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Why Attitudes Are Changing on Homosexuality--Part 1 PDF  | Print |  E-mail
WHY ATTITUDES ARE CHANGING—Part 1
(Why and How Is Homosexuality Being Pushed On the Church?)
[This article is excerpted from the author’s book Must We Be Silent?]
By
Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Ph.D.
Director, Public Campus Ministries, Michigan Conference


    All manner of sin can be forgiven, provided we admit our wrongdoing, repent, and turn away from it. But there can be no forgiveness when sinners are in denial--when they insist that their lustful desires and practices are not sinful, when they reinterpret Scripture to justify their sins, and when they defiantly maintain that they will not turn from their sinful ways.

    Such is the case today with a sin called homosexuality.

    Almost two dozen years ago, a former dean of the Theological Seminary at Andrews University perceptively noted: “The gay crisis has come to church. Some homosexuals are coming to church not only for forgiveness and mercy but to say to the church, as they have to the world, ‘Homosexuality is not sinful; it is natural to me. God made me this way. He accepts me and my homosexuality as good. Therefore the time has come for the church to accept me as I am and join me in saying that gayness is good.’”[1]

    The above statement aptly captures the essence of the born-a-gay gospel and its varied “ministries” or support groups. Though advocates of this gospel employ the term ministry to describe their “outreach” to gay and lesbians, such ministries for the most part do not teach homosexuals to repent of their particular sin. Instead, they suggest that the church itself must be “educated” to own up to its alleged “immoral” past, when it failed to understand or recognize homosexuality as a morally legitimate lifestyle. Regrettably, an increasing number of Christians are uncritically embracing this new gospel!

    Even in our own Seventh-day Adventist church the attitudes of some are changing on the issue of homosexuality. We may find evidence for this change in Adventist discussions on the Internet, in written declarations by some scholars, in discussions at annual professional meetings of the church’s Bible teachers, in some carefully written, yet troubling, articles that have been published in our church publications, and in the mumblings, if not deafening silence, from our pulpits. [2]

    The question before us is: Why are some within our ranks embracing the born a gay gospel as a morally legitimate part of the Christian lifestyle?

    What Is New About the Born A Gay Gospel?

    The practice of homosexuality is not a new phenomenon of sexual behavior that has suddenly burst upon our modern culture; the practice has been present in almost every human society. Not unexpectedly, the Bible also deals with the subject in such texts as Gen. 19 (cf. Jude 7; 2 Pet. 2:6- 10); Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:8-11).

    If there is anything new about the practice of homosexuality, the newness lies in the fact that unlike the past centuries of Christian history, many churches in our day are accepting homosexuality as a morally legitimate lifestyle. Advocates of gay theology have employed two major methods to silence or challenge the Bible's negative valuation of homosexuality.

    First, they argue that the Bible texts which have been understood historically as condemning homosexuality are either obscure or refer to the abuse of homosexuality. By this they mean certain kinds of homosexual practices, notably gang rape, idolatry, promiscuity, and prostitution, but not genuine homosexual orientation as we know it today.

    Second, they put forward some Bible characters as examples of allegedly healthy and loving homosexual relationships. For example, the friendship love (philia) between biblical characters like Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1-4) and David and Jonathan (1 Sam 18-20) they interpret to mean sexual love (eros). Consequently, they present these Bible characters as Christian models of lesbian and gay relationships. Advocates often argue that Ruth and Naomi exchanged their lesbian marriage vows when Ruth said to Naomi: "Wherever you go, I will go with you, wherever you stay I will stay with you; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. . . . Till death do us part" (Ruth 1:16-17, my translation).

    Regarding David and Jonathan, advocates of gay theology string together the following interesting argument to suggest that they were two “male lovers”: The Bible itself says Jonathan "loved" David (1 Sam18:3); David declared publicly that Jonathan's love was "wonderful"--passing even "the love of women" (2 Sam 1:23); Jonathan allegedly "stripped" in David's presence (1 Sam 18:4), the two "kissed" each other (1 Sam 20:41), subsequently “wept together” and (David) "exceeded" (1 Sam 20:41)–terms advocates take to mean a sexual encounter! (Readers may wish to read the Scriptural account of the relationship between David and Jonathan to ascertain for themselves what the Bible actually says.)

