5 My Response to Georgia

I have long thought that Mom was more the preacher than Dad.  I certainly take a lot of Mom’s character in that respect, and I note a lot of similarity in style as well as sentiment in your letters, mine and hers.  I think also we have inherited from both of our parents a spirit of sincerity and compassion.  And I appreciate your letter and your willingness to share it.  I will share (hopefully briefly) my difficulty with the “standard” church arguments against homosexuality and other orientation issues.

As to sexual orientation, the focus in the church has long been on homosexuality: choice or imposition.  As I look at the broader issue, I wonder about the hermaphrodite which is neither addressed, to my knowledge, by the Bible or the stated church positions on homosexuality.  Regarding it, a long standing medical practice has been to select a sex for that infant early so the child will not grow up confused and subject to ridicule, often later to find that the wrong choice was apparently made for that child, and that the process destroyed the sensations that are part of being human: akin to making the child a eunuch.  No one can argue that such individuals exist and they did not choose the dilemma.  The trans-sexual I know at church has XXY chromosomes: genetically that person has the wiring for both male and female.  For my friend, the male mentality predominated but also the female genitalia.  His condition and XXXY are called Klinefelter’s syndrome.  How would we handle that situation if that was our assigned inheritance?  Are we really in a position to judge his choice in a matter that does not affect us?  Turner’s syndrome is a condition in which an individual has one X and no Y chromosome, thus they are neither an XY male or a XX female. In addition, the gonads degenerate before birth. In most respects the person will be anatomically female, which is the initial course of all human development, however without hormone treatment there will be no secondary sexual characteristics.  Would the introduction of hormone treatment be a trans-sexual act and sinful insofar as it changes the state?  I wonder what the religious arguments would do to contribute to the lives and spirituality of these people.

What if these people, as my friend, profess the Christian faith but they don’t fit the normal pattern on the inside, on the outside or in their feelings or behavior.  Are we to assume that despite their professed sincerity they are ignorant and nonetheless persist in their sin?  Given those genetic and physical ambiguities, which can be objectively determined, and about which no one can reasonably argue, I wonder how clear really is the distinction assumed by the religious arguments.  I wonder, how much are we really in the position to judge any of these persons?  My position is that healthy judgment is for the purpose of making choices for one’s own life, as we are not in a position to make those choices for another.

Finally, I believe that when Jesus says, in Matthew 25:31-46 that those who were kind to the suffering [with no regard to any faith at all] shall enter into the Kingdom but those who do not, [with no exception for “right belief”]  shall go to eternal punishment, he mentioned examples of those who suffered and did not provide an exclusive list.  I believe he would have included the hermaphrodite, the XXY and XXXY, the sexually confused and the oppressed homosexual in that group deserving of our loving help.  Whereas one can cite Paul and other Biblical sources for the proposition that homosexuality is a sin, does anyone want to judge them, exclude them or just plain ignore them on that basis at the risk of eternal punishment?  It seems to me both kinder and safer just to accept them and love them as they are.

Love, Rob


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5 My Response to Georgia

2 New year greeting of 2009

2009 New Year Greeting!

I don’t usually send New Year Greetings, but certain experiences of this past year struck me that I am now ready to share.

I had some experiences last year that reaffirmed past experiences and beliefs, and that raise issues that presently challenge our churches, our families and our society: that of sexual orientation and our reactions and responses to it.  Our associate pastor called me to see if I would be willing to talk to a trans-sexual member of our church who wanted to change the name of his daughter, to whom he had given birth.  . . .  It was confusing, as you can imagine.  I didn’t know the circumstances, but I knew him to be a Christian, a spiritual person, loving, and a member of our Sunday School class.  So, I helped him.   We have a lesbian or two in our church (“don’t ask, don’t tell).

