Reviews > Television

TV & Film: Debating homosexuality

Television | A television debater refutes the arguments

Issue: "Justice to the Chief," Jan. 23, 1999

Not long ago I participated in my first television debate, on the theological question of whether homosexual acts are sinful. It's a good thing our team wasn't expecting honesty from the other side, because we would have been disappointed. However, the deceptions we heard crop up so often these days that they deserve a point-by-point refutation. Deception #1: Once gay, always gay-I was made this way. We had living proof that this one is a lie: Teammate Yvette Cantu, a policy analyst with the Family Research Council, lived the homosexual life for six years before becoming a Christian and renouncing it. When a member of the other team objected, "I've been a lesbian longer than you were," Yvette simply smiled and asked, "Does that make you better?" Some people do claim, on slim evidence, that there are genetic predisposing factors for homosexual attraction-just as others claim that there are genetic predisposing factors for alcohol abuse and other behaviors. But would a predisposition to sin make it not a sin? No, it would only increase the importance of avoiding temptation. Deception #2: The Bible doesn't say sodomy is a sin-or not often enough to matter-and gee whiz, Christians have set aside lots of biblical moral laws. One debate opponent demanded to know exactly where in the Bible homosexual acts are listed as sin-a trick question, because not all sins are "listed" and because the Bible uses many words for sin besides "sin." The Old Testament calls sodomy "abomination," an expression it also uses for murder and false witness; the New Testament calls it "shameless," "base," and "improper," linking it with abandoning God. Sodomy clearly contradicts the Genesis 2:23-24 pattern for sexuality affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19:4-5, and at least eight biblical passages explicitly condemn it. That's eight more than condemn the sexual abuse of children. I hope we don't doubt that child rape is sin. As my teammate Keith Pavlishek of Center for Public Justice pointed out, the notion that Christianity has set aside biblical moral laws is based on several mistakes. One is confusing moral laws with ritual purity laws, like not eating pork. The New Testament releases us from the latter, yes, but not from the former. Another is assuming that whatever the Bible mentions it approves, like the incest of Lot's daughters with their drunken father. This is clearly false, for elsewhere the Bible condemns incest explicitly. The third mistake is treating the Bible's first word on a subject as its last. For example, we forget that the effect of the Old Testament judicial precept, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," was to limit revenge, which would otherwise have taken a life for an eye and a limb for a tooth. In this sense, the New Testament prohibition of revenge didn't abolish the Old Testament law, but fulfilled it. The bottom line? Christianity has never set aside a biblical moral law. Deception #3: Homosexual intercourse is equivalent to heterosexual intercourse; "long-term committed homosexual relationship" is equivalent to marriage. What we do with our bodies has meaning. The message of anal intercourse, for example-an act which puts the organ that represents the generation of life into the place of decay and expulsion-is "Life, be engulfed in Death." When I asked a member of the other team to comment on this symbolism, he grinned and tried to pretend that homosexuals do not practice anal intercourse. How about "long-term committed homosexual relationships"? Sorry, they're a myth. According to Dr. J. McIlhaney of the Medical Institute on Sexual Health, only about a tenth of male homosexuals and about a quarter of female homosexuals can even be described as "close-coupled," and for partners to be classified this way it's enough for their number of recent sexual partners and their level of "cruising" to be lower than the homosexual average-which is incredibly high. To enter a homosexual relationship is to repudiate the good God has provided in marriage. Even leaving procreation aside, there is something lacking in a man which can only be provided by a woman, and there is something lacking in a woman which can only be provided by a man. Only because the spouses are different can their union take each one out of self for the sake of the other. The homosexual act resists that liberation; it is merely self-love with another body.

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