Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Liberal Response

REPOSTED FROM: FSAOF Blog Nov 19, 2009 Graeme Randall



Statistics, Reports, and Research

Over the past couple of decades, there has been a strong move to legitimise various positions by establishing a ‘normative’ through the use of statistics and research surveys. The problem with these is they are almost always bias laden. They can be interpreted and twisted more ways than one can easily count. The reality is, there has always been a misunderstanding of what a homosexual is and how they live their lives. Just as ignorance lead to events such as the Salem Witch Trials, so has ignorance led to the negative characterisation of homosexuals.

In 1983, the ISIS Survey (Institute for the Scientific Investigation of Sexuality) was undertaken by Paul Cameron (commonly referred to as ‘The Cameron Report’). This survey/report purportedly confirmed the worst parts of such characterisations of homosexuality. There are too many flaws in this survey to go into here in this article. Suffice to say that it was completely wrong and contradictory. One of the assumptions made by the report was that one could only identify – for the purpose of the report – to be a homosexual, if one was in a monogamous same sex relationship for a minimum of two years. Given how many heterosexual relationships fail within two years, the report in fact identified that many same sex relationships are far more successful than heterosexual relationships. For a further – but extremely brief critique – of the Cameron Report, go to: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_cameron_survey.html#Error6/

Most reputable research suggests there is no psychological difference between same-sex and heterosexual relationships; children raised by same-sex parents are just as well balanced (often more so) than children raised by heterosexual parents; medically, there is less harm done in same-sex sexual relations than in heterosexual ones etc. In fact, all the stereotypes and caricatures of homosexuals has been largely proven wrong. Statistics on the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered) community suggests figures of 10% (Alfred Kinsey) to modern day National Statistics from various countries of up to 25% of a given community are GLBT (bear in mind Kinsey was concerned almost exclusively with purely homosexual males – and he consistently found 10% of a given community consisted of homosexual males).

Science
It is well accepted that there is no ‘gay gene’. Yet this does not mean that there is not a biological basis for sexuality. Current work by Dr. Tom Dickens (University of East London, 2008) suggests a biological basis for all human traits – including sexuality. He has developed ‘The Liability Threshold Model’. In this model, Dickens suggests that human traits are a result of the interaction of numerous genes. When there are enough interactions, one reaches a ‘threshold’ of being ‘labelled/diagnosed’ with a particular trait (be it neuroticism, charisma, temperament, extraversion/introversion etc.). Dickens’ research suggests this is the same with sexuality.

To suggest that biological expressions in our world are the result of a fallen nature is fraught with danger. Biology is truly ethically neutral. It simply is. To attach any kind of morality to one biological expression over another is purely a subjective moral judgement. Why is one expression right and another wrong? Why is one expression the result of the fall, and another not?

Testimony
Perhaps the strongest argument in this whole debate is that of personal testimony. Sadly, there are numerous accounts of suicides where people were encouraged to suppress their sexuality, or believe that one could change their sexuality. All homosexuals, who have had a ‘coming out’ experience, talk about having lived their entire life in depression. But when they ‘came out’, the depression lifted. Life was still hard, and often became harder, losing family, friends, jobs etc. But they talk about experiencing a personal inner freedom and honesty.

Attempts by programs to change a person’s sexuality all end in failure, depression, and harm on numerous levels to numerous people. An article in an Australian Newspaper (SX, 19/09/2007) reports the following:

“Former leaders of Australia’s ex-gay movement have announced they no longer believe that so-called reparative/conversion therapy can help people change their sexual orientation. Their statements follow similar announcements made by three former ex-gay leaders in the USA, at the Exgay Survivors’ Conference in Los Angeles in June. Psychologist Paul Martin, a former leader of Exodus Melbourne, the local branch of the ultra-religious organisation which claims to be able to ‘heal’ people of their ‘broken sexuality’, said that not one person he worked with during his time with Exodus “in any genuine way achieved the fundamental transformation from homosexual to heterosexual. “The stress of attempting to change their sexual orientation however increased risk of suicidality, and absolutely led to erosion of self-esteem and increased levels of depression and self-deprecation at a very deep level,” he added. His views are backed by former Christian City Church pastor, Vonnie Pitts, who helped run the ‘Living Waters’ ex-gay program in Brookvale, NSW in the early 1990s. “It became apparent that anyone who claimed to be ‘cured’ had just gone into denial about his or her sexuality”

There are numerous examples of people who have successful life-long monogamous same-sex relationships. Homosexuals everywhere, prove that there is little difference between the heterosexual life and homosexual life. Many people wouldn’t even know who was gay and who was not.