    Other proponents of gay theology also consider Joseph and Portiphar (Gen 39), Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel (Dan 2, 4), as well as Jesus and John (“the disciple whom Jesus loved”--John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2) as genuine models of loving and committed homosexual relationships. Some even consider the virgin Mary a lesbian, describing her as “one courageous woman who did not need a man to have a child.”

    Even though we may easily dismiss the above examples of allegedly healthy gay and lesbian relationships in the Bible as frivolous inventions, not all the arguments of pro-gay theology can be so rebuffed so handily. Some of the arguments are quite sophisticated, often invoking scientific, philosophical, or logical arguments to show that (i) people are born homosexual (i.e., homosexuality is genetic or inborn); (ii) the sexual orientation of people born gay should be viewed as a natural or normal trait of their identity, like the color of the skin, eyes, or hair, or as a God given gift; (iii) a person's so-called God-given homosexual orientation is morally neutral and unchangeable; and (iv) the Bible is silent, or does not condemn, homosexuality as such, but only its abuse.

    Sincere, Bible-believing Christians are often caught off-guard by the subtle and plausible-sounding arguments in favor of homosexuality today. In an effort to clear away the smokescreen which often clouds this issue, subsequent chapters of this section of Must We Be Silent will list some of the arguments in circulation. Following each is a response which I hope will make clear the fundamental issue at stake for the Christian. I believe that the reader will find in Scripture a clear and consistent guide to God's will in this highly charged matter.

    This chapter will identify some major reasons why Christian attitudes are changing on the question of homosexuality.


    Reasons for the Changing Attitudes

    The favorable disposition of some towards the practice of homosexuality may be attributed to a number of factors. The following are some of the major reasons:

    1. Campaign by Pro-Homosexual Groups.
    The successful campaigns by various homosexual lobbying and civil rights organizations to end not only discrimination against homosexuals generally, but also to decriminalize homosexual practices between consenting adults, and to liberalize public opinion, attitudes, laws, and policies on homosexuality have contributed to the favorable attitude of some on homosexuality.

    For example, in 1973 the American Bar Association called for the repeal of laws which in the past had placed homosexuality in the category of crime. That same year, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its official list of mental illness, and the American Psychological Association also decided that homosexuality was no longer an abnormal behavior. With such influential actions to remove homosexuality from the categories of crime, illness, and abnormal behavior, it did not take long before Christian churches began to hear calls from pro-gay advocates, urging the church to remove homosexuality from the category of sin.

    In the effort to remove homosexuality from the category of sin, advocates of gay theology have often presented testimonies of homosexuals and latest research findings (scientific and biblical) in such a manner as to silence or challenge the Bible's negative valuation of homosexuality. They portray those who do not embrace the revisionist interpretations of Scripture as being hopelessly uninformed or judgmental. Worse still, those opposed to the homosexual agenda are portrayed as cherishing the mean spirit of some right wing fundamentalists, the kind of spirit that encourages gay bashing and gay hate-crimes.[3]

    Gay activists also employ specific strategies to turn the public against the church, and the church against itself. In an insightful exposé of how they silence conservative churches’ opposition to the gay lifestyle, one researcher quotes the following from a 1987 Guide Magazine, a publication for gays:
 When conservative churches condemn gays . . . we can use talk to muddy the moral waters. This means publicizing support for gays by more moderate churches. . . . We can undermine the moral authority of homophobic churches by portraying them as antiquated backwaters, badly out of step with the times and with the latest findings of psychology. Against the mighty pull of institutional Religion one must set the mightier draw of Science and Public Opinion. Such an unholy alliance has worked well against churches before, on such topics as divorce and abortion . . . that alliance can work again here. [4]

    By removing homosexuality from the category of sin, and by employing strategies such as outlined above, pro-gay advocates have been successful in splitting major churches over gay clergy and gay marriage. The ultimate goal is not simply toleration, but total approval of the homosexual lifestyle.

