Up until [recently] the Church, in hunting down [the sin of lust], has had the active alliance of Caesar, who has been concerned to maintain family solidarity and the orderly devolution of property in the interest of the state. Now that contract and not status is held to be the basis of society, Caesar need no longer rely on the family to maintain social solidarity; and now that so much property is held anonymously by trusts and joint stock companies, the laws of inheritance lose a great deal of their importance. Consequently, Caesar is now much less interested than he was in the sleeping arrangements of his citizens, and has in this manner cynically denounced his alliance with the Church. This is a warning against putting one’s trust in any child of man – particularly in Caesar. If the Church is to continue her campaign against lust, she must do so on her own – that is, on sacramental – grounds; and she will have to do it, if not in defiance of Caesar, at least without his assistance.
-Dorothy Sayers, from The Other Six Deadly Sins
In any current event, there’s always more going on than meets the eye – forces at work over many years. A tall tower requires a deep foundation whose bricks were laid a long time before the most visible ones at the top. It’s been pointed out that contemporary “gay marriage” has its roots in the “no fault divorce” of two generations ago. Because Christians (though other religious traditionalists can be grouped in here) neglected to fight THAT back in the day, the road was paved for eventually making “marriage” a mushy concept defined only by the whims of the state.
In the same way, there was more going on with the sexual revolution of the 1960s than just a critical mass of influential secularists wanting to have sex with whoever/whenever. There has always been a critical mass of that! But the ground-work for it actually becoming institutionalized started with the depersonalization of property. The rise of the legal contract (versus inheritance by blood), the stock market, and public corporations, set the foundation for people to act as free agents apart from their money and land and families in a way unprecedented in civilization before. During the sexual revolution, Caesar (the government) woke up one day and realized that IT no longer cared who slept with who and so the champions of traditional morality lost a powerful (though incidental) ally. The irony is that this new foundation was often laid by conservative capitalists – sometimes very religious ones – who never dreamed of it’s far-reaching consequences.
So what can religious conservatives do today? For starters, we can stop pretending like Caesar is still a potential ally in the foreseeable future. And, if we want to change things eventually, we might address lower and larger bricks in the tower of those who do not fear God, rather than the shiny new ones on top.