Is there any hope of a normal life in a society in which all ideas of “normal” are under sustained and persistent attack by those seeking to make perversion the new reality?
In the realm of sex, gender, and sexuality, what is normal now? What is a normal marriage? A normal family?
The answers were once commonly understood. While some might dither about details, most would broadly agree on what represented normal standards of such fundamental facets of human life: Marriage was a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman, defining a family and creating the healthiest environment for childrearing. Mankind was organized into males and females, and the fact that sex was designed to take place between a male and a female was an obvious matter of biology—often simply, if awkwardly, explained in terms of instructive birds and busy bees. The vast majority of parents—one dad and one mom, by the way—knew their child’s gender the moment he or she was born.
That was the world most of us knew as recently as 20 years ago—or even ten. It is not the world we see today. In fact, in this “brave” new world, simply asking what is normal is offensive to many—and it may have offended even some of you who are reading this article. That’s because we are living in the final stages of a long-running war against normality. Social engineers have mounted an aggressive campaign over multiple decades, seeking to eradicate any idea that some things should be seen as normal and some as abnormal.
The war has been waged in and through popular media and entertainment, educational institutions, and the halls of government—and it has been successful. The saying popularized by humorist Patsy Clairmont, that “normal is just a setting on your dryer” has been methodically turned into a foundational concept for a brand-new approach to civilization, unseen before on planet Earth—with the possible exception of societies such as Sodom’s and Gomorrah’s, whose destruction was so swift that the details of their cultures have been erased from the record of human history.
In the war against normal, it is plain that normality is losing terribly. And as normality is driven from the world, a contorted and abnormal world is quickly growing to fill the space that is left behind. It is that latter world that our children will inherit—a world in which there is no such thing as “normal” and it is the highest offense to suggest otherwise.
How did we get here? How bad is it—and can it get worse? And finally, what does God think of a culture in which anything normal has become the enemy?
Make no mistake: While the combatants attacking normality are not as coordinated and conspiratorial as many think, there are common doctrines and goals that drive and unite them. The influence of philosophers who desire to “deconstruct” Western civilization and recast it in their own image has been covered in these pages before. In his July 2021 Tomorrow’s World article, “What’s Behind the War on History?,” Dr. Douglas Winnail described in detail the “long march through the institutions” that “visionaries” have undertaken over many decades. Originating in the academics of the infamous Frankfurt School in the 1920s, so-called “Critical Theory” in various forms has become all the rage. The 1970s saw the rise of Critical Legal Theory. More recently, Critical Race Theory became the hot topic of discussion, covered in our September 2021 article “The New Racism.”
Less overtly mentioned, but no less pervasive in its influence on modern culture, is Queer Theory. Like other critical theories, Queer Theory seeks to “deconstruct” common ways of thinking, to challenge widely held norms, and to recast elements of societal structure into a paradigm of power: some cast as the “oppressed” and others as the “oppressor.” Developed in LGBT Studies and Women’s Studies programs at colleges and universities across the Western world, Queer Theory focuses specifically on deconstructing sexuality and gender—and, consequently, everything affected by those facets of life, such as family structure.
Academics steeped in these ideas seek to subvert what has been considered normal and to celebrate what were previously “abnormal” ideas and practices. To them, it is not enough for society to merely accept or allow the fullest possible spectrum of sexual behaviors and “gender constructs.” Their goal is to “queer” the discourse entirely, meaning to change mainstream thinking in society so that nothing is even thought of as “normal” or “not normal.”
Dr. Roberta Chevrette of Middle Tennessee State University, for instance, has written of the need to “queer family communication”—changing thinking and discussions within families so that heterosexuality is no longer held as the norm against which other sexualities are compared. The goal of these social engineers is to change societal thinking so that all forms of sexual activity are considered equally “normal.” And, of course, when everything is normal, nothing truly is.
The prejudice against normal, healthy sexuality and gender expression can be seen in the growth of, essentially, a new vocabulary. Are you familiar with its new words? Because your college-educated children probably are—and, increasingly, your younger children are, too. More importantly, those designing your school’s policies and programs definitely are.
