Consider Dilemma of a ‘Gay Gene’…If One Exists
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr., the ninth president of The Southern Baptist
Theological Seminary, enjoys writing and providing outreach to
his Christian followers. But he was also a bit peeved by recent media
reports that overwhelmingly took his words out of context. It is,
unfortunately, a rather common occurrence in the media to misquote and
misunderstand points of view -- especially when those points are about
homosexuality and come from a devout Christian leader. (That was not
Mohler's claim, but it is the conclusion of Think & Ask.)
Mohler hosts a daily radio program on the Salem Radio Network and he
blogs about moral, cultural, and theological issues.
The recent firestorm began 2 March 2007 when Mohler posted a story
titled: Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do
Something About It?
He said his purpose of writing the article was to draw attention to a
threat against human dignity that lurks as a possible future problem in
society. "This is the possibility that, if a biological marker (real or
not) is ever claimed to mark homosexuality in prenatal testing,
widespread abortion of such babies might well follow," Mohler said.
However, he wrote that in such an event, it would be biblical
Christians, opposed to all elective abortions, who would stand for the
full human dignity of all human beings, born and unborn.
Possible genetic alteration is undoubtedly an important topic for all
parents. Mohler simply asked his audience what they would do should
they be told the fetus is homosexual, and there was a pre-natal
treatment to ensure the baby was born as heterosexual. "Would you do
it?" Mohler asked. One does not need to be Christian to participate in
the debate, and at a high level the issue is to allow a birth, but at
such time when genetic alteration is available, future births ensure
that only heterosexuals arrive. It could also be taken to mean
--in biblical terms-- one less sin for the books.
In drawing conclusions from recent studies using sheep, Mohler wrotes:
"Why so many gay rams? Is it too much socializing with ewes? Same-sex
play with other lambs? Domestication? Nope. Those theories have been
debunked. Gay rams don't act girly. They're just as gay in the wild.
And a crucial part of their brains--the 'sexually dimorphic
nucleus'--looks more like a ewe's than like a straight ram's.
"Gay men have a similar brain resemblance to women. Charles Roselli,
the project's lead scientist, says such research 'strongly suggests
that sexual preference is biologically determined in animals, and
possibly in humans.'"
Mohler admits that the research fascinates him. "...That the same
scientists who are documenting the rather surprising sexual behaviors
of male sheep think they can also change the sexual orientation of the
animals. In other words, finding a biological causation for
homosexuality may also lead to the discovery of a cure for the same
He adds that homosexual activists recognize the biological marker for
cause translates to a biological effort to eliminate the trait.
So, what is the problem? If indeed there was a way to inject some
hormone into the fetus to prevent homosexuality in the adult world,
which parents would not opt-in for treatment? In Mohler's words the
result cuts back on the number of yet to be born hair stylists: "Will
liberal moms who love their hairdressers be as tolerant when faced with
the prospect of raising a little stylist of their own? And exactly how
pro-choice will liberal abortion-rights activists be when thousands of
potential parents are choosing to filter homosexuality right out of the
"The development of Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis [PDG] is one of
the greatest threats to human dignity in our times," Mohler concluded.
"These tests are already leading to the abortion of fetuses identified
as carrying unwanted genetic markers. The tests can now check for more
than 1,300 different chromosomal abnormalities or patterns. With DNA
analysis, the genetic factors could be identified right down to hair
and eye color and other traits. The logic is all too simple. If you
don't like what you see on the PDG report . . . just abort and start
over. Soon, genetic treatments may allow for changing the profile.
Welcome to the world of designer babies."
Mohler advises Christians to think about the following points:
1. So far, there is no incontrovertible or widely accepted proof that
any biological basis for sexual orientation exists.
2. Nevertheless, point No.1 is likely to change. Research into the
sexual orientation of sheep and other animals, as well as human
studies, points to some level of biological cause for sexual
orientation in at least some individuals.
3. Given the consequences of the Fall (from God's judgment) and the
effects of human sin, we should not be surprised that such a causation
or link is found.
4. The Bible's take on homosexual behavior would not be compromised or
mitigated in the least by such a discovery.
5. The discovery of a biological basis for homosexuality would be of
great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of
why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations.
