The “Cure” for Gay Babies: Take a Chill Pill
March 15th, 2007
Rev. R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and one of the nation’s leading evangelical theologians, stirred a hornets nets by calling the bluff of many gay rights advocates who adamantly proclaim that the origins of homosexuality are strictly biological.
Rev. Mohler recently discussed the possible “ram”-ifications of the gay sheep studies taking place at the Oregon Health and Science University and acknowledges that there may indeed be a biological basis for homosexuality. And if this does prove to be a scientific certainty, conservative Christianity would have to respond accordingly — but not in a way that gay rights advocates might have anticipated:
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.
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.
…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.
Well that got him into a lot of hot water around the web. Some raised comparisons to Joseph Mengele and the “Final Solution”. While the comparisons may be extreme, they certainly raise a point. Where are we prepared to go when it comes to the ethical landmines that litter the designer baby debate? Should we eliminate left-handedness, which also may have a prenatal hormone link? Some suggest that lefties have a shorter lifespan. (Others dispute this.) And what about red-heads? They have an increased risk of skin cancer. As do all Caucasians, for that matter. Would we really “do the right thing” and eliminate white skin from the gene pool if we could? From a strictly medical standpoint, all of us really would be better off if we did. Who’s with me here?
These arguments are all well and good, but on a far more practical level, I really don’t think we have a whole lot to worry about. All treatments start out experimentally, and at some point those experiments would have to move toward human experiments. Can you imagine the ethical considerations of performing medical experiments on fetuses which would involve altering the developing brain? After all, that’s what we would be talking about here. Would you subject your child to such an experiment when we don’t know what the consequences might be?
We know that the developing brain is a very delicate thing. From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, trace amounts of mercury poisoning, and observations of the effects of lead in the atmosphere — these examples and more have shown us that it doesn’t take much to set a baby’s developing brain all akilter. I don’t see how an experimental hormone treatment for pregnant mothers could pass muster with any ethics compliance boards when we have no idea what sort of unintended consequences may come from it. Will the fetus suffer other developmental difficulties? Will the boy grow up to be abnormally aggressive, impulsive or violent? Will the “cure” induce other personality or cognitive problems? We don’t know, And in some cases, we may not know until ten to twenty years after the child is born. Many types of schizophrenia for example don’t become apparent until adolescence.
Rev. Mohler’s comments reveal a troubling trend in how conservative Christianity may incorporate biological theories on the origin of homosexuality. (His controversial views, however, are not surprising. He once called the Roman Catholic Church “a false church” that “teaches a false gospel.”) Nevertheless, the prospect of a medical “cure” is fraught with a lot of very practical difficulties. A “Final Solution” is not on the horizon, and for that we can all take a deep breath and chill a little.
But this episode does go to show how short-sighted it is, for so many reasons, for gay-rights advocates to put all of their eggs into the biological basket. The fact is, we simply don’t know what “causes” homosexuality. And what’s more, except as an exercise of pure intellectual curiosity (a curiosity that I share), we really shouldn’t care. As I said before, our Creater bestowed on us our inalienable rights not because of how we were born, but by the fact that we were born. In our Republic, that must always be the bottom line.