I remember a good friend in Omaha that taught band in one of the junior high schools.  I took piano lessons from Don on Saturday mornings.  Often, during the lesson, his boyfriend emerged from the bedroom.  I never felt threatened by Don, but genuinely appreciated him as a friend and for his musical talents.  I think of how Tchaikovsky tried to be “straight,” married a woman that he hid from in fear, and tried to commit suicide because he felt forced to be someone contrary to his nature.  Much beauty was created by that tormented soul.  And I think of a boy in elementary school who is quite effeminite in his behaviors.  What does his future hold?

I know the subject is divisive and I know many of the arguments on both sides. But they are only arguments that too often obscure real persons who, our Christian belief says, are loved by God.  I see in the Old Testament that homosexuality is an abomination, but so is eating shrimp or pork (which I love) and a host of other things; that the homosexual is to be stoned as, also, a recalcitrant son (not good for me to live then); that God commanded his people not to kill but then told them to kill certain others and even to exterminate people that they found already living in “their” Promised Land together with their children and even their livestock (that battle is ongoing and no one seems willing or able to stop it).  I note that in places Paul authorizes judgment of homosexuals as well as a number of other people, but that Jesus said not to judge lest we be judged, to love our neighbor, and not to be a stumbling block to those who believe.

I am hopeful that the Christian community and our society, generally, can stop judging people for sexual orientation, which they don’t understand and irrationally fear, and which does not affect them personally.  I hope that people, particularly those of the Church who claim Christ’s example, can genuinely appreciate and celebrate our many differences.

Then I think of C.S. Lewis’s book, “Surprised by Joy.”  I hope you are surprised by joy this year.

Love, Rob


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2 New year greeting of 2009

Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology

See  http://www.jeramyt.org/gay/gayhealth.html for the source of the article, below.

Homosexuality is Not a Pathology

 1) Professional Opinions

One of the primary turning points in the official acceptance of the healthy mental status of homosexuals came in 1973 when the American Psychiatric Association voted to remove homosexuality from the DSM-IV, the primary tool used by psychiatrists to diagnose patients with various mental illnesses.

Historically, psychoanalysts have been the primary opponents to the depathologization of homosexuality in the 1973 APA decision, Socarides and Bieber being by far the most vocal opponents of the decision. However, in a recent survey of psychoanalysts (n=82; Friedman) they found that “no respondents strongly endorsed the type of pathological model proposed by Socarides” (p. 84), and that “the responses of the group as a whole were more towards a health than illness model.”

2) Gay Relationships

a) 40-60% of gay men, and 45-80% of lesbians are in a steady relationship

b) Studies of older homosexual people show that gay relationships lasting over 20 years are not uncommon

c) In a large sample of couples followed for 18 months the following “break up” statistics were observed: lesbians=22%, gay=16%, cohabiting heterosexuals=17%, married heterosexuals=4%

d) Homosexual and heterosexual couples matched on age, etc, tend not to differ in levels of love and satisfaction, nor in their scores on other standardized scales

e) gay/lesbian parents report no greater stress than heterosexuals, and children are not adversely affected by being raised by homosexual families

3) Homosexuals are no more promiscuous or predatory than heterosexuals

Statistical research indicates that gay men may have fewer number of sexual partners than heterosexuals.

c) Homosexuals are NOT more likely to be child molesters. In a random sample of 175 child sex offenders 76% report having exclusive adult heterosexual behavior, and 24% report having adult bisexual behavior. The sexual attraction towards children is a pathology unrelated to sexual orientation.

4) Psychological Testing Affirms the Mental Health of Homosexuals

This represents the evidence that homosexuality is not pathological, and comes from studies that were primarily done in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. There were a flurry of studies done after the classical study by Evelyn Hooker in 1957, which produced the large body of studies from the 60’s -70’s. Then the studies dwindle down as the 80’s progress, and very few studies can be found in the 90’s. This is because all of the evidence is convergent, so no further studies were warranted, and the conclusion was that homosexuality evidenced no pathological characteristics that were significantly different from heterosexuals.


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Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality Is Not a Pathology