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Tuesday, October 27, 2009


In my youth I was quite vocal with my opinions and beliefs. A bit of a smart-ass really. Still am to some degree, but I've quieted down a lot. As I've aged, I've become exceedingly aware that people are rarely open to hearing opinions which oppose their own. I've also learned that, if I'm going to evolve at all, I have to be open enough to new information that I'm willing to alter my own ideals. This makes me redescent to state opinions which I might later lament.  Thirdly, as a result of certain stressful events in my life, I've developed a pretty healthy fear of conflict. So, in general, I avoid my soap boxes for the safety of the ground.


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever an form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." - United States Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

So, despite my own fears and inadequacies, I am stepping back up onto my neglected soapbox. And, to all nine of you, who read my blog, I beg your open minds and hearts. I do empathize with your hesitancy to be open on this matter. I assure you, as a daughter of faith and religion, this is not an issue I have taken lightly, or formed my opinions/beliefs about easily.  I am aware that you might argue with me, or even "unfriend" me.  I welcome the discussion.  The unfriending will sting, but, I think I'm okay with that.

A great deal of research has been conducted on the issue of homosexuality in relatively recent years. Though, most would say we're just beginning to study it, some progress has been made. For instance, after half a century of research, assessing nearly every imaginable psychological cause of homosexuality, researchers have discovered that homosexuals are no more likely than heterosexuals to have been neglected, smothered, or sexually abused (Kinsey Institute studies). Studies by Bailey, 1995, and Golombok and Tasker, 1996, also showed that children raised by gay fathers or lesbian mothers were NO MORE LIKELY to be homosexual or, deviant, than those raised in heterosexual environments. Which leads me to wonder how a gay couple down the street, or even a homosexual teacher would have any notable effect on the future survival of heterosexual unions.

Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association state that homosexuality is not a mental illness and should not be treated as such. There are still some advocates for "curing" homosexuality, despite overwhelming evidence that these attempts to alter one's sexual orientation are ineffective and even harmful.

The majority of credible mental health professionals view sexual orientation much like handedness. We tend to be right or left handed regardless of our desire to be one or the other. There appears to be NO CHOICE involved in the matter. In fact, most homosexuals admit going through at least a period of time where they desperately wanted to deny their sexuality and many make great efforts to un-gay themselves. They try therapy, treatment centers, prayer, celibacy, heterosexual dating or even marriage. These attempts are universally unsuccessful. If they are lucky to have support, they eventually give in to the inevitable and "come out".  Unfortunately, there is a significantly high rate of suicide or attempted suicide in homosexuals, largely due to their inability to change themselves and their sense that they will lose everyone they love if they don't. Just sit with that for a minute. It is real and we ALL contribute to it, either positively or negatively.

While there are virtually no credible studies linking environmental factors to sexual orientation, there are many studies suggesting a possible genetic and/or prenatal influence (Zhang and Odenwald, 1995; Whitman and others, 1993; Bailey and Pillard 1991, 1995). It is also well documented that homosexuality exists widely throughout the animal kingdom where psychological and spiritual factors play almost no role at all.

Despite the wealth of information now available to us on this issue, it seems that far too many people are still uninformed and/or unwilling to consider that homosexuality is benign. They are deeply afraid of it and it's potential impact on what they deem to be a successful society. Somehow, they fear that if gays are allowed to get married, heterosexual people will no longer want to marry(??).  They fear that if their children are exposed to gay family models, that those children might then become sexually deviant, or worse, catch homosexuality! They might even make friends with a homosexual, or not cringe at the sight of a gay couple holding hands in public!!

Consider the mayhem?!! I mean family values might just flush right down the toilet! Just imagine! 40% to 50% of marriages might end in divorce (National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau)! We might break out in an epidemic of fatherless children. 36.2 million people in America might go hungry (USDA, 2007). Drug warfare might become a problem (you know how those gays are with their gangs and drug trafficking!) I'm certain that teen pregnancy and STD's would rear their ugly heads. There's just no end to the disastrous possibilities that might ensue if we choose to love and accept homosexuals into our, now utopian, society.

Sarcasm aside, I do understand standing in that fear. I stood there for a good portion of my life. It never set well with me though. I always had trouble mingling my desire to love "others as myself" with my belief that homosexuality was an "abomination" in the eyes of God. The conflict disturbed me. I remember being thankful that I wasn't gay because at least I didn't have to figure it out. And I was able to keep it at arms length because I knew relatively few gay people and had managed to not have any meaningful relationships with them. But ultimately, I wasn't able to quell the inconsistencies of this issue in my mind. I tried to take comfort in the camp of "we love them, we just don't love what they 'do' (more accurately, who they are)."  That stance appeased me some, but, as I carried that philosophy to it's conclusion, I realized that, it's an oxymoron. Or, frankly, it's Bull Shit.

