Posts Tagged ‘homosexuality’

Here’s my response to this week’s challenge:


Here are some related posts that address a few of the challenges made in the flowchart.

Jesus never said anything about about homosexuality

The Bible defines marriage in multiple ways

Zack Wahls’s case for same-sex marriage

Christians can’t impose their moral standards on society

If marriage is really about having children, then doesn’t it follow that heterosexual couples who can’t (or don’t plan to) have children shouldn’t be allowed to marry? That’s this week’s challenge that I answered today.

Let me be blunt: denying same-sex couples from marriage is not the same as denying interracial couples from it. Although anti-miscegenation laws were immoral, the same mistake is not happening today. And despite the rhetorical force of making the comparison, merely claiming it’s the same does not make it so.

One of the problems with this comparison is that it presumes sexual orientation is a genetically predetermined trait like race. But it’s not, as I’ve argued in a previous post. Numerous researchers have also testified to this. Francis Collins, who led the Human Genome Project to identify every human gene, has said regarding homosexuality: “Whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations…”[i] Harvard geneticist and homosexual, Dean Hamer, admitted that, “The best recent study suggests that female sexual identification is more a matter of environment than heredity.”[ii] Even the American Psychological Association, a group that advances homosexual causes, doesn’t claim that genes determine sexual orientation. They say, “Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors.”[iii]

Homosexuality, then, develops also from environmental factors, not merely genetic ones. And since environmental factors vary in type, frequency, and degree, homosexuality is not inescapable. Depending on your developmental environment, you could or could not develop same-sex attractions.

Race, however, is entirely genetic and therefore inescapable. You’re not born an African American – you’re conceived as one. Your race is determined the moment the chromosomes of the sperm and egg blend together. Nothing will change that. Neither your mother’s diet, the hormones in her womb, nor intrauterine trauma will alter your birth as an African American. And once you’re born, your race is impervious to cultural, social, or psychological influences during childhood development. Nothing can alter – even slightly – your race.

That means homosexuals can’t claim they’re like African Americans in the sense that they are born that way. Their plight is not the same. African Americans are genetically born that way. Homosexuals are not.

But the differences grow more significant. Since homosexuality is not merely the product of genes, it is mutable. Homosexuals can and do change. I personally know men who have changed. This type of mutability has been observed for thousands of years and documented by researchers for the last one hundred years (I’ve written about this in a previous post). In fact, sexual orientation in females is quite fluid.

Actress Anne Heche is an example. She grew up as a heterosexual, got involved in a lesbian relationship with Ellen DeGeneres, then married a man with whom she had a child, and now is living with another man. The same is true of former “Sex and the City” star, Cynthia Nixon. She grew up heterosexual, married a man, and had two children. In 2004, she became a lesbian. Nixon also infuriated the homosexual community by claiming that her change in orientation was, “a choice.” She went on to explain: “I understand that for many people it’s not, but for me it’s a choice, and you don’t get to define my gayness for me… Why can’t it be a choice? Why is that any less legitimate?”[iv]

My point is not that sexual orientation is a choice. I’m simply acknowledging that it’s mutable for some people.

Race, however, is immutable. I don’t know any African Americans that have changed their race. None of them have become Swedish for a few years. It can’t happen, even in principle.

But there’s even a more significant problem with comparing homosexuals with African Americans, especially with regards to the issue of marriage. Interracial couples can marry because they can fulfill an essential function of marriage. As Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse has explained, marriages bind males and females for the long term and protect the rights children have to be with their parents. Male-female unions are the precise kind of pairing that produces children and provides the ideal environment to raise them. Having an African American marry a Caucasian doesn’t impact that function in any way.

Homosexual couples, on the other hand, don’t include both sexes. Not only are they incapable – by nature – to produce children, but they are also ill-suited to raise kids who need a mother and a father (I’ve argued this in a previous post). That’s why the state has never sanctioned the relationship of two men or two women, but they sanction interracial unions so long as they’re heterosexual.

Homosexuals are hoping to convince the culture that their plight is the same as African Americans. Naturally, this has a strong, rhetorical effect. But with careful reflection it becomes apparent the two groups are not parallel in meaningful ways. That’s because race and sex are not the same. This makes all the difference.

[i] F. Collins, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2007), 260.

[ii] D. Hamer and P. Copeland, Living with Our Genes: Why They Matter More Than You Think (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1009), 188.

Are we really depriving homosexuals the right to marry the person they love? Yes. But there’s nothing unusual about that. Nobody has the right to marry any person they love. Everyone has restrictions.

When you take an honest look at the marriage law, it turns out that there is nothing unfair about it. Homosexuals have the same rights and the same restrictions as heterosexuals. For example, there is no legal right granted to a heterosexual that does not apply in exactly the same way to every homosexual. Both can marry in any state. Both can marry someone of the opposite sex. Both can receive the benefits that come with legal marriage. Heterosexuals and homosexuals are treated alike.

There is also no legal restriction for homosexuals that does not also apply in exactly the same way to every heterosexual. Neither one can marry their sibling. Both are prohibited from marrying someone already married. They can’t marry a child. And neither has the freedom to marry someone of the same sex.

The marriage law applies equally to every person, whether they are homosexual or not. Everyone is treated the same.

