Our tough questions about homosexuality series with Stand to Reason speaker Alan Shlemon continues. Up this week? How does one respond to the following claim: “Being gay
is just as normal as being straight. People should be free to live however they
People who engage in homosexual behavior are normal in many
ways. Like anyone else, they have friends and family, they work and play, they
love and hate, and have fears and dreams. But it seems strange to admit that everything about homosexuality is normal.
Indeed, it’s hard to say any class of people is normal in every way.
For example, I’m Assyrian. My people are normal in many ways,
but there are also many things about us that are abnormal (or just downright
weird). We have genetic differences – we are a Semitic people. Our language is
extremely uncommon. We have an over-active hair hormone (much to the chagrin of
female Assyrians). Our food is strange to my friends and when people see my
relatives talk, they think we’re shouting at each other (which we are, but
that’s how we talk). We’re not normal in every way.
The same is true of homosexuals. They are normal in many
ways, but there are also things about them that are not. They just occur in
different categories than those of Assyrians or other groups of people.
At the outset I want to make it clear that by saying that
homosexuals are not normal in every way, I’m not saying that they are deranged
or inferior. I believe that men and women who identify themselves as gay are, like
other people, intrinsically valuable. As fellow human beings, they are the
pinnacle of God’s creation, deserving of dignity and respect. Nothing they or
anyone can say or do can diminish their value – not even in principle. And we
should treat them as such.
But the question of whether homosexuality is normal hinges on
what is meant by the term. If normal refers to the frequency or rate at which
it occurs in the population, then homosexuality is not normal in that sense. As
mentioned before, homosexuals represent approximately 1 – 3% of the
population. Clearly, the number of people who have sex with the same gender are
far fewer than those who do it with the opposite gender.
Perhaps the term “normal” refers to homosexual behavior. But whether you think God made
humans or believe they evolved, our bodies are made to function in a
heterosexual way. A basic course in anatomy and physiology reveals that male
and female sex organs not only fit
together, they also function together
(in multiple ways). In fact, they work in concert with one another to such a
degree that they can produce another human being. This is unmistakable evidence
of the complementarity of male and female bodies and their ability to work
together towards a common end.
use their body parts in this (reproductive) way. Though their sexual organs are
designed to function with the opposite sex, they have a proclivity to use them
with the same sex. This prevents them from using those parts for that purpose. They
are never able to use the full function of their sexual anatomy.
Not only that, they use some body parts in a way that violates
their intended design. The recipient of male homosexual sex uses part of his
anatomy in a way that mimics the female reproductive organ. This becomes a
problem because it lacks certain anatomical features that make it well-suited
for sexual acts. So homosexual sex eschews the intended function of human
anatomy and replaces it with a behavior that violates the design of other
parts. That is not normal.
And when parts are used in a way that they’re not designed,
this leads to damage. It’s like riding a bicycle without tires on the rims. You
might get somewhere, but you’ll damage the wheel rims and are more likely to
crash. That’s because you’re using the parts of a bike in a way they’re not
designed to be used.
The same is true with homosexual sex. Because body parts are
being used in a manner inconsistent with their design, homosexual behavior leads
to a disproportionate danger of getting a life-threatening disease. The chances
of acquiring HIV are increased because of the damage that occurs to body parts
that aren’t designed for sex.
Dr. Amy Lansky, an official with the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that men who have sex with men get AIDS at
a rate of more than 50 times than that of non-gay men and women.[i]
To give a comparison, the CDC warns that men who smoke are 23 times more likely
to develop lung cancer than those who don’t. But they’re 50 times more likely
to get HIV/AIDS if they have sex with another man. This is a staggering
statistic and hardly a normal health risk.
But does this higher risk result in increased infections? Unfortunately,
it does. The CDC published an analysis of gay men in 21 cities and found that 1
in 5 of them had HIV. And nearly half of them were unaware of it.[ii]
This is just sad news.
Look, people are free to live how they want. I’m not trying
to tell anyone how to behave in their bedroom. But we have to be honest about
homosexuality. It’s uncommon, goes against the design of the body, and carries
with it serious health risks. That’s not normal.
So should our response to homosexuality include hostility?
No. Even though we’re often tempted to get angry with attempts to normalize
homosexual behavior in our culture, we should resist that urge. Knowing these
truths about homosexuality should not lead us to contempt, but rather to compassion.
When we find out the potential harm that homosexuals face (and the many other
hardships that come in their lives), it should drive us to care for them more
than the culture does.
Read the previous 9 posts in this series here.
February 20, 2012, from http://www.preventionjustice.org/content/blog/cdc-finally-makes-it-official-gays-and-other-msm-are-50-times-likelier-have-hiv-women-o
[ii] “1 in 5 Men
Who Have Sex with Men in 21 U.S. Cities Has HIV; Nearly Half Unaware,” Press
Release by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 23, 2010,
retrieved February 20, 2012, from http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/Newsroom/ngmHAAD2010PressRelease.html
Think Christianly with Jonathan Morrow
Labels: Alan Shlemon, Bible, Ethics, same sex marriage, Tough Questions - Homosexuality