In my last essay in this series I noted that Christian advocates of social justice seem to think that “conservative Christians should not make an issue of homosexuality because (1) there are not many verses in the Bible about it, (2) Jesus never spoke about it and (3) it is merely a matter of personal, not social, importance.” In that essay, I dealt with the first two points. In this essay I wish to deal with the third point.
Contrary to the views of “progressive” Christians, homosexuality is not merely a matter of personal morality involving matters of only personal significance.
Homosexual behaviour has immediate and lasting effects that are harmful to society. And the first people in society to be harmed are homosexuals (ie, persons who engage in same-gender sex) themselves. This harm ranges from the medical to the moral, the psychological to the relational.
In his book Straight and Narrow? (InterVarsity Press, 1995), Thomas E. Schmidt reviews 200 medical and sociological studies to evaluate the impact of the homosexual lifestyle on homosexuals themselves. Schmidt begins a chapter examining the health risks of homosexual behaviour with this comment:
I have taken special precautions regarding accuracy of information. Four physicians with relevant specialities reviewed the first draft of this chapter in order to correct any factual errors. I avoided all secondary sources of information such as newspapers and popular magazines or books, and I cite no Christian writers. Instead I document every point of fact in this chapter only from scholarly, secular medical and social scientific publications, and from the most recent research available at the time of writing—virtually all of which is either neutral or affirming toward homosexuality. (p. 101)
Schmidt goes on to document the sexual practices of homosexuals and the medical consequences of those practices. He summarises his finding with this illustration:
Suppose you were to move into a large house in San Francisco with a group of ten randomly selected homosexual men in their mid-thirties. … the relational and physical health of the group would look like this.
Four of the ten are currently in relationships, but only one of those is faithful to his partner, and he will not be within a year. Four have never had a relationship that lasted more than a year, and only one has had a relationship that lasted more than three years. Six are having sex regularly with strangers, and the group averages almost two partners per person per month. Three of them occasionally take part in orgies. One is a sadomasochist. One prefers boys to men.
Three of the men are currently alcoholics, five have history of alcohol abuse, and four have a history of drug abuse. Three currently smoke cigarettes, five regularly use at least one illegal drug, and three are multiple drug users. Four have a history of acute depression, three have seriously contemplated suicide, and two have attempted suicide. Eight have a history of sexually transmitted diseases, eight currently carry infectious pathogens, and three currently suffer from digestive or urinary ailments caused by these pathogens. At least three are HIV-infected, and one has AIDS. (p. 127)
This horrifying picture, it is worth stressing, is drawn from the research of authors who “are without exception either neutral or positive in their assessment of homosexual behaviour”. Without a hint of sarcasm, Schmidt notes that “This group is not likely to be gay as the older dictionaries define the term.”
Advocates of social justice pride themselves on their supposed compassion towards minority groups such as homosexuals. But how is it compassionate to encourage people to enter or to remain in such a destructive lifestyle? Genuine compassion towards homosexuals is not served by acceptance of their propaganda and approval of their lifestyle. It is served by disputation and disapproval.
Truly compassionate Christians should, in the first instance, grieve over the suffering that homosexuals inflict upon themselves by their sexual behaviours and, in the second instance, do all in their power to encourage homosexuals to abandon their lifestyle. Social justice advocates do neither of these things.
Of course, homosexuals are not the only ones who suffer from homosexual practices. The wider community suffers, too. Take the matter of health and medical treatment as an example. It costs a considerable amount of money to treat the injuries and diseases prevalent among homosexuals—injuries and diseases such as anal incontinence, rectal tears, prostate damage, bowel inflammation, haemorrhoids, cramps, diarrhoea, ectoparasites, amebiasis, giardiasis, gonorrhoea, shigellosis, Chlamydia, syphilis, condylomata, herpes, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HIV/AIDS.
