Perversion is Not Christian

Not Everything Unnatural is Chosen

There are plenty of churches, and institutions generally, that will show “care and concern” for homosexuals, i.e., that will respect homosexuality. There are even some places where what is queer is more highly valued than what is not queer. Nevertheless, broad swathes of American society—especially the Christian conservatives—still believe homosexuality is shameful and persist in calling it shameful. While it would seem an amicable separation between liberals and conservatives would be possible, there are organizations whose purpose is to persuade the conservatives that their tradition is wrong and that they ought to assimilate their views to the predominant culture. 

One of these organizations is called Revoice. Ben Dunson shed light on their line of argument a few weeks ago. He sums up their position as follows:

Revoice has adopted the language of contemporary homosexual activism in asserting that homosexuality is an inborn, unchangeable inclination or orientation; it is an aspect of one’s identity that only becomes sinful if acted upon in the mind (lust) or with the body (sexual activity).

In other words, homosexuals cannot be blamed or shamed for their homosexuality, because it is not chosen. Celibate homosexuals can be as Christian as chaste heterosexuals. Does Revoice want perfect equality? The exact measure of respect they’re asking for is not relevant; it does not matter if they claim they aren’t demanding respect, or are only asking not to be excluded. “Clarifications” of this kind don’t change the essential point, namely, that homosexuality isn’t chosen and what isn’t chosen isn’t shameful, that there is no crime or sin where there is no choice. That is the main claim and it’s this claim I want to dispute.

The Conservative Argument Hitherto

Historically, the conservative line of argument has been, contrary to Revoice’s claims, that homosexuality is a choice. Conservatives have worked to show that what is “unnatural” is what is “chosen,” the assumption being that what is natural is what is inborn. Therefore, they claim that homosexuality is unnatural, therefore not inborn, therefore chosen, therefore a sin.

Churches can “discriminate” against unnatural things but not natural things because, so the thinking goes, churches cannot discriminate against what is not chosen. America’s “civil rights mindset” runs along these lines: whatever is not chosen cannot be held against a person. 

Christians caught up in this way of thinking have worked very hard to prove that homosexuality (and other things) are chosen, i.e., not natural or inborn. These Christians agree with the civil rights mindset and believe it is a Christian mindset, or want to mold the Christian mindset to it.

The Problem

Revoice’s central premise—the civil rights mindset—should be rejected, namely, that what isn’t chosen isn’t shameful, and that there can be neither crime nor sin when there is no choice. 

Conservatives have lost on this issue because they were unable to persuade others that homosexuality was a choice. Conservatives can learn a new way of proving homosexuality is a choice, make the old way actually persuasive, give up on the issue, or finally reject the civil rights premise in its entirety.

Consider the evidence against homosexuality being a choice. Homosexual sex is worse than heterosexual sex; indeed, most healthy people think it is gross. If a man is choosing homosexual sex, he is choosing poorly.

Wanting to have homosexual sex is not the same as wanting to rob a bank. Everyone can understand wanting to rob a bank. If you get away with robbing a bank, “you’ve gotten off scot-free” and with a large amount of cash. No healthy person thinks people having gay sex are getting away with something. The homosexual is more like a disordered man who eats dirt or his own hair, rather than a thief or even a murderer. As a result, people tend to view homosexuals as unfortunates and perverts. 

A sane person would not willingly choose homosexual desire over heterosexual desire. Therefore, a person who chooses homosexual desire is to some extent insane, and to that extent, he is not capable of making a genuine choice. 

Now, it will be argued, the homosexual made choices that brought this insanity upon him. This objection only pushes the essential point back a step because only an insane man would make choices that bring on insanity. 

The truth of the matter is that homosexuality is both unnatural and unchosen, indeed, most unnatural things are unchosen. Christians do not need to prove that a perversion is “chosen” to prove that it is a perversion. And Christians should not let themselves be forced into this impossible situation, where they are always having to do the impossible thing of proving that perversion is a choice; it is against the logos that a man in his right mind would choose to derange himself, and so it stands to reason that men who derange themselves are themselves deranged, have been deranged, either through a failure of nature (imbecility, etc.) or otherwise (abuse, incel-dom, social pressures, etc.). 

Put another way: let’s say a pedophile was, as a child, abused in horrible ways. Only the most doctrinaire man would deny that his queerness is “chosen” in the way bank robbing is chosen. There is a great variety, probably an infinite variety, of errors men make that amount to forms of self-harm. These errors are unchosen and unnatural. Are Christians thereby bound to permit pedophiles, cannibals, and all manner of degenerates to claim to be living according to God’s will just because they could not have genuinely chosen to harm themselves in this way?