6. The biblical basis for establishing the dignity of all persons --
the fact that all humans are made in God's image -- reminds us that
this means all persons, including those who may be marked by a
predisposition toward homosexuality. For the sake of clarity, we must
insist at all times that all persons -- whether identified as
heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, transgender, bisexual,
or whatever -- are equally made in the image of God.
7. Thus, we will gladly contend for the right to life of all persons,
born and unborn, whatever their sexual orientation. We must fight
against the idea of aborting fetuses or human embryos identified as
homosexual in orientation.
8. If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then
developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual
orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use
as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means
to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.
9. We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral
choice. We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that
does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation.
We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and
attraction are predominately chosen. We do not always (or even
generally) choose our temptations. Nevertheless, we are absolutely
responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our
so-called sexual orientation.
10. Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never
prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. We can and must insist
that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all
homosexual behavior. The general trend of the research points to at
least some biological factors behind sexual attraction, gender
identity, and sexual orientation. This does not alter God's moral
verdict on homosexual sin (or heterosexual sin, for that matter), but
it does hold some promise that a deeper knowledge of homosexuality and
its cause will allow for more effective ministries to those who
struggle with this particular pattern of temptation. If such knowledge
should ever be discovered, we should embrace it and use it for the
greater good of humanity and for the greater glory of God.
After the article went live, Mohler followed-up on 16 March that the
media twisted his premise and conclusions.
"Why? We may never know -- but the controversy represents both a
challenge and an opportunity," he blogged.
What Mohler says he did not say is that babies were born gay. "Other
articles and reports claimed that I suggested that homosexuality may be
genetic in origin and that genetic therapies should be used to create
customized and corrected babies. I never even mentioned genetic
therapies or germ-line experiments, and I am adamantly opposed to
genetic therapies of such a sort -- real or hypothetical."
Mohler reported being frustrated by the conservative Christians who
read secular headlines "without even bothering to read my article."
"I have received a great deal of hate mail from those identifying
themselves as homosexuals outraged that I believe homosexual acts to be
unconditionally sinful. But I also received mail that can only be
described as hateful from those who identified themselves as Christians
-- people who clearly had never read my article and simply jumped to
conclusions or accepted misrepresentations. Furthermore, some who
identified themselves as Christians spoke of homosexuality and
homosexuals with hate-filled language that literally made me shudder.
Do we really love sinners? Do we not understand ourselves to be sinners
saved by grace?" he asked.
Mohler simply said he was trying to open discussion on an important
topic to him.
"All manifestations of homosexuality are thus representations of human
sinfulness and rebellion against God's express will. Nothing can alter
this fact, and no discovery in science or any other human endeavor can
change God's verdict," he wrote.
He goes on to suggest that some Christians are convinced that there is
no defining sexual orientation. "There is a point to be made here. No
orientation can alter the sinful status of sinful acts. Some have
written me to say that there is no such reality as a homosexual, only
those who perform homosexual acts."
"In one article, I was said to advocate genetic therapies. I never said
that, and I resolutely oppose such proposals."
"The hypothetical question I addressed had nothing to do with genetic
factors at all. Furthermore, genetic factors are likely to be so
complex and inter-related that no single genetic factor or set of
factors is likely to be found to cause anything as complex as sexual
attraction," he wrote.
While Christians who identify as homosexual have no idea where same-sex
attraction originated, "they do know that they did not choose this
pattern of attraction. Again, that does not reduce their moral
responsibility in any way or to any degree," Mohler wrote and added
that despite that "caring Christians, fully committed to the sole
authority of the Bible, must want to help persons to understand and
deal with this specific temptation to sin."
"We must be committed to being relentless in seeking to ground our
thinking in biblical truth. The issues we face are daunting. The issue
of homosexuality will not go away. Bromides and careless thinking will
not serve the church well," he wrote.
Mohler also advises those identifying as homosexual by saying all he
can do is be clear on what the Bible reveals about God's verdict on all
homosexual acts. "Christians are called to love homosexual persons, but
we cannot love homosexuality. That is simply not an option."
Mohler added that due to e-mails he received he would take into account
how deeply some struggle with homosexuality.
Visit Mohler's website http://www.albertmohler.com
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