Saturday, June 27, 2015

Some Questions

Some questions for Christians and the church about homosexuality and same-sex acts:

Non-Coital Sex
If one permits couples in heterosexual marriages to engage in sexual activity that does not each and every time include or conclude with coitus, does that not weaken the argument against sexual activity by couples in same-sex marriages? When coitus is not involved, why can't a male do sexually to or with his male partner what a female can do sexually to or with her male partner, or why can't a female do sexually to or with her female partner what a male can do sexually to or with his female partner?

For those who would argue that homosexual sex is wrong because it cannot be procreative, is non-procreative sex between married heterosexual couples okay? Many heterosexual couples engage in sexual activity with no intention of procreation (or no ability to procreate in cases of infertility), or with no unprotected coitus (thus preventing even the possibility of procreation, assuming no unintended semen entry). Are heterosexual couples permitted to do this? When homosexual couples engage in non-procreative sexual activity, they do it for the very same reasons that heterosexual couples do. Homosexual persons have the very same feelings of arousal and sexual desire and urging toward persons of the same sex that heterosexual persons have toward members of the opposite sex, and studies and personal stories seem overwhelmingly to show that trying to reprogram or redirect homosexual persons' arousals and urgings to respond to opposite-sex persons is rarely if ever successful. So if the reason for "male and female" - i.e., procreation - is not a required factor for all permissible heterosexual sexual activity, why can't homosexual couples do what heterosexual couples may do? If the intent or possibility of procreation is not the determining factor or sine qua non for permissible sexual activities between heterosexuals, then why may homosexual couples not engage in sexual activities?

For those who view same-sex attraction as at best a disability or a perversion/distortion of proper sexuality, or as a less-than-ideal situation: We permit and even encourage heterosexual couples to find accommodations for sexual or physical impairments so that they can engage in sexual activity for the non-procreative benefits of love, fulfillment, closeness, bonding, pleasure (including selflessly pleasing the other), etc., that such activities achieve. If same-sex attraction is indeed a lack of, or impairment or damage to, the "normal" ability to react and act sexually toward a person of the opposite sex, why should we not have the same compassion and attitude toward persons with same-sex attraction, especially since the "accommodation" in such cases is so easy - i.e., simply let them sexually relate to a person of the same sex? Dave Thompson proposes a "third way" along these lines in his book Over Coffee: A Conversation for Gay Partnership and Conservative Faith and in this video: A Third Option for Gay Christians: Over Coffee with Dave Thompson and All Saints Church.

Why "Homosexuals/Homosexuality"?
I think one limits one's ability to fully think about these issues if one automatically or primarily refers to or views persons with same-sex attraction as "homosexuals" or as having a "homosexual 'lifestyle'." Why do we use this terminology to categorize and (often) stereotype such persons? Do we primarily refer to ourselves or each other by our eating preferences (omnivores, vegetarians, vegans)? Or by the means by which we get to work or school (motorists, bicyclists, public transportation riders)? Or by our residences (homeowners, home buyers, renters)? Or by our entertainment preferences (movies, theater, opera, sports, TV)? Etc. All of these are valid ways of classifying people depending on the purpose of the classification. As one author pointed out, we could just as validly group together men and women who are sexually attracted to men as being "androphiles" or "androsexuals," and men and women who are sexually attracted to women as being "gynecophiles" or "gynecosexuals." I don’t primarily or even significantly view or regard myself as being a "heterosexual," and I certainly wouldn't say that I live or have a "heterosexual 'lifestyle'," as my "lifestyle" encompasses and can be defined or characterized by a lot of things, not simply or mainly by my opposite-sex attraction or sexual activity.

Christians First
It seems to me that Christians have or should have more in common with each other than with non-Christians. I.e., Christians, regardless of their sexual attraction, should first understand themselves to be brothers and sisters of/with each other and not reflexively align/ally heterosexual Christians (including themselves) more with heterosexual non-Christians than with homosexual Christians, nor align/ally homosexual Christians (including themselves) more with homosexual non-Christians than with heterosexual Christians. Maybe a first step in Christians and the church being better about these things is to stop defining members of the body of Christ as being "homosexuals" or "heterosexuals."