Dr. Marvin Olasky has responded here to our critique of his column in World Magazine regarding Uganda’s legislative efforts to curb homosexuality. While we respect Dr. Olasky’s analysis and commentary in many areas, we disagree with his thinking in this instance. In fact, on its face, Olasky’s position (similar to that of many Evangelical leaders/commentators) leads to a troubling disregard of the importance of law in curbing and containing sexual sin, as well as a glossing over of the destructive consequences of homosexual behavior. Read more
Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief of World Magazine, posted an analysis here of Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill on January 24. Although Dr. Olasky claims a conservative Christian background and worldview, his reactions to Uganda’s efforts to suppress homosexuality seem ignorant of both historic Christian treatment in this area as well as the power of law to influence behavior. Below we extensively excerpt Olasky’s analysis and rebut with our commentary.
Problem or Solution? by Marvin Olasky
Going ballistic: When the Ugandan parliament shortly before Christmas passed a bill legislating long prison sentences for homosexuals, The Huffington Post quoted one activist calling Dec. 20 ‘the worst day’ in history, and the U.S. State Department (which looks the other way as Muslims murder Christians) was quick to ‘condemn’ the bill. On Jan. 17 Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni chose not to sign the bill, citing a technicality, and columnists blamed American Christians for manipulating the purportedly ignorant and easily led Africans.
A deeper analysis came from Chris Howles, a missionary in Uganda who in his blog, Namugongo Life, called the national opposition to homosexuality historical rather than religious. Howles wrote online (“Homophobia in Uganda: Is Christianity the problem or the solution?”), ‘The vast majority of Christians in this country have never met or spoken with a Western missionary. Nor have their leaders. Many of these attitudes about homosexuality come direct from traditional Ugandan culture.’
FRI’s Comment — Homophobia? This propaganda word does not belong in Christian discourse. Dislike of homosexuality, general avoidance of those who practice it, and trying to keep our kids safe from gay predators are hardly ‘problems’ for Christians — it is ‘who we are supposed to be.’ To be sure, we will find ourselves out of tune with Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s “If I go up to heaven and find a homophobic God, I will tell him I prefer the other place.” Similarly, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of President Obama, Hollywood, David Cameron, Bill and Hillary Clinton, the EU, the media, etc. If God calls something wrong but our elite say it’s precious, our marching orders are clear — as the brave Ugandan Christian boys and young men of 1886 (and mentioned by Olasky below) demonstrated.
Some things do not change. In surveys conducted by homosexual researchers of U.S. male homosexuals, over a fifth admitted to having sex with boys, and media reports suggest they commit up to half of all child molestation in the U.S.
Who ya gonna believe? I side with Howles, in part because in November I visited his central Ugandan township of Namugongo and saw a memorial to 26 pages, young royal servants who professed Christ and were martyred in 1886. … King Mwanga II had the 26 pages burned to death, and a national holiday now honors them.
Why the king killed them is important in understanding the recent Ugandan legislation. Students learn that Mwanga II expected the royal pages to submit to his homosexual advances. After all, the traditional saying Namunswa alya kunswaze (the queen ant feeds on her subjects) indicated that the monarch is licensed to kill those who reject him.
The pages, though, fed on Christ and chose to die rather than to sin so blatantly. Given that fact, many Ugandans see tolerance of homosexuality in Uganda, let alone praise for it, as historical treason. Does that mean I applauded the parliamentary legislation …? … No: It was harsh and unlikely to be effective.
FRI’s Comment — Laws against murder are harsh and unlikely to be effective (in completely stopping murder). But such laws educate as to what is ‘correct’ and serve as a disincentive to commit murder. Just because we cannot specify how many lives were saved by a particular law hardly means the law was ineffective. Surely the fact that people still commit murder, rape, or theft would not cause Dr. Olasky to label them as “ineffective” and not worth having.
I write that because ancient Israel’s experience shows how sinners like all of us tend to act when faced with a long list of laws: We break them. The ancient Israelites had the best laws, since God gave them. They had every reason to be confident in their lawgiver, since God had delivered their ancestors from slavery. They had every reason to fear breaking them, since the penalty often was death. But, under these best of possible conditions for obedience, they disobeyed.
