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Home Sexual Ethics Homosexuality 卓潔冰: SOCIAL ETHICS ON HOMOSEXUAL
卓潔冰: SOCIAL ETHICS ON HOMOSEXUAL PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 19 May 2014 15:20

SOCIAL ETHICS ON HOMOSEXUAL

推介人:郭鴻標博士

作者:卓潔冰

1 Introduction

Homosexual is a complicated topic and a pressing issue globally with unescapable impact on the Christian communities. As a result, proper understanding of our Christian moral values and modern social context are critical in order to enable us to have sensible dialogues with the general public as well as within the Christians groups.

The term homosexual can be dissected horizontally and vertically. Vertically by the depth of involvement, from same sex emotional love to actual homo “sexual” behavior. Horizontally, it can be further divided into gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transitional sexuality[1] and intersex[2].

Homosexual behavior is being analysed from various aspects:

· from the gene of embryo to the environmental influence throughout life,

· from physical health, mental health to spiritual health,

· from impact on individual, family, religious group, society and globally

· from law setting against homosexual behavior to law prosecuting people who discriminate homosexual behavior

This paper will focus solely on the very fundamental issue ‘whether homosexual behavior is right or wrong’ from Christian and social perspectives, and then propose the possible responses as Christians to the communities within and outside the church.

2 Social Aspects

2.1 Origin: Homo gene or pervasive choice? [3]

Conservatives tend to condemn the pervasive choices made by homosexuals while homosexuals may claim that their same sex attraction (SSA) are inborn. In other words, it is biological which could be genetic and/or prenatal hormonal. The easiest way to validate the hypothesis is examining the researches done on the relationship between twins and SSA. According to Dr. Neil Whitehead, “Eight major studies of identical twins in Australia, the U.S., and Scandinavia during the last two decades all arrive at the same conclusion: gays were not born that way.” If homosexuality is controlled by genes or prenatal conditions and one twin is gay, the co-twin should also be gay. However, in the Australian study by Bailey in 2000, only 11% of co-twin males are gay and 14% of co-twin females are lesbians. The American study by Bearman and Brueckner in 2002 on tens of thousands of adolescents revealed even lower figures: only 7.7% for males and 5.3% for females. As there is no scientific evidence on the significant innate influence on SSA, most will look into psychological/ environmental influence.

2.2     Psychological Issues

In 1952, homosexuality was listed by American Psychiatric Association (APA) in its first edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-I) as a sociopathic personality disturbance.[4]

Psychologists and psychiatrists have been conducting many researches on the possible cause of homosexuality. Bieber cited that the decisive element in the development of homosexuality are parental roles and attitudes.[5] On the other hand, Zeng Wenxin stressed the importance of early experience in moulding proper human experience and quoted the ethological experiments on ducks and guinea pig as references.[6]

In 1970 and 1971, gay right activists protested against APA by disrupting their conferences and ridiculing their psychiatrists who pathologised homosexuality as mental disorder[7]. In 1973, homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders.[8] However, in 1980, the depathologised homosexual behavior re-appeared as new diagnostic category --- ‘Gender Identity Disorder of Childhood’ and it was included in the DSM-III published by APA. This allows medical experts to tackle the problem at childhood stage through “early parental intervention”[9].

In Taiwan, Dr. Ke Yonghe, one of the new authority on clinical psychology, emphasizes the primacy of normative life of heterosexuality in the 90s[10]:

“Although psychiatry no longer regards homosexual behavior as one of the perverse kinds, and although some societies have given homosexuality legitimate status, it is after all not the major mode of human man-woman relation. Therefore, parents should still take up the responsibility to educate children, making them choose heterosexual relationships over that of the homosexual when they grow up. To achieve this end, parents should try to make efforts to be good models in playing their gender roles so that children can properly identify with them. In the meantime, they should encourage children to learn from their playmates how to play their gender roles and give children names, clothes and demands that fit their gender identity. It is the psychologist’s view that one is born as either female or male, and yet it takes a long period of learning and training to cultivate femininity and masculinity.”

