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Gay rights?

September 1998 | by Roger Hitchings

The subject of homosexuality and ‘gay rights’ will continue to fill the headlines over the next few months. We might wish it were otherwise, but there are a number of issues that will be brought forward which will make further public debate inevitable.

These issues include lowering the age of consent, repealing Section 28 of the Local Government Act (1988) (the law which bans the promotion of homosexuality in schools, amongst other things), and changes in respect to partnership laws. In addition there will be a continuation of the debates that have raged in regard to the status of gay people in the Armed Forces and the position of gay clergy within the Church of England. Other issues are also likely to emerge, if the ‘gay lobby’ continues to be as effective as it has been over the last few years.

Support in high places

Once called ‘the love that dares not speak its name’, homosexuality is now approaching a position of dominance in public awareness that is quite beyond its statistical relevance, or its relevance to the problems faced by most people in our society. But with a very powerful level of support in the Cabinet and Parliament, and with the vocal backing of a very large section of the arts and entertainment world, this subject is constantly being brought to public attention. It also now enjoys considerable legal backing from the European Courts and, at least in terms of sympathy, within our own courts.

Behind this prominence lies a whole agenda. This is being pushed by activists, who wish to present homosexual practices, relationships and lifestyles as legitimate and normal. Consequently, we are regularly presented with an almost unchallenged message that includes sentiments like ‘gay is good’, ‘homosexuality is natural’, ‘homosexual practice is a reasonable lifestyle choice’, and ‘homosexuality has no moral implications’. These assertions are proclaimed as fact in many areas of life, including the media in general, and television in particular (especially Channel 4, which unashamedly promotes the central perspectives of the gay lobby). Any who challenge these assumptions on reasonable and rational grounds find themselves immediately labelled ‘homophobic’. They are castigated as the ultimate expression of intolerance, and dismissed as anachronisms who merely wish to perpetuate discrimination. They are accused of denying the rights of others and perpetuating intolerance and unfairness in society. Their viewpoint receives little consideration, if any at all, from the arrogant proponents of homosexuality.

No rational debate

It is incredible that, in a supposedly intelligent and well-informed society, such arrogance can exist with the apparent approval of the majority, yet this seems to be the case. Thus the reaction to the dissenting voices that led the House of Lords in July to reject the lowering of the age of consent was for one MP to label their views ‘bile, bigoted and misinformation’. Similarly, when some bishops at the Lambeth Conference objected to both the prominence given to homosexual issues and the acceptance of the validity of homosexual lifestyles, their opinions were dismissed by another bishop as ‘uneducated’ and ‘superstitious’. Fortunately, the conference came to its senses, and ended by re-asserting traditional and biblical Christian morality.

The tragedy of the situation lies in the destruction of rational debate and the concealment of the facts. The most public exhibition of the stifling of informed discussion is the ‘Outing’ of prominent people. The sordid truth is studiously avoided and a sympathetic and biased perspective is presented. Thankfully this is now being challenged. The courageous and cogent stand of Baroness Young in the House of Lords has allowed the truth about many issues to begin to be exposed. Her stand needs to be supported and followed up by informed Christians who are concerned about the moral state of our nation, and especially about the dangers confronting our children and young people.

Avoiding the truth

In what areas is there avoidance of the truth? The Christian Institute recently produced an excellent leaflet, Homosexuality: the Facts, which effectively challenges many of the claims made by gay propagandists. It shows, for instance, that 70% of the population actually consider same-sex relations to be mostly or always wrong (a similar percentage oppose the lowering of the age of consent as demonstrated by an NOP poll and research undertaken by other independent bodies such as Family and Youth Protection). Furthermore the claim that 10% of the population are homosexual is challenged: less than 4% engage in same-sex relationships, with less than 1% being exclusively homosexual. These statistical analyses are important in exposing the misleading propaganda that is being presented.

Added to this is the strong scientific evidence that homosexuality is not inherent. Rather, it is becoming clear that, for most homosexuals, it is an adopted lifestyle and can be changed. Indeed many young men only engage in homosexual practice because they were introduced to it in their teenage years, often by men considerably older than themselves. These facts are more fully elucidated in a further publication by the Christian Institute called Gay pressure on the young. This leaflet highlights the important message of the health dangers of same-sex relationships. This is an issue over which there is an alarming conspiracy of silence by the medical world, despite research and information produced by the BMA itself.

Threatening language

There is also the misuse of language. Not only has the word ‘gay’ been robbed of its true and wholesome meaning (it now refers to someone who is openly and proudly homosexual), but new terms and concepts have been introduced to promote the ‘gay’ agenda. One of these is ‘homophobia’, which is defined as the irrational fear and hatred of homosexuality wherever it is found. Anyone who says that homosexuality is unnatural is now automatically labelled ‘homophobic’. This has the effect of making people, who might otherwise speak up for traditional values, ‘keep their heads down’ lest they be branded ‘homophobes’.

A newer concept is now being presented, namely that of ‘heterosexism’. Anyone who believes that homosexuality is unnatural, and categorizes others on that basis, is labelled ‘heterosexist’. This must be wrong and anti-social, it is argued, because it is akin to ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’. Such use of language, although it does not stand up to analysis, can be very intimidating. Further examples could be presented but these are sufficient to demonstrate how ill-informed and irrational the debate often is. If we add to this the over emphasis on ‘rights’, and the clever use by propagandists of the history of unjust treatment of homosexuals, we can see how the debate can be manipulated, especially in a society more influenced by emotion and sentiment than by objectivity and truth.

Things to remember

When the case for homosexuality is presented by high-profile celebrities, in an atmosphere conducive to sexual freedom and laxity, the problems facing those who wish to present a factual and biblical argument become clear. And, of course, that argument is one which condemns the practices as sinful and calls for repentance. But it is not new for the truth of God’s Word to have a hostile reception. That is inevitable when we are called to speak to the ungodly and in a Christ-rejecting environment.

These things we must remember

1) On this issue we speak for the well-being of young people and of our whole society.

2) People caught up in this lifestyle are men and women made in the image of God, and are no more sinners than the rest of us.

3) The gospel is for all men and God saves all sorts of people, and delivers them from the power of their sin.

The challenge for Christian people is whether we will speak out with a strong and caring voice, both for the sake of needy men and women and for the honour of our God. And then, whether in speaking out we will reach out with love to those whose behaviour we reject, and receive them with unreserved support and sympathy if they seek to turn from their sin.