Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Christian Grace

In the old days people held themselves to a standard of treating others as they wished to be treated. Something went wrong along the way since those days and we are left with what we have now; a world filled with contempt for our neighbors. Among my cyber-travels I've come across many blogs that appear to be Christian on the surface, but when looked at more closely are nothing more than a outlet of hatred for those who contribute to vent their anger. One such blog I've come across is that of Jay G. called Defend the Faith.

I have posted numerous times there and I'm always greeted with the utmost hostility from his readers, which was one of the reasons I had stopped visiting. I've been asked sexual questions worded in such a vile way Jay himself had removed the post. The basic idea seems that since I am a "sodomite" as they have called me, I am completely unworthy,I hate God, and disrespect everything they find important.

Since Jay found it in his heart to mention me in his prayers on his blog I felt I should come back to his site and talk there further. I challenged Jay G. on his front page endorsement of nationally listed hate group MassResistance, and our exchanges began. In the last volley of posts I challenged Jay and his readers to look past our differences and see if there are things we might work upon together for the good of all. I used a metaphor for the Good Samaritan, saying that "if I were in a car driving by you and you were broken down, would you wave me on when I stopped, or would you allow me to help you?" A reader named Richard B. responded with:

We haven't turned our back on you. We just refuse to justify you in your mortal sin. Because we haven't turned our backs on you, we are standing by the side of the road shouting at the tops of our lungs, "Watch out John Hosty, you're heading for a cliff."

Your response? You step on the gas and give us the finger as you sip from a can of beer and laugh at how "ignorant" we are.

How will this story end? For you, badly I'm afraid.


Another reader named William states:

"John Hosty hates God and neighbor."

There are many passages in the Bible that say one thing only to be contradicted by another part of the Bible. There are also ancient laws that we simply no longer follow like Leviticus 19:19 that states we should not ear any clothing that is made from two different materials. There are many other examples of archaic laws while you read some of the points used to defend DTF's stance:

Lev. 18:22, "You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination."

Lev. 20:13, "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them"

1 Cor. 6:9-10, "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Rom. 1:26-28, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper."


My point of contention has never really been to argue these points, but rather to challenge people on how they personally behave. That point of discussion has been met with much reluctance. More often than not I am simply redirected back to the Bible passages listed above and reminded that I am a son of Satan (so to speak). There seems to be a lack of accountability for personal behavior, and I am wondering why? I've always contended that Christ is the Prince of Peace. That His call for us as Christians was to go out there and be His light so that other might find the joy we see in Him. Yet when I try to bring up these points my words fall on deaf ears, so I look for passages in the Bible that might help guide their hearts in the right direction. One such passage is Romans 14 (American Standard Version):

1 But him that is weak in faith receive ye, yet not for decision of scruples.

2 One man hath faith to eat all things: but he that is weak eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth set at nought him that eateth not; and let not him that eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest the servant of another? to his own lord he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be made to stand; for the Lord hath power to make him stand.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord: and he that eateth, eateth unto the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, unto the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.

9 For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 But thou, why dost thou judge thy brother? or thou again, why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment-seat of God.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, to me every knee shall bow, And every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then each one of us shall give account of himself to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge ye this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock in his brother's way, or an occasion of falling.

14 I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself: save that to him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

15 For if because of meat thy brother is grieved, thou walkest no longer in love. Destroy not with thy meat him for whom Christ died.

16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

18 For he that herein serveth Christ is well-pleasing to God, and approved of men.

19 So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things whereby we may edify one another.

20 Overthrow not for meat's sake the work of God. All things indeed are clean; howbeit it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good not to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor to do anything whereby thy brother stumbleth.

22 The faith which thou hast, have thou to thyself before God. Happy is he that judgeth not himself in that which he approveth.

23 But he that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith; and whatsoever is not of faith is sin.


Now it does seem a little hard to interpret, but the basic message is not to judge others, not to become an obstacle in some one's path to God, and to love your neighbor in spite of his differences, helping each other towards God. Here's what Jay G. had to say on the passage:

Romans 14 is about Jewish dietary laws and how or if they should apply to Christians, and about the possibility of eating with Gentiles who were pagans who may have sacrificed their animals to a false god, and whether or not eating at their banquets would cause scandal.


Since this is not the first time Jay G. and I have had this argument and not resolved it fully, let's post the interpretation of BibleGateway.com:

The Jewish converts cautioned against judging, and Gentile believers against despising one the other.