Nonetheless, in the latest APA DSM version, the DSM-5 that was published on May 2013, the term ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ had been replaced by ‘gender dysphoria’ and formed its own chapter by separating from Sexual Dysfunctions and Paraphilic Disorders in order to “avoid stigma”. It explained in the “gender dysphoria fact sheet” that “it is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”  It further clarified the reason of keeping it in DSM is to “get the insurance coverage for the medical treatments” which include cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery.[11] As a result, we could see the paradigm is being shifted. Originally, patients are encouraged to change to ‘normative gender identity’ (heterosexual) but now patients are encouraged to pursuit their own desire mode of gender identity. It will neglect the significant (and maybe damaging) impact in client’s family and his/her social circle. In other words, the psychological attitude towards homosexual behavior is changed from mental illness to acceptable behavior. However, the reason for the change is not constructed from any scientific findings or ‘normative’ reason. As it is most likely due to the pressure from the homosexual group and the change of society view on this issue. Catholic Medical Association, a US based association that provides health care advices to catholic individuals, also commented on the significantly change in policies on same-sex attraction issues as “more in response to cultural pressures than to new scientific evidence”.[12]

Dr. James Dobson, a psychologist and one of the most influential evangelical leader in Unites States[13], shared his views on the cause of gay in Larry King’s interview. He believed that “there are temperaments that individuals are born with that make them more vulnerable and maybe more likely to move in that direction, but it usually is related to a sexual identity crisis” and this crisis usually starts at very early stage in life.[14]

2.3     Can sexual orientation be changed?

Zeng Wenxin, a Harvard trained psychiatrist, assured that homosexual is curable. In his assay “On Sexual deviation” published in 1971, he emphasized that sexual deviation, which includes homosexual behavior, can be treated by medical practice with satisfactory result.[15]

However, the research result on changing sexual orientation is “intensely debated today” especially on the terms of ‘positive outcome’[16].

Dr. Robert L. Spitzer was the chairman of the task force of the 3rd edition of the American Psychiatric Association's (APA) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III). In 1987, he spearheaded the APA for its decision to remove “homosexuality” from DSMs. In 2001, he delivered a controversial paper titled ‘Can Some Gay Men and Lesbians Change Their Sexual Orientation?’ and claimed that some highly motivated individuals could successfully change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. However, in 2012, he tried to retract that study and apologized to the homosexuals.[17]

The similar case happened to Exodus International, a cross denominational ex-gay Christian organization that help LGBT people to resume normal life. It was founded in 1976, but ceased in 2013 and later on issued a statement which apologized for the “harm their pursuit has caused to LGBT people”.[18]

From the cases above, we could sense the enormous high pressure are putting on those who try to change the homosexuals to heterosexuals.

2.4     Health Issues

Dr. John R. Diggs Jr., a practicing Internist with many first-hand experiences, cited in 2002 that there were five major distinctions in medical consequences between GLB (gays, lesbians and bisexual) and heterosexual relationship. They are physical health, mental health, life Span, levels of promiscuity and monogamy. The differences in GLBs are listed below.[19]

a) Monogamy and Promiscuity

The long term sexual fidelity is rare in GLB especially among gay men. One report revealed that 66% have sex outside relationship within the first year and 90% for five years. Moreover, for a report on white gay men:  15% with 100-249 lifetime male sex partners, 17% with 250-499., 15% with 500-999 and 28% with more than 1000. Even for lesbians, an Australian study reported that 93% of them had sex with men and their male sexual partners are 4.5 times more than heterosexual women. Without the use of calculator and medical knowledge, we will deduce that their chance of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) are significantly higher.

b) Physical Health

Besides STDs, they are exposed to a long list of diseases due to the various forms of gay sex such as:

· Anal-genital

· Oral-anal

· Human waste

· Fisting (hand/forearm-rectum)

· Sadism (sexualisation of pain and cruelty, with around 37% homosexual practicing this)

c) Mental Health

Numerous studies showed that high rates of LGB are identified with psychiatric illness which include depression, drug abuse and suicidal attempts.

d) Life Span

The average life span is shorten by 20 years, comparing to 13.5 years for cigarette smokers. The key difference to non-GLB are the much higher rates in STDs and suicide.

HIV Statistic

Although the above figures are collected in 2002 and general public may now consider sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV/AIDS are no longer a disease for homosexuals. Frankly speaking, it could be a reasonable deduction, in view of the popularity of bisexual behaviors among the homosexuals and there are other transmission channels such as infected through mothers’ wombs, injection drug use IDU, etc.

Nevertheless, you will be surprised if we examine the 2010 figures for new HIV infections published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in United States below. There are 46,923 new HIV infections and we found that MSM (man has sex with man) still belongs to the majority group with total of 66% (63% MSM + 3% MSM-IDU) [20].