One new word is heteronormative. As of November 2022, Merriam-Webster defines it as “of, relating to, or based on the attitude that heterosexuality is the only normal and natural expression of sexuality.” An important aspect of making what is normal seem not normal is labeling it so that it can be attacked, and a quick Internet search is enough to show you that “heteronormative thinking”—that is, thinking that the normal expression of sexuality is between a man and a woman—is no longer “right thinking.” In fact, if you think that sexual relations between men and women are more normal than others, you are now considered guilty of heterosexism.
Similarly, if you are a man or a woman who, like almost all humans on the planet, still considers yourself the same gender you were declared at your birth, it is not enough to call yourself a man or woman anymore. Now, you must be a cisgender man or cisgender woman, to distinguish you from a transgender man or transgender woman. And if you are, say, a man who thinks that referring to himself as a “cisgender man” is unnecessary (after all, if you were born male and you know you’re a man, why do you need extra words?), watch out—you’re engaging in cisgenderism. Also, you had better not think it is natural and normal for someone in a male body to think he is a man, because if you do, now you’re practicing cisnormativity. How dare you think anything—any sexuality, any relationship between sex and gender, any sort of family structure—is normal?
For a glimpse at how attitudes toward normal sexuality and family structure have been recast as evils, one need only look at—believe it or not—the Black Lives Matter movement.
When the Black Lives Matter movement was making global headlines in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death, some interested in supporting the cause were distressed by what they found on the organization’s “About Us” webpage. There, under the heading “What We Believe,” they saw Black Lives Matter declare proudly, “We are self-reflexive and do the work required to dismantle cisgender privilege,” “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure,” and “We foster a queer-affirming network. When we gather, we do so with the intention of freeing ourselves from the tight grip of heteronormative thinking.”
While that page was removed in the days leading up to the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the question did not go away: What does trying to end discrimination and violence against black people have to do with transgender ideology? Why would supporting black lives hinge upon standing against “heteronormativity” or traditional family structures?
The answer is that the war against all things normal has successfully woven itself into nearly every effort to create social change. As critical theorists irrationally recategorize all elements of human relationships as expressions of coercive power, any attempt to address injustice must in some way be made to connect with all other injustices, real or perceived. Believing there is a normal family structure, a normal human sexuality, and a normal understanding of sex and gender is increasingly equated with upholding power structures designed to crush and oppress.
To today’s self-appointed social engineers, believing that family is best grounded in a marriage between a man and a woman, that sex between that man and that woman represents normal and natural sexuality, and that it actually is possible in virtually all cases to identify a child’s gender at birth, is to align oneself with the likes of fascists such as Mussolini and Hitler or the bigots of the Ku Klux Klan. Presuming someone’s gender based on their appearance is labeled an act of ignorance at best and violence at worst. If a young girl is plagued by thoughts that she might be transgender, to help that girl feel more comfortable being a girl is to commit the unforgivable sin of attempting “conversion therapy.”
But as bad as things are, we are far from reaching how bad they can get.
The war on normality is a war on boundaries. Human beings crave sexual “freedom,” unbound by any rules, definitions, laws, and even feelings of shame—to define sexuality based solely on individual desires. So, boundaries must fall—the boundaries keeping sex within marriage must fall, the boundaries defining marriage as between one man and one woman must fall, and the boundaries defining differences between sexes or genders must fall.
Among the final boundaries to remain—defining one of the final lands yet to be conquered by the war against normal—is the age boundary. Many people still consider childhood a time for protection from the incursions of modern sexual “liberty,” yet our self-appointed social and academic superiors deem that this boundary, too, must fall. And disturbing signs indicate that it is, indeed, falling.
Consider the flood of sexual content into school libraries. The American Library Association found that eight of the top ten school library books most challenged in 2021 were challenged due to their sexually explicit nature. The most challenged book—which we will not name, so as not to risk promoting it accidentally—contained imagery that any reasonable person would consider pornographic and indecent. Not long ago, any teacher who would have shared such a book with a child would have been labeled a pedophile, a predator, and a “groomer” seeking to prepare children for sexual activity, and that teacher would have been disciplined or dismissed.
