Pretending To Be Experts

One of the most irritating things about religious commentators on homosexuality is the air of expertise they tend to adopt. As they’re overly fond of telling people, nobody has all the answers when it comes to homosexuality. No scientist can tell you exactly what causes it and no psychologist can predict whether any given person can or will change their sexuality. Christian ‘experts’ will very often be the first ones to admit this – moments before giving you all of the answers.

Here’s a good example of what I mean:

While the syndicated “Dear Abby” advice column in many newspapers across the U.S. has been celebrated for decades for its wit and “common sense,” in the column I read the other day it was clear that “Abby” had struck out. The individual writing to “Abby” was a 16-year-old, struggling with seemingly overwhelming homosexual feelings. Struggling to deal with those feelings and failing to change them, the teen asks “Abby” for advice on how to “come out” and make his or her homosexuality public, expressing concern about how family and friends will react. “Abby’s” advice? Abysmal. Let’s take a look.

Strike #1: “[S]exual orientation is not a choice but something a person is born with,” we are told by “Abby.”

Interesting that “Abby” can take such a stand on a matter that experts in the scientific community continue to debate. In fact, one of the most public, prominent pro-homosexual organizations in America states on its website, “No one knows exactly how sexual orientation and gender identity are determined.” How “Abby” came to know better than the experts and advocates is truly a mystery. (Source)

So far so good, although a good number of ‘the experts’ actually do regard sexuality as mostly fixed, or, at the very least, not something that can be consciously changed. If this blogger had criticised the advice columnist simply for being imprecise, that would be one thing, but unfortunately he decides to pretend that he’s the one who knows it all:

Early in the letter the child says, “I’d give anything not to be [homosexual].” How sad that he or she has sought advice from someone who will not help that child’s wish come true. And how sad that he or she will be denied knowledge of the truth that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Ah, I see. Why are all of those scientists wasting their time with twin studies and psychological evaluations when they can just look to the Bible for enlightenment?

Unfortunately, this is an all-too prevalent trend among Christians who are trying to ‘help’ homosexual men and women. The formula is simple, and generally goes something like this:

  1. Give assurance that one is not alone, and that there are those who want to help.
  2. Inform homosexual that he/she has been lied to or deceived by the media, the establishment, ‘the man’, whoever.
  3. State that nobody has ‘all the answers’ on homosexuality.
  4. Proceed to act as if you have ‘all the answers’ on homosexuality.
  5. Make grandiose claims about morality, homosexuality, psychology, sociology and health issues. Back up 20% or less of these statements with actual research; for the rest, Biblical quotes will do just fine.
  6. Insist, repeatedly, that the only possible source of help for people who are unhappy with being homosexuals are Evangelical ‘ex-gay’ organizations. But your ‘mark’ isn’t religious? Then get out the conversion kit, my friend!

Huh. I may have lapsed into cynicism at some point there. Actually, that’s not true; if I was being cynical I’d mention the deception and outright lies that are endemic to the ex-gay movement, in which ‘overcoming homosexuality’ appears to be code for ‘repress your attraction to others and remain celibate for the rest of your life, unless you’re really, really lucky and manage to get married some day. Married to someone of the opposite sex, that is.’

More on this later.


2 Responses to “Pretending To Be Experts”

  1. 1 Mike January 19, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Mysterious writer, I like the way you write.

    One of the reasons that people insist that “homosexuality is not choice” as a fact, is to assign gender preference as equivalent to race and use that frame for the civil rights issue.

    My own claim is that it doesn’t matter whether gender preference is a matter of ascribed status; homosexual rights are a matter of freedom in a society ostensibly committed to freedom. To me it doesn’t matter what the source of one’s gay or straight or bisexual gender preference is, it is not matter for government to interfere with.

  2. 2 augustine January 19, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I agree, but unfortunately many wouldn’t. Or rather, they would agree but take it in the opposite direction by saying ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s a choice or not, it’s still wrong.’ And then they’d compare it to alcoholism :P

    Not a very sophisticated argument, but it’s bizarrely popular!

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