Okay, so here I am, off on another jag concerning the LGBTQ thing or, as others might call it, the QQQQQ thing. Some might wonder why I blog about this stuff all the time. They muse pensively about it, stroking their chins, querulously inquiring why this topic is on my brain so much. I dunno. Maybe I was born this way. Well, dog my cats—and stop being so judgey.
So let’s talk about reparative therapy, or conversion therapy, which respectable evangelicals have in recent memory handled as though it were a really hot rock. That is to say, they—having misplaced their sufficiency-of-the-Word-oven-mitts—dropped it like a really hot rock. A full court press was on, our guy inbounding the ball panicked and bounced it off the blonde head of the nearest cheerleader. And no, I am not mixing metaphors until I have him inbounding a really hot rock.
The first part of this to get out of the way is the religious liberty issue, or depending on the situation, the mere liberty issue. Many civic jurisdictions have outlawed attempts to “cure” teens with homosexual temptations, and you are bad and wicked and will be fined if you continue to act like repentance might be a thing for teens. So even those Christians who say they disagree with the value of reparative therapy—so long as they are not disagreeing with it as a way of covering their evangelobutt—should be also fighting for the right of any counselors anywhere to offer reparative therapy.
Shoot, it ought to be legal to offer to cure homosexual temptations with dark roasted juju beans. Because anyone who cannot identify the straight line that will be drawn from outlawing reparative therapy for teens (even when offered by mountebanks) to outlawing exegetically sound sermon series through Romans and Leviticus (even when not offered by mountebanks) is someone whose last name rhymes with naïve.
What has happened is that we are trying to have a debate over what is true and what is false, and we simultaneously have these bands of deputized thugs with socks full of deck screws wandering about, helpfully beating up anyone who suggests a wrong answer. This is neither the way of science, nor theology, nor law, but rather a simple and very raw totalitolerance move.Shoot, it ought to be legal to offer to cure homosexual temptations with dark roasted juju beans.
It is a totalitolerance move in defense of a rigid dogma, one that does not even command the assent of the homosexual world. The born-this-way thing is one side of an argument, and not a scientific fact. And it is an argument that is as lively within gaydom as anywhere else.
Now let us say that we have 100 teens from evangelical homes who say they struggle with homosexual temptation. Let us say that they are as eager for counseling that might help them win the victory in this struggle as their parents are. Show of hands. Who thinks that offering such help should be against the law? And let us narrow the circle further. Another show of hands. Who among conservative evangelicals who might themselves plausibly but erroneously be accused of offering such help thinks that it should be against the law? So my question to the evangelical establishment is this—do you oppose or support the criminalization of reparative therapy? As offered by others?
Back to those 100 teens. Even if you pass the test contained within the previous paragraph, and courageously come down on the side of liberty, we then come to the issue of the disagreement itself. To disagree with any attempts to turn any of them back to a normal sexuality betrays an incredibly simplistic approach to human sexual temptation. It assumes that inside each of these teens there is a toggle switch, and that the toggle switch was welded into the same-sex position at conception. “Sorry, nothing can be done for any of you.” The experiment in which this important datum was established has not yet, to this date, been published. This probably has to do with internal editorial politics over at the Journal of What All Scientists Are Supposed to Know.
Anyone with any counseling experience knows that the same temptation lies closer to the bone in some people than others. And I have twenty bucks here that says that out of those 100 teens, there would be profound cases of gender confusion and there would also be kids who were temporarily confused because of their parents’ inept handling of entertainment standards. So if you refuse to counsel someone in the direction of normal sexual expression because of that welded toggle switch dogma, then you have no right to the phrase biblical counseling in any of your brochures. Biblical counseling ought not to mean without-God-and-without-hope-in-the-world counseling.
What? Can you not think of any reversible conditions that might plausibly affect whether a teen-ager might come to think that he is experiencing “same-sex attraction?” Peer pressure? On their own terms, a B kid who mistakenly thought he was a G kid? A straight kid who was afraid of girls and drew the wrong conclusion? A charismatic sex ed teacher? A curious kid experimenting? A kid who had been molested years before and who concluded that this settled it for him? On the view that any attention is better than no attention, a kid who discovered that talking this way got him lots of attention from his dad? No, no, the cowards of counseling say. Welded toggle switch.
One last thing. By putting it this way, and by granting that some cases lie close to the bone, I am not assuming that there has to be such a thing as a genetically-determined same-sex temptation somewhere among the 100. That’s more than we know. But even if such a gene were one day to be discovered, this affects nothing to the purpose. We already knew that heterosexual sin is genetically determined, and we already knew that unregenerate man is a slave to sin. Sin is not defined by our native ability to avoid it, contra Pelagius. Sin is defined by Scripture. So even if someone one day discovered a gay gene, biblical Christians would just look at it through the microscope, shake their heads and say “by nature objects of wrath.” Just like it says in the Bible.