FRI’s Comment — The Jews only had 613 hard and fast laws, in addition to a number of bureaucratic interpretations made by their priestly class. Whatever that number, it pales beside the hundreds of thousands of laws under which we live. Does the multiplicity of laws make us want to break them? Doubtful. Laws both educate and regulate. If sinners are to live with sinners, laws are absolutely necessary and Christians are to obey them except when, as with the brave 26 boys and young men, they contradict a basic tenant of faith.
Howles has a better idea: Promote Christianity, not tradition. He argues that if Ugandans temper their desire to put homosexuals in prison, ‘it will most likely be because of Christianity, as churches preach a message of godly love and kindness towards active homosexuals.’
FRI’s Comment — Really? How do we show “godly love and kindness toward active child molesters?” Or active thieves, active adulterers, active slanderers, etc.? Until the last few decades, every time the Christian Church had the opportunity, it made homosexual activity illegal — often carrying the ultimate penalty. So it was in Rome, England, and early in these United States. Everyone else – especially children — should not be endangered so those expressing homosexual interests can be comfortable.
Christianity is an historic religion. Only if you believe it is ‘whatever we say it is today’ can you contend that ‘the Gospel’ requires acceptance and/or embrace of those who practice homosexuality! If pusillanimous preachers want to ‘ignore’ Christian history in favor of a new Gospel, they earn their heretic label.
Homosexuality is wrong and laws can be useful educators, but our hope is in ‘the gospel that shows us that all people are created in God’s image … the gospel that welcomes all people to confess that Jesus is Lord and unite together in a broken but re-built community of Christ,’ as Ephesians 2:17–22 explains.
FRI’s Comment — Some acquire a preference for child-sex, others would like to have affairs with their neighbors’ spouses. If such individuals protest, whine, and threaten about how they are being oppressed and denied their desires, will Christians also be expected to include them as we “welcome all people” in a “broken but re-built community of Christ?” Peter said in Acts to “repent and be baptized,” not ‘unite together in a broken but re-built community and be baptized.’
Christians with a traditionally-minded, Bible-believing tilt should reject any attempt to bring “active homosexuals” into our “re-built community;” they, not we, must first repent. If Christianity is to abandon standards and repentance for failing these standards, and instead become re-warmed psychobabble, forget the Church, see your local shrink or a bookstore’s self-help section.
Fear-based laws may work for a while, and laws to protect life are certainly important, but rules imposing morality usually sweep problems under the rug instead of solving them.
FRI’s Comment — When abortion was illegal in the U.S., the abortion rate was no more than half, if not a third, of what it is today. Did such laws ‘solve’ abortion? No, no more than laws against murder ‘solve’ murder. Abortions occurred, murders occurred — laws did not ‘solve’ either. Humans are, by nature, sinful. Law, sometimes harsh law, is necessary when strong motives are involved. Law does not and cannot ‘solve’ sin, it only contains it. When homosexual activity was illegal, it still occurred, but it did not grace every newscast, get taught in our schools, get extolled in our drama, or cause Christian editors to go wobbly in fear of them, etc.
Thousands of years of Church decisions ought not to be abandoned all because liberals criticize us or homosexuals feel uncomfortable. Neither the Sadducees (the liberals of his time) nor the Pharisees (the conservatives) hailed Christ. Those who follow Christ are ‘stuck with’ His decrees. If you want to claim Christ and ignore His commands, since Tutu is an Archbishop, perhaps you can. But the Apostle Paul seems to warn otherwise: “The wicked will have no share in God’s kingdom. Don’t be mistaken about this: no one who lives in sexual sin… adulterers, or males who have sex with other males, … or slanderers… will have a share in God’s Kingdom" (1 Cor. 6).
If law doesn’t work for long, what does? Only the gospel. Christ loved us enough to die for us. Once we stop thinking of ourselves as the center of the world and recognize that God owns it and us, we realize that our greatest pleasure comes not from indulgence but from feeling God’s pleasure.
