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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, May 11, 2012

Defining Deviancy

By way of introduction, I wrote this post a couple of years ago during the Prop. 8 debate here in California. I got into a bit of a back-and-forth with some crabby young progressives on the subject of gay marriage. That led to a number of commenters challenging my views of homosexuality and how I argued against it. I took a number of their key responses and wrote up the following post.

In light of the events this week in NC and with the POTUS coming out in support of gay marriage, I thought I would repost it for a new readership. I left the original comments intact as well, and their worth reading.


I have been receiving a bit of push back from the young progressive bloggers in my town. They have taken great umbrage with my perspective on homosexuals and homosexual behavior. All of my views are walking contradictions of inconsistent strawman argumentation, or so they say.

In other words, I've been receiving lots of that famous progressive openness, tolerance, and hugs.

Allow me to respond to some of the love.

It’s a great big universe out there, and I can’t believe that any higher power wouldn’t want his/her/it’s children to be completely open and accepting of each other without judgment.

I am always surprised how those who are non-practicing Christians (or any religion for that matter) have a more robust knowledge of theology than the actual Christian being criticized. Yet such is a typical response from our general secular society who think matters of religion and faith are to be simply equated to having a favorite ice cream.

"I can't believe it! You rocky-road people are so narrow-minded and bigoted. You know there are other people who don't like rocky-road - and what about those people allergic to nuts? You bigot."

When they speak of judgment, they often resort to the one text they are for sure to have memorized: Judge not lest you be judged. As if citing that verse trumps all arguments.

Yeah. God doesn't want us to offer any value judgment or exercise any sort of moral discernment when it comes to matters He has actually addressed in the Bible. The expression of human sexuality and the sin of homosexual sex being one of those major issues He has addressed.

To assume that homosexuality is a choice of deviants and sinners is absolutely preposterous and tells me that those who do adhere to that ideal obviously haven’t really taken the time to know homosexuals enough to understand that it’s not a choice.

Here we get to the heart of debate: what defines deviant behavior.

It's believed homosexual behavior should never be criticized as deviant behavior because homosexuals are oriented naturally to have a same-sex attraction. It's their personal, internal appetite to have a same-sex attraction. They can't help the way they are born.

In the mind of the homosexual activist, telling homosexuals they need to change their desires would be like telling a black person he needs to become a Chinese guy. Or in this case, telling a heterosexual man to stop being attracted to women and start being attracted to men. It's not an issue in which a person can merely cut his hair and put on a suit and tie. We're dealing with a person's genetic, mental make-up.

But this is where the defense of homosexual orientation runs up against serious problems, because this argument is utterly subjective.

Allow me to raise the specter of pedophilia. As soon as I did, my detractors angrily renounced my comparison. But I am not comparing all homosexuals to pedophiles. I'm addressing orientation; and there's a difference. Why is the pedophile's orientation any less of a legitimate, internal sexual attraction as the same-sex orientation?

Honestly?

The pedophile's orientation is labeled deviant even by homosexual activists. But why? Just because they are sexually oriented toward teens and pubescent children? I am in no way advocating for NAMBLA, and again, I am not saying all gays are pedophiles, but why do we condemn their "orientation" just because it is directed toward children, and not the orientation of adult men directed toward other men?

One is considered a deviant disorder, the other is not. The pedophile's "orientation" is a "disorder," but a man who seeks to surgically alter his body to be a woman is not a "disorder" but a minority in need of equal rights protection? Really? A person may retort, "But it's his choice to have a sex change, the child doesn't have a choice!" But is it a good thing for our society to allow a person to physically harm him or herself in such a way because it's his or her choice?

They most certainly are unrelated. You simplify your theological philosophy by lumping those who are not heterosexual in with wonton [sic] hedonists, sexual deviants, those with sexual obsession and other disorders that may manifest themselves in obsessive sexual behavior.

I am curious how one distinguishes the concept of "obsessive" from the idea of "orientation." As a red-blooded, all-American teenager, I was sexually obsessed with girls, yet I didn't consider such an obsession a "disorder" requiring psycho-therapy. Of course, this obsession never "manifested" itself in any illicit behavior. Believe me, I really, really wished for it to have manifested, but usually other factors prevented it from taking effect, particularly my absence from the heavy drinking parties put on by my peers. But my obsession was still there, and was still extremely real.

Point of order – pedophilia involves forcing sexual acts on individuals who are not old enough to consent.