Homosexuals cry foul, of course, because the kind of person they are legally entitled to marry is not a person they love. They believe this is a restriction that is limited to them. But it’s not. There isn’t a person in the United States that has unfettered freedom to marry anyone just because they love them. There are numerous parings of people who love each other and can’t marry.

I have a male friend who I’ve known for over a decade. We have a long-term, committed relationship. We talk every week, we make sacrifices to visit one another, and we’re there to meet each other’s needs. We’re not sexually involved, but I routinely say I love him and he says the same to me. I can’t marry him even though he’s someone I love. I’m restricted. The state won’t recognize our relationship.

Brothers and sisters usually develop strong bonds. They love one another and often have deep, meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime. Their commitment to one another is significant. But they can’t marry one another. Though they love each, they state won’t recognize their relationship. The same is true of two brothers or two sisters.

Fathers and daughters also have long-term, committed relationships. There’s a special bond between them that develops and lasts for years. I can say that the love I feel towards my daughter has a unique texture to it. It’s taught me an aspect of love that, until I had a daughter, I never experienced. There are things that I’ve done and would do for her that virtually no one else on the planet can make me do. And like many fathers and daughters, our special relationship could last half a century or more. But guess what? The state doesn’t care about us as a couple. It doesn’t matter how much we love each other. We can’t get married.

There are dozens of more examples of pairs of people who develop strong, meaningful, and long-term relationships. These people love each other, but that doesn’t mean the state is required to recognize them within the definition of marriage.

Sometimes people point out that in these examples there is no sexual activity and that’s why it’s not the same as a homosexual pair. But why does that matter? Why do we have to use our sex organs with one another to qualify for marriage? Isn’t it enough that we love each other and are committed? Making sexual activity a requirement for marriage is arbitrary.

So what do all these relationships (and many others) have in common? None of them produce the next generation. Committed male friends, siblings, and parent-child relationships don’t have kids.

There is one kind of couple that, throughout all of human history, is known to produce children: heterosexuals. Long-term, monogamous, heterosexual unions as a group and by nature produce the next generation. They create families that become the building blocks of civilization. These families are the most stable and advantageous environment for raising children. They not only stabilize society, they make society possible. That role can’t be underestimated.

Notice that I said, “As a group and by nature.” As a group, heterosexual couples have kids. There may be exceptions, but the group’s tendency is to produce children. Laws are designed to generalize for the group. “By nature” is a reference to the fact that heterosexual unions produce children by the natural function of their sexual activity. Unlike male friends, siblings, and other relationship couples, it is biologically natural for heterosexuals to produce children.

The government, that normally has a hands-off policy to most relationships, gets involved in sanctioning these long-term, heterosexual unions. It creates a group of privileges and protections for these male-female couplings because it recognizes their role in creating and stabilizing society.

But the government doesn’t get involved in any other relationship pair. It doesn’t legally sanction two male friends, siblings, or father-daughter relationships. That’s because, though there are exceptions, they don’t as a group and by nature produce the next generation. They might love each other – deeply and for a long period of time – but that is irrelevant to the government. The state has a concern to perpetuate and protect our civilization and that explains its vested interested in heterosexual unions.

So why does the government not sanction the relationship of two homosexual males? For the same reason it doesn’t sanction the relationship of male friends, siblings, or a father and daughter. Homosexual couples don’t as a group and by nature produce the next generation. Although, theoretically, homosexuals can adopt, this is the exception. Most same-sex lovers don’t pursue parenting. Furthermore, children don’t naturally result from their sexual activity.

Instead, the state must intervene and grant them children. As Jennifer Roback Morse explains, “Same-sex couples cannot have children. Someone must give them a child or at least half the genetic material to create a child. The state must detach the parental rights of the opposite-sex parent and then attach those rights to the second parent of the same-sex couple. The state must create parentage for the same-sex couple. For the opposite-sex couple, the state merely recognizes parentage.”

A common objection is that marriage can’t be about children because not all married couples have kids. First, although that’s true, every child has a mother and father and a right to know them. These children have a vested interest in the union and stability of their parents. But that’s not something they can protect. Society needs to secure that right for kids so far as we are able.

Second, even if some marriages don’t produce children, it doesn’t nullify the natural tie of marriage to procreation. The purpose of marriage remains regardless of whether married couples actualize it or not. Books are meant to be read even if they collect dust on a bookshelf.

Third, marriages create the optimal environment for raising children. Same-sex marriage intentionally creates the condition where a child is denied their mother or father or both. This is not healthy, a claim that has been long noted by researchers.

The push for same-sex marriage is not primarily about the right to marry the person you love. No one has that right because everyone – including heterosexuals – is restricted. Nor is it to secure the right to adopt children. Homosexuals could be granted every legal right and privilege of marriage, but they would still demand the right to legal marriage.

That’s because this battle is not principally about rights, but about respect. Homosexuals demand public approval for their lifestyle and relationships. As Time magazine wrote, same-sex marriage advocates, “want nothing less than full social equality, total validation—not just the right to inherit a mother-in-law’s Cadillac. As Andrew Sullivan, the (also persistently single) intellectual force behind gay marriage, has written, ‘Including homosexuals within marriage would be a means of conferring the highest form of social approval imaginable.’”[i]

Make no mistake about it. Redefining marriage will impact our culture. It won’t be today, next week, or next year. It will be in the long-term because ideas have consequences. When you sever the natural tie of marriage to procreation and no longer require that children be attached to their parents, you’re doing violence to a vital institution. Marriages start families and families produce the next generation. This is how we secure and stabilize society. That’s why you can’t take a sledgehammer to the core of civilization – the family – and expect that no harm will come.

