Doctor Robert Gagnon - PhD Princeton Theological Seminary and  Masters from the Harvard Divinity School

Homosexual Practice is a Rejection of the Way God Has Made One - Part One

Download audio file  17 January, 12:57 

Dr. Robert Gagnon has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Masters from the Harvard Divinity School.

With the subject of single sex marriages being debated worldwide and the voices of those in the United States who are against it almost unheard, Voice of Russia correspondent John Robles decided to seek out the opinion and reasoning from the opposing side on the issue. Dr. Robert Gagnon, represents a theological view and presents arguments against such "unions" and states that in the current political climate in North America anyone who opposes the institution of marriage including homosexuals faces the danger of losing their jobs or being sued if they speak out.

Greeting

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit about the church’s position in the United States and the different faiths, for example Catholics, etc., on the issue of gay marriage? And why has this become so accepted in the United States?

Gagnon: Well, there are different views on the issue of gay marriage even within the church many of the mainline denominations already accept gay marriage. Not many but few, the Episcopal Church in the United States is one, the United Church of Christ is another and the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of America is the third and there are others that are considering it. The Presbyterian Church USA of which of which I am a denomination, is entertaining that possibility. Other denominations are not anywhere close to accepting it, including the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, Pentecostal Churches, Evangelical Churches and even an occasional mainline like the Methodist Church.

Robles: For me, maybe I’m old-fashioned or something, but I always believed marriage was a union between a man and a woman. How can you call a pairing of two people of the same sex marriage?

Gagnon:Well, I think that’s the problem, that it shouldn’t be called a marriage. The Bible presents, from Genesis all the way up to the end of Revelation, understands men and women as sexual counterparts or complements to each other. In fact, that’s the image that is put forward in Genesis two, which says that God will create for the Adam, for the human a helper as his counterpart or complement, the Hebrew’s kenegdo, which uses a preposition that means both corresponding to, a fellow human being, and opposite to, in the sense of sex or gender.

And at every level – anatomically, physiologically, psychologically – the appropriate counterpart or complement to a man is a woman and a woman to a man.

It is why male-female marriages worked reasonably well, obviously with problems, but reasonably well over the centuries is that the extremes of a given sex are moderated in a union with a true sexual compliment or counterpart, a man with a woman, a woman with a man. And not only the extremes of a given sex are moderated but the gaps in the sexual self are filled appropriately. And when you don’t have a true sexual compliment in a sexual union, when you have a male-male or female-female union, those extremes are ratcheted up and the gaps in the sexual self are not filled. And so you have disproportionally high rates of measurable harm that attend such unions, precisely because of the absence of a true sexual complement.

Robles: How can the church forgive or counsel homosexuals if they cannot change their behavior? Maybe, some people are saying this was physiological, some people are saying it is psychological. But if a homosexual cannot change their behavior, shouldn’t the church or can the church forgive them and allow them to be accepted and if they love each other and are good to each other can the church somehow forgive that and accept it?

Gagnon: It is not so much a question of whether the church forgives or accepts it, but whether God forgives it or accepts it. And God can forgive everything that is repented of. For those who come to Christ, and we believe as Christians, that Christ’s death makes amends for human sin and that his resurrection makes possible a sharing of his life through his spirit, his resurrection life to enable us to live the kind of life the God wants to live.

In areas where we fall down, we make repentance, we express sorrow for what we’ve done and a desire to follow God’s will. If we fall again, we repent again.

Even if… Jesus said: if you have to repent seven times a day, or seventy times seven times, or seventy seven, depending on how one reