CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

An Assessment of the EA Paper on Homosexuality

Jul 13, 2006

The Evangelical Alliance has recently released a paper entitled “Same-Sex Relationships and the Law”. The nine page document also has a five-page “Statement on Marriage and the Family” added to it. Both were penned by Brian Edgar of the EA, although the latter paper is largely based on an earlier Canadian paper.

In some ways both documents provide a fairly good statement of the biblical position on the issues. This is certainly the case with much of the second paper. However, the first document contains several areas which will be a cause of great concern for many biblical Christians.

This first paper speaks much of justice as an operating principle in the discussion of same-sex relationships rights. Of course the notion of justice, whether from a biblical perspective, or simply as a social/political/philosophical idea, is a huge issue requiring great care and subtlety to properly explore its nuances. The EA paper is not the right context for such an exercise, but it does nonetheless try to provide a rough sketch of what it means by justice.

Thus the paper begins by attempting to narrow down just what justice entails. It does so by asking us to avoid what it regards as two extremes, or two incorrect understandings, of justice. It rightly notes that a), justice does not mean letting people do whatever they want, nor allowing for no forms of discrimination, many of which are helpful and necessary.

It then warns that b), justice cannot mean simply enforcing the biblical worldview on a secular society. Not every biblical principle and precept can be turned into public policy or state law. Now the issue of biblical law and its relationship to secular society is an enormous one, with many competing Christian options available. I cannot here enter this complex discussion, except to say that the EA is largely right to suggest that in a secular democracy, there are limits as to how far Christians can go in insisting on biblical standards be applied to the nation. While those in the theonomy/dominion/Christian reconstruction camp will beg to differ, this is basically the correct way to proceed. (But even having said that, there is still much discussion and debate as to how to proceed within such a framework.)

So far, so good. The paper then looks at three principles of justice to guide our thinking on the issue of same-sex relationships. This is where the discussion begins to break down, and problems emerge.

The first principle appealed to is based on the words of Jesus, “do to others as you would have them do to you”. Now this is a fairly broad statement, and may not be of so much use in determining how Christians and the State deal with the issue of homosexuality. As such, its inclusion does not help too much with the discussion at hand.

The second principle is a recognition of the limits of the law. The law “will not make anyone good. It will not, for instance, prevent homosexual behaviour and should not be used to try and do so”. This sentence deserves some attention.

Yes, agreed, the law cannot make anyone good. But – and this is an important but – it can prevent evil, which is a function of the law, both biblical and secular. For example, while the law cannot force an arsonist to stop his evil actions, it can deter the arsonist by stiff penalties, and the like. The arsonist is still at heart a rascal, but at least the deterrent effect of the law keeps arson down to low levels, at any rate in most Western nations.

Transformation of the heart is of course the work of the Spirit, not secular legislation. But laws can and do deter and prevent bad behaviour, and can even be used to encourage good behaviour. Thus good activities can indeed be encouraged and motivated by legislation, while of course goodness itself must be promoted and realized by grace and God’s work in the inner man.

As to the issue of homosexuality, why can a government not seek to deter this behaviour? Sure, the issue of orientation or inclination is another matter. Legislation cannot necessarily take away homosexual desires. But it can deal with homosexual practice.

That is, homosexual activity can either be encouraged and promoted by government legislation, or discouraged and deterred. Given what a dangerous, high-risk and socially unhelpful behaviour homosexuality is, it seems that governments have every reason why they should seek to discourage this behaviour.

(It needs to be mentioned at this point that I am assuming certain points that have been argued for at length elsewhere by myself, with ample documentation. Thus I assume for the sake of discussion that there is a real element of choice in homosexuality, that it tends to be a quite promiscuous and dangerous lifestyle, and so on.)

Now this may or may not take the form of making the behaviour illegal. But surely a government does not have to endorse and promote the behaviour. Indeed, governments are under no obligation whatsoever to promote, extend benefits to, or recognize homosexual behaviour, or relationships. Why should they?

Governments seek to curb all kinds of socially unacceptable behaviour. Be it behaviour which is damaging to the individual, to society, or both, governments often pass legislation to discourage certain behaviours.

