Thursday, August 11, 2005

RUSH, HOMOSEXUALITY, CHOICE AND MORALITY

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.

6 comments:

Wild Bill said...

Good thoughts, Alan. (BTW, do you really listen to Limbaugh? Why, comic relief?)

Chuck Anziulewicz said...

A few years ago, during a discussion of Gay rights and the "causes" of one's sexual orientation, I heard Mr. Limbaugh say ... or rather, MUMBLE ... "I think it's genetic."

His social conservatism notwithstanding, I've no doubt that Mr. Limbaugh counts many Gay people among his friends and acquaintances, and he probably knows more than a few Gay couples. And I can't think of a better way to understand why various issues, like job discrimination and marriage equality, might be of importance to law-abiding, tax-paying Gay Americans than to actually GET TO KNOW SOME OF THEM.

Alan, you take such great issue with the idea that being Gay is an identity, as opposed to a behavior, that you almost claim some profound insight in what it means to be Gay that Gay persons themselves somehow lack. But have you ever bothered to ask someone who knows, firsthand?

Yes, we all have choices to make in terms of how we conduct our lives, but being Gay is not one of those choices. Whether I personally am in a monogamous relationship, or simply dating, or promiscous, or even celibate, is irrelevant to the fact that I am, at my core, a gay man, and that my sexual orientation is as fundamental an aspect of my identity as being heterosexual is a fundamental aspect of yours.

Furthermore, my being Gay doesn't preclude a sense of sexual ethics. I personally believe very strongly in monogamy and commitment; and if two compatible adults, Gay or Straight, choose to make a solemn commitment to one another's well-being to the exclusion of all others, it simply makes no sense to me when someone says, "If you're Straight it's OK, but if you're Gay it's simply wrong, wrong, wrong."

Anonymous said...

Chuck, you take such great issue with the idea that being gay is wrong, that you almost claim some profound insight into the nature of right and wrong that normal persons themselves somehow lack. But have you ever bothered to ask The One who knows, firsthand?

It simply makes no sense to me when you say "If you say 'gay is not okay' it's simply wrong, wrong, wrong."

Chuck Anziulewicz said...

Such a clever response.

Wild Bill said...

There is a disconnect between Mr. Anziulewicz's criticism of Alan's comments and his own assumption that homosexuality is an inborn trait. This assumption is likewise void of empirical evidence. Indeed, it is an unprovable assumption. A gay person's assertion that he or she is homosexual because they were born that way, is nothing more than that -- an assertion. That the person would believe that to be the case is, frankly, unsurprising since believing sexual preference to be inborn relieves one of moral conflict regarding it. It is also unsurprising in light of the fact that the medical profession and psychologists (they are different) encourage homosexuals to such a belief. That opinion is not, however, based on any fact or evidence, but merely on a desire for it to be so.

The contradiction in Mr. Anziulewicz's criticism is that Alan's comment are provoked not by a personal desire that homosexuality be a choice rather than an inborn trait, but rather by the demands of revelation. I take Alan's comments to be that -- in light of the biblical revelation regarding the status of homosexual conduct as a sin -- it cannot be an unavoidable, predetermined condition. It may be a trial and temptation that some suffer greater than others (I think that is a reasonable supposition), but it cannot be genetically predetermined. In short, Alan's opinion, while obviously containing some personal suppositions, is the result not of his own speculations, but demanded by scripture.

So the conclusion of the matter is that it is those who assert homosexuality is an inborn trait who reach their conclusions based on their own experiences and wishes. Those who, while understanding the difficulties associated with such desires, submit to the biblical revelation, are accepting God's demands on their beliefs, not simply following their own guess or wishes for how things should be.

David said...

Chuck,

Check this site out: http://www.cnlglfg.com

This individual takes responsibility for his own actions...rather than chuck it (no pun intended) up to "I can't help it cause I was made this way." He's an ex-gay who places a greater value on spending eternity with God. As a result, he no longer practices HS.

I abused drugs and alcohol for 15 years. I wasn't born addicted to drugs and alcohol, I chose it. I also decided nearly 10 years ago the romance with that lifestyle wasn't worth losing eternity over.

Many would say nothing is worth losing eternity over. It seems you choose not to know any of them. Point being one has the capacity to choose. One can also choose selective denial i.e., "I was made this way". Suuuurrrrrree...

Lord willing, the ex-gay and I will be spending eternity in heaven together as children of God in Christ, worshipping God.

It seems those who want to blame their own defects on "I was made this way," put so little effort into understanding what and who they are, it creates a vacuum. Perhaps another explanation is they really don't care.

David