It would appear the only grounds for condemning homosexuality lie in ignorance and misunderstanding. People of all walks have much to contribute not only to our community at large, but to the church and to the Kingdom of God. It is time to put aside traditional arguments and beliefs, to step back, and honestly engage in discussion on this topic. It will mean a radical re-write of our theology. It will shake the foundations of many people’s concept of who they are and what they believe. But this is what must be done if we are to be God’s people here on earth, and not ‘tradition’s people’. God has created each of us in the image of the Godself, and has gifted each of us with an intellect to divine for ourselves what is right and what is wrong. God has blessed us with the ability to mature, and to change our understanding and our beliefs as we mature. The Apostle Paul wrote “11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Let us put aside childish prejudices, arguments, and beliefs, and grow in maturity with each other. If that means we have to change our theology, and shatter the foundations of who we are, then in God’s name, let us do it, but let us do it in love.

Graeme Randall
Former Officer
Australia, residing in London





LINKS:

This is a secular website giving up-to-date media articles, scientific research, and support information on gender development. Specifically aimed at the layman. A good resource for a basic, background introduction to the subject.
http://www.gender.org.uk/

This is a media article. It highlights the extremely tragic results of a ‘natural experiment’ where the assumption was made that parenting and environment can influence/determine a person’s sexual identity and orientation. True story, very tragic and horrific.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dr_money_prog_summary.shtml

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I totally disagree with Graeme's points. They are well stated but the title says it all; written by a liberal.

In any event I believe he has every right to express himself, and I commend the FSAOF in providing a platform.

I am a regular visitor and regret to say, you seem to have a much closer camaraderie that we who still wear read epaulets. And your discussion site is certainly more interesting and educational than The Officer and the Christmas SA leader's bio pushed on us each December! I wonder, have SA leaders been invited to provide material or to share a comment?

Active
USA West

Anonymous said...

I must admit that many articles are interesting. This one seems very liberal and controversial.
I also disagree but respect the opinion here. I do not think that most of the rational is Biblical. I think it is opinion and not too much more.

By the very support of the gay lifestyle and the very detailed defense that I see in Graeme's articles I wonder what all this points to? Graeme are you encouraging this lifestyle and is this your way of life? I am not condemning you . I just do not get all the promotion of all of this. Years ago people often said "Live and let live". Now it is promote anything that you desire and expect people to accept it. No bashing here. I am just in a wondering mode. I would appreciate comment if possible.

former USA Eastern Territory

Anonymous said...

Hi 'former USA Eastern Territory',

In my teenage years and very early 20's, I was an extreme fundamentalist. I was all but a plckard waving anti-gay activisit.

When I went into training, I was introduced to 'study'. I was encouraged to read opposing points of view on every part of my faith. After all, how can I defend my view if I don't know what it is I am defending against? The greatest way to defend against an argument is to fully understand the argument and use the argument against itself. This is what I set out to do. I started researching to 'strenghthen' my fundamentalist views. However, what happened was I discovered innacuracies in interpretations, contrived and made-up studies/research in order to support a fundamental perspective, and many other disturbing things.

I have always had a very powerful 'social justice' streak in me. Even a little into my research, I began to realise the damage I had done in my quest to defend fundamentalism. I was broken in my spirit and sought forgiveness for the hurt and damage I had caused.

It is not my intention to defend a particular view, or to convert others to my way of thinking. Although I do realise that any article will always, by its nature, defend the point being made by the author - otherwise it's a waste of space. My intention in writing is partly an act of pennance - to try to balance out the hurt and destruction I previously caused. It is also partly to educate and present an alternative voice. We cannot defend any position unless we are aware and understand the alternative argument. The article is meant to do just that - get people thinking. Paul said 'Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling' (Phil. 2:12)

The links I have suggested are also designed to get people thinking.

I would caution about just picking up articles and surveys without critically anaylsing them - regardless of whether they are liberal, fundamental, or anything in between. All articles need to be critically examined. The link suggested in part 1 of the article regarding critique of the 'Cameron Report' is good to understand the importance of critiquing articles. I am aware of the 'research' referred to by a respondent to part 1, but once again, critical reading needs to be applied, otherwise we are just affirming an oppinion, and not a reasoned 'worked out' salvation.