Differences of opinion prevailed even among the immediate followers of Christ and their disciples. Nor did St. Paul attempt to end them. Compelled assent to any doctrine, or conformity to outward observances without being convinced, would be hypocritical and of no avail. Attempts for producing absolute oneness of mind among Christians would be useless. Let not Christian fellowship be disturbed with strifes of words.

It will be good for us to ask ourselves, when tempted to disdain and blame our brethren; Has not God owned them? and if he has, dare I disown them? Let not the Christian who uses his liberty, despise his weak brother as ignorant and superstitious. Let not the scrupulous believer find fault with his brother, for God accepted him, without regarding the distinctions of meats. We usurp the place of God, when we take upon us thus to judge the thoughts and intentions of others, which are out of our view. The case as to the observance of days was much the same.

Those who knew that all these things were done away by Christ's coming, took no notice of the festivals of the Jews. But it is not enough that our consciences consent to what we do; it is necessary that it be certified from the word of God. Take heed of acting against a doubting conscience. We are all apt to make our own views the standard of truth, to deem things certain which to others appear doubtful. Thus Christians often despise or condemn each other, about doubtful matters of no moment.

A thankful regard to God, the Author and Giver of all our mercies, sanctifies and sweetens them.


I also found a more plainly put Romans 14, this time in the New Life Version:

Help Weak Christians
1 If there is someone whose faith is weak, be kind and receive him. Do not argue about what he thinks. 2 One man believes he may eat everything. Another man with weak faith eats only vegetables. 3 The man who eats everything should not think he is better than the one who eats only vegetables. The man who eats only vegetables should not say the other man is wrong, because God has received him. 4 Who are you to tell another person's servant if he is right or wrong? It is to his owner that he does good or bad. The Lord is able to help him.
5 One man thinks one day is more important than another. Another man thinks every day is the same. Every man must be sure in his own mind. 6 The man who worships on a special day does it to honor the Lord. The man who eats meat does it to honor the Lord. He gives thanks to God for what he eats. The other man does not eat meat. In this way, he honors the Lord. He gives thanks to God also.

7 No one lives for himself alone. No one dies for himself alone. 8 If we live, it is for the Lord. If we die, it is for the Lord. If we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 Christ died and lived again. This is why He is the Lord of the living and of the dead. 10 Why do you try to say your Christian brother is right or wrong? Why do you hate your Christian brother? We will all stand before God to be judged by Him. 11 The Holy Writings say, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before Me. And every tongue will say that I am God." 12 Everyone of us will give an answer to God about himself.

Your Christian Brother
13 So you should stop saying that you think other people are wrong. Instead, decide to live so that your Christian brother will not have a reason to trip or fall into sin because of you. 14 Christ has made me know that everything in itself is clean. But if a person thinks something is not clean, then to him it is not clean. 15 If your Christian brother is hurt because of some foods you eat, then you are no longer living by love. Do not destroy the man for whom Christ died by the food you eat. 16 Do not let what is good for you be talked about as bad. 17 For the holy nation of God is not food and drink. It is being right with God. It is peace and joy given by the Holy Spirit. 18 If you follow Christ in these things, God will be happy with you. Men will think well of you also.
19 Work for the things that make peace and help each other become stronger Christians. 20 Do not destroy what God has done just because of some food. All food is good to eat. But it is wrong to eat anything that will make someone fall into sin. 21 Do not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it would make your Christian brother fall into sin. 22 Keep the faith you have between yourself and God. A man is happy if he knows he is doing right. 23 But if he has doubts about the food he eats, God says he is guilty when he eats it. It is because he is eating without faith. Anything that is not done in faith is sin.


There are those who will never give you respect.
There are those who will give you respect only after you give them respect first.
There are those who give less respect than they get.
There are those who give respect before it is given.
There are those who give respect no matter how disrespectful someone is to them.

Let us all identify and own up to how we act, and challenge ourselves to achieve true Christian grace no matter how challenging our paths might be. Let no opportunity to be the change you wish to see in the world escape you, and let us all learn from the times we fail.

37 comments:

John said...

Excellent work, Reverend.

I wouldn't dare add to your words of wisdom.

Paul Jamieson said...

You should just write your own "version" of the Bible Hosty and you will be all set!

You can call it "The Secular Progressive Version"

Or the "Word according to Hosty" version

Or the "I'm special and I need my own" version

Or the "whatever it takes to tone down the harsh reality of the real version" version

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Thanks John! Paul, thanks for your input. I'm sure you know how much I value it.

