FIRST-PERSON: Just what is 'homophobia'?

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)--"Social conservatives, however, are finding ways to encourage the attitudes that keep homophobia alive and well in this country," Lorraine Dusky wrote recently in USA Today. The freelance writer from New York was arguing against a possible constitutional amendment that would define marriage in the United States as being valid only when between two unrelated members of the opposite sex.

In her attempt to convince readers that an amendment seeking to protect traditional marriage would be nothing more than institutionalized discrimination against homosexuals, Dusky demeans all who disagree with her with the pejorative term "homophobe."

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "homophobia" is an aversion to homosexual people, their lifestyles, or culture. The same dictionary defines the word "aversion" as follows: 1. A fixed, intense dislike or repugnance; 2. One that is intensely disliked and avoided; 3. A feeling of extreme repugnance accompanied by avoidance or rejection.

I have grown weary of being accused of hating someone simply because I disagree with or oppose their behavior. While there are right-wing radicals that despise homosexuals and wish them harm, they represent only a tiny fraction of the conservative constituency. In fact, those who spout hate toward the homosexual community usually aren't overly thrilled with my belief that the God of the Bible loves homosexuals and wants to transform their lives.

Ms. Dusky believes that elected representatives who are discussing a constitutional amendment do so in an effort to pander to religious conservatives. As such, she accuses said representatives of seeking to insert religion into the Constitution, "because the objection to gay unions comes straight from the document the religious right relies on: the Bible."

I have some news for Ms. Dusky: While I believe the Bible does indeed teach that homosexual practices are sinful and thus harmful, I do not rely solely on Holy Scripture to buttress my opposition to same sex relationships.

Physiology 101 provides sufficient evidence that homosexual practices are aberrant. I have neither the time nor the space to go into detail -- and I seriously doubt you would want me to, but suffice it to say that homosexual sexual activity forces the body to perform in ways that the Creator never intended. As a result, homosexual practices not only are unhygienic but also extremely unhealthy.

"The scientific evidence now indicates that homosexuality is hard-wired into men and women," wrote Ms. Dusky. I am not sure where she gets her "scientific evidence," because she does not reference a single study. The truth be known, Ms. Dusky could not site a conclusive study to support her statement if her life depended on it because one does not exist.

There are a few studies that have concluded that "there could be a genetic link" and that "evidence suggests a possible biological determination," but these reports are anything but definitive. There is not one study that offers conclusive proof to indicate homosexuality has a biological origin.

Ms. Dusky also asserted in her column "neither therapy nor prayer can change that [the 'hard-wired' reality of homosexuality]." Someone should inform her that there are thousands of men and women throughout the world who have walked away from homosexuality and now enjoy happy heterosexual lives. Some have found help via counseling and others through religious conversion. The reality is there are many individuals who have shed the mantle of homosexuality.

A message to Ms. Dusky: I would be glad to debate the physiological, theological, and sociological aspects of homosexuality and the ramifications of legitimizing same-sex relationships via homosexual "marriage" any time. However, let's leave the childish name calling at home. If you won't label me a homophobe, I promise not to refer to you has a heterophobe.


Kelly Boggs is pastor of Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore.

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