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March 16, 2007

Seminarian fears gay fetuses


Statue, originally uploaded by Lindsay Beyerstein.

 

Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary believes that Christians should support pre-natal screening to "treat" gay fetuses in utero.

Mohler sparked controversy with a blog post called Is Your Baby Gay?.

Not surprisingly, non-bigots took issue with Mohler's assertion that homosexuality is a disease that requires treatment.

There's a long and reprehensible history of doctors forcing dangerous and ineffective hormones on gay people in an attempt to modify their sexual preferences. It's nothing new to conceal coercion by framing a disapproved behavior as a disease and offering to "cure" it. Some countries still use coercive hormone injections as a weapon against gays.

I'm certainly not surprised that Mohler would like to inflict these treatments on non-consenting fetuses, and I might add, their mothers. Any "treatment" that might be inflicted on a suspected gay fetus would almost certainly have side effects for the mother. In Mohler's estimation, homosexuality is such a blight that it must be stamped out before the fetus even enters our world. If he thought through the implications of homosexuality "treatments" in utero on the mother, I'm sure he'd think that it was a woman's responsibility to absorb the risk. Convenient. I wonder what he'd say if it were discovered that fathers who take pre-conception hormones are less likely to sire gay offspring?

What's more interesting is the controversy that Mohler's remarks generated among fellow conservative evangelicals. They are outraged that Mohler would even suggest that people are born gay.

It's interesting that so many conservative Christians cling so strongly to the idea of voluntarism in sexual orientation. Do they have any theological arguments to bolster this reflexive assertion, even to other believers like Mohler? It seems like the extent to which biology influences sexual orientation is a purely empirical question. People who put  too much emotional stake in nature/nurture questions are usually trying to shirk the harder work of making a defensible value judgment.

If you believe as a matter of principle that all sexual orientations are equally compatible with human flourishing, and that free choice of sexual partners is a human right, then it doesn't really matter whether people are born with their orientation or not. It's an interesting  empirical question, but there are very few moral implications.

Likewise, as long as Mohler and his ilk cling to the idea that homosexuality is wrong or bad, it doesn't really matter whether some people are more predisposed to want things they "shouldn't" have. We've always assumed that every human is biologically predisposed towards lust, gluttony, anger, sloth, and a variety of other purported sins. So, why are anti-gay Christians squabbling amongst themselves over the empirical details of one particular disposition?

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Comments

"Do they have any theological arguments to bolster this reflexive assertion"

absolutely, it's a theological necessity--if homosexuality is sinful, and people are born homosexual, then they are born tainted with sin other than original sin. God is incapable of sin--has to be--but if the sin isn't the choice of the fetus, or descended from the special circumstances of the fall, then God must be responsible for it. that's not allowed.

The only way out is to say that homosexuality isn't immoral, but failure to resist homosexual acts is. That doesn't wash at all, though, because there is (they claim) no place in creation for homosexual sex. Contrast that with heterosexual sex, which is sinful under the wrong circumstances, but encouraged in the context of marriage with an eye towards procreation.

(standard disclaimer: I believe all of this is utter nonsense. But that's the argument)

This post surprises me for what it omits. As we speak any pre-natal screening of children that reveal them to be “gay” is a mere hypothetical.

Meanwhile, back in reality…Children are no routinely screened for Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy -, and a host of other detectable birth defects. These children are then aborted at the behest of the parents. This is even acceptable when it comes to sex selection.

This eugenics movement persists unabated with little or no coverage in the press or understanding in the popular consciousness.

Had you posted this last week, before I changed over to Daylight Savings Time, I would have set my clocks back to 'Dark Ages.' I have not sufficiently recovered from 'unbelievable" to call Mr. Mohler 'despicable.'

Obviously attempting to "cure" homosexuality is reprehensible, but I think any sort of pre-natal hormonal modification of a baby's sexual preference that's both effective and not so dangerous that it's allowed is a long way off.

What's much closer, as Fitz pointed out, is being able to test for likely sexual orientation. That will then give couple the option of either carrying a gay child to term, or aborting it and trying for a straight baby.

I'd be curious to know whether or not folks around here would find that acceptable.

I wonder what he'd say if it were discovered that fathers who take pre-conception hormones are less likely to sire gay offspring?

If a man worships Jesus in a heartily heterosexual manner, as advocated by Jesus' General, then he won't shoot queer sperm.

