American society is hurting people who experience same-sex attraction (SSA). Individuals dealing with SSA are being psychologically and socially pulled apart, and I am seeing the effects of it every day. Warring factions of society have put individuals in the impossible position of having to make huge life-choices, often at a young age, that effect the rest of their lives. But, God help us all, we can change our national perspective toward SSA and save the hardship and grief caused by putting the desires of a cause over the needs of an individual. People experiencing SSA usually didn’t ask to be conscripted into one or the other side of a polarizing faction.
As an integrative counselor, I’m often at odds with the polar liberal and conservative influences that society thrusts upon care-seekers. The SCOTUS “gay marriage” decision has brought more people who are questioning their sexuality into my counseling room than in other years. Because my counseling comes from a biblical worldview, I often give counsel that aligns with traditional and conservative ideals. However, one cannot ignore the book of God’s works playing out in real-time before our eyes.
The possibility of an organic causation for SSA should not be ruled out. The Bible is just as right with or without an organic causation. If someone finds themselves dealing with SSA, there is no requirement for them to pursue action because of the leaning. Also, people who have engaged in homosexual activity can become “Ex-gay”. What is causing confusion, depression and even suicide is not as much the nature or nurture regarding SSA. Bull-headed people on a 2-sided argument are what causes injury to individuals dealing with SSA.
In a long argument that has been fraught with misdirection, straw-men and hyperbole, American society has arrived at a place where “sexual orientation” is used to disempower individuals for the cause of others. People against aspects of behavior known as the “homosexual lifestyle” will advocate against that lifestyle often believing that it has a corrosive effect on the individual, as well as society. People who favor the lifestyle act to normalize the associated behaviors and sell society on accepting abnormal behavior as normal. Today, we are left in a condition that is detrimental to society and dangerous to individuals who struggle with sexual choices outside the natural order. Both sides are at fault.
Since the Stonewall riot, people have chosen to rebel against violence and legal persecution toward them by the heterosexual establishment. Laws banning the expression of homosexuality in public led to police harassment of a people-group. According to the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human rights, Stonewall was an event that galvanized those persons intent on organizing and normalizing homosexual activism.
In the early hours of June 28, 1969, a group of gay customers at a popular gay bar in Greenwich Village called the Stonewall Inn, who had grown angry at the harassment by police, took a stand and a riot broke out. As word spread throughout the city about the demonstration, the customers of the inn were soon joined by other gay men and women who started throwing objects at the policemen, shouting “gay power.”*
From that point forward, people who chose the lifestyle have banded together, using tactics such as harassment, and “outing” of uncooperative community members. The movement centered their efforts on changing laws, work regulations and the even the social fabric of the free world. Powerful friends in the media and entertainment elite have turned news programming, movies and television shows into platforms to normalize their cause.
The homosexual movement has also attacked conservative institutions and churches that stood in their way. Using often unethical tactics falsifying social media response, they have mastered appearing much larger than they actually are. Many young media consumers have been pressured by peers who have succumbed to the media tactics of the homosexual movement. It is due largely to this pressure that individuals are victimized by both, an intolerant establishment and a militant movement bent on conscripting them in a weak phase of life where their sexual and social worldviews are being formed. At a point when young people are most vulnerable they are being used as political pawns instead of getting thoughtful care.
As a general rule, organized religion has been against homosexuality for thousands of years. Often citing the primary procreative purpose of sex, natural law and obvious anatomy, the religions that dominate most societies have enjoined homosexual behavior strenuously. Penalties have included everything imaginable, from shunning to creative and violent capital punishment. Today, the American churches that follow the Bible still condemn the behavior as sinful. Also under biblical mandate, Christians are taught to separate the person from the behavior.
Regardless of one’s proclivity or appetite, sexual choices are not autonomic; they’re actual choices to do volitional acts. The Bible teaches that the act is sinful, but the sin is no greater than other “garden variety” sins. The Roman Catholic Church teaches, based on their tradition that homosexual behavior fits within a hierarchy of sins. If an individual is experiencing a same-sex sexual attraction, they are mis-educated on how to deal with it by a variety of forces; medical, psychological, church, peers, media, etc.
