What About Dr. Laura’s Views on Gays?

Are you wondering why I omitted any mention of Dr. Laura’s position on homosexuality [in my article “Why Dr. Laura is (Usually) Right”)?

There’s a reason.

When I first wrote this article three years ago, Dr. Laura’s perspective on homosexuality was changing, and I hoped that her views would become more and more biblical. I didn’t want something I was hoping would change, to be part of a static web document. I am glad to say her views have changed. . . and she has been persecuted for it.

Several years ago, she listened to the rhetoric and followed the party line, proclaiming that people are born gay. Some researchers tried (unsuccessfully) for a decade to prove a genetic component, if not a cause, for homosexuality. Apparently believing this explanation for same-gender attraction, she said that she thought something goes wrong somewhere along the way, producing unnatural homosexual desires. She got blasted for calling homosexuals “biological errors,” which was a twisting of what she actually said. On the StopDrLaura.com web site one can listen to her “famous ‘error’ quote”:

“What I did say is that when an individual is not so drawn to a member of the opposite sex, in biology that’s some kind of error.”

There is a huge difference between saying that some kind of error has produced unnatural desires in a person, and that the person who holds those desires is a biological error. It’s interesting to me that she was just taking the genetic-basis-for-homosexuality theory to a logical conclusion, but she got nailed for her political incorrectness. That’s because it is currently unacceptable to suggest that there is anything unnatural about homosexuality. From a purely biological standpoint, however, individuals cannot reproduce without sexual intercourse with members of the opposite sex, so she is merely being consistent with the reigning scientific paradigm.

From what I have heard her say on her program, it appears she recognizes that there is a moral element to homosexual behavior, at least conceding that for gays and lesbians who call themselves religious, any homosexual activity is sin. She has also been criticized by the gay and lesbian community because she believes children need both a mother and a father, so gay or lesbian couples should not adopt babies or young children because it is making a deliberate choice to deprive a child of one or the other. (Although she has supported gay couples adopting older children who wouldn’t be in a family otherwise.)

I grieve for the heat Dr. Laura has taken because of her pro-biblical, non-PC stance. And I have to say I’m proud of her.

Sue Bohlin
August 2001


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Can Humans Be Cloned Like Sheep?

Why Is Cloning So Difficult and How Did They Do It?

Like so many others I was caught totally flat-footed and astonished by the announcement of the successful cloning of an adult sheep, Dolly. A few years ago I aired a radio program on the prospects of human cloning and considerably downplayed the possibilities. Earlier this year, we here at Probe had decided to rebroadcast this program because little had changed. When the announcement about Dolly was made, it was too late to pull the program from the schedule as tapes had already been sent to all the radio stations, and there just wasn’t time to replace or update it. Consequently, I compiled a few thoughts and comments on this historic breakthrough and quickly made it available on our web site to temporarily plug the gap.

Subsequently, the article was featured on Christian Leadership’s web site, Leadership University (www.leaderu.com), and I started receiving numerous phone calls and e-mails as a result. This essay is now an updated and expanded version of that article to help us think through both the scientific and moral implications of this stunning achievement.

The genetic material is the same in all cells of an organism (except the reproductive cells, sperm and egg, which have only half the full complement of chromosomes). However, differentiated cells (liver cells, stomach cells, muscle cells, etc.) are biochemically programmed to perform limited functions and all other functions are turned off. Most scientists felt that the reprogramming was next to impossible based on cloning attempts in frogs and mice.

So what did the scientists in Scotland do that was successful? Well, they took normal mammary cells from an adult ewe and starved them (i.e., denied them certain critical growth nutrients) in order to allow the cells to reach a dormant stage. This process of bringing the cells into dormancy apparently allows the cells’ DNA to be deprogrammed. Apparently most if not all of the programming for specific functions of the mammary cells were turned off and the DNA made available for reprogramming. The starved mammary cells were then fused with an egg cell that had its nucleus removed. The egg cell was then stimulated to begin cell division by an electric pulse. Proteins already in the egg cell somehow altered the DNA from the mammary cell to be renewed for cell division and embryological functions.

