Are some people in fact “born gay,” as liberals maintain? Or is sexual preference more learned than innate? Scientists published in Science magazine have recently concluded that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, not a genetic condition.
By Dr. Kevin Barrett
Throughout most of human history, homosexuality—especially open homosexual behavior—has been discouraged. One thing the Abrahamic monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all agree on is that God destroyed the people of Sodom and Gomorrah as punishment for their out-of-control public homosexual behavior. The other great religions, too, condemn homosexual acts. The Dalai Lama, to take one well-known example, has repeatedly violated the liberal taboo on criticizing homosexuality. Why? Because Buddhist teachings clearly oppose all forms of sodomy.
During the past few decades, the homosexual rights movement has overturned the collective traditional wisdom of the human race. Sodomy is now considered a basic human right.
Liberals say that some people are born gay. It would be cruel and discriminatory to deny them the same right to sexual satisfaction and marriage as everyone else.
Conservatives view sexual preference as more learned than innate. They argue that homosexual acts, like other deviant sexual practices, are choices available to all—but bad choices that generally ought to be discouraged, whether by custom, religion, force of law, or all of the above.
So who is right?
The liberal belief that people are born gay has just been debunked by a highly authoritative new scientific study, shattering the whole basis of the argument that homosexuality is a basic human right.
According to the new study published Aug. 30 in Science magazine, less than one-third of an individual’s propensity to engage in homosexual acts can be explained by genetics—and this influence is the result of combinations of many genetic influences. In other words, there is no “gay gene”; nobody is “born gay.”
The researchers found that the sum total of various detectable genetic factors had only a small influence, between 8% and 25%, on the likelihood of someone’s homosexuality. So what kind of genes make it a little bit more likely that the person will engage in homosexual acts?
The New York Times reported: “In a finding that could be especially sensitive, the researchers found that whether someone ever engaged in same-sex sexual behavior showed genetic correlations with mental health issues, like major depressive disorder or schizophrenia, and with traits like risk-taking, cannabis use, openness to experience, and loneliness.”
It is certainly understandable that someone who feels unusually lonely might go to a gay bar, someone who seeks out unusual experiences might try sodomy and get hooked on it, or that someone who craves risk might be unusually willing to risk contracting AIDS and other diseases by engaging in adventurous non-procreative sexual behavior. But none of this offers the slightest support to the now-falsified notion of being “born gay.”
Since there is no such thing as a “homosexual” or a “gay person,” just sexual acts that all people can choose or avoid, liberals arguing for a basic human right to sodomy will have to abandon the “born gay” paradigm in favor of libertarianism.
That is, they will have to argue that neither religion nor state nor custom should impede or regulate the sexual behavior of consenting individuals. At first glance this argument seems persuasive. Why should any of us worry about what other people do with their own bodies?
Conservatives answer that the collective wisdom of the ages dictates that sexuality should be restricted to reproductive relationships. The basis of all human relationships is the reproductive family. Channeling sexual desire, especially the testosterone-fueled desires of young males, away from debauchery, rape, and pillage, and toward caring for women and children and other weaker members of society, is the most basic human imperative. Any society that makes no effort to restrict sexuality to heterosexual reproductive marriage, but instead allows it to run rampant, will soon suffer the fate exemplified, in extreme form, in the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Conservatives, following the great Christian thinker René Girard, also note that public displays of sexuality tend to excite imitation. So while private sexual behavior, as long as it is genuinely private (i.e., unknown to others) is not a problem, public sexual display or communication will always tend to stir up others and tempt them to imitate whatever is being displayed or communicated.
In today’s post-Christian West, each generation pleasures itself by breaking the previous generation’s taboos. Which taboos will be broken next? Will incest, necrophilia, and bestiality soon be viewed as basic human rights? Will public sex become the norm? Will adults claim the “basic human right” to have sex with consenting children and animals? Will the United Nations try to force these practices on all of the world’s peoples, including those who have held more tightly to their sacred traditions than Westerners have?
Kevin Barrett, Ph.D., is an Arabist-Islamologist scholar and one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror. From 1991 through 2006, Dr. Barrett taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin. In 2006, however, he was attacked by Republican state legislators who called for him to be fired from his job at the University of Wisconsin-Madison due to his political opinions. Since 2007, Dr. Barrett has been informally blacklisted from teaching in American colleges and universities. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, public speaker, author, and talk radio host. He lives in rural western Wisconsin.