The formula does not ends here. If we exclude the female group and examine the male group only, according to CDC, although gay people represent only about 7% of the male population in the United States, it accounted for 78% of the new HIV infections among males in 2010. Indeed, credible studies show that there is indeed less than 2% of males are homosexually active in a given year[21] and hence the risk of getting HIV is significantly higher among the gays.

On the other hand, while we think statistics for HIV are shifting towards heterosexual, the actual figures reveal a different story. According to CDC, comparing 2008 to 2010, the number of new HIV infections among MSM increased 12% from 26,700 in 2008 to 29,800 in 2010, with a 22% increase among MSM aged 13–24 from 7,200 in 2008 to 8,800 in 2010. In other words, both the percentage and actual number of gay people with new HIV infections are increasing and the cases are getting younger and younger.

 

The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA), the United States affiliate of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association[22] and currently has approximately 75 employees make up the staff of CMDA in the national office and U.S. field offices, provides resources, networking opportunities, education and a public voice for Christian healthcare professionals and students[23].  They had made a joint statement on the medical aspect on homosexual as below[24]:

· The causes of same-sex attraction appear to be multi-factorial and may include developmental, psychosocial, environmental and biological factors. There is no credible evidence at this time that same-sex attraction is genetically determined.

· Acting on homosexual attraction is voluntary. Claims of genetic or environmental determinism do not relieve individuals of moral responsibility for their sexual behavior.

· Homosexual behavior can be changed. There is valid evidence that many individuals who desired to abstain from homosexual acts have been able to do so.

· Some homosexual acts are physically harmful because they disregard normal human anatomy and function. These acts are associated with increased risks of tissue injury, organ malfunction, and infectious diseases. These and other factors result in a significantly shortened life expectancy.

· Among those involved in homosexual acts, there is an increased incidence of drug and/or alcohol dependence, compulsive sexual behavior, anxiety, depression, and suicide.

 

2.5     Family structure impact

Stanley Kurtz, studied and taught at Harvard in social anthropology[25], stressed the importance of traditional male and female marriage that “stands between our children and chaos”. He further explained that the physical and emotional compositions of male and female actually complement each other and “women help to domesticate men”.  He also warned the “enormous subversive potential” of same sex marriage because the new family configurations could involve “sperm donation, open marriage, group marriage and polygamous marriage”[26].

On the other hand, the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) also unanimously passed the following statement warning the social impact on homosexuality[27]:

· Homosexual relationships are typically brief in duration. Homosexual behavior is destructive to the structures necessary for healthy marriages, families and society. Men who commit homosexual acts have a high incidence of promiscuity, child molestation, and sexually transmitted infections. Homosexual behaviors burden society with increased medical costs, increased disability, and loss of productivity.

· Homosexual behavior can be self-propagating. Some homosexual groups and individuals engage in active recruitment. A child who is sexually molested has an increased likelihood of later engaging in homosexual acts. There is also an increased incidence of homosexual activity among children raised by same sex couples. Adoption into such environments puts children at risk.

· Legalizing or blessing same sex marriage or civil unions is harmful to the stability of society, the raising of children and the institution of marriage. If the only criterion for marriage were mutual consent or commitment, there are no grounds to prohibit polygamy, polyandry or incestuous unions.

2.6   Law interpretation

In the past, homosexual is treated as consensual crime in a lot of countries, which is under the same group of crime such as incest and bestiality. In other words, no matter you are consent or not, no matter you are adult or not, it’s illegal to commit homosexuality (specifically male on male anal sex). However, the situation seems having a 180 degree changing --- instead of putting homosexual people to jail, people that oppose homosexual will be strongly criticized and even penalized by firing from job, paying fine or even need to close down their business.

Undeniable, homosexual becomes more and more acceptable in the public even within the Christian society. Some western nations not only decriminalised homosexual acts but also treats homosexual couples the same right as heterosexual couples. In Europe, Netherlands and Belgium are the leading countries to legalise same sex civil marriages in 2001 and 2003 respectively. In North America, all provinces in Canada finally legalised in 2005 and some states in United States had followed the similar steps.

Here is the distribution map[28]:

With or without the figures above, it is obvious that historically, homosexual acts, especially between men, are treated not only as ‘wrong’ or ‘un-preferred’ behavior but also as a serious criminal act which should be prohibited through imprisonment type of law setting.