As I have told Sven, unless specifically requested, this is the last article on this subject I will write for a while. This subject can only be discussed for short periods without causing major divisions etc. That is not my intention. I am interested in reasoned debate. I will write on other subjects though.

Yours in Christ,
Graeme Randall
Former Australian East.

Anonymous said...

I have shared on this blog before and will repeat what I have shared before. I think that we are living in a time that some of the prophets and apostles spoke of. We are living in days of the "falling away". Falling away from Biblical teaching and standards. People have "itching ears" to hear compromise so liberal that the Bible is no longer relevant. This will only get worse as time passes. Some folk that visit these articles know what I am speaking about. Of course other people disagree and that is their right and opinion. I would ask all to deeply search your heart and ask the Holy Spirit what is right and true and good and wholesome. Sound familiar. I will not share the letter and verse since some no longer feel that the Bible is the Word of God. You see now I share the danger... There is the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and our soul-spirit- conscience. When we have all three, our spiritual lives are usually firing on eight cylinders. Remember V-8 engines? Take away even one of these areas and we begin to have a serious downfall in our spiritual lives and in the area of good , Biblical choices. If reliance on the Bible is lost, then reliance on the Holy Spirit is lost, and then reliance on our conscience is twisted and will have gone the way of the world, and sin before a Holy God. Oh, but wait. Who believes in holiness anymore? We no longer know what it is. We are too busy protecting people that want to follow after their own desires and not the will of God.

How sad , Graeme. Some of us may be tempted to commit adultery or steal . We can decide to follow God or our own way. Passions may burn and temptation may be unbearable but by God's grace we can be men of God.

USA East-former

Sven Ljungholm said...

Yesterday my wife conducted the funeral of Elvis, yes his Christened name, attended by family and a handful of friends. Elvis was an infrequent visitor to the Exeter Temple Corps, England. Elvis was a paraplegic and alcoholic. His corps visits almost always included struggling to make a visit to the Mercy Sear, his Holy Hill, and there Glad and he spoke with Jesus. That’s how their friendship formed and how Elvis learned to approach his Savior; Glad was his intercessor.

I had contact with Elvis several times a week, always late at night, when he ‘need to have the Major pray with me”! His prayer needs were simple; family and the too regular need for a new electric wheelchair- “mine was stolen, or maybe I left it somewhere, but then, how’d I get home last night…”

Elvis has now been laid to rest, and I for one, believe his lifestyle has been forgiven by the Father.

I’m reminded of lectures by Father Varga, a Jesuit Professor in ethics, when earning my Master’s degree at Fordham University, concurrent with my duties as CO of NY Central Citadel Corps. My assessment of Elvis is in large part related to what Father Varga taught me, along with what I learned from the scores of ‘street people’ we invited to live with us as our extended family; shared daily meals, devotions and leisure time, even vacations….

Ethics are culturally driven; morals are not, and Elvis was extremely ethical.

Morals are designed, determined and designated a priori in kairos, God’s time and place (have always been-will always be- will never change). We humans determine what’s ethical. Just one quick example in how they differ. Apartheid was legal and ethical on a social and cultural level. However, the church labeled it correctly; immoral. The church lived with immorality all around it due society’s liberal, and tolerant amoral ethics. Things aren't too different today...

MORALITY
In order for a human action to be judged morally, three conditions must be present:

1. THE PERSON MUST BE FULLY COGNIZANT OF ALL CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACTIONS
2. THE PERSON MUST BE AWARE OF ALL AVAILABLE ALTERNATE CHOICES/ACTIONS
3. THE PERSON MUST BE FREE OF ALL EXTERNAL AND /OR INTERNAL FORCES AND ABLE TO ACT ON THE CHOICES/FREEDOMS AVAILABLE

We have no right to judge Elvis and his lifestyle, or anyone’s for that matter, acknowledging that as humans all have an absolute equal value and an absolute freedom to live as they wish.

The above simple 3 point test can assist us in many instances to determine whether we are living a moral life. I believe many, like Elvis, was blind to the alternatives, not necessarily intentionally, and as a consequence, he "ran" to a trusted person for solace and Christian compassion, only to revert to a non-healthy lifestyle. Living a moral, and by SA standards, an upright life will often mean having to rethink life choices and seeking to live a new and more restrictive lifestyle.

