What Will Happen If America Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage? – Program 5
|By: JJohanna Michaelson, Dave Hunt; ©2004|
|Are people born gay? Is homosexuality normal and natural? Is it possible to change your sexual orientation? The answers to these questions don’t depend on religious tradition. In fact, there’s scientific evidence that helps us reach a conclusion.|
Three Myths About Homosexuality
Today, on the John Ankerberg Show, the truth about same-sex marriage.
We are witnessing a cultural revolution concerning marriage that, if successful, will have repercussions for our children, our grandchildren, for married couples, and our freedom of religion. Those advocating we legalize same-sex marriage are promoting at least five false assumptions about marriage and children:
First, children do not need a loving mother. In same-sex marriage between two men, the assumption is that children will not be harmed in their development if they never experience a woman’s love. Women are unnecessary. But scientific studies show this assumption is false.
Second, children have no need of a loving father. In a same-sex marriage between two lesbians, they assume men contribute nothing of value to the development of boys and girls. This assumption is also unsupported by scientific studies.
Third, marriage between two men or two women is beneficial to their health and happiness. This is false. Studies show that, on average, gay marriages do not last very long; that both gay men and lesbian women have a much higher incidence of psychiatric disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, suicide and higher incidences of infidelity.
Fourth, that homosexuals are born gay. No scientific study has demonstrated this.
Fifth, that homosexuals can’t change their sexual orientation. This is false. Both lesbians and gays can change their sexual orientation.
If same-sex marriage is legalized in America, this action will eventually rob us of our religious freedoms. What has happened in Sweden, Canada, France and the Netherlands will happen here. That is, no one will be able to counsel or write against the negative effects of gay marriage, preach sermons or publicly state that it is morally wrong.
To explain how harmful same-sex marriage can be to people in our culture and why natural marriage between one man and one woman is so important, my guests are:
Glenn T. Stanton, Director of Social Research and Cultural Affairs, and Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family. He is author of the new book, Marriage on Trial: The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage.
Also Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, IL. He is the author of The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage: Six Things You Need to Know About What’s Really at Stake.
We invite you to join us.
- Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. Today we’re talking about the truth about same-sex marriage. We have two important guests: Glenn T. Stanton is Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family. Glenn, we’re glad you’re here. Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Memorial Church, we’re glad that you’re here. They’ve both written books on this topic.
- And we’re going to talk about the three myths of homosexuality. These undergird all of the debate that is going on in our country today about same-sex marriages. The three myths are these: 1) that people are born gay; 2) that homosexuality is normal and natural; and 3) that you can’t change your sexual orientation. You’re going to hear that the scientific evidence refutes all three of those myths.
- And Glenn, this is information that most people do not know. Let’s start with the first myth, and that is that people are born gay. Because if they are born gay, then you can’t do anything to change it. It’s like skin color, and you’re just born with that and you can’t change it. But that is not the case. Tell us about the scientific studies that started in the ‘90s, that were given to the public, giving the assumption that they’ve shown that homosexuality is genetic, and show that these have been proven false.
- Stanton: Well, it’s interesting, the ratio between this statement, that people are born gay, and the documentation supporting it, is absolutely like the Grand Canyon, I mean, miles apart. There absolutely, simply, is no evidence, no research, indicating that homosexuality is rooted in nature.
- The three studies that you referred to really came to the news in the early ‘90s, and the major media largely took those as gospel and said, “You know what, okay, here. Homosexuality is fixed.” But if you look closely and carefully, and even look at the quotes from the researchers themselves, we see that this is not true.
- Let me break down the studies themselves. The most prominent study and the most popular study was by a fellow named Simon LeVey. And what he did was look at the hypothalamus, this little part in the brain. And he looked at cadavers, dead people, and he found out, supposedly, that the hypothalamus was different in gay cadavers than it was in heterosexuals. But what he found out later was, he wasn’t even really quite sure, of these bodies that he examined, who was homosexual, who was heterosexual. And even though it’s kind of taken as gospel now that, well, Simon LeVey proved this to be the case, that homosexuality is inborn, Simon LeVey said this later: he says, “It’s important to stress what I didn’t find. I did not prove that homosexuality was genetic or find a genetic cause for being gay. I didn’t show that gay men are born that way—the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work.” He himself, says that his research didn’t prove anything. But still, it lives on in mythic form.
- Another researcher, Dean Hamer did other studies. And, what he did was, he looked at genetic markers in twins to see, you know, what differences and similarities were there. And his research seemed to indicate that the gene markers within gay individuals, gay twins, were different, or that, you know, you saw those similarities more often. Well, there are very serious methodological problems that were exposed in his research. And again, like Simon LeVey, he admitted later that his own research really didn’t tell us much. And this is what he said: “Homosexuality is not purely genetic. Environmental factors play a role. There is not a single, master gene that makes people gay.” He says, “I don’t think that we’ll be able, ever able, to determine who will be gay and who is not gay.”
