9/02/2004

Why is Homosexuality Such a Heated Debate?

I find it interesting that the only person with the guts to respond officially to my Top 10 Issues of the Election Year (see below) did so regarding the homosexual marriage issue. (I did get a number of private e-mails about it).

It goes to prove how difficult and devisive this issue is. There are NINE other issues, just as important (some arguably more important) on the list, yet this is the one that gets a lot attention in the media and in our conversations.

Why is that?

Do you think its because we are buying into the philosophy that our sexuality is something that defines our very being?

Read the comment and my response here.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

First, if a defining criteria for a true marriage is the possibility of procreation, then not only are homosexual unions ruled out but marriage between seniors and between sterile individuals are illegitimate as well.

Second, I have come to think we can no longer regard as sinful that which affects 10 percent of the population, almost across the board. In culture after culture, approximately 10 percent of the population is found to be homosexual. The condition even exists in other species. Among humans, I concur in condemning the promiscuity that prevails in some homosexual groups but I cannot condemn the condition universally. I have good friends who are committed people, good parents, loving partners, responsible citizens -- and gay. I would not deny them the joy and commitment of sexual intimacy and I have come in recent months to believe that I should no longer deny them the blessings and legal protections of marriage. I started out thinking that marriage was over the top -- be content with civil union. Don't agitate us married folks.

Then I read a fascinating letter to the editor which outlined the definition of legal marriage in America. Under slavery, it was illegal for slaves to marry. The Bible forbade it. Then society changed. After the Civil War, many states banned intraracial marriage -- the Bible forbade it. Biblical scholars of the 19th and early 20th century may not have supported this position but thousands of church and political leaders did. Then society changed. Now we say the Bible forbids homosexual marriage. I have come to hope that society will change that, too.

I do appreciate the loving way you discuss the person as opposed to the sin. And, as usual, I always learn from you. If you don't always change my stand, you do always force me to think in new ways.

And if we really want to protect marriage, I think we should ban Brittany Spears.

Bob Robinson said...

I certainly appreciate the compassionate views people have in their responses on the homsexuality issue. This is the proper tone to take in this debate. I apologize if I ever come across without an immense amount of grace concerning this issue. I have had some great friends in my life who are gay (both present and past), and so my views are not some disconnected and dispassionate fundamentalist view, I assure you.

I challenge anybody who is trying to understand my viewpoint to please read Francis Beckwith's article on my website--

http://www.vanguardchurch.com/social_action.htm#Marriage

He makes the case that the "same-sex marriage position asserts that government ought to prefer a view of human nature that sees human institutions, such as marriage and the family, as artificial social constructions ruled by personal subjective preference. Because proponents of this view try to establish marriage on the basis of adult consent and desire rather than on marriage’s intrinsic value and the natural teleology (purpose) of the body (or person), numerous counterintuitive and irrational consequences result."

To respond to your three thoughtful objections:

1. Just because one cannot have children (as you point out--seniors and sterile individuals) does not change the natural teleology (purpose) of the body. It is not the possiblilty of procreation that is the issue, but the teleology of the body.

2. A biblical understanding of why "approximately 10 percent of the population is found to be homosexual" can be traced not to design but to fallenness. God designed the world to be free from crime and prejudice and pride and greed and sexual irregularity (etc. etc.). But just because 10 percent of the popualtion is greedy does not mean that we should normalize Enron. God is seeking to remedy the ills of the world through Christ and His Kingdom. Christians trying to cooperate with Jesus' work of redemption should not seek to normalize that which God is trying to remedy.

While homosexuality exists in culture after culture, marriage exists in virtually every culture as well. At least since the beginning of recorded history, in all the flourishing varieties of human cultures documented by anthropologists, marriage has been a universal human institution. As a virtually universal human idea, marriage has been a publicly acknowledged sexual union which creates kinship obligations and sharing of resources between men, women, and the children that their sexual union may produce. It seems that the law of the land should protect that institution.

3. The history you cite about the illegality of slave marriage and intraracial marriage are troubling for sure. But the reasoning behind such social policies was not the clear teachings of the New Testament, but obscure readings and strained interpretations.

However, the New Testament cannot be more clear that the practice of homosexuality is one of the many manifestations of "sin" in the human condition.

Among the sins listed that keep people from experiencing all that Christ is seeking to accomplish in people's lives are these: sexually immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexual acts, thievery, greed, drunkeness, slander, and swindling (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). That list includes a lot of what I have done (and continue to struggle with). It is a list that most people would nod their heads about--these are the things that drag our world down into the gutter and destroys lives--if there is a God, he would do something about these things. But right in the middle of it is the sin homosexual acts.

