Is your baby gay? We’ll fix that!
According to some, the behavioral deprogramming of gay and lesbian people simply isn’t going far enough.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., caused a stir in evangelical circles recently when he proposed that maybe there actually is some genetic basis for homosexuality. Some would-be supporters condemned his suggestion that homosexuality could be anything other than a personal choice. However, this is not where the harshest outcry came from.
The gay and lesbian community, as represented at least by certain public figureheads, railed against his claim that even if sexual orientation is genetically determined, it’s a sin against God nonetheless. This harkens back to the old “sin gene” argument that says God tweaked our genetic code just so we would stray, but that it’s still our job to root out such causes of our sinfulness.
So what does Mohler suggest? Genetic modification, of course!
Why else would we have such tremendous advances in genetic engineering, if not to manipulate the way in which we express love to one another? Certainly the discovery of cures to such diseases as Alzheimer’s and many forms of cancer should take second chair to de-gaying your newborn child, right?
So it’s come to this: Mohler argues that it’s incumbent upon us to use every tool at our disposal to set right such genetic aberrations, even at the level of infancy, if we have the power to do so. More disturbing than his case is the likelihood that many would follow suit and carry this out if they had the means.
While some might justify something like this as an effort to make their child’s life easier by incorporating them into the cultural mainstream, so to speak, there are others who would toy with the very code of our human makeup to fulfill what they believe is a divine mandate.
For those proclaiming the inerrancy and universal applicability of every word in scripture, there is no point in deliberating, discussing or even considering the moral questions surrounding homosexuality. For those readers, I invite you to stop reading here, if you have not already.
For the rest of us, it’s worth a second look to ask ourselves exactly what it is we find so objectionable about a man or woman loving another man or woman, as I do my wife.
Some rely on the argument of compatibility for their moral objections. This generally means that sex – which is different than sexuality, mind you – is meant for the purposes of procreation, period. Therefore, anyone involved in a same-sex marriage is using God-given plumbing for an act other than the one intended.
So does that mean, by that argument, that any woman who has sex after menopause is living in sin, even if it’s with her husband? After all, she can’t have kids, right? What if I’m sterile? Do I have to commit to abstinence for the rest of my life?
There’s a sin delineated in the Old Testament known as the Sin of Onan, which is sometimes cited as justification for condemning gay people. The idea is that “seed,” or sperm, that is spilled in a manner not conducive to producing children is an abomination against God. But there’s an interesting bit of back-story that can help put this in context for us.
Whereas sometimes we can construe that certain scriptures written about “man” actually refer to both sexes, this certain context is specific to males. It was believed, at the time this text was likely written, that the entirety of the materials necessary to make a baby were contained within the semen of the male. The female simply was a repository for his “seed.”
Therefore, it was believed that if so-called seed was spilled in an act involving a partner or even just yourself, you were killing little miniature human beings that were contained within the semen.
Hopefully we’ve come a little further along in our understanding of anatomy since then, but too often, we cling to the literal words of a text, rather than placing them within the broader context of the wisdom and knowledge endowed upon us by God through the progress of humankind over time.
Put another way: It’s easier to label something as wrong and try to fix it than to raise the question about why, exactly, we think it’s wrong in the first place, short of yelling “the Bible says” at each other. Our scientific knowledge is an incredible gift, but, if we’re not careful, like the mythical Dr. Frankenstein, in our effort to play God, we’re going to give rise to a monster.