In memory of my friend, Elvis PTG

Dr. Sven Ljungholm (PhD, Moscow State University; Dissertation: The Development of Human Values)

Anonymous said...

Sven,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Elvis, our late night caller ... I will miss him! I was interested to read your comments that made me recall the number of times I met with Elvis at the mercy seat and his genuine, heartfelt prayers. I struggle to understand why they never got any further than that. As a youngster in the Singing Company at the Corps he was taught the song: 'One life to live' it was nothing unusual for him to sing it at the mercy seat ... down the phone to me ... or ask our Songster Leader, who had been his Singing Company Leader to sing it for him.

'One life to live
O may I live for Thee
Give me Your Spirit
And I shall be free
Free from desire
My own way to pursue
Free to obey Your will my whole life through'

I genuinely believe this was Elvis' heartfelt desire. I now thank God he is free within the Spirit of God.

God bless and comfort the bereaved ... their Dad died yesterday too.

Glad Ljungholm
Active UKT

Anonymous said...

Graeme,

As a 'straight' person who does not feel strongly against homosexuals and has a number of very close 'gay' friends, I do feel somewhat 'homosexual' drained from your articles. I understand to some extent where you are coming from and your sense of need for a platform and acceptance. However, I was delighted to read that you will write on other subjects at a later date and I look forward to reading them and to learn a little more of who you are.

Former UKT

Anonymous said...

Graeme,

Thank you for your response to my question. You spent time and effort in responding and I appreciate it. I do think that you are going a bit overboard but that is your right.

Years ago being the staunch Salvationist and perhaps a bit legalistic I condemned people that would drink alcohol. I thought that if people drank those beverages that they would go to hell. That was a far-fetched belief. Drinking alcohol is not a sin but it would not take too much to fall into sin if it was continued. I do not feel obligated to stand up for those that drink alcohol because I use to be condemning in my thoughts and perhaps a few comments.I wasn't a basher or mean and nasty.
I am not going to write or promote drinking alcohol. Do you see my point? I think that you may have other motives and reasons for what you share.

Thank you for the detail that you shared in your articles. I disagree with most of it . You have not convinced me to think any different. You have struck some chords to make me think a bit more on the subject and to look at both sides of an issue.

I believe that homosexuality is a sin that the Bible declares plainly. It is a tough issue to discuss but I think many people are using their defense of this practice to defend their own sin or someone elses. I do not believe in any hostile activity against a person except to protect ones self from physical harm or the threat of death. I have never treated a gay person in a mean spirited way. Every person has certain rights. My problem is that certain practices and promotion of certain practices are pushed down on me and others that my rights are being taken away. My opinion in certain circles is "closed minded" or since I believe gay lifestles are a sin I am under attack.
Graeme, are you going to stand up for my rights
and write for me also? Will I have to be a closet conservative because I view the Bible as it is revealed to us in Hebrew and Greek as the Word of God?

USA Eastern Territory

Anonymous said...

Friends,

Just in case any of you are asking, do Sven and I not talk to each other, the answer is 'Not a lot at the moment' hence my response to his comment on Elvis. For the record we are in different countries at the moment hence the lack of our usual communication. Sven is in the States with his chidren and Mom to celebrate Thanksgiving. I'm at home keeping the flag flying ... Happy Thanksgiving to all my new American friends and family!

GBY real good!
Glad Ljungholm
Active UKT ... but wishes she was on holiday ... :-)

Anonymous said...

I guess if John the Baptist was alive today pointing out sin, someone would silence him with a parade for adulterers and fornicators.


former USA East

Bob Deidrick said...

I thought that it was interesting when I visited a few sites on the internet that almost 100% of the people supported the gay lifestyle. The sites were atheist sites that despised anything about God.

Former USA East

Bernard said...

Hi Graeme,

Thank you for your efforts in presenting your case on this issue.

I am in full agreement with one of your earlier statements that the Bible is the best place to begin the discussion. However I did not find the examples of the interpretations that you gave from Leviticus and 1 Corinthians, convincing. It still seems quite clear to me that the Bible teaches that homosexual acts are sinful, just as any other sexual acts which are not according to God's will are sinful.