[i] “Will Gay Marriage be Legal?” Time, 2/21/00.

People ask me, “Isn’t it better for a child to be adopted by a gay couple than to not be adopted at all?” I often hear this question loaded with two scenarios:

  • Scenario A: The child lives in an institution, is routinely neglected, given poor nutrition, and often physically and sexually abused.
  • Scenario B: The child lives with two loving women who are lesbians, who have stable jobs, live in a house, and have lots of family in the area.
  • The question: Wouldn’t it be better for the child to be adopted by the lesbians and grow up under scenario B?

Well, sure, I guess when you construct the options that way, who will argue with you? I guess the child would be better off with the lesbians. So what’s that prove? Nothing.

I could construct two scenarios in a different way. What if the lesbians didn’t have a stable relationship, couldn’t keep steady jobs, experienced domestic violence in their home, and often used drugs. The other adoptive option was a married heterosexual couple (one a doctor and the other a teacher), who lived in the same home for 18 years, and who had already adopted a child.

Given those two options, wouldn’t it be better for the child to be adopted by the heterosexual couple? Sure, but what’s that prove? That you can construct any combination of scenarios designed to prove that a certain set of people would be better parents.

But you don’t determine public policy based on the exception or extreme case. For example, there might be some instances when it’s justified to run a red light – like rushing a dying person to the emergency room – but that doesn’t mean we should make running red lights legal. That’s bad public policy.

It reminds me of Zach Wahls, the 19 year-old University of Iowa student who made an impassioned appeal for same-sex marriage and parenting to the Iowa House of Representatives. His YouTube video went viral (more than 16 million views) after he argued that his lesbian mothers did a fine job of raising him. Maybe they did, but you can’t generalize one’s person’s experience for an entire group of people. Just because two homosexuals were able to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child (assuming they did), that doesn’t mean homosexual couples – as a group – make the best parents.

Many single fathers have to raise children by themselves. They do the best they can given their circumstances. I’m sure some of these children will declare themselves – like Zach Wahls – to be just fine. But does that mean we should promote single male adoption?

The real question is whether a child who needs to be adopted is best served by a heterosexual couple or a homosexual couple – all things being equal. The question focuses on the needs of the child, not the wants of homosexuals who are politically motivated to normalize same-sex marriage and parenting.

The answer is straightforward: decades of published research in psychology, social science, and medicine demonstrate that children do best when raised by a mother and father (especially the biological parents) in a long-term marriage.[i] That’s because a mother and a father each provide a unique and important contribution to their role as parents. Children who are raised – for example – in fatherless families suffer, on average, in every measure of well-being. They have higher levels of physical and mental illness, educational difficulties, poverty, substance abuse, criminal behavior, loneliness, and physical and sexual abuse.[ii]

Homosexual adoption, by design, will deny a child either a mother or father every time. By legalizing same-sex parenting, society declares by law that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. That means a mother offers no unique contribution to a child. A man could provide all the benefits of a woman.

Besides being counterintuitive, this deprives a son or daughter the distinctive benefits of being raised by both sexes.[iii] A compassionate and moral society comes to the aid of motherless or fatherless children. We don’t intentionally design families to deny children a mother or father. But that’s the result of same-sex parenting.

Lesbian parent Rosie O’Donnell confessed to Diane Sawyer in an ABC interview that her six-year-old adopted son, Parker, said, “I want to have a daddy.” Rosie answered him, “If you were to have a daddy, you wouldn’t have me as a mommy because I’m the kind of mommy who wants another mommy.”[iv] Notice the attention is shifted from the needs of children to the wants of couples. Although Parker asked for a father, his request was trumped by Rosie’s personal desire to be a lesbian parent.

Do Rosie and her lesbian lover know how to raise Parker to become a man? Do they know how to teach him how to treat a woman or his future wife? How will they be his role model?

Glenn Stanton and Bill Maier explore this idea and the suggestion that merely two loving adults are all that’s needed to raise kids: “The two most loving mothers in the world can’t be a father to a little boy. Love can’t equip mothers to teach a little boy how to be a man. Likewise, the two most loving men can’t be a mother to a child. Love does little to help a man teach a little girl how to be a woman. Can you imagine two men guiding a young girl through her first menstrual cycle or helping her through the awkwardness of picking out her first bra? Such a situation might make for a funny television sitcom but not a very good real-life situation for a young girl.”[v] And these are just a few of the absurdities that arise when you jettison the commonsense notion that men and women are both unique and valuable in their role as parents.

Same-sex parenting doesn’t make sense and that is why it must be forced on the people by the state. Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse explains: “Marriage between men and women is a pre-political, naturally emerging social institution. Men and women come together to create children, independently of any government…By contrast, same-sex ‘marriage’ is completely a creation of the state. Same-sex couples cannot have children. Someone must give them a child or at least half the genetic material to create a child. The state must detach the parental rights of the opposite-sex parent and then attach those rights to the second parent of the same-sex couple. The state must create parentage for the same-sex couple. For the opposite-sex couple, the state merely recognizes parentage.”[vi]

The price of homosexual adoption is too high. For it to work, the state must redefine marriage, create parentage laws for homosexual couples, and deny the unique role that mothers and fathers play. In the end, children lose and we lose. Children are harmed, which in the end affects everyone in our culture. For this reason, I believe even homosexuals should oppose homosexual adoption.