SCIA said...

John,

If you can translate 1 Corinthians 6:9 than I will continue to engage in civil discourse with you on my blog or your blog, whatever:

"9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."

I look forward to what you have to say. Go to my blog if you would for your response.

Thanks,
Scia

John said...

SCIA, no serious bible scholar doubts what 16-9 is saying, just the interpretation.

Even using your favorite translation, NIV, there is a condemnation of homosexual offenders, not homosexuality.

And it takes very little effort to learn what Paul was talking about. Again ALL serious scholars know it.

For example, this is from the website of the American Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Not news, I learned it when I was in high school. Even the Catholic Church knows full well that their stance on homosexuality is not biblical, but merely traditional.

THIS is what the RCC says regarding 6:9.

3 [9] The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes may refer to catamites, i.e., boys or young men who were kept for purposes of prostitution, a practice not uncommon in the Greco-Roman world. In Greek mythology this was the function of Ganymede, the "cupbearer of the gods," whose Latin name was Catamitus. The term translated Sodomites refers to adult males who indulged in homosexual practices with such boys. See similar condemnations of such practices in Romans 1:26-27; 1 Tim 1:10.

Bottom line:

I accept 1 Corinthians 6:9 as it stands, and I too think that men who use boys as sex toys are reprehensible.

Paul Jamieson said...

it is what it is

If you don't like it, start your own religion

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

There's no need to go find a new religion Paul when this one works fine when practiced according to it's true principles.

Have a big dose of love in your heart for everything, and share that love generously as you move through life. This is how I see Christianity on it's most basic level. Let joy be your focus and spreading that joy be your mission.

Paul Jamieson said...

Well you're wrong Hosty

Most people do not want to practice their religion on its most "basic" level

Yes it is a given that we "love one another as I have loved you"

But that doesn't do away with all the other details - the hard details that you and the secular progressives want to ignore

John said...

Jesus told to ignore all that hard stuff, too.

The Leviticus code had 613 laws. When Jesus was asked what it is we need to do, he said "keep the commandments".

What commandments?, his followers asked, and Jesus responded with exactly six.

There are only six commandments binding on Christians. (Matthew 19:17-19).

You shall not murder;
You shall not commit adultery;
You shall not steal;
You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother;
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Interestingly, the Talmud gives Jews the 613 laws, but claim non-Jews need only obey seven.

Paul Jamieson said...

Right - Honor thy father and mother

not they Father and father

or thy Mother and mother

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Which brings us back to love thy neighbor Paul, and how hard that is for you when you don't respect them.

You problem lies in the fact that God did not say, "unless you find fault", he simply told you to love.

John said...

He also told us to love thy enemies.

Real Christianity is hard; It makes rise up above petty human things.

It asks us to love our enemies human nature makes it hard enough to like our friends.

It asks us to give from our sustenance when human nature tells us to invest our surplus.

The fundamentalist brand is easy, just follow a few rules regardless of whom it hurts.

And that is precisely what Jesus accused the Pharisees of.

Paul Jamieson said...

yes love your enemies

that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to help them acknowledge and overcome their sin.

Jesus said "follow me and sin no more" its that last part you have a problem with"

John said...

Homosexuality is not a sin, and you know it.

Paul Jamieson said...

Well John, that is where you have problems isn't it?

why is it ok for you to say it isn't a sin?

why is it not ok for someone to say it is a sin?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul,

I don't have a problem with you calling homosexuality a sin, I can see where someone can arrive at that conclusion. My problems with people is how they conduct themselves after they arrive at the conclsuion their neighbors are sinners.

You said yourself that we are suposed to love our enemies, and I'm not even that to you, I'm just gay. If any of your side were to treat us with decency and a civil amount of respect we would be long past our differences because you would see our human side.

We should make an attempt to resolve this issue for the good of the next generation and all of mankind. We should not live in a world where hate is a family value. That change starts here Paul, with you and I talking about how we can be the good neighbors Christ calls us to be.

John said...

I, too, don't really care if your misguided interpretation leads you to believe that, but I will work to make sure your private bigotry stays out of public policy.

Paul Jamieson said...

Then you should in turn love your neighbor and stay out of the way when a petition process is enacted.

And you should accept the very same fervor from us when we work to keep your sinful secularism from public policy.

which brings us back to let the people vote

you can't have it both ways John

and Hosty - how in the world is someone hateful when they try to teach about the love of Christ?

