrational.

A New Civil Right

In the first chapter, Reilly contrasts rationalization with reason. He begins by making sure the reader understands the goals and nature of the arguments to rationalize homosexuality.  Reilly quotes gay rights activist and icon Dr. Franklin E. Kameny, who was recognized by President Obama in the Whitehouse for his efforts on behalf of “gay rights.”

In 2008, before the White House meeting, Mr. Kameny expressed some of his views in a published letter to Americans for Truth.  he wrote, “Let us have more and better enjoyment of more and better sexual perversions by whatever definition, by more and more consenting adults… If bestiality with consenting animals provides happiness to some people, let them pursue their happiness.  That is Americanism in action.”

This is significant because, in Reilly’s words:

Now homosexual intercourse is being proposed and accepted as equivalent to the marital act and as a basis for marriage — including by President Obama, …

Lest the reader thing this is just the author expressing disgust, he is not. Reilly is merely explaining the views and aims of those in support of homosexual marriage.  The idea is to promote the issue as one of civil rights.  Since the Declaration of Independence tells us that the rights we cherish are dependent on the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,”

… activist homosexuals and their supporters attempt to identity themselves as the new civil rights movement.

Reilly quotes Dick Cheney’s public endorsement of same-sex “marriage” to illustrate this point.

I think that freedom means freedom for everyone …. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish.  Any kind of arrangement they wish. [Emphasis WWTFT]

“Death is Life” and the Inversion of Reality

karlbrandtReilly quotes Dr. Karl Brandt to provide an example of how rationalizations become difficult to see.  (Brandt was Hitler’s personal physician who was in charge of the Aktion T-4 euthanasia program to eliminate “life unworthy of life.”  

He said in his defense [at the Nuremberg trials]: “When I said yes to euthanasia I did so with the deepest conviction, just as it is my conviction today, that it was right.  Death can mean deliverance.  Death is life.”

It is not that Reilly is suggesting that homosexual acts are comparable to Nazi euthanasia programs, but uses it to illustrate how rationalization exercises a powerful sway over those whose conscience is corrupt.  It is an example of 

.. when morally disordered acts become the defining center of one’s life, vice can permanently pervert reason and the inversion of reality becomes complete.  The rationalization can turn into a prison from which one cannot escape. [Emphasis WWTFT]

Ginette-ParisThis sort of rationalization has been applied to abortion.  Abortion has been categorized as a “positive good” or “loving choice.” Ginette Paris has even gone so far as to write a book entitled The Sacrament of Abortionin which she calls for “new rituals as well as laws to restore to abortion its sacred dimension.”  Sacred?  In the words of Dr. Brandt “Death is life.”

The abortion issue is just another of the steps along the road to separate action from consequence and was a necessary precursor towards rationalizing “gay.”

Abortion is the ultimate in the larger rationalization of the sexual revolution (of which the homosexual cause is part): if sex is only a form of amusement or self-realization (as it must be when divorced from the moral order), why should the generation of a child  stand in the way of it or penalize its fulfillment?  The life of the child is a physical and moral rebuke to this proposition.  But the child is too weak to overcome the power of the rationalization. The virtual reality of the rationalization is stronger than the actual reality of the child.  The child succumbs to the rationalization and is killed in a new “sacrament”.  With more than 55-million abortions performed since 1973, the investment in the denial of the evil of abortion and the establishment of the alternative reality that allows it has become tremendous. [Emphasis WWTFT]

The homosexual movement shares in the larger rationalization of the sexual revolution and is invested in its spread.  The acceptance of each variant of sexual misbehavior reinforces the others.  The underlying dynamic is: If you’ll rationalize my sexual misbehavior, I’ll rationalize yours.  Entrenched moral aberrations then impel people to rationalize vice not only to themselves but to others as well.  Thus rationalizations become an engine for revolutionary change that will affect society as a whole.  And so it must be.  If you are going to center your public life on the private act of sodomy, you had better transform sodomy into a highly moral act.  If sodomy is a moral disorder, it cannot be legitimately advance on the legal or civil level.  On the other hand, if it is a highly moral act, it should—in fact, must— serve as the basis for marriage, family (adoption), and community.  As a moral act, sodomy should be normative.  If it is normative, it should be taught in our schools as a standard.  If it is a standard, it should be enforced.  In fact, homosexuality should be hieratic: active homosexuals should be ordained as priests and bishops.  Sodomy should be sacramentalized.

This is all happening today.

Everything must be subverted in the service of this rationalization. “Since failed rationalization means self-recrimination, it must be avoided at all costs.”  For it to be successful everyone must accede. Revolutionary change is required – even to the point of compulsion.

Since the necessity for self-justification requires the complicity of the whole culture, holdouts cannot be tolerated, because they are potential rebukes.  The self-hatred, anger and guilt that a person possessed of a functioning conscience would normally feel from doing wrong are redirected by the rationalization and projected upon society as a whole (if the society is healthy) or upon those in society who do not accept the rationalization.  These latter are labeled as homophobes, though it is they who become the objects of hatred.  They are blamed for the misfortunes in homosexual life, which are no longer ascribable to the behavior that produces them, but to those who do not accept the behavior as moral, thus discomfiting its practitioners.