Words like “homosexual” “gay” “lesbian” and “LGBT” have been abused well beyond their usefulness. Some people assign a positive value to them, realizing they have an inclination in search of an identity, and a label gives them comfort. Other people perceive the words to be weapons to injure their victim’s place in the social norms of masculinity or femininity. Still others use these labels hoping it is perceived nonchalantly to be clinical, academic or just struggling to attach an innocuous label to a matter of fact conversation. No matter how you use words such as “homosexual”, someone is very likely to misunderstand them. It is time to eliminate these labels, and in so doing we will disarm and disempower words that should have neither power nor injurious effect.
As a counselor, I must say that I am tired of wasting time and effort defusing the social and relational charges that are latent in assigning the labels of SSA as identity words for human beings. I have never believed that I met a person who was any of the identities loaded into these words. I have come to believe that I meet a person, and that is their identity; a person. When I have identified people as an activity that they participate in, I have always run the risk of injuring or alienating someone. Because of that risk, it is particularly dangerous and unfair to call any person a “homosexual”.
The facts of biology, psychology and sociology agree that same-sex attraction’s causation is unknown. Even articles designed to support organic causation for SSA admit that their position is only backed up by hypothesis, as we see in this article from Livescience.com:
No studies have found specific “gay genes” that reliably make someone gay. But some genes may make being gay likelier. For instance, a 2014 study in the journal Psychological Medicine showed that a gene on the X chromosome (one of the sex chromosomes) called Xq28 and a gene on chromosome 8 seem to be found in higher prevalence in men who are gay.**
Indeed, even the American Psychological Association admits on their own website that causation is still largely a mystery. Their answer to “What causes a person to have a particular sexual orientation” states:
There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay or lesbian orientation. 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. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.***
It is worth noting that the APA shows an unethical bias in that it fails to admit that obvious procreation, anatomy and natural law may play a role in heterosexual attraction.
By creating an identity based on one’s sexual choices and appetites, thought leaders who have advanced the normalization of homosexual activity have conscripted people into a divisive cause. This cause has struggled mightily to wrap itself into a cohesive community bent on normalizing the abnormal. The strife that is latent in trying to label a small, diverse group of people who don’t choose to participate in the overwhelmingly heterosexual society they live in, exhibits a baffling cacophony of tortured semantics.
As Christians, we should treat people struggling with SSA no differently than anyone dealing with any other sin. We all can fall prey to sinful behaviors, and everyone seems to have their own unique weaknesses. Everyone deserves to make a choice from their own free will, and Christ admonishes His followers not to judge another’s sin. We certainly must be honest when asked, and when we deliver a message from God’s word. Any sex outside of a marriage between 1 man and 1 woman is a sin. As the Apostle John writes, if we deny our sin we break fellowship with God.
1 John 1:5-10 (NLT)
This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.
Americans can come to a logical outlook on same-sex attraction without conscripting SSA sufferers into a cause they have likely not picked. As a majority in our nation, and as citizens of the world, we have an opportunity to lead and care for a sister or brother in need of the same help we need. I look forward to reading your comments, and thanks for reading.
***Association, The American Psychological. “Sexual Orientation & Homosexuality – Answers To Your Questions For A Better Understanding.” apa.org. 10 21, 2015. http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx (accessed 10 21, 2015).
*Conference, The Leadership. “Stonewall Riots: The Beginning of the LGBT Movement.” civilrights.org. 6 22, 2009. http://www.civilrights.org/archives/2009/06/449-stonewall.html#sthash.VCAsprFu.dpuf (accessed 10 20, 2015).
**Ghose, Tina. “Being Gay Not a Choice: Science Contradicts Ben Carson.” Livescience.com. 03 05, 2015. http://www.livescience.com/50058-being-gay-not-a-choice.html (accessed 10 21, 2015).