Copied from: Southern Poverty Law Center
By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback
Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement some 40 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize gay people — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gay men and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that sexual orientation is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gay men molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at the LGBT community, which is more targeted for such attacks than any other minority group in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.
MYTH # 9
No one is born gay.
Anti-gay activists keenly oppose the granting of “special” civil rights protections to gay people similar to those afforded black Americans and other minorities. But if people are born gay — in the same way that people have no choice as to whether they are black or white — discrimination against gay men and lesbians would be vastly more difficult to justify. Thus, anti-gay forces insist that sexual orientation is a behavior that can be changed, not an immutable characteristic.
Modern science cannot state conclusively what causes sexual orientation, but a great many studies suggest that it is the result of both biological and environmental forces, not a personal “choice.” A 2008 Swedish study of twins (the world’s largest twin study) published in The Archives of Sexual Behavior concluded that “[h]omosexual behaviour is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors.” Dr. Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, said: “This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single ‘gay gene’ or a single environmental variable which could be used to ‘select out’ homosexuality — the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here — heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.” In other words, sexual orientation in general — whether homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual — is a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.
The American Psychological Association (APA) states that sexual orientation “ranges along a continuum,” and acknowledges that despite much research into the possible genetic, hormonal, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, scientists have yet to pinpoint the precise causes of sexual orientation. Regardless, the APA concludes that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” In 1994, the APA noted that “homosexuality is not a matter of individual choice” and that research “suggests that the homosexual orientation is in place very early in the life cycle, possibly even before birth.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics stated in 1993 (updated in 2004) that “homosexuality has existed in most societies for as long as recorded descriptions of sexual beliefs and practices have been available” and that even at that time, “most scholars in the field state that one’s sexual orientation is not a choice … individuals do not choose to be homosexual or heterosexual.”
There are questions about what specifically causes sexual orientation in general, but most current science acknowledges that it is a complex mixture of biological, environmental, and possibly hormonal factors but that no one chooses an orientation.
Examples of LCMS anti-Gay Hate Speech using this myth:
“Homosexuality has gained wider acceptance as it is promoted by powerful forces in our culture. One of the most common arguments is that homosexuality is a natural state. It remains an open question whether homosexuality has a genetic component. In the July 2005 issue of the Concordia Journal Dr. Robert Weise surveyed the current state of research and wrote, “While there may be biological factors influencing sexual orientation, they do not appear determinative or causative” (pg. 239). It seems likely that there is a combination of genetic inclination and societal influence in varying degrees within each person.
However, even if it were conclusively proven that homosexuality is a genetic condition, it would not change the truth that God’s Word shares with us about the sinfulness of homosexuality. The entrance of sin into the world in the Fall (Genesis 3) warped and twisted God’s creation. The presence of the genetic predisposition to cancer, heart disease, alcoholism or any harmful condition bears witness to the impact of sin on creation. It does not make these things “natural,” but rather makes them part of a sinful, fallen world. A genetic predisposition to homosexuality would be no different than the genetic predisposition to alcoholism. The struggle against these sins would be caused by the impact of sin in the world, and not through any personal fault of the individual. However, in neither case would this give an individual the right to engage in homosexual acts or drunkenness and the abuse of alcohol. Both would remain sins that Christians must avoid and for which they must repent when they have committed these sins.”
—Rev. Mark Surburg, Surburg’s Blog
“The course of this development since the 1960’s set the stage for today’s legal effort to include homosexual couples within marriage. Yet in order for this to reach the full fruition we are now seeing, the homosexual movement had to accomplish one other thing. They had to convince the public that homosexuality was a natural disposition. This is a goal they have achieved. It doesn’t matter that the research on this topic has yielded mixed results and that presently the best evaluation is that homosexuality is a combination of nature and nurture in varying degrees in different people. The homosexual movement has convinced the general public “that they were must made this way.” —Rev. Mark Surburg, Surburg’s Blog, copied onto The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog
“Many homosexuals claim not to have made any conscious choice to be homosexual. They insist that their sexual orientation was homosexual as long as they can remember. This has lead many scientists to conclude that homosexuality is either learned very early in life or is genetic. Much recent behavioral and sociological studies have concluded that homosexuality is not learned. Some research strongly suggests that homosexuality is not genetically caused but is caused in part by a malfunction in the brain’s development while in the mother’s womb. All these scientific theories, while perhaps helpful, don’t address the question of repentance and forgiveness. It is not Biblical to conclude that something is sinful and wrong only when a person consciously chooses to do it. Some churches erroneously hold that faith is a choice and so is sin. The Bible teaches that faith is a gift and sin is a condition. This sinful condition shows itself both in our consciously wrong choices and in those things we think, say and do of which we are unaware. Even if it could be shown beyond any doubt that homosexuality was not a conscious choice this wouldn’t relieve homosexuals of the burden of their sinful nature. So homosexuality is sinful whether it is genetically caused, hormonally caused in the womb, learned subconsciously or a conscious choice. Much valuable research has suggested that alcoholism, drug addiction, violent aggression and even sexual promiscuity are genetically caused or at least caused in the mother’s womb. We can deeply sympathize with those who are plagued by those burdens. We know that God forgives and strengthens those who trust in His Son. But society, the church and God all expect people to seek the help necessary to end their urges. Nothing is gained by saying, “They can’t help themselves.” So with homosexuals, God and the church expect homosexuals to seek help necessary to curb their urges.”