As might be expected, the process was inefficient. Out of 277 cell fusions, 29 began growing as embryos in vitro or in the petri dish. All 29 were implanted into 13 receptive ewes, yet only one became pregnant. As a result of these efforts, one lamb was born. This translates to a success rate of only 3.4%, and the success rate is even less (.36%), when you calculate using the 277 initial cell fusions attempted. In nature, on the other hand, somewhere between 33 and 50% of all fertilized eggs develop fully into newborns.

Altogether the procedure was rather non-technical, and no one is really sure why it worked. The experiments still need to be repeated. Previously, all attempts to clone mice from adult cells have failed. But clearly, an astounding breakthrough has been made. You can be sure that numerous labs around the world will be attempting to repeat these experiments and trying the technique on other mammalian species. Can this procedure be done with humans? Should we try it with humans? I’ll be dealing with these questions later in this discussion.

Why Clone Anything?

Before proceeding to deal with the question of human cloning, a more basic concern needs to be addressed. Some, for example, may be asking, “Why would anyone want to clone anything in the first place, but especially sheep?”

The purpose of these experiments was to find a more effective way to reproduce already genetically engineered sheep for production of pharmaceuticals. Sheep can be genetically engineered to produce a certain human protein or hormone in its milk. The human protein can then be harvested from the milk and sold on the market. This is accomplished by taking the human gene for the production of this protein or hormone and inserting it into an early sheep embryo. Hopefully the embryo will grow into a sheep that will produce the protein.

This is not a certainty, and while the process may improve, it will never be perfect. Mating the engineered sheep is also not foolproof because even mating with another genetically engineered sheep may result in lambs that have lost the inserted human gene and cannot produce the desired protein. Therefore, instead of trusting the somewhat unpredictable and time-consuming methods of normal animal husbandry to reproduce this genetic hybrid, cloning more directly assures that the engineered gene product will not be lost.

There may be other benefits to cloning technology. Reprogramming the nucleus of other cells, such as nerve cells, could lead to procedures to stimulate degenerating nerve cells to be replaced by newly growing nerve cells. Nerve cells in adults do not ordinarily regenerate or reproduce. This could have important implications for those suffering from Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

If the process can actually be perfected to the extent that production costs are reduced and the quality of the eventual product is improved, then this would be a legitimate research goal. The simplicity of the technique, though still inefficient, makes this plausible. But there are still questions that need to be answered.

One critical question concerns the lifespan of Dolly. All cells have a built in senescence or death after so many cell divisions. Dolly began with a cell from a ewe that was already six years old. A normal lifespan for a ewe is around 11 years. Will Dolly live to see her seventh birthday? Actually most cell divisions are used up during embryological development. Dolly’s cells may peter out even earlier. This is critical because a 10-year-old sheep is considered elderly, and lambing and wool production decline in sheep after their seventh year. My guess though is that since Dolly’s genes were reprogrammed from mammary cell functions to embryological functions, that the senescence clock was also reset back to the beginning. I expect Dolly to live a normal lifespan.

It is also uncertain as to whether Dolly will be reproductively fertile. Frogs cloned from tadpole cells are usually sterile. It is possible that while Dolly is normal anatomically, the cloning process may somehow interfere with the proper development of the reproductive cells. If this were the case, there may be other problems not immediately detectable. This will be answered this summer when Dolly reaches sexual maturity.

Can We Clone Humans?

While we have established that animal cloning may be permissible and even scientifically useful, what about cloning humans? First of all, is it feasible? Secondly, just because we can do it, should we? Should we even try?

At this point it is reasonable to assume that because the procedure works with sheep and possibly with cattle (the experiments with cattle are already underway), it should be perfectible with humans. This does not mean, however, that there may not be unique barriers to cloning humans as opposed to cloning sheep.

Some suggest that by using the particular procedure developed by the researchers in Scotland, sheep may be easier to clone. The reason is that sheep embryos do not employ the DNA in the nucleus until after 3 to 4 cell divisions. This may give the egg cell sufficient time to reprogram the DNA from mammary cell functions to egg cell functions. Human and mouse cells employ the nuclear DNA after only the second cell division. This may be why similar experiments have not worked in mice. Therefore, human cells and mouse cells may not be capable of being cloned because of this difference.

