I don’t know who you are, but I know you’re out there.
Often, when something is said here about “gay” issues, you’ll weigh in with a comment saying that the position represented amounts to “bigotry.” And you don’t seem to feel that you need to say much more than that.
Now, I won’t deny that there is some genuine bigotry out there. There are people who actually say things like “God hates fags.” Others take the idea that gay people are “born that way” and twist it into calling them “freaks of nature,” or claiming that they’re beyond the reach of change or redemption. Still others go to the opposite extreme and claim that being gay is a simple “choice,” implying that anyone could easily walk away from it.
None of that, however, is the same as what you respond to here. But, judging from your words, it seems you’re unable or unwilling to see the distinction.
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The basic position that you call ‘bigoted’ here is basically this: Same-sex attraction is not inborn or immutable, and it is not normal or healthy. Like many other sexual issues, it amounts to an attempt to use sexuality to meet needs that it was not designed to meet. It typically leads to diminished self-control, and therefore to promiscuity and disease (particularly among men). The behavior it drives does vastly more harm to “gays” than anything else does. But it can be, and often has been, recovered from through faith, accountability and discipline, just like many other life-dominating issues.
There is no hate or bigotry in this position. It is motivated, above all, by genuine concern for people’s ultimate best interests (which may, of course, conflict with their immediate desires). Nothing in it is motivated by any wish to put anyone down, reject “who someone is,” or damage anyone’s “sense of self-worth.”
It would be understandable if you tried to characterize our position as being mistaken and misguided, though sincere and well-intentioned. And it’s telling that you don’t do that. It seems that your position requires you to assume that we are not merely incorrect, but downright evil — utterly “bigoted,” “hateful” and driven by the darkest and most self-serving of motives.
After all, if you didn’t assume this, you might have to ask yourself: what if we’re right?
Speaking for myself, I wouldn’t accept this position if the evidence didn’t support it. And I’m sure many others could say the same.
As for the opposing position that you hold — that same-sex attraction is inborn, immutable and perfectly healthy — I’ve had more than enough opportunity to see any proof of it that there might be. But I have not seen proof; I’ve just seen actions that assume the proof is there. And I’ve seen emotional appeals, labored rationalizations, subtle fallacies, casual dismissal of clear facts, clever misrepresentations, contradictions, efforts to silence opposition, and so on. In other words, I’ve seen all the things that are typically done in defense of false positions.
What it comes down to is that this position is not something a person of your intelligence should be buying. And no one who really thinks about it would buy it, unless they had some very strong, overriding personal and emotional reasons.
That being said, I want to make it clear that I’m not sitting on some high horse looking down on anyone in judgment. My own sins from the past were exceedingly great, and they were driven by issues that had much in common with same-sex attraction. They involved trying to use sexuality to meet the wrong needs, and they were not quick or easy to get away from.
There was no fulfillment in what I did in the past. There was only domination over my life, the endless promise of satisfaction that never came, and the endless desire for more and more.
Would you tell me that there was nothing wrong with me in the past? That I was perfectly OK as I was? That I should never have tried to get away from my issues? I hope you wouldn’t presume to try.
In the same way, no one has any business telling someone with same-sex attractions that they’re perfectly OK as they are, or that they can’t and shouldn’t try to overcome it.
Of course, not all people with same-sex attractions are going to seek to overcome them. That’s their choice, and if they make the wrong choice they will live (and die) with the consequences. But some would try to take away from them any option to make the right choice. And that’s as unloving as it gets. Anyone who really cares about “gays” would try to show them that there’s a better way to live.
I’ve seen the lives of men who successfully got away from the “gay” lifestyle, through faith in Jesus Christ. I’ve also seen the lives of men who didn’t. And the contrast is like day and night.
As for those who did, I know that your position requires you to insist that they aren’t real, or that their experiences aren’t real. But you might as well try to tell me that my own experiences aren’t real. All you’ll be doing is showing what you haven’t seen and are unwilling to see.
When they were led away from the “gay” lifestyle, through faith in their Creator, it was like they stepped into the sunlight after living in a cave lit by a 4-watt bulb, which they had thought was the brightest place they could ever be. You would say that they were just “denying who they really were.” They would say they discovered who they really were.
You can try to explain away people who have overcome same-sex attraction. You can claim that they “never really changed” or that they “were never really gay,” depending on which seems to fit a given case the best.
You can point out how the desires involved are deep-seated and don’t exactly go away overnight. If you do, then you’re saying the same things that can be said about all manner of life-dominating behavioral issues — all of which people have recovered from, and all of which you would insist have nothing in common with same-sex attraction.
As for men I’ve seen who stayed in the “gay” lifestyle, they just kept doing basically what you would encourage them to do. And I’ve seen it kill some of them physically. I’ve seen it kill them inside. I’ve seen it take away everything from them that it could. I’ve seen how it burdened them with deep inner conflict that was there regardless of others’ reactions to them.
One of these men, when dying from AIDS, went out of his way to warn as many young people as possible to stay away from a life like his. Would you prefer that he didn’t warn them? Would you prefer for some of them to have gone the way he did?
Opposition to homosexuality doesn’t harm homosexuals; homosexuality itself does. It leads to disease and it shortens lives; and where it doesn’t manage to do that, it still dominates lives and stands in the way of people being where their Creator intended them to be.
That’s the reality, and throwing around words like “bigotry” isn’t going to hide that — at least not from anyone who is willing to see.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.