Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is Homosexuality a Birth Defect?

It's time we change the way we think and talk about homosexuality.

The other side says homosexuals are "born that way." Even if they're not entirely right, it's unlikely they're entirely wrong. Living the lifestyle certainly requires a choice, but I don't think many would choose the burden of same-sex attraction (SSA) if they had a choice.

So let's just give the other side the "born that way." What then?

In biology, what do you call a genetic trait (or congenital condition) that makes a person less likely to successfully pass on their genes? A negative mutation. In layman's terms, a birth defect.

Whether SSA turns out to be the result of a gene that people inherit, of a faulty genetic process, or of hormones/chemicals gone wrong the result is a person with tendencies that deviate from the biological (never mind the social) norm.

What would it mean if we chose to think of SSA as a birth defect? I think there are two potential benefits. First, it changes the debate from "how do we stop these people from doing these things" (however you may feel about the things — the right and left have very different views) to "what should we do about this condition these people have." It makes the conversation less confrontational and also less about "rights" and more about healthy and normal.

Second, it could make us change how we approach these people and the whole topic. If homosexuals are simply people who make (to the rest of us) completely inexplicable choices, they are treated the same way we would treat a compulsive liar. They choose to do wrong, and they need to stop it right now.

If they are the victim of their circumstances, they are to be pitied and helped and understood. It makes us realize that being "normal" is impossible for them and acting normal is a huge uphill battle. Even those who, by the grace of God, find an opposite sex mate and build a normal life will always be plagued by this bug in their programming.

The obvious objection from the right is "Wouldn't this make homosexuality OK?" No, I don't think it would. Think about some of the other problems people can have. People with Tourette syndrome are still expected to learn to control their impulses. Kids with various mental problems are still expected to learn to sit quietly and not hit or bite. We don't decide something is fine because their birth defect causes it. But we are more patient with them.

The obvious objection from the left is "It's mean." But it's neither unkind nor small minded. It's accurate. It may not seem nice, but it's the best explanation for their situation. It's also a way to make the right more understanding which you have to agree is a good thing.

One Among Many

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


It's one of those passages I have a love-hate relationship with:
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?" (2Pet 3:9-11a)
The author's emphasis is clearly on holy living, but this passage always forces me to think about something else, too — namely, since everything will be destroyed, what should I spend my time on?

There are so many things that need to be done. Not just dishes and laundry. There are big things that need to be done. Someone needs to fix this mess! I want to take over or supplant my field's professional organization, get on the city council, school board, and maybe Congress. That's on top of things I think I need to learn, books I want to read, and books I want to write. There's not only not enough time in a day; there's not enough time in a life.

So how do we thin out the list? Ask, "What's going to last?"

When everything burns up, what will be left? What will really matter in the grand scheme of things?

You can certainly take this too far — someone's got to run the country, and I think it's good if as many of those people as possible are Christians. And Jesus went to weddings and parties. Life's not all about work, even kingdom work.

But it's also possible to cop out too easy. There are "important" things that aren't, really. Even if they are really important, are they important enough to distract us from the work of the kingdom? Are we building things that will burn at the expense of the things that would last?

People spend their time on what moves them. It's normal to find yourself caught up in the things of this world. How much time are we spending on trivial things? How much do we live like everyone else? Do we blend in with the "normal" people around us?

We're not supposed to be normal. We're supposed to be weird in the right ways, to look at life differently, to live life differently. To have Christ's priorities.