Your casual and diluted meaning of hate is reprehensible.

You keep answering your own question - you treat me with respect and I will treat you with respect.

John said...

Teaching the love of Jesus is not hateful at all.

Teaching Paul's corruption of the gospel is.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul, in case you haven't noticed I've been treating you with respect for quite a while now. All that it has afforded me so far is that you're barely able to contain your insults.

Please, teach the love of Christ. It would be a refreshing change from the doomsday talk I hear so much from some Christians today. He was all about us living in peace and promoting the joy of life.

Paul Jamieson said...

That's Fine John

I believe Paul was picked and annointed to be Christ's messenger and Christ spoke through him.

You don't

Here we go again

I have a right to believe what I want

so don't you

we don't look at conversion as hateful - its our job

Christ specifically did the same thing - loved his brother and tried to help him

"He was all about living in peace and promoting the joy of life"

That's it Hosty? That's all Christ was about?

This is where you lose all credibility

John said...

The reason I don't accept Paul as authoritative is the rather frequently either contradicts Jesus's message or appears quite ignorant of it.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul, I have no problem with you trying to convert whomever you choose. My thoughts are that you are not trying to convert GLBT people, your comments seem ained only at punishing us for being who we are.

You don't really expect your sarcasm to win me over to your ideals, do you?

On the other hand, if you were kind and compassionate I might me more likely to believe your mission is based on minning souls.

Paul Jamieson said...

Please Hosty - you will never give an inch as you have proven time and time again

My "comment" was a simple one

LET THE PEOPLE VOTE

it speaks of equality, compassion for the other side and fairness all around

yet you and yours distort and slander and ridicule this comment as hateful, derisive and unfair

John - I don't care if you don't accept Paul and his message,
The point is that I and many others do

Just like you and many others accept homosexuality

Why can't you understand this?

John said...

"Why can't you understand this? "

Oh, I understand it perfectly"

But I am steadfast in my defense of the American Way, a way in which democracy must yield to the constitution.

Our founders put a lot of effort in guaranteeing that democracy not run amok.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Paul, what do you think would have been the outcome if we had a vote on black rights in Alabama in the 1960's?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I expect you'll charge that I am hijacking the black civil rights argument. Go ahead and give me an answer to the question anyway.

Paul Jamieson said...

John cannot answer the question because he knows the answer is live and let live

You cannot have it both ways

So likewise John - I am also steadfast in my defense of the American way

You have an opinion and I have an opinion

This is a free country - when we have divergent opinions - we vote

I know you don't like it but that is the reality

The Civil Rights struggle is completely different - race vs sexual orientation - no comparison at all

John said...

"no comparison at all"

Oh, really?

The similarities are this:

Both are insular minorities who would never be able to participate on equal terms until democracy is forced to yield.

Paul Jamieson said...

since when is sexual preference a minority?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

One great thing about America is we both get to have our very different opinions without having to bow to the opposing one.

Another great thing about America is that neither of us are allowed to vote our opinions into law. We simply live and let live, just as you said Paul.

John said...

"since when is sexual preference a minority?"

You are being deliberately obtuse.

Sexual PREFERENCE, if I even understand what the hell you mean by that, is not the same as sexual ORIENTATION.

LGBTI people are a discrete and insular minority.

As in FOOTNOTE FOUR of Carolene.

And I quote:

"There may be narrower scope for operation of the presumption of constitutionality when legislation appears on its face to be within a specific prohibition of the Constitution, such as those of the first ten amendments, which are deemed equally specific when held to be embraced within the Fourteenth...

It is unnecessary to consider now whether legislation which restricts those political processes which can ordinarily be expected to bring about repeal of undesirable legislation, is to be subjected to more exacting judicial scrutiny under the general prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment than are most other types of legislation.

... Nor need we enquire whether similar considerations enter into the review of statutes directed at particular religious ... or national ... or racial minorities ...: whether prejudice against discrete and insular minorities may be a special condition, which tends seriously to curtail the operation of those political processes ordinarily to be relied upon to protect minorities, and which may call for a correspondingly more searching judicial inquiry."

See United States vs. Carolene Products:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Carolene_Products_Co.#Text_of_Footnote_Four

Paul Jamieson said...

Now who's being obtuse

You know something John, you are always wrong

Not only are gays not discrete, they aren't as insular as you make them out to be.

