April 15, 2014
The Best Christian News and Politics Blog:
Gay ‘Marriage’ – Gayness isn’t Either/Or
and Civil Unions with Penalties as a Solution
In Psychology, Gayness is a 1-10 Scale
and Most People are Somewhere in the Middle
The Daily Walk with Miracles, April 15, 2014, by Paul Evans:
Coming from a liberal background, with a father and grandfather who were New Deal democrats, and having some gay and lesbian acquaintances, it is normal for me to be interersted in the topic of gay rights and to know quite a lot about it. Now, as an honestly unorthodox but conservative and nonpartisan writer, I also bring that perspective to the whole civil rights issue of gay marriage. (I realze that many people doubt my crentials as a conservative, and that’s OK, but for example on issues of abortion and entitlements, I do have basically conservative positions, whereas I feel liberals do not mean to be wrong on those issues, it’s just that they do not understand the reasons for the conservative postion on them well.) I also bring the persepective of a college-educated person with a degree in the physical sciences to any analyis I might make.
I am a practicing heterosexual myself — I always have been straight and always will be. However, the concerns of the LGBT community have been a common element in my experience over the last quarter century. I have been exposed for all that time to a good understanding of how these people feel, having known quite a few gay and lesbian people personally. I am somewhat knowledgeable as to what their rights are and are not in America, and what their concerns are. I also recently have come to understand the conservative position on the issue of gay marriage, although I do not understand this nearly as well. There is much that I have to learn, and I believe that liberals and conservatives in general have such suspicion of each other that this makes understanding the truth of the matter difficult, but not impossible.
I have learned that conservative object not just on religious grounds, but on economic grounds, too. They feel that there is a harsh penalty which they are forced to pay the government because of their own marriages, and believe quite logically that any gay marriages shoud necessitate that gays should have to pay that penalty if they are allowed to have any kind of marriage, also. I believe, from what I understand, that gays and lesbians know this, and are willing to do just that — pay the same penalties, economically, for the priviledge of marriage as do people with traditional marriages.
Another even more difficult issue that must be resolved involves the whole question of raising children. Most gays and lesbians insist that they should be allowed to raise children in exactly the same way as do straight couples. Many conservatives object to this on purely moral grounds. They say that it is prejudicing a child’s future and sexual orientation.
Here I am just trying to make an honest analysis based on what the logic of what I do know, and what that tells me. In the past, when I was a Unitarian-Universalist, I shared the U-U’s feelings of joy and outrage as events played out on the political stage. Since then I have made it a practice to keep up on that sort of news, although not as closely as I perhaps should have. All of this kept the whole issue of gay ‘marriage’ and gayness in my own mind a good deal of the time.
I went to a Unitarian-Universalist church for many years, and not only is gayness accepted by U-U’s, but they were the first church to allow LGBT ministers to be ordained. Other churches which have followed suit in allowing gay ministers include the United Church of Christ, the Episopalian church, and the at least one Presbyterian denomination, and likely others about which I am not aware. (Leave a comment if there is incorrect or outdated material in this article, I’d be glad to hear from you.)
Who’s Gay and Who’s Straight
Let me introduce the whole topic with an anecdote from my youth. From about age 20, I have always been troubled, personally, by this whole issue. In 1977, when I was engaged to a very beautiful girl from Columbus, Ohio, I spent a month camping in Yellowstone National Park. The Director of the Yellowstone Institute, a wonderful man named Hugh Crandall, allowed me to camp near Mammouth Hot Springs, in the northwest corner of Yellowstone. While taking courses for college credit from the Yellowstone Institute, Hugh asked me to please allow a transient student to stay in my tent. This graduate student from the University of Maryland had hitchhiked out to Yellowstone, and I came to know this ‘John’ (we’ll call him) well. We did some drinking together and shared some of the same courses at the Institute.
But ‘John’ was gay, although I didn’t know it at first, and his gayness would soon constitute a rude awakening for me about the whole issue. Before this I had never given homosexuality any conscious thought at all. One night after a round of drinking in the tent, after I had fallen asleep, I awoke with ‘John’ on top of me kissing me. When I finally woke up from my drunken stupor (it was a a fifth of whiskey and a six pack of warm Dr. Peppers), I thought about it for a few seconds, in mind-blowing astonishment. Then I pushed him off of me. Without getting furious, I let ‘John’ know in no uncertain terms that I was engaged — to a woman with whom I was very much in love. (I only wish that this wonderful lady could read this, and somehow might give mee another chance at a relationship.) It was at that early time in my life when the whole issue became personally important to me, and gay sex and marriage have never quite let up in being issues that matter a lot to me.
The act of homosexual sex, I realized from the time of my Yellowstone encounter, is abhorrent to me: I am as straight as an arrow. That’s what I thought, and that’s what I know for a fact, then and now. I am a gentle person, perhaps even somewhat effeminant in some regards, and quite artistic, and I am somewhat passive. To the extent that I am now less passive and more assertive, this is learned behavior, and is quite recent. I have had people at various times in my life assume that I am gay. In 1982 a gay man in a bar moved to attack me when I rejected his homosexual approach on me, which further troubled me about the whole issue. Once or twice I received emails from anonymous gay men voicing their ‘concern’ and asking me if it wasn’t time to ‘come out of the closet.’ Yet, I just deleted those emails, and I don’t see where the hell those gays might think they have a right to trouble a good and decent soul with their prosletyzing. But a little less than a year ago a knowledgeable and highly educated (straight) friend told me that gay versus straight isn’t as simple as either/or, that is to say, gay or straight.
