In Victory, a scholarly survey of “the triumphant gay revolution,” author Linda Hirshman analyzes “How a Despised Minority Pushed Back, Beat Death, Found Love, and Changed America for Everyone.” Although the book is a painful read for Christians, there are some strategic lessons that we can learn from this remarkably sudden cultural turnaround.
1. Aim high
Gay activists aimed much higher than black rights and women’s rights movements; not just tolerance, but approval of their difference; not separate but equal, but rather integrated and admired.
2. Moral certainty
Homosexuals have convinced themselves (and others) that they are not only moral, but that their morality is superior to Christian morality, and therefore should replace it. As Hirshman says: “It is the moral certainty of the gay revolution that explains why, unlike the racial and feminist movements, it has been able to stand up to that powerful counterforce [the morally driven religious right] and, slowly but surely, prevail.”
3. Identify primary enemies
Gay activists identified four major obstacles to achieving their strategic objective:
- The churches considered them sinful
- The state criminalized their sex acts
- Doctors – mainly psychologists – thought they were crazy
- The military feared they would be traitors to the nation.
The gay movement worked tirelessly and furiously to overcome these “four horsemen of the gay apocalypse” – Sinful, Criminal, Crazy, and Subversive.” The accepted versions of sin, crime, sanity, and loyalty were mortal enemies that had to be taken down and replaced.
4. Unite on the essentials
One thing that comes across in the book is the powerful unity of the multiple diverse strands of the gay movement (although Hirshman admits that a lot of that powerful unity was based on the unifying power of sex – “It’s hard to take the sex out of homosexual.”)
5. Refuse to compromise
Despite many political and judicial victories over the years, the gay movement would not stop short of victory over the military and the church. Repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” was non-negotiable and achieved in 2011. And, as we’re seeing, no amount of “Civil Partnership” compromises will satisfy the demand for moral approval through marriage equality.
6. Never give up
Many thought that AIDS would be the end of the gay movement. However, in what is the most stunning claim in the whole book, Hirshman says, “AIDS was the making of the gay revolution.” The gay community leveraged this setback to secure massive funding not just for medical treatment, but also for educational and community initiatives.
7. Influence every strata of our culture
In a section that goes a long way to explaining why the legal culture is so anti-Christian, Hirshman points out that law firms have “become among the best places in America for gay and lesbian employees…The legal sector has the largest number of top-scoring companies in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.”
And course, in addition to learning from these strategies, we have powerful resources that the gay community knows nothing of: prayer, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and Christ-like loving and living.
For another perspective on how Christians should face the future, see Prepare for Gay Marriage.