A New Response

Whether or not homosexuality is chosen is beside the point. The point is it is bad. It is bad and the more it is countenanced the more the evil spreads. Like all bad things, there are sliding scales. A homosexual who corrupts a minor is worse than a homosexual who is trying to right the ship and figure out what went wrong. However, in point of sexuality, neither are equal to people who do not have these problems. In point of sexuality, a heterosexual man is more natural and potentially godly than a homosexual man. The inferiority of homosexuality should be reflected in status within political society and the church. Equality would be a lie. Neutrality is just another name for equality.

My argument does not mean all manner of cruelties are permitted. Of course, adopting any ranking of better or worse means there will be abuses. All good systems denounce or outlaw the abuses to which they are liable. The correct system would include a prohibition against homosexuality combined with prohibitions against needless cruelty. This is how the law and the church used to be. 

Under our current system of ranking, our government is castrating minors against the wishes of their parents. While abuses are always to be deplored, it is evident that the abuses of the past do not reach the abusive grotesqueries of the present. We have traded a tested tradition for a nightmare solution.

What Should Be Done?

Being unable to live up to a standard does not mean the standard should be changed or lowered. Traditionally, Americans (and Westerners generally) had the courage to uphold standards they knew many would fail to reach. Rather than attempting to prove that every homosexual is responsible for his perversion, Christians should be explaining how homosexuality is an obstacle to the Christian ideal. Christians should explain what the ideal is, what is necessary for the ideal, and then why failings like homosexuality are irreconcilable with the ideal.

American churches should of course offer ways to help their congregants live up to that ideal, but this is not the same thing as constantly lowering the ideal (or obscuring the ideal) out of deference to the feelings of people who do not meet it. 

When it comes to forbidding homosexuality, the Church should just explain why it is shameful and what it keeps the homosexual from becoming. Some examples of arguments I think are good:

  • Homosexuality destroys family life and robs parents of grandchildren and the community of its youth. 
  • Wealthy homosexuals acquiring children through surrogacy is going to lead to gross abuses (and already has); surrogacy is a more intense prostitution. (Question: When a woman is trying to keep her unemployment benefits will an “interview for surrogacy” appease the official overseeing the disbursement of her government check?)
  • Homosexuality destroys friendships and camaraderie. The left-wing’s obsession with this “Theban band of homosexuals” is the exception that proves the rule.
  • Homosexuality—especially today—predisposes homosexuals to left-wing political views and ultimately to a hatred for distinction.
  • Homosexuality—again, especially today—encourages affectation and effeminacy and so leads to the destruction of what the ancients called “the authoritative element in the soul.”

These kinds of arguments are more persuasive than trying to prove that homosexuality is a choice.

Even Still

Let’s say I am wrong, and that all sexual perversion is chosen. This still does not mean Christians should accept the essential premise of Revoice, namely, that what is unchosen is “inborn,” “natural,” and above all “not shameful”; Christians should prefer the virtuous to the vicious, even if the vicious cannot help it.

If Christians do not adopt this preference, they are not only spiritually disarmed, but they will prove unable to provide the salutary discipline that disordered souls so desperately need.

Let’s say someone begins coming to your church (or maybe into the comments section) and begins, generally, to make a nuisance of himself. He is preaching communism, liberation theology, and much else, but claims to be “an image bearer,” to “repent of all sin”; he is “baptized”; he is “confirmed”; he claims to believe in the inerrancy of the bible. What can be done with such a one? Many people, in their attempts to be good, make themselves into a veritable nightmare. Are Christian communions bound to treat them with deference and respect even though they are vicious? After all, such a one might be genuinely trying to be a good Christian. 

In good times, yes, it would be fine to tolerate this. But today, one madman can not only disrupt a communion but can entangle a congregation in larger legal and political issues, eventually terminating in federal action being taken. Leftist lawmakers and their lackey journalists are chomping at the bit to take the Christian religion down a few more pegs, down to the ground and preferably into the dirt. They won’t stop after they’ve done away with tax exemption. If the tax exemption was unjustly enjoyed, reparations are in store. And in any event, the Christian religion is a cause of what they call “discrimination,” and all such causes must be ironed out or abolished. So, as I say, in good times a noxious person might be tolerated in order to be disciplined and brought into the life of the community. As things stand, however, it is almost always too dangerous; too many people have been made insolent by the present civil rights regime. They know no gratitude and would view discipline as if it were “oppression.”

To sum up the point: a community should never (even in good times) consider a disordered person the equal of those who embody the community’s ideal. But, since in good times these communities are strong and don’t need to fake a false equality between ordered and disordered, they can afford to cover disorder with a salutary silence and generosity. We do not live in such a good time. We live in a bad time, when disordered people are encouraged to hate ideals and seek out ways of tearing them down. There are people who find their life’s meaning in being the cause of leveling some philosophic or religious ideal. In such a time as this, generosity must be tempered with the courage to uphold, and Christians need to uphold the divine ideal, whether or not the people who fall short of this ideal do so from choice or some other cause.

