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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
        Monday, March 8 2004

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Nature, nurture, and genetics

A member of our forum list sent a couple links on Friday of web pages claiming to prove in the first case that homosexuality is genetically transmitted, and arguing in the second case that the "proof" is not valid. I had said several times previously that there was no proof of a genetic basis of homosexual orientation. I was grateful to the writer for providing us documentation...of course it's always possible that someone had come up with a "gay gene" in the research going on in the genome these days and I missed the news. But I was fairly sure that would be news that no one living in the broadcast signals radius of San Francisco (as I do) could have missed.

I also remember having read that studies of identical twins have found pretty much the whole spectrum of possibilities. In some pairs one is homosexual and the other is not (evidencing no genetic transmission), in some pairs (slightly more than half in males and slightly less than half in female twins) both are homosexual and, of course, in the great majority of identical twins, neither twin is homosexual.

Having spent my "real" career in campus ministry a stone's throw (or at least a daily work train commute) from San Francisco, I have, of course, been studying these phenomena for decades in order to write about them frequently in the magazines my ministry published, and my lectures, not to mention to better know and understand many of my neighbors.

That study has given me the opinion that when discussing sexuality we have to expect an infinite variety of dispositions, orientations, or "orientatednesses." As Anne Heche showed us all a couple of years ago (she first became household-word famous for being Ellen DeGeneres' lesbian lover, but now is happily married to an opposite-sex partner, if the name doesn't ring a bell), it's not unheard-of for someone who is not exclusively homosexual to have homosexual pairings of varied lengths. I tend to believe there are such people as true bisexuals, people who can be just as comfortable with a same-sex partner as one of the opposite sex. My point is that on the spectrum from "exclusively heterosexual" to "exclusively homosexual" with "truly bisexual" at the midpoint, there are people whose sexual orientations occupy every point.

And of course, as "everyone" pretty much agrees, the factors discussed here are all culturally conditioned; even the major liberal newspaper, the New York Times, on Saturday called ours a "highly sexualized culture." The more "sex" there is out there, "in the atmosphere," so to speak, the more experimentation or "fooling around" will take place in the bars and dancehalls, the brothels, bath-houses, and in the parks and rest areas, and of course in the "your-place-or-mine" nitty gritty. Even—must it be added?—the parish rectories. And not only has Western culture become saturated with sex in the air (literally, in the broadcast air) in the past couple of generations, the general improvement of hygiene (most of us of grandparenting age seem to bathe daily now, compared with weekly in our youth)—and cosmetics that make us look and smell better than our forebears did—have added significantly to the mix.

Christian and "social conservative" objections to TV shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy*" on NBC's Bravo cable network is not so much about specific content, and it should not be objection to the people themselves (as, like all people, they bear God's image), but the objection is to the effect such shows have in wearing down people's inhibitions. Inhibitions (despite calls to "get rid of your inhibitions" like one in a recent "inspiration" post to the forum), are the only thing that make civilization possible. Emperor Caligula's Rome—at least in the higher echelons—was a society without inhibitions, and it was a society headed for total ruin.

Likewise, CBS's 60 Minutes* segment on Sunday obviously aimed at "humanizing" the public's perception of Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson has the same kind of propaganda payoff for sexual liberals; it encourages simple-minded people to conclude that if this outspoken gay man is so "human," what he advocates must be perceived by society as normal, too. I have never doubted that Robinson or any other homosexual or gay person is fully human. Robinson probably is a likeable human being in one-to-one encounters or social situations, despite the carnal example he makes to the church and the general public. Satan himself...but you know the rest, don't you?...presents himself as an angel of light.

Having said all the above, I am not proposing that homosexual orientation, even if it's not genetic, is (usually) a voluntary choice. No homosexual I've known has ever considered it to be so and certainly the gay literature and the "objective psychological literature" on it predominantly claims it is not. Moreover, even if homosexual orientation were genetic, there would still be no sound theological rationale for concluding that it's a matter of God's will, as the erstwhile Presidential candidate Howard Dean recently claimed. And by the same token, the fact that people have sexual yearnings for which they can't pinpoint sources or origins (and who does not?) doesn't given them a pass to act out any of them, in God's permissive will, except those that are within the biblical guidelines that define "thou shalt not commit adultery." But the unpacking of this baggage will have to wait.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy 

*For any who are curious, I do boycott both of these shows; knowing about them by way of their press previews and reviews are entirely adequate for my current need to know. (Your attitude to such, of course, may vary; I stopped regular reading of newspapers—not to say that I would never buy one to look in the classifieds for something I might need—after reading that a hero, C.S. Lewis, by choice never read the press of his day. He didn't ask anyone else to boycott them, so far as I know, but his logic—the time could be put into reading better material—won me over). However, I would not boycott Ellen's talk show, nor did I Rosie's because of their "coming out." I am not a fan of daytime chat shows at any rate, but if a guest I wanted to see more of were scheduled, I wouldn't hesitate to tune in, and would probably chuckle at some of the jokes either of the "comediennes" would make.

Steven Wrightisms

23. My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."

—Sent by Trudy Myers 

Lenten thought for today

Repentance will bring you humility; humility will bring you the grace of God, and God will uphold you in His grace and will give you whatever you need for your own salvation as well as whatever is needed, should the case arise, for you to help another soul in need.

Elder Paisios (Bishoy)
Sent by Fr. Antonious Henein 

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