Sexual orientation refers to one’s degree of emotional and erotic attraction to members of the same sex, opposite sex or both sexes. Heterosexual persons are romantically and erotically attracted to members of the opposite sex, whereas homosexual persons are attracted to those whose sex match their own. A person who is bisexual is attracted to both men and women. According to a recent national survey, about 7 percent of all adults regard themselves as homosexual or bisexual. That means that roughly 7 people out of every hundred are bisexual or homosexual; 50 million people in the U. S. one are gay, lesbian, or have a family member who is homosexual.
The question is, however, do they choose to be gay or is it genetically predetermined. I once asked a homosexual friend why he chose to be gay if it was indeed such a headache. “Choose to be gay? ” he asked. “It is NOT a choice. If I could choose to fall in love with a woman, marry her and live a so-called normal life, I would do so in a minute. ” I was surprised, because being as nave as I was, that possibility had never occurred to me. Then, I asked him if it was possible to pretend, for the sake of an easier life.
He replied, “Pick a woman, any woman. Now imagine having to have sex with her and spending the rest of your life with only her and never touching a man again. ” I shuddered at the thought! He smiled and said, “That is exactly how I feel. I have no desire to touch a woman in any other way than a friend would touch a friend. All I am attracted to is men. ” Recent scientific discoveries are fast supporting this claim. Whereas history has always assumed that homosexuals chose to “sin” and be “different,” studies are claiming the exact opposite.
In the summer of 1993, Dean H. Hamer and his research team at the National Cancer Institute announced their discovered evidence of a connection between genetics and homosexuality. Hamer located a region near the end of the long arm of the X chromosome in DNA that likely contains a gene influencing sexual orientation. Hamer announced, “We have now produced evidence that one form of male homosexuality is preferentially transmitted through the maternal side and is genetically linked to chromosome region Xq28. ” 2 A study released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) also indicated a correlation between a specific chromosomal region in human males and homosexuality.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) called for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and issued a statement regarding this study. “The NIH study is an important addition to the growing body of evidence indicating a genetic basis for homosexuality,” said Peri Jude Radecic, NGLTF Deputy Director of Public Policy. “And it shows that homosexuality is a naturally occurring and common variation among humans — a fact that gay and lesbian people have known all along. ” 3 So with growing evidence of predetermined sexual orientation, should laws be changed and society forced to accept homosexuality as natural?
Time magazine projected an ethical and political forecast: “If homosexuals are deemed to have a foreordained nature, many of the arguments now used to block equal rights would lose force. ” Time also cited a gay attorney who said, “I can’t imagine rational people, presented with the evidence that homosexuality is biological and not a choice, would continue to discriminate. ” 4 Whether it is a choice or not, homosexuals should not be discriminated against. Matthew Shepard’s death in Wyoming was one of the most public occurrences of gay hate crimes, but unfortunately not uncommon.
Homophobia, which is having a powerful fear of homosexuality, and heterosexism, the belief that heterosexuality is better or more natural than homosexuality, are fairly common. 5 Even though it has become politically correct in many circles to be supportive of homosexuals, they are far from not being discriminated against. Vermont is, to date, the only state that recognizes legal same-sex marriages. 6 The nation watched the fight for same-sex marriages in Hawaii end in December 1999, when the Hawaii Supreme Court voted against it. 7
Even if proven to be genetically determined beyond a shadow of a doubt, society could still choose to refuse homosexual behavior. Homosexuality could be accepted as a biological fact, but may be rejected socially on the grounds that it lies outside of a culture’s traditional values. Such results are seen in unacceptable, though often genetically based, disorders, such as alcoholism and obesity. 8 Therefore, even knowing that it is not a choice and that homosexuals are not intentionally trying to go against traditional values, this still may not change the minds of society.
So, therein lies the question: are we capable of changing our minds about something we have believed in our entire lives? Speaking of change in beliefs, can the church view homosexual activity as a sin if it is proven to be a natural state of man? When this has been proven, how will the church react? Can 50 million Americans be destined to an eternity in Hell for simply being what nature intended? What does the bible say about homosexuality? According to faith, it is God who creates us. Our genes, temperaments, talents, gifts and weaknesses-are all part of God’s plan for us.