—Rev. Tim Rossow, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog
A: Possibly. A homosexual may have to forgo sexual pleasure much as an alcoholic must forgo the pleasure of a glass of wine. Mature Christians have learned that the abundant life doesn’t depend on sexual expression or pleas. —Rev. Tim Rossow, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog
“Not being a biologist, I will leave it to those who are to point out the inconclusiveness of the research. Instead, I will point to the fact that what one finds in the process today is not what God designed it to be. For your point to be valid, we would have to conclude that God *intends* various physical disabilities that occur during gestation, etc. Since God commands against homosexuality, it is evident that the original mechanism did not allow for deviations to occur. In short, while you wish to cast aspersions at others for theological prejudice, your reasoning trifles with Original Sin and its effects. A second consideration: if one is physically pre-attached to a certain sin, that is no excuse for practicing it. If there is, indeed, a predisposition to alcoholism, it is nonetheless incumbent upon one so disposed to avoid it.” —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog
“I thought perhaps we could call sodomites melancholies instead of gays. The OT scriptures deal only with the act of sodomy just as they deal only with the act of all crimes, murder, theft, rebellion, covetousness. The desire is obviously within the spirit of the Law and condemned with the act, just as hatred is condemned in the commandment “Thou shalt not kill,” and lust in “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” We should condemn the desire as a perversion. We condemn greed, hatred, envy and other things even if they are not acted upon by a person’s choice. No one knows the depth of his own wickedness and no one wants to admit it until he actually acts upon it, but “keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” I had a conversation with a woman the other night with whom I had argued before about sodomites attempting to marry. After I thoroughly trounced her in showing that no government has ever conceived of marriage as existing to protect the mutual emotions of two human beings, she chose two attack methods. First, she asked, “What do you have against them? Do they hurt you personally? If not, why do you care?” Now I parried the blow in a retreat because I had already had a couple beers and I must admit her vehement audacity was a bit alarming. I said, “It’s not a matter of having anything personally against them, it’s that they are attempting to claim something which wasn’t meant for them.” But I have a new answer, which I will have ready the next time. I do have something personally against them because the actions of fellow human beings affect all other human beings. If a man wants to chop of his hand to show his loyalty to his friend, should we allow him to do this? Maybe, some would say. But then should we allow him to show this hand in public and demand that no one be allowed to condemn his action as the folly that it is? So also, when a man does what is medically detrimental and unhealthy (ask sodomites about their medical bills) – something which goes against the way that life itself continues! – and then demands that my government acknowledge this affront to the way society exists, I am personally offended! I am downright mad. I’m an American and our ancestors didn’t die to give sodomites “civil rights” that run contrary to the very manner in which the lives they gave came to be. (My liberal opponent asked me,) ‘If (legal marriage) makes sodomites happy (see, they’re not “gay” yet, they’re only trying to be; they think they’ll be “gay” when they can get “married,” but they’re only fooling themselves; really they’re melancholy) then what problem should we have with it.”
—The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog
“Pastor (Paul) Harris is right on the money. The LCMS is following in the path of the ALC not only doctrinally, but also in its acceptance of the rather novel concept of “sexual orientation,” which doesn’t exist. “Orientation” is neither fixed nor entirely specific. It is based chiefly on feelings, which can change given the right stimuli. The sex drive God implants into every human being is, by divine design, oriented towards reproduction. That which militates against this is by its very nature evil. Both heterosexual and homosexual are rather modern terms. It may surprise some readers that the former, heterosexual, was once itself considered a mental disorder. What was it? The desire for sex apart from reproduction. If the LCMS is to preserve itself from the legacy of the ELCA, it must forthwith revisit all old CTCR documents and synodical teaching materials in order expunge false teaching concerning “sexuality” that has invaded this church body. The CTCR’s “Human Sexuality” document needs to be burned publicly.” —The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog
(Book burnings?? Scary.)
“The second talking point is that homosexuality is a genetic issue (i.e., there is a gay gene). This talking point is prevalent because it is a way to uphold homosexuality as a profound, significant, and secure part of who a person is. If genetics establishes homosexuality, then it is something that is hardwired, not a choice, and thus should not be criticized. Is this true? What researchers are finding is that homosexuality is not genetic. “Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.” In other words, the studies are conducted among identical twins. Since identical twins have identical DNA, if one of the twins is a homosexual, the other twin ought to be also. However, the studies are showing, “if an identical twin has same-sex attraction the chances the co-twin has it are only about 11% for men and 14% for women.” Furthermore, if homosexuality were genetically dictated or strongly influenced, there is no way a ‘homosexual gene’ or ‘genes’ could maintain themselves in the population. For example, one adult needs to have an average of one child if a specific gene, or many specific genes, present in the adult are to stay in the gene pool. But, on average, five ‘exclusive’ homosexuals produce only one child among them. At that rate, homosexuality would die out of the population in several generations. Obviously this hasn’t happened. However, about 50% of homosexuals are or have been married to the opposite gender, making them bisexuals, with an average of 1.25 children each. Exclusive homosexuals and bisexuals, combined, still produce an average of only 0.9 children each, meaning that a homosexual gene or genes would still slowly, but inevitably, disappear from the gene pool.
The ‘gay gene’ talking point has not been adequately substantiated.”
—Rev. Matt Richards, The Brothers of John the Steadfast Blog