Here are some point by point responses to the feelings of Rev. James McCormick. His words from the article are in black, mine in red:
"One must be careful in using the Bible as a source of moral standards. Throughout history, the Bible has too often been used to justify one’s own moral preferences rather than to seek God’s will about human behavior. The Bible has been quoted to support slavery and segregation. The Bible continues to be used to oppose women’s work outside the home and female ordination."
The correct way to state the admonition is not that we must “be careful in using the Bible as a source of moral standards.” If the Bible is not a source of moral standards then what bearing should it have on our moral decisions? The legitimate way to make the point is to say that we must be careful through prayer, contemplation, humility, and critical thinking not to allow our own sinful desires or the moods and fashions of non-Christian cultures to distort our understanding of the moral standards of the Bible or mitigate the influence those standards should have on the Christian life.
"Why oppose slavery and segregation? Because they are hurtful. Why do the Ten Commandments forbid murder, stealing, lying, adultery and coveting? Because they are hurtful. On the other hand, what is hurtful about playing cards, dancing or having a glass of wine with a meal?"
This reminds me of a line from Chesterton (I think in his autobiography?) where he remembers a man in the midst of an ostensibly intellectual discussion raising his hand and saying “…a word,” and then Chesterton says the man uttered something like a cow making noises in a living room.
First, Reverend McCorimick's whole statement is made on the assumption that 1) nothing can be wrong unless it’s immediately and clearly harmful to another person, and 2) nothing which is physically or emotionally pleasurable could be harmful. This also assumes that luminaries like Rev. McCormick always know what is and is not harmful to people, and if he can’t see that something is harmful then there’s no way it could be.
Also, consider the implications of the last sentence. His point can be summarized as follows: Some zealous-but-thoughtless Christians have gone the way of the Pharisees and turned certain benign behaviors into rigid law codes and so, in their zeal, actually undermined the Christian morality which they sought to promote. Therefore, men should be able to have anal sex with other men and not feel bad about it, because, let’s be honest, playing cards, having a glass of wine, and men having anal sex are all morally equivalent behaviors.
"If a person is born with a same-gender orientation, why must they be prohibited from having an intimate relationship with another person..."
Yes, and if a 19-year-old male college student is born with a sleep-with-a-different-girl-on-campus-every-weekend orientation, then why must he be prohibited from gratifying the natural-born desires that were given to him by God? Likewise, if a man whose wife has grown cold and distant from him has a natural-born desire to find comfort and companionship in the arms of another woman, why must he be prohibited?…If a man on a business trip to Nevada wants to release stress by visiting a legal brothel, why must he be prohibited?…If a man has an incestuous orientation for his sister, why must…
"...forced into isolation and loneliness, just because many people unfairly oppose that? The fact that some Christians do not approve does not make such a relationship hurtful."
Nor does the fact that some Christians approve make such a relationship not sinful. Also, it’s not an argument to assert that something is “unfairly” opposed simply because there are people who oppose it. This would only be the case if the thing in question is self-evidently wrong, like murder. But then he’s already suggested that those who oppose homosexual behavior are the contemporary equivalents of Southern slave owners. Apparently, unfairness in this case has been decided without consideration of the opposing argument—an approach which, ironically, is unfair.
"Almost everyone affirms close, caring relationships between men and between women. We become concerned only when the sexual component is added. Why? All close relationships are much more than sexual. Even heterosexual marriage is about friendship, mutuality and caring. We should wrestle with the reality that close, same-sex friendships are applauded; it is only when the sexual component is added that we become concerned."
If I had read this paragraph by itself I would have taken it as a parody making fun of the ludicrous arguments made by gay rights activists.
Yes, Reverend McCormick, you have stumbled onto a profound insight. Indeed, it is “only when the sexual component is added that we become concerned.” A politician can work closely with his secretaries and interns, but it is only when the sexual component is added that we become concerned. A teacher can have a close relationship with his students, but it is only when the sexual component is added that we become concerned. A boy or man can have a close relationship with his sister or mother, but it is only when the sexual component is added that we become concerned.
Sexual intercourse is a Divinely ordained gift meant to bring forth life and to fuse the souls of a husband and wife together in consummation of the profound commitment of their lives to each other. In very few other ways is the spirit so immediately and irrevocably affected by the body as in the act of sex. It is the moral, relational equivalent of nuclear power. If it is treated flippantly or used in contexts which it was not meant for it can cause tremendous damage. So, yes, it is only when the sexual component is added that we become concerned!
"Again, why? Why not have the same moral standards for same-gender relationships as for heterosexual relationships: no promiscuity, no coercion, no insensitivity. Instead, seek commitment, faithfulness, mutual sensitivity, caring and support. Who does that hurt? Instead, it treats all people as persons of equal worth, as children of God, and encouraged to enjoy mutually affirming, intimate, helpful relationships with others."
This is such an egregious distortion it’s hard to know the best way to answer it. Where do you start in arguing with someone who believes the earth is flat?
Thinking that the majority of homosexuals (particularly men) will engage in homosexual behavior with “no promiscuity” is like believing the majority of politicians will go through their political careers with no dishonesty.
The sunbeams of facts have a way of dissolving the fog of cultural moods, and few facts illustrate this more clearly than the facts about male, homosexual promiscuity. Consider these well researched points from the book Making Gay Okay, How the Justification of Homosexuality is Changing Everything, by Robert Reilly:
“New data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are over 44 times more likely than other men to contract HIV, and over 40 times more likely than women to contract HIV.
“Further, MSM are over 46 times more likely to contract syphilis than other men, and over 71 times more likely than women to contract syphilis. According to the CDC, MSM comprised 57 percent of people newly infected with HIV in the United States in 2006, even though MSM are only 2 percent of the adult population.”
Reilly also cites research from psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Stainover which shows that on average, male homosexuals have 12 times more sexual partners than heterosexuals.
Gay men are not overwhelmingly more likely to contract and propagate STDs because of some unfortunate gay gene. The one thing that explains these staggering statistics is promiscuity. AIDS would not exist on an epidemic scale if it were not for the propagating engine of male, homosexual promiscuity. I know that hurts a lot of people’s feelings, but as I believe Ben Shapiro says, facts don’t often care much about our feelings.
Also, if adult consent is the sole moral criteria, as Rev. McCormick seems to believe, then why should we think promiscuity a bad thing as long as it’s consensual? Isn’t the belief that we should avoid sexual promiscuity just an ungrounded legalism passed down from a less enlightened age? How is frowning upon sexual promiscuity any different from the asinine prohibitions on cards and dancing?
"To 'love your neighbor' is to do the helpful thing and to avoid doing the hurtful thing, even when cultural conditioning makes that uncomfortable. Helping, not hurting, looks and sounds like Jesus to me."
To “love your neighbor” does not entail encouraging your neighbor to indulge his perverse sexual urges, no matter how natural they may be. The whole essence of the Christian life is to allow God to empower us to overcome the immoral things we do by nature!
Apparently, what “looks and sounds like Jesus” to Rev. McCormick is very different from what looks and sounds like Jesus to The Apostle Paul who wrote:
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who submit to or perform homosexual acts [literally, men who go to bed with other men], nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor verbal abusers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
“But among you, as is proper among the saints, there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or crude joking, which are out of character, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure, or greedy person (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
“Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them.” (Ephesians 5:3-6).
If it’s the case that we must decide between the trustworthiness Rev. McCormick’s judgment and that of The Apostle Paul, I think it’s safe to trust that Paul had a much more clear understanding of what looks and sounds like Jesus.