Cigarette smoking is a classic case in point. While it is not yet illegal to smoke (at least in certain places) governments have done much to deter the behaviour, to reduce it, to discourage it. Thus it is banned in many public places. And we have ‘sin taxes’ on tobacco products. A pack of cigarettes is terribly expensive. Why? Because governments believe that smoking is a destructive and harmful behaviour, and they are seeking to persuade as many people as possible to give it up and/or not take it up.

And guess what? Smoking is way down from previous years. Indeed, several decades ago around two thirds of adults smoked. Today that figure is closer to 25 per cent. Thus legislation can and does influence behaviour, for good or ill. Laws and public pressure can either encourage or discourage behaviour. This is the normative effect of the law.

If this approach has worked in the area of tobacco use, why can’t governments try this with other harmful behaviours? We do it with some, such as drink driving. Why not promiscuous sex, of any kind? And why not with the high-risk homosexual behaviour? So the EA paper can be strongly challenged at this point.

The third principle in the discussion of justice is that of “caring for all people”. The paper unfortunately does not really spell out what it means by this, at least in the context of same-sex relationships. Since it is not clear what the paper intends here, let me speak to this in a general manner.

Yes, we are to care for all people. Indeed, we are to love all people. But bear in mind that love, from a biblical point of view, means willing the highest good of the other person. It does not mean simply letting them do whatever they want, regardless of the harm that they or others may experience. Instead, love means wishing the best for the other person.

Thus it should be clear that the most loving thing we can do for a drug addict is not accept them in their current condition. It will mean seeking to free them from the shackles of addiction and the possibility of destruction and death. Love will want the drug addict to be set free of his life-denying and soul-destroying addiction.

In the same way, Christians really do love homosexuals. And it is exactly because we love them that we want them to experience the best that God has for them. And homosexuality is not the best for them. It too is a dangerous and life-threatening addiction. Loving a homosexual means seeking to help them understand that they do not have to be homosexual, and helping them to break free of this destructive lifestyle.

So in terms of public policy, the loving, caring thing to do would be to seek to help the homosexual be delivered from the lifestyle he finds himself in. It certainly would not be caring for governments to in any way recognize, endorse or promote this lifestyle. (More on this below).

Policy Options

The paper then goes on to briefly examine four possible public policy options. Two positions (same-sex marriage and civil unions) the paper does not endorse. The two other options it does. These are a relationships registration, and piece by piece legislation changes. The paper especially favours the idea of a registry.

I will devote my attention to this option. The EA argues that it would be just and fair to have a registration of homosexual relationships. It involves government recognition of homosexual relationships, and the extension of certain benefits to people in those relationships. While the paper mentions the Tasmanian Relationships Act 2003, it does not go into much detail as to just what it is proposing. Therefore it is hard to offer comment except in a more generic fashion.

I believe that a relationship registration system is not the way to proceed. Again, because various registration schemes – either in existence or proposed – differ in many respects, my concerns can at this point only be fairly broad. A registry of same-sex relationships is simply a government recognition of these relationships. And usually with that recognition goes the conferral of certain benefits – benefits that generally have been reserved for married couples, at least until recently.

As I mentioned before, there is no compelling reason why governments should extend either recognition or benefits to homosexual relationships. There are all kinds of relationships that exist, including homosexual relationships. They have existed for quite some time, and have not needed special recognition nor benefits. And the individuals in them have all the same basic freedoms and rights as anyone else does.

The reason governments have extended special recognition and benefits to married couples is because marriage confers great benefits on society, on the couples themselves, and on their children. Heterosexual marriage is unique, special and advantageous, and that is why governments have always granted them special acknowledgment and benefits. But the same cannot be said of many other types of relationships, including homosexual ones.

They confer no obvious benefits to society, to their partners, nor to children. (Indeed, one might argue that homosexual relationships by their very nature in fact confer certain disadvantages, not least of which is the inability to produce the next generation.) Of course this is not to deny that individual homosexuals may offer many benefits to a given society. So too do many other individuals. But that is not the point.

The issue here is the relationship, and whether it needs to be recognized and granted special privileges. I do not think that case has yet been made. Thus the idea of a registry seems to await both social as well as biblical justification.

Now it can be argued that de facto couples have recently taken on the status and place of married couples. That is correct. But several things can be mentioned. Most pro-family forces fought that initial change, recognizing it would devalue marriage and further encourage marriage-less relationships. Moreover, it would be a slippery slope to other sorts of relationships, such as same-sex ones. All of these concerns have been realised.