Well, to be more precise, pederasty involves a sexual relationship between an adult individual and a younger individual, usually a teenager. It is often falsely assumed that sexually active children are not old enough to consent. But what does age have to do with consent? Teens consent to lots of different sexual activities in our modern society. In fact our glandolatrous [thanks Dan!] popular culture encourages such consensual activity. The lack of cultural awareness on the part of my accusers is amazing to behold.

Do you consider a 14 year old sophisticated? I certainly don’t. I know quite a few 14 year olds who think they are, but it’s certainly not the case. You’re attempting to equate the definition of marriage with the definition of personhood, which deals with the ability to reason and process as a mature adult.

I had suggested that if what constitutes the act of pedophilia is the legality of the "child's" age, then does lowering the age of consent now take away the stigma of pedophilia?

Contrary to what my detractor states here, there certainly are sophisticated 14 year-olds out in the world who would willing (and do) have sexual relationships with older adults, and to deny this fact again reveals a woeful lack of awareness of our youth culture. Spain has their legal age of consent set at 13 where as Austria at the age of 14. These two countries certainly believe 13 and 14 year-olds are mature enough to reason and process as a mature adult so as to have a sexual relationship with a person twice their age.

But then the objector shifts the goal posts from being about age to being about the ability to reason and process as a mature adult. This is another subjective objection. I believe I can make a rather compelling case that Lindsay Lohan lacks the ability to reason and process like an adult. In fact, the entire celebrity culture whose disastrous personal lives are played out before the public in the magazines at the check-out lines at Wal-Mart lack the ability to reason and process like adults. But they certainly can consent to sexual relationships, which are often the focus of their disastrous personal lives.

Nothing like making the issue of people who are of the same gender about nothing more than the act of sex. I would ask Mr. Butler based on these assertions are you only married for the purpose of sexual intercourse? It is certainly what you are boiling down those who are of the same gender and wanting to be married to be all about. Keeping them from marrying does not somehow eliminate the sexual acts of homosexuality which is really what you are railing about.

Honestly? Yes, I did get married for the purpose of have sexual intercourse. Why is that a bad thing? I fear God and He has specifically told us how and when we as His creatures are to engage in lawful and healthy intercourse: Within the bonds of marriage as He has defined it between only one man and one woman.

The comment implies people "marry" one another for more than just sex. Such things as companionship and love. Certainly that is true. I love the companionship I have with my wife. But let's be frank: companionship and love can be experienced without the need for a sexual relationship. Is the relationship of a married couple unable to experience sexual intercourse due to physical limitations make their companionship and love for one another any less meaningful without the sex?

So yes, it is the homosexual sex I am railing about, because let's face it, it is the same-sex sexual attraction and activity that defines what homosexuality is, and it is what God has specifically marked down as sinful as I have argued in more detail with this post.

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31 Comments:

Blogger Shazza89101 said...

Ok so I believe that what you say is true their is only one relationship that should involve sexual intimacy and that is marriage between a man and a women. Outside of that, a person can have friendships with the same sex but must not engage in sexual activity.

Also being Black (I don't use african american) I dislike it greatly being equated with homosexuals this is preposterous and offends me greatly. I never had a choice to be black. God picked this race out for me. Praise God, but to say that a gay person didn't have a choice is incorrect. I actually have gay relatives in my family that say they made a choice to be gay. So this to me refutes your commenter saying otherwise. I know most gay people would like to not take responsibility and that is just the way to do it. Blame God for their sexual orientation.

11:11 AM, August 06, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

Why is the pedophile's orientation any less of a legitimate, internal sexual attraction as the opposite-sex orientation? Honestly? Honestly?

I didn't consider such an obsession a "disorder" requiring psycho-therapy. Of course, this obsession never "manifested" itself in any illicit behavior - and the same applies to homosexuality. It doesn't require psycho-therapy, nor is it illicit.

If you are going to apply what the bible says in regards to homosexuality then why do you not apply it to other activities that it rails against even more yet you complain about no more than I would?

Austria and Spain, as do many others, also have restrictions on age differentiation and factors such as 'deceit'.

6:49 PM, August 06, 2010  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

Fred I think the issue is that they already know homosexualtiy is wrong. They probably don't like being told homosexuality is wrong because it would completely shake up the faith they have created in God. You're challenging their idolatry and completely proving they'er not putting God first in their life. For them to obey God would break the demonic stronghold in their life and really anger satan. Also, they would probably undergo a period of temporary insanity and need a healthy fear of the Lord to restore their souls. It's not easy for such people to turn because they have to turn by true faith in Jesus Christ. Their current faith is so fake that it's not what sustains them. It's their justification of their homosexual sin and false views of God and lack of the fear of the Lord that sustains their strong delusions. I think these people really do need prayer to break the demonic strongholds in their life.

