Monday, September 08, 2008

Sarah Palin and Homosexual Change

The AP is upset that Sarah Palin's church believes that homosexuals can become heterosexual through prayer. What exactly is the moral offense here?

It seems that being a homosexual has become a sacred/secular right for many, something that is intrinsically good and must never be questioned. But what if a religious person who is a homosexual wants to change and believes God and the church can help him or her change? How is that in any way wrong? How can it be objectionable to help someone who wants to change in this way? Apparently, the wrongdoing comes by claiming that homosexuality is something that one needs to recover from, something abnormal.

Yet this is the historic teaching of the church and is affirmed repeatedly in the Bible. It is a part of Christianity rightly so called. But no one should be forced to become a Christian, and no homosexual should be badgered or harassed about their sexual status. Rather, the church should teach what the Bible affirms and invite people to seek help.

It is a fallen world and not all who seek a change in their orientation will find it. However, some miraculously change (one such story was told to me by a credible man who experienced this first hand), some change over time (I have a friend in this category), and some live with their condition, but honor God by not acting it out (I know people in this situation as well). Exodus International offers hope in these areas.

The leftist media is pummelling Palin for anything they don't like about her religion. But they avoid the truth claims of Christianity and its rational defense (apologetics). They presuppose secularism (homosexuality is a nonmoral issue, since relativism is true) and they attack any religion that makes moral judgments concerning sexual practices. They deem it fine to undergo sex change surgery, but it is wrong to seek to change one's sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual through prayer.

6 comments:

Jeremy said...

The issue is not that homosexuality is a sacred right, but rather that sexual orientation has become a-moral. It's on par with ice-cream's being chocolate. Obviously, no moral properties attach to "being chocolate," and analogously, "being homosexual," like "being heterosexual," lacks any moral properties. Morality only comes into play when sexual activity is played out between partners. I would imagine that one would need something like Kantian respect of persons to give this any plausibility.

Of course, I think the whole thing is rubbish. Now, I know that's just an assertion. I'll have to finish this post later.

Doug Groothuis said...

J:

Interesting, but if you were right, why would there be *moral* outrage over the idea of changing sexual orientation from homo to hetero.

On one level it is relativism )homo or hetero; it all good); on another it is absolutism: one must not be told to change from the latter to the former.

Jeremy said...

Doug

I think the moral outrage is fueled by the belief that groups like Exodus are making a moral distinction where none exist. Thus, the proposition "Homosexuatlity is morally wrong" would be akin to "Being left-handed is morally wrong." Since the latter proposition is utterly perposterous, the former must be as well. However, since it is reasonable to suppose that moral properties attach to how someone uses his/her left hand, it is also reasonable to suppose that moral properties attach to sexuality in its practices, not to sexuality qua sexuality.

I think it is clear that we should be outraged (to one degree or another) if one was trying to get people to use their right hands instead of the immoral left hands. In like fashion, it is at least not incoherent to make the same argument for homosexuality.

Now, while I think there is something right about this argument in principle (that is, I agree that making moral distinctions where none exit, and then making claims about how persons ought to live in light of that illusory distinction, is immoral), I do not think the argument is sound--it has a false premise. I take it that sexuality qua sexuality is part of the moral domain of discourse. It seems clear, to me at least, that sexual practices can be immoral or moral, and dispositions to act certain ways sexually can be either vicious or virtuous. Sexual orientation would certainly be covered by the "disposition to act sexually" umbrella. Therefore, homosexuality is can be vicious or virtuous. That it is one or the other requires another argument. (I don't have time to make it).

Sirfab said...

I am sorry, maybe I am too naive to get it: exactly what line in the AP article makes you think that AP is upset? Seems to me AP was simply reporting a piece of news. If I am right, then your contention that AP is upset is misleading.

Mexjewel said...

As Lord, Jesus bases and defines ALL sin as lack of love (Matthew 22:36-40). Such obvious sins as theft, murder and adultery are unloving because each has a victim, someone not receiving love.

Please tell me, who is the unloved victim in a homosexual relationship? Neither is a victim, neither is unloved. Where is the hurt? Who could bring suit against the “sinner”? What Gospel writer or Bible prophet claimed homosexuality is sinful? (Jesus didn't.) These are not rhetorical questions; they are unanswered by those who refuse God's grace and live by working the law.

It is noteworthy that Gay people employ themselves in loving professions like medicine, education and the ministry. However, some Christians evidently work in the Biblical judicial system.

Certainly if God didn't want men to have sex with other men, He would have said “Man shall not lie with man PERIOD (Leviticus 18:22, 21:13). God wanted Moses to eradicate rampant idolatry in the Jewish nation. That whole “ . . . as with a woman” thing condemns straight men pretending to make it with a woman, such as during idol worship. Paul explains it further when putting down the straight Romans (1:26-28 ) for “leaving their natural relations” (i.e.... as with a woman) and having idolatrous sex with men. Gay men are attracted to other men by definition and by God. They can only imagine what sex
“ . . . as with a woman” would be like.

“Homosexual” was coined about 1865, so any Bible translation since then that uses a form of that word is a lie that needs to be emended. ( The King James version is honest.) It premiered in a 1946 English Bible and continues to condemn loving Gays.

We Christians want to avoid sin that offends God. We do not unilaterally harm God but we do wreck our love relationship with Him by sinning. Created in His loving image, we fail to live up to expectations. Without Jesus and His deal to make it all right, we would be planning our new residence in Hell. But we have taken Jesus as Savior and Lord and He keeps us in His Father's loving will.

What is the most love one can show another sinner? Offer them an eternity with God through the redemptive cross of Jesus. Instead of judging them, shouldn’t Christians be telling those “sinful” homosexuals that Jesus died for their sins? The stumbling block is that Gays do not want to affiliate with unloving and judgmental Christians. Know Jesus, know love. No Jesus, no love.

Doug Groothuis said...

The biblical norm is heterosexual monogamy (Genesis 1-2; Matthew 19). Homosexual acts are sinful and out of sync with creation (Romans 1). Jesus did not have to talk about it; no one in his Jewish context questioned that homosexual acts were wrong. Paul was writing for a broader audience, largely without that background, and had to make it clear, as he does in Romans and elsewhere.

An action not endorsed by God and prohibitted by God cannot be loving in the deepest sense, no matter what the emotional feelings may be. Jesus said to love God and love our neighbor. We cannot love our neighbor by violating God's commands.