The Truth Shall Set You Free—John 8:32
What’s the Truth About Homosexuality?
I have a friend from graduate school, who is Catholic, who always said that the only problem he had with homosexuality was that they could only have pre-marital sex. Since gay people could not be married, they could not have marital sex. Now I do have to give a caveat here: My friend is from San Francisco and is a married heterosexual, and he was just as much a promiscuous fornicator before his marriage as the rest of us, but because he is now married he believes that he can take the high road. I’m not faulting him on this, just stating the facts.
Being a member of the Church of Christ, this is really a non-issue because marriage is not a religious sacrament within the church. Marriages are recognized whether they are performed in the church by a minister or by a secular authority. The only true doctrinal differences my friend and I had was over the idea of a Pope and the Eucharist. He firmly believed, as most Catholics do, that the Eucharist, or the Rite of Transubstantiation, the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood (respectively) of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before. The Church of Christ, as does many Protestant churches, believe that the Lord's Supper is a merely symbolic act done in remembrance of what Christ has done for them on the cross. Sorry for the Catholics out there (no offense is meant), but I have always seen the Eucharist/Communion as symbolic and really do not see the difference because Catholics will still say that all that is accessible to the senses remains the bread and wine as before. (A side note, our church does use grape juice instead of wine mainly because we have underage people who are members of the church. In the past, the lady who always put together the communion would occasionally use her own home-made muscadine wine if she had not been to the store that week to get the grape juice. It was always quite fun to see the look on people’s faces when they realized this substitution.)
With this introduction aside, there is still much controversy going on as to whether homosexuality is genetic or environmental in origin. (If you have been reading these posts, then you know that I believe/know that homosexuality is genetic and natural.) Many theologians believe it should be easy to understand why, for if “God made them that way” then it is not their fault they are homosexual and it must not be a sin to act out their desires. I personally do not need any research that might suggest a genetic origin as a defense. Many Christians believe that it is either environmental or that there is a predominance to be homosexual and thus can be “resisted.”
The Components For Developing A Predisposition To Homosexuality
Tim LeHaye wrote a book called The Unhappy Gays: What Everyone Should Know About Homosexuality. LeHaye believed that there were components that were the basis for developing a predisposition to homosexuality. He stated that a person can (and many do) have all these components and still not be a homosexual. As listed and described by LaHaye, these components include:
- A Melancholy Temperament
- Inadequate Parental Relationships
- Permissive Childhood Training
- Insecurity About Sexual Identity
- Childhood Sexual Trauma
- Early Interest In Sex
- Youthful Masturbator And Sexual Fantasizer
Mark A. Copeland, a sadly misguided minister of Fortune Road Church of Christ in Kissimmee, Florida uses LeHaye’s components for developing a predisposition to homosexuality and uses the following formula:
A Predisposition Toward Homosexuality
That First Homosexual Experience Multiplied By Pleasurable and Positive Homosexual Thoughts
To Which Is Added
More Homosexual Experiences
More Pleasurable Thoughts
Copeland states that “when one already has a “predisposition” towards homosexuality, exposure to homosexual experiences and pleasurably reflecting upon them can create a powerful attraction difficult to overcome.” He goes further by stating that “so powerful can these experiences and reflections be that one not even need to have developed a ‘predisposition’ to be drawn into this sort of behavior.
LeHayes and Copeland’s argument is not hard to dispute. Let’s look at these so-called components for developing a predisposition to homosexuality:
- A Melancholy Temperament: Yes, I and many others in the GLBT community do have a “melancholy temperament,” which I think of as the genetic tendency for depression. My mother suffers from depression and so do I. However, Prozac is a wonder drug and has helped me combat this. Did this have anything to do with my homosexuality? NO!
- Inadequate Parental Relationships: I had wonderful relationships with my parents. I may not have had the best relationship with my father, but what son doesn’t often disagree with their father? Go back and read my Father’s Day post to see more of our relationship. Did this have anything to do with my homosexuality? NO!