A near incalculable amount of money has been spent on AIDS alone in Western societies since it first appeared in the homosexual “community” in the 1980s. This disease is spread in the West primarily though homosexual activity and remains primarily a “homosexual disease”. Even its relatively minor encroachment into the main community is primarily related to homosexuality—drug addicts infected by sharing needles with homosexuals or prostituting themselves to homosexuals to pay for their habit, wives infected by husbands who have had sex with other men, haemophiliacs and other blood transfusion recipients (before screening began) infected by blood donated by homosexuals, and so on. Through AIDS, to name but one disease, homosexuals exact a high price from society at large.
The private and the public, the personal and the social, are not quarantined from each other in the matter of homosexuality and health. Public funds must be plundered to enable homosexuals to have their private fun. Here is a matter of social injustice that advocates of social justice are utterly silent about.
Some time ago a young man came to me for counselling a month or so after his conversion to and by Jesus Christ our Lord. For several years before his conversion this man had been heavily indulging in homosexual sex. He got involved, he said, through a friend, who suggested to him that they should experiment together. From this tentative start, he and his friend spiralled into perversity. But Christ convicted him of what he basically knew all along—namely, that homosexual behaviour is wrong and those involved in that behaviour must repent of it. He said with sorrow, “You wouldn’t believe the things we did.” I told him he did not need to elaborate, because, due to the research I did for my book Blatant and Proud (Perceptive Publications, 1984), I knew all too well the sorts of things homosexuals do to and with one another—morally, imaginatively, hygienically filthy things. Scripture rightly speaks of homosexuals “committing shameless acts” with one another and giving themselves over “to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves” (Romans 1:25-27). As he looked back on his life from the vantage point of the forgiveness and cleansing he had recently received from Christ, this young man was appalled by his former moral depravity.
Sadly but inevitably, the depravity homosexuals practice affects others besides themselves. Boys are drawn into prostitution to service the lusts of homosexual men. School children are taught that homosexual behaviour is natural and are encouraged to view “anal and vaginal intercourse” as moral and biological equivalents. Books and movies present homosexual behaviour as normal and homosexuals as sensitive role models. And believing what the teachers and the movies tell them, young people are enticed into homosexuality, with all its ruinous consequences.
In an article I wrote for Life News in 2006 I elaborated on “the injustice inherent in homosexual behaviour itself and in relationships based on that behaviour” in these terms:
Consider the case of a young man from a Christian family who is enticed into a homosexual relationship. How is that just to the parents whose teaching and tears he spurns? How is it just to his brothers and sisters who for love of him make excuses for him and compromise or abandon the Christian view of homosexuality as both wilful and sinful? How is it just to other young men who might be tempted to follow his example? How is it just even to the young man himself, to be closed off to life-giving intimacy with a woman by the indulgence of a dead-end perversion with a man?
Consider another case: If a man deserts his wife and children for a homosexual “lover”, how is that just [or compassionate!] to his wife and children? If he divorces his wife and replaces her in his will, how is that just to her? If he seeks custody of their children and parental rights for his lover, how is that just to either his wife or his children? If he influences his children to believe that homosexual sex is merely one of many natural and good sexual options, how is that just to his children? If he contracts AIDS (not to mention any of the other diseases transmitted by his unhygienic sexual activity) and requires expensive medications and prolonged medical treatment, how is that just to the nation’s taxpayers?
And this is only to look at the matter in terms of human cost. But the matter of justice goes deeper. If a man forsakes the natural use of a woman for the unnatural use of another man, how is that just to the God who made us male and female? If he rebels against God’s moral law, how does that do justice to the holiness of God? If he spurns God’s offer of salvation in pursuit of perverse sexual pleasure, how does that do justice to the Son of God and his atoning sacrifice on the cross? If he fails to come under conviction of sin (being comforted by Christians who tell him that he and his sexual partner deserve legal recognition and rights as a “couple”) and goes into a lost eternity, how is that just even to his own soul? (See “Certain issues of justice: same-sex relationships and the law”, Life News, No. 94, August-September 2006)
With or without the adjectives “social” and “personal”, justice and morality cannot be separated. Immorality always leads to injustice—and never more so than when that immorality is of a sexual nature.
In my next essay in this series, God willing, I intend to develop this last statement.