While at my desk last week I had Rush Limbaugh on in the background when I noticed he was talking to a caller about homosexuality and civil rights. While opposing the radical homosexual rights agenda it seems that Rush has made a critical concession on the issue. Rush began by saying hardly anyone he knows believes homosexuality is a choice. Of course, that recalls Pauline Kael's reaction to Richard Nixon's 1972 victory over George McGovern "How can that be? No one I know voted for Nixon." That simply says a great deal about who you know rather than what the majority of people believe (and especially what might actually be true). Rush was saying in a diplomatic way, he doesn't believe it's a choice, either. He then extrapolated to say that something that isn't a choice couldn't really be categorized as moral or immoral.
What this line of reasoning masks is a critical distinction that the homosexual rights lobby has long sought to blur. Homosexuality, they wish us to accept, is what you are, not what you do. Now, do some people have a proclivity that causes homosexual behavior to be a temptation? Possibly. I couldn't really argue it either way.
Now, do some people have a proclivity that causes drunkenness to be a temptation? I would say that's probably the case. We open the door to a nature vs. nurture argument, of course, but that's not what I'm interested in here. It is generally accepted societally--and based on Biblical strictures, morally--that drunkenness is not desirable. Is drunkenness a choice? Sure. If you don't want to be drunk, don't drink. Do some people struggle with this more than others? For whatever reason, yes, some clearly do. Now think, what do you struggle with in your life that others you know may not struggle with?
Let us return to homosexuality. Obviously it is a genuine temptation for many people. But again, each of us struggles to bring various areas of our life in line with that perfect Image of God, Christ. That one can stop practicing homosexuality is quite clear, just as one can stop practicing any other form of sexual immorality such as run of the mill fornication or adultery. What do we say to the philanderer who must move from woman to woman because one woman--his wife--simply is not satisfying to him? Well, we tell him he must stop such behavior. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Paul addresses those in Corinth who had given up various sins:
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
All of these--and I've highlighted some we have discussed here--are actions one chooses to engage in. Through Jesus Christ we can choose not to.
But, we hear, what about those who have sexual desires that can only be fulfilled through homosexual behavior? Well, what about them? I suppose they will have to have those desires left unfulfilled (Matthew 19:12). I'm not talking about trying to convert them into a happily married man or woman. Perhaps they will never have that, but we must get beyond defining our identity solely by our sexuality. But there are advantages to remaining unmarried as Paul discusses in 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.
Some teachings are hard, and do require the sacrifice of unchecked sensual pleasures. But our Creator has both a perfect understanding of his Creation and of His own holy nature, which from the beginning we are expected to reflect. We are unqualified to question Him on either.