[i] This is supported by multiple studies including Mary Parke, “Are Married Parents Really Better for Children?” Center for Law and Social Policy, Policy Brief, May 2003, p. 1, and Kristin Anderson Moore et al., “Marriage From a Child’s Perspective: How Does Family Structure Affect Children, and What Can We Do about It?” Child Trends Research Brief, June 2002, p. 1.

[ii] Much of this research is referenced in David Popenoe, Life Without Father (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996).

[iii] See Yale Medical School’s Dr. Kyle Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child (New York: Free Press, 2000), 17-34.

[iv] PrimeTime Thursday, March 14, 2002.

[v] Glenn T. Stanton and Bill Maier, Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-sex Marriage and Parenting (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 71.

Can Homosexuals Change Their Orientation?

Posted: April 4, 2012 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing
Tags: ,

You may have seen the sign, “Some people are gay. Get over it!” But I’d like to change it: “Some people used to be gay. Get over that.”

Many people don’t believe it, though. They believe the discussion is over. The “experts” have spoken. Sexual orientation is an inborn and immutable trait like eye color. Change is not possible. Case closed.

But this is an incredible assertion. If it can be demonstrated that just one person has changed, it would falsify the claim. It turns out that not only is change possible, but there are multiple and independent lines of evidence to warrant such a belief.

First, it should be noted that people reported change was possible thousands of years ago. The sixth chapter in the biblical book of 1 Corinthians states that some of the inhabitants of the city of Corinth were homosexuals. But the passage goes on to say, “Such were some of you…” indicating that some of them were able to change (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

I realize that some people will dismiss this account, claiming they don’t believe the Bible is the word of God. But one doesn’t have to believe in the divine authorship of scripture in order to accept this account of changed lives. The epistle to the Corinthian church is, at the very least, a first century letter to a community of people in a city which still exists in modern Greece. It is a historical correspondence between Paul of Tarsus and the Corinthians. It is highly unlikely that Paul could get away with making false claims about the changed lives of people who live in the city where the letter was publicly read.

Second, many reputable scientists who are experts in the field have testified that change is possible. Dr. Robert Spitzer, who has been called the most influential psychiatrist of the 20th century (more than 275 publications to his credit), published a peer-reviewed paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The purpose of his study was to evaluate the claim that homosexual orientation is immutable and, consequently, change is impossible.

Spitzer indicated that of the 200 people in the study, many of them increased in the frequency and satisfaction of heterosexual activity. He also noted that, “Almost all of the participants reported substantial changes in the core aspects of sexual orientation, not merely overt behavior.” More significantly, 11% of the men and 37% of the women reported complete change. Spitzer said that these results go beyond, “anecdotal information and provide evidence that reparative therapy is sometimes successful.” Moreover, he concluded that, “This study provides evidence that some gay men and lesbians are able to also change the core features of sexual orientation.”[i]

But what about the claim that this kind of therapy is harmful? According to Spitzer, there wasn’t evidence of harm. “To the contrary,” he said. The participants reported that therapy, “Was helpful in a variety of ways beyond changing sexual orientation itself.”

The obvious response would be to dismiss Spitzer as an anti-gay homophobe. But this is a man who has fought for homosexual causes. Spitzer was the architect behind the movement in 1973 to remove homosexuality as an illness from psychiatry’s manual of mental disorders (referred to as the DSM). This was a monumental milestone in the history of gay rights spearheaded by Spitzer himself.

Dr. Nicholas Cummings is another researcher who affirms that change is possible. He was the past president of the American Psychological Association (APA) and served as Chief of Mental Health at Kaiser Permanente for 20 years. While serving in that capacity, he personally saw over 2,000 patients with same-sex attraction (SSA) and his staff saw another 16,000. You can read more about his impeccable credentials here. I met him in November 2011, where he told an audience of clinicians that he personally saw hundreds of people change their sexual orientation and estimated that 7% of the 16,000 patients his staff saw experienced successful reorientation. Many of them went on to marry and live heterosexual lives.

Dr. Cummings is another clinician that can’t be dismissed. He has been a champion of gay rights and, while serving as President of the APA, appointed the APA’s first Task Force on Lesbian and Gay Issues.

But these two researchers are just the tip of the iceberg. There have been clinicians and other scientists who have known that change is possible and have been reporting it for over 100 years. Jean-Martin Charcot, known as the father of modern neurology, wrote about how “the homosexual became heterosexual” through his treatments back in 1882. Sigmund Freud would later report change in sexual orientation using psychoanalysis in the 1920s. Researchers continued to report these findings throughout the 20th century: Wilhelm Stekel in the 1930s, Frank Caprio and Albert Ellis in the 1950s, Russell Monroe and Edward Glover in the 1960s, Irving Bieber in the 1970s, Karolynn Siegel in the 1980s, and Houston MacIntosh in the 1990s to name just a few.

