Do You Really Care?

  

Caring Hands


As so many families, our extended family has a member who struggles with drug and alcohol addiction.   He has sought freedom from his addictions many times.  There was a time when he experienced success lasting as long as a year.  More often he succumbs to temptations that overwhelm and dominate his life for decades.  This struggle has gone on now for well over thirty years. We have sought to encourage him though sharing our faith in Christ, by having him live in our home, and through practical acts of mercy.  Over all the years of watching his health deteriorate—now steeply—we have feared for his life.  We pray continually for him, and though we always hold out hope that God will miraculously deliver him, we also recognize that he is closer every day to self-destruction. 

Now just imagine that someone were to say to us that these concerns for our loved-one were misplaced and even selfish.  Our supposed efforts to “help him” were actually self-seeking attempts to “control him.” We are also said to be judgmental and hypocritical, since “nobody’s perfect, and least of all us.” Then we are told that all such long-term “druggies” are a lost cause and we should “just live and let live.”  “After all, it’s a free country and if he wants to live this way, who are you to judge if it’s right or wrong.”

How should we respond to such an accusation and is it possible that a non-response would be interpreted as approval for this attitude toward all drug addicts and not just the one we love?  First, it seems like genuine concern would motivate some investigation into the dangers of drug addiction.  “Surely, the facts will inspire wise concern for the life struggles of drug addicts and those in their families.”

To that end, one should take seriously the concern that the “lifestyle” of the drug addict actually leads to death.  No matter how much they may enjoy the “highs” of their addiction, it has to be acknowledged that long-term addicts have a dramatically shortened lifespan.  Or we might point out the problems with disease transmission due to needle-sharing among intravenous drug users.  Or we might lament the high suicide rate among drug users.  Finally, there is the heart-wrenching pain for the children of drug addicts.  And all of this is independent of the central concern that a choice for addiction is inherently wrong and leads to the destruction of body, soul, and spirit.  Of course all of these concerns about addiction are known to nearly everyone—including the average drug user—but when addiction takes over the life, all concerns about personal safety are forgotten.  With all this in mind, is there any fair-minded and compassionate person who really believes that it’s hypocritical, judgmental, or hateful to challenge the lifestyle of drug addiction? 

Now, the foregoing discussion and its conclusions may appear very obvious to any caring person.  So at this point I must confess that I have offered this as an analogy in order to make a case for what I feel is a grave concern in the history of civilization.  The current headliner topic for nearly every Western nation relates to a general push for acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle.  If one challenges the advancement of what is sometimes called a “homosexual agenda,” you are immediately branded a control freak, hypocrite, bigot, and hate-monger.  Today, it is not enough to respectfully disagree, but now we must “celebrate diversity” by handing over certain rights that have not been granted to homosexuals for thousands of years of human civilization.  Worst of all, we “caught judging” the homosexual lifestyle as immoral when the current cultural wisdom is that all lifestyle judgments are wrong. 

A case in point is the analogy just offered between the lifestyle of the drug addict and lifestyle of the homosexual. Many today would be shocked with such a comparison, since “everyone knows” that the homosexual lifestyle is morally equivalent to any other lifestyle choice.  And how in the world can anyone believe that such a comparison is anything but ignorant, bigoted, and hateful?

However, it seems like genuine concern would motivate some investigation into the potential dangers of the homosexual lifestyle.  “Surely, the facts will inspire wise concern about the life struggles of homosexuals and those in their families.”  

Here I must assert that there is more than ample evidence to take seriously concerns raised about the safety of the homosexual lifestyle.  No matter how much they may enjoy their lifestyle, it simply must be acknowledged that the average homosexual has a dramatically shortened lifespan.  In fact, studies estimate a reduced life expectancy for homosexual men and women in the range of 10-30% when compared to the rest of the population (1)(2)(3). Or we might point out the many problems with transmission of STDs due to the fact that the average homosexual has 300 to 500 sexual partners in a lifetime (4).  A significant percentage of homosexuals actually have thousands of sexual encounters with complete strangers, and this while a worldwide AIDS-plague kills millions (5). One study also found that 86 percent of homosexual males use various drugs to enhance their sexual stimulation (6). Or we might lament the high suicide rate among homosexuals.  The latest studies reveal that homosexual youth are seven times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers (7).  In fact, suicide is the leading cause of death among gay male, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual youth (8).  Finally, there is the heart-wrenching pain for the children of homosexuals.  Multiplied cases studies on the life experiences of the children of homosexuals reveal the heartbreaking confusion, shame, and at times physical danger experienced by children of homosexuals (9)(10)(11)(12). And all of this is independent of the central concern that the homosexual lifestyle is—according to the Bible—inherently wrong and leads to the destruction of body, soul and spirit (13).  Of course these concerns are already known by many—including the average homosexual—but when sexual addiction takes over the life, all concerns about personal safety can be forgotten.  After decades of teaching about “healthy gay lifestyle choices,” many in the gay community now say, “they’re burned out on safe sex”(14).  With all this in mind, is there any fair-minded and compassionate person who really believes that it’s hypocritical, judgmental, or hateful to question the homosexual lifestyle? 

