The release of the movie Kinsey and the continuing growth of bisexuality as a visible and publicized aspect of culture presents a very interesting dilemma for the gay rights movement. Are they sure they want us to listen to the bisexual community?
For years, I have done a unit on homosexuality and Christianity in my Bible classes. I’ve done a lot to show the logic of the argument that gays are “born that way.” The resort to determinism is the avenue to victim status and the resulting sympathetic rush to establish rights based on sexual preference.
But this is not always helpful logic. Clearly, all homosexuals are not born that way. Significant numbers of lesbians particularly attest to their intentional or temporary choice to be lesbian or bisexual. (Think Anne Hache’s “straight, gay, straight” journey.) My years of working at a boarding school reinforce my belief that when put into a same-sex environment, same-sex experimentation will result with both genders, and this has nothing to do with being “born that way.” It is more the case that “necessity is the mother of invention.” The same behavior is produced by trauma or persuasion to experiment, or other causes that are not determined by genetics.
Surely gay rights advocates know that all that homosexuality in prison is hardly about being “born that way?”
Which means that as revolted as we might be by Kinsey’s research methods, he wasn’t entirely wrong. Kinsey said that human sexual attraction and behavior exist on a line with homesexuality on one extreme and heterosexuality on the other. (We could draw the same line with other factors as well.) Kinsey said that throughout human life, our sexual behavior varies along this line in response to a number of factors. I completely agree. I find that curious teenagers or liberated types or those who have been molested or people with particular circumtances are quite likely to engage in homosexual behavior at some time or another.
And it doesn’t make them “homosexuals” who were “born that way.”
Just for the record, I absolutely accept the possibility of being born with a strong attraction toward the same sex. While I believe the case hasn’t been flawlessly made, I can say that such an assertion is consistent with the Christian view of a post-fall world. I believe we are all born with a potentially “movable” sexual orientation, but we all start out somewhere along the line. How does this effect behavior….and the morality of that behavior? Well, behavior is a mixture of rational and irrational factors, determinism and freedom. Morality isn’t a question of predesposition, but of God, creation and revelation. When homosexual advocates say it is all about biological determinism, they are not considering all the facts….or all those who engage in homosexual behavior at some time.
It is interesting that “Being” a homosexual is one of the more deterministic social quests in our culture. What is the logic of telling a 14 year old boy who has experimented with homosexuality that he “must” be “born that way?” We’ve known for years that same sex experimentation is common, but gay advocates will have that young person in a support group, a special school and whatever else will reenforce the message that any same sex act means the person is a homosexual. Does this really make sense? I see a number of young people who identify themselves as gay simply because they immediately enter a victim group and receive attention for themselves. Do gay advocates have the honesty to admit that human beings aren’t quite as predetermined as they want us to believe?