With this long history of evidence, it’s not surprising that a recent psychiatry textbook, Essential Psychopathology & Its Treatment, concluded that homosexual orientation can be changed and that therapy isn’t necessarily harmful. The section addressing this topic states:

While many mental health care providers and professional associations have expressed considerable skepticism that sexual orientation could be changed with psychotherapy and also assumed that therapeutic attempts at reorientation would produce harm, recent empirical evidence demonstrates that homosexual orientation can indeed be therapeutically changed in motivated clients, and that reorientation therapies do not produce emotional harm when attempted (e.g., Byrd & Nicolosi, 2002; Byrd et al., 2008; Shaeffer et al., 1999; Spitzer, 2003).

Given the existence of this clinical research, it would follow that there should be thousands of people who have reported change. And there are. Every year more individuals come out and publicly declare that although they lived as homosexuals for significant periods of time, they no longer are today. This might not constitute peer-reviewed research, but it is worth noting the sheer number of people who claim they have changed.

How can anyone deny that change is possible given all the evidence from psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, peer-reviewed studies, and personal testimonies? I’ll tell you how. One would have to believe that every clinician who treated homosexuality during the 19th and 20th centuries has lied about their professional work and deceived the readers of their published studies. Therapists around the world who treat homosexuality today would also have to be dishonest about their patient outcomes. Every religious and secular organization that provides counseling to homosexuals would be fraudulent about their results. Every homosexual – thousands of them around the world – who is now living as a heterosexual is just faking it. And every friend and person I’ve met over the years who has claimed to have changed has been misleading me. This would entail a massive and well-orchestrated scheme to deceive vast numbers of people around the world. One would have to believe all that deception is occurring in order to believe that homosexuals can’t change.

Does everyone who tries to change succeed? No. In fact, many people fail. Is it an easy process for those who achieve a measure of change? Absolutely not. Does change always entail complete transformation? Rarely. Do some people return to homosexuality? Of course. But this is the case with treating any condition (depression, alcoholism, personality disorders, etc.). The question, however, is whether it is possible for some to experience substantial and enduring change? The answer is a definite yes. That’s good news, given that there are many people with unwanted SSA. They have hope.

The bad news is that there are many advocates that are extremely hostile towards these change efforts and would deny some homosexuals the right to self-determination. These are the same people who allegedly champion diversity. But ironically, not only do they deny that change is possible, they deny those who have changed even exist.

Though homosexuality is nothing new, neither is the ability of some people to change. I’m not suggesting we try to change every homosexual, but we can give hope to those with unwanted SSA. It’s a hope that many have realized and, as a result, have turned to others who want to change and offered them the truth and compassion they desperately need.

[i] Spitzer, R. L., “Can some gay men and lesbians change their sexual orientation? 200 participants reporting a change from homosexual to heterosexual orientation,” in Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 32, No. 5, 2003, 403–417.

People who engage in homosexual behavior are normal in many ways. Like anyone else, they have friends and family, they work and play, they love and hate, and have fears and dreams. But it seems strange to admit that everything about homosexuality is normal. Indeed, it’s hard to say any class of people is normal in every way.

For example, I’m Assyrian. My people are normal in many ways, but there are also many things about us that are abnormal (or just downright weird). We have genetic differences – we are a Semitic people. Our language is extremely uncommon. We have an over-active hair hormone (much to the chagrin of female Assyrians). Our food is strange to my friends and when people see my relatives talk, they think we’re shouting at each other (which we are, but that’s how we talk). We’re not normal in every way.

The same is true of homosexuals. They are normal in many ways, but there are also things about them that are not. They just occur in different categories than those of Assyrians or other groups of people.

At the outset I want to make it clear that by saying that homosexuals are not normal in every way, I’m not saying that they are deranged or inferior. I believe that men and women who identify themselves as gay are, like other people, intrinsically valuable. As fellow human beings, they are the pinnacle of God’s creation, deserving of dignity and respect. Nothing they or anyone can say or do can diminish their value – not even in principle. And we should treat them as such.

But the question of whether homosexuality is normal hinges on what is meant by the term. If normal refers to the frequency or rate at which it occurs in the population, then homosexuality is not normal in that sense. As I’ve mentioned before, homosexuals represent approximately 1 – 3% of the population. Clearly, the number of people who have sex with the same gender are far fewer than those who do it with the opposite gender.

Perhaps the term “normal” refers to homosexual behavior. But whether you think God made humans or believe they evolved, our bodies are made to function in a heterosexual way. A basic course in anatomy and physiology reveals that male and female sex organs not only fit together, they also function together (in multiple ways). In fact, they work in concert with one another to such a degree that they can produce another human being. This is unmistakable evidence of the complementarity of male and female bodies and their ability to work together towards a common end.

Homosexuals can’t use their body parts in this (reproductive) way. Though their sexual organs are designed to function with the opposite sex, they have a proclivity to use them with the same sex. This prevents them from using those parts for that purpose. They are never able to use the full function of their sexual anatomy.

Not only that, they use some body parts in a way that violates their intended design. The recipient of male homosexual sex uses part of his anatomy in a way that mimics the female reproductive organ. This becomes a problem because it lacks certain anatomical features that make it well-suited for sexual acts. So homosexual sex eschews the intended function of human anatomy and replaces it with a behavior that violates the design of other parts. That is not normal.

And when parts are used in a way that they’re not designed, this leads to damage. It’s like riding a bicycle without tires on the rims. You might get somewhere, but you’ll damage the wheel rims and are more likely to crash. That’s because you’re using the parts of a bike in a way they’re not designed to be used.