     2. Departure from Biblical Revelation to Empirical Research:
    The changing attitude toward homosexuality may also be attributed to the skepticism in certain quarters of the church about the trustworthiness and reliability of the Bible. Under the influence of contemporary higher-criticism, the Bible's sole authority is being replaced by other sources: reason, tradition, and experience. If the Bible is not authoritative in matters dealing with science, history, psychology, etc., why should it be relied upon on questions dealing with homosexuality? [5]

    Thus, those who seek to neutralize the biblical witness against homosexuality often do so on the basis of alleged research findings (scientific, statistical, etc.), or on the basis of testimonies by homosexuals of their happy, healthy, and fulfilling relationships, instead of on Scripture.

    For example, on the basis of a highly questionable study showing that homosexuals in the San Francisco Bay area who are involved in reciprocal, permanent, and sexually exclusive relationships tended to be the happiest, healthiest, and most well-adjusted people of the entire group being analyzed, an Adventist ethicist concluded: "Christians therefore have every reason to encourage homosexuals who are honestly convinced that they should neither attempt to function heterosexually nor remain celibate to form Closed-Coupled homosexual unions." [6]

    Notice that the reason given for endorsing closed couple homosexual unions is not Biblical revelation, but rather an empirical finding regarding the experience of homosexuals. This new way of knowing truth (what scholars refer to as epistemology) is also illustrated in the testimony of one lesbian, who describes herself as an "Adventist-connected" theologian, Bible instructor/academy teacher-turned minister.

    She speaks about her naiveté in blindly following the teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist church that "told me that my own nature was sinful, so looking to myself would be my downfall. . . . It did not tell me to look at the rest of the natural world and discover that same-gender nesting occurs in many species." She explains, however, that following "an unusual calling" or "Martin Luther experience" (the "ecstasy and torment" of her lesbian encounter), she came to value the importance of "inner knowing"--listening to "the voice of God within me." [7]

    The above examples illustrate the increasing departure from Biblical revelation towards empirical experience as an authority base on religious issues. Not only does this trend raise questions for Bible believing Christians regarding the starting point for discussions on homosexuality--Should it be observation, introspection, or biblical revelation?--but it also explains why some will jettison biblical teaching for "latest research findings."

    3. Impact of Behaviorist Philosophy on Recent Research Findings.
    Another factor that is shaping the homosexual debate is the impact of behavioristic philosophy. This philosophy, which has adherents among biologists, zoologists, physicists, and other social scientists, simply states that individuals have practically no choice in their moral actions, and therefore, may not be held morally accountable for their actions. Human behavior, it is said, is largely, if not exclusively, predetermined by one's environment and one's genetic code.[8]

    Given the impact of the behavioristic philosophy, it is not coincidental that researchers are discovering that some are "born gay," that is to say they hold their homosexual orientation or identity from birth. [9] Although the findings of genetic research are at the present time inconclusive, and although the studies often cited have been compellingly challenged, [10] already some Adventist writers are making the following deductions from the new light of scientific research: (a) homosexuals are born gay, (b) homosexuality is a normal or natural condition, (c) what is natural cannot be immoral, and (d) "blaming the homosexual for his or her sexual orientation is both wrong-spirited and wrong." [11]

    Observe that while perceptive critics, including some homosexuals, have questioned the value of these "born a gay" discoveries, and while others have exposed the intellectual and psychological inconsistency in this "outmoded version of natural law," [12] for some Adventist advocates of homosexual theology, these research findings validate their new understanding of "the truth about homosexuality." They argue that "whatever may cause a homosexual orientation, it is not something a person chooses." [13]

    Another writer approvingly explains the born a gay argument using the words of an Adventist homosexual (notice her emphases):
As God is in His heaven I did not choose this orientation, this lifestyle. Why would I choose a lifestyle that's kept me from following my choice of profession? Why would I choose a lifestyle that's kept me from marrying any of several girls who offered me a "normal" lifestyle with a home and family? Why would I choose to live in a world that thinks I am disgusting, repulsive, and totally unacceptable? Why would I choose a lifestyle that can lead to loss of employment, friends, family, and love? If I would choose this, then I truly need to be put away! . . . What I am saying is that I did not choose this lifestyle. God allowed it, though He did not give it to me. I cannot change, because I have tried. [14]
    The belief that homosexual orientation, like the color of the skin, eye, or hair, is inborn--i.e., the homosexual was born gay, and has no choice over his/her homosexual condition--is one of the main reasons for the changing attitudes within Adventism on the question of homosexuality. Some go so far as to say that if God has allowed some people to be born gay, why should we not accept the person’s sexual orientation?