But that was before the sustained assault against normality had taken such extensive ground. In today’s world, the author of said book has been honored with an interview by Time magazine—made-up pronouns and all—and opposing the book’s placement in school libraries marks one as a “bigot,” “homophobe,” or “transphobe.”
Consider, too, the mind-bending phenomenon of Drag Queen Story Hour, which Tomorrow’s World’s Editor in Chief, Gerald E. Weston, covered in his September-October 2019 article “Unhappily Ever After?” For those blessed to be unfamiliar with it, Drag Queen Story Hour involves men who dress up as women—often in exaggerated and sometimes sexually suggestive clothing—reading to children wherever they can gain entrance. And the extreme, shocking nature of Drag Queen Story Hour is exactly its point—if it were truly about encouraging literacy among young children in an environment that promotes healthy attitudes about diversity, any number of volunteer readers could serve.
The fact that “drag” is essential to these events reveals that the underlying purpose of Drag Queen Story Hour is to convince children to cast aside gender and sexual boundaries and accept as normal the perversity of drag performance. The juxtaposition of extremes—the innocent inexperience of children and the perversity of men imitating women in bizarre and extreme ways—is meant to blur sexual and gender lines in children’s impressionable minds so that they grow up with a sense that everything is just as “normal” as everything else.
Such goals are essentially admitted by those involved in these events. In the academic journal Curriculum Inquiry (2021, vol. 50, iss. 5), “critical pedagogy” researcher Harper Keenan and a drag queen known as “Lil Miss Hot Mess” collaborated on a paper titled “Drag pedagogy: The playful practice of queer imagination in early childhood.” In this paper, addressing those worried that the inherently “risqué nature” of drag performance is being “sanitized” at these events, they explain that Drag Queen Story Hour is “less a sanitizing force than it is a preparatory introduction to alternate modes of kinship” (emphasis ours).
The inverted, sexually “risqué,” and perverse values on display in drag performance are not being watered down, they assure us. Rather, they are the very tools being used to change the minds of the children who innocently participate—to teach them that there are no sexual or gender boundaries and nothing is normal. Such an approach would help explain why the effort has so quickly expanded into supposedly “family friendly” performances at drag bars where children give dollar bills to performers in the manner of patrons at a strip club. That is why there are events and television shows in which children themselves are encouraged to perform in drag.
The goal is not mere “acceptance,” and it never was. It was to program children to forget what is normal and embrace a world with no gender or sexual boundaries. As the authors of the Curriculum Inquiry paper note, “While drag has some conventions, it ultimately has no rules—its defining quality is often to break as many rules as possible!”
In fact, the current pressure to sexualize childhood calls to mind King Solomon’s observation that there truly is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9), and the attack on society’s sexual barriers between children and adults goes back to the philosophers and academics whose ideas laid the foundations of today’s Queer Theory. In 1977, “enlightened” souls such as Paul-Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Jacques Derrida famously signed a petition to the French government to allow adults to engage in “consensual” sexual relations with children. French law, they demanded, “should acknowledge the right of children and adolescents to have relations with whomever they choose.”
Motivated by the spirit of that age—before it temporarily fell out of favor—French author Tony Duvert publicly argued in favor of the “great adventure of pedophilia” and castigated the “fascism of mothers.” (No, labeling one’s ideological opponents “fascists” is not a modern phenomenon, nor a particularly creative one.) While these academics were ahead of their time, their ideas did not go away—and time has caught up with them. As this ideological conflict rages on, the constant attacks against the sexual barrier between child and adult are being made without even the pretense of subtlety.
Tony Duvert’s Diary of an Innocent, written at the height of the libertine sexual atmosphere of the 1970s, ends in a conclusion that includes, as described by its English-language publisher, MIT Press, “a fanciful yet rigorous construction of a reverse world in which marginal sexualities have become the norm”—in other words, today’s world. Or, at the very least, the amoral, gender-confusing world our self-declared betters are passionately trying to create around us, as they work to obliterate the last remaining elements of resistance in their war against normal.