8:39 PM, August 06, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Leroy,
You're an atheist. That means your moral understanding of any sexual behavior really relative. Age restrictions, types of behavior, etc, is left up to the sensibilities of the individuals involved with the behaviors.

I would still like to have an atheistic/evolutionary response to the question I asked of you over at Dan's blog. That being, what evolutionary advantage does homosexual behavior bring to the propagation of the human species.

8:20 AM, August 07, 2010  
Blogger Shazza89101 said...

Wow Thomas really said it well. That comment truly blessed me. He really broke it down. It comes down to their idolatry...the God of their making...!!!! So if they make up their Lord then He's a God of love and acceptance of there orientation, and then they don't have to give up their lifestyle. Wow thank you Thomas. You know I knew that but didn't want to think that my aunt and I were not worshiping the same God, but we are not. Wow...

3:07 PM, August 07, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

Fred, your statement is valueless. Your morals are also relative. Does the Bible state a clear and singular age of consent? The regular claim that moral codes are only possible via belief in God is nonsense.

I did answer the question but to be more specific; none, in regard to breeding, but so what? There is more to propogation of a species than merely breeding. Especially for humans.

Are you saying that infertile heterosexuals or post-menopausal women are not entitled to sex?

3:31 PM, August 07, 2010  
Blogger JD Walters said...

Just out of curiosity, what is the biblical criterion of deviant behavior? One might simply say that deviant behavior is something that God has forbidden, but even the Bible does not stop there: it appeals to a sense of outrage, a sense of disorder, a sense that this behavior results in great harm, either personal or social.

Pedophilia is obviously disordered, because healthy sexuality is directed to the mature human form and is attuned to the signals that the person one is attracted to is physically and psychologically ready to enter the kind of intimate relationship that involves sexuality. And it is obviously harmful, because children are not ready to be involved in that kind of relationship, and there is clear evidence that children who have been subjected to sexual intercourse have all sorts of mental, emotional and even physical problems.

But it is not clear to me that homosexual relationships between consenting, mature adults where that relationship is characterized by intimacy, self-giving love and commitment are obviously deviant. What is the case for the deviance of homosexuality when all the other markers of healthy relationships are there?

4:28 PM, August 07, 2010  
Blogger Mr. Fosi said...

leroy said: "Fred, your statement is valueless. Your morals are also relative... The regular claim that moral codes are only possible via belief in God is nonsense."

An interesting set of assertions. Could we have some arguments to back them up?

5:06 AM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

JD. Why ain't I surprised by your comment?

what is the biblical criterion of deviant behavior?

It is what God has clearly revealed as a violation of His holy character and has defined as sin.

Pedophilia is obviously disordered, because healthy sexuality is directed to the mature human form and is attuned to the signals that the person one is attracted to is physically and psychologically ready to enter the kind of intimate relationship that involves sexuality.

Maybe for a 6 year-old. But for a 13 or 14 year-old? Like I stated in my original article, pretty much everyone in the pop celebrity culture is not psychologically ready for this kind of intimate relationship.

So it then is your contention that the many governments in Europe who have laws for a low age of consent are psychologically damaging their youth?

But it is not clear to me that homosexual relationships between consenting, mature adults where that relationship is characterized by intimacy, self-giving love and commitment are obviously deviant.

God almighty declaring such relationships an abomination in both the Old and New Testaments is not clear enough for you? I can't help to be snarky here, but what part of unnatural do you not understand?

6:56 AM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger steve said...

“[JD Walters] “Just out of curiosity, what is the biblical criterion of deviant behavior? One might simply say that deviant behavior is something that God has forbidden, but even the Bible does not stop there: it appeals to a sense of outrage, a sense of disorder, a sense that this behavior results in great harm, either personal or social.”

Since the issue at hand isn’t deviancy in general, but homosexuality in particular, why is it insufficient for Fred to reply on the Biblical condemnations of homosexuality? That appeal would only be inadequate if:

i) The Bible is uninspired.

Or:

ii) The conservative interpretation of these prooftexts is mistaken.

Is Walters arguing for one or both of these?

“But it is not clear to me that homosexual relationships between consenting, mature adults where that relationship is characterized by intimacy, self-giving love and commitment are obviously deviant. What is the case for the deviance of homosexuality when all the other markers of healthy relationships are there?”

i) Walters seems to be taken in by the handholding, Hallmark card image of homosexual “couples” which queer activists promote for public consumption. But that’s been ridiculed by Camille Paglia (a lesbian), and even Andrew Sullivan (queer activist) admits that homosexual men are quite promiscuous. They have open relationships, not committed relationships.

ii) Walters also treats “intimacy,” “self-giving love,” and “commitment” as if these were free-floating virtues. But whether that’s a virtue or vice is context-dependent. Bonnie Y Clyde may be utterly committed to each other (not to mention intimacy), but their commitment is misdirected.

