It has become politically correct to accept the argument that homosexuality is an acquired trait rather than a learned behavior. Any other view is condemned as intolerant, uncompassionate and even homophobic. This has placed pressure on the Church to fall in line with recent changes in current thinking. Some, point to scientific evidence as the compelling reason for changing our ideas and theology in the Church. Just how compelling is the evidence that gays are born that way?
Research on Homosexuality
In the past 10 years we have seen a few scientific studies which have tried to prove that homosexuality is genetically inherited. All of the studies: the 1991 Simon Le Vay gay brain studies; the gay twin study of Bailey and Pillard; the study by Dean Hamer, who postulated the presence of a possible gene which could influence the expression of homosexuality; as well as later studies through which the genes of fruit flies were genetically engineered, are riddled with scientific inconsistencies, lack of control groups and even gross errors.
Indeed, upon peer review these studies have now been rejected by the medical community. In the case of the gay brain study for instance, it was found that the area in the brain which Le Vay thought influenced the crouching-mounting behavior in male rats, was actually above and not within the area that Le Vay examined.
As Dr. Ruth Hubbard, Professor emeritus of Biology at Harvard stated; Sexual attraction depends on personal experience and cultural values and that desire is too complex, varied and interesting to be reduced to genes.
If anything can be genetically inherited, such as hemophilia, it can be expected to happen at a certain rate. With homosexuality we find, however, that the prevalence within a community varies enormously depending on the kinds of social control and acceptance that prevail in that community.
Since genetics is not the cause, what is? There is ample evidence to confirm that learning experiences (e.g.. seduction, public education, molestation and experimentation) lead young people down the path to homosexual behavior. The homosexual lifestyle is sterile. Therefore, it follows that homosexuals must of necessity, through seduction and public education, recruit their next generation.
Homosexuality is not an alternative lifestyle, it is an unnatural lifestyle. This has extremely serious implications for society as a whole and destroys the argument that gay behavior is private and had no effect on others. It would do great harm if the Church, by giving theological approval to homosexuality, becomes part of the problem of expanding this perversion instead of helping people bound by it.
According to the Chicago Study of 1994 (*), which is generally looked upon as the best study on sexual behavior in America and the first truly scientific survey taken; the famous Kinsey studies (which claimed that 10% of any population are gay) were deeply flawed. Although Alfred Kinsey was a biologist by training (he was an expert on the gall wasp) he compromised his research, used data from illegal sexual experimentation on children and was unethical and deceptive in omitting data injurious to his own hypotheses. Kinsey concluded the following: that bisexuality is the normal expression of human sexuality; that sexual contact with adults would be normal for children growing up in a less inhibited society; and that promiscuity and diversity of sexual expression correlate with sexual health.
Now, if these are Kinsey's conclusions and science doesn't take him seriously any more, why should the Church bother to perpetuate his flawed conclusions? There are a lot fewer homosexuals in America than the oft-repeated 1 in 10. Only 2.7% of men and 1.3% of women report that they had homosexual sex in the past year (* see above).
There are Dangers in Accepting a Genetic Origin for Homosexuality.
1. The argument implies that homosexuals have abnormal genes and are either defective or diseased. This is discriminatory and derogatory.
2. If genes are the cause of homosexuality, and abortion on demand is legalized, prenatal testing may influence parents to abort babies likely to carry homosexual genes. Indeed, the gay lobby in the USA has already expressed fears about this.
3. Genetic research discoveries are unlikely to stop. What if pedophile genes are found? Would the Church reconsider its ordination policies in the light of such new discoveries?
4. If homosexuality were genetic in origin it would mean that the condition is unchangeable.
There are Theological Pitfalls in Justifying Homosexuality as well.
It is a great overstatement to say that the Church is divided on the homosexual issue. Christians are clear on the fact that homosexuality is wrong. Those seeking to give theological justification to homosexuality and those few churches who have compromised their theology in it's favor, are a minuscule, but very vocal, faction of the Church.
1. The inhospitality theory used to explain the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is stretching the obvious meaning of Scripture. To say that the crime was actually the intention to gang rape innocent passers-by and not the homosexual act is surely nitpicking. Homosexual gang rape is arguably the logical progression of the effects of lax attitudes towards the perversion.
2. Condemnation of homosexuality in Levticus is clear and backed up by other passages outside of the Levitical code. Why would the Church wait until the end of the 20th Century to change the accepted meaning of Gods laws and roles concerning sexuality? One may surmise that pressure from the World has shaken our theological foundation.
3. Today it is serial monogamy which is being defined by its proponents as monogamous sexual relationships. The homosexual psyche drives its adherents toward constant affairs and cruising which happen outside the relationship. A good example is what happened to the Rt. Rev. John Spong, Episcopalian (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, New Jersey. In Bishop Spong's book Living in Sin? he claims to base his views on new medical insights, but has failed to consider evidence from psychology or the total lack of evidence from genetics. Even the sympathetic Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement concluded charitably that Spong was somewhat out of his depth.
On December 16, 1989, Bishop Spong ordained Robert Williams as a priest, a man openly living with his gay lover James Skelly, who also took part in the service. The hopes of Bishop Spong that Mr. Williams would be a model of holiness, fidelity and monogamy were soon dashed. Williams was put in charge of a special ministry in the lesbian and gay community and immediately claimed that monogamy was as crazy an idea as celibacy.
4. In I Corinthians 6:9-10 and I Timothy 1:9-10: the two Greek words used are malakoi and arsenokoitai. In I Timothy only arsenokoitai appears. As Rev. Dr. John Stott points out arsenokoitai as used by the Greeks was used to refer to men who take the active role in homosexual activity. The word refers to mainstream homosexual activity. Again, Dr. Stott explains that malakoi is a Greek slang term for males, not necessarily boys, who took the passive role in sexual intercourse. It refers to an effeminate sexually active homosexual.
In April 1996, the United Methodist Church in the United States, upheld their practice of declaring homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching. The Council of Bishops said that they were committed to upholding Church law by banning the ordination of gays and declaring that gay practices violate Biblical teaching. The Mexican and Latin American Methodists affirmed the decision taken by the United Methodist Church in the United States.
Those who plead for tolerance and acceptance for the homosexuals by accepting their behavior as Biblically justified are uncaring about these people who so desperately need our help. True love and compassion would offer the Biblical cure for sin. We, including homosexuals, are born with inherent sin but, through God's love we are redeemed and changed through our Lord Jesus Christ. Sex is a wonderful gift of God and not sinful when used according to the plan God has so clearly laid out in His Word.
The Church consists of redeemed heterosexuals and homosexuals, neither is worse than the other, but both must forsake their sinful and immoral ways.
Let us hold out the gospel hope to all: " ...fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals ... such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of God." (I Corinthians 6:9,11) Heterosexual sinners and homosexual sinners; Jesus' power can save them and change them.
1. Doctors For Life special report: Is Homosexuality Genetic?
2. W. Byne and B. Parsons Human sexual orientation: the biological theories reappraised. Arch. Gen. (Psychiatry 1993:50; 228-239).
3. Laumann, R. Michael, S. Michaels et. al. The Social Organisation of Sexuality, 1994.
4. Stephen Green The Sexual Dead-End, BPCC Wheatons Ltd., Exeter, 1992.