Is homosexuality hereditary?
Since the early '90s, some medical research has answered “Yes." Conversely, conservative members of the Abrahamic religions – Islam, Judaism and Christianity – have argued against a biological basis for sexuality: If man is created in God's image, why would God design him to like other men?
In the United States, the loudest voice opposing a homosexual predisposition has been that of conservative Christians. (Think Focus on the Family founder James C. Dobson.) And that's why the recent comments of the Rev. Albert Mohler have been so earth-shaking.
Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, asked on his blog the question: “Is your baby gay? What if you could know?” The evangelical world buzzed about whether Mohler had fallen prey to the pull of the dark side of the Force (liberalism).
His intitial post, which was followed by this one, concluded with this:
Christians who are committed to think in genuinely Christian terms should think carefully about these points:
1. There is, as of now, no incontrovertible or widely accepted proof that any biological basis for sexual orientation exists.
2. Nevertheless, the direction of the research points in this direction. Research into the sexual orientation of sheep and other animals, as well as human studies, points to some level of biological causation for sexual orientation in at least some individuals.
3. Given the consequences of the Fall and the effects of human sin, we should not be surprised that such a causation or link is found. After all, the human genetic structure, along with every other aspect of creation, shows the pernicious effects of the Fall and of God's judgment.
4. The biblical condemnation of all homosexual behaviors would not be compromised or mitigated in the least by such a discovery. The discovery of a biological factor would not change the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior.
5. The discovery of a biological basis for homosexuality would be of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations.
6. The biblical basis for establishing the dignity of all persons -- the fact that all humans are made in God's image -- reminds us that this means all persons, including those who may be marked by a predisposition toward homosexuality. For the sake of clarity, we must insist at all times that all persons -- whether identified as heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, transsexual, transgendered, bisexual, or whatever -- are equally made in the image of God.
7. Thus, we will gladly contend for the right to life of all persons, born and unborn, whatever their sexual orientation. We must fight against the idea of aborting fetuses or human embryos identified as homosexual in orientation.
8. If a biological basis is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed, we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin.
9. We must stop confusing the issues of moral responsibility and moral choice. We are all responsible for our sexual orientation, but that does not mean that we freely and consciously choose that orientation. We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen. We do not always (or even generally) choose our temptations. Nevertheless, we are absolutely responsible for what we do with sinful temptations, whatever our so-called sexual orientation.
10. Christians must be very careful not to claim that science can never prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. We can and must insist that no scientific finding can change the basic sinfulness of all homosexual behavior. The general trend of the research points to at least some biological factors behind sexual attraction, gender identity, and sexual orientation. This does not alter God's moral verdict on homosexual sin (or heterosexual sin, for that matter), but it does hold some promise that a deeper knowledge of homosexuality and its cause will allow for more effective ministries to those who struggle with this particular pattern of temptation. If such knowledge should ever be discovered, we should embrace it and use it for the greater good of humanity and for the greater glory of God.