President of Southern Baptist seminary says sexual preference may have bio basis

This guy admits that sexuall preference may have a biological basis, but then goes on to say that homosexuality would still be a sin and could be morally “treated” (reversed) if such a “treatment” was ever developed.

A large part of me wants to puke on this guy, but some small part of me feels that this represents the first step in major religion accepting homosexuality. So that’s the debate; does this represent a first step, however small, in the accepting of homosexuality by big religion?

From the article -
The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has incurred sharp attacks from both the left and right by suggesting that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country’s pre-eminent evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific research “points to some level of biological causation” for homosexuality.
So, I’m guessing this may end up in the Pit, but I figured I would try it here first and see how long it goes.

No. A story dated 8/6/2003:
The House of Bishops voted Tuesday evening to confirm the Rev. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire, making him the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church’s history. *

So I missed it by about 4 years. I’m not that late. :smack:

How about; Is this another significant step in big religion accepting homosexuality?

Well, major mainline denominations such as the United Church of Christ, the aforementioned Episcopal Church, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) have been ordaining openly gay and lesbian men and women for decades now, with many congregations performing same-sex unions and whatnot.

As a former Southern Baptist, I think this is interesting, but not a very major step. For one thing, it’s just the opinion of one guy, however influential. Also, while it’s not very well known, some Southern Baptist churches have already declared themselves open and affirming of GLBT people, although as far as I know, these congregations have all been ejected from the SBC.

If the rest of the SBC were to take the idea of a biologically-based cause for homosexuality seriously, it may be a big step, though I fear even that would not change the minds of fundamentalist Southern Baptists on the sinfulness of homosexual acts.

Do most gay people agree with this bit- ‘… biological basis for homosexuality may be proven…’ ?

No, because other behaviors traditionally viewed as sinful in the Christian faith may also have some biological bases- alcoholism, rage, hyper-sexuality, etc. All Mohler is conceding is what C’nity has taught for centuries- that Nature and physical reality has been profoundly damaged by the Fall, not just our moral & spiritual identities.

This ain’t 'zactly what I’d call acceptance, anyway. The guy is basically saying homosexuality is a disease that should be cured. I’ve known gay folks that don’t wanna be cured. They like being who they are.

While it is important from a scientific truth point of view to understand that homosexuality is biological and not a choice, from a bigotry point of view it doesn’t make much difference.

You can believe that homosexuality is genetic and still think that gays should be cured of this immoral behavior (which appears to be the position of the guy in the OP).

You can believe that believe that homosexuality is genetic, and that gay people are equal to everyone else and should be treated equally in all ways (my position).

You can believe that homosexuality is a choice, and believe that people who make that choice should be persecuted and forced to change their minds.

You can believe that homosexuality is a choice, and that people should be perfectly free to make that choice and still receive equal treatment.

This might be a small step for religious conservatives accepting scientific evidence, but I see no change in their position on homosexuality. As far as I can tell, this guy condemns homosexuality as much as ever, to the point that it should be stopped in the womb if necessary.

I can’t speak for all gays, but from what I’ve read on the subject, I certainly wouldn’t rule out the theory that there is a genetic (biological) basis for homosexuality.

I have to give the guy kudos for having the courage to publicly adopt a stance that honestly expresses ambiguity on a hot issue (homosexuality isn’t a choice, but that doesn’t make it “normal”) but will earn him equal amounts of hatred from both sides of the issue.

Not in any way that I can see. Assuming big religion is equated to Christian denominations which view homosexuality as a sin. A large number of them already view homosexual urges/sexual orientation as something that is “out of the hands” of the person, but still view acting on those desires to be sinful.

It’s actually pretty much the only logical conclusion from their viewpoint that I can see. Many religious scholars already accept many things are “biologically based” but do not excuse it. Marriage for example is much more a social construct than a biological one, and the major Christian denominations are very much against sex occurring outside of marriage, even though the sexual desires of people make such a thing a very natural biological occurrence.

If the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan released a statement saying that he acknowledged that there was a genetic component to being black, I doubt anyone would be thinking it was a step towards racial harmony.

Mohler’s entire article.

They might if he’d been insisting it was a choice - but thanks for an analogy that’s both good and amusing.

I think the big deal here is that it’s a Southern Baptist saying this, as opposed to an Episcopalian or someone like that. But since he’s retaining the same bigotry, I don’t see the difference. I do find it amusing that both the right and the left are angry about what he said.

Oh, my god, he’s pro-abortion!

Or, you can believe that homosexuality doesn’t hurt anybody and is nobody else’s business regardless of where it comes from (my position).

This reminds me of a discussion I had with my minister a few years back. She stated that gays should be accepted in the church because sexual orientation was biologically determined. No choice meant no sin. I didn’t think the argument was wrong, but thought it was ill-advised to use.

Because basing a theological position on science was asking for trouble. Scientific theories are provisional–future data can change them. Would she have us change our position if science later refuted that theory? Better to base our position on theology; for example, the “Greatest Commandment” verses.

(This is a liberal congregation of the United Methodist Church. It actively evangelizes in the gay community. I’m no longer a member since I moved from the area.)

So I definitely think this guy’s statement is attack-worthy. 1) He’s a bigot. And, 2) his theology is bad, too. Something for everyone to complain about. :slight_smile:

I can’t speak for most gay people, only this one. It’s a major insult to consider my identity to be under attack, unless it’s something that I “can’t help,” or something that needs to be “cured.” I’ll start giving a rat’s ass why I’m gay when straight people have to examine their own sexuality.

When I was a boy, a pretty big chunk of America’s white people believed that “colored” people were defective humans, if they were humans at all. Interracial marriage was illegal. It was accepted that babies who were born with dark skin were that way because of genetic reasons. It wasn’t exactly a sin to be black, but it sure as Hell was sinful for a black man to marry a white woman. “Those are our women, dammit, and you colored men can’t marry them.”

Back then, nobody imagined that anybody could be cured of something by gene therapy. Imagine, though, an article by a religious leader, headlined,"Is your baby colored? What if you could know? What if you could do do something about it?

Lots of parts of the old theology have been swept into the dustbin because of modern science and because of the obvious moral wrongness of the ancient context. The earth revolves around the sun, slavery is horrible, and having a man who raped a virgin be forced to marry her is pretty darn stupid.

Modern science is close to nailing down the concept that sexual orientation is determined before birth. (Maybe it’s beyond close, I don’t know.) When can we shitcan the idea that gay sexuality is sinful, and wake up to the fact that it’s God-given, just as heterosexuality is? When can we stop saying, “Those are our women, dammit, and you lesbians can’t marry them”?