So somehow God must behind the fact that some people are homosexual. Why then should God’s word in the Bible condemn homosexuality? There must be a mistake somewhere. Could it be that homosexuals are the mistake? That God played some cruel joke or messed up? But that cannot be so, for God doesn’t make mistakes and is not evil. Many people are starting to question the interpretations of the Bible. For example, in Matthew 19:24, Mark 10:25 and Luke 18:25, Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
One would take this to mean that a rich man would need a miracle to get into heaven because how could anyone ever pass a camel through the eye of a needle? However, in Jerusalem there was a very low and narrow gate through the city wall, called “the eye of the needle”. When traders came into town, they had to unpack their camels and lead them through crouching down, and then repack them once inside. Within the context of His time, you could reinterpret what He said to mean that it is only much harder for a rich man to get into heaven and that he must first unload his material possessions.
To say what a biblical text teaches us today, you first have to understand the text in its original situation and then apply the meaning to the present situation. However, many people take the bible too literally. This approach keeps the Bible simple, but it has the disadvantage of many different people finding different meanings. All can claim that the text actually means whatever they interpreted from it and that other interpretations are wrong. So how is this settled? In the end, popularity decides what the Bible means.
But just because many people believe in something, it doesn’t necessarily make it right. Slavery was a good example of that. 10 Another disadvantage is the selective use of the Bible. Preachers may condemn homosexuals because the Bible mentions it in passing, but the same preachers do not support slavery even though all of Philemon and long passages in Ephesians, Colossians, Timothy and Peter advocate it. They do not encourage people to cut out their eyes or their hands if temptation strikes, even though Matthew 5:22-29 suggests it.
The Bible clearly condemns divorce, women teaching in Sunday school and allowing women to come to church in fine jewelry or without a hat; yet preachers allow it. In biblical times there was no understanding of homosexuality as a sexual orientation. Our question today is about people and their relationships, not just about sex. The story of Sodom is probably the most famous Bible passage that deals with homosexuality, or at least, is said to deal with it. It is found in the book of Genesis.
A man named Lot offered two angels, who came to the city of Sodom, a place to stay for the night. In that day and age, hospitality was extremely important. But, later that night, the men of the city came to Lot’s house and asked for the two men staying there, so that they could “know” them. 11 Most people believe it means the men of Sodom were interested in taking the two men at Lot’s house for the purposes of sex and that was their sin. However, there are 943 times that the translation of “to know” someone has been used in the Old Testament and only ten of them refer to sex.
Many people argue that it simply means that the men of Sodom wanted to find out who these strangers were and what they were doing in their town. After all, Lot was not a native of Sodom and they were unhappy with his inviting strangers to stay with him. Whenever reference is made to Sodom in the rest of the Bible, there is no mention of sexual offense except that of adultery. Moreover, it is the inhospitableness of the people of Sodom because they refused to take in needy travelers, that was, in God’s eyes, a great sin. Even Jesus understood the sin of Sodom as the sin of inhospitality.
Many other passages in the Bible say exactly that. Yet people continue to cite the story of Sodom to condemn gay and lesbian people. The irony of Sodom is that the very people that oppress homosexuals because of the supposed “sin of Sodom” may themselves be the real “sodomites,” as the Bible understands it. 12 I was surprised at the great number of books that I found dealing with this subject. I discovered at least a hundred via the Internet and the local library with only minimal effort, and most of them were published within the last few years.
Most of these books go into great detail regarding what the Bible really says about homosexuality and how misconceptions were originally made during interpretations and translations. These respected professors, doctors and priests insist that homosexuals should be accepted as natural men and women of God, created in his image as everyone else was. Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). 13 Being a good person: honest, loving, just, kind, merciful and peaceful; that is what matters before God. Most people’s attitude toward homosexuality is that it is dirty or unclean.
This is a behavior that children learn from adults who are uncomfortable with it. Many never get beyond the influence of those feelings. People feel uncomfortable about it, so they say it’s wrong. A popular phrase is “God meant for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. ” However, when they are pressed to explain why, exactly, it is wrong, they cannot come up with good reasons. With the evidence of the predetermined genetic disposition of homosexuals and interpretations of the Bible bringing to light the acceptance of all men, society no longer has any excuse in discriminating.
Instead of being discouraged by the hate crimes and lack of support from the masses, homosexuals are becoming more determined then ever to earn equal rights and an equal place in society. Thanks to a constitution that allows for equal rights under God, new evidence will eventually win the equality in all areas of life that all people deserve, whether heterosexual or not. With any luck, children of today will grow up with a better understanding and an acceptance so that the oppression of homosexuals will be nonexistent tomorrow.