The same is true with homosexual sex. Because body parts are being used in a manner inconsistent with their design, homosexual behavior leads to a disproportionate danger of getting a life-threatening disease. The chances of acquiring HIV are increased because of the damage that occurs to body parts that aren’t designed for sex.

Dr. Amy Lansky, an official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that men who have sex with men get AIDS at a rate of more than 50 times than that of non-gay men and women.[1] To give a comparison, the CDC warns that men who smoke are 23 times more likely to develop lung cancer than those who don’t. But they’re 50 times more likely to get HIV/AIDS if they have sex with another man. This is a staggering statistic and hardly a normal health risk.

But does this higher risk result in increased infections? Unfortunately, it does. The CDC published an analysis of gay men in 21 cities and found that 1 in 5 of them had HIV. And nearly half of them were unaware of it.[2] This is just sad news.

Look, people are free to live how they want. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to behave in their bedroom. But we have to be honest about homosexuality. It’s uncommon, goes against the design of the body, and carries with it serious health risks. That’s not normal.

So should our response to homosexuality include hostility? No. Even though we’re often tempted to get angry with attempts to normalize homosexual behavior in our culture, we should resist that urge. Knowing these truths about homosexuality should not lead us to contempt, but rather to compassion. When we find out the potential harm that homosexuals face (and the many other hardships that come in their lives), it should drive us to care for them more than the culture does.

[2] “1 in 5 Men Who Have Sex with Men in 21 U.S. Cities Has HIV; Nearly Half Unaware,” Press Release by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 23, 2010, retrieved February  20, 2012, from

Are Homosexuals Going to Hell?

Posted: March 21, 2012 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing
Tags: ,

The answer to this question is easy. Yes, they’re going to hell. Homosexual behavior is offensive to God.

But guess what? Liars are going to hell too. So are gluttons, drunkards, and adulterers. Do you see a pattern here? Everyone is going to hell.

There’s nothing special about people who engage in same-sex intercourse. Whether you go to heaven or hell has nothing to do with the kind of sin you’ve committed. It’s about moral culpability. Guilty people deserve to be punished and innocent people go free. That’s a basic principle of justice.

The problem with this question is its incorrect assumption: homosexuality is the worst sin. Or, at least it’s really, really bad. So bad, in fact, that some people think it’s unforgivable. Violators go directly to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Of course, homosexuality is not the worst sin as I’ve mentioned in a previous post. God doesn’t have special rules that govern how to levy punishment on homosexuals.

Perhaps rephrasing the question would help: Can people with same-sex attractions (SSA) go to heaven? Yes, they can.  Even if they’ve engaged in homosexual behavior, it’s still possible to be pardoned for their actions. This is no different than people who are selfish, steal, or commit adultery. All these crimes can be forgiven. People who commit them can be pardoned from the punishment they deserve.

Even though that’s good news, believers are still berated for their moral stance: “You think homosexuality is a sin? How can you say that? You’re so mean and intolerant!” Ya, I get that…I don’t like it either. But Christians didn’t make up that rule. God did. It’s like yelling at the DMV employee for failing your driving test. He’s just telling you the rules of the road. He didn’t make them up. Blame someone else.

Besides, it’s not like God is pointing the finger just at homosexuals. God’s an equal opportunity judger. Some people who went to church last Sunday will be in hell. Some people who study the Bible will be there too. Why? Those people have also committed crimes that render them guilty. And going to church or reading the Bible doesn’t earn them a pardon.

We don’t get to make the rules for reconciliation. God does. So being a “good person” doesn’t matter. Seeking to be “sincere” is irrelevant. Trying to be “true to yourself” won’t help. It’s God’s kingdom: He’s the King and it’s His domain. He decides the terms for acquittal.

He also shows no partiality towards whom He pardons. A churchgoer has no advantage to a homosexual. Each has an equal chance at forgiveness no matter what they’ve done.

As I wrote in a previous post, God is willing to grant us “a pardon for our bad behavior….We can accept the pardon and go free or pay the penalty ourselves. It’s our choice. That means a man or woman can live a lifetime of homosexual behavior and still be acquitted.”

Although it sounds too good to be true, people who are exonerated know it’s anything but easy. The process involves an important trade: we give God a lifetime of allegiance in return for a pardon. That means we’re no longer the absolute arbiter of our life. Rather, we hand over that privilege to the judge who negotiated our freedom.

Fortunately, the judge is good and looks after us. He knows that even though we’re absolved from our crimes and freed from our punishment, justice is not complete. Our guilt has been lifted, but needs to be placed on another. So, the judge makes arrangements with a willing substitute who will bear the blame: His next of kin.

The substitute is agreeable to trade his innocence for our guilt even though a transaction like that isn’t normally allowed. In this instance, however, the substitute is able to make the trade because the judge sanctioned the deal. It’s also fair because He’s willing and He’s willing because He’s family. It’s a family affair.

Who wouldn’t take a judge up on that offer? Who wouldn’t be grateful to his next of kin for His trade? God has done everything possible to keep people out of hell. Some people just aren’t willing to accept the terms.

I’m not here to tell you who is going to hell or not. That’s not the point of this post, nor is it for me to decide. That’s God’s job.

But one thing we know, everyone is guilty, including me. There’s no special sin that damns some people to judgment while others get off easier. Therefore, everyone deserves to be punished. That includes homosexuals and heterosexuals (even metrosexuals). They might not be responsible for the same crime, but they’ll all get jail time because they’re guilty. That’s the bad news.