If this barrier does indeed exist, it is not necessarily insurmountable. The news of a cloned sheep was surprising enough that no one, including me, is now going to step out on the same sawed-off limb and predict that it can’t eventually work with humans. I mentioned earlier that the procedure is so startlingly non-technical that there are numerous laboratories around the world that could immediately begin their own cloning research program with a minimum of investment and expertise. While I fully expect that many labs will begin studies on cloning other mammalian species besides sheep, I’m not so sure about humans.

In 1993, researchers here in the United States employed well known techniques to artificially twin human embryos. They immediately became embroiled in a firestorm of public scrutiny that they did not anticipate nor enjoy (see my earlier article, “Human Cloning: Have Human Beings Been Cloned?”). They were even criticized by other researchers in the field for jumping ahead without scrutinizing the ethical ramifications. The public reaction was no doubt very sobering to the rest of the scientific community. Many countries have already either completely banned experimentation in human cloning or at least imposed a temporary moratorium so that the ethical questions can be properly investigated before stepping ahead. Even the researchers in Scotland responsible for Dolly have plainly stated that they see no reason to pursue human cloning and are personally repulsed by the idea.

There are some in the scientific community, however, who feel that the ability to do something is reason enough to do it. But in this case, I believe that they are the minority. For example, molecular biologists imposed a moratorium of their own in the 70s when genetic technology was first being developed until critical questions could be answered. Also, while nuclear weapons have been produced for over 50 years, only two have been used and that was 52 years ago. Many are now being dismantled. These cases show us that human restraint, though rare, is possible.

So while it is reasonable to believe that humans can be cloned, and that someone, somewhere may try, the overall climate is so against it that I don’t think we will see it announced anytime soon.

Why Clone Humans?

Overall, the public reaction has been negative toward cloning human beings, and this is rather curious in a culture that is admittedly post-Christian in orientation. Nevertheless, many people still want to draw a distinction between animals and humans.

As Christians we understand this desire because we assert that humans are made in the image of God and that animals are not. There is, therefore, a clear demarcation between animals and humans. But in an evolutionary view, humans are nothing special–just another animal species. The expected reaction was offered by an editorial in the Dallas Morning News (Monday, 3 March 1997, 9D) by Tom Siegfried which he titled: “It’s hard to see a reason why a human Dolly is evil.” He summarized his perspective when he said, “The ability to clone is part of gaining deeper knowledge of life itself. So Dolly should not be seen as scary, but as a signal that life still conceals many miracles for humans to discover.” To the naturalist, any knowledge is valuable, and the means to obtain it is justified essentially by its benefit to society.

With this in mind, let’s explore some of the reasons why people have suggested that human cloning is a worthwhile proposition and deal with some of the questions people are asking.

Concerns About Human Cloning

There is much that can be learned about human embryonic development by researching human cloning. While this is true, this is precisely the reasoning used by Nazi Germany to justify experimentation on Jews. Experiments were performed on exposure to cold, water, and other extreme conditions with human subjects, frequently to the point of death, because data on human subjects was deemed indispensable. Of course, we know now that animal models work just as well; consequently, there is no need to use human models to gain this type of data.

Will humans be cloned for spare parts? A few writers have suggested that some individuals may want to establish an embryonic clone to be frozen and put away. Then, in the event of a childhood disease requiring a transplant, the embryo can be thawed, implanted in a surrogate, and raised to a sufficient age for the spare organ to be harvested and transplanted. While this is certainly possible, I consider it very unlikely that these practices would be sanctioned by any government because it completely tosses aside the uniqueness of humanity and trashes the concept of human dignity. That doesn’t mean, however, that someone won’t try.

Will human cloning be used to replace a dying infant or child? This is certainly a possibility, but we need to ask if taking such a course of action is an appropriate way to deal with loss. Unrealistic expectations may be placed on a clone that would not be placed on a normally produced child. The cloned child may be the same genetically, but different in other respects. This could create more frustration than comfort.

Will humans be cloned to provide children for otherwise childless couples? This is the reason most often given for human cloning, yet the argument is unpersuasive when there are so many children that need adoption. Also, this devalues children to the level of a commodity. Also, if in vitro fertilization seems expensive at $5,000-8,000 a try, cloning will be more so.

Will human clones have souls? In my mind, they will be no different than an identical twin or a baby that results from in vitro fertilization. How a single fertilized egg splits in two to become two individuals is a similar mystery, but it happens.