- Permissive Childhood Training: My parents were quite strict with me growing up. There was very little if anything that I was allowed to get away with. My mother was a nurse and being the second child, my early childhood development went easily but was handled firmly by my parents. I know that some people who were raised too strictly grew up to be quite wild. Think of any preacher’s kids that you know. I was not raised that strictly, but strict enough with a set of values that I still cherish. Did this have anything to do with my homosexuality? NO!
- Insecurity About Sexual Identity: I never thought I was a little girl. I have an older sister, who was my main playmate growing up, but she was very much a tomboy and we explored the countryside around our house. We climbed trees, played games, etc. I did not play with dolls, nor did I play with toy trucks either. I loved G.I. Joe. How more American boy could you be? I never dressed up like a girl or put on make-up. I never did any of those things that are seen as insecurities about sexual identity. I was a boy, and I loved the fact that I had a penis. Did this have anything to do with my homosexuality? NO! Well, okay maybe the love of my penis, but that had nothing to do with sexual identity. It juts meant that I was proud to be a boy.
- Childhood Sexual Trauma: None whatsoever. There is nothing more to say about that.
- Early Interest In Sex: Not really. I didn't even understand about sex until I was a teenager, when my sister explained to me what it was. I was fairly naïve and did not even really know what homosexuality was until I was in my teens and past puberty. I knew I had feelings for guys, but didn’t know what it meant.
- Youthful Masturbator And Sexual Fantasizer: In this instance, does “youthful” mean pre-puberty or post-puberty. If LeHaye is speaking of puberty onward, then we are all youthful masturbators and sexual fantasizers. I have only ever known one guy who did not masturbate (but he did have a lot of sex). He did not masturbate because his father was a Baptist minister, and he had been taught that masturbation was a sin. Instead, he had lots of sex with different girls and did not consider a handjob as a form of masturbation. I first masturbated around the age of 13 when puberty was in full swing. (It came as quite a surprise to me when semen [which I had no idea what it was] came out of my penis after my first attempt, but it was a lot of fun and like most young guys, it became a somewhat regular routine.) Did this have anything to do with my homosexuality? NO!
What We Should Really Be Considering
The Bible is completely silent on the issue of homosexual orientation. And no wonder. Homosexual orientation wasn’t even known until the 19th century.
The discovery that some of us are created and/or shaped in our earliest infancy toward same-gender attraction was made in the last 150 years. Biblical authors knew nothing about sexual orientation. Old Testament authors and Paul assumed all people were created heterosexual, just as they believed the earth was flat, that there were heavens above and hell below, and that the sun moved up and down.
In 1864, almost 3,000 years after Moses and at least 18 centuries after the apostle Paul, the German social scientist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was the first to declare that homosexuals were a distinct class of individuals. It was a big moment for all sexual minorities. It’s our Columbus discovering the New World. It’s our Madame Curie discovering radium used for Xrays. It’s our Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. It may seem like one small step for the rest of humanity, but it was a giant leap for us.
Ulrichs assured the world of what we who are homosexual already know in our hearts. We aren’t just heterosexuals choosing to perform same-sex behaviors. We are a whole class of people whose drive to same-sex intimacy is at the very core of our being from the very beginning of our lives.
Although the word homosexual was not used for the first time until later in the 19th century, Ulrichs recognized that homosexuals had been around from the beginning of recorded time, that we were “innately different from heterosexuals,” and that our desire for same-sex intimacy and affiliation is intrinsic, natural, inborn and/or shaped in earliest infancy. According to Dr. Ulrichs, what may have looked “unnatural” to Moses and Paul was in fact “natural” to homosexuals. Therefore, if Paul did not have a concept of homosexuality, how could he have been denouncing it? The answer is simple, he could not have been.
One of the arguments that Christians use to ignore or denounce homosexuality is that God has given up on us. I will be discussing this in my next post.