In view of the global trend in abolishing the related laws, it seems that the homosexual behavior becomes more and more acceptable, from ‘criminal act’, to ‘not criminal act’ and finally as ‘neutral act’. Even for the country that keep the law, such as Singapore (it is criminalized under Section 337A of Penal Code[29] and is related to ‘Outrages on decency’ with penalty of maximum 2 years of imprisonment[30]), they confessed in the parliament meeting that they ‘do not intend to proactively enforce’ it. In other words, they are not punishing the gay people anymore. But why would they like still want to keep it? The Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong addressed the issue in 2007 that ‘Singapore is basically a conservative society’ and ‘a heterosexual stable family is a social norm’.  Moreover, Lee stressed that the actual agenda for the gay activists are clearly not decriminalized the homosexual act and this is simply a stepping stone for the next stage. Considering the fallen apart of family system in Western countries, Lee suggested that his own country to ‘stay one step behind the frontline’.[31]


 

3 Christianity Aspects

3.1 Scriptures interpretation

3.1.1 Old Testament

First of all, marriage system, with one man and woman created in the image of God and by God, is for complementing each other, for procreation and to subdue the earth together. (Gen 1:26-2:25). As a result, this man and woman marriage relationship is sacred. This basic family structure is not only functional, but intimate and good. God has been related His covenant relationship with Israel as husband to wife and explained His caring relationship to His people as mother to children. As a result, homosexual relationship is against God’s natural design for normal family structure and functions.

In Old Testament times, homosexual acts may serve one of the following three purposes[32]:

· Fulfill perversive homosexual desires ( could be man to man or woman to woman)

· To disgrace one’s manly honor, to reduce one’s to a woman’s role (for man to man)

· As a mean of subjugation (could be man to man or man to woman, the later one belongs to heterosexual act)

All three reasons dehumanized human being and hence are equally perverted.

In the Old Testament, homosexual act was described as a shameful sin that God prohibited and should be put to death. The related passages are list below in NIV version:

Sodom destruction

Genesis described the horrific homosexual request of people in Sodom before God’s  final destruction. Indeed, it seems that there may be certain relationship between the city name ‘Sodom’ and homosexuality act ‘Sodomy’.

Genesis 19:1-8

1 The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. 2 "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning."

"No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."

3 But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate. 4 Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. 5 They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

6 Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him 7 and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. 8 Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."

Holiness Code

The Torah consists of two statements that forbid God’s people on homosexual act between men. They are listed in the Holiness Code (Leviticus), together with other sexual transgressions[33]:

Leviticus 18:22

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

Leviticus 20:13

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

In those days Israel had no king

Similar to the city of Sodom, the book of Judges also mentioned an account of violence homosexual request on guest:

Judges 19:22-25

22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him."

23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. 24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing."

25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go.

3.1.2 New Testament

Similar to Old Testament, in the New Testament, homosexual act is condemnable and Jesus relationship to church is symbolized as husband and wife marriage relationship.

Homosexual is described as a shameful sin and also grouped with sins such as killing parents and adultery. Moreover, Paul said that homosexual cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The related passages are listed below in NIV version:

a) Romans 1:26-27

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In 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.

b) 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

9Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

c) 1 Timothy 1:10

for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

d) Jude 1:7

In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

3.1.3 Verses that are used to support homosexual

Ironically, people that support homosexual also quote their supporting evidence from the Bible as well and the related passages are listed below:

a) According to Ezekiel 16:49-50, the sins for Sodom is “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy” and is not homosexual. Moreover, they are forcing people to have sex and hence it is wrong. So it is different to the current situation that two same-sex people who are falling in love.

Comment:

We should look at the Bible as a whole instead of quoting individual statements.

In Jude 1:7, it also mentioned that the reason for the punishment on Sodom and Gomorrah is due to their “sexual immorality and perversion”.

Moreover, in both Old and New Testament, we found that God hates homosexual behaviour and the acts should be strictly prohibited.

b) Similar to the issues of cannot eat pork and ladies should cover their head whenever she prays or prophesies, some commands from both Old Testament and New Testament times is not valid anymore today.

Comment:

The eating of pork had already explained in the New Testament that it apply to Israel only. In the New Testament, the homosexual sins are grouped with other sins that are all still valid for today society. For example: adulterers.

c) David is gay too and God did not prohibit him. In 1 Samuel 18: 3-4 and 20:41, it mentioned that they love each other, taking off their clothes and kissed.