An adulterous relationship may be intimate, self-giving, and committed. Indeed, a philanderer may be far more committed to his mistress than he is to his wife. But does that make it morally licit?

iii) One also wonders how much Walters knows about the homosexual lifestyle. Drug abuse. Domestic abuse. Suicide. Medical maladies.

8:04 AM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

Mr. Fosi, are you not aware of the number of societies which existed before christianity? Incas, Egyptians and others? Some societies had organised religion, some did not. None were christian. They had 'moral codes'. You may not agree with what they consisted of but that does not negate them. Nor does it negate atheists having 'moral codes'. Again, you may disagree with their content, but they exist. The other major religions which exist today also have moral codes which differ with those of christianity.

So moral codes are all relative. And to claim that they are only possible by belief in your version of God is unsupportable.

4:31 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger steve said...

Minor correction: the sentence "why is it insufficient for Fred to reply on the Biblical condemnations of homosexuality?" ought to read "rely" rather than "reply."

4:46 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger steve said...

The question is not whether arbitrary moral codes are possible apart from God, but whether objective moral norms are possible apart from God.

5:52 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger Mr. Fosi said...

leroy said: "Mr. Fosi, are you not aware of the number of societies which existed before christianity? Incas, Egyptians and others? Some societies had organised religion, some did not. None were christian. They had 'moral codes'. You may not agree with what they consisted of but that does not negate them. Nor does it negate atheists having 'moral codes'."

So you are equating all the societies with atheism? Or are you claiming that all are indistinguishable from one another?

"So moral codes are all relative. And to claim that they are only possible by belief in your version of God is unsupportable."

Well, you have said that twice now, but you still haven't presented an argument to support it.

6:05 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

They all have differentiations on a number of levels Mr.Fosi, one of them being their relative moral codes.

You're kidding right? The fact that the God that you believe in is common to a fraction of the world population and also a fraction in the course of time of humanity indicates that it is not the predominant, let alone only, view of the world. How you can therefore claim that it possesses the only moral code is ludicrous.

The Incas had a moral code. The Egyptians had a moral code. I have a moral code. You have a moral code.

6:36 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Well, if everyone has a "moral" code, why are you outraged if someone steals your high powered motorcycle?

6:43 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger steve said...

For that matter, why does Leroy think it's so all-fired important to convince us that moral relativism is true? It's not as if we have a moral obligation to believe in moral relativism, do we? He argues for moral relativism with the passion of a moral absolutist. But if it's all relative, who cares who believes what?

7:06 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

Part of my moral code, as it is for many people and societies, is that stealing is wrong. I don't do it so would be 'outraged' if someone did it to me.

What's your point? I have stated that moral codes vary according to societies and beliefs. Like DNA, the majority are very similar but there are a few differences and these can have major impacts on the outcome.

I'm not aware of any society or religion that has codified stealing as 'moral'. There are a vast number who did not and do not consider homosexuality 'immoral'.

You are homophobic because of your belief in your God and your bible. I'm not. Neither are others, but not necessarily because they are atheist.

7:09 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Part of my moral code, as it is for many people and societies, is that stealing is wrong. I don't do it so would be 'outraged' if someone did it to me.

Marxist anarchist typically reject personal property rights. Happened in Cambodia for example. You did see the "Killing Fields" right? If the government changes its "moral code" in Australia from a more socialist-democratic form to being Marxist and your motorbike is confiscated for state purposes, what justifies your outrage?

If you are going to attempt to argue morals are relative, then there is truly no justification for any objective moral outrage?

I'm not aware of any society or religion that has codified stealing as 'moral'.

Stealing implies a recognition of personal property rights. A right that is to be endowed by some outside authority. Marxist-Communist, for example, do not recognize personal property rights. Is it "stealing" when the state confiscates your motor bike? To make the illustration more real world, is it wrong for Venezuelan authorities to confiscate personal farm lands of its citizens, something that is going on right at this moment?

7:50 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

You may well be right Steve.

The point I was actually making before the usual introduction of obfuscations and irrelevant comparatives is that the claim that moral codes are only possible via belief in God is nonsense.

7:53 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

The examples you cite Fred, did not exclude one person stealing from another being 'immoral' (yes, I saw the movie). Zimbabwe has 'stolen' farms but still considers one citizen stealing from another to be a crime. It was the state which 'stole' possessions. The same as when your government and mine undertake compulsory acquisition of land for infrastructure projects.

