Re: Gay Marriage/Homosexuality

From: bivalve <>
Date: Thu Jun 10 2004 - 19:30:27 EDT

On the amount of choice, being born (or possibly determined by very early childhood influence beyond one's control) with a certain sexual orientation, etc., I suspect there's some miscommunication, including in my posts. What aspects of the condition are viewed as being innate? What implication is this thought to have? These have not been explicit in much of this discussion.

Although I am very hesitant about the claims about the scientific evidence in general, given the polarization on the issue, I would expect homosexual inclination to be as innate as heterosexual inclination. However, we do have a choice as to how to respond to these inclinations. I wonder whether either is innate as we tend to think. The example of cultures in which arranged marriages are the norm shows that our cultural emphasis on emotional attraction is not necessary.

I would note that the purported occurrences of homosexuality in animals are not necessarily favorable to a positive assessment of human homosexuality. Although some homosexual behavior of pygmy chimps and perhaps other higher primates may be a suitable analog, most animal examples seem to fall under the categories either of using sexual behavior to express social dominance or of mistaken efforts at finding an individual of the opposite sex. For example, the attempts by certain male worms to mate with their own other end is an example of stupidity, not homosexuality (not that the worm can reasonably be expected to be any smarter, and evolutionarily it makes sense as males generally have more to lose by passing up a chance to reproduce than by having unsuccessful attempts at reproducing). Neither social dominance nor inability to tell the difference seem like good justification for human homosexuality.

Another difficulty of this argument is the rather selective use of animal examples. Many patterns of animal sexuality are impossible for humans to emulate; others are clearly inadvisable. The patterns among apes are sufficiently problematic-gorillas are polygamous; chimps have incestuous polygyandry (a few closely related males and several less closely related females); male orangutang behavior has been compared to rape-not to mention more exotic examples such as the black widow spider or the many land snails that could qualify as sadists/machoists. Furthermore, the restriction of animal role models to sexuality is arbitrary. If chimps are good examples for human morality, then we ought to accept cannibalism and should go live in the jungle and eat live termites.

On the one hand, churches ought to welcome all who want to come. On the other hand, those unwilling to repent must not be allowed to remain as members; it misleads others while failing to warn the unrepentant of their danger. In fact, we should not only seek to abandon sinful ways; we should be willing to give up our rights in the interests of others (Rom. 14, etc.), even if the issue is not sinful of itself. If homosexuality is considered sinful, then a church should not condone it, though it should welcome those who are struggling with it.

With such issues, knowing someone personally may be helpful or harmful. On the one hand, it gives impetus to serious consideration of what had been an academic issue. It also helps me to see that the people involved are real people like yourself, not weird deviants. On the other hand, it makes objective decisions more difficult. It's tempting to make excuses, especially if the person is myself.

    Dr. David Campbell
    Old Seashells
    University of Alabama
    Biodiversity & Systematics
    Dept. Biological Sciences
    Box 870345
    Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0345 USA

That is Uncle Joe, taken in the masonic regalia of a Grand Exalted Periwinkle of the Mystic Order of Whelks-P.G. Wodehouse, Romance at Droitgate Spa
Received on Thu Jun 10 19:58:11 2004

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