Outing the Truth

There was a time when you could count on the nation's Surgeon General to warn us against anything posing a threat to the public welfare. But these days, taking the Surgeon General's advice could be hazardous to your health. In an interview with The Advocate, a gay magazine, Dr. Joycelyn Elders announced that homosexuality is "normal" and "healthy." She even urged legal changes to allow same-sex couples to adopt children. As she put it, "Good parents are good parents regardless of their sexual orientation." Coming from the nation's chief health officer, this is an incredible statement. The facts show that the practice of sodomy is about as healthy as playing with live grenades. Despite being only a tiny percentage of the population, homosexuals account for 86 percent of the U.S. cases of HIV infection, half the cases of syphilis and intestinal infections. Compared to heterosexuals, they suffer higher rates of hepatitis B, heart attack, and liver failure. Even if we discount the effect of AIDS, the median age of death is 42 for gay men, 45 for lesbians—compared to 77 for heterosexuals. The Surgeon General may not have moral objections to homosexuality, but she still ought to discourage it on purely public health grounds. Allowing gays to adopt children would be condemning them to a childhood surrounded by death and disease. Surprisingly, monogamous gay couples—the very ones who would want to adopt children—are afflicted with even more health problems than promiscuous singles. A medical journal called AIDS cites a study showing that monogamous gay men suffer higher rates of HIV transmission—apparently because they engage in riskier sex. Gay parents also pass on their unhealthy way of life to their children. The Family Research Institute of Virginia analyzed eight studies of families with homosexual parents. The data showed that gay parents "may be four times more apt to produce homosexual children than heterosexual parents." After all, children do learn from their parents. One teenager who was interviewed for a study said that when she had conflicts with her boyfriend, her lesbian mother "would tell me to try girls." The more we study the topic, the more the empirical research supports the biblical teaching against homosexuality. On the other side of the coin, studies also confirm that heterosexual, married couples are the best qualified to raise children. The National Center for Health Statistics found that children growing up in traditional, two-parent families have fewer emotional, behavioral, and academic problems than children who live in any other type of household. Clearly, Joycelyn Elders is ignoring the empirical evidence. She is also acting as a lightning rod for the Clinton administration: making outrageous statements that foment debate, while drawing controversy away from the president himself. It's an old political game, one I used to play myself. But it's time for you and me to call Clinton's hand. We should demand that he either fire Joycelyn Elders—or else accept responsibility for the poison she is spreading. The evidence is finally coming out of the closet. And it's nothing less than scandalous when the nation's chief health officer ignores the medical facts in order to promote her own social agenda.  


Chuck Colson


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