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On the heels of President Clinton's address to a homosexual group, Greg points out that homosexuality is a moral behavior rather than the kind of innate characteristic (like race) that justifies special protections. Morally-minded people are losing their liberty to speak out against homosexuality as a moral issue or follow their consciences on it in the public square.
The President addressed a group of homosexuals at a dinner in Washington over the weekend, spawning a conservative backlash. The White House responded by pointing out that the President also spoke at the Italian-American Foundation dinner, so this was not to be viewed as anything special.
Now, I have some difficulties here, ladies and gentlemen, but not at all with the President addressing this group. I think the President is president of every citizen in this country, and if he chooses to address a homosexual group, he is welcome to do so. What I'm bothered by is a couple of distortions I think came out of this.
There are two thoughts that are important to keep in mind whenever discussing the issue of homosexuality in the public square. Be alert to this whenever you're entertaining discussion or debate, or reading about such debate on the issue of homosexuality in America-- or whenever the Ellen issue comes up.
First of all, there's a difference between skin color-- ethnicity-- and behavior. It seems to me this is so self-evident, so obvious, that it should go without saying, but there is much confusion on this point.
When the issue of homosexuality comes up in the public square, it isn't uncommon to equate the concerns for homosexual liberty with the concern for racial equality. This is a faulty parallel because with homosexuality we're not talking about something morally benign like skin color or ethnicity. I don't know of anybody who has made a genuine case for the moral relevance of the pigmentation of someone's skin or for the moral relevance of his ancestry, per se. Ethnicity has nothing to do with morality.
So this is not the same situation as President Truman's endorsement of equal rights for African Americans that the President cited in his address. This is not the same as the Italian American foundation dinner. We're not talking about morally benign qualities that are innate to one's birth.
With homosexuality we're talking about something different. Although some will argue that homosexuality is constitutional, the evidence is not good that homosexuality is in the genes, that they were born that way. But even if it were, we're talking about a particular behavior that most American's consider strange and unnatural, and many Americans consider deeply immoral.
Let me make a point here, friends. These attitudes are not the result of blind prejudice, as is often represented. Most Americans don't think this is unnatural because they haven't been educated properly. Most people who consider homosexuality deeply immoral don't do so because they hate homosexuals. They have principled moral objections. Good arguments can be garnered for the unnatural nature of homosexuality.
If you saw the movie "In and Out"-- though it was kind of a spoof on homosexuality, and especially a shot at those who think that homosexuality is odd-- there was a pretty funny line about there being "in" holes and "out" holes in human bodies. Some openings are to receive things and other openings are to get rid of things, and you ought not get the two confused.
It was meant to be funny (it was), but it also makes a valid point. There is a natural law argument against homosexuality. And guess what? As silly as it was made to sound in the movie, there is a fundamental sensibility to it.
Now, it might be that those who hold such a view are mistaken. My point is, however, this isn't just raw prejudice. It's a principled point of view. A principled and intelligent argument based on natural law can be made against homosexuality that has nothing to do with ignorance, prejudice, or hatred.
There are good reasons to think that homosexuality is immoral, too. Even if I'm mistaken on that fact-- I don't think I am, but even if I were-- at least I could say I'm not simply making my position against homosexuality based on some bizarre, irrational, unreasoning prejudice like those who are prejudiced against a skin color. Instead, it's a principled position and I'm capable of giving good reasons for it.
I can anticipate an objection here. Someone says, "You may think that homosexuality is unnatural and immoral, but you have no right to force your view on us." Well, whether I have the right to force it on you or not is a debatable question, actually. All laws force someone's moral view on another. Regardless, that's not what is happening here. And this is my second point.
This is not about equal rights. This isn't about us forcing our view on someone else. This is about the legitimacy for us to even hold our point of view. We're being faulted for even making a moral distinction here.
More and more laws are being passed in this country to protect people from even the hint of censure about their actions. And so, it was either in Wisconsin or Minnesota, a woman handed a tract to a homosexual-- a Christian tract regarding homosexuality-- and she was convicted under the city's "hate crime" laws. That Christian was forced to go to re-education classes. Why? Because she expressed her politically incorrect view.
You see, this isn't about us forcing our view on them. This is about conservatives and morally-minded people being allowed to express their moral point of view and act on it. This isn't about homosexual liberties; it's about our liberties.
Friends, homosexuals have every right any other American has. I don't have the right to live anywhere I want. I don't have the right to be employed by anyone I want. I don't have the right to marry anyone I want. There are laws and rules and moral restrictions that govern all of those things.
This is not about rights, ladies and gentlemen. This is about approval. This is about a small group of people working to force the majority to approve of behavior that the rank and file believes is morally objectionable.
Yes, I think the President was within his rights to address this group, just like he would address any other group of Americans. But I think he should have put the issue in its proper perspective. He should have said, "Homosexuals as Americans should have the very same rights and protections every other American has."
By the way, they already do. The law affords them all the same protections I have.
"But I can't marry whomever I want," they say. Well, neither can I.
"But, I can't marry the person I love." Well, you can if it's a woman; you can't if it's a man. Neither can I. I can't marryany person I love. If I fell in love with my sister (Perish the thought!), or if I fell in love with my daughter, I couldn't marry them. If I fell in love with my first cousin I can't marry her. You see, I'm restricted in the same fashion. I have the right to marry any woman of my choice who is not already married and who is distant from me in terms of kinship. Homosexuals have that very same right.
But they say, "I don't want to marry a woman, I want to marry a man." Well, what you want is a different issue. The fact is you have the same freedoms I have, you just don't want to exercise them. You want more than the same legal freedoms I have. You want an additional freedom, a special right. Society has no obligation to grant that.
As Americans, homosexuals should have the very same rights that every other American has, but as homosexuals, they shouldn't have any special standing by law.
This is a transcript of a commentary from the radio show "Stand to Reason," with Gregory Koukl. It is made available to you at no charge through the faithful giving of those who support Stand to Reason. Reproduction permitted for non-commercial use only. ©1997 Gregory Koukl
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