by Bob Wheeler
Hillary Clinton recently delivered a speech in which she declared, “To just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I would call the basket of deplorables. The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic – you name it” (Wall St. Journal, Sept. 12, 2016). It is a comment that is probably all too typical of the elitist mentality of America’s privileged class.
But what exactly did she mean by “homophobic”? The dictionary defines “homophobia” as the “unreasoning fear of or antipathy toward homosexuals and homosexuality” (Random House Webster’s, 1991). Christians, of course, if they are at all trying to be faithful to Scripture, regard homosexuality as a sin. But does this constitute “homophobia”? Is this an “unreasoning antipathy toward homosexuals”?
We most certainly do think that homosexuality is sinful; but that does not mean that we hate LGBT people. The fact of the matter is that all of us as human beings are fallen sinners. And we are called upon to love our neighbors as ourselves – even our enemies. But granted that we are to love LGBT people, how should we treat them? What is the most compassionate and humane way to deal with them?
The answer is not to encourage them in their sin. That would only lead them to their eternal destruction. Rather what we should seek is their redemption. Human society functions on the basis of a male / female dynamic. Happy, well-adjusted people learn how to function successfully in that environment. Seen from that perspective LGBT people are profoundly maladjusted.
But why do some people turn out to be “gay” in the first place? The answer is not, as some would have us to believe, that they are born that way. There is no hard scientific evidence for the existence of a “gay gene”; and there are, in fact, cases of identical twins in which one twin turned out to be “gay” and the other “straight.”
What, then, causes the difference? Interestingly a compelling explanation comes from no less a secular liberal than the celebrated feminist author Simone de Beauvoir. She devotes an entire chapter of her famous book The Second Sex (Vintage, 1974) to the subject of lesbianism. In it she makes the interesting observation that “Sexologists and psychiatrists confirm the common observation that the majority of female ‘homos’ are in constitution quite like other women. Their sexuality is in no way determined by anatomical ‘fate’” (p. 451). “The psychoanalysts have strongly emphasized the importance of early relations established between the homosexual woman and her mother” (p. 463). (Either the mother was overprotective or abusive). De Beauvoir then concludes that “there is never a single determining factor; it is always a matter of choice, arrived at in a complex total situation and based upon a free decision; no sexual fate governs the life of the individual woman: her type of eroticism, on the contrary, expresses her general outlook on life.” “Environmental circumstances, however, have a considerable influence on the choice” (p. 466). Her final conclusion is that homosexuality “is an attitude chosen in a certain situation – that is, at once motivated and freely adopted” (p. 473).
[It has to be borne in mind, however, that as an Existentialist and feminist De Beauvoir is concerned to show that a female gender role is not determined by anything intrinsic to a woman’s being, but is imposed upon her by the surrounding society. This may partially explain why she goes to such pains to argue that sexual orientation is a matter of external circumstances and voluntary choice. And yet we are undeniably responsible for the way we react to our circumstances.]
That being the case, what is the most humane and compassionate way to treat LGBT people? What is in their own genuine best interest? In her campaign book Stronger Together Mrs. Clinton says she want to “Demand equality for the LGBT community” (p. 220). She says, among other things, that she wants to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the list of protected classes. She wants to “continue President Obama’s LGBT equality executive actions.” And she says “we will end so-called conversion therapy, the harmful practice of trying to ‘cure’ LGBT and gender-questioning young people” (p. 221). In other words, she wants society to treat homosexuality as a normal, healthy, and legally protected lifestyle.
But that would create the perception that, as far a sexual conduct goes. Anything and everything between consenting adults is permitted. And that, in turn, would create even more social problems. The “Sexual Revolution” has already left countless children in single parent homes, usually with no positive male role models..
Simply allowing people to indulge in their sexual fantasies does little to help them to become well-adjusted members of human society. Nor does it deal with the underlying emotional traumas that led to the homosexual behavior in the first place. And for parents not to give guidance to their “LGBT and gender-questioning young people” is nothing less than criminal neglect. Thus accepting homosexuality as somehow normal places both society and the gay person at risk. The most compassionate thing we can do to help a gay person is to help him confront the emotional scars of his past and accept his or her biological identity as either male or female. Only then can he become a happy, well-adjusted member of human society.
But the real solution is salvation in Christ. In salvation a person repents of his sins, commits his life to Christ, receives forgiveness, and is inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit. “. . . knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:6; NKJV). The past becomes irrelevant. The only real question is, what kind of person does God want me to be today? And we learn to deal with the traumas of the past in a godly, Christ-like way.
What is needed is individual healing, not more social dysfunction. Salvation is not “homophobia.”