- And then the last study is by two researchers, Bailey and Pillard. And they looked at twins, identical and non-identical twins and saw that homosexuality seems to follow the identical twins more often than not. Well, he had major, what they call selection problems, in that he got the subjects of his study out of the want ads of gay publications. And his study was not replicated. And he has even admitted, again, that his study really didn’t prove anything.
- So we’ve got this myth, this hollow house built by the media that “Oh, homosexuality is rooted in genetics; it’s rooted in nature.” But no research says that; no academic institution has ever found that to be the case; and no court in the United States has ever found that to be the case.
- Ankerberg: And yet, even though that is true, on Hardball, MSNBC’s Hardball, you had a little paragraph about Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of the nation’s largest gay activist organization, the Human Rights Campaign. She’s talking with Chris Matthews and she makes this statement, “Well grounded, credible studies, have shown that it is likely, highly likely, that homosexuality is actually grounded in biology.”
- Stanton: Yes, yes. See, these people create like God creates. The Bible tells us that God created just by saying. And they create truth just by saying it. But it doesn’t exist anywhere else. They just say this; the media is not critical of them, and it floats out there as truth. But it simply is not true. There is no research that she can point to or that anybody else can point to that shows us that homosexuality is rooted in nature.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to put on the internet at our site, these statements that these scientists, who have supposedly found the scientific reason in either genetics or the hypothalamus or someplace; they themselves have said no, it does not show that.
- Now, Erwin, you’ve got an interesting chapter in your book where it says, even if they did find genetic make-up orienting a person toward homosexuality, it still wouldn’t mean that you have to go into living as a homosexual. Why?
- Lutzer: Absolutely. People don’t understand the genetic system. First of all, there are genes that determine your physical characteristics; like the color of your hair, or the color of your eyes, etc., and we have no control over those, we’re born the way in which we’re born. But when it comes to behavioral matters, or even behavioral dispositions, we are not robots. There are some homosexuals who are listening to this program; most assuredly, they don’t want to say that it’s their genetics that somehow programmed them that they have to act in a certain way. We still have responsibility.
- What opened my eyes to this was meeting a kleptomaniac; a person who did a lot of stealing. And he loved to steal, even at times when he thought that he might be found out. He told me there was something about stealing that gave him a buzz, you know, trying to walk out of a store with merchandise that wasn’t his. But he said to me, he said, “I wanted to steal ever since I was young,” he said, “That’s all I can remember.” Therefore, he said, “I have no doubt at all, but that it’s genetic.” Oh my, so do we let him off the hook because there is a kleptomaniac gene? Is there an alcoholic gene? And what about a pedophile gene? If we were to find a pedophile gene, would that justify pedophilia, because we found the gene? People are responsible for their behavior, and we can’t say, “My genes make me do it.”
- And then the bottom line is this: All of us have a pre-disposition to sin, so we can all say that sin is in the genetic code. And some people may be more inclined to sin in one way than to sin in another way. But as a fallen human race, all of us are subject to sin. And thankfully, God in His matchless grace has provided redemption for sinners.
- Ankerberg: ‘Some people say ten out of one hundred people in the United States are homosexual.
- Stanton: Which is not true.
- Ankerberg: Okay. The statistics show it’s only 1 to 1.5, to 2, at the most, people per hundred that are gay or lesbian. Is that right?
- Stanton: That identify that way, right.
- Ankerberg: Yes.
- Stanton: That’s exactly right.
- Ankerberg: And let’s talk about the fact of what the research, the social research is showing in terms of, is it normal or is it natural? We need the young people to hear about the consequences of going into homosexuality. Talk about this thing: is it normal or natural?
- Stanton: Whether the viewers watching are Christian or non-Christian, I think we can all agree on this one thing: Is a certain thing good for people? If it’s good for people, then we ought to salute it. If it’s not good for people, then we should dismiss it. And the research is very, very clear that homosexuality is not good for people.
- Beyond the higher prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, the threat of AIDS, which can end a life, there are greater levels of depression, greater levels of engaging in other dangerous behavior, like substance abuse; things like that. We just find that people who identify themselves homosexually are typically not as healthy and well adjusted as we would want folks to be.
- We talked in an earlier program about Matthew Shepard, this young man who was tragically killed in Wyoming, who identified as homosexual. He told his Mom, and his Mom told one of the weekly magazines, “Mom, why don’t I know any gays that are happy?” That has to break our hearts, because people living that way are not finding fulfillment.
