Sunday, August 05, 2007

How to write a conservative Christian article on homosexuality

I was disappointed to learn that a Reformed group I greatly respect, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, which is normally insightful and gospel-centered in their thinking, has just published an article on homosexuality in their magazine called, "A Theological Overview of Nature and Natural Function Implications for Christian Sexuality in the 21st Century," by Dr. Samuel Hensley. Sadly, it contains all the usual slippery stuff. These sorts of articles pop up like mad in conservative Christian magazines, and now I have found it here too.

Since such pieces are apparently in high demand, I've written a guide for anyone out there who wants to get one of their own articles on homosexuality published in their favorite Christian magazine. I have used Dr. Hensley's article as a model:

How To Write a Conservative Christian Article on Homosexuality.

1. Portray all gays and lesbians as unanimously hostile, leftist and anti-Christian.

The gay community has taken a stand that refuses to even consider that the lifestyle may be immoral, contrary to Scripture and contrary to church teaching from multiple denominational prospectives throughout the history of the Christian faith. Any questioning of the gay assertions elicits a knee jerk reaction of hostility.

Fail to make more accurate statements such as: “Much of the gay community, which tends to be dominated by left-wing politics,” or “Many in the gay community, particularly the unbelieving population,” because such statements wouldn’t confirm our conservative Christian stereotypes and prejudices.

2. Pull the most extreme quotes from leftist gay activists to represent the moral values of all gay and lesbian people.

A more blatant and unabashed quote comes from gay activist Michael Swift. Swift claims, “The family unit-spawning ground of lies, betrays, mediocrity, hypocrisy and violence, will be abolished. The family unit, which only dampens imagination and curbs free will, must be eliminated.”

Ignore the positive views of marriage and family from other gay activists, such as conservative journalist Jonathan Rauch:

It seems to me that the two strongest candidates [for supporting the institution of marriage] are these: domesticating men and providing reliable caregivers. Both purposes are critical to the functioning of a humane and stable society, and both are much better served by marriage—that is, by one-to-one lifelong commitment—than by any other institution.

Or gay conservative Andrew Sullivan:

Society, after all, has good reasons to extend legal advantages to heterosexuals who choose the formal sanction of marriage over simply living together. They make a deeper commitment to one another and to society; in exchange society extends certain benefits to them. Marriage provides an anchor, if an arbitrary and weak one, in the maelstrom of sex and relationships to which we are all prone. It provides a mechanism for emotional stability and economic security.

3. Assert with boldness and authority that homosexuality is not genetically determined.

It can be demonstrated scientifically that homosexuality is not genetically determined and it is not determined by intrauterine hormone levels during gestation.

4. Then later concede in more subtle, off-handed statements that genes might in fact have something to do with it.

Genes may exert some indirect influence over the choices that individuals make later in life in response to difficult situations but they do not impose a homosexual orientation on anyone . . .

I would summarize by suggesting that homosexuality, while possibly indirectly affected by genes and certainly heavily impacted by environment, begins with reversible choices.

5. Cite the "twins studies" when claiming that genes don’t determine homosexuality.

Registry studies, that is studies where twins are recruited for other reasons and then later studied in regard to sexual orientation, show that the concordance rate is not 100%. In fact, in the largest available study from Australia that included over 14,000 twins showed a concordance rate of only 30% for homosexuality. Since both twins experience the same intrauterine environment, this indicates that neither genetics nor intrauterine hormones determine sexual orientation.

6. Yet ignore the twins studies when they fail to support your own theory about the origins of homosexuality.

Homosexuality develops most frequently in men in situations of sexual abuse or where the father is distant or ineffective at key points in childhood psychological development. It may simply be that he cannot relate to his son. Whatever the reason, the young boy has defensive detachment from his father in that he rejects his father as a role model for masculinity. The role of the mother is also important in that they are often domineering in family relationships. The lack of a satisfactory relationship with his father may result in a teenager or pre-teen developing strong attachments that, in the beginning, are not sexual with older boys. With puberty these attachments may lead to experiments with homosexual acts in an attempt to foster masculine intimacy. In some cases a homosexual identity is the result.

Fail to confront the question of how identical twins with the same parents, upbringing and family environment could show “a concordance rate of only 30% for homosexuality,” if the “distant father-dominant mother” theory is correct.

7. To back up your claims, always cite Dr. Jeffrey Satinover (twice in this article and in footnotes #14 and #20) and Dr. Joseph Nicolosi (footnotes #21, 24, 25). For bonus points, cite Dr. Paul Cameron too. (I don't see him here, but one might check to see if Satinover and/or Nicolosi cite Cameron in their work.)

8. Make claims that homosexuals can change based on the existence of reorientation therapy and the need for “hope.” Do not make these claims based upon the existence of real homosexual people who have actually changed into bonafide heterosexuals (since you will have an extremely difficult time finding any).

To accept the view that these behaviors are unchangeable is to trap many persons, who wish to be different, in bondage especially since reorientation therapy offers hope to motivated individuals . . .

If homosexuality is spoken against in scripture and if treatment options are available, then those individuals who teach that homosexuality is an acceptable alternate lifestyle before God and that it cannot be changed, are unloving. They close the door of hope to people caught in this maladaptive, unhealthy behavior and condemn them to a life without hope of change.

9. After you make bold and authoritative claims about how homosexuals can “change,” acknowledge in an off-handed statement at the very end of the article that reorientation therapy may not work and people may have to accept a lifetime of celibacy. In other words, homosexuals may not be able to change after all.

We must provide a new loving social circle to support people who are making difficult life changes of all types. Sexual reorientation is possible. Where this is unsuccessful, the attraction can be resisted and chaste lives are possible.