I think we need to be quite clear in this discussion that many of those of us who see homosexual acts as contrary to God's will are in no way anti-gay. Our position is that sin is sin, and whether it is present in ourselves or others, in whatever shape or form, attitude or act, it is still sin and needs to be treated as such for our own good, the good of others, and the glory of God.

I trust you will continue to give first place to the Bible as you continue to seek the Lord's will in this matter, as it is only as we listen to His revealed word can we live according to His will.

Every blessing to you.

Bernard Martin
Former UK

Sven Ljungholm said...

Dear Active USA West,

thank you for your comments...

We have only invited one SA leader to join with us, and the response was somewhat nebulous, and which I read as a tacit approval in running his articles from The Officer and The WC. Many THQs and indeed IHQ are regular visitors, and no one has shared with us directly or indirectly that they are in any way dissatisfied or disappointed with our activities. In fact two Commissioners are very supportive of our blog, the topics discussed and the open and honest expressions.

On the subject of 'free' Christmas reading... I'm visiting my mother, a retired SA officer residing in the USA. She knows of my interest in all things army, and had 5, FIVE recent releases waiting on the bed side table. I leafed through them all... the names of each author was familiar to me. All five will be left for the next visitor... It appears that every possible whim and interest can now inspire and demand SA funding, guaranteeing at least 21,000 books sold- the estimated number of active and retired officers. Add to that the number of Board members and 20? to each and every SP&S.

I wonder if any of them can be found at Barnes & Noble ??? Can you name a recent SA release that could be found there and became a much used book in university classrooms, including the courses I taught ?! The author even offered to be a guest lecturer- no fee !

Anonymous said...

Having now read this article for the second time, the first when it was first posted, I am now in a better position to comment.

In 1989 I was asked to represent TSA and go to a conference on HIV & Aids. I did, feeling something like an alien in my uniform, but nevertheless turned up for the three day conference in my SA uniform. On the last day a young man who I had sensed treated me with suspicion throughout the conference came up to me and told me of how he found my uniform to be offensive because of the message it gave. 'Judgemental Christian' in his opinion. I commented on his 'uniform' a white tee shirt and on the back was written: 'Proud to be gay' over coffee we got into deeper conversation and as time progressed I think both of us became more tolerant of the other.

At the end of the conference this young man asked me if we could keep in touch and meet for coffee from time to time. We did ...

He had a successful business of his own. Had come from a strict church background and was living in a Bible belt country / city where homosexuality was certainly not accepted in those days. He had been married to a woman he loved, fathered a son he adored but after about nine years reached a point where he had to be free to be his true self and so left the marriage, keeping daily contact with his ex wife and son. After sometime his wife acknowledged she was a lesbian and both father and mother of this young boy entered into committed same sex relationships. Both remained good friends and it would appear provided very loving and supportive homes for their son where he spent equal amounts of time.

Now 25 years later they remain good friends. Their son appears to be happily married, well balanced, successful in life with two children of his own.

I wonder, does this suggest that loving, committed caring relationships whether homosexual or hetrosexual are what really matter and help bring about the best for others and in society?

Active UKT

Anonymous said...

....establishing a ‘normative’ through the use of statistics and research surveys. The problem with these is they are almost always bias laden. They can be interpreted and twisted more ways than one can easily count.'
And what bias would that be, then? This article is 'biased' in one direction, too, wouldn't you say? It's true that you can always present your own viewpoint in a convincing way by 'massaging' statistics into whatever interpretation you want, and our Graeme certainly does that. It's what he, and others who share his passion for this topic, do. It's what they want to believe.
Without a shadow of a doubt this topic has, does, and will divide the church of God. Proponents of the argument say that Jesus never mentioned it in His ministry. Why would He? It was part of 'the world', and He entreated people to leave 'the world' and follow Him. The New Testament description of men lying with men and women lying with women was stated as being an undesirable practice, a sign of increasing spiritual decline in the last days, and one to be avoided.
Also, why do you feel the need to resurrect an article from 2009? There have been many and various current articles on the topic.

FORMER SALVATION ARMY OFFICERS FELLOWSHIP said...

Anonymous- send me your fave, along with your name, and I'll post it- and your favourite web or blog address.

I reposted Graeme's piece because he's one of us, a 'former', well read and an excellent communicator. And in the intervening years since his piece was first published, we've had 50,000 visitors. How many of those do you reckon clicked back 5 years to leaf through our more than 1,300 archived articles?

Kind regards, Sven