Rick Reilly wrote an impassioned article on ESPN.com featuring the hero, Brett Major, and the villain, Nebraska football coach, Ron Brown. Coach Brown recently spoke out against an Omaha anti-discrimination law that prohibits employers from firing someone for being gay. Brett Major professes faith in Christ and also claims to be gay. The two are connected because Major says he came to faith while listening to Brown share the gospel.
I have no idea what the law was about. I don’t know Ron Brown and I don’t know Brett Major. But I do think it’s important to address the problem with “being gay.”
Brett’s parents gave the following statement about the situation,
“As much as Ron may think otherwise, gays do not choose to be gay,” Gays can be raised in the ‘perfect’ family environment with parents active and nurturing, raised in the church to become lovers of the scripture. They are Christians — Brett is such an example.”
I don’t expect much disagreement with what I believe the Majors mean when they say “be gay.” They are referring to sexual impulses people of like gender have toward one another. To describe someone as “being gay” people mean the person is sexually attracted to people within their gender. But I have a question; how many impulses must a person have to be categorized as “being gay?” Is it ten? Thirty? If someone has a passing thought did they just become gay? If a mother of two is caught off guard with a fanciful thought about another woman did she just change orientations? Or do they have to be consistent over a long period of time? Does a month of curiosity as a fourteen-year-old that was followed by fourteen years of heterosexual attraction mean the person is bisexual? What if a self-professed gay man is drawn to a female; did he just change into a heterosexual? Where’s the line? Who defines it? What is “being gay?”
Consider these reports:
The homosexual newspaper The Washington Blade, citing a 1998 study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, reported that “the study’s data confirmed previous scientific observations that most women who have sex with women also have had sex with men.”[source] The study added that “sex with men in the prior year was common, as were sexual practices between female partners that possibly could transmit HPV.”[source]
A five-year study by the CDC of 3,492 homosexuals aged fifteen to twenty-two found that one in six also had sex with women. Of those having sex with women, one-quarter “said they recently had unprotected sex with both men and women.” Nearly 7 percent of the men in the study were HIV positive. [source]
Are they gay? Are they straight? Were they gay on Friday, but then straight on Saturday? Actually, they’re neither. These are humans engaging in perverted sexual behavior, nothing more, nothing less. Just like promiscuous frat boys, they are seeking selfish sexual satisfaction and aren’t concerned with who satisfies their urge.
I absolutely reject the notion that a person can “be gay.” A person can engage in homosexual activity and a person might have homosexual urges, but to categorize someone based on their sexual attractions is unrealistic, inconsistent, and misses the point. The point of this whole issue is healthy sexual behavior, not this mythical idea of sexual orientation.
Before moving forward, something must be said about the statement, “gays do not choose to be gay.” Properly stated it should read, “people do not choose to have homosexual urges.” Said that way, I have no disagreement. However, what the proponents mean by this type of argument is “people are incapable of controlling their sexual urges. In fact, they are so strong they are the single defining characteristic of their humanity and absolutely must be acted upon.” This is simply not true, and does disservice to an individual’s dignity.
Ellen DeGeneres has value and dignity because she is human, not because she chooses to participate in sexual behavior with other women. Neil Patrick Harris has value and dignity because he is human, not because he acts upon his sexual urges for other men. Brad and Angelina have value because they are human, not because they are into each other. There is so much more to these four people than their moments of sexual fulfillment. However, many who claim to “be gay” are consistently reduced to nothing more than the sum of their impulses. Often they do the reducing.
Brett Major is doing the same thing, “I know God doesn’t make a mistake. He didn’t put me on this earth to be banished to hell.”
First of all, no one is “banished to hell” for being anything: gay, straight, thief, or saint. A person’s eternal destination is based upon their belief or disbelief in Jesus Christ. If someone rejects Christ they won’t be forced to spend eternity with him, God gives them exactly what they desire – eternal separation in Hell. If someone believes in the life and work of Jesus, God gives them what they desire – eternal relationship in Heaven. As Reilly asked, with dangerous sarcasm, “What is he going to do with Jesus?” If someone chooses, like Major, to let his sexual impulses define him more than his spiritual condition one must question the sincerity of his professed belief.
Major bases his identity on his sexual attraction, claiming God made him that way. Did he? Did God make him that way? Let’s see what current research says.
“Despite much research there is no proven explanation of how sexual orientation is determined. However, many scientists share the view that for most people sexual orientation is shaped during the first few years of life through complex interactions of genetic, biological, psychological and social factors. –Australian Psychological Society
Back in the states, the APA says,
There is no consensus among scientists about the exact reasons that an individual develops a heterosexual, bisexual, gay, or lesbian orientation. Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. Many think that nature and nurture both play complex roles; most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation. –American Psychological Association
There is zero evidence of genetic or biological ties to homosexual behavior. Even if there were, do we apply this reasoning consistently? Mr. Major believes his behavior has to be accepted because he is genetically hardwired for it. I wrote about this reasoning in the Jerry Sandusky incident at Penn State. What about the sociopath? Weren’t they genetically predisposed? The child abuser? The alcoholic? How come “being gay” permits a person freedom from moral constraints?
This is where people will accuse me of bigotry, hate speech, or unfairly imposing my personal morality on others. Rick Reilly said as much about Ron Brown,
Apparently, he can spew whatever bigoted, hateful, un-Christian message he wants, without risk of losing his job.
No, Ron Brown shouldn’t be fired. He should quit. He works for a school that welcomes homosexuals as equals. Which means he’s being paid by people who don’t share his moral values. He’s living a lie. He should retire from football and campaign full-time for our right to fire each other purely for being gay.
I don’t have gay friends. I do have friends who say they have homosexual urges, and I have acquaintances who act upon those urges. I know people who have felt and acted upon even more unnatural urges than those, but I don’t classify them by their urges or their actions. However, if given the opportunity I would address the error in their current or potential behavior. Just the same way I encourage people to avoid premarital heterosexual behavior or adultery. It’s all selfish sexual satisfaction and it’s destructive. (For a great report of CDC and medical studies about the profoundly unhealthy consequences of homosexual behavior read here) It’s a perversion of healthy sexuality. Healthy sexuality only happens within the marriage of one man to one woman until death separates them.
The problem with “being gay” is no one is actually gay. We all have sexual impulses that must be controlled, and those impulses do not define us. We cannot continue to allow people to dehumanize themselves to purely sexual beings.