Genetic Justification

The New York Times called it a “politically explosive study of the origins of human sexuality.” Gay activists claimed that they now had definitive proof that homosexuality is biologically determined and thus as “normal” as heterosexuality. The National Institutes of Health study, authored by Dean Hamer, reported the alleged existence of a genetic marker predisposing individuals to homosexual behavior. It was the news gay activists had long been hoping for. They believed that proof of a gay gene would facilitate their drive for the full acceptance of homosexuality in all areas of society. Within minutes of the release of the gay gene study, an elated National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a statement claiming: “the NIH study... shows that homosexuality is a naturally occurring and common variation among humans.” As it turned out, the euphoria was a little premature. It was revealed that Dean Hamer, the director of the study, is himself a homosexual activist whose agenda may have biased the results of his research. Questions were raised in the Chicago Tribune, where a colleague of Hamer accused the researcher of deliberately excluding data that did not support his thesis. In a review of Hamer’s study, geneticist Dr. Evan Balaban of the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego concurs that Hamer’s research was seriously flawed both in its methodology and in its basic assumptions. As a result of such allegations, Hamer was investigated by the Office of Research Integrity. But perhaps most telling of all is the fact that many of the gay men in Hamer’s own study did not have the genetic marker that he says is linked to homosexual behavior. These men must have had some other influence or combination of influences in their lives that contributed to their homosexuality. And if homosexuality is not genetically determined, then to some degree the element of choice must be involved. In other words, we’re not talking about genetic determinism but a genetic predisposition—a predisposition that can be resisted through our moral choices. Dr. David Persing of the Mayo Clinic is a molecular genetics researcher who accepts the biblical teaching that all of nature is fallen. That includes our genetic heritage, Persing says. As a result, we all have inborn tendencies toward various forms of sinful behavior: with some it may be addiction, with others it may be a tendency to ruthlessness or cowardice. But our genes give us no excuse for sin, Persing says. We still have room for making real moral choices. Everyone is dealt a different genetic hand in life, but we’re each responsible for how we play it. Christians need to stand against the philosophy of genetic determinism in relation to homosexuality or any other behavior, because it makes people the pawns of their genes. The life-giving message of the gospel is that despite our fallen nature, we can still respond to divine grace. Read on to learn how homosexuals can change—how the true hope for the homosexual lies not in a gay gene but in the gospel.


Chuck Colson



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