It is probably true to say that we cannot roll back the clock on this one. Believers and those concerned about marriage should have fought harder at the time on this issue. But now it is a fait accompli. But we can seek to hold the line. We can say we have gone far enough, and no further.

After all, if we grant government recognition of same-sex relationships, and extend to them special benefits (as a registry scheme will do), we then have no real augment for when the next onslaught comes. And that is already being debated. I refer to polygamy, polyamory, and related concepts. Many are now arguing for government recognition of these sorts of relationships. And the very same arguments are being used for those as have been used for same-sex relationships.

It is time that we draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. It matters little whether this move to recognize same-sex relationships is inevitable or not. It matters little that other nations have proceeded down this path. The main thing is to do what is right and to make a stand for the special uniqueness of marriage and family.

The homosexual activists are right to suggest that for all intents and purposes, there is very little difference between same-sex marriage, civil unions, or a registration system. That being the case, why give in to any? And it is of interest to note that the EA paper states that some “regard this form of registration as simply the thin edge of the wedge with regard to larger social changes. And that may be right.” (emphasis added) Exactly! It more than likely is right. So why move in that direction?

The stakes indeed are high here. If we give up on this one we might as well give it all away. But I propose a better way. Let us take a stand for what is right. There is a place for politics, for compromise, for expediency. But I do not think it is here. Here we must stand, and we should do no other.

[2265 words]

28 Responses to An Assessment of the EA Paper on Homosexuality

  • Bill
    Thank you for speaking up! Your wise thoughts again cut to the real issues.
    When ‘evangelicals’ go down this track of endorsing recognition of homosexual relationships, it only confrms what homosexual activist Rodney Croome said a few weeks ago, when some Christians in the ACT adopted a similar position.
    “It’s a fascinating insight into how rapidly community attitudes are shifting towards the formal recognition of same-sex relationships.”
    There is little difference in the forms of ‘recognition’ and the homosexual lobbyists have been saying so for a long time – at least the last 12 years!
    We agree with your position in opposing recognition of homosexual relationships:
    “Here we must stand, and we should do no other.”
    We have already written to EA about their paper and have now written a public response to the paper.
    Jenny Stokes
    Salt Shakers

  • Thank you Bill for putting it so clearly.

    The homosexual lobby groups know very well that to establish a same sex registry is to get ‘one foot in the door’ of political recognition.

    We were recently ecouraged by a Christian lobby group to voice our concerns directly with the politicians when the introduction of civil unions was about to be voted on in the Australian Capital Territory.

    We did that, but only to learn later that somewhere in the debate the lobby group had changed it’s position and settled for accepting a registry of same sex relationships.

    We never agreed with that and to find out afterwards that our ‘voice of concern’ had been used to support something we do not agree with at all was received with surprise and unbelief!

    No wonder homosexual activists used that ‘support’ to make the community believe that “…community attitudes are shifting rapidly towards the formal recognition of same sex relationships”.

    We will no longer subscribe to this Christian lobby group and the misuse of supporters’ voices.

    It is becoming very clear that the road to the truth is indeed a very narrow one.

    Erik Werps, Melbourne

  • Bill, thanks for your work on this paper. I agree with your findings. The following is just one of countless items which throw the consequences of homosexual activity into relief. According to a national radio interview in 1993(?) the entire male cast of the of the original production of Cats had died . The implication being that the deaths were caused by the homosexual lifestyle. Legislation would best serve ”justice” by making this lifestyle less accecptable rather than more.
    Stan Fishley, Mebourne 

  • Good arguments, Bill, but I can’t agree that Edgar “is largely right to suggest that in a secular democracy, there are limits as to how far Christians can go in insisting on biblical standards be applied to the nation.” But isn’t the question here not so much what Christians can reasonably expect to achieve in a so-called ‘secular’ democracy, but rather what should Christians be advocating? Isn’t this where Edgar is making his mistake in suggesting that Christians can be selective in which “biblical standards” we should be prepared to defend? Edgar makes an arbitrary decision that same-sex ‘relationships’ is one area where it is OK to compromise for the sake of our ‘secular’ democracy. Isn’t your position essentially the same except that you have drawn the arbitrary “line in the sand” towards the more biblical end of the spectrum?