Does cloning threaten genetic diversity? Excessive cloning may indeed deplete the genetic diversity of an animal population, leaving the population susceptible to disease and other disasters. But most biologists are aware of these problems, and I would not expect this to be a major concern unless cloning were the only means available to continue a species.

If the technique is perfected in animals first, will this save the tragic loss of fetal life that resulted from the early human experimentation with in vitro fertilization? In vitro fertilization was perfected in humans before it was known how effective a procedure it would be. This resulted in many wasted human beings in the embryonic stages. The success rate is still only 10 to 20%. The success rate of normal fertilization and implantation is around 33 to 50%. While animal models will help, there will be unique aspects to human development that can only be known and overcome by direct human experimentation which does not respect the sanctity of human life.

Cloning provides a means for lesbians to have children as a couple. One supplies the nucleus and the other provides the egg. The egg does contain some unique genetic material in the mitochondria that are not contributed by sperm or nucleus. One cell from each partner is fused together to create a new individual, though all the nuclear genetic material comes from only one cell. The real question is whether this is the proper environment for any child to grow up in. (For more information on this topic, see Sue Bohlin’s essay, “Homosexual Myths.”) Homosexual “marriages” are not really marriages in the normal understanding of the term, and the technological hoops that must be jumped through for any gay couple to have children should be a clear warning that something is wrong with the whole arrangement.

Are human clones unique individuals? Even identical twins manage to forge their own identity. The same would be true of clones. In fact, this may argue strongly against the usefulness of cloning since we can never reproduce all the life experiences that have molded a particular personality. The genes will be the same, but the environment and the spirit will not.

All together, I find the prospect of animal cloning potentially useful. But I wonder if the procedure is as perfectible as some hope. It may end up being an inefficient process to achieve the desired result. Human cloning is fraught with too many possible difficulties, from the waste of human fetal life during research and development to the commercializing of human babies (see my previous Human Cloning article) with far too little potential advantage to individuals and society. What there is to learn about embryonic development through cloning experiments can be learned through animal experimentation. The cloning of adult human beings is an unnecessary and unethical practice that should be strongly discouraged if not banned altogether.

©1997 Probe Ministries

Homosexual Myths – Exposed from a Biblical Perspective

Sue Bohlin looks a common myths concerning homosexual behavior that are prevalent in our society.  These myths prevent us from looking at homosexuality with a biblical worldview and from dealing with this sin in a loving and consistent manner.

Spanish flag This article is also available in Spanish.

In this essay we’ll be looking at some of the homosexual myths that have pervaded our culture, and hopefully answering their arguments. Much of this material is taken from Joe Dallas’ excellent book, A Strong Delusion: Confronting the “Gay Christian” Movement.{1} While the information in this essay may prove helpful, it is our prayer that you will be able to share it calmly and compassionately, remembering that homosexuality isn’t just a political and moral issue; it is also about people who are badly hurting.

10% of the Population Is Homosexual.

In 1948, Dr. Alfred Kinsey released a study called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, claiming that between 10 and 47% of the male population was homosexual.{2} He got his figures from a pool of 5,300 male subject that he represented as your average “Joe College” student. Many of the men who gave him the data, though, actually consisted of sex offenders, prisoners, pimps, hold-up men, thieves, male prostitutes and other criminals, and hundreds of gay activists.{3} The 10% figure was widely circulated by Harry Hay, the father of the homosexual “civil rights” movement, urging that homosexuality be seen no longer as an act of sodomy but as a 10% minority class.{4}

Kinsey’s figures were exposed as completely false immediately afterwards, and by many other scientists since. The actual figure is closer to 2-3%.{5} But the 10% number has been so often reported in the press that most people think it’s valid. It’s not.

People Are Born Gay.

Ann Landers said it, and millions of people believe it. The problem is, the data’s not there to support it. There are three ways to test for inborn traits: twin studies, brain dissections, and gene “linkage” studies.{6} Twin studies show that something other than genetics must account for homosexuality, because nearly half of the identical twin studied didn’t have the same sexual preference. If homosexuality were inherited, identical twins should either be both straight or both gay. Besides, none of the twin studies have been replicated, and other twin studies have produced completely different results.{7} Dr. Simon LeVay’s famous study on the brains of dead subjects yielded questionable results regarding its accuracy. He wasn’t sure of the sexual orientation of the people in the study, and Dr. LeVay even admits he doesn’t know if the changes in the brain structures were the cause *of* homosexuality, or caused *by* homosexuality.{8} Finally, an early study attempting to show a link between homosexuality and the X-chromosome has yet to be replicated, and a second study actually contradicted the findings of the first.{9} Even if homosexuality were someday proven to be genetically related, *inborn* does not necessarily mean *normal*. Some children are born with cystic fibrosis, but that doesn’t make it a normal condition.