Nobody knows everyone's sexual preference or orientation now do they?

Do you portend to know what everyone's sexuality is?

It is not the same as race which is indisputedly inborn, which is why your argument fails with the public.

Again - for a married engineer with two kids who has no real iron in this fire, other than a false handle - your grasping onto obscure legal reasons to push the agenda is very telling. It goes to show how people are tired of this agenda.

And you forgot to mention the criticism of Footnote Four from Liberalpedia, I mean, wikipedia:

In "The True Story of Carolene Products" Professor Miller argues that the statute upheld in the case was an utterly unprincipled example of special interest legislation. The purported public interest justifications so credulously reported by Justic Stone were patently bogus....The consequence of the decision was to expropriate the property of a lawful and beneficial industry; to deprive working and poor people of a healthful, nutritious, and low-cost food; and to impair the health of the nation's children by encouraging the use as baby food of a sweetened condensed milk product that was 42 percent"

And Hosty - "Another great thing about America is that neither of us are allowed to vote our opinions into law."

is simply not true - you know as well as I do that we do this all the time - from blue laws, to tax increases, to budgets

John said...

"Do you portend to know what everyone's sexuality is?"

I "KNOW" only my own, but for others, well, I take them at their word.

But sexual orientation is a also indisputably inborn.

Paul Jamieson said...

Like I said John, you are usually wrong.

It is very much in dispute and here is one such professional.


Psychologist Testifies in Ohio DOMA Case, Says Homosexuality Not "Inborn"

Testimony of
Warren Throckmorton, PhD
Director of College Counseling
Associate Professor of Psychology
Grove City College
Grove City, PA 16127
Concerning House Bill 272
"To amend section 3101.01 of the Revised Code to specifically declare that same-sex marriages are against the strong public policy of the state, to declare that the recognition or extension of the specific statutory benefits of legal marriage to nonmarital relationships is against the public policy of the state, and to make other declarations regarding same-sex marriages."
Testimony given before the Senate Finance and Financial Institutions Committee of the Ohio Senate
January 20, 2004


Honorable Chair and committee members, I was pleased to offer testimony to the House of Representatives committee on Juvenile and Family Law on November 12, 2003. I have written extensively on matters of homosexuality and sexual orientation and am today pleased to be able to provide information and testimony to this committee.[1]

Many people who support the marriage privilege for gays and therefore oppose HB 272 do so because they believe one is born with one's sexual orientation and it is analogous to one's height. We wouldn't say as a society: Only those above 6 ft tall may be married. So the reasoning goes, we shouldn't exclude or include people based on an immutable physical attribute. This is not a necessarily a conservative or liberal issue, a republican or democratic issue. Poll and poll, survey and after survey shows that support for gay marriage is linked to the perception of genetic determinism.

In my testimony of November 12, 2003 before the House committee, I questioned this genetic determinism. I believe the evidence points to an interaction of biology and environment to create sexual feelings but I do not believe the evidence indicates in any way that such sexual feelings are hard-wired or are analogous to height.

On these points and others, the House of Representatives committee heard testimony after mine from Drs. Jensen and Fradkin from the Ohio Psychological Association. You are likely to hear similar testimony today. In their testimony, they criticized my remarks and indicated that the available evidence did not support my positions. Drs. Jensen and Fradkin oppose HB 272 and presented testimony that slanted the research in their direction. I wrote to the Ohio Psychological Association after their testimony and presented reasons why I believed they were in error on a number of points. I have included that letter as an addendum to my written remarks today.

I would like to expand a bit on my earlier testimony and respond to the criticisms of Drs. Jensen and Fradkin and in this way present information that hopefully will be helpful as you deliberate concerning this important legislation.


Genetic Factors in Cause
Concerning sexual orientation, Dr. Jensen said this: "There is substantial peer-reviewed research that sexual orientation, for most individuals, is determined at a very young age, resulting from a complex interaction of genetic, biological, and early hormonal influences. Viewed from this perspective, a person's sexual orientation is primarily a physical attribute, very much like a person's height. While both could be altered to some degree by environmental variables, especially in very extreme circumstances, they are primarily "'hard-wired.'"[2]

Now in fact, the nature and origin of sexual orientation may or may not be directly relevant to this legislation, however, Dr. Jensen apparently thought it was relevant enough to make that claim. As noted above, to many observers, if homosexuality is genetically determined there is a stronger case for re-defining marriage. However, whatever your position on this social and legal matter, there is no basis for distorting the research on sexual orientation to achieve that objective. Dr. Jensen did just that. Allow me to read a quote from the 2000 American Psychiatric Association Fact Sheet on Sexual Orientation:

