Christians are often portrayed as prudish ostriches with their heads stuck in the sand. This is especially considered true when it comes to common clashes concerning sexual norms in our society. I had a conversation recently where I asked a young freshman in college what she thought about Christianity and she responded with “Well, I love the gays so…there you go.” I responded that I also loved them. She asked why I objected to their lifestyle and couldn’t just accept that homosexuality is a good thing. I told her that I thought homosexuality was not the way God intended it to be because it is a reversal of the created order and not conducive to human flourishing. Homosexuality is man attempting to make man in his own image; it’s an attempt to throw off the fetters of creatureliness for a slavish autonomy that ends up being quite joyless in the end. Needless to say, she got an ear full. What I meant by homosexuality not being conducive for human flourishing was that the homosexual lifestyle is rife with a set of unfortunate consequences that often leads to the diminishing of what it means to be human. Lisa McMinn in her book Sexuality and Holy Longing writes,
Our sexuality is a fundamental part of what it means to be human. How we understand it and experience it is integral as we discover who we are and it points us to our Creator. While it is fundamental to our being, our sexuality is not about sexual intercourse. Our sexuality is one of the sources of restlessness in our lives. It drives us to search for intimacy where we can be fully known and where we can know another. It is in this place of intimacy where the experience of the ecstatic is sometimes met and we are able to transcend our physical limitations and understand in part the transcendent nature of God.
To remark that homosexuality is not conducive to human flourishing is to say that it increases the restlessness and discontentment caused by sin in our daily experience. Christians are called to love their neighbors and that includes hating whatever diminishes their neighbor’s daily felicity. Homosexuality is included within a list of things regarded as sinful for a reason within the pages of Scripture. Sin is a sort of madness of the will, a condition in which we love and hate the wrong things. This sin has results. I think one of the best lines of reasoning a Christian can use when discussing sexual ethics in the public marketplace of ideas is to point out the drastic results of supposedly “natural” and “good” alternate forms of sexuality. Below are some statistics and studies that will aid the Christian in their struggle for ethical lucidity in a culture hell-bent on its own destruction from the inside out.
According to a survey taken in 1997 and published in the Journal of Sex Research, 21 percent of gay men older than 30 had between 101-500 sexual partners over their lifetime. During the preceding six months, 44.9 percent had between 2-10 partners while 26.6 percent had more than 10. Only 28.5 percent had been with only one partner.
Additionally, “monogamy” is often defined differently in the gay community—a fact that is rarely mentioned, but never disputed. The term monogamy is redefined so that a person can be “faithful” to one partner and, thus, “monogamous,” while continuing to have sexual experiences with others. San Francisco State University released a study in 2010 that found that about 50 percent of those surveyed had sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
There is no question that homosexual conduct is associated with higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases. As the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases noted last year, “Men who have sex with men (MSM) have increased rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) compared with demographically matched controls.” Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that STDs ” have been increasing among gay and bisexual men.” In 2008, men who have sex with men accounted for 63 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States and are 17 times more likely to develop anal cancer than heterosexual men.
Numerous studies (see, for example, here, here, and here) have found that homosexuals have a higher incidence of mental illness than the general population. Even the SPLC doesn’t deny this point, though they claim that the reason is because of the “stress of being a member of a minority group in an often-hostile society.” However, studies have also shown that the same level of mental health problems occurs in areas that are accepting of homosexuality, such as San Francisco, Denmark, and the Netherlands.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), studies have shown that, when compared with the general population, gay and bisexual men, lesbian, and transgender individuals are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, abuse substances, and continue heavy drinking into later life. They are less likely to abstain from alcohol and drug use.
A survey by the Department of Justice found that same-sex cohabitants reported significantly more intimate partner violence than did opposite-sex cohabitants. Among women, 39.2 percent of the same-sex cohabitants and 21.7 percent of the opposite-sex cohabitants reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked by a marital/cohabiting partner at some time in their lifetime. The survey also found that 15.4 percent of same-sex cohabiting men reported being raped, physically assaulted and/or stalked by a male partner.
Additionally, 82 percent of the victims of domestic violence reported to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs identified themselves as gay