As you will see, gayness isn’t an either/or issue. Psychologists can measure gayness on a one to ten sliding scale. From what my friend later told me, it’s a simple, short, multiple choice test, and if you really wanted to know, maybe you get yourself tested. I know that I never have. Since the act of homosexual sex is and always has been abhorrent to me, it isn’t an issue, is it?
On a scale of 1 being totally straight and 10 being completely gay, my friend said that he guessed I would test as about a 3. That really blew my mind at the time, but it did explain a lot in my life. Most people, claimed an article I further researched this question in, test somewhere in the middle. Gayness then becomes for many a choice, not a decision already made by God, except in the sense of genetics.
And anyway, aren’t gay people the offspring of heterosexual parents? So in what way is it the gay people’s fault that they were born that way? It’s in the genetic code. The reason that God’s perfect human genome is this messed up is because we modify our natural genetically pure foods with genetically modified foods which are ruining the human genome, messing with God’s perfect genetic code. I don’t need to say, then, that the more natural foods you eat, the better off you are going to be. Many grocery chains and even fast food restaurants are picking up on this opportunity to serve humanity better. At the same time, for example, fast food outlets like McDonald’s are using better ingredients and they are making more money too! Capitalist competition from other fast food chains is driving the engine of using better, more natural foods, which customers prefer. Competition, unfettered, uninfluenced competition, is the American way!
Getting back to the discussion on gay marriage and gayness, with me as maybe a 3 on the scale, the act of homosexual sex is abhorrent for me to think about, so, yes, I am not gay. But what if you were a 5 or a 6 or a 7 on the scale? You’d be royally screwed in the society we live in. Very likely homosexual acts would be not just intriguing but compelling to you, and you might well decide sooner or later in your life to become gay or lesbian. Only a smaller percentage of gays and lesbians, I imagine, would test at 7 or above.
Homosexuality in America: The Church Weighs In
We have seen an accelerating movement towards more rights for gay people, but progress is slow, for some of the reasons I have spoken of, above As I will explain, while I am not for gay marriage, per se, I do support civil unions and believe that LGBT people should enjoy some of the legal priviledges AND penalties that any other American citizens have in more traditional marriages. This is also the same position The Daily Walk with Miracles takes editorially and officially.
The conservative position is that homosexuality is ‘abhorrent to God’ and they basically oppose any rights whatsoever — or at least as few as possible — for gay and lesbian couples. Liberals want it all, full rights for gay marriage and all legal rights that any other Americans enjoy.
I feel strongly, as an informed conservative myself on social issues (such as abortion), that conservatives as a movement have got this issue basically right. Liberals have to give on one very major right, too. The whole issue is tearing at the fabric of toleration and biapartisanship today. Those for or against gay marriage are quite hateful towards each other and each other’s positions. The two sides make personal attacks verbally, and sometimes physically on each other. I feel this is only because of a failure to understand the science psychology can now bring into the picture. I also think that conservatives and liberals need to re-examine the other side’s positions and try to see what is central in each side’s belief system so that there can be progress towards a reconcilliation.
Central to conservatives’s objections about homosexuality is the whole issue of gay marriage. They feel that marriage is holy and central to their faith, and thus the strength and even sometimes fury of their objections to gay marriage. But why not simply allow gays and lesbians to marry, and simply just not call it ‘marriage,’ while limiting the legal protections given in such unions and requiring payments and penalties that those in straight marriagess must pay? Civil unions, with all the rights, responsibilities and penalties of traditional marriage per se, seems to me to be one possible answer. It addresses conservative’s concerns about the sacredness of marriage, while allowing gays and lesbians to de facto be able to marry and have some civil rights of those in traditional marriages. What is wrong with that? Pope Francis, who is often accused of being too liberal, addressed the whole question a month or so ago. He said that he would not presume to judge anyone based upon the fact that they were gay or lesbian, even if they lived together. What is abhorrent to God, he said, as does the Bible, is the ACT of homosexual sex. The Old Testament is quite serious in saying that God finds the act of homosexual sex ‘abhorrent,’ and this in terms fuels further hatred about gay rights from conservatives.
Most liberals want all the LGBT community to enjoy all the rights granted to any other America citizen under the Constitution. Gays and Lesbians feel as though they would be unequal, second class citizens if they did not have to right to have actual gay marriage. I sympathize with them. But gays, lesbians and liberals in general need to realize how central to conservatives religious belief system the ‘sacred’ and how they feel that marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman. Liberals and the LGBT community need to give on this one and accept civil unions in the way I have described it.
Pope Francis and His Viewpoint
There is a further consideration. The new ‘liberal’ Pope Francis has stated that he personally would not judge a person simply because they are gay. But he cautions us, it is not being gay which is ‘abhorrent’ to God, but rather, the act of homosexual sex itself. That is an ‘abomination’ to God. Let people of the same sex who love each other marry in civil unions, but be very careful, people that you do not become an abomination to God and have gay sex.
Thank you for putting up with my long discussion of this. ~ Paul Evans
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