Today we are told that Christians are trying to force their morality on those who do not share their beliefs.  Naturally those within the gay community are angry when we question their lifestyle choices, no matter what we claim for our motivation.  “After all, they were born that way!”  But apart from the fact that the alleged scientific evidence for a “gay gene” is rejected by scientists (15), the fact is that thousands now live changed lives (16).   But then there are those outside the gay community who say, “If he wants to be a fag, that’s his own business.”  “After all, it’s a free country and if he wants to live this way, who are you to judge if it’s right or wrong!” My question to these people is simply this, “Do you really care?”  Or as Jesus might have asked, “Do you love you neighbor as yourself?” (Matthew 22:37-39).

God addressed our difficulty with choosing compassion over indifference during Israel’s time of moral apathy by speaking a clear word through the prophet Ezekiel.  God simply said: 


When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. (Ezekiel 3:18)

In the end, the Christian is called to genuine, caring compassion when they see someone in a lifestyle leading to self-destruction.

Tim Nordgren


Written May 5, 2004
Updated June 30, 2012

Footnotes:

1.      Robert S. Hogg et al., "Modeling the Impact of HIV Disease on Mortality in Gay and Bisexual Men," International Journal of Epidemiology 26 (1997): 657. (This study estimates that homosexual and bisexual men that are now twenty will live between 8 to 20 years less than men in the general population.  It also estimates that nearly half of these homosexual and bisexual men will not live to see sixty-five.)

2.      Paul Cameron, William L. Playfair, and Stephen Wellum, “The Homosexual Lifespan.” Family Research Institute, 14 February 1992. (This study estimated that the life expectancy of homosexual men and women without AIDS is 33 years shorter than that of the heterosexual.)

3.      “Gay men 'report higher cancer rate than straight men'”, BBC News, Health, May 9, 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13295300. This report cites several cancer studies that reveal that homosexual men are more likely to have had cancer than heterosexual men.  (One study included more than 120,000 people in California). The health of lesbians and bisexual women was shown to poorer after cancer than heterosexuals, according to research published in the journal Cancer. Gay men were twice as likely to have been diagnosed with cancer as straight men and, on average, this occurred a decade earlier.

4.      Gebhard, P.H. and Johnson, A.B., The Kinsey Data (Saunders, 1979); Bell, A.P. and Weinberg, M.S., Homosexualities (Simon and Schuster, 1978); Manligit, G. M., and Talpaz, M., et.al., “Chronic Immunize Stimulation by Sperm Allonantigens,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 1984, 251 (2), pp. 237-241; U. S. Center for Disease Control Study (Atlanta, 1982) reported in Meredith, “The Gay Dilemma,” Psychology Today, January 1984, p.50.

5.      “Straight Answers: Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality,” October 8, 2003.  (As of December, 2001, 45 percent of all AIDS cases involved men who were exposed to the disease through having sex with other men while 4 percent of the cases were among men who had heterosexual contact.)

6.      Bernard J. Klamecki, “Medical Perspective of the Homosexual Issue,” in Yamamoto, 116-17.

7.      “Gay Youths More Likely to Attempt Suicide,” Reuters, August 28, 1997.   

8.      “Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration: Department of Health and Human Services. Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide”. (DHHS Publication No. ADM 89-1623). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989, TITLE: Report of Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, 1989. NUMBER: HE20.8002/y8 (v1 to v4) <This is the catalog number in the Government Documents room of the library>

9.      A study called Children of Homosexual Parents Report Childhood Difficulties, by Paul Cameron and Kirk Cameron, reviewed 57 “life-story narratives” of children with homosexual parents published by L. Rafkin. (Different mothers: sons and daughters of lesbians talk about their lives) in 1990 and L. Saffron (What about the children? Sons and daughters of lesbian and gay parents talk about their lives) in 1996.

10.  “Homosexual Parenting: Placing Children at Risk,” by Timothy J. Dailey, <http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS01J3> 

11.  Mark Regnerus, "How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study," Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012), pp. 752-770; online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000610

12.  Loren Marks, "Same-sex parenting and children's outcomes: A closer examination of the American Psychological Association's brief on lesbian and gay parenting," Social Science Research Vol 41, Issue 4 (July 2012), pp. 735-751; online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X12000580

13.  Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:24-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8; Jude 7; Revelation 2:20-23.

14.  “Some gays say they’re burned out on safe sex,” Seattle Times, September 26, 1999.

15.  For the scientific evidence see: www.narth.com

16.    Christians know that anyone can leave a self-destructive lifestyle, since every Christian has done just that.  In the words of the Apostle Paul: “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)  Thousands agree.