What is God saying here? I believe that he is saying that all these go against his original intentions for the good of humanity. They are against the natural teleology of humanity created in His image.

This has always been the stand of the Christian church, not to be prejudiced or narrow-minded, but out of compassion for people, trusting that God knows better than we do what is best for us.

Wow. It is amazing that I can't talk more about the big issues like war and peace, poverty and AIDS. Instead, this one issue gets all the press...
...even on this little blog!

Bob Robinson said...

I certainly appreciate the compassionate views people have in their responses on the homsexuality issue. This is the proper tone to take in this debate. I apologize if I ever come across without an immense amount of grace concerning this issue. I have had some great friends in my life who are gay (both present and past), and so my views are not some disconnected and dispassionate fundamentalist view, I assure you.

I challenge anybody who is trying to understand my viewpoint to please read Francis Beckwith's article on my website--

http://www.vanguardchurch.com/social_action.htm#Marriage

He makes the case that the "same-sex marriage position asserts that government ought to prefer a view of human nature that sees human institutions, such as marriage and the family, as artificial social constructions ruled by personal subjective preference. Because proponents of this view try to establish marriage on the basis of adult consent and desire rather than on marriage’s intrinsic value and the natural teleology (purpose) of the body (or person), numerous counterintuitive and irrational consequences result."

To respond to your three thoughtful objections:

1. Just because one cannot have children (as you point out--seniors and sterile individuals) does not change the natural teleology (purpose) of the body. It is not the possiblilty of procreation that is the issue, but the teleology of the body.

2. A biblical understanding of why "approximately 10 percent of the population is found to be homosexual" can be traced not to design but to fallenness. God designed the world to be free from crime and prejudice and pride and greed and sexual irregularity (etc. etc.). But just because 10 percent of the popualtion is greedy does not mean that we should normalize Enron. God is seeking to remedy the ills of the world through Christ and His Kingdom. Christians trying to cooperate with Jesus' work of redemption should not seek to normalize that which God is trying to remedy.

While homosexuality exists in culture after culture, marriage exists in virtually every culture as well. At least since the beginning of recorded history, in all the flourishing varieties of human cultures documented by anthropologists, marriage has been a universal human institution. As a virtually universal human idea, marriage has been a publicly acknowledged sexual union which creates kinship obligations and sharing of resources between men, women, and the children that their sexual union may produce. It seems that the law of the land should protect that institution.

3. The history you cite about the illegality of slave marriage and intraracial marriage are troubling for sure. But the reasoning behind such social policies was not the clear teachings of the New Testament, but obscure readings and strained interpretations.

However, the New Testament cannot be more clear that the practice of homosexuality is one of the many manifestations of "sin" in the human condition.

Among the sins listed that keep people from experiencing all that Christ is seeking to accomplish in people's lives are these: sexually immorality, idolatry, adultery, homosexual acts, thievery, greed, drunkeness, slander, and swindling (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). That list includes a lot of what I have done (and continue to struggle with). It is a list that most people would nod their heads about--these are the things that drag our world down into the gutter and destroys lives--if there is a God, he would do something about these things. But right in the middle of it is the sin homosexual acts.

What is God saying here? I believe that he is saying that all these go against his original intentions for the good of humanity. They are against the natural teleology of humanity created in His image.

This has always been the stand of the Christian church, not to be prejudiced or narrow-minded, but out of compassion for people, trusting that God knows better than we do what is best for us.

Wow. It is amazing that I can't talk more about the big issues like war and peace, poverty and AIDS. Instead, this one issue gets all the press...
...even on this little blog!

Byron said...

Compassion and reason are often the two most underused qualities in debates, and when it comes to the issue of homosexuality, that is true in spades. One comment: the 10% figure regarding the percentage of homosexuals in the general population has been long-since discredited. This was based upon the (in)famous "Kinsey Report"; his findings were skewed based upon the sample he drew from (to my understanding, he significantly used prison populations--duh!). Most everyone--including all but the most rabid homosexual supporters--now acknowledges that the percentage is 2-3% at the most.

Helpful in this entire debate is a website produced by an elder in our church, who is one of the leading national authorities on the subject (been on O'Reilly and many national radio shows), Warren Throckmorton. Go to www.drthrockmorton.com; he is a research guy who can further help out with the statistics end of the thing.

Bob Robinson said...

Byron,

Thanks for the information about Dr. Throckmorton.

Even though he has been on one of the most non-Christian shows on television (Bill O'Reilly epitomizes all that Christianity should NOT be--hateful, pompous, arrogant, abusive and shady with facts), I'll check out your friend's website.