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Thanks Bill.

    Enough is enough. What happens behind the bedroom door has the ability to build up or destroy a nation. This has been shown to be true throughout history. I believe that Christians in a democratic society will be held accountable before God on two levels. One is the level of individual responsibility, and the other is the level of national responsibility. In this society we have the power of the vote and of the voice. I believe that is important that we do seek to help reverse the evil trends in our society. In that way we will truly be loving our society and the people in it, because we seek that which is ultimately good for them.

    David Clay, Melbourne, Victoria

  • I note on ACL that Focus on the Family is taking a similar approach to the EA paper and ACL’s own stand. I think it is very possible to be loving of the person yet hate the sin. Perhaps because ACL / EA / Focus are involved more heavily in the political world they can’t afford the luxury to be so black and white… it is not possible in a democracy such as ours to legislate our religious standards and beliefs upon others, and I’m not at all sure that this approach would work. Christian ideals are best furthered by persuasion surely, rather than legislating ideals against the unwilling.

    Ben Dullroy

  • Thanks Ben

    Yes I do say in my article that not every jot and tittle of the Christianity can be turned into secular legislation. However your last two sentences appear somewhat problematic
    .
    It is exactly because Christian groups are in the political arena that they need to be clear and precise as to what they are on about (“black and white”). And your claim that we cannot “legislate our religious standards and beliefs upon others” misses the point. Even if the Judeo-Christian religion did not exist, there still would be quite good grounds as to why governments should not recognize homosexual relationships, something I have argued elsewhere on this site. In a sense it has nothing to do with religious ideals at all.

    Finally, your last sentence would undoubtedly cheer up a bank robber, arsonist, or anyone else “unwilling” to submit to legislative ideals. The truth is, almost all legislation is based on morality. Therefore any legislation will be uncomfortable to those who are unwilling to abide by it. Are we do abandon all laws on murder, theft and rape because not everyone wants to submit to them?

    The fact is, much of Western legislation coincides with Judeo-Christian ideals. The question is not, should we impose our morality on others. The real question is, whose morality will be imposed.

    Yes, persuasion is part of our task, but that does not rule out legislative approaches as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Well put, Bill. Ben and others who don’t think it appropriate that Christians seek to “legislate our religious standards and beliefs upon others”, fail to realise that society’s laws have to be based upon someone’s moral code. If our laws are not based upon the Judeo-Christian worldview then they will be based upon some other (false)worldview instead. The question to ask Christians who think like Ben, is whose moral code would you prefer to have legislated if not the Christian one? The secular humanist’s? The Moslem’s?

    It is part of the Christian’s mandate to be salt and light to the world. It is precisely because Christian churches have neglected this that our culture is becoming more godless by the day. When we walk into a darkend room and turn on the light switch and the room stays dark, we don’t blame the darkness. The darkness is just being itself. We should be trying to fix the light.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Hi Bill,
    Now while I am a young gay man in a monogomous 2 and a half year relationship, my point of view on your opinion is bound to be biased. Irregardless of that, I just want you to elaborate on what benefits heterosexual people provide for their partners that homosexual people do not. Yes, you can simplistically say that homosexual couples are disadvantaged because they cant provide children to society, but then is that the only thing that heterosexual relationships bring to society that homosexual couples do not. To say that my boyfriend does not give me the benefits of love, support and companionship is entirely false, but your statement above that “(homosexual relationships) offer no obvious benefits to their partners” seems to convey this very wrong point of view.
    Matt Page, Melbourne, Victoria

  • While I agree with the material posted above, it does not deal with a problem. Granted some homosexual people, usually men, live a very dangerous and promiscuous lifestyle. We should be discouraging promiscuity for all people, not just homosexuals.

    The problem is two fold. 1. There are many homosexuals who live a life which could not by any stretch of the imagination be called promiscuous.

    Richard Topham

  • I pressed the send button too soon!

    The second is that some homosexuals can no more change their orientation than they can change from being left handed to right handed. We deceive ourselves if we think otherwise. The pressure we have placed on them to change has caused an enormous amount of suffering and all too frequently led to antisocial behaviour such as suicide.