If my bike was confiscated it would be on another scale and for different reasons to another individual stealing it. I might still be outraged. I could either fight the new orthodoxy, join the new orthodoxy or attempt to leave the country.

Besides, as I said to Steve, the point is that moral codes exist without your god. Whatever they may be.

8:44 PM, August 08, 2010  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

It's laughable to use the Incas and Egyptians as examples. Egyptians probably had more gods than English words and the Incas had a brutal religious system. Even so, Christianity is Jewish in origin and according to Genesis, that existed since the beginning of time.

BTW, there were recent studies that suggest that the present school age generation in America doesn't consider stealing to be a crime, depending on who they steal from. How do you like that for moral relativism.

@Steve: I've known a number of homosexuals too. Promiscuous is probably too light a word for their sexual activity. Unfortunately, the English language doesn't have a singular word to better describe the behavior. Personally, I've always wondered how homosexual activists can argue that it's not a choice but then include bisexuals. I mean, obviously they do have a choice, right?

10:53 AM, August 09, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

The Incas and the Egyptians would quite possibly laugh at christianity Sir Aaron. They and others, would have considered their faith as valid and truthful as you do yours. It has been said that once you work out why you discount all the other religions you will understand why I discount yours.

Yeah, Genesis and the beginning of time. Again, no more applicable or real outside of your own faith than lion gods or reading animal entrails are to others. What about the Australian Aboriginal beliefs. They've been around for 30-50,000 years.

Maybe if homosexuals were allowed to marry they would gradually alter their culture to become less promiscuous. Maybe.

8:40 PM, August 09, 2010  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

The Egyptians did laugh, right before they got hit with the plagues. But your point wasn't about how they would view Christianity but about whether those cultures got morals outside religion. You said they did, yet they were religious and had Gods, from which they derived a moral code.

12:20 PM, August 10, 2010  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

And please don't insult me with the notion that homosexuals will be less promiscuous if allowed to marry. Even homosexuals turn their nose up at that idea. Monogamous marriage is a purely Christian virtue.

12:21 PM, August 10, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

Not all societies had religion Sir Aaron, yet they still had moral codes.

I don't see how you can claim to be insulted. I did say maybe did I not. And who knows what a generation or two of cultural change through being allowed to wed may in fact do. Not even homosexuals can judge that.

Monogamous marriage is not a purely Christian virtue, what tosh!

4:15 PM, August 11, 2010  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

Virtually every society that ever existed had a deiety or deities that they worshipped. Atheism is a rather modern concept. And by morales I mean a strict definition of right and wrong not just what is illegal. Laws can be made for the benefit of society without having any connotation of ultimate right and wrong.

And monogamy is a purely Christian virtue. Modern understanding of marriage was advanced by Christianity and western dominance.

10:57 AM, August 12, 2010  
Blogger David said...

"And monogamy is a purely Christian virtue."

I'm confused. You mean before Jesus, polygamy was ok?

1:26 PM, August 12, 2010  
Blogger leroy said...

Atheism is a rather modern concept? - can you cite some independent authority for this?

I also mean morals to be about 'right' and 'wrong', not just laws. We all have our personal variances around the periphery of a general core.

Monogamy is not a purely christian virtue, where do you get this stuff?

Your understanding of modern marriage was advanced, in part, by christianity and western dominance. That is only a very small percentage of the concept and practices of marriage in the world. Today and in the past.

3:47 PM, August 12, 2010  
Blogger College Jay said...

So yes, it is the homosexual sex I am railing about, because let's face it, it is the same-sex sexual attraction and activity that defines what homosexuality is, and it is what God has specifically marked down as sinful.

Maybe I'm missing something, but did you mean to say that same-gender attractions are sinful? Many, many Christians struggle with such desires, and I see no reason why those temptations are sinful, any more than it's sinful for a man to have attractions for women who are not his wife.

Of course those attractions should not become lust, fantasy, or behavior, but I know from experience that feeling attraction towards a handsome man is a pretty immediate, involuntary reaction, and I'm assuming a heterosexual man could say the same about seeing a beautiful woman.

12:22 PM, August 13, 2010  
Blogger steve said...

College Jay said...

"Maybe I'm missing something, but did you mean to say that same-gender attractions are sinful? Many, many Christians struggle with such desires, and I see no reason why those temptations are sinful..."

If it's not sinful, why "struggle" with it? If I desire chocolate ice cream, I don't struggle with that desire–I give into it!

11:47 AM, May 12, 2012  

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