Comment:

In 1 and 2 Samuel, it mentioned in many places that the marriage life of David is heterosexual. Moreover, in the Middle East culture, kissing is a common social gesture and is a normal behaviour.

d) Power play

For the case of Sodom, the request of gang gay rape is to “show their supremacy and power over the guests—and ultimately over Lot himself”[34]

Comment:

No matter the underlying intention, the homosexual acts are treated as disgrace behavior.

.

3.2 Classical theologians

3.2.1 St. Augustine (354-430)

St. Augustine of Hippo is one of the four Latin Fathers. His thoughts and writings are still influencing people after so many centuries especially in the Catholic and Protestant world. In 1930, the encyclical “On Christian Marriage” issued by Pope Pius XI is based on the three “goods” of marriage elaborated by St. Augustine.[35]

St. Augustine emphasized that any form of sexual activity which automatically ruled out the possibility of conception, such as anal or oral sex, same-sex relations, was to be condemned as “against nature”.[36]

In his third book of the Confessions, he said that[37]:

Sins against nature... like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment wherever and whenever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship which we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which he is the Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.

However, he also concluded that if we repent our sins, God will set us free from the chains which we have forged for ourselves.

3.2.2 Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274)

Thomas Aquinas's interpretation of natural law became the building block of early western law and politics. In his famous work Summa theologiae, he divided laws into four levels: eternal law, divine law, natural law and human law. Eternal law is the “decree of God that governs all creation” and divine law is revealed in the Scriptures. Natural law is the common natural good and human law is the application of natural law under different contexts by governments to societies. [38]

In Summa, II-II, 154 regarding the issue of lust, St. Thomas explained that lust is sexual acts occur in two ways: “contrary to right reason’ and ‘contrary to natural order’. He listed out four scenario. Although unnatural sex is not limited to same sex acts, homosexual (sodomy) is the regarded as undue sex and listed on the third point below[39]:

“First, by procuring pollution, without any copulation, for the sake of venereal pleasure: this pertains to the sin of "uncleanness" which some call "effeminacy." Secondly, by copulation with a thing of undue species, and this is called "bestiality." Thirdly, by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female, as the Apostle states (Rm. 1:27): and this is called the "vice of sodomy." Fourthly, by not observing the natural manner of copulation, either as to undue means, or as to other monstrous and bestial manners of copulation.”

3.2.3 Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Martin Luther, our well-known reformer that attacked on ecclesiastical abuses using the Ninety-five Theses and marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Instead of dealing with same-sex eroticism individually, he discuss about sexual immorality in general. For example, here is his Lectures on Genesis to explain the judgement on Sodom:

If you do away with the marriage bond and permit promiscuous passions, the laws and all decency go to ruin... Therefore as an example to others the Lord was compelled to inflict punishment and to check the madness that was raging beyond measure.[40]

Nevertheless, homosexual stills be treated as horrible sins that God hates and should be prohibited.

3.3 Catholic Standpoint[41]

Despite the disagreement between Protestants and Catholics on issues such as attitudes on the Saints and Jesus’s mother, the standpoints from Catholic on the issue of homosexuality has always been very clear, firm and founded on the Biblical perspectives as well as natural moral laws. While the Biblical standpoints apply to those who believe in Christ, the natural moral laws can apply to all who commit in promoting and defending the common good of society. As a result, it is worthy to incorporate their grounds for our reference.

 

3.3.1 Basic concept

Catechism of the Catholic Church (The Catechism) classify homosexuality into two types: homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies.

 

The homosexual acts are treated as sins by the Sacred Scripture and considered as ‘intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law” by the Tradition. Therefore, it is “under no circumstance can they be approved”.

 

On the other hand, deep-seated homosexual tendencies are interpreted as “objectively disordered” and “often constitute a trial”.  Their situation could “gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women”. However, The Catechism advised the acceptance of them with “respect and sensitivity” and “every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”.

 

3.3.2 Seminary and holy orders

Based on the views above, the following group of people cannot admit to the seminary or holy orders:

· practice homosexuality

· present deep-seated homosexual tendencies

· support gay culture

The only exception are the transitory homosexual tendencies happened during adolescence but it must be overcome for at least three years before applying for admission to seminary or holy orders.

