Homosexuality


Indiana Governor, Mike Pence, has signed legislation that prevents anyone (individuals, business owners, organizations) from being forced to violate their conscience and religious convictions (what the bill calls “exercise of religion”). One would think the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would be enough to secure these rights, but not these days. While the historical context of the bill is surely recent examples in which business owners have been forced by state governments to offer their services to homosexuals in ways that violate their conscience and religious convictions, the bill does not make any reference to homosexuality in particular. It is a general protection religious freedom.

This bill will prevent Jewish publishers from being forced by law to print anti-Jewish propaganda, gay sign-makers from being forced to make signs that condemn homosex, and Christian business owners from being forced by law to provide services that violate their religious convictions.  Like it or not, agree with it or not – that is true freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

You can read the text of the law here.  An excellent legal analysis can be found here.

Bible Homosexual PracticeFor more than three thousand years Jews and Christians have understood the Bible to condemn homosex in no uncertain terms.  Today, however, we are witnessing the rise of a gay hermeneutic that reinterprets the Bible’s teachings on homosex in a way that allows for at least some forms of homosex.  While small in number, this movement has a handful of reputable scholars making their case.  So what does the Bible really say?  Have we misunderstood the Bible on this issue for millennia, or are the Scriptures being twisted by those who want the Scriptures to affirm homosex for various personal or social reasons?

Robert Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics is a must-read for everyone who want to know what the Bible has to say on this topic.  Gagnon examines the relevant OT (creation, cursing of Ham, concubine, Sodom and Gomorrah, Leviticus, cult prostitutes, David and Jonathan) and NT texts in depth, the cultural background of the Ancient Near East (ANE), and classic arguments offered against homosex (focusing on the argument from anatomical complementarity and natural function).  He finishes the book by interacting with arguments against the Bible’s enduring authority on this issue, showing how none of them are successful.

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Country music star and confessing Christian, Carrie Underwood, has voiced her support for homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the past.  Now, her pastor – Stan Mitchell of GracePoint Church in Franklin, Tennessee – has followed suit.[1]  He announced to his church that

Full privileges are extended now to you [practicing homosexuals] with the same expectations of faithfulness, sobriety, holiness, wholeness, fidelity, godliness, skill and willingness. That is expected of all. Full membership means being able to serve in leadership and give all of your gifts and to receive all the sacraments; not only communion and baptism, but child dedication and marriage.

What?  Expectations of holiness and godliness?  How can they be holy and godly when they are engaging in sexual behavior that the Bible condemns as abominable?  That’s like telling adulterers in the congregation that their behavior is fine so long as they have sex outside of marriage in holiness and godliness.  Their behavior is the opposite of holiness.  (more…)

Boy ScoutThe CA Supreme Court voted on Friday, January 23 to prohibit state judges from being affiliated with the Boy Scouts on the grounds that the Boy Scouts discriminate against gays.  Apparently the Court voted in 1996 to prohibit judges from participating in any organization that discriminated against someone because of their sexual orientation, but had an exception clause for youth organizations including the Boy Scouts.  That exception has been rescinded.  This brings CA in line with 21 other states that have the same prohibition.

This ruling strikes me as troubling for a number of reasons: (more…)

Paul_R_McHugh_MD2Former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Paul McHugh, recently penned a poignant opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution.” John Hopkins was the first medical center to perform sex-reassignment surgery in the 1960s, but based on evidence that such surgeries did not help transgendered people, they ceased performing the surgeries.  In light of the recent push to normalize transgenderism, Dr. McHugh has sounded the medical alarm to warn us that in our efforts to help these people we may be having the opposite effect.

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Michael Sam was just drafted by the St. Louis Rams.  So were a bunch of other guys, so why is Sam in the news?  What makes Sam unique is that he is the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL.  Given the nature of the NFL, I can see why this is news, but from a Christian perspective, I don’t consider this to be a big deal at all.  Neither do most Christians.  Unlike some on the Left, Christians do not think that those who disagree with us do not deserve to be employed.  If Sam’s athletic abilities qualify him to play in the NFL, then he should be allowed to play in the NFL.  His sexual orientation/behavior is irrelevant.