But everyone – even homosexuals – is given the same exact chance to avoid punishment. The same offer is made to everyone under the King’s domain, no matter what their offense. That’s why it’s called the “gospel” – it’s good news.

The first “museum dedicated to gay animals” opened in 2006 at the University of Oslo (Norway). It was called Against Nature? An Exhibition on Animal Homosexuality and claimed to prove that animals develop “long-lasting [gay] partnerships.” The creators hope to “de-mystify homosexuality among people” and debunk the belief that gay sex is a “crime against nature.”[1]

Lesbian star, Rosie O’Donnell, makes a similar claim that “In every animal kingdom and every species, 10 percent of the population is homosexual,” and that’s “a fact of nature.”[2] (You can see my response to the claim that 10% of the human population is gay here)

The argument is that since animals engage in homosexual behavior that is instinctual, it must be natural for them and, consequently, natural and moral for humans since they are animals too.

There’s something wrong with this line of reasoning. In fact, a simple question composed of a two-letter word gets right to the heart of the problem: So? Even if animals exhibit homosexual behavior, so?  What does that prove? It proves nothing. Do advocates of this view really want to say: Because animals engage in X behavior, therefore X is natural/moral for humans? This claim is literally absurd. Here’s why.

There’s a Latin term in logic called reductio ad absurdum that means “reduction to the absurd.” At Stand to Reason we call it “Taking the Roof Off.” It’s a simple way to disprove a claim by showing that it leads to an absurd conclusion. In fact, I’m confident you already know this tactic.

Imagine a father asks his daughter, “Why did you start smoking?” She answers, “Because all my friends were doing it.” The father’s response is obvious: “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?” Notice the father’s reasoning. He accepts his daughter’s rational, for the sake of argument, and then asks himself a question: If I apply my daughter’s rationale to jumping off a cliff, that would mean she’d jump of a cliff too. But that’s absurd! That means her rationale is also absurd. And then he asks a question that exposes the absurdity of her thinking. That’s reductio ad absurdum.

With the claim about animal homosexuality, this tactic works equally well. The rationale for the argument is that if animals engage in a behavior, it must be natural and moral for humans do it too. Let’s apply that logic to some other animal behavior: cannibalism. Animals eating their own kind has been observed in over a thousand animal species. Following the logic of the view would mean that cannibalism is natural and moral for humans. But that’s absurd! And so is the rationale that led to that absurd conclusion.

Indeed, animals engage in all sorts of selfish, violent, and primitive behaviors that humans would almost universally categorize as immoral. That’s why taking moral cues from the animal kingdom is absurd. Yes, humans are an animal of sorts, but we’re more than that. We are rational beings with a capacity for free will and a rich intellectual life. To reduce our behavior and relationships to instincts, stimuli, and urges ignores a major component of human nature. I like how Richard Umbers puts it:

Homo sapiens is an animal, but not merely an animal. We have a lot in common with parasitic worms, but there are some differences, too. Our bodily nature is subject to intellectual direction. A human being unites the intellectual and the corporeal, what is rational and what is animal. We get a distorted picture of man when we focus on one aspect to the exclusion of the other. They can never be separated.”[3]

When humans have conflicting instinctive reactions, our intellect can reason between them and determine the most expedient or moral course of action. Animals, however, behave according to their strongest instinct given what they see, smell, hear, taste, and perceive. These natural impulses aid in their protection, survival, and reproduction.

But internal or external stimuli can cause their instincts to clash or get confused, leading to unusual behavior. Sometimes a cat will kill his kittens. Unlike females whose strong maternal instinct protects her babies, the predatory instinct of a tom cat can confuse his offspring for prey. Are his hunting impulses natural? Yes. Can they be misdirected? Sure. Should we declare filicide or cannibalism as natural or moral for humans? No.

The same is true for allegedly homosexual acts among animals. Their sexual drive and instinct to mate is extremely strong and can be confused. When animals are in heat, they release pheromones that trigger an instinctual behavior by males. According to an expert in the field, this inborn impulse is so strong, that it can “instigate a frenzy of mounting behaviors. Even other females who aren’t in heat will mount those who are. Males will mount males who have just been with females [in heat] if they still bear their scent…And males who catch wind of the estrus odor may mount the first thing (or unlucky person) they come in contact with.”[4] I’ve even seen a dog mount a couch. One might have good taste in sofas, but I doubt it’s so good that your dog is sexually attracted to it. The poor pooch is confused.

Plus, sexual activity among animals is known to be used for purposes other than reproduction. Although humans can express themselves by speaking, writing, gesturing, and a multitude of other ways, animals are limited. Consequently, they are known to use sexual behavior to express a range of sentiments: social dominance, aggression, avoiding conflict, and many other emotions. That’s why many researchers think it’s naive to impose a human understanding of homosexuality onto animal behavior.

“Properly speaking, homosexuality does not exist among animals…. For reasons of survival, the reproductive instinct among animals is always directed towards an individual of the opposite sex. Therefore, an animal can never be homosexual as such. Nevertheless, the interaction of other instincts (particularly dominance) can result in behavior that appears to be homosexual. Such behavior cannot be equated with an animal homosexuality. All it means is that animal sexual behavior encompasses aspects beyond that of reproduction.”[5]

But we can’t infer homosexuality when a male chimpanzee mounts another male any more than we can infer sofaphilia when a dog mounts your couch. Yes, I made up the word “sofaphilia.”