    More, probably, see homosexuality as an unfortunate birth defect, like a harelip, crossed eyes, or Down syndrome, to be corrected if possible. My contention, however, is that if we accept homosexual orientation as something inherited or acquired rather than chosen, it is inevitable that we will soon be called to see it as natural, then normal, then acceptable, and finally laudable. (Consider, for example, how those with AIDS are now valorized for their courage.)

    4. New Sexual Paradigms.
    The acceptance of homosexuality as a morally legitimate sexual expression in certain quarters of the Adventist church should also be seen as a reflection of the growing challenge to traditional Adventist views on human sexuality. In what is emerging in the church as a "new sexual paradigm," permissible sex is no longer limited to sex within the biblically prescribed monogamous, heterosexual, marriage relationship. Instead, it is one which is engaged in by consenting individuals, according to their own self-imposed boundaries. Accordingly, premarital sex, masturbation (also known as solo sex, self sex, or partnerless sex), and homosexuality are all viewed as morally justifiable.

    For example, one Adventist university chaplain and teacher who argues for pre-marital sex and masturbation writes that "sexual exploration and experimentation before marriage" is acceptable as long as a person does not put his or her unmarried partner "in the position of feeling guilty or sinful." [15]

    Another Adventist, a professor of psychology, defines sexual sin as "behaving in a way that harms yourself or others." Among the "radical reforms of the Adventist sexual paradigm" that he recommends to the church is this: "The pleasures of occasional guilt-free orgasm ought to be available to all post-pubescent parishioners." The "guilt-free" sex includes sex with "myself" (masturbation), with "a person of the same gender" (homosexuality), and with "someone ['not-yet- married'] of the opposite gender" (premarital sex). [16]

    5. Climate of "Enlightened" Ethical Sensitivity.
    Our generation is painfully aware of the existence in our world of injustice and bigotry--slavery, racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia[17] (fear, hysteria, disgust and/or hatred of the homosexual), etc. Because ignorance and religious bigotry have often played a part in these oppressive acts, it has become potentially harmful to quote the Bible when questioning anyone's sexual conduct--however objectionable it may be. Thus, the condemnation of any of today's new sexual paradigms is perceived as a judgmental act that may hurt the ethical feelings of sexual minorities--individuals with alternate sexual preferences or orientations.

    In the desire to appear more informed and compassionate, those who have adopted this posture of enlightened ethical sensitivity are treating biblical prohibitions of certain sexual deviations as culturally-conditioned or offensive relics of a pre-scientific (or puritanical) morality. [18] Additionally, biblical virtues such as love, compassion, and acceptance are emphasized in such a way as to counter any efforts not to accept the new sexual paradigms. Bible-believing Christians who speak against homosexuality are accused of being judgmental (as in the case of Christ's disciples, who condemned a congenitally blind person as a sinner [John 9]) and un-Christlike (Didn't Jesus say, "Judge not, lest ye be judged?" And didn't He also say to the woman caught in adultery, "Neither do I condemn thee?").

    To digress for a moment, it would seem that Jesus' statement, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11), has been abused by all classes of Christians in their attitude to homosexuality. On one hand, strong advocates of pro-gay theology would read the statement as: "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin . . ." On the other hand, some strong opponents of gay theology would adopt the attitude: ". . . I condemn thee: go!" A true Adventist position does not condemn the sinner ("neither do I condemn thee"); it does condemn the sin ("Go, and sin no more").

    In any case, given today's climate of enlightened ethical sensitivity, anyone who does not accept homosexuality as morally justifiable is looked upon as being legalistic, insensitive, hypocritical, bigoted, or homophobic--characteristics that are incompatible with acceptable Christian behavior. This strategy exerts a powerful psychological pressure on Christians to either endorse the homosexual lifestyle or, at a minimum, remain silent on the issue.