FRI’s Comment — To which many who sin sexually might retort “agreed, my greatest pleasure is ‘feeling God’s pleasure.’ Yet I get lesser, but substantial pleasure, from feelings gotten from a good roll in the hay, visit to a bathhouse, or tryst in a public restroom, etc." Jesus never said ‘if you love me, live so as to feel God’s pleasure;’ but rather “ if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Feelings are not only ‘cheap,’ but totally unreliable (‘everything a man does is right in his own eyes’). This is akin to Buddhism (or Universalism) and rather removed from historic Christianity.
Regular church-goers usually do somewhat better on almost every index of social usefulness and personal health. They score this way by trying to follow God’s commandments, thereby separating themselves from the practices of ‘the world;’ certainly from the sexual preachments of our current elite.
Homosexual practitioners may get pleasure from indulging their sexual desires, but that is far outweighed by diseases leading to a shortened lifespan combined with interpersonal violence, instability, and a life of destructive meaninglessness. Additionally, they are a burden to us all in that they 1) consume more than they contribute, 2) disproportionately disturb social order, and 3) produce few children themselves while molesting the kids of others.
Homosexuality violates God’s first commandment to ‘be fruitful,’ and is at the very heart of Biblical denunciation of rebellion against God (see Deut 32 and Romans 1). Homosexual lust led to the painful incineration of 26 brave Ugandan Christian boys and young men. It cannot be ignored without substantial intellectual and moral peril. Arguably Christianity’s greatest preacher, John Chrysostom, called it the worst sin, worse even than murder. While every sin in Scripture is not to be carried into public law, if this sin is not, what would Olasky nominate and how would he justify it?
9th Circuit Court Decision — Proposition 8 Supporters Got What They Paid For
The recent 9th Circuit Court decision against the legality of Proposition 8 was, very unfortunately, deserved. It proves if your whole case hinges on a word — rather than substance — you are likely to lose even more than you went to court for. It also proves if you lie in court, you may just lose.
The court said:
It will not do to say that Proposition 8 was intended only to disapprove of same-sex marriage, rather than to pass judgment of same-sex couples as people. Just as the criminalization of ‘homosexual conduct… is an invitation to subject homosexual persons to discrimination in both the public and private spheres,’ so too does the elimination of the right to use the official designation of ‘marriage’ for the relationships of committed same-sex couples send a message that gays and lesbians are of lesser worth as a class — indeed, that they enjoy a lesser societal status.
Let’s face it. As a class — much like drug addicts — homosexuals ARE of lesser social worth. They go out of their way to disrupt society, cost more than they contribute, and disproportionately molest children rather than producing them as a result of their sexual activities. Proposition 8 stemmed from common knowledge of their lesser worth and push-back because of the disruptions they caused by demanding the same benefits as the married.
Remember the ‘smart folk’ from the conservative side who said ‘we have nothing against homosexuality, and we have nothing against homosexuals getting all the benefits of marriage. No, we just don’t want them to use the name “marriage” when they legally couple.’ That’s what the National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family, Alliance Defense Fund, etc. said publicly for the press. But that was only ‘half true.’ The supporters of these organizations wanted to stop gay rights. That’s what the vote was actually about.
Critics might note that some advertisements run by the conservative side strove to celebrate mother-father marriage while not explicitly criticizing those who engage in homosexuality. But to get out the vote and raise money (as Judge Walker noted and our side admitted in court), the pro-Prop 8 campaign also claimed:
If the gay marriage ruling [of the California Supreme Court] is not overturned, TEACHERS COULD BE REQUIRED to teach young children there is no difference between gay marriage and traditional marriage. We should not accept a court decision that may result in public schools teaching our own kids that gay marriage is ok. * * * [W]hile gays have the right to their private lives, they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.
Despite the underlying effort to stem gay rights, proponents of Prop 8 carried this ‘we’re not against homosexuality’ strategy into the courtroom, offering essentially no evidence about the harms caused by engaging in homosexuality or by homosexual coupling — both of which would be encouraged by putting society’s stamp of approval on gay marriage. Much of the evidence presented by those challenging Prop 8, including claims that homosexuals were no more apt to molest children, were not rebutted by our side!