Animals behave according to their instincts. That’s appropriate. When humans do the same, we don’t applaud them. Instead, we often put them in jail. That’s because humans have the capacity, and therefore the responsibility, to use principled self-restraint when their instinctual response is to act like an animal.

[4] Jacque Lynn Schultz, C.P.D.T. at A short bio on Jacque Lynn Schultz can be found here:

[5] Antonio Pardo, “Aspectos médicos de la homosexualidad,” Nuestro Tiempo, Jul.-Aug. 1995, pp. 82-89; as quoted in Luiz Sérgio Solimeo, “The Animal Homosexuality Myth,” at

Is 10% of the Population Homosexual?

Posted: March 7, 2012 by Alan Shlemon in Do the Right Thing
Tags: ,

It’s often said that if you repeat something loud enough and long enough, people will begin to believe it. Such is the case with the claim that 10% of the population is homosexual. Though it’s commonly believed, the figure is rarely questioned.

The media only contributes to the problem. It seems like every movie and television show includes the obligatory homosexual character(s). It’s no surprise, then, that American perception of the prevalence of homosexuality is skewed. A Gallup poll in 2002 found that Americans estimated the percentage of homosexuals to be 21.5% of the population, a startling number that would even shock pro-gay advocates!

The origin of the 10% statistic is from a 1948 book by Alfred Kinsey called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Kinsey concluded from his research that “10 percent of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.”[1]

But just who are “the males” in Kinsey’s research? It turns out that his sample population contained a high percentage of convicted criminals, sex offenders, and male prostitutes. To no one’s surprise, many researchers were critical of his conclusions since his test subjects didn’t represent the broader population. The American Statistical Association blasted his sampling procedure the same year his book was published. One of their committee members, Princeton mathematician John Tukey, wrote, “A random selection of three people would have been better than a group of 300 chosen by Mr. Kinsey.”

Clearly the 10% figure isn’t credible, but accurately estimating the homosexual population can be elusive. One problem is how you determine who is “homosexual.” Do only lifelong homosexuals fit the definition? Should people who have had a single homosexual encounter be included? Does someone who experiences homoerotic dreams count? How one defines “homosexual” affects the prevalence estimate.

But even with this problem, many studies give a lower estimate than the touted 10% Kinsey figure. The Alan Guttmacher Institute, a group that’s affirmative of homosexuality, found only 2.3% of 3,321 males reported homosexual contact in the previous 10 years.[2] A later study of 93,311 women in the Archives of Family Medicine found only 1.4% ever had sex with another woman as an adult.[3]

Most recently, however, was a UCLA study by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity that incorporated and analyzed data from previous prevalence studies. Gary J. Gates, the author of the study and a Distinguished Scholar at the UCLA School of Law, found 1.7% of the adult population identified as either gay or lesbian.[4]

You’d think that now that the 10% figure has been debunked, pro-gay groups would apologize for the misrepresentation and offer scientifically defensible estimates. But they don’t. Instead, they admit they knew the figure was inaccurate, but used it to advance their cause anyway. Tom Stoddard, former member of the Lambda Legal Defense Fund, said, “We used the figure…to create an impression of our numerousness.”[5]

Jill Harris, of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, said “I think people probably always did know that it was inflated.  But it’s a really nice number that you could say, ‘one-in-ten,’ and it’s a really good way to get people to visualize that we are here.”[6]

In an Oxford University Press publication, Bruce Voeller admitted that he “campaigned with gay groups and in the media across the country for the Kinsey-based finding that ‘We are everywhere.’ And after years of our educating those who inform the public and make its laws, the concept that 10 percent of the population is gay has become generally accepted ‘fact’…As with so many pieces of knowledge and myth, repeated telling made it so.”[7]

Regardless of the actual percentage of homosexuals in the population, it’s not relevant to our obligation to “get along and be more tolerant.” Even if there were only ten homosexuals in the country, it would still be virtuous for Christians to get along and tolerate (respect despite our disagreement) them. Their numbers are irrelevant for that purpose.

But tolerance shouldn’t be our goal. Christians shouldn’t aspire to treat homosexuals the way the secular culture treats them. We fail if we do. Instead, we should treat them better. That doesn’t mean we advocate for gay rights or pitch their agenda. It just means we love them better than they’re loved by the world. That’s the first step in transforming our relationship with them for the sake of transforming their relationship with God.

[1] Alfred Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders Company, 1948), 651.

[2] John O.G. Billy, et al., “The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States,” Family Planning Perspectives, Alan Guttmacher Institute, March/April 1993.

[3] Barbara G. Valanis, et al., “Sexual Orientation and Health: Comparisons in the Women’s Health Initiative Sample,” Archives of Family Medicine, 9:843-853, September/October 2000, pp. 844.

[4] Gary J. Gates, “How many people are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender?” The Williams Institute, April 2011.

[5] “How Many Gays Are There?” in Newsweek, February 14, 1993.

[6] “Gay Rights, Special Rights,” Jeremiah Films, Inc. 1993; quoted in Mike Haley, 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Homosexuality, (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2004), 178.

[7] Bruce Voeller, “Some Uses and Abuses of the Kinsey Scale,” Homosexuality, Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation, (Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 35-36.