- That’s why we find so many people coming to us in our ministry at Focus on the Family—and our Love Won Out Ministry and Exodus International, ministries like that—coming to them, looking for ways out of homosexuality; because it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t encourage and promote human well-being.
- Ankerberg: Talk about the fact that if you enter into the homosexual lifestyle or if you become a homosexual gay or lesbian, the number of years you’re going to live goes down. Why?
- Stanton: Absolutely. Life expectancy goes down because of disease, because of mental illness, that is perpetuated by trying to make life work; by trying to make, you know, these alien relationships, by trying to make that work. It just doesn’t work. And so that drives individuals into drug abuse, alcoholism, physical abuse. And again, it does not encourage human well-being; and we have to be against it for that.
- Ankerberg: Go back and tell the people what happened with the American Psychiatric Association, how the definition, in terms of what they’re doing in terms of helping people, has changed over the years and why. It’s not because of the scientific information that’s come to them, it’s been because of the political pressure. But go back into the ‘70s and bring us up to the present.
- Stanton: Exactly. For quite some while, the American Psychiatric Association saw homosexuality as a psychological disorder. It was a human disorder. And then, in 1973, they changed that. And we think they changed it because, “Well, all these great scientists got together and discussed it and debated….” No! They were under tremendous, political pressure, a pressure campaign from homosexual activists to change that definition.
- And it’s interesting, and even years after they changed, that when they sampled most of the psychiatrists in the Academy, in the Association, the overwhelming majority of them still agreed that homosexuality was a psychological disposition, was a psychiatric disposition, because they experience it. They see the people sitting on their couch, and they know that these are people that are not happy; these are people that are not well adjusted this way; and that it’s psychological disorder, psychiatric disorder, that lends itself to this. It’s not genes that creates homosexuality; it’s really family dysfunction, and relational and personal disintegration that creates it. It’s a lack of being rightly connected with ourselves and with our loved ones around us.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break and when we come back, we’re going to talk about that question; what does cause homosexuality? And also, can homosexuals change their sexual orientation? Two very controversial areas we’re going to talk about when we come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We are talking about the three myths of homosexuality, namely that homosexuals are born gay; that homosexuality is normal and natural; and that homosexuals can’t change their sexual orientation. And my two guests are Glenn T. Stanton, Senior Analyst for Marriage and Sexuality at Focus on the Family; and Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Memorial Church in Chicago, IL. They are both authors of books that I highly recommend.
- Glenn, we’re going to come right to you on this one. Two things: the cause of homosexuality, what is the current consensus in the scientific community, the sociologists, about why people go into homosexuality?
- Stanton: Well, it is not that it’s rooted in genetics or nature. There is just no data supporting that whatsoever, regardless of what the popular media tells us. It really comes down to this: it’s largely environmental. It’s the way that we are brought up and the living situation in which we live. And it really is simply this: largely disconnected fathers and overbearing mothers; mothers that are too mothering, too protective.
- And then also, what’s a part of that is some sort of sexual abuse early on in life. Many homosexual men, and most lesbian women, report some sort of sexual abuse early on. And so we have to understand that it’s a configuration of many things that come together. And God has made us as very complex, sexual beings. It’s not like we’re just driving down the road of life and find a fork in the road—homosexuality or heterosexuality—and choose one way or the other. But it’s deeply rooted in our experiences, and how we respond to those experiences.
- Ankerberg: Some people say, “You know what, you guys are evangelical Christians, and so you would say that.” But you have actually listed a bunch of folks in and outside of the gay community that also say the same thing. Give us a couple.
- Stanton: Yes, in our book, Marriage on Trial, we cite quite a few of them. Two researchers from Columbia University, hardly a bastion of conservatism, or fundamentalism; and they say this: “At clinical conferences, one often hears that homosexual orientation is fixed and unmodifiable. Neither assertion is true. The assertion that homosexuality is genetic is so reductionistic,” these researchers tell us, “that it must be dismissed out of hand, as a general principal of psychology. What causes homosexuality? It is apparent that biological, psychological, and social factors, interacting together in complex and various ways, shape human sexual orientation.”
- Lutzer: You know, I’d like to just jump in here and say that there are young boys, for example, who grow up and at the age of thirteen or fourteen, they think to themselves that they might be gay because they might be ambivalent in their sexual feelings. And maybe they’re more artistic; they’re not necessarily the kinds of boys that are into sports and so forth. And what we need to do, as pastors, and in our churches, is to shepherd them and to help them understand that that doesn’t mean they are gay. What happens is, I’ve noticed, society pushes them in that direction. And so they begin to think, “I’m gay;” therefore, they have gay experiences. And once you go down that track, it’s often times very difficult to come back.
