Homosexuality and Alcoholism?

John C. Rankin

[excerpted from First the Gospel, Then Politics …, 1999, Vol. 2, not published]

My focus is on biblical ethics, and in the matter of homosexual pathologies, homosexual persons know them too painfully well. We do not need to focus on it, but rather show the mercy of God that triumphs over judgment so people and see the and the Good News of deliverance. But as well, there are those who do need to know these realities for various reasons.

One way this subject is approached is by Yale psychiatrist, Jeffrey Satinover, in his book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth (1994). He says:

“What would you think if a relative, friend, or colleague had a condition that is routinely, even if not always, associated with the following problems:

  • “A five- to ten-year decrease in life expectancy.
  • “Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease – hepatitis.
  • “Inevitably fatal esophageal cancer.
  • “Internal bleeding.
  • “Serious mental disabilities, many of which are irreversible.
  • “A much higher than usual incidence of suicide.
  • “A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is eliminated.
  • “An only 30 percent likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an otherwise unselected population of sufferers (although a very high success rate among highly motivated, carefully selected sufferers)

“We can add four qualifications to this unnamed condition. First, even though its origins are influenced by genetics, the condition is, strictly speaking, rooted in behavior. Second, individuals who have this condition continue the behavior in spite of the destructive consequences of doing so. Third, although some people with this condition perceive it as a problem and wish they could rid themselves of it, many others deny they have any problem at all and violently resist all attempts to “help” them. And fourth, these people who resist tend to socialize with one another, sometimes exclusively, and form a kind of ‘subculture’ …

“The condition we are speaking of is alcoholism …

“And now imagine another friend or colleague who had a condition associated with a similar list of problems:

  • “A significantly decreased likelihood of establishing or preserving a successful marriage.
  • “A twenty-five to thirty-year decrease in life expectancy.
  • “Chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease – infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer.
  • “Inevitably fatal immune disease including associated cancers.
  • “Frequently fatal rectal cancer.
  • “Multiple bowel and other infectious diseases.
  • “A much higher than usual incidence of suicide.
  • “A very low likelihood that its adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is.
  • “An at least 50 percent likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an otherwise unselected group of sufferers (although a very high success rate, in some instances nearly 100 percent, for groups of highly motivated, carefully selected individuals).

“As with alcoholism: First, even though its origins may be influenced by genetics, the condition is, strictly speaking, a pattern of behavior; second, individuals who have this condition continue in the behavior in spite of the destructive consequences of doing so; third, although some people with this condition perceive it as a problem and wish they could rid themselves of it, many others deny they have any problem at all and violently resist all attempts to “help” them; and fourth, some of the people with this condition – especially those who deny it is a problem – tend to socialize almost exclusively with one another and form a ‘subculture.’ This condition is homosexuality (pp. 49-51).”

Dr. Satinover then points out how, in the case of alcoholism, society disapproves of it and approves of its treatment to help people overcome it. With homosexuality, the politics are such that the societal response is the opposite.

The Bible knows the social pathologies of homosexualty. As the apostle Paul says “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion” (Romans 1:27). And Elihu says in Job 36:14:  “They die in their youth, among male prostitutes [qadeshim] of the shrines.”

And Jesus says in Matthew 11:28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

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