 

3.3.3 Legal Recognition

Besides the religious reasons to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual union as ‘normal’ couple relationship, it opposes it under the reasons of four orders[42]:

1) Order of right reason

“Every humanly-created law is legitimate insofar as it is consistent with the natural moral law”. The natural moral law is recognized by right reason and respects the inalienable rights of every person. Law in favor of homosexual unions are contrary to right reason and hence violates the natural moral law. This change in entire organization of society will devaluate the institution of marriage and distort the moral perception for younger generation which are violating the common good.

2) Biological and anthropological order

“Homosexual unions are totally lacking in the biological and anthropological elements of marriage and family”. It is “gravely immoral” and “doing violence” to the “normal development of children”.

3) Social order

It is “harmful to the proper development of human society”.

4) Legal order

“Because married couples ensure the succession of generations and are therefore eminently within the public interest, civil law grants them institutional recognition.” However, homosexual unions “do not exercise this function for the common good” and hence should not be granted with similar institutional recognition.

Moreover, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith urges that all Catholics should be obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions.

 

4 Duties for Christians in communities

Our duties in the communities is two folded: within Christian communities and secular communities.

4.1 Christian Communities

4.1.1 Acquire external knowledge and provide internal education

From the biblical and theological point of view, it seems reasonable to deduce that homosexuality is prohibited by God. As part of Christian community, especially those who are leaders, we need to educate the congregation and Christian communities properly so that we will not sin against God due to ignorance. Moreover, we need to stay abreast of the latest findings and analyse them critically.

4.1.2 Support and walk with homosexual Christians for recovery

In the Jesus times, tax collector Jews are not treated as Jews because of their sinful career choice. However, Jesus did not look down on Matthew, the tax collector who was seeking the truth. Jesus intentionally hand-picked him in the middle of huge crowd. The love and truth from Jesus melted Matthew who in turn willing to give up everything to follow His way.  In the same way, we should not look down on homosexual Christians as we may never fully understand their past and struggles. Therefore, before we try to belittle them and impose immediate condemnation to them, we need to remind ourselves that we too are sinners in different ways. As a result, we should try to understand their background, empathy their struggles and walk with them with love and support along the road of recovery. We are all imperfect human being and continue our path of sanctification with up and down struggles against our personal sins.

4.2 Secular Communities

4.2.1 Fight for the religious rights

Obviously, we cannot impose our Biblical moral views to non-Christians as they do not believe in our God and Bible. However, we have the right to request their respect of our religion and moral views. Just like we will not force vegetarian to accept that eating meat is good. We also will not bring meat to a vegetarian restaurant and force them to cook it for you. However, it seems that radical homosexuals are exploiting Christians’ right globally. As a result, we must united and defended against our rights. We also need to accept the price that we have to pay if we stand firm on our belief.

 

4.2.2 Point out the homosexual harms from non-religious viewpoints

On the other hand, we should promote the correct moral view and have dialogue with the secular public through natural law, family value, cultural tradition, mental and physical health, etc. We should continue dig into more evidence under different areas the problem of homosexual practices and disclose these information out so that secular public could understand that we all can have a better choice for ourselves and our societies.

 

4.2.3 Unceasing prayer

As there is global trend that governments begins to set up laws to prosecute those who discriminate homosexuals while homosexual groups are also taking an active role in challenging and provoking Christians’ territories, prayer is critical. As our ultimate enemy is the supernatural evil forces that deceive and destroy, we need supernatural support to breakdown the strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4) We need to pray for the government authorities and the hearts of deceived so that they can understand and follow the Truth. We also need to pray for our wisdom, courage and love towards the group that is hostile towards us.

 

4.2.4 Unconditional Love

Who are the neighbors of the homosexual people? Can we be the Good Samaritans that show more genuine love than their own homosexual fellows? Unfortunately, most homosexuals have the impression that Christians are the self-righteous groups that protest for their self-interest only. As a result, we need to evaluate our behavior and our underlying intention, then we ask ourselves the question ‘Who am I look like, a Pharisees or Jesus?’

 

5 Conclusion

From Christian perspective, homosexual behavior clearly violates God’s revealed will and distorts the creation purpose for sexual intimacy. Homosexual desire, along with other sinful desires such as lust, greed and pride, are due to human fallenness and rebellious nature. Similar to lustful thinking, it is treated as sinful if we allow this desire to linger and develop in our thoughts.