    6. The AIDS Crisis.
    During the early phases of the AIDS epidemic, when it was discovered that AIDS is largely a sexually transmitted disease, the disease came to be perceived as a judgment from God against all forms of sexual perversion--of which homosexuality was the chief. Since many Adventists viewed homosexuality as the unpardonable sin of sexual immorality--the one sin that sealed the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, and which would signal the end of time, AIDS became associated with homosexuality and the disease came to be seen as a gay disease. [19]

    But as heterosexuals and non-promiscuous individuals started coming down with AIDS, Christians were forced not only to rethink their judgmental stance towards victims of AIDS, but also to reconsider their negative valuation of homosexuality. The reasoning was: If both homosexuals and heterosexuals fall to AIDS, perhaps homosexuality is not as sinful as it was traditionally pictured.

    Also, when compassion for victims of the AIDS disease soon turned into compassion for homosexuals, it was not long before compassion for the struggling homosexual turned into an acceptance of the sin of homosexuality. This seems to be the unspoken message in an article in Adventist View, titled "I'm Homosexual, I'm Adventist, and I Have AIDS." [20]

Continue with Part 2. . . .


    Endnotes

[1]    Raoul Dederen, "Homosexuality: A Biblical Perspective," Ministry, September 1988, 14.
[2]    At my last count, no less than 150 published works (articles and letters) on the subject of homosexuality have appeared in Adventist publications during the past 20 years (1978-2000). For a detailed discussion of published Adventist views on the subject from the early ‘50s to the mid ‘80s, see Michael Pearson, Millennial Dreams and Moral Dilemmas: Seventh-day Adventism and Contemporary Ethics (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 240-265.
[3]    Mel White’s Stranger At the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994) also captures this spirit of vindictiveness. A former evangelical, he is now openly homosexual and has served as dean of Dallas’s Cathedral of Hope, an affiliate of the gay Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches. He dismisses those who do not embrace his attempt to reconcile homosexuality with the biblical faith as being ignorant of “the new biblical, pastoral, psychological and scientific data about homosexuality.” In his view, such individuals evidence the spirit of the so-called religious right, a spirit perceived as intolerance and which ultimately leads to the suffering of God’s homosexual children. White presents an agenda to “keep the religious right from doing more wrong”: “Start your own version of a local ‘to prevent a gay/lesbian’ holocaust museum. Demonstrate the similarity between Hitler’s Third Reich and the current tactics of the religious right.” He advocates censorship: “Organize your new coalitions to call radio and television stations quoting the offenders, suggesting they be taken off the air. Follow up with public or even legal pressure when the inflammatory rhetoric continues. Write letters to the editors against the columnists of the religious right” (Mel White, Stranger At the Gate, 320, 321). For a biblical response to White’s revisionist interpretation of the biblical data, see Donald J. Wold, Out of Order: Homosexuality in the Bible and the Ancient Near East (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).

