How to destroy a culture part 1
John Meacham, the editor of Newsweek in commenting about Lisa Miller’s article shows just how irresponsible Newsweek has become as a news organization. Sadly, the misrepresentation and methods of irrational discourse create a more hostile environment. When people can no longer reason rationally what is left is emotional appeal, anger, hardening of heart, and eventually violence. We are seeing this kind of escalation in our culture now and it will only get worse.
I will review several of his points and point out how he sets the stage for an irrational form of discourse and false attacks. You can read his comments in full here.
After some obligatory comments, Meacham makes this blanket statement:
“Briefly put, the Judeo-Christian religious case for supporting gay marriage begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice—a matter of behavior—but is as intrinsic to a person’s makeup as skin color. The analogy with race is apt, for Christians in particular long cited scriptural authority to justify and perpetuate slavery with the same certitude that some now use to point to certain passages in the Bible to condemn homosexuality and to deny the sacrament of marriage to homosexuals.”
What Meacham in one simple statement has done is unjustifiably set the groundwork of the discussion with no proof either from science or the Bible. If one were to accept this presupposition, then all argumentation would already be over, and the conclusions he seeks would already be accepted. It might be equivalent to a flat-earth creationist saying that the Christian discussion begins with the fact that God only works in two dimensions.
The very idea of “sexual orientation” as an identity issue is foreign to biblical revelation, therefore a Bible-believing Christian should at the very least be highly skeptical of a position that sets this as the groundwork of discussion. As I posted earlier, in the book Marriage on Trial, by Glenn T. Stanton and Dr. Bill Maier, published by IVP press in 2004. On p.15 they discuss the difference in attitudes on this issue historically in America as described by Mark Steyn, in the Chicago Sun-Times in an article entitled “There’s No Stopping Them Now”
“Steyn explains that historically, moral concern for sexual activity between two persons of the same sex was identified as sodomy, an act. And an act is what it is. You can either think it is a good idea or you can think it is bad. Either way, it’s very objective. It’s what someone does. Then, Styen explains, in the late nineteenth century the act was re-described as a condition of certain persons, and it was termed ‘homosexuality’ – a condition a person is in. Next, a few decades ago homosexuality got upgraded again, now referring to a person’s very identity, so that we now identify people as being or not being ‘gay’. Now it describes who a person is. Steyn explains: ‘Each formulation raises the stakes: One can object to and even criminalize an act; one is obligated to be sympathetic toward a condition; but once it’s a fully-fledged 24/7 identity, like being Hispanic or Inuit, anything less than wholehearted acceptance gets you marked down as a bigot.’ This is where so many good people get stuck. If being gay is a person’s identity, how can you object to what they do without objecting to who they are? We find ourselves torn between our desire to treat other people as we would want to be treated, the golden rule, and our un-comfortableness with homosexuality. Thus we seem to have one foot on the dock and other on the boat heading out for sea.”
I challenge John Meacham or any other to show where any Biblical author recognizes “sexual orientation” as some form of acceptable God-created condition of being. If it is God created, then by definition (Genesis 1) it is good, and should be recognized this way somewhere in the God-breathed scriptures. The Bible speaks of homosex behavior always in a very negative manner. At the most Scripture would recognize homosex desires as a sinful fallen “condition”, but nowhere do the scriptures speak of a “sexual orientation” as an innate God-given quality.
If the Bible does not indicate a “sexual orientation”, does science help? As I have indicated in a blog entry before, The American Psychiatric Association states in their Fact Sheet on Sexual Orientation (2000) that “there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality”. Three major scientific studies set out for the stated purpose of proving that homosexuality was genetic – Dr. Simon LeVay and the study of the INAH-3 in the hypothalamus, Dr. Richard Pillard and Michael Bailey’s twin study, and Dr. Gene Hamer and the Xq28 chromosome study. Despite the fact that when the results of these studies were released, some news sources stated that the studies proved that homosexuality was genetic, the reality is that the authors of the three studies stated emphatically that their research did not conclude that there was an identifiable “gay gene”. These studies had the goal of proving a “gay gene” but found there to be no conclusive evidence of such. Remember, these were not objective studies, but ones attempting to prove what they presupposed, and still they could not do so. Even if sometime in the future there could be found some kind of genetic predisposition, it would still not show “homosexual identity” but only a condition, much like alcoholism (to which there is evidence of a genetic predisposition). Therefore, the issue is nothing like “skin color”.
If the Bible does not support his contention of a starting point of sexual orientation and neither does science, what possible ground does Mr. Meacham have for contending that “…the Judeo-Christian religious case for supporting gay marriage begins with the recognition that sexual orientation is not a choice—a matter of behavior—but is as intrinsic to a person’s makeup as skin color”? My contention is that he has no ground for doing so whatsoever. Rather, this is an attempt set the foreground of the discussion so that the conclusions he desires are inevitable. This is a dishonest and irrational methodology that destroys social discourse rather than creating it.
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