Coercion is the solution to this dilemma.  Those who do not accept homosexual behavior as normative must be legally forced to embrace the rationalization or be silent in the face of it.

This is what was behind the coercion of the American Psychiatric Association, Supreme Court rulings – particularly of Justice Kennedy, the propaganda to portray AIDS as something everyone is at risk for (in spite of statistics to the contrary), the efforts to incorporate homosexuality as a societal norm in education, the designation of homosexuals as a class (equivalent to gender or race), and many other strategies that Reilly covers thoughtfully and thoroughly

Lessons From Biology

Words have meaning and naming things for what they are is how we understand what something is.  People do not like to focus their attention on what is unpleasant.  At one point in the book, Reilly provides some research into what these behaviors actually are.  Stable long-term relationships are  largely a myth.  This lifestyle is about the sensual experience and depersonalization of sex – hence the furtive encounters with unknown partners in public restrooms, parks, etc.  Scores, if not hundreds of interchangeable and often faceless partners are the rule, rather than the exception.  In a chapter, entitled The Lessons From Biology, Reilly details some pretty shocking statistics on things like, the life expectancy of gay men (50), the sharp increase in rates of many otherwise rare forms of cancer, hepatitis (B and C), AIDS, and a host of other venereal diseases. 

It’s an ugly chapter and somewhat nauseating to read  (I have no desire to ever read about anilingus again).  But hiding the truth does not make it less true.  Perhaps if more of this were brought into the light, fewer people would die. The risks associated with sodomy are far greater than those from smoking, even to the public at large. Yet the government does not see fit to warn its people of this, and indeed goes out of its way to normalize these harmful behaviors and hide the consequences.

Immutable versus Mutable

In his discussion of how the American Psychiatric Association was pressed by militant homosexuals into redefining their handbook of maladies to no longer include homosexuality, Reilly looks at the argument that some people are “just born gay” and that this state is immutable.  Reilly does not yield on the first point, but explains that this is not relevant in any case.  Some people are born disposed to alcoholism – they are expected by society, to control themselves.  Everyone has desires that they reign in.  The ability to do so is what makes us human.  To suggest that some people are mere victims of their sensual desires and are powerless to control themselves is profoundly dehumanizing.

On the first point, the homosexual lobby would have everyone believe that homosexuality is immutable – because if it is “curable” this suggests that it might be a disease – or something other than a virtue.  The reality is, in numerous studies, lots of people have responded to therapy and abandoned this destructive lifestyle.  Yet, again subverting everything in support of rationalization, homosexual activists have gotten laws passed in several states prohibiting such therapies.  Reilly documents a lot more on this topic, including how age bears on homosexuality and how many people have turned away from “being gay” after experimenting with the behavior in their teens or early twenties. To summarize, homosexuality is not immutable.

Proselytizing for Converts

In one of the more distressing sections of the book, Reilly cites statistics on the likelihood of sexual abuse in same-sex households as compared to traditional households. It has been documented in numerous studies that children from 2 parent (actual parents, not same sex “parents” because such is an impossibility) households fare much better in all aspects of life. This is even more the case when comparing same-sex adult households with traditional mom and dad households.  The real harm and potential danger innocent children are exposed to was shocking to realize.

But the danger is not limited to their own children, as they have an insatiable need for more varied experiences, it becomes necessary to recruit.  This is being done through school curriculum and the culture at large.  In the studies mentioned earlier, younger people are most susceptible, and there is no better time to recruit them than before their minds are made up, and more importantly before they have the ability to discern.

Even the young are to be sacrificed in the service of rationalization.

The End Of The Road

Unfortunately, short of reproducing the entire book, there is no way to cover all of the ways this need for rationalization is impacting things like childhood through college education curricula, public health, and even foreign policy, that Reilly analyzes in Making Gay Okay.

Making Gay Okay is a brilliant, if depressing book.  It is not a hate-filled screed, but an unpleasant expose of the truth. The author concludes in a rather sardonic manner.  

The homosexual movement will not succeed in the long run, however.  Dream worlds do not last.  They invariably  turn into nightmares from which people eventually wake themselves. How long it takes and how much damage it incurs in the meantime will depend on us.


1 Erich Sielaff { 02.22.16 at 8:02 am }

Very well thought out review. The propagandizing of this issue has in itself cost lives. I suspect that not one in a hundred gay men knows their life expectancy is 50. The concept of moral law being consistent with natural law, is of course true. God cannot be untrue. CS Lewis has also explored this in Mere Christianity. Genesis Chapter 1 tells us all we need to know about free will, distinguishing between good and evil, and embarking on a path other than what God has created us to travel. We ignore Him at our peril, quite literally, actually. The devil continues to whisper in our ears the same message he always has. “Why would God withhold this pleasure from you?”. The answer is because He knows it will kill us or bring us great misery. He loves us way too much not to tell us. To which the devil simply replies, “Hogwash, God doesn’t love you at all or He wouldn’t have made you like this.” Which returns us to Genesis 1 and the reason we live in a fallen world to begin with, and in one fell swoop the devil escapes accountability while distracting us from the truth that through Christ, we have a way out of the mess we have made. And so it goes.


Peter Knobloch Reply:

Well said!


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