    God can always work miracles, but what if he chooses not to?

    Why did he create so many people with this orientation. Even if it is only 5% of the population, that is a large number of people condemned (by their creator) to celibacy. Why did he do it this way?

    I find the whole thing very difficult.

    Richard Topham

  • Thanks Matt

    Yes monogamy is always to be preferred to promiscuity. Of course I didn’t say that homosexuals are incapable of giving “benefits of love, support and companionship” to their partners. They may well. But that is not my point. The point is, there are all kind of relationships that exist in the world, many of which may give certain perceived benefits to each other. But not every relationship is recognized formally by governments, nor need to be. And married couples, according to the research, do indeed confer special benefits upon each other, that are just not found in any other kind of relationship (and not just homosexual ones).

    A close-knit soccer team may include loving and caring relationships. But that does not mean they need special recognition nor status from governments.

    And as I said, given the high-risk nature of homosexuality, there are also disadvantages to that relationship, which certainly do not need government recognition. And while I am glad for your particular monogamy, you are in the minority here.

    And of course not every heterosexual couple can or will have children, But at least that is how nature intended children to come into existence. And up until very recently (with the advent of assisted reproductive technologies) it was the only way. Thus governments have always extended special recognition to heterosexual couples, partly for that reason.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Richard

    Yes promiscuity should always be discouraged. My website has plenty of articles discouraging heterosexual promiscuity as well. But social science research shows, and even homosexuals themselves admit, that promiscuity tends to be the norm in the homosexual community, much more so than in the heterosexual community. Very few homosexuals are in long-term monogamous relationships. The research on this is quite clear.

    And no, I am not deceiving myself. Leaving the homosexual lifestyle may well be difficult, as with any addiction, but it is certainly possible. I have a number of ex-homosexual friends. There are hundreds of centres around the world helping homosexuals who wish to leave the lifestyle.

    Now you have not identified where you are coming from, but if you are a Christian, then the rest of your comments are somewhat puzzling. You say we should not expect homosexuals to change. Why not? Paul certainly expected it, when he wrote to the Corinthians, saying that some of them had formerly been homosexuals (1 Cor. 6:9-11). Was Paul wrong here?

    Then you ask several questions which you should know the answer to, assuming you are a biblical Christian. God created everyone, but he did not create anyone with a sinful orientation. We are not now the way we were meant to be. The problem is called sin. We are all born with a sinful nature. All of us are born with an orientation away from God, and toward self. Some are born with an orientation to overeating, to anger, or to other harmful behaviours. Some may be born with an orientation to same-sex attraction. (Environmental factors also play a role here.)

    Yet the story does not end there. We are not animals, and we are more than our desires, passions, or proclivities. We can make choices, and we do not have to be a slave to these desires. This is especially the case if you believe God exists and that he can indeed do miracles. He is in the business of changing lives. There is help for the homosexual to change, just as there is help for the alcoholic, the heterosexual sex addict, or whoever.

    We all enter the world with an orientation to sin. But that is why Christ came, to set us free and make us new. These are basic Christian truths.

    And does God “condemn” people to celibacy? A harsh word there. What about the gift of singleness that God gives to some, as Paul discusses in 1 Cor. 7? This is called a gift, not a condemnation. Right now millions of people around the world are faithfully living a life of celibacy, serving God gladly, until and if God brings them into a marriage situation.

    It is not as if we cannot live without sex. Food and drink and air: yes we need these. But we do not need sex.

    I hope this answers some of your questions. Feel free to ask more however.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hey Bill,
    Just another thing. How could you suggest that not endorsing homosexuality would reduce the number of homosexuals just as presenting the risks of smoking has lead to the decrease in the number of smokers? Do you not know that in most countries in the East, homosexuality is either punishable by jail sentence, punishable by death, or even worse, punishment by public hanging? In these cases, it is very clear that the most extreme form of banning homosexuality is occurring, and yet, homosexuals still exist and continue to exist in that area. So how exactly would not recognising gay relationships lead to a reduction in the number of homosexuals in our country, which, lets face it, is exactly what you want.
    Also, the saying, “love the sinner, hate the sin” feels cheap and false coming from you and so many Christians, so why say it? So that you can feel good about hurting a very real proportion of the population (which most likely is only 1-5%, not 10%)?
    I want to understand where you are coming from, but I am seeing more and more that I am no longer welcome at this website, nor in your world.
    Best wishes and hope you do enter whatever heaven you believe is out there
    Matt Page, Melbourne

  • Thanks Matt

    I did not say non-endorsement of homosexuality would mean there would be no homosexuals. But the general principle holds: whenever governments recognise or legalise something, there tends to be more of it. It is called the normative effect of the law. Normalise something, and more people will be willing to experiment with it. This is true of something like drugs as it is of types of sexual relationships.