[4]    See Lynn Vincent, “How Homosexuals Fight,” World, April 10, 1999, 19.
[5]    In Receiving the Word, I have attempted to show how higher critical assumptions and conclusions are shaping discussions on homosexuality, the use of alcohol, creation, etc. See chapter 5 of the book, 101-194.
[6]    David R. Larson, "Sexuality and Christian Ethics," Spectrum 15 (May 1984):16." For a detailed challenge to the dubious research of Kinsey, see, for example, Judith Reisman and Edward W. Eichel, Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud: The Indoctrination of a People (Lafayette, La.: Lochinvar-Huntington House, 1990).
[7]    Lin Ennis,"Seeker of Truth, Finder of Reality," in In Our Own Words: Women Tell of Their Lives and Faith, ed. Iris M. Yob and Patti Hansen Tompkins (Santa Ana, CA: Adventist Women's Institute, 1993), 237, 238, 230-235. She explains: "I was so naive about God, so blind to the real needs of human beings, so willing to be led as a sheep, mindlessly following, not thinking for myself, except just enough to afford me the illusion of independence of thought. Far more than I cared to admit, I did what the church said, what the Church Manual said, what the ministers and evangelists I had worked with said" (Ibid., 234). But after she discovered the truth about God by looking at herself (apparently, the "inner knowing" of listening to God "within me" [234]) and "the rest of the natural world," and rightly understood "the Bible," "I realized that to continue to be active in the Adventist Church in the way I had always been before would not work for me" (Ibid., 237).
[8]    Time magazine (August 1, 1977):54-63 alerted the world to the growing impact of another version of this behavioristic philosophy when it devoted its cover article--"Why You Do What You Do"--to sociobiology, a new theory which maintains that social behavior has a biological basis. One leading sociobiologist at Harvard University is quoted in the Time article as making this prediction: "Sooner or later, political science, law, economics, psychology, psychiatry and anthropology will all be branches of sociobiology." In partial fulfillment of this kind of prediction by the prophets of sociobiology, "discoveries" are being made in recent times by researchers that what in the past were considered as habitual sins are actually of biological origin. Thus, it is said that some individuals are "born to smoke," "born alcoholics," and even "born murderers," and are therefore not to be held accountable for their moral actions. According to a Time magazine cover story, even infidelity may be due to our genes. (See Robert Wright, "Our Cheating Hearts," August 15, 1994, 44-52.)
[9]    The studies often cited as evidence that homosexuality is inborn include: (1) the 1991 study of neuroscientist Dr. Simon LeVay on the brain structures of 41 cadavers; (2) the 1991 research by Northwestern University psychologist Michael Bailey (a gay rights advocate) and Boston University School of Medicine psychiatrist Richard Pillard (who is openly homosexual) on homosexual twins; and (3) the 1993 study by Dr. Dean Hamer of the National Cancer Institute on the genetic markers on 40 non-identical gay brothers. But as I will later show, these oft quoted research findings have been shown to be misleading and exaggerated (at best inconclusive). For a succinct review and evaluation of the findings of the above cited researchers and supporting references, see Thomas E. Schmidt, Straight and Narrow: Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995), 137-142; Joe Dallas, A Strong Delusion: Confronting the "Gay Christian" Movement (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), 107-131.
[10]    See for example, Neil and Briar Whitehead, My Genes Made Me Do It! A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation (Lafayetter, Louisiana, Huntington House Publishers, 1999), who offer a compelling refutation of the arguments often cited in support of the claim that people are born gay.
[11]    According to the then editor of Insight, a homosexual orientation (or inclination, inversion, desires, or outlook) is "a way of being and feeling--whether or not those feelings are ever translated into sexual acts." It is a mark of one's identity, "a natural part" of a person--just as possessing green eyes. He quotes approvingly one homosexual as saying: "Oh, I could cover them up for a while, wear blue or brown contacts, but that wouldn't change the reality. My eyes are green, and my sexual orientation is gay." Thus, for this Adventist scholar, "blaming the homosexual for his or her sexual orientation is both wrong-spirited and wrong." "Being a homosexual is not a sin," he asserts. See Christopher Blake, "Redeeming Our Sad Gay Situation," Insight, December 5, 1992, 6, 7, 11.