Inborn tendencies toward certain behaviors (such as homosexuality) do not make those behaviors moral. Tendencies toward alcoholism, obesity, and violence are now thought to be genetically influenced, but they are not good behaviors. People born with tendencies toward these behaviors have to fight hard against their natural temptations to drunkenness, gluttony, and physical rage.

And since we are born as sinners into a fallen world, we have to deal with the consequences of the Fall. Just because we’re born with something doesn’t mean it’s normal. It’s not true that “God makes some people gay.” All of us have effects of the Fall we need to deal with.

What’s Wrong with Two Loving, Committed Men or Women Being Legally Married?

There are two aspects to marriage: the legal and the spiritual. Marriage is more than a social convention, like being “best friends” with somebody, because heterosexual marriage usually results in the production of children. Marriage is a legal institution in order to offer protection for women and children. Women need to have the freedom to devote their time and energies to be the primary nurturers and caretakers of children without being forced to be breadwinners as well. God’s plan is that children grow up in families who provide for them, protect them, and wrap them in security.

Because gay or lesbian couples are by nature unable to reproduce, they do not need the legal protection of marriage to provide a safe place for the production and raising of children. Apart from the sexual aspect of a gay relationship, what they have is really “best friend” status, and that does not require legal protection.

Of course, a growing number of gay couples are seeking to have a child together, either by adoption, artificial insemination, or surrogate mothering. Despite the fact that they have to resort to an outside procedure in order to become parents, the presence of adults plus children in an ad hoc household should not automatically secure official recognition of their relationship as a family. There is a movement in our culture which seeks to redefine “family” any way we want, but with a profound lack of discernment about the long-term effects on the people involved. Gay parents are making a dangerous statement to their children: lesbian mothers are saying that fathers are not important, and homosexual fathers are saying that mothers are not important. More and more social observers see the importance of both fathers and mothers in children’s lives; one of their roles is to teach boys what it means to be a boy and teach girls what it means to be a girl.

The other aspect of marriage is of a spiritual nature. Granted, this response to the gay marriage argument won’t make any difference to people who are unconcerned about spiritual things, but there are a lot of gays who care very deeply about God and long for a relationship with Him. The marriage relationship, both its emotional and especially its sexual components, is designed to serve as an earthbound illustration of the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church.{10} Just as there is a mystical oneness between a man and a woman, who are very different from each other, so there is a mystical unity between two very different, very “other” beings–the eternal Son of God and us mortal, creaturely humans. Marriage as God designed it is like the almost improbable union of butterfly and buffalo, or fire and water. But homosexual relationships are the coming together of two like individuals; the dynamic of unity and diversity in heterosexual marriage is completely missing, and therefore so is the spiritual dimension that is so intrinsic to the purpose of marriage. Both on an emotional and a physical level, the sameness of male and male, or female and female, demonstrates that homosexual relationships do not reflect the spiritual parable that marriage is meant to be. God wants marriage partners to complement, not to mirror, each other. The concept of gay marriage doesn’t work, whether we look at it on a social level or a spiritual one.

Jesus Said Nothing about Homosexuality.

Whether from a pulpit or at a gay rights event, gay activists like to point out that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality; instead, He was more interested in love. Their point is that if Jesus didn’t specifically forbid a behavior, then who are we to judge those who engage in it?

This argument assumes that the Gospels are more important than the rest of the books in the New Testament, that only the recorded sayings of Jesus matter. But John’s gospel itself assures us that it is not an exhaustive record of all that Jesus said and did, which means there was a lot left out!{11} The gospels don’t record that Jesus condemned wife-beating or incest; does that make them OK? Furthermore, the remaining books of the New Testament are no less authoritative than the gospels. All scripture is inspired by God, not just the books with red letters in the text. Specific prohibitions against homosexual behavior in Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 are every bit as God-ordained as what is recorded in the gospels.

We do know, however, that Jesus spoke in specific terms about God’s created intent for human sexuality: “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh. . . What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6). God’s plan is holy heterosexuality, and Jesus spelled it out.

The Levitical laws against homosexual behavior are not valid today.

Leviticus 18:22 says, “Thou shalt not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination.” Gay theologians argue that the term “abomination” is generally associated with idolatry and the Canaanite religious practice of cult prostitution, and thus God did not prohibit the kind of homosexuality we see today.

Other sexual sins such as adultery and incest are also prohibited in the same chapters where the prohibitions against homosexuality are found. All sexual sin is forbidden by both Old and New Testament, completely apart from the Levitical codes, because it is a moral issue. It is true that we are not bound by the rules and rituals in Leviticus that marked Yahweh’s people by their separation from the world; however, the nature of sexual sin has not changed because immorality is an affront to the holiness and purity of God Himself. Just because most of Leviticus doesn’t apply to Christians today doesn’t mean none of it does.

The argument that the word “abomination” is connected with idolatry is well answered by examining Proverbs 6:16-19, which describes what else the Lord considers abominations: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises evil imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaks lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers. Idolatry plays no part in these abominations. The argument doesn’t hold water.

If the practices in Leviticus 18 and 20 are condemned because of their association with idolatry, then it logically follows that they would be permissible if they were committed apart from idolatry. That would mean incest, adultery, bestiality, and child sacrifice (all of which are listed in these chapters) are only condemned when associated with idolatry; otherwise, they are allowable. No responsible reader of these passages would agree with such a premise.{12}

Calling Homosexuality a Sin Is Judging, and Judging Is a Sin.

Josh McDowell says that the most often-quoted Bible verse used to be John 3:16, but now that tolerance has become the ultimate virtue, the verse we hear quoted the most is “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matt. 7:1). The person who calls homosexual activity wrong is called a bigot and a homophobe, and even those who don’t believe in the Bible can be heard to quote the “Judge not” verse.

When Jesus said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” the context makes it plain that He was talking about setting ourselves up as judge of another person, while blind to our own sinfulness as we point out another’s sin. There’s no doubt about it, there is a grievous amount of self-righteousness in the way the church treats those struggling with the temptations of homosexual longings. But there is a difference between agreeing with the standard of Scripture when it declares homosexuality wrong, and personally condemning an individual because of his sin. Agreeing with God about something isn’t necessarily judging.

Imagine I’m speeding down the highway, and I get pulled over by a police officer. He approaches my car and, after checking my license and registration, he says, “You broke the speed limit back there, ma’am.” Can you imagine a citizen indignantly leveling a politically correct charge at the officer: “Hey, you’re judging me! Judge not, lest ye be judged!’” The policeman is simply pointing out that I broke the law. He’s not judging my character, he’s comparing my behavior to the standard of the law. It’s not judging when we restate what God has said about His moral law, either. What is sin is to look down our noses at someone who falls into a different sin than we do. That’s judging.

The Romans 1 Passage on Homosexuality Does Not Describe True Homosexuals, but Heterosexuals Who Indulge in Homosexual Behavior That Is Not Natural to Them.

Romans 1:26-27 says, “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” Some gay theologians try to get around the clear prohibition against both gay and lesbian homosexuality by explaining that the real sin Paul is talking about here is straight people who indulge in homosexual acts, because it’s not natural to them. Homosexuality, they maintain, is not a sin for true homosexuals.

But there is nothing in this passage that suggests a distinction between “true” homosexuals and “false” ones. Paul describes the homosexual behavior itself as unnatural, regardless of who commits it. In fact, he chooses unusual words for men and women, Greek words that most emphasize the biology of being a male and a female. The behavior described in this passage is unnatural for males and females; sexual orientation isn’t the issue at all. He is saying that homosexuality is biologically unnatural; not just unnatural to heterosexuals, but unnatural to anyone.

Furthermore, Romans 1 describes men “inflamed with lust” for one another. This would hardly seem to indicate men who were straight by nature but experimenting with gay sex.{13} You really have to do some mental gymnastics to make Romans 1 anything other than what a plain reading leads us to understand all homosexual activity is sin.