    We live in a culture today where homosexuality is seen as the flavour of the month, and is made to look cool in the media. That sends a message to many young people that it is worth exploring. So many are, more so than before.

    If societies want to deter a behaviour that is harmful (like cigarette smoking), they do not seek to glamorise it or make it look cool. Quite the opposite. They stigmatise the behaviour and try to reduce it. The same here. At the moment we are not sending out the right message about homosexuality, that it is a high-risk lifestyle.

    I said nothing about “love the sinner, hate the sin”, at least not in this article. But the phrase is used to say that all of us are sinners, and God does not condone sin. But he loves us, hoping we will come to him so that he might set us free from the bondages and self-destructive lifestyles we all get ourselves into.

    That offer is true for everyone, including you. It seems like quite good news to me. It is quite foreign in most other religions. And no attempts have been made to hurt anyone. Telling people about the availability of God’s grace and forgiveness if people are willing to turn from their ways and receive them on God’s terms is a loving thing to do. I am sorry you find it false.

    But I will keep saying it as long as I live. It is the good news that all of us need to hear.

    Keep in touch.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Fair enough Bill.
    But now I’m confused about another statement. How do you know that ‘so many’ young people are now experimenting with homosexuality? I can’t comprehend why a person would want to experiment if the core attraction to a same-sex individual was not already known to them. As a budding researcher I’d like to see some references to back up that claim – I obviously can’t judge your claim until I see some valid cited evidence for it (and while I know not every phenomenon needs a documented reference for it be seen as valid, cos a lot of published things these days are just ridiculous!!, I would be interested to see whether any research has been done to show that young people these days are experimenting with homosexuality more than ever. This would surprise me, seeing that I still view homosexuals as a very very small group in Victoria).
    Thanks again
    Matt Page, Melbourne

  • Thanks again Matt.
    But with all due respect, can I call your bluff? If you are indeed interested in all this, you can find the evidence in the same place that I find it: in the homosexual press, which you should be quite familiar with. Let me just offer a few (of many) quotes from homosexuals themselves:

    One Australian homosexual activist puts it this way: “I think the idea that sexuality is genetic is crap. There is absolutely no evidence for it at the moment, and I think it is unhealthy that people want to embrace this idea. It does reflect a desire to say, ‘it’s not our fault’, as a way of deflecting our critics. We have achieved what we have achieved by defiance, not by concessions. I think we should be recruiting people to homosexuality. It’s a great lifestyle and something everybody should have the right to experience. If you believe it’s genetic, how are you going to make the effort?” ( Graham Willett in an interview with Capital Q Weekly, 3 November 2000, p 17.)

    Or as he put it elsewhere: “On the question of recruiting to homosexuality – well, of course, I am in favor of this. I believe homosexuality to be a perfectly valid lifestyle choice. . . . I am naturally keen to encourage people to participate in [the gay lifestyle].” (Graham Willett, letter to the Herald Sun, 1 December 2000, p. 17.)

    And a leading Australian feminist and lesbian has also made it clear that choice is a major component of the lifestyle. Melbourne University academic Sheila Jeffreys became a feminist in her twenties, when she was involved in “perfectly good” relationships with men. She then decided to become a lesbian: “At the time,” she says, we “made the decision to become political lesbians, as we called it.” (Cited in Catherine Keenan, “The bare-faced radical,” The Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum, September 24-25, 2005, pp. 4-5, p. 5.)

    She says that “you can learn to be heterosexual and you can learn to be lesbian”. When challenged by an interviewer that sexuality is more innate than that, she continues, “I don’t think there’s anything natural about sexuality; you do learn it. And you can unlearn it, go in a different direction, change it.” She says that her own experience proves this, as does that of many other women who decided to switch to lesbianism in the ‘70s. (Ibid.)

