Al Gore’s documentary about global warming was famously mislabeled “An Inconvenient Truth.” I’d like to borrow this title and apply it to homosexuality in America. That’s because the gay-rights movement, intentionally or not, ignores or distorts a small set of inconvenient truths. The resulting untruths — I will refrain from calling them lies — provide much of the energy and intellectual justification for society accepting homosexuality as normal. We’ll take them one at a time.
Inconvenient Truth No. 1: It is possible for people to change their homosexual orientation. Activists insist that a person’s homosexuality is inviolable and permanent, like height or skin color. The prestigious American Psychological Association, which once classified homosexuality as a mental disorder, in more recent days stated prominently on its website that sexual orientation cannot be changed.
Yet the scientific proof for this secular dogma does not exist. Stanton Jones of Wheaton College has just published a study in this month’s Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, a peer-reviewed scientific publication, showing that it is indeed possible to change one’s sexual orientation.
According to CitizenLink’s Karla Dial, the research involved “a longitudinal study of Christians seeking help from ministries associated with Exodus International for their unwanted same-sex attractions.” Here are the key findings: “Of the 98 subjects, more than half were reported as successful; 23 percent reported a complete change in orientation after six years. Also, 20 percent reported giving up the struggle to change.”
The study responds to criticism of Jones' and Mark Yarhouse’s 2007 book, Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation. Critics said the authors did not follow their study subjects long enough or track the changes in orientation as they occurred. The new study removes that criticism.
Jones told CitizenLink, “We think the results challenge the reigning mindset that change is impossible or is extraordinarily rare.”
Inconvenient Truth No. 2: Homosexuals are not “born that way.” Activists argue that if people are born into homosexuality, then ipso facto it must be a good thing and must not be opposed. Anyone born with a physical disability might have grounds to dispute this kind of argument, but it can be refuted on factual grounds alone.
Caleb Price of CitizenLink summarizes years of scientific studies: “At best, the evidence for a genetic and/or biological basis to homosexual orientation is inconclusive. In fact, since the early 1990s, numerous studies attempting to establish a genetic cause for homosexuality have not proven to be valid or repeatable – two important requirements for study results to become accepted as fact in the scientific community.
“Because of this, the current thinking in the scientific community is that homosexuality is likely caused by a complex interaction of psychosocial, environmental and possible biological factors. And the two leading national psychiatric and psychological professional groups agree that, so far, there are no conclusive studies supporting any specific biological or genetic cause for homosexuality.”
In other words, there is no “gay gene.” Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome Project, notes that “sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hard-wired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations.”
Inconvenient Truth No. 3: Far less than 10 percent of the population is homosexual. We often hear that “one in 10” is gay or lesbian. Such numbers, the corollary goes, mean that society must grant rights that other large demographic blocs enjoy, such as marriage.
This 10 percent figure originated in the 1948 research of Alfred Kinsey that was flawed or misinterpreted on several levels. To cite just one example, 25 percent of the men Kinsey studied were prisoners, many of them sex offenders. Joe Dallas of the Christian ministry Exodus International says of the 10 percent untruth, “The concept was extremely useful to activists when, decades later, they would ask how anyone could believe ten percent of the population was abnormal, immoral or just plain wrong.”
Studies subsequent to Kinsey have shown that the percentage of the American population that is homosexual is far less than 10 percent. One, in 1993, found that just 2.3 percent of men surveyed had engaged in homosexual behavior over the last 10 years. Further, a mere 1.1 percent reported being exclusively homosexual. A 1989 study said that no more than 6 percent of adults had any same-sex contacts and only 1 percent were exclusively homosexual.
For the first time, last year the U.S. Census Bureau decided to count the number of same-sex households. In August, the Bureau announced that there were 1 million such households. In a nation of more than 300 million people, that result is far less than would be expected if 10 percent of the population were gay.
At the end of September, however, the Bureau released revised figures. It turns out that there are fewer than 650,000 same-sex households. Further, fewer than 132,000 of these households are headed by married homosexual couples — not all of whom are actually legally married. As Chuck Colson says, “That’s two-tenths of one percent of married households. Talk about the tail wagging the dog!”
These facts about homosexuality may be inconvenient, but this doesn’t make them any less true.
Of course, whether there are few or many gays and lesbians, whether they are born that way, or whether they cannot change should not determine how Christians treat homosexuals. All people, regardless of their sexual temptations and choices, are made in the image of God and deserve our compassion and respect. Dallas quotes Jones, who cogently says, “If you cannot empathize with a homosexual person because of fear of, or revulsion to, them, then you are failing our Lord.”
Stan Guthrie, a Christianity Today editor at large, is author of All That Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us and coauthor of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Stan blogs at http://stanguthrie.com/blog.
Publication date: October 7, 2011