Proponents, including their key expert witness, went on record with
We have never disputed and we have offered to stipulate that gays and lesbians have been the victims of a long and shameful history of discrimination
and also allowed that permitting gay marriage would make society “more fair.”
So the 9th Circuit Court logically concluded:
Proposition 8 could not have reasonably been enacted to promote childrearing by biological parents, to encourage responsible procreation, to proceed with caution in social change, to protect religious liberty, or to control the education of schoolchildren.” (69)
Proposition 8 operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority’s private disapproval of them and their relationships, by taking away from them the official designation of ‘marriage,’ with its societally recognized status. Proposition 8 therefore violates the Equal Protection Clause.” (77)
Let’s try this again. Did the Circuit Court judges come to this conclusion merely due to their liberal and anti-traditional bias? Well, consider what our side claimed before Judge Walker in the original Prop 8 trial:
the inference of anti-gay hostility drawn by the district court is manifestly false. It defames more than seven million California voters as homophobic, a cruelly ironic charge, as noted earlier, given that California has enacted some of the Nation’s most progressive and sweeping gay-rights protections, including creation of a parallel institution, domestic partnerships, affording same-sex couples all the benefits and obligations of marriage.
In point of fact, pro-family groups sponsored ads in California back in 2000 promoting the view that domestic partnerships would be an OK alternative as long as gay marriage was not approved. Their attempt to cleverly navigate the political currents of gay rights back then has come back to bite them in this latest decision. For when you OK a parallel set-up that looks like marriage, with all the rights and legal privileges of marriage, but forbid use of the name ‘marriage,’ and then admit that homosexuals have been “victims of… shameful… discrimination,” why would a set of judges rule any differently than what the 9th Circuit just did?
As much as we might dislike it, the decision is merely the logical outcome of prior events in California, including key strategic blunders by pro-family activists and the Prop 8 legal defense team.
FRI has consistently said that you cannot ‘give away everything in the store but the sign’ and end up with a win. If you oppose gay rights, you might consider donating to FRI.
The following letter was part of a FRI mailing that was rejected by a US Postal Inspector for being “obscene” and for inciting “forcible resistance against the government.” The mailing also included our February 2010 newsletter, discussing ‘gays in the military.’ FRI believes the reaction of the Postal Service is both unwarranted and unfounded. Judge for yourself…
Well, a Democrat is President, and gays-in-the-military is up again for debate!
This month’s newsletter deals with this issue, as do the excerpts of the following Feb. 8 letter from a Captain to Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“This letter is in response to your shocking statement last week that you advocate homosexuals openly serving in the military services. I seriously question the wisdom of your position… I am a retired Navy Captain… and… in my more than 31 years of active duty, I commanded two ships, served as Executive Officer on two ships, commanded Coastal Squadron ONE (Swift Boats) in Vietnam, and was Chief Staff Officer on an Amphibious Squadron.… I received a Juris Doctorate from the Hastings College of Law. Like you, I encountered homosexuals throughout my Navy career and in civilian life. Unlike you, I do not find they are more deserving than non-homosexuals or that they constitute a viable or necessary body of troops for the defense of our country. Read more
Christianity – as the wellspring of ‘animus’ against homosexual activity – is being attacked as full of bigotry, but empty of factual content. This mode of attack worked with Colorado’s Amendment 2 in 1994, and was an integral part of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision. Yet 99% of the empirical evidence regarding homosexual activity supports the Christian appraisal of it.