The societal chaos created by the normalization of perversity and the perversion of normality does not reflect the mind of Almighty God, the Creator of human life, who established the institution of marriage as the foundation of family. In fact, the very first pages of Scripture, in which we are introduced to our Creator, are sufficient to illuminate what He thinks of boundary-obliterating chaos, for that is exactly what they illustrate—that He deals with chaos by creating boundaries.
The opening passage of Genesis details a world in chaos: “The earth was without form, and void” (Genesis 1:2). A world “without form”—without guiding distinctions, shapes, and ideals—is exactly the sort of society today’s social engineers seek to create. (Why the world was in such a state is detailed in our booklet Evolution and Creation: What Both Sides Miss, available from any Regional Office listed on page 4 of this magazine.)
In that environment, the Creator brought order to chaos by establishing clear boundaries. He separated light and darkness (v. 4), the waters below from the waters above (vv. 6–7), and the dry land from the seas (v. 9). In creating life on land, He established a distinct boundary between the animals and humanity—humans are created beings, yet unique in bearing God’s own image (vv. 25–26). He organized humans into two sexes: male and female (v. 27).
Upon ordering the world He had created, God declared the whole “very good” (v. 31). And we enjoy the goodness of that order today. We look upon the heavens and enjoy the variety of clouds in the sky—the “waters above”—like a vast, aerial landscape suspended over the earth. We look at the seas and marvel at the separate world of life and wonder beneath their waves. Separate from sky and sea, the land provides the foundation on which we live, much of the food we eat, and varied vistas of beauty and majesty.
So, too, do we delight in the difference between mankind and the animals. Even as our society continues to wade into insanity in this regard—granting animals legal “rights” as if they were people, instead of simply recognizing the human obligation to treat animals humanely (e.g., Deuteronomy 25:4; Proverbs 12:10)—we still fundamentally recognize that human beings are profoundly different. That understanding is exemplified in every assertion that humans must respect each other’s God-given dignity, a level of respect and consideration that wolves and sharks will never bother to provide. There is a reason we call it “humane” to extend kindness to animals and call extreme violence “animalistic.” For all our legal, ideological shenanigans, the boundaries God has set represent reality—and deep down, we do know the difference.
Finally, the difference between man and woman is obvious to even the most casual observer. They are profoundly not the same, and as the old saying goes, vive la différence!
Embracing the boundaries God has woven into the fabric of reality itself is not sufficient to create an orderly, peaceful, healthy society, but it is a necessary first step, just as establishing those boundaries was the first step God Himself took in creating our world. And embracing those boundaries means admitting that some things are normal—and others simply aren’t.
In the end, it is a great irony that so much of the world is waging such a passionate war against normal, because Jesus Christ Himself intends to fundamentally correct the definition of what is normal when He establishes a new world at His Second Coming.
Even those “traditional” standards against which today’s social engineers rage—such as biblical family, marriage, sexuality, and gender roles—have been tainted and corrupted in a world that does not truly rely on God’s guidance. Some have sought to use biblical gender roles to oppress women and treat them as less than fully human. Even when husbands and fathers are able to serve as the main breadwinners and leaders of their families, their jobs too often come between them and the wives and children they ostensibly serve, distorting and corrupting what it means to lead a family. And long before “alternative” sexualities were accepted and celebrated, plenty of men and women twisted and mishandled male-female sexual relations to satisfy illicit and perverted desires—a far cry from the design and intention of the Creator.
The Kingdom that Jesus will establish will not look like 1950s America, nor the Judea of Jesus’ day. Nostalgia for a better past is no substitute for the fullness of transformation called for in His Gospel, and the life to which Christians are called transcends what was ever lived in ages throughout history. To live God’s way requires a complete and utter change in how we see ourselves, our relationships, and our obligations: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
After Jesus’ return, the world will learn what family, sexuality, relationships, and society can be when human beings follow the original design and intention of the Creator of human life. From the blessings that follow, mankind will finally understand why no one should ever want to exchange God’s normal for anything less.