 

From social perspective, homosexual could be originated from combination of factors which include physical (such as hormones) and psychological (such as internal thinking and external experience/culture). However, there are successful cases which proof that positive changes and conversion are practically possible. Moreover, no matter what is the cause for homosexual practice, it violates social norms and has negative impact on health and family structure. Although it has been removed from DSM, homosexual is still perceived by most psychiatrists as pathology. As a result, it is wrong for a person to indulge and pursuit in homosexual behavior. The society should provide a positive and supportive environment to help homosexual to seek change, to choose a life that is not only better for oneself but also benefit the whole society.

 

Nonetheless, human nature tends to deceive himself and rational his erroneous behavior. This could be revealed by the trend of self-centered post-modern relativism and the aggressive actions from the homosexual advocacy groups. Moreover, individual’s core belief and bias could affect one’s own professional conclusions, no matter it is in the area of psychological research, medical research, political stands or even law setting. Stanton Jones pointed out three common but deeply flawed views on the relationship between science and religion: perspectivalism (unrelated perspectives), imperialism (competing with each other) and postmodern relativism (absolute truth never exist). He proposed that the relationship should be ‘critical realists’ in which there is absolute truth but we are all looking at it through our own lens of presumptions and background. As a result, we need to engage in a risky dialogue that allow science influencing what we believe (such as the Galileo view of physical universe) and allow the religion to influence the empirical reality (as our Christianity view help us to understand more of the human nature).[43] This basic principle can also apply to the relationship between Christian and social ethics as both are dealing with the moral issues in reality.

 

6     References

6.1 Chinese Books

1. 阿蘭‧.西爾斯、克雷格‧.奧斯頓合著。陳恩明譯。《移風易俗的同性戀運動 : 當前宗教及言論自由所面對的最大挑戰》。香港:明光社出版社,2009

2. 黃多加。《同性戀之剖析與詮釋 :從文化、藝術、宗教、哲學、倫理、情感看同性戀的詮釋意義》。馬來西亞:人人書樓,2006

3. 馬里奧‧伯格納著。陳冠妤等譯。《愛, 放對位置 : 同性性傾向的醫治與盼望》。台灣:校園書房出版社,2011

4. 堵建偉編。《跨越圍牆、接納差異: 性傾向歧視立法對基督徒的挑戰》。香港:香港基督徒學會、香港中文大學文化及宗教研究系、香港基督教協進會社會公義及民生關注委員會2006

5. 關啟文。《是非、曲直》。香港:宣道出版社,2000

 

6.2 English Books

1. Clark, Elizabeth A. (editor). St. Augustine on Marriage and Sexuality. United States: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996.

2. Dobson, James. Marriage Under Fire: why we must win this war. United States: Multnomah Publishers Inc., 2004.

3. Hamilton, Catherine Sider. (editor). The Homosexuality Debate: Faith Seeking Understanding. Canada: Anglican Book Centre, 2003.

4. Huang, Hans Tao-ming. Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011.

5. Terence Chong. (Editor). The AWARE saga: civil society and public morality in Singapore. Singapore: NUS Press, 2011.

6. Petula Sik Ying Ho and A. Ka Tat Tsang. Sex and desire in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2012.

7. Copan, Paul. When God goes to Starbucks: A Guide to Everyday Apologetics. United States: Baker Books, 2008.

8. Nissinen, Martti. Translated by Kirsi Syjerma. Homoeroticism in the biblical world: A Historical Research. United States: Augssburg Fortress, 1998.

9. St. Augustine. Conffin, R.S. Pine (Translator). Confessions. UK: Penguin, 1973.

10. Jones, Stanton L. and Yarhouse, Mark A. Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate. United States: InterVarsity Press, 2000.

11. Yau Chung, Ed. As Normal as possible: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender in Mainland China and Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010.

 

6.3 Websites

1. http://cathmed.org/ (Catholic Medical Association)

2. http://catholiceducation.org

3. http://en.wikipedia.org

4. http://statutes.agc.gov.sg

5. http://truth-light.org.hk

6. http://www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in USA)

7. http://www.christianitytoday.com/

8. http://www.cmda.org/

9. http://www.dsm5.org (APA latest version of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)

10. http://www.foxnews.com

11. http://www.narth.com (National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality)

12. http:/www.nytimes.com

13. http://sprs.parl.gov.sg

14. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus

15. http://www.vatican.va

 



[1] Transitional sexuality refers to the re-configuration of the sexual identities temporary outside their home country as “geographic mobility enables greater sexual and gender mobility” “Trans-lesbian’ among Indonesian migrant works in Hong Kong is one of the example. Referenced from Yau Chung, Ed., ‘As Normal as possible: Negotiating Sexuality and Gender in Mainland China and Hong Kong’, (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2010)), page 7.

[2] Intersex is a group of conditions where there is a discrepancy between the external genitals and the internal genitals (the testes and ovaries). Reference on 13 Feb 2014 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001669.htm

[3] 2014 Mar 13 reference on National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality http://www.narth.com/#!gay---born-that-way/cm6x

[4] 2014 Mar 07 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

[5] Hans Tao-ming Huang, Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), page 41.

[6] Hans Tao-ming Huang, Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), page 43.

[7] 2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

[8]Hans Tao-ming Huang, Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), page 45.

[9]Hans Tao-ming Huang, Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), page 48-49.

[10]Hans Tao-ming Huang, Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), page 49 and it reference on Dr Ke book “Not to be regarded as abnormal behavior”.

[11]2014 Mar 07 referenced on http://www.dsm5.org/documents/gender%20dysphoria%20fact%20sheet.pdf

[12]2014 Mar 13 referenced on http://cathmed.org/assets/files/H&H%202010%20Pages%20for%20Website.pdf

[13] 2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/01/politics/01dobson.html?_r=0

[14] 2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/20061125_james_dobson_identifies_homosexuality

[15]Hans Tao-ming Huang, Queer politics and sexual modernity in Taiwan (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011), page 43-44.

[16] Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (United States: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Chapter 1: Research, reason and religion: page 150-151.

[17] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Spitzer_(psychiatrist)#Work_on_homosexuality.

[18] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus_International

[19]2014 Mar 13 referenced ‘Health Risk on Gay sex’ on http://catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/ho0075.html

[20]2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/

[21]Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (United States: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Chapter 1: Research, reason and religion: page 46.

[22] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Medical_and_Dental_Associations

[23] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://www.cmda.org/WCM/CMDA/Navigation/About/About_CMDA.aspx

[24] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://www.cmda.org/WCM/CMDA/Issues2/Other1/Sexuality1/Ethics_Statements13/Statement_on_Homosex.aspx

[25]2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Kurtz

[26] 2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles/KurGayM.php

[27] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://www.cmda.org/WCM/CMDA/Issues2/Other1/Sexuality1/Ethics_Statements13/Statement_on_Homosex.aspx

[28] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage

[29]Terence Chong (ed.), The AWARE saga: civil society and public morality in Singapore (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011), page 26-27.

[30] http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/ referenced on 1 Mar 2014.

[31] Singapore Parliament Meeting on 23 Oct 2007. Referenced on 2 Mar 2014 on Parliament reports at http://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/report.jsp?currentPubID=00004748-WA

[32] Martti Nissinen, translated by Kirsi Syjerma, Homoeroticism in the biblical world: A Historical Research (United States: Augssburg Fortress, 1998), page 48-49.

[33] Martti Nissinen, translated by Kirsi Syjerma, Homoeroticism in the biblical world: A Historical Research (United States: Augssburg Fortress, 1998), page 37.

[34] Martti Nissinen, translated by Kirsi Syjerma, Homoeroticism in the biblical world: A Historical Research (United States: Augssburg Fortress, 1998), page 49.

[35] Clark, Elizabeth A. (editor). St. Augustine on Marriage and Sexuality. United States: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996. Page 1.

[36] Clark, Elizabeth A. (editor). St. Augustine on Marriage and Sexuality. United States: The Catholic University of America Press, 1996. Page 6.

[37]St. Augustine. R.S. Pine Coffin (Translator). Confessions. UK: Penguin, 1973. Chapter 8.

[38]2014 Mar 15 referenced on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Aquinas

[39]2014 Mar 15 reference on the website that has original text and English translation in parallel http://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/SS/SS154.html#SSQ154OUTP1

[40] Martin Luther. Lectures on Genesis, Chs 15-20, in Luther’s Works, ed. J. Pelikan, Vol 3, Page 254.

[41] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://www.vatican.va/

[42] 2014 Mar 16 referenced on http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html

[43] Stanton Jones and Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate (United States: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Chapter 1: Research, reason and religion: page 14-15.

 
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