Preaching Against Homosexuality Causes Gay Teenagers to Commit Suicide.

I received an e-mail from someone who assured me that the blood of gay teenagers was on my hands because saying that homosexuality is wrong makes people kill themselves. The belief that gay teenagers are at high risk for suicide is largely inspired by a 1989 report by a special federal task force on youth and suicide. This report stated three things; first, that gay and lesbian youths account for one third of all teenage suicides; second, that suicide is the leading cause of death among gay teenagers, and third, gay teens who commit suicide do so because of “internalized homophobia” and violence directed at them.{14} This report has been cited over and over in both gay and mainstream publications.

San Francisco gay activist Paul Gibson wrote this report based on research so shoddy that when it was submitted to Dr. Louis Sullivan, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Sullivan officially distanced himself and his department from it.{15} The report’s numbers, both its data and its conclusions, are extremely questionable. Part of the report cites an author claiming that as many as 3,000 gay youths kill themselves each year. But that’s over a thousand more than the total number of teen suicides in the first place! Gibson exaggerated his numbers when he said that one third of all teen suicides are committed by gay youth. He got this figure by looking at gay surveys taken at drop-in centers for troubled teens, many of which were gay-oriented, which revealed that gay teens had two to four times the suicidal tendencies of straight kids. Gibson multiplied this higher figure by the disputed Kinsey figure of a 10% homosexual population to produce his figure that 30% of all youth suicides are gay. David Shaffer, a Columbia University psychiatrist who specializes in teen suicides, pored over this study and said, “I struggled for a long time over Gibson’s mathematics, but in the end, it seemed more hocus-pocus than math.”{16}

The report’s conclusions are contradicted by other, more credible reports. Researchers at the University of California-San Diego interviewed the survivors of 283 suicides for a 1986 study. 133 of those who died were under 30, and only 7 percent were gay and they were all over 21. In another study at Columbia University of 107 teenage boy suicides, only three were known to be gay, and two of those died in a suicide pact. When the Gallup organization interviewed almost 700 teenagers who knew a teen who had committed suicide, not one mentioned sexuality as part of the problem. Those who had come close to killing themselves mainly cited boy-girl problems or low self-esteem.{17}

Gibson didn’t use a heterosexual control group in his study. Conclusions and statistics are bound to be skewed without a control group. When psychiatrist David Shaffer examined the case histories of the gay teens who committed suicides in Gibson’s report, he found the same issues that straight kids wrestle with before suicide: “The stories were the same: a court appearance scheduled for the day of the death; prolonged depression; drug and alcohol problems; etc.”{18}

That any teenager experiences so much pain that he takes his life is a tragedy, regardless of the reason. But it’s not fair to lay the responsibility for gay suicides, the few that there are, on those who agree with God that it’s wrong and harmful behavior.


1. Dallas, Joe. A Strong Delusion: Confronting the “Gay Christian” Movement. Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House, 1996.
2. Dr. Judith Reisman, “Kinsey and the Homosexual Revolution,” The Journal of Human Sexuality (Carrollton, Tex.: Lewis and Stanley, 1996), 21.
3. Ibid., 26.
4. Ibid., 21.
5. Richard G. Howe, Homosexuality in America: Exposing the Myths (found on the American Family Association website at http://www.afa.net) gives this citation: “Knight lists the
following sources in support of the 1%-3% figures: J. Gordon Muir, “Homosexuals and the 10% Fallacy,” Wall Street Journal, March 31, 1993; Tom W. Smith, “Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Number of Partners, Frequency of Intercourse and Risk of AIDS,” Family Planning Perspectives (May/June 1991): 102; John O.G. Billy, Koray Tanfer, William R. Grady, and Daniel H. Klepinger, “The Sexual Behavior of Men in the United States,” Family Planning Perspectives, The Alan Guttmacher Institute, vol. 25, no. 2 (March/April 1993).”
6. Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, “The Gay Gene?”, The Journal of Human Sexuality, 4.
7. Dallas, 114.
8. Ibid., 112-114.
9. Ibid., 116.
10. Ephesians 5:25-32
11. John 20:30
12. Dallas, 193.
13. Ibid., 195.
14. Peter LaBarbera, “The Gay Youth Suicide Myth,” The Journal of Human Sexuality, 65.
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid., 66.

© 1996 Probe Ministries