By Dr. Robert Gagnon – BarbWire guest contributor
When Christian singer Vicky Beeching disclosed a self-affirmed identity as a lesbian on Aug. 14 in an extensive interview with the British newspaper The Independent (“Vicky Beeching, Christian rock star ‘I’m gay. God loves me just the way I am”), she happily used the media to the fullest to attack the historic Christian stance on a male-female foundation for marriage. On her webpage she now has a whole section devoted to her “Coming Out” which provides over seventy links to media “covering Vicky’s coming out story” for the dates Aug. 14 -21.
I responded with an article in the online Christian Post, “Christian Singer Vicky Beeching Appeals to God’s Love to Justify Her Lesbianism” (Aug. 19). Perhaps not surprisingly, she omits this article. She knows about it though. Ms. Beeching tweeted her followers the same day with this message and a link to my article. “It’s tough when strangers psychoanalyse you about ‘why you’re gay.’ Theologian Robert Gagnon wrote this about me” (with link). She also knows about my work on the Bible and homosexuality. In a post dated June 23, “LGBT Theology: What does the Bible say?”, she cites a number of works in favor of homosexual unions but only one work that upholds the historic Christian stance:
It’s also worth reading a few books that uphold the traditionalist view, just to see where others are coming from and how their arguments can seem strong until they are reassessed. A classic text is Robert Gagnon’s “The Bible and Homosexual Practice.” I disagree with his conclusions, but I see great value in reading opposing views to know how and why others see things differently.
Trending: Is the Church Becoming Too Political?
I suspect the omission of my article on her website is due to the fact that that she doesn’t want too many people to read it. That, in turn, is because she doesn’t know how to respond to it, except by a curt offhand comment designed to divert attention away from the substance of the article. Put simply, to characterize what I wrote as “psychoanalysis by a stranger” misrepresents what I wrote. It deflects from having to address the real problems with the use of her life story as a basis for distorting Scripture and nature. What I address is the illogic of her presentation.
Since it would be sad and unfortunate for Ms. Beeching (and others) to miss the major point of the article, a bit of clarification is in order. As I noted in the article, I am sympathetic to what Ms. Beeching has had to go through in her personal life. Everyone’s “cross to bear” is different. I neither minimize her suffering and difficulties, nor magnify these as the greatest test of endurance that God has placed on a believer. Moreover, I do not claim to know all the causation factors in Vicky Beeching’s same-sex attractions, much less the exact proportion of each factor (something which even Ms. Beeching can’t know with certitude). Yet I do think that it is possible to know a number of things about what Ms. Beeching is peddling, apart from knowing Ms. Beeching personally.
It doesn’t require personal acquaintance with Ms. Beeching to know that her theological rationalization for why everyone (including God) must embrace “gay marriage” and approve of her entering into a homosexual union is not well thought through from a biblical-theological perspective. Hopefully Ms. Beeching does not think that she is entitled to criticize those who believe in Jesus’ view of a male-female requirement for sexual unions, while exempting her own position from critique. Moreover, it would not be fair for her to use the circumstances of her life to push a case for “gay marriage” and then to exempt such circumstances from any evaluation.
It doesn’t require individual knowledge of Ms. Beeching to know that she errs when she regards another woman as her “other half,” as her sexual complement or counterpart since obviously she is whole as a woman and is not in need of joining herself to another woman to supplement whatever she may falsely perceive to be lacking in her femaleness. That is a given, so long as her existence as a woman is not questioned (and I, for one, do not question it). It is obvious that, sexually speaking, the appropriate counterpart to a woman (anatomically, physiologically, psychologically) is a man, not another woman. I do not need to know Ms. Beeching personally to know the truth of that, which incidentally is clear from the Genesis creation texts and presupposed by Jesus in his teaching on sexual ethics (to say nothing of nature).
By way of analogy, it does not require personal knowledge of someone who lives out of polyamorous attractions and who pushes for the citizenry to provide formal supports for such behavior to assert that such a one violates the obvious logic of the twoness of the sexual bond given in the duality of the sexes. And yet a homosexual union violates directly the very foundation of “male and female God made them” upon which Jesus bases a limitation of two persons to a sexual union, since it disposes altogether with a male-female requirement.
Nor does one need personal knowledge of someone who falls in love with an adult close-kin (sibling, parent) in order to maintain that such a one errs in viewing as a complement on the familial level someone who in (biblical terms) is already too much of the same “flesh.” This is clearly a sexual union that entails excessive structural (formal, embodied) sameness. And yet the degree of excessive sameness in a homosexual union is greater still. Adult incestuous bonds at least have a capacity for procreation, albeit with greater incidence of birth defects. Homosexual unions are structurally incapable of procreating altogether because, obviously, the sexual sameness of the participants is greater.
It does not require personal knowledge of Ms. Beeching to know that in being erotically aroused by what she shares in common with another woman (i.e., the essential nature of femaleness) she is finding an exotic attraction in another person whose sex or gender is not in fact exotic to her own. In viewing herself as “completed” sexually in union with the same sex, it follows logically that she does not view her own femaleness as intact. And yet the image of marriage in Genesis 2 is that the two halves of the sexual spectrum, man and woman, reunite into a single, integrated sexual whole. She is already intact in relation to her own sex; it’s the other half of the sexual spectrum that she doesn’t have covered.
From the same-sex character of the union, it follows that in being aroused by the essential femaleness of another woman she is seeking to “absorb in another woman what she perceives to be lacking in herself.” She “wishes that she were the women to whom she is attracted.” When a man and a woman unite, they don’t wish to be the other. Rather, they rightly recognize their respective sexes or genders to be compatible in relation to a true “other,” sexually speaking (and not only “other” as an individual). But when one is aroused by the distinctive features of one’s own sex, there is a sense of seeking to supplement what one does not recognize in oneself. The question then arises as to why any given individual would view one’s own sex or gender as incomplete in relation to one’s own sex when clearly such a perception of incompleteness is false.
Here it does make good sense to deal with an error of thinking. Desires may or may not be significantly reduced in intensity by a renewal of the mind in accordance with the truth of the way God made us. But better management of such desires is possible when the rationale that gives them legitimacy is confronted. I can say to innate urges that are at cross purposes with the way God made me: “You are not my master; I will not be controlled by you because what you lead me to do is untrue to the way I am made (‘inauthentic’).” I may not be able to eliminate a desire entirely (usually I do not) but I can confront it with truth.
When desires that do not reflect reality remain persistent and intense, it is “perhaps” of “benefit” to “explore” why such desires continue to exert such a hold on one’s life. Here I find that “past wounds,” “a deep sense of inferiority and shame,” and “a perceived deficit in affirmation” play a major role in any stranglehold such passions continue to have, irrespective of originating cause.
If Ms. Beeching wants to flick off such claims as “psychoanalysis by a stranger,” she may do so. Yet even her same-sex attractions have features that are common to the human condition generally and can be dealt with accordingly. The point is to examine and expose the inauthenticity of desires that contradict the intentional handiwork of our Creator. Not even Ms. Beeching is exempt from that, however many kudos she receives from a Western culture that has become skillful in suppressing the truth about the way God made us (Romans 1:18-27).
Dr. Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Abingdon Press), and co-author of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Fortress Press). His website address is www.robgagnon.net.
First published at ChristianPost.com
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.