Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Kasich Appears Confused about Homosexuality

Recently at a campaign event, Governor John Kasich was asked about homosexuality.  In response he made two statement which are confusing at best:

1.  Kasich says that some homosexuals are probably born gay.
2.  Kasich says that he and his wife recently attended a gay wedding and “It was great.  It was fine.”

You can see a short video clip on CNN here.

Why Does this Matter

I’m not writing about Kasich’s statements because of their importance in the political campaign.  I doubt that anything he says at this point will make much of a difference.  I’m writing about Kasich’s comments because they reflect popular ideas about homosexuality.  Whether or not Kasich’s candidacy soon ends, issues related to homosexuality are certain to continue to get a lot of attention.

Layers of Confusion

With regard to the cause of homosexuality there are layers of confusion.

At a deep level, the Apostle Paul teaches that homosexuality is one of many sins which results when people reject God:

Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen.
 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

 The above explanation does not address how God gave people over to shameful lusts.  While it is certainly possible that genetic and other biological factors play some role, environmental factors (family and society) probably are more important.  Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk does a good job of explaining why factors such as unhealthy families and absent or abusive fathers are likely the main roots of homosexual desires. Their article may be viewed  here.

A Deeper Issue

Many people wrongly think that if homosexuality is influenced by biological factors, then we should accept homosexual behavior as normal.  This is absurd.

I agree that much of the cause of homosexual desires, feelings, and temptations lays beyond the control of the person struggling with them (or embracing them).  This is true whether the root causes are biological/genetic, broken families, sexual abuse, older sexual predators, or social pressure.  The person feeling tempted by homosexual desires did not choose their genes.  They also did not choose what family or what society they were born into.  If they were a victim of sexual abuse they certainly did not choose that.

The confusion occurs when people think that because someone did not choose to have homosexual feelings they should embrace them and act on them.  This is insanity.

Most men have temptations and desires to have sex with women other than their wives.  Many of these men do not want these feelings.  They did not “choose” them.  But does that mean they should embrace them and act on them?

Many scientists believe that some people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and other addictions.  Should these people give in to these impulses and embrace being an alcoholic and ask everyone else to affirm them being an alcoholic?

Seen from this point of view, we realize that homosexuality is very similar to other sinful desires and temptations.  People may feed these sinful desires or resist them.  It’s a spiritual battle.

We should have compassion for those who struggle with homosexual desires, but we should not encourage them to embrace and act on those desires.  Like any sin, we should encourage people to resist and flee from temptation and over time seek transformation in Christ.  Is that easy?  Usually, no.  It’s a long, hard, painful battle.  But giving in is defeat, not victory.

What about that “Great” Gay Wedding?

Kasich’s statement about attending a gay wedding that was “great” shows even more confusion.  What other sin do we celebrate in this way?

If someone is tempted to overeat, do we hold a party and celebrate if they finally eat enough to weigh 400lbs?

If someone feels the pull of drugs, should we congratulate them and talk about how great it is if they move on from relatively mild drugs to a full blown heroin addiction?

A gay wedding is a celebration and affirmation of giving in to temptation.

I’m not going to judge a close friend or parent who chooses to go to a gay wedding of someone they love.  But if they choose to go, it should be with the attitude of “This is terrible and what is happening here breaks my heart, but I still love you.”  I think in most cases it is better not to attend.  I would especially urge not attending a gay wedding which presented itself as Christian:

1 Corinthians 5:9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--
 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.
 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

The Bottom Line

There are legitimate reasons to investigate the causes of homosexuality.  It is a tough call for a parent or friend to decide whether to attend a gay wedding.  These issues and many others issues related to homosexuality will all be hopelessly confused if people fail to understand this:

Homosexuality is sinful.
All homosexual acts are sinful acts. 
All homosexual desires are sinful desires.

Once these truths are recognized, people can start thinking sanely about all the complex issues of how to minister to people and encourage people and respond to people in different situations.

A Very Brief Overview of the Biblical Case that Homosexuality is Sinful

Sadly, even many Christians have been led astray by the media and popular opinion. For a Christian, the Bible should always be the final authority on any issues it speaks on.  The Bible speaks clearly on homosexuality.

*God defines marriage in terms of one man being joined to one woman (Genesis 2:24).

*Jesus affirms the original plan for marriage by quoting from Genesis (Matthew 19:5) and so does the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 5:31).

*God specifically forbids homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13).

*Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, identifies homosexuality as sinful (Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-11).

*There is not a single positive example of homosexual relationships, desires, or acts in the entire Bible.

*Some claim that the Bible does not treat homosexual sin as serious because it is not mentioned as often as some other sins.  This argument is false.  The Bible mentions the sexual abuse of children even less often than homosexuality.  Does that make it ok?

*Some claim that the Bible was talking about only abusive homosexuality.  That’s not true.  The Bible speaks of homosexuality as wrong without any qualifications.  The same range of homosexual behavior which exists today existed in Bible times.  Of course if violence or abuse is involved that makes the sin even worse, but that is true of both adultery and homosexuality.

Further Resources

This issue is unlikely to go away soon.  It is important that Christians know what God teaches.

I recommend the short book WhatDoes the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? as a great place to start.

Focus on the Family has an extensive list of resources on this topic.

Once we realize homosexuality is a sin, then we realize that all God’s Word says about sin, judgment, grace, forgiveness, mercy, salvation, transformation, loving sinners and hating sin, standing firm, and suffering for righteousness applies.  So above all, keep praying and reading your Bible.  In these dark days it is more important than ever to have the light of God’s truth in our hearts.

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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