Mohler: Sodomy ruling a moral turning point in U.S. history

Communications Staff — July 30, 2003

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn a Texas sodomy law will eventually be seen as one of the profound moral turning points in American history on par with the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion on demand, R. Albert Mohler Jr. told a radio audience last week.

Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said the court’s June 26 ruling in the Lawrence vs. Texas case is a frightening landmark because it establishes homosexual practice as a constitutional right.

Worse, according to Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion, it establishes a fundamental right for each person to define his own existence, Mohler said. The result of a legally protected right to self-definition will be that no behavior will ultimately be deemed immoral, he said.

Mohler discussed the ruling on the July 23 broadcast of his weekly radio show “Truth On the Line.”

“I think we are going to look back to June of 2003 and say that that was when America began to lose all moral sanity on the issue of sexuality,” Mohler said. “And if you have no moral clarity on sexuality, then eventually, you have not moral clarity on anything. Because, if sexuality isn’t moral, nothing is.”

“I am claiming that this decision will be remembered as being of the same significance as Roe v. Wade in 1973. I realize that is quite a claim, but I’m not alone in making it and I believe I am on pretty solid ground in making that claim because, in terms of America’s moral character, nothing is more fundamental than sexuality.”

Mohler said the decision underpins a doctrine that is at the heart of the gay rights agenda: the right of persons to constitutionally define their own existence.

Though the U.S. Constitution nowhere sets forth such a right, Mohler pointed to the language in Kennedy’s majority decision as establishing by fiat this new “constitutional law.” In penning the majority decision Kennedy argued that human liberty presumes “transcendent dimensions,” that allow absolute self-definition, Mohler said.

Mohler applauded Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote a scathing dissent. In it, Scalia warned that the logical conclusion of the court’s sweeping action will in time “take root in America’s constitutional traditions [so] that eventually nothing is immoral.”

“Justice Kennedy says that [self-definition] is a fundamental right,” Mohler said. “If you have the fundamental right to determine your own existence, then you can certainly have a fundamental right to sodomy, because you can define yourself as a homosexual, of which sodomy is the logical expression.

“Does that seem like nonsense to you? It did to Justice Scalia as well. But this is now the law of the land.”

The Texas decision overturned a 1986 precedent in which the Supreme Court ruled that homosexual conduct is not a constitutionally-endowed right. In that case—Bowers vs. Hardwick—the court upheld the right of the state of Georgia to forbid sodomy.

Mohler said the fact that the court abruptly overrode this precedent only 17 years after it was set is a clear signal that the court sees morality as having evolved.

“That (‘evolved’) isn’t a word they used, but that’s exactly what they argued,” Mohler said. “The majority of justices said, ‘listen, there once was a time when basically everyone thought that homosexuality was wrong, but we’ve outgrown that, we’ve moved beyond that.’

“This court, in its majority, even went on to quote the European court of human rights to make that case. That raises the interesting constitutional issue, and that is whether the U.S. Constitution should be interpreted in light of European courts. God help us from that. Look at the chaos of Europe.”

The entire broadcast of “Truth On the Line” is archived and can be heard at

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