"Some people believe that sexual orientation is innate and fixed; however, sexual orientation develops across a person's lifetime... to date there are no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality. Similarly, no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified..."[3]

The truth is the precise origin of sexual orientation is something of a mystery at present. We know that there may be some genetic factors that appear to be more common in gay men and certain lesbians than in straights but we have no reason to believe that even those factors determine one's sexual orientation in any direct way. There is a big difference between a trait being influenced by genetics or environment and that same trait being determined by either of those factors.

To be specific, Dr. Jensen told the House of Representatives that sexual orientation is a physical attribute, like height. This is easily shown to be false. In research reported in the Twin Research in 2003, researchers found very high correlations for height. In various countries, the height of identical twins demonstrated correlations of between .85 and .94.[4] A perfect relationship is 1. So for all practical purposes, if one identical twin is six feet tall, then the other would also be approximately six feet tall and so on. These correlations strongly implicate the role of genetics for this physical attribute.

However, homosexual orientation is not shared by identical twins at a rate anywhere close to the attribute of height. The most recent research by Michael Bailey and colleagues found a 20% concordance for gay males and a 24% concordance for lesbians.[5] And so in a group of 100 homosexual men who have an identical twin, 20 of those twins will have an identical twin who is also homosexual and 80 will have a twin who is heterosexual. These pairs share the same genetics but they are quite discordant on the trait of sexual orientation, thus suggesting an environmental component in the development of sexual feelings and identity. It is important to note that these identical twins were reared together.

My point in all of this is to caution the members of the legislature to examine very closely the claims of mental health organizations concerning research and homosexuality. Dr. Jensen wrote in her House testimony that sexual orientation was like height in terms of the genetic influence. Certainly she knows these statistics. I made the Ohio Psychological Association aware of them and yet they stand behind the testimony of Dr. Jensen. She also told you that there existed "substantial peer-reviewed research" concerning the biological origins of homosexuality and yet the physician body, the American Psychiatric Association said there were "no replicated scientific studies supporting any specific biological etiology for homosexuality." Now both assertions cannot be true. I will leave to you to determine who may have a more accurate analysis of the research.

The Ohio Psychological association may tell you that there is other research that bears on the question of the biological influences on sexual orientation and they would be correct. There is interesting research being conducted concerning adult brain differences between gays and straights.[6] However, if identical twins do not share a trait then the role of genetics in the cause of any brain differences we may find must be questioned. We also know that brain differences can be caused by experience and behavior as well as influence the direction of behavior. In other words whatever biological factors exist, the environment appears to play a pretty substantial role in impacting the sexual behavior of a person. Otherwise, identical twins should have a higher rate of concordance on the trait of homosexuality than reported above.


Gay Parents
Drs. Jensen and Fradkin contended in their testimony that research demonstrates no meaningful differences between gay and straight parents. In my testimony to the House I referred to a study of children raised by lesbian mothers compared to those raised by single heterosexual mothers.[7] As Dr. Jensen points out, that particular study did not report a statistically significant impact on children declaring themselves exclusively homosexual. Dr. Jensen then says that the study merely shows there are "differences in the attitudes and beliefs of children raised by gay parents, such as being more accepting of others and less likely to identify with traditional masculine and feminine gender role stereotypes."[8]

As with the analogy to height, this characterization is not accurate. The study by Golombok and Tasker found that there was a statistically significant difference between maternal environments on the issue of entering a same gender sexual relationship. Let me put real numbers to this. Out of 25 study participants, five women and one man raised by lesbian mothers had been involved in same sex relationships whereas none of the children raised by heterosexual single mothers had entered such relationships. According to the authors of the study, this difference was statistically significant.

Further, when you include the bisexually oriented people raised in lesbian households you do get a significant difference in sexual identity based on being raised in a lesbian home. Sixteen percent (16%) of the group raised by lesbian mothers was either bisexual or exclusively lesbian whereas none (0%) of the group raised by a single heterosexual mother were bisexual or gay. Dr. Jensen and the Ohio Psychological Association would have you uninformed about these facts and tell you that children raised in homes where there is a gay parent makes no difference in the sexual development of children.

