Let’s have a look at an awkward subject – homosexuality. We know that there are condemnatory passages in the Old and New Testaments, and that for many Christians that closes the problem. You can study these at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_and_homosexuality. But in this posting I am approaching the subject from another angle.
I start with a remark by a homosexual which brought me up short: “You know how you heterosexuals are usually disgusted by the very thought of genital contact between two men. Well we homosexuals are just as disgusted by the thought of genital contact with a woman.” I was faced with the possibility that people who have such a response are on a hiding to nothing.I find myself sympathising.
(I should say here that of course I also have women equally in mind. The word ‘homo’ in homosexual comes from the Greek It is pronounced ‘hommo’. The same word pronounced ‘ho-mo comes from the Latin and means ‘man’ – in this context this is always incorrect, and confusing.)
It would seem that people do not choose their sexual orientation, Genes, the wrong hormones in the womb or early upbringing have been suggested as causes. And, if so, the homosexual is scarcely to blame. Homosexuality involves, almost by definition, a mismatch — that is, a mismatch between gender and orientation. Unfortunately theological vocabulary uses the phrase “grave disorder’ to describe this. That phrase is correct because homosexuality is serious (grave), and a disorder (mismatch). But it carries condemnatory overtones which are not appropriate. Nevertheless disorders tend to lead towards complications and difficulties. Mismatches usually do.
But sometimes such mismatches have happy outcomes. Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Whitman. Alan Turing are just a few names from history. Indeed the arts are studded with homosexuals, and their contributions to our society and culture are considerable.
The frequently used phrase “but it’s against nature” makes no doubt a good general statement. It is not difficult to spot that the construction of the human body is ordered to heterosexuality with a primary function of reproduction. But when a homosexual tells us that at a deeper and subjective level it is not against his nature I find myself wondering. The traditional method of discerning right and wrong through biological structure was understandable in the Middle Ages, but certainly open to question now that we know about genes and evolution.
Just as a post scriptum, I would suggest that homosexual marriage is a different issue. If you believe that marriage is restricted to a committed love relationship between two people, you will approve. But if you believe that marriage is ordered in its essence to reproducing the human race then we should use a different name for a different thing. Perhaps ‘civil partnership’ would do. Oh dear, that’s been used already.
Where do you stand on these issues? Have you always thought this way and, if not, what has changed your mind?