Homosexuality and Rights
To the Editor:
A month ago I wrote an op-ed entitled "On Homosexual Rights," and there have been several responses to it, both in this paper and via BlitzMail. Many of these responses have either misunderstood me or (likely through misunderstanding) put words into my mouth. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify (only) a few points here.
Several people have pointed me to the case of Matthew Sheppard. Let me pose a few questions: Was Matthew Sheppard's life taken away from him in accordance with law? Were charges not brought against the murder suspect? Did the law allow for the murder of Matthew Sheppard? I doubt it.
Let me now affirm some things which I'm sure at least the vast majority of readers will agree with: All human beings, without regard to race, gender, sexuality, political motivations, etc., have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, among other things, as our Declaration of Independence proclaims. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights..."
What happened to Matthew Sheppard ought never to have happened, and ought never again to happen. If we affirm that all men are created equal, we affirm that homosexuals are also created equal.
By suggesting that homosexual rights are not specially endangered, it does not follow that I believe that homosexuals have no rights. The issue I took with Chris Curran's May 20 op-ed (The Right Thing for the Right ""Wing) was a) his appeal to gender and race in an attempt to justify "protection" of homosexual rights (remember, I'm not threatening their rights), and b) his appeal to morality to justify the suggestion that President Bush and the Republican party should embrace the homosexual community. I do not believe that homosexuals' liberties are being threatened in the same way that liberties of other people are threatened on the basis of race or gender.
Homosexuals (and others) look to examples like Matthew Sheppard to argue that their rights are being threatened. The problems that led to Matthew Sheppard's murder are not legislative problems, and their solution will not and can not be found in legislative action.
Mr. Jedidiah Sorokin-Altmann, in his June 20 op-ed "A Question of Rights", writes to me that "Your argument seems based on the myth that being homosexual is a choice or a curable disease -- something that is optional." Well, there are two sides to this.
On the one hand, yes, I believe that being homosexual is closer to being vegetarian than to being white. On the other hand, seeing the issue from the eyes of a born-again, Bible-believing Christian, I recognize homosexuality as a part of the sinful nature of fallen man. In that sense, it is incurable apart from the Lord-ship of Christ.
In the first case, homosexuality is sin and as such we are responsible for our own tendencies toward it, and those tendencies can be overcome. In the second case, they cannot be fully overcome without Christ, and whether they are overcome for the few years that we live on this earth, if we are without Christ, we are still in sin when we come to the Judgement.
Law and society are right to condemn murders and like oppression of homosexuals. However, let's make sure our justifications for saying so are reasonable.