What I do consider to be a big deal is the fact that Miami Dolphins’ safety, Don Jones, was fined, suspended, and forced to undergo sensitivity training for expressing his personal disgust at Sam and his partner’s televised celebratory kiss.  Jones tweeted the words “OMG” and “horrible” to describe this public display of affection.  The very next day the Miami Dolphins’ head coach, Joe Philbin, described Jones’ tweet as “inappropriate and unacceptable,” and that it required them to speak to Jones about “respect, discrimination and judgment” because such “statements will not be tolerated.”  Perhaps it escaped Coach Philbin that he himself was passing judgment on Jones and discriminating against him based on his comments.

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benham-brothersHGTV was planning to air a new show about fixing up houses for families in need, Flip It Forward.  It was being hosted by twin brothers, David and Jason Benham, who have made a career of flipping houses.  But the network decided to cancel the show after Right Wing Watch reported that the Benham twins do not agree with homosexuality, and have even led protests outside of abortion clinics.  Initially HGTV said they were “currently in the process of reviewing all information about the Benhams,” and then they issued a tweet declaring that they would not move forward with the series.

While Right Wing did not call on HGTV to cancel the show, it appears that HGTV caved to the small amount of public pressure they received based on Right Wing Watch’s report. Shame on HGTV for not having the internal fortitude to stand up to the public pressure and say, “We understand that a large number of people do not agree with the personal views of David and Jason Benham, and we respect that. However, Flip It Forward is not a show about the Benham brothers’ personal views.  It’s a show about helping financially-challenged families get their dream home.  The Benham brothers’ experience in flipping houses makes them well-qualified to host this show, so we will continue to air the show with them as hosts.  HGTV’s employment of the Benham brothers is not an endorsement of their views, but we believe people have a right to their own moral opinions, and that those of us who disagree have a responsibility to extend tolerance to those we disagree with.  We believe a civilized, tolerant society must give space for people to believe and act according to their convictions, and do not agree with those who think anyone who doesn’t agree with them is not deserving of gainful employment.  We can do better that as a society, and at HGTV, we are doing better than that.  For those who find the Benham’s views distasteful, we would ask that you extend the same tolerance to them that you want extended to those who share your point of view. We ask that you set aside your personal differences with the Benham’s personal views, and allow yourself to enjoy and celebrate their work to help our mutual neighbors.”  That’s the press release you’ll never see, but one that would be cheered by the vast majority of citizens, and I would suspect, the vast number of HGTV viewership.

The Benham brothers have responded graciously (see here and here).

Remember when they asked us, “How is same-sex marriage going to affect you?”  This is how.

 

The story is here, and the singer’s explanation is here.

NWUScientists at Northwestern University claim to have found two sets of genes that may contribute to male homosexual orientation, but estimate that it only contributes about 40% to the chance of someone developing a homosexual orientation.[1] The other 60% is determined by environment, which includes social factors. This is consistent with what researchers have said all along. Sexual orientation cannot be determined entirely by biology. Nature plus nurture together most likely contribute to same-sex attraction.

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[1]Sarah Knapton, “Being homosexual is only partly due to gay gene, research finds”; available from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10637532/Being-homosexual-is-only-partly-due-to-gay-gene-research-finds.html; Internet; accessed 25 March 2014.

is-change-really-possible

Is it possible to change one’s sexual orientation? The gay community would say no. So do major psychological organizations. And that’s the perception one gets from the media as well. You might be surprised to learn, however, that a lot of research has been done in the area of sexual orientation therapy, and many people have experienced a lasting change in their sexual orientation. When it comes to the question of whether change is possible, the data, not political correctness should be determinative. So what is the data?

The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health followed ~10,800 adolescents between the ages of 16 and 22, recording various bits of information over time, including sexual attraction. The findings regarding sexual orientation were published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior in 2007.[1] Researchers found that 81% of females who reported same-sex attraction at age 16 reported opposite-sex attraction at age 17. Similarly, 61% of males who reported exclusive same-sex attraction at age 16 reported opposite-sex attraction just one year later. Only 25% of those boys who continued to experience exclusive same-sex attraction at age 17 reported same-sex attraction at age 22. Seventy-five percent of them had gained opposite-sex attraction over that five year period. All of this without any therapy, faith-based or otherwise.