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Cole Simmons

Cole Simmons teaches high school literature and rhetoric at Redeemer Classical School, in McGaheysville VA. He earned his doctorate from the Institute of Philosophic Studies at the University of Dallas. He recently published the chapter "Liberalism's Approximation to the Rule of Wisdom," in Regime and Education.

7 thoughts on “Perversion is Not Christian

  1. Simon’s article left a lot of questions to be begged. Questions about homosexuality only being a choice, that Revoice is only dealing with error rather than mixing truth and error, that homosexuality is shameful regardless of the context, and that non-conservative political beliefs have no value.

    We should note that Simons never tries to prove that homosexuality is only a choice except for citing religiously conservative Christian tradition. Citing conservative tradition from the past to prove that homosexuality is only a choice begs the question of the value of that conservative traditional view. Simons consults neither science nor nature on this subject. Had he consulted science he would have found that the question has not been answered. Had he consulted nature, he would have found that same-sex behavior (SSB) is found in well over 1,000 species. Animals don’t have sin natures like humans do. And so where to the animals of these species get this desire?

    The problem with the Revoice position is that it doesn’t recognize that nature has fallen along with people. And so having the desire to engage in homosexuality is sinful. But so is heterosexual lust as Jesus pointed out. And something else should be pointed out here. While Paul’s description of homosexuality in the unbeliever implies that we should not be surprised to see homosexuality in the unbeliever, the heterosexual sin that Paul dealt with in I Cor 5 was unexpected in both believers and unbelievers. And so are there some heterosexual acts that are more shameful than homosexuality?

    As for the list of how homosexuality causes grief to others, most on that list speaks to the intolerance of others while the robbing of parents eventually having grandchildren was never an obligation children had toward their parents in the first place. In the meantime, that SSB occurs in over 1,000 species gives evidence to there being a physical cause for same sex attraction in people. While one person pointed out in a previous discussion that we are not animals, we should also note that we are not unrelated to animals. After all, we are mammals.

    Finally, the distinction that Simons makes between heterosexuality and homosexuality puts heterosexuals into the unenviable role of the Pharisee from the parable of the two men praying (Luke 18:9-14). Regarding that parable, we might want to ask at what point in our Christian lives is it safe to pray the prayer of the Pharisee. However, Paul does not bring up that parable when he discusses the religious objections that some might have toward homosexuals and others in listed in Romans 1. Consider what Paul says in Romans 2. And if Simons is not forgetting that parable, he seems to be forgetting what Paul said in Romans 2 as well as how Romans 1 and Romans 2 culminates in Romans 3:9.

  2. The matter of “choice” is moot, and to act like it’s a part of Christian witness in keeping with the Great Commission is actually distracting at best, and anti-evangelism at worst. Sin is my choice because I am a sinner.

    No one chooses to be conceived or born, or what chromosomes they have, or even any part of their existence until they begin to have the privilege of choice in a few matters (e.g. flavor of their birthday cake) around age 2.

    Our first parents chose sin and death for us. Therefore we are all born dead in trespasses and sin, and our Choice is sin, death, and more death.

    My sin of Illicit Sex Attraction grows from the very roots of my flesh and is a fruit of my native inclination in this body of death.

    Our Heavenly Father chose to send His only begotten Son to die in our place, and the Holy Spirit has proceeded from the Father and Son at their united behest to enliven me against my native will so that I have saving faith.

    So, no, you same-sex attracted people cannot 1) choose not to have evil inclinations to homosexuality 2) keep your sin contained or out of the sight of God by dialing down or controlling your inclinations. Your inclinations are, themselves, indication of your need for a true and living God to save you from your sins. Yes, He can and does give rebirth into life, so that our inclinations are to keep His commands from the heart, and “they are not burdensome” even though we often fail–after all, it is imperative that we be raised incorruptible in bodies like His.

    As in Adam I died, even so in Christ shall I be made alive.

  3. I really appreciate the sincerely argued post, full of logical arguments, rather than the illogical arguments that often accompany this topic.

    If I may summarize, it seems like you believe homosexuality (which you define to include celibacy) is not chosen but is unnatural and is sinful. You leave open the possibility that a person may be both a Christian and a homosexual, but you also institute a hierarchy between the homosexual and the heterosexual.

    It’s a fascinating perspective and I can’t find anything wrong with it. Not sure if I totally agree – I need to ponder more.

    One question I have for you though, is what about other inclinations? Could a heterosexual have a different inclination (sexual or non) that’s also unnatural and puts him in equality with the homosexual?

    Typically discussions around this topic seem to single out homosexuality compared to other sins. That’s the part I can’t get past.

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