08 July 2008

A weird and most suspicious concern

It's surprising how often people who believe that homosexuality should be suppressed or discouraged make some version of this argument:

I worry about this... What if gays are allowed? Gays can't be allowed! If there are gays everywhere, they will turn other people gay and then there will be no more children born!

OK, so it's usually worded to sound a bit more sophisticated than that, but the gist of the point is still something like this:

(1) Reproduction is necessary for the survival of humanity;
(2) Homosexual activity does not lead to reproduction;
(3) Therefore, homosexual activity is a threat to the survival of humanity.

Given that only about 1% to 2% of the population is homosexual, simply leaving them alone to pursue their favored form of sexual expression would have an absolutely negligible impact on the birth rate compared with a whole host of other factors, not least among them the much larger number of people (such as myself) who engage in heterosexual activity but have taken care to ensure that it, too, will not lead to reproduction. Even the most timid national program of high-school sex education would probably have a far bigger impact on the national birth rate than anything homosexuals are doing, or rather, not doing.

The only way this "argument" has any coherence is if the usually-unspoken step explicitly mentioned in this case is included: "If there are gays everywhere, they will turn other people gay" -- that is, if homosexuality is tolerated at all, it will spread like wildfire until everyone turns gay and stops reproducing.

You really have to wonder about what's going on in the head of somebody who can believe this, even implicitly. I know there is no power on Earth that could cause me to become homosexual, and if you're a typical heterosexual, you can easily say the same. No straightforwardly heterosexual person could possibly believe that tolerating homosexuality will cause large numbers of people to become homosexual by imitation.

But a Larry Craig type might well find it credible. If you think there's a great risk that many people might yield to a certain temptation, very likely it's because you feel a little (or a lot) tempted yourself, whether you admit it to yourself or not.

The same applies to the truly bizarre yet often-advanced claim (especially by the religious) that homosexuality is a "choice" rather than an innate trait -- that homosexuals are homosexual because they chose to be so. Again, to anyone who is uncomplica-tedly heterosexual, this is obvious nonsense. I don't have the power to choose to be homosexual, any more than I have the power to choose to be a zebra. So how could I believe that those who are homosexual got that way by making such a choice?

And what does this imply about those who believe that such a choice is possible?

Are all the people who make such "arguments", or most of them, really just screwed-up closet cases? One hates to psychoanalyze, but what other explanation is there?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are all the people who make such "arguments", or most of them, really just screwed-up closet cases?

Unfortunately, some religions have set about to vilify homosexuality & create a climate of fear around the issue of it. I don't think people who make these sorts of arguments are necessarily "closet cases" but they HAVE bought into a particular concept of what homosexuality implies.
Because, also unfortunately, religious indoctrination does not encourage independent or logical thinking on this issue, these people can't get beyond their fear. Whether it is logical or rational is beside the point.

08 July, 2008 09:29  
Blogger Fran said...

Very good post on a topic near and dear to my heart. (which is to say thanks for the link.)

As you know, I do not find my faith and homosexuality in conflict at all. In fact my poor niece probably picked the worst person to nitpick Scripture with in the whole family.

It is not the Scripture though, it is my intense need for critical thought, which some find find incompatible in a person of faith.

Sadly - this country is filled with people who say they are "religious" are are nothing even remotely connected to it.

They are just truly lemmings, so their practices in church or wherever are simply artifice or worse yet- hedging against a bet with a God they are not even sure of.

It is the lack of critical thinking that will do this country in, pure and simple.

Do it in? It is already nearing done.

As an aside, I find it strange that my relatives worry that "teh gay" will "convert" people, when the relatives themselves are trying to convert people to their right wing crazy thought.

And that they think war is good and McCain will keep us safe but they are afraid of the end of the world due to no babies being born????

And BTW, what about someone like me who simply chose freely not to reproduce? Am I less than in their minds?

A question I do not want answered!!!

08 July, 2008 14:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if those who hate homosexuality do so because they've been indoctrinated to do so, while those who fear homosexuality do so because of a) the effects of their indoctrination and b) the fact that they may have such tendencies themselves? I don't pretend to know the answer to that question (or those questions) - I just thought I'd throw it (them) into the ring.

08 July, 2008 16:54  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Infidel753- Great post! Oh yes, there are many who think that "gay" is a disease that could be spread. But if that were true, wouldn't heterosexuality be a disease also that could be spread to the gays? There is no logic to their arguments.

No matter how much Science is out there that proves that homosexuality is nothing more than genetic, there will people who will still believe it can be "cured". You can't talk to those who cannot use reason, so I don't even try.

08 July, 2008 18:16  
Blogger mendip said...

An excellent post - The number of homosexuals who are in some sort of self-loathing denial is almost certainly quite high. DC has a wealth of examples. Show me a Republican convention and I'll show you a gay bathhouse....

09 July, 2008 15:03  
Blogger Life As I Know It Now said...

I know for my own self that I am completely heterosexual--sometimes I even regret that--but can I change it? Not one little bit.

11 July, 2008 09:07  

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