These findings were in line with an earlier study, conducted in 1992 by the National Health and Social Life Survey. They found that three out of four boys who self-reported as gay at age 16 no longer did so at age twenty-five.

When it comes to same-sex attracted adolescents, at least, one is more likely to gain heterosexual attractions than keep their same-sex attractions. Change is not only possible, but more likely than not. In fact, 3% of the United States heterosexual population claims to have experienced same-sex attractions in the past (either exclusive, or bi-sexual), which is roughly the same amount of people who presently describe themselves as gay or bisexual.[2] The likelihood of change is so great that, in the words of Dr. Whitehead, “Ex-gays outnumber actual gays.”

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Credit: CBS

Credit: CBS

Another cake maker, this time in Colorado, was sued for refusing to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding celebration.  Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop discriminated against the couple based on their sexual orientation, and would be fined in the future if he ever refused to provide a cake to another same-sex couple again. He wrote, “At first blush, it may seem reasonable that a private business should be able to refuse service to anyone it chooses.  This view, however, fails to take into account the cost to society and the hurt caused to persons who are denied service simply because of who they are.”  So the law can force a man to violate his conscience just so someone else’s feelings don’t get hurt?  What about Jack Phillips’ feelings?  Should the law protect him from feeling bullied by the government?  Surely his feelings are hurt at the prospect of having to close his business.  I don’t see his feelings being taken into consideration.  And finally, Jack Philips is not denying them service “because of who they are,” but because of what they are doing.  It’s not as if Jack Phillips refuses to make birthday cakes for people who are gay.  He is refusing to provide a cake that will be used to celebrate an action that he considers immoral.  There is a big difference.  But I don’t expect the law to recognize such distinctions anymore.

Just more of the same.

Update 8/24/15: A Colorado Court of Appeals ruled against Jack Phillips on the grounds that he is free to believe whatever he wants, but he is not allowed to act on those beliefs by refusing service to people with a homosexual orientation.  Oddly enough, Mr. Phillips isn’t discriminating against anyone’s sexual orientation.  He has no problem baking cakes for homosexuals.  What he has a problem with is baking cakes for events that promote homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Gender Identity ConfusionWe hear more and more about gender identity confusion these days.  Gender identity confusion is when a person thinks s/he is the gender opposite of their biology: a man who believes he is a female trapped in a man’s body, or a woman who believes she is a male trapped in a woman’s body.  Rather than considering this as a mental disorder in need treatment, however, today’s proffered solution is to perform a sex-change operation so that one’s body will match their perceived gender.  I am persuaded that this solution to the problem is wrong-headed.

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Gay not choiceThe cultural acceptance of homosexuality as morally benign or morally good has happened at an alarming speed.  While there is a complex of reasons for the shift, one of the most influential is the meme that being gay is not a choice.  Admittedly, for most people who engage in homosex, this is true.  Their same-sex attractions are not chosen.  They come naturally to them, just as opposite-sex attractions come to naturally to a heterosexual.  What is chosen is whether or not the person who experiences same-sex attraction acts on those desires to actually engage in homosex.

The “gay is not a choice” meme has been so important for the acceptance of gay rights that when Sex in the City star, Cynthia Nixon, stated publicly that she simply chooses to be in a lesbian relationship, the gay community was in an uproar.  They feared that her comments would negatively affect their fight for civil rights.

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In the beginning of this year I wrote about an article in The Guardian that was sympathetic to pedophilia, and attempted to destigmatize it by using the same sort of talking points used to destigmatize homosexuality.  Now, two articles have appeared in The Atlantic that are offering more of the same.

I, Pedophile” is written by David Goldberg, a Canadian journalist who was convicted of for purchasing and viewing child pornography. While he agrees that child pornography is wrong, he questions whether jail time for such crimes is appropriate. As in The Guardian article, Goldberg describes pedophilia (or the Orwellian term employed by Goldberg, “the cross-generational lifestyle”) as a “sexual orientation”:

The main query that I am convinced will always be without an answer is why I am a pedophile. It is the equivalent of trying to determine why someone is heterosexual or gay. We don’t choose our sexual orientations. If we could, believe me, no one would choose mine.

