I read an article by Bryan Fisher on barbwire.com entitled “The Latest in Scientific Research: There is No Gay Gene”. I applaud him for taking the true stance that ‘gay’ is not how we are born. I say ‘we’, because I used to be gay. Well, ok, ‘gay’ is not a thing someone can ‘be’, but I’ll leave that alone for the moment. That propaganda has been used to sway many in our country to accept homosexuality as a healthy alternative to heterosexuality. However, there were other arguments in the article that I believe -inadvertently- support the gay community’s belief that regardless of what some preacher says about science, gay must be how they’re born.
In the article, Fisher wrote …”sexual preference in behavior is clearly a choice, a choice which no one is compelled to make.” I actually disagree that behavior is always a choice (John 8:34), but is “sexual preference” “clearly” a choice? Aside from those who’ve taken on a false gay or bisexual identity as a rebellion against Biblical culture, those who identify as gay will (correctly) demand respect for the fact that they did not get to chose whether to “feel gay”. In reality, I’ve learned that our gay “sexual preference” is the result of “needs for love that haven’t been met and emotional wounds that haven’t healed”, to quote Richard Cohen. As I learned to get my needs for love met in God-honoring ways, and healed my emotional wounds through many years of guided therapy and support groups, my attractions changed. Knowing they did not make a choice to feel gay, most gays will agree with the underlying presumption that the two possible choices are biological and choice, and believe biological, defeating the author’s stated purpose.
Second, Fisher wrote “If homosexuality is biologically determined, then the rest of us don’t have much choice but to accept it as a sad and unfortunate reality.” First off, the conclusion that we would accept something as a sad reality doesn’t mean it couldn’t have existed. In fact, learning to accept our sad reality – and grieve it – leads us to healing, and ultimately ‘change’ (Matthew 5:4). Richard Cohen summarizes the discovery of modern psychotherapy that the main determinant in whether psychotherapy would be successful is whether the client is able to get in touch with their emotions by saying “you need to be real and feel in order to heal”. – the dude spent years coming up with rhyming ways to make underlying truths memorable. Denying reality because we wouldn’t like it is merely suppressing truth. Making an argument against accepting reality is not going to influence anyone working from a rational foundation.
I think Fisher may have conflated “genetically-determined” with “healthy”, and in our fallen world, that is not the case. The simple counter-example to the argument is the plethora of genetic diseases which are the result of genetic abnormalities, such as sickle-cell anemia. In steps Texas Governor Rick Perry who says he thinks gay is a genetic abnormality like his predilection for alcoholism. Rick, buddy, glad you’re overcoming the alcoholism, but please stop spouting off about stuff you don’t understand with your useless conjectures. There can never be a scientific argument that anything genetic can be healthy or good because science cannot make any statements about what’s healthy, good, or worth-it, those require a statement of purpose and science cannot give us a purpose. Only Theology can make statements about purpose and therefore make statements about good/healthy/ or worth it.
One argument Fisher makes I know that many are sympathetic to is “homosexual conduct is clearly harmful to human beings in any number of ways, not the least of which is serving as the leading cause of HIV/AIDS, which can leave young men disease-ridden and destined for an early grave. We don’t want that future for anyone.” But, I’d highly suggest doing research into what men are willing to do for “love”. Take a look at the death rates of soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, for instance. They’re significantly higher than ‘gays’ with AIDS. When seeking to love or protect those they love, or defend the rights of others, men regularly make choices which have much higher death rates than AIDS. I do personally know several men who made their decision to “maximize their heterosexual potential” as a result of a boyfriend or close friend who died from AIDS. But when they do, they belie that fact that up until it happened to someone close, they were willing to ignore the risks, which were readily knowable, in pursuit of what they believed was love. It may have been emotional dependency, or codependency, but they’ve been taught that’s what “love” is.
Again, I believe Fisher found and is promoting the correct and true reality that ‘gay’ is not in-born, but unlike me, most people can’t evaluate the merits of a scientific report, and will trust their friends over someone they don’t know. As an argument, it’s much more powerful to be able to say, “it doesn’t matter if it’s genetic, because even if it’s genetic that doesn’t mean that it’s healthy or good, or that it’s ‘love’. One needs a theological argument to make statements about what’s healthy and good and worth-it, and my God loves you so much, it was worth-it to Him to lay down His life to save you, just as you are.” The trouble with Christians (and I’m one), I’ve found, is ever backing up that statement with enough agape and phileo love to actually win over someone who has been neglected, shamed, abandoned, exasperated, or possibly sexually abused, or that they even need to be bothered by it personally. Please join me in trying to win over the Church to demonstrate the kind of love that ‘gays’ -like me- need to meet their needs for love and support us as we heal our emotional wounds.