In my attempt to honestly love gay people, I began to see them as human beings that have hopes and dreams, love their families, and contribute to society. They hurt over broken relationships, strive to succeed at their jobs, are creative, thought-provoking, intelligent, and loving. Some of them are screwed up. Some of them are cruel. Much like the rest of us. They do not have "agendas" to make the world gay. They just want to be loved and accepted for who they are and have the same opportunities for safety, life, liberty and happiness as the rest of the "created equals".

I can not address all that I want to in just one blog. As it is, this is quite long and I hope you've made it this far. So, I will continue this later. I just have one request for now. Get to know them. Not from a safe distance. Up close. With your heart. We'll talk more later.



  1. Great piece, Cherie; open, thoughtful and smart.

    I believe one day we will look back on the inequality, hate, and prejudice and wince.

    What's truly shameful is the role religion has played in alienating gay people -- way to miss the point!

    Anyway, you should soapbox more often. Somebody's gotta do it.

  2. Thank you Amy! i hope that day comes sooner than later. Just feel like I can't be silent.

  3. Thought experiment: "God commands us all to be gay. Heterosexuality is the abomination. You must now become gay or be cursed by God." No sex for you....ever. No romance for you....ever. No committed "till death do us part" love for you. Just you and your platonic friends having drinks together. I couldn't do it. If I couldn't do it, who am I to judge another? Who am I not to support them in their legal right to be who they are wired to be? ---Kent

  4. Oh dang it -- just wrote a big ole rambling comment... can't figure out the "comment as" thing... hold please...

  5. In all my FREE TIME I have never gotten the chance to read your blog before. Soooo glad I did today -- perfect timing. I am seriously struggling with a friend from church who is incredibly black and white and with whom this topic recently arose. However, with grace, I can see that I used to be her. I, too, used to be the most opinionated on the block. Thank God for age. Thank God for allowing our life experiences to inform change in us to make us more wise and more beautiful.

    I'm glad you were able to read the research mentioned and I agree with your conclusions -- however, I have come to believe that my life experiences are even more important than the research sometimes. A friend from childhood made it impossible for me to "tow the Christian-Right line" on this one. Knowing and loving him made it impossible for me to arrogantly proclaim how others should live.

    But here's my question and my currently struggle. When to speak up? When this topic (or any other politically and spiritually charged one) arises in a group (such as my Women's Bible study), when do I speak up? Back in the day, I would have been the first. Now, I sit and listen and boil inside, but generally don't speak up for fear of starting a BIG fight that I just don't want to have with people I perceive as close-minded. I did that fighting in my youth -- can't seem to be bothered anymore.

    I call it the "chilling out" of old age. However, by not speaking up, I offer my tacit agreement. And is that wrong? Do I need to step up and say NOT EVERYONE AGREES ON THIS and to state it as such is misleading and hurtful.

    This is where my struggle lies at the moment.

    Btw, you can count me as #10. :)

  6. Joelle, I can definitely empathize with your struggle. There are plenty of issues which I hold my tongue on, mostly because I know the futility of the argument it might trigger. Like I said in the blog, I haven't made a habit of soapboxing.

    I know the exact moment when my silence stopped on the issue of gay rights. I was at a large women's church event. At the time I was still conflicted on where I stood on the issue, unlike now. Before the program started a woman got up and announced that they were passing around a petition to oppose gay marriage for everyone to sign. They gave a "grace" filled speech, presenting it as the "loving" thing to do. I didn't buy it, but was conflicted. I felt like a deer in the headlights. The paper came around my table and every woman signed it. It got to me and I froze. I signed it!! I didn't want to start a discussion that I wasn't prepared for. They all seemed so sure.

    I heard nothing else through the remainder of that conference. I remember driving home and feeling disgusted with myself and physically ill. I knew, at that moment, it was so very wrong to have signed. I will always regret that action. The epiphany was painful but a huge turning point for me to do more research and KNOW where I stood.

    If you were in that bible study and everyone was agreeing that interracial marriage was unholy, or that women shouldn't be in roles of leadership, or that blacks should be segregated; would you speak up?

    Homosexuals make up less than 20% of the population. Bottom line is they can't win their rights on their voices/votes alone. It's just an issue of numbers. It requires heterosexual voices and support.

    I don't pick fights. But, I am not quiet on this issue any longer. If nothing more than to state that I support gay rights. That either shuts them up or sets them off. If they just want to fight, I don't fight. I end the conversation politely.

    Wow. This was a long response. But so close to my heart. Thank you so much for reading my blog and commenting. I so enjoy your blogs as well.

  7. "If they just want to fight, I don't fight." That's a good thing for me to remember. If they want a dialogue, great. Fighting is futile most of the time.

  8. Thanks Cherie,

    I found this refreshing as I have also wondered how to approach this subject with my own children. You have given strength to what I had already been feeling.

  9. Thanks for writing this well-researched piece, Cherie! I was reading several days ago about the fact that the younger generations are actually much open than perhaps our generation has been...that is such good news. I hope we will stop denying people who love and commit to each other the right to get married, be miserable, and get divorced just like the rest of us! :) Ha! But all kidding aside, I see this as a serious civil rights problem that we must solve asap.

    Love you,


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