Nevertheless, here we are with a distinct possibility of losing the Prop 8 trial in California. Why? Largely because many on the pro-family side of the aisle want to win only if they can show positive advantages to heterosexual marriage while simultaneously not criticizing homosexuals, their unions, or their actions. The Wall Street Journal quoted Andrew Pugno, general counsel for Protect-Marriage.com, as saying “We do not have to show that same-sex marriage would harm traditional marriage – but just that traditional marriage is a reasonable tool to promote the public’s interest.” (WSJ, 1/22/10, A5)
David Boies, co-lead attorney for the homosexual plaintiffs “said he set out to prove that marriage was an important right, that gays were harmed by being denied that right and that marriage wouldn’t be hurt by extending it to same-sex couples,… ‘We’ve proven all three of those.’ In response, defense lawyer Pugno said his side would present evidence from experts that traditional definitions of marriage between heterosexual couples have special benefit for children and for society.” [WSJ 1/23/10, A3]
In our view, there are essentially three strategies in any trial about social policy. You can demonstrate that: 1) what you are against is harmful to society; 2) what you are for is harmed by what you are against; and/or 3) what you are against is inferior to what you are for (or that what you are for is superior to what you are against). Read more
The Ugandan bill criminalizing homosexual activity is getting world-wide attention. It has been condemned by certain evangelical Christians such as Rev. Rick Warren, Professor Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College, and a host of ‘ex-gays’ — even a few folk who might be expected to to be supportive, since they claim to be traditionalists. Little wonder that Hillary Clinton has added the State Department’s voice to the chorus, along with various European leaders.
All the homosexual activists, Western political leaders, and critical evangelicals seem to be up in arms over the fact that the Ugandan bill would imprison (perhaps for life) anyone found guilty of engaging in homosexuality and would potentially execute someone found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality,” the latter of which would include performing homosexual acts upon a minor or when the offender was in a position of authority (e.g., parent, teacher, etc.) or if one knew they were HIV-positive at the time. The bill also explicitly prohibits promotion of homosexuality by any individual or organization and further equates same-sex marriage with the offense of homosexuality.
Generally, according to FRI’s analysis, this is a good bill for those of a traditionalist bent. While no law can end a particular kind of crime, the proposed law makes clear what is not acceptable and should discourage some from acting on their same-sex desires. Interestingly, only acts (not ‘desires’ or ‘orientation’) are condemned, and only rape, especially of children, or recidivism can lead to a death sentence. And those carrying HIV/AIDS have no business engaging in and no right to engage in activities that could infect others.
[Editor’s Note: Excerpted letter, Dr. Paul Cameron]
As you may be aware, the homosexual movement has made me one of its prime targets. It has sold academia on the notion that “Your sexuality is so important that it is the ‘core’ of who you are. Therefore, everyone should be supported — as a Constitutional right — in his choice of sexual activities.” The U.S. Supreme Court has bought into this notion. Consequently, not only do I have great difficulty publishing in scientific journals, but I am often criticized in scientific journals as well as on the Internet.
Historian Paul Johnson admitted in The Quest for God (1996) that:
“There were a great many of us, in the 1960s, who felt that there were grave practical and moral objections to the criminalisation of homosexuality, and therefore supported, as happened in most Western countries, changes in the law which meant that certain forms of homosexual behaviour ceased to be unlawful. Homosexuality itself was still to be publicly regarded by society, let alone by its churches, as a great moral evil, but men who engaged in it, within strictly defined limits, would no longer be sent to prison. We believed this to be the maximum homosexuals deserved or could reasonably expect.”
As an esteemed historian, Johnson felt he knew ‘better’ than Christian tradition. But…
“We were proven totally mistaken. Decriminalisation made it possible for homosexuals to organize openly into a powerful lobby, and it thus became a mere platform from which further demands were launched. Next followed demands for equality, in which homosexuality was officially placed on the same moral level as standard forms of sexuality, and dismissal of identified homosexuals from sensitive positions, for instance schools, children’s homes, etc., became progressively more difficult.
“This was followed in turn by demands not merely for equality but privilege: the appointment, for instance, of homosexual quotas in local government, the excision from school textbooks and curricula, and university courses, passages or books or authors they found objectionable, special rights to proselytize, and not least the privilege of special programmes to put forward their views — including the elimination of the remaining legal restraints — on radio and television.”
“Thus we began by attempting to right what was felt an ancient injustice and we ended with a monster in our midst, powerful and clamoring, flexing its muscles, threatening, vengeful and vindictive towards anyone who challenges its outrageous claims, and bent on making fundamental — and to most of us horrifying — changes to civilized patterns of sexual behaviour.”
Well, it’s going to be worse than Johnson imagines. And the demographics of Europe will play into it.