Thursday, November 18, 2010

Homosexuality is dangerous and/or unhealthy

(1)As mentioned above, this argument is nonsensical because there is nothing, no specific sexual activity, that LGBTQ persons engage in which straight persons do not engage in in greater numbers.(2) If we are going to have sexual-act litmus tests for ordination, we should at least be fair about it.(3) But the above claim, that LGBTQ activities are somehow especially or inherently dangerous or unhealthy, makes no sense whatsoever, because there are no exclusively LGBTQ sex acts for us to consider.(4)

1. This is a popular argument, from those who want to claim that they are just looking out for the best interests of sexual minorities, or trying to promote public health. It is also crucial to the aim of opponents of inclusion who know that they will have little traction in convincing most people to prohibit something which is not intrinsically harmful. Unfortunately, out of zeal to prove this point they have relied heavily on the work of Paul Cameron who has been thoroughly discredited. He was expelled from the APA in 1983 for not cooperating with an ethics investigation. He has been publicly rebuked by the American Sociological Association and the Canadian Psychological Association for misrepresenting sociological and psychological studies in his work. His methodology has been repeatedly shown to be a joke, and he pays to have his "studies" published by a non peer-reviewed journal. He is a hack scientist, who somehow has maintained his credibility in certain conservative circles. You still find his work or the work of his organization the Family Research Institute quoted authoritatively by NARTH, Exodus International, Jack Chick, Westboro Baptist, Focus on the Family, Family Research Council, One by One and many other individuals, politicians, pundits and others who don't bother to fact check. Whenever you encounter this argument you should dig to find what the sources are and if Paul Cameron is included in there dismiss it immediately for the junk it is.

2. Estimates vary widely, but the most recent survey suggests about 7% of the overall population is homosexual. Every study since Kinsey including the most recent and comprehensive National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior has demonstrated that far more heterosexuals engage in any and all of the sexual behaviors that LGBTQ persons do. You name it, you or your neighbor has probably done it. Therefore any claim we could make about the health risks of particular sex-acts applies at least as much to heterosexuals. Practicing good hygiene and safe sex is important for everyone.

3. Nearly everyone, 95% of Americans, have premarital sex and have for decades. This is true for both genders and going back without any change into the 1940's at least. It is extremely normative. We certainly are not arguing that merely because something is common it is acceptable - far from it, but we currently have a standard in place that is flagrantly, grotesquely hypocritical. Nearly all of our ministers, including the writers of this document, are made liars by this standard. Worse, we make liars out of our Committees on Ministry and our Presbyteries every time we examine a candidate or minister member and overlook this standard. Even if we were rigorous in examination it is impossible to enforce. How do you propose we ensure compliance with fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness? 24 hour observation? This standard is and always was a discriminatory regulation intended to exclude some people from full participation while making fools of the rest of us.

4. We sincerely hope no one is still repeating the canard about AIDS being a "gay disease". HIV is transmitted through bodily fluids and is just as likely in unprotected heterosexual sex as in unprotected homosexual sex. In fact, in Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is the worst it is overwhelmingly a heterosexual phenomenon.

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