Saturday, December 22, 2012

BYU's Student Review published my response to "LDS Church launches site on homosexuality"

By request, I reproduce my comment responding to the 7 December BYU Student Review article, LDS Church launches site on homosexuality.

"I deeply appreciated official comments from both Elder Oaks:
“what is changing and what needs to change is to help our own members and families understand how to deal with same gender attraction.”
and Eld
er Christofferson:
“Our only real hope in addressing these very sensitive and difficult issues is that we are civil and listen to one another and try to understand.”

Their comments reflect a commitment to empathy that we would all do well to adopt. Saying “One thing that’s always important is to recognize the feelings of a person, that they are real, that they are authentic, that we don’t deny that someone feels a certain way” reflects a connection to the lived experiences of gay Mormons. Last, emphasizing the theme of “stay with us” serves as an important reminder to LGBT members of the love and concern Church members and leaders have for LGBT Mormons.

However, Elder Christofferson and Elder Oaks missed two very crucial points: (1) the value of romantic homosexual relationships, and (2) the moral equivalence of same-sex and opposite-sex romantic relationships.

At one point, Elder Christofferson states that homosexual behavior “can never be anything but transgression.” I wonder exactly what would he would classify as homosexual behavior, out of this list?

-Getting up early to make breakfast for your partner, even though you hate early mornings
-Staying home from work, even though there’s an important deliverable, because your partner is sick
-Having sex with your partner
-Sending your partner flowers at work
-Scrubbing the toilet, even though it’s not your favorite, because you know your partner likes things clean
-Waiting at the halfway mark with a “Go Christy” sign at her marathon

All of these are homosexual behaviors, just as their equivalents are all heterosexual behaviors. To reduce one’s romantic relationships to genital contact is akin to equating marriage as nothing more than the sum of sexual interactions between the spouses. This failure to grasp the value of homosexual behavior is the most glaring flaw in Elder Christofferson’s remarks. Romantic homosexual relationships, like romantic heterosexual relationships, add incredible value to the lives of the gay people who constitute them and to society generally.

In addition to failing to acknowledge the value of homosexual relationships of themselves, both Elder Oaks and Elder Christofferson fail to acknowledge the moral equivalence of same-sex and opposite-sex romantic relationships. Empirically, the outcomes of these relationships are equivalent: but our scriptures additionally teach us that all are alike unto God, male and female. There is no revealed test in the standard works which tells us how to tell a spiritual male from a spiritual female; instead we presumptively rely on a man-made Outward Appearance Test that in turn depends on the external length of a person’s genital tubercle at birth. (By the way: the clitoris and penis are about the same length: one is just bifurcated and largely internal, the other merged and external).

Is our theology really shallow enough that it draws conclusions about spiritual attributes (sex) based on body shape (genitals), as it once drew conclusions about spiritual attributes (pre-mortal valiance) based on body color (black skin)? It is high time to depart from these onerous “philosophies of anatomy, mingled with scripture” and acknowledge the equality of all people before God.

In addition to being incapable of dealing with the reality of intersexed persons, Elder Oaks and Elder Christofferson’s adherence to the biological category of sex fails to recognize that _how_ two romantic partners treat one another is far more morally significant than the number of penises in the couple."

1 comment:

  1. All those things I do for my mom/dad/guy friend besides the sex part as well...


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