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An Oregon bakery, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, has been sued by a lesbian couple for refusing to provide a cake for their same-sex wedding.  And now, some of the “tolerance-demanding-but-not-tolerance-giving” pro-homosexual citizens are dishing out heaps of intolerance against the business as well. They have been demonstrating outside of their shop, and threatening to shut down other vendors who work with Sweet Cakes by Melissa. As a result of these tactics, Sweet Cakes by Melissa saw a 50% drop in their business, and have been forced to close their shop and start working out of their home.

No, of course this won’t affect anyone. Carry on. Just remember, tolerance is a one-way street on this issue, and if you aren’t driving with the flow of traffic, prepare for the consequences.

Update: As of July 2015, the family has been fined $135,000 for causing emotional damage to the two lesbians.

exodus_closesI realize this is not breaking news, but given the importance of this event, I still want to comment on it despite the fact that my hectic schedule (as of late) has prevented me from doing so until now.

Exodus International, the most well-known ministry for gay men and women, announced on June 19 that it was closing up shop under its current name, and reopening under a new name with a new focus and new mission.  Just hours before that bombshell announcement, Exodus International president, Alan Chambers, issued an unexpected apology to those who his organization has hurt over the years (sexual misconduct, false expectations, etc.), as well as to the gay community in general for Exodus’ past teaching that one’s sexual orientation can change…among other things.

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balance_beamGiven the cultural shift toward gay-affirmation, the church must respond in two equally important ways.  On the one hand, we must take a firm stance on the moral issue, faithfully communicating the Biblical teaching that homosex is immoral because it is an aberration of God’s intention for human sexuality.  On the other hand, we must also communicate our love for all people, including those who experience same-sex attraction.  We must be willing to minister to them, embrace them, and help them on the path toward healing.

Unfortunately, people tend to only travel one road or the other.  Those who argue passionately for the Biblical position often fail to exercise love and compassion to those struggling with same-sex attraction or who are involved in a gay lifestyle.  On the other end of the spectrum are those who have a lot of compassion for people who experience same-sex attraction, and come to believe that loving them requires an affirmation of their sexual orientation or an approval of their behavior.  We must avoid these extremes.  It is possible and necessary to both affirm the immorality of homosex while extending compassion, love, and help to those who experience same-sex attraction.

Super ManOrson Scott Card is a famous science fiction writer who has been hired by DC Comics to do some writing for “Adventures of Superman.”  Apparently gay activists are threatening to boycott DC Comics if they do not fire Card because he is morally opposed to homosex, and is an activist for traditional marriage.  Thousands have signed a petition at allout.org for his firing.

So far, DC Comics is defending Card.  They released a statement to Fox News saying, “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that – personal views – and not those of the company itself.”  Let’s see if they stick to their guns.

Unfortunately, gay activists too often resort to trying to silence all those who disagree with their lifestyle through intimidation.  They want tolerance extended to them.  Perhaps they should try extending it to others.  True acceptance of their lifestyle can only be achieved by the power of persuasion, not intimidation.

Steve ChalkeSteve Chalke, a promiment evangelical minister in the UK, has come out in favor of monogamous, same-sex relationships.  He has a written a 5,000 word essay to explain himself.  I have purposely delayed reporting on this issue (which hit the news a few weeks ago) until I could read his essay so as to avoid a knee-jerk reaction to the news.  Having read it, I can’t say I am surprised by his arguments.  It’s the same case liberal theologians make time and time again.  He begins by an appeal to emotion (inclusion, justice, reconciliation), and then claims that we have misunderstood the Biblical texts traditionally understood as prohibitions against homosex.

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Darth GaydarNot even Star Wars can escape the “force” of the gay community!

The makers of the online Star Wars computer game, Star Wars: The Old Republic, have introduced a gay planet to the game.  On “Makeb,” men, women, and even aliens engage in same-sex relationships.

BioWare, the Canadian studio responsible for making the game, said they decided to add the gay planet due to pressure from gay players.  But executive producer Jeff Hickman also claims that “allowing same gender romance is something we are very supportive of” and plan to add more same-gender options in the future.

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