Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Discussion about Sexuality

There has been a lot of discussion in the sports media this past week about what questions should NFL teams be able to ask potential prospects specifically in regard to their sexual orientation. Is asking a man if he likes girls at the NFL Combine discrimination based on sexual orientation? Why does a player's sexual orientation even matter? Will a prominent NFL player openly admit that he is gay? Would this be progress similar to how Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball? These are the questions sports media and personalities are asking. This discussion has prompted me discuss in much broader terms my understanding of sexuality from a Christian perspective.

I believe that many if not most of the problems in our culture are the result of our rejection of Jesus and his teaching on sexuality. Many people on both sides of issues regarding sexuality are very passionate. Unfortunately, there are people who discriminate and hate people because of their sexual orientation. Jesus never advocated hatred for any person. Also unfortunately, many Christians who believe that homosexuality is disordered and morally wrong are quickly labeled incorrectly by gay rights advocates as bigots who discriminate and are intolerant of people who have a different sexual preference. Or should I say sexual orientation?

What is sexual orientation?

Sexual orientation can be defined as a person's natural preference in sexual partners; distinguishing between heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual. Sexual preference suggests a degree of voluntary choice, so gay rights advocates prefer the term sexual orientation or sexual identity. I point out these seemingly minor differences because the words we use to describe a person can effect our perceptions. The word natural suggests that a person's sexual preference is not a voluntary choice. The fact is that no one knows exactly the origins of a person's sexual inclinations. Most scientists believe that it is probably a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental influences. This conclusion seems to suggest that people are not born gay, but neither is sexual orientation entirely a person's voluntary choice. This is still up for debate, but for argument's sake let's just assume that sexual orientation is not entirely a voluntary choice.
What does the Catholic Church believe?  Below are quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Chastity and homosexuality
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.