    Other homosexuals have admitted that choice plays at least a partial role in the overall equation. (For example, lesbian author Vera Whisman, in Queer By Choice, Routledge, 1996, argues that choice is certainly a factor for many homosexuals and lesbians.) Indeed, there is even an entire website devoted to those who say they have chosen the homosexual lifestyle. The site says it is “a radical gathering place for people who have chosen to be queer”. (See their site at: http://www.queerbychoice.com/)

    Plenty more where that came from Matt. You might dismiss me and my claims, but what will you do with these claims of your colleagues? I hope you follow the truth to where it leads Matt, instead of clinging to an agenda which denies truth.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hey Bill,
    To call radical homosexuals who believe that they have chosen to be gay my colleagues is entirely false, because the homosexuals out there who believe that they have fully chosen their orientation (I know that choosing to engage in the behaviour is a choice, and I dont think anyone sane would deny that) are a very very very small minority. Even the queerbychoice.com website proclaims that it only has a mailing list of 150 people!! So just because a small minority of homosexuals believe that they have chosen to be gay doesnt make it true, nor does it make it true that the number of people ‘being recruited’ to homosexuality is increasing.
    Also, when you talk with these radical homosexuals, you realise that most of them are more drugged-up and irrational in nearly everything they say – I mean, really, why would anyone still support Communism (which these hip, young activists tend to support)!!!
    Matt Page, Melbourne

  • Matt, you seem to be applying a standard of morality by which you ascertain the rightness or wrongess of attitudes toward homosexuals.

    But is this standard of morality you apply transcendent in its provenance and thus objective and universally binding in its authority?

    Or is it temporal in its provenance, and so arbitrary and subjective and thus relative?

    Frank Gashumba, Melbourne

  • Of course it is relative. There exists no objective and universally binding morality – all standards are, and always have been, relative, and the leaders of the 20,000 different religions in the world all have their own standard of morality. Thus, I cant convince Bill that homosexuality is not wrong just as he cant convince me that it IS wrong – but it is still interesting and exciting to argue.
    Matt Page, Melbourne

  • Thanks Matt
    Of course numbers alone do not determine whether something is true or false. So whether there are many or few homosexuals who admit to choice is not the final consideration.

    And my point was simply that enough homosexuals admit to choice to belie the claim that it is all genetic, or that only right-wingers are making the claim.

    Also, my point is that whenever something is presented as glamorous, cool, trendy or flavour-of-the-month, there is a natural tendency to see an increase in that behaviour. Common sense bears this out. And again smoking is a case in point, increasing or decreasing depending on the social approval or stigma attached.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks again Matt.

    But your claims to moral relativism are not so easily made. If they were true, then you (and I) cannot complain about anything. If I decide that it is a good thing to kill all homosexuals (or tuba players, or whatever) you have no reason to be upset with that, if there are no moral absolutes. But if you dislike the idea that killing homosexuals is fair game, then you imply some kind of universal standard by which you expect me to also agree with.

    If not, we are just comparing flavours of ice cream – you like vanilla, I like chocolate, and it is all a matter of taste, and no one is right and no one is wrong.

    i expect you do not really believe this Matt. Do you regard anything as wrong? If so, why? And why should I agree with your assessment, if there are no binding moral absolutes?

    And I do what I do not becuase it is interesting or exciting. If everything is relative, there is no point to argument at all. Only when you suppose that truth exists does argumentaion make sense and take on urgency.

    Till next time,
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Matt,

    If there’s no objective standard of morality that, because of its transcendence, is universally binding in its authority, then we are reduced to the law of the jungle whereby might makes right. After all, in a roomful of arbitrary, subjective opinions, which one’s the right one? The opinion of the strongest person, that’s which!

    But tell me, in a might-makes-right world, where does that leave a tiny minority like homosexuals? Doesn’t the principle that might makes right mean that homosexuals have no rights by virtue of their having no might due to sheer dearth of numbers?

    Why on earth should homosexuals and their sympathisers be advocating for a system of morality which, when taken to its logical conclusion, denies them any rights?

    Have homosexuals (and their sympathisers) given careful consideration to what they’re actually advocating for? If not, I think it would be well worth their while to do so.