- Stanton: That’s exactly right.
- Lutzer: So, I think that the church has a great responsibility here in properly teaching that, you may be struggling with you feelings, [but] don’t get involved sexually, because it’s a dead end street; and secondly, very, very important, is that that does not mean that you are gay.
- Stanton: Well, and the church needs a better understanding of what healthy masculinity and healthy femininity involves. I’m the father of small children, I have boys and girls; and it’s my job as a father, to raise up my little boy, not necessarily to be this macho, sports guy, but to be confident and secure in his masculinity in the way that God has made him to be. And the same with my little girls; to make them confident and comfortable with the healthy love of a man.
- Lutzer: And you know, I need to just add a word that you said about, you know, the need for sensitivity, and abuse. I attended an Exodus Conference, where I had the privilege of speaking. Seven hundred people coming out of lesbianism and homosexuality. It was an awesome experience; what an awesome experience of worship and joy, as people experience Christ’s forgiveness. But I was at a table at breakfast with about four or five lesbians. And I said, “If you feel comfortable, tell me your story.” Every one of them told a terrible story of abuse by a man, by a father, by an uncle, by a babysitter. And you can understand then, because of that hatred towards men—who’s going to deal with these men who abuse them?—therefore, they feel more comfortable with their own sex.
- And that’s why, I think, it is so important that we talk about this with a great deal of sensitivity. I wish that our listeners would understand something: the brokenness out there is unbelievable. Homosexuality is not what the media makes it: this normal, wonderful experience. It’s that until you get to know homosexuals; and then they begin to talk to you, and tell you the real story of what it’s really like, and the emptiness.
- You know, Roger, whom I sometimes refer to, who had 1,500 sexual experiences? He told me “I have never yet known a homosexual who wouldn’t come out of the lifestyle, if he thought he could.” So we need to understand that the other side of this is a very, very emotional and difficult lifestyle.
- Stanton: Absolutely.
- Ankerberg: Which brings us to the third myth, is that “that homosexuals can’t change their sexual orientation.” But the scientific research, the social research shows that they can. Talk about that.
- Stanton: Another Columbia researcher, Dr. Robert Spitzer, was instrumental in getting the American Psychiatric Association to change its position on homosexuality so many years ago in the early ‘70s. Well, he just recently conducted a study that he published in an academic journal. And what his study looked at was: “Can people who identify homosexually, successfully leave homosexuality?” And his conclusion was, they can. It’s not always easy, but that there are many homosexuals who go through what we call reparative therapy treatment, and that they come out the other side more successfully living heterosexuality. And even for those that didn’t completely leave homosexuality, they reported feeling better about themselves, feeling more in control of their own sexuality, and being well adjusted, not living so deeply in homosexuality.
- So, it’s very, very clear, and the science is very clear, and evidence is clear—I mean we know these people, we’re their friends—that they have successfully left homosexuality and entered heterosexuality and are founding families, getting married, and engaging in the health and happiness that heterosexuality brings.
- Ankerberg: Erwin, we’ve only got one minute left, and I think next week we’re going to return to this topic because we’re just scratching the surface, and it’s so important. Some people in the homosexual lifestyle would say this: “Look, those people that have come out really never were gay, they never were lesbians, ok? But I happen to know Roger; if he had 1,500 relationships…
- Lutzer: Right, as a homosexual prostitute.
- Ankerberg: Okay, I’m saying, where do you cross the line?
- Lutzer: Well, to tell the rest of the story of Roger, he ended up getting married and having children. So that tells you something about the homosexual lifestyle. Getting out was not easy, but through the power of Christ, through God’s forgiveness, the Bible says, “don’t be deceived,” homosexuals won’t make it into the kingdom of heaven [1 Cor. 6:9-10], and a lot of other people, a lot of other kinds of sins. But also, don’t be deceived: Christ’s power is greater than you believe it to be. Turn to Him for forgiveness, for cleansing and for help, and He will be there for you [1 Cor. 6:11].
- Ankerberg: Talk about the fact that you also come just as you are.
- Lutzer: And the good news is, you don’t have to clean up your act before you come to Christ. You come to Him as a homosexual, as an adulterer, as an alcoholic. No matter what we are, we come as we are. But we come to the only One who is able to connect us to the Almighty; and to introduce us to the Father that many homosexuals and lesbians never had. God is our Father, and that’s our hope, and that has been proven thousands of times.
- Ankerberg: Next week, we’re going to continue with more of this and we also want to go over the questions that gays ask us; the response they give to what we have been saying. And I think that you’ll enjoy what we’re going to say, and we’re going to hit all the questions we possibly can, so please join us.