[12]    Perceptive critics, including some homosexuals, reject this born a gay discovery because they fear that other research findings showing some unacceptable conditions (like alcoholism, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, etc.) as genetically related will soon make homosexuals look like they are abnormal or less than human (cf. World 6 [September 14, 1991]:11). J. B. Nelson exposes the intellectual and psychological inconsistency in this "outmoded version of natural law" which seeks to make a fine distinction between homosexual orientation and behavior. Responding to the view that "while homosexuality as an orientation is contrary to God's created intention, the homosexual person ought not to be adversely judged or rejected by the church," Nelson counters that while some may deem such a position a more tolerant and compassionate view than outright condemnation, "it places gay men and lesbians in at least two impossible binds.” He writes: “One, of course, is the individual's recognition that her or his own sexual orientation is as natural and as fundamental to identity as is the color of the skin. It is both naive and cruel to tell a lesbian or gay man, 'Your sexual orientation is still unnatural and a perversion, but this is no judgment upon you as a person.’ The individual knows otherwise. The other bind concerns churchly pressure toward celibacy. When the church presumes to be non-judgmental toward orientation but then draws the line against genital expression, it is difficult to understand how the sense of guilt--even in the celibate--will be significantly alleviated." See J. B. Nelson, "Religious and Moral Issues in Working with Homosexual Clients," in Homosexuality and Psycho-therapy, a Practitioner's Handbook of Affirmative Models. Journal of Homosexuality 7, Nos. 2-3, ed. J. C. Gonsiorek (New York: Haworth press, 1982): 168-69.
[13]    Kate McLaughlin (pseudonym), "Are Homosexuals God's Children?" Adventist Review, April 3, 1997, 26 (emphasis hers); cf. idem, "A Homosexual in My Congregation?" Ministry, November 1996, 10-11, 29.
[14]    Suzanne Ryan, "When Love Wasn't Enough," Insight, December 5, 1992, 3 (emphasis hers). Christopher Blake agrees: "nobody chooses to be homosexual. . . . Whether a person is born with the orientation or it develops as a result of his or her upbringing, or it's a complex combination of both (which is most likely), it is not a matter of choice. A child chooses neither how she is born nor how he is raised. We shouldn't hold a person responsible for her or his sexual orientation any more than we hold a person responsible for skin color (nature) or how a preschooler is dressed (nurture)" (Blake, "Redeeming Our Sad Gay Situation, 6-7; emphasis his).
[15]    Steven G. Daily, Adventism for a New Generation (Portland/Clackamas, OR: Better Living Publishers, 1993), 298. According to Daily, the Seventh-day Adventist church’s negative valuation of pre-marital sex and masturbation arises from “our Victorian heritage, which has been well preserved through the work of Ellen White. Most Adventists are not aware of what bizarre and extreme views of sexuality were commonly held by our nineteenth century ancestors. Books like Messages to Young People have served to perpetuate such baggage throughout much of the twentieth century as well” (ibid., 296-297).
[16]    John Berecz, “About Orgasms and Other Things,” Student Movement [Andrews University Newspaper], February 26, 1997, 9, 11, emphasis mine. A few weeks later Berecz published another article in the Student Movement in which he offered “suggested boundaries to Christian solo sex [masturbation].” See his “An Essay on a Sensitive Subject,” Student Movement, April 2, 1997, 5.
[17]    "Homophobia" is an irrational fear of homosexuality which leads to hostility towards homosexuals and others who seek to give help to them.
[18]    Thus, morally neutral expressions are now being employed for once forbidden sins: fornication is now premarital or nonmarital sex; adultery is referred to as an extramarital or co-marital affair; permissiveness is euphemisized as sexual variation; the promiscuous is multifriended; and homosexuality and sodomy are now alternate lifestyles (See, for example, John Leo, "Cleansing the Mother Tongue," Time, December 27, 1982, 78). In this politically-correct age, sin is no longer perceived as a sin but rather as sickness, and habitual sin is now regarded as an addictive or compulsive behavior. Thus, not too long ago, a newspaper had an article about a 34-bed clinic that had just opened in Southern California to treat "Christian sex addicts." See, Nicole Brodeur, "Center Aids Christian Sex Addicts," Orange County Register, February 13, 1989, 1.
[19]    This prevalent understanding is reflected in a 1977 Sabbath School Lessons: "Jesus said that one of the signs of His near return would be a condition of morality similar to that among the antediluvians and Sodomites. Not only have the same deviant sexual patterns become prominent in our times, being pursued with open boldness, but some professed ministers now defend such practices, organize churches for persons of this lifestyle, and ordain some to the ministry. Such sinful brazenness indicates again the eroding morality of our times and the approaching end of the age" (Sabbath School Lessons, October 1977, 48 [British edition, 330]; cf. Ellen G. White, Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 232).

[20]    See the story of Jim Miller (as told to Celeste Ryan), "I'm Homosexual, I'm Adventist, and I have AIDS: The Jim Miller Story," Adventist View (Winter 1993), 9, 15. Cf. Bruce Moyer’s interview with Ron (pseudonym), “A Cry from the Valley of Death,” Ministry (November 1996):23-25, 29; Christopher Blake, "Redeeming Our Sad Gay Situation," Insight, December 5, 1992, 5; Beth Schaefer, "Homosexual Warfare," View (Special 1999 issue):18-21 (View is a quarterly publication by the Young Adult Ministries of the North American Division of SDA; this special 1999 issue has the theme, "Is There Room for Me in Your Church?").