Me thinks Monsieur Mohler better watch what he's advocating. There's a growing concensus that religious fanaticism (like his) is an addictive diseases akin to alcoholism. So... before he does too much advocatin', he might want to consider that there could also be an invitro 'cure' for his kind of excessive religiousity. [/snark]

It strikes me that if you think that gayness is a simple genetic condition, and if you think that it's "curable," and if you think that it should be "cured," you might want to think again: after all, ex-gay babies would still have that gay gene, and if they grew up to do their Christian duty as breeders, they'd just be fruitfully multiplying that gay gene.

Somehow I doubt that anybody's thought it out to that extent.

absolutely, it's a theological necessity--if homosexuality is sinful, and people are born homosexual, then they are born tainted with sin other than original sin. God is incapable of sin--has to be--but if the sin isn't the choice of the fetus, or descended from the special circumstances of the fall, then God must be responsible for it. that's not allowed.

The only way out is to say that homosexuality isn't immoral, but failure to resist homosexual acts is. That doesn't wash at all, though, because there is (they claim) no place in creation for homosexual sex. Contrast that with heterosexual sex, which is sinful under the wrong circumstances, but encouraged in the context of marriage with an eye towards procreation.

(standard disclaimer: I believe all of this is utter nonsense. But that's the argument)

Perambulating non sequitur.

I believe that statue is carrying twins...

I get the distinct impression that Lindsay Beyerstein did not thoroughly read Albert Mohler's article, or did not understand what she read. I read the same article and nowhere does Albert Mohler say the things Lindsay Beyerstein says he did.

Oh, well....

Charlie Feather:

What are you talking about? The only thing that Beyerstein claims Mohler said was that he thought Christians should "support pre-natal screening to 'treat' gay fetuses in utero." Which he clearly does:

"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." (from his blog post)

The rest is her own understanding of the issue and the discussion surrounding it.

I think this is actually a good sign: even some nutcase Evangelicals are now accepting that natural sexual orientation isn't a voluntary choice.

If you overlook all the moralistic Sturm and Drang - and squint a bit - you can sort of see that it's actually a baby step toward acceptance of reality.

"non-consenting fetuses"

So being pro-choice means believing that a mother has the right to kill her fetus but not to modify it?

LOL, so now they ARE admitting that being gay is not a conscious choice!

So let me get this straight. God creates the little snowflakes and this jerkoff wants to alter God's little creation?

In terms of ideological concessions, the Left's potential admission of fetal rights far outweighs the Right's potential admission of genetic homosexuality.

First, you need to read, clearly, Molhler's statement. I'm glad a link was provided, but I wonder how many read it, and how many actually tried to understand it.

Clearly Mohler never says that Christians SHOULD SUPPORT, but rather that "we"(he) 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." Item #8 I believe from his post.

He also mentions the support (above) of "means to avoid sexual temptation".
Our society's lust for self pleasure, and, well, anything the SELF wants is a great problem, as is it's current obsession with sex, drugs, and other means to cause a temporary "pleasure".

How many children are not only aborted, but ruined by their parents continual seeking of new partners, because the old one "just doesn't do it" any more, or they "just don't love each other anymore" - forget about loving what's best for the kid.
[oh, and to answer the current inevitable, but shallow quip:
yes, it is better for a child to stay in a home where the parents fight and don't love each other-research shows it is.
Of course, it would be nice if the selfish parents would love their children enough to get counseling]

Society bows to the novel "truths" that our individual happiness is prime; our entire identity is Sexual; we must feel no shame in anything; suffering is bad, nothing is to be gained by it. .... Did you miss the short bit about prenatal diagnosis; genetic engineering; designer babies; and all the other hot bioethical questions in Mohler's piece?
Well, I'll ramble on if I don't finish here by simply saying: please, read carefully his entire statement, and go to www.bioethics.gov (everything is free to order or download , or google The Crux Project , or Gilbert Meliander's book; "Primer on Bioethics" . )

This is a HUGE issue. Misrepresenting people such as Mohler is not a good way to advance an agenda. It's an even worse thing if you really want to uncover Truth, as opposed to wildly chasing the Fashion of the day.
Thanks,
Steve
"Keep Humans, Human"

Oh! It is opposite to look from such foreshortening. :(

my blog

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