FIRST-PERSON: Who are the real extremists?
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- In the last few years it seems that any time a public figure expresses support for traditional marriage, or states he or she believes homosexuality is an undesirable behavior, that individual is vilified and denigrated.
Further, homosexual activists call for the individual to be punished in some way. Take, for instance, the recent headline on the Internet site The Huffington Post -- "HGTV Drops Benham Brothers' 'Flip It Forward' After Anti-Gay Views Are Unearthed."
The Huffington Post indicated that twin brothers Jason and David Benham were set to star in a program that would help families get into homes by transforming fixer-uppers. The brothers have a successful business based on flipping homes for resale. The show was to debut this fall.
"HGTV has axed an up-coming series due to the hosts' extreme anti-gay views," reported The Huffington Post. The only response offered by HGTV came via social media where the network communicated on May 7, "HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers' series."
I will confess to having no knowledge of the Benhams prior to HGTV flap. However, what I've learned since is they seem like solid young men with a successful business that holds biblical views of marriage and family.
The Benham Brothers believe homosexuality is a behavior that is sinful. To The Huffington Post that is an extreme anti-gay view.
There are many Americans who believe homosexuality is wrong. Further, they base their belief on fundamental biological concepts and biblical principles that date back many millennia. They are anything but extremists.
A cursory look at research conducted by The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization will call attention to just some of the health problems associated with homosexual behavior.
The CDC released the results of a study on the sexually transmitted disease syphilis on May 8. The study found that since 2000, syphilis cases in the U.S. have doubled.
Additionally, the increase in syphilis cases was found primarily among homosexual and bisexual men. In 2012, men who have sex with men accounted for 75 percent of all primary and secondary syphilis cases, the CDC study found.
The parameters of the study also suggest that the resurgence of syphilis could be even worse than the report indicates. The CDC report also indicated that the rate of heterosexual syphilis during the same time has declined.
What is the politically correct answer to the alarming growth of syphilis among men having sex with men? Condoms.
Just how effective is condom use in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases?
The WHO released a study in 2004 that dealt with condom use in STD prevention. The following is from the study:
"This finding was based on a meta-analysis of condom effectiveness studies by Davis & Weller (2). They estimated that compared with no condom use, consistent condom use resulted in an overall 87% reduction in risk of HIV transmission, with the best-case and worst-case scenarios ranging from 60% to 96%. In an update of this analysis, Weller & Davis reported a revised estimate of an 80% reduction in risk with a range of 35-94% (3)."
Taking the figures from the WHO study, 80to 87 percent sounds good if you're calculating a free-throw percentage in basketball. However, when it involves the effectiveness of a product preventing a disease that could result in a significant life-changing consequence –- HIV -- then it is not nearly as attractive.
In Russian roulette you have an 83.4 percent chance of firing an empty chamber. No one encourages participation in the game, even though the odds of getting a bullet are relatively low. The stakes are simply too high. The same is true with regard to HIV.
What if your favorite restaurant began advertising its food was 80 to 87 percent free of E. coli bacteria. How would you feel about eating there?
What about condom use in syphilis prevention which is exploding among men who have sex with men? The WHO study stated the following:
"Third, due to insufficient evidence from prospective studies, the reviewers were unable to determine the effectiveness of condoms in preventing gonorrhoea and chlamydial infection in women, or in preventing syphilis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, genital herpes or genital HPV infection in men or women.
"The panel strongly cautioned the public against misinterpreting the scanty evidence. The small number of well[-]designed prospective studies precluded the panel from making judgments about the effectiveness of condoms in preventing other STIs; the reviews stated that the lack of data were not to be construed as evidence either supporting or denying the effectiveness of condoms"
Due to a lack of evidence the WHO researchers were unable to form a definitive statement about condom protection against a variety of STDs, including syphilis.
Imagine you are about to skydive. You ask, "Is the parachute I'm using effective?" You are told, "Due to insufficient evidence from prospective studies, the reviewers were unable to determine the effectiveness." Are you still going to jump?
The WHO study concluded, "In no study has the effectiveness [of condoms] been 100 percent."
So, who are the real extremists?
Biologically and biblically there are valid reasons for believing homosexuality is aberrant and unhealthy and none of them are extreme. In fact, when you considered the consequences of some STDs, it seems completely rational.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press, director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention's office of public affairs, and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).