    Frank Gashumba, Melbourne

  • Look, I’m only 21 so am not as sophisticated in your arguements, as I have not had enough life experience to firmly develop my core view points on things. So, saying that everything was relative was wrong on my part, which I have now come to understand, but just because I am an atheist doesnt mean that I do not have morals. You can call them what you want, but the true reason why I avoid a religious-based morality is because, to me, the question, “Why is homosexuality wrong” tends to get the response “Because God says so”, and such a statement does not follow logical arguement to me. Just because a religion says something is wrong, doesnt make it wrong – there is something else that makes it inherently wrong (and don’t ask me to specify what, because I can’t). But, I have great respect for myself because I can clearly know what is right or wrong, not based on what God says.
    And, not one arguement against homosexuality has ever been convincing, and it never will be, because all it stems from is disgust and fear of something that really only affects 2% of the population, and will always only affect 2% of the population.
    Matt Page, Melbourne

  • Thanks Matt
    Yes, sorry, not meaning to brow-beat you here. Actually you are doing pretty well for a 21 year old! One purpose of this website is to get people to think, to reflect on their beliefs, values, worldviews, etc. So I am happy to dialogue with those who are interested.
    As to homosexuality, as I argue on many of my posts, there seem to be many good non-religious arguments that can be made against it. Most of my arguments do not even mention God or religion, when it comes to homosexuality. So the issue can be debated on its own merits.
    Thanks again for your remarks.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Matt said: “You can call them what you want, but the true reason why I avoid a religious-based morality is because, to me, the question, “Why is homosexuality wrong” tends to get the response “Because God says so”, and such a statement does not follow logical arguement to me.”

    Why doesn’t such a statement as “Because God says so” make no logical sense? Doesn’t morality have to be defined by God for it to make any sense?

    Matt said: “Just because a religion says something is wrong, doesnt make it wrong – there is something else that makes it inherently wrong (and don’t ask me to specify what, because I can’t).”

    I think it is important for us to determine what makes things “inherently wrong”. I think morality has to stand on a firmer foundation than vague, subjective intuition.

    Matt said: “But, I have great respect for myself because I can clearly know what is right or wrong, not based on what God says.”

    You may not be aware of it, but you’re actually contradicting yourself. Here you say that you “clearly know what is right or wrong”, but in the previous quotation above say that you can’t specify how you know right and wrong because it’s apparently unclear. On the one hand it’s clear, on the other it’s a vague sort of intuition, the truthfulness and accuracy of which we are presumably to accept at your word.

    I think you would agree with me that for morality to make sense, it has to rest on a firmer foundation that vague, subjective intuition.

    Matt said: “And, not one arguement against homosexuality has ever been convincing, and it never will be, because all it stems from is disgust and fear of something that really only affects 2% of the population, and will always only affect 2% of the population.”

    You seem to be implying that there are criteria by which you are able to determine the validity of a moral statement, such that you know if it is based on “disgust” and “fear” then it is, by that fact, invalid.

    But where are these criteria? Do we have equal access to them so that in the future we also may know not to make similar mistakes, such as basing our moral statements on what are apparently invalid bases like “disgust” and “fear”?

    You know, if you really have access to this means of determining valid and invalid moral statements, I think it would only be fair if you shared it with us. After all, it’s not really all that fair if you know the means of determining right and wrong but aren’t willing to share it with us. People like me are always quick to share our source of morality with others. Why aren’t you willing to do the same with us?

    Frank Gashumba, Melbourne

  • Well written Bill.

    Justice means treating equals equally and treating that which is not equal differently.

    It is not justice to treat homosexual unions equally to marriage, or to treat marriage as if it were just one among many lifestyle choices. To do so will end up doing wrong and hurting homosexuals themselves.

    In the case of laws already functioning in a way that recognises homosexual unions in some way, it is not charity or justice to fix a perceived breakdown in the ability of these laws to achieve their end (if their end is entitlement on the basis of a homosexual relationship per se). To do this would be like trying to be neighbourly by helping to repair a bus that is heading to the wrong end of town.

    Michael Casanova, Victoria

  • Matt, you also fail to recognise that your own view of what is moral is also based on your own ‘religious’ view of the world, so even by your own reckoning, it has no more validity than the Christian view.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

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