Homosexuality: Your Questions Answered
How is homosexuality being normalized in American culture?
Even a casual observer would agree that homosexuality has made major strides toward being normalized in our culture today. The evidence is all around us in entertainment, news media, education, politics, and even the business world. Misrepresentation of scientific research on homosexuality is prominent and widely accepted as fact.
The emphasis is the same in each of these areas: Tolerance and compassion demand that we accept homosexuality as the moral equivalent of heterosexuality. Terms like “bigot” and “homophobic” are thrown around loosely and usually incorrectly. Slogans and pithy sayings take the place of reasoned discourse.
It is not enough to disagree with those who believe the Bible’s teachings that homosexuality is sin. They must be given labels such as bigot or hater. One of the more recent tactics is to label Bible-believing Christians as being guilty of spiritual violence. Regardless of how compassionately or lovingly homosexuality is denounced, the culture calls this an incitement of hatred against gays.
We should be aware, however, that these conditions did not come about by chance. In the 1980’s gay activists discussed strategies for impacting the culture. Two activists published a book entitled After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the 90’s in an attempt to normalize the homosexual lifestyle. Among the various strategies suggested were:
- Talk about gays and gayness as loudly and as often as possible.
- Portray gays as victims, not as aggressive challengers.
- Give protectors a just cause.
- Make gays look good.
- Make the victimizers look bad.
- Get into the major media.
- Solicit funds: The buck stops here.
These strategies are progressively taking root, but we must be courageous to stand in truth and compassion on this issue.
At the same time, we should be willing to acknowledge that the conservative church is not blameless. We have failed to uphold God’s standard for the home and sexuality in general and we have not been as diligent as we could have been in building the foundations that would help prevent homosexuality.
Finally, too often when those who struggle with homosexuality have reached out for help, the church hasn’t known how to respond as it should. Our churches must become lighthouses for those who struggle with sexual brokenness. They must be “safe” for the strugglers and for the friends and families of those who struggle. Only then will we be in a position to reverse the trend toward normalization of that which Scripture clearly calls sin.
Bob Stith is the pastor of Carroll Baptist Church in Southlake, Texas. He has a bachelor’s degree from Samford University and an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Bob has been involved in Exodus International for over 10 years. He has spoken at many churches and Exodus related events. He has also written several articles on the subject of homosexuality and the church. Bob is chairman of the board for Living Hope Ministries, an Exodus-affiliated ministry in Dallas-Fort Worth. Bob and his wife, Del, live in Southlake, Texas.
If a person engages in a homosexual act does this mean he/she is a homosexual?
No, if a person engages in a homosexual act this does not mean he or she is a homosexual. On this basis, a clear distinction must be made between referencing someone as a homosexual versus homosexual behavior.
First and foremost, a homosexual person simply does not exist. Homosexuality should be considered as an adjective—a behavior—and not as a noun or label defining a person. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, one of the foremost experts on the causes of homosexuality as a sexual disorder and founder of NARTH, National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, states, “There is no such thing as a homosexual person. We are all heterosexuals. Homosexuality is a description of a condition. It is not a description of the intrinsic nature of the person” (NARTH’s Statement of Policy). Given his statement, then, men and women who consider themselves homosexual are really intrinsically heterosexual but they have a sexual identity problem and, as a result, might engage in homosexual behavior.
Another important point to mention concerns children and teenagers. Some young people question whether they might be gay because they are attracted to the personality or charisma of a same-gender peer. Occasionally, a person may act upon this curiosity through homosexual activity, but this does not mean that he or she is homosexual.
A major study by the University of Minnesota Hospital and Clinics on homosexual and heterosexual attractions, orientation, identification, and behavior among adolescents revealed data concerning young people and sexual identity. The study revealed that many young people may be confused about their sexuality in their early teens, but among this uncertain group, the vast majority will turn out to be heterosexual1. At age twelve, 25.9% of the children were “unsure” of their sexual orientation. However, this figure declined to 5% by age 172. For many people, uncertainty about sexual identity and feelings is a normal part of growing up. This uncertainty, though, does not mean a young person is struggling with a deeper-rooted sexual identity disorder.
Being drawn emotionally, romantically, and erotically to someone of the same gender is complex indeed. There are many factors that can contribute to homosexual feelings and desires. One’s family dynamics play a role, as do childhood peer relationships, and sexual abuse.
For expert research, articles, and resources into the causes, prevention, and treatment of homosexuality consult NARTH. Their website address is http://www.narth.com . Their telephone number is 818/789-4440 and their mailing address is 16633 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 1340, Encino, California, 91436-1801. Exodus International, North America, also has available numerous articles, testimonials, and resources. Exodus is on the web at http://www.exodus.to , or contact them by telephone at 888/264-0877, or mail at P.O. Box 540119, Orlando, Florida, 32854.
1 “Demography of Sexual Orientation in Adolescents,” Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Vol. 89, April 1992. Abstract available online). The authors, Gary Remafedi, MD, MPH; Michel Resnick, PhD; Robert Blum, MD, PhD; and Linda Harris based their study on five questions on sexuality included among 189 questions in the Minnesota Adolescent Health Survey, a study involving 34,706 students in Minnesota secondary schools carefully selected as to demographic criteria.
Melissa Fryrear, M.Div, is the Gender Issues Analyst in the Legislative and Cultural Affairs Department at Focus on the Family. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and holds