Another study that bears on this issue is another conducted by Michael Bailey and colleagues. In a study of boys with homosexual fathers, he found that the percentage of boys who were homosexual in the sample studied was 9.3%.[9] Now the percentage of the population that is assessed to identify as a gay male is about 2%.[10] This means that having a homosexual father in this sample increased the likelihood of homosexual identity in boys by approximately 4.6 times. Dr. Bailey and his team had a variety of alternative explanations as to why this increased probability might not relate to parenting but the actual data is clear. One cannot say with absolute certainty why the percentage is higher. However, to give the public and the legislature the impression that the research is voluminous and consistent that gay parenting has no impact upon the sexual orientation of children is disingenuous at worst and wildly optimistic at best.

For those interested in additional careful, detailed examination of the studies concerning gay parenting, I would point you to a book by Robert Lerner and Althea Nagai, called No Basis.[11]

In his testimony before the House, Dr. Fradkin, representing the Ohio Psychological Association said I misquoted from a study of psychologists that found psychologist less likely to refer an adoptive child to a gay couple over a straight couple.[12] I will quote from the study's abstract. "Results indicated that participants who rated the gay male and lesbian couples with a female child were less likely to recommend custody for these couples than participants who rated the heterosexual couples."[13] You should know that the psychologists surveyed were all licensed psychologists who are quite a bit more liberal politically and socially as a group than non-psychologists. Yet, these professionals, respectful of diversity that they are, determined that there is something about placing a girl with a gay couple that is less desirable than placing that same girl with a straight couple.


Fidelity in Gay Relationships
Concerning the issue of fidelity of gay male relationships, I am in awe of Dr. Fradkin's efforts to rebut this. I will agree that there are likely some gay and lesbian couples that are reasonably stable and monogamous. However, this is not the statistical majority of relationships and the incidence of unfaithfulness is much greater among gay men than straights. I will simply provide a quote from a peer-reviewed report that states the nature of the case better than I can:

"In contrast to these similarities with opposite sex couples, the practice of sexual nonmonogamy among some gay couples is one variable that differentiates gay and heterosexual couples. Whereas it has been established that extramarital sex is a risk factor for relationship dissolution in heterosexual couples (e.g., Spanier & Thompson, 1984 ; Weiss, 1975 ), sex with other men does not predict dissatisfaction and separation among some male couples (e.g., see Kurdek & Schmitt, 1985-1986 ; Larson, 1982 ; McWhirter & Mattison, 1984 ). Some researchers even have reported that male couples' openness to sex outside of the couple constitutes a condition of male couples' adjustment (e.g., Harry, 1979 )."[14]

In surveys, 60 - 70% of gay male couples report unfaithfulness to their primary partner.[15] In contrast, surveys repeatedly find only 13 - 25% of heterosexual couples report unfaithfulness to their mates.[16] As Julien and colleagues suggested above, a high level of unfaithfulness is one of the hallmark differences between gay male and heterosexual relationships. How this data influences one's views on the legislation is a matter for individual determination. However, the data should not be distorted whatever the impact may be on public opinion or policy.


Conclusion
I have sought to do two things at once. One, I hope to caution this legislature against accepting the positions of organized psychology on this issue without critical analysis. The Ohio Psychological Association is aware of the data presented in my testimony but for some reason doesn't want the public to know about it.

My second mission was to give you a clearer sense of the data concerning the subject of this legislation. I would be happy to address any questions you may have at this time.

John said...

"However, homosexual orientation is not shared by identical twins at a rate anywhere close to the attribute of height. The most recent research by Michael Bailey and colleagues found a 20% concordance for gay males and a 24% concordance for lesbians.[5] And so in a group of 100 homosexual men who have an identical twin, 20 of those twins will have an identical twin who is also homosexual and 80 will have a twin who is heterosexual. These pairs share the same genetics but they are quite discordant on the trait of sexual orientation, thus suggesting an environmental component in the development of sexual feelings and identity. It is important to note that these identical twins were reared together."

Do you realize what this saying?

This study shows that among twins the likelihood of a gay persons identical twin being gay is between two and ten time higher thn chance would predict.

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

"Juris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere; alterum non laedere; suum cuique tribuere"
(These are the precepts of the law: To live honorably; to hurt nobody; to render to every one his due.)

This is what our legal system is based on. Our beliefs are to be seperate from laws, allowing us to live as we believe and not be forced to live by someone else's beliefs. I should have been more clear Paul, thanks for pointing that out.