For some time now a contentious battle over homosexuality has raged in our country. The war has been fought primarily on three fronts: religion, politics, and science.
Religion and politics are by far the most volatile, and the most destructive. Some of the language used by segments of the faith community to wage their part of the war comes very close to dehumanizing gays and lesbians.
Politics, for its part, is always glad to take whatever hysteria is offered, and use it to leverage votes and power. For instance, conservative political operatives discovered that homosexual issues such as gay marriage have enormous potency for turning out evangelical voters. In the 2004 presidential election, no less than eleven states held referendums on gay marriage. Political conservatives won in each one of those states.
Science offers the best hope for finding a way to end the war. If science could some how definitively prove that homosexuality occurs naturally in humans, it would force us to re-think our religious prohibitions. After all, behaviors that are somehow part of the natural order cannot be regarded as matters of choice and are therefore beyond judgment. It would be like condemning someone for being left handed.
And without a religious prohibition the fuel for the political engine would evaporate. Politicians would be forced to find some other culture war issue to scare us with.
Unfortunately, there’s one problem with relying on science. Many people of faith will never accept a scientific view that contradicts their biblical understanding about homosexuality. They would be forced to find other scientists–faith-based scientists–to refute the findings. Or at least that’s what happens with global warming and evolution.
But here’s a twist. A conservative evangelical seminary president believes science has already determined that homosexuality has a biological rather than a volitional origin.
Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., acknowledged in a recent article that homosexuality has a biological basis. But, rather than concede the obvious–that something we are born with cannot be sinful–Mohler instead recommends the development of some sort of medical procedure that will undo the biology and render the child heterosexual.
If you think religion and politics has been destructive so far in this debate, just imagine what will happen when eugenics gets mixed into the matter.
I wonder what other behaviors we might be able to eliminate in the pre-born. Andrew Newberg, in his new book Why We Believe What We Believe, argues that human beings are “hard wired” to believe in God. What Newberg means by this is that there seems to be a biological basis for faith in human beings. If he is right, Mohler may be interested in finding a way to eliminate atheists while they are still in the womb. By manipulating their brain chemistry Mohler could be assured that all newborns are future believers in God.
Of course, I don’t imagine Mohler would want to create any liberal God believers, so I guess we need to look for a conservative theological gene as well.
The prospects are truly amazing. By manipulating the fetus with pre-birth medical procedures we could pre-program people to be just like we want them to be. We could create a race of super people, perfect and beautiful in every conceivable way. It would certainly be a Brave New World, Dr. Mohler.
James L. Evans, a syndicated columnist, also serves as pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala.