Modern culture increasingly embraces the notion that homosexuals are born, not made. It is even sometimes presented as fact that a "gay gene" compels some people to seek same-sex partners. In that vein, more and more public school educators are being pressured to present homosexuality as a normal lifestyle that should be affirmed in students who feel they might be gay. The American College of Pediatricians, however, has issued a caution to educators warning of the dangers of these falsehoods.
An open letter addressed to school superintendents cited portions of The Language of God, a book by National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins. He wrote that homosexuality is "not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations."1 Dr. Collins, who is also the former director of the Genome Project, summarized studies showing that no known gene compels any behavior, and he further stated that "environment, particularly childhood experiences, and the prominent role of individual free will choices have a profound effect on us."2
A news release from the college stated that "schools should not seek to develop policy which 'affirms' or encourages these non-heterosexual attractions among students who may merely be experimenting or experiencing temporary sexual confusion."3
Nor are there merely moral motivations underlying this admonition. The letter provided a link to a fact sheet that highlights research-based conclusions that counter pro-homosexual school programs. For example:
The homosexual lifestyle, especially for males, carries grave health risks…. For many youth, homosexual attraction develops due to negative or traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse. These students need therapy for the trauma, not affirmation of a "gay identity."4
The letter also cited a "landmark survey and analysis of 125 years of scientific studies" into homosexuality.5 This survey affirmed that sexual orientation can be changed with therapy, especially among youth who are undergoing temporary sexual identity questions. In addition, homosexuals are plagued by far more diseases and suicides than heterosexuals, making it a very dangerous lifestyle.
Indeed, another study concluded that homosexuality and its associated practices serve to shorten life spans by 20 to 30 years.6
Both observations--that homosexuality is caused by choices and influences and not by DNA, and that a homosexual lifestyle is utterly unsafe--are consistent with a biblical worldview. On the one hand, the Creator intended that male and female "shall be one flesh."7 And on the other hand, He uses the harsh consequences of disregarding those intentions as a kind of natural tutor to bring people back into relationship with Him. Romans 1 explicitly named homosexuality as deserving of judgment, but the next chapter warned anyone who would heed:
But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.8
Adolescents are vulnerable to confusions and outside influences as they make the transition from child to adult. A school environment that encourages a child to "come out" or self-identify as gay--especially based on false or misleading information--can cause tremendous harm. As the American College of Pediatricians' letter to school officials states:
It is the school's legitimate role to provide a safe environment for respectful self-expression for all students. It is not the school's role to diagnose and attempt to treat any student's medical condition, and certainly not a school's role to "affirm" a student's perceived personal sexual orientation.1
The efforts of the American College of Pediatricians and others who care for the well-being of youth are to be commended.
- Benton, T. Letter to School Officials. Facts About Youth, a project of the American College of Pediatricians. Posted on factsaboutyouth.com March 31, 2010, accessed April 13, 2010.
- Collins, F. 2004. The Language of God. New York: Free Press, 260, 263.
- College Cautions Educators About Sexual Orientation in Youth. American College of Pediatricians press release, April 5, 2010.
- What You Should Know About Sexual Orientation of Youth. Facts About Youth fact sheet. Posted on factsaboutyouth.com, accessed April 13, 2010.
- What Research Shows (Summary). National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality. Posted on narth.com, accessed April 13, 2010.
- Cameron, P., K. Cameron and W. L. Playfair. 1998. Does homosexual activity shorten life? Psychological Reports. 83 (3 pt 1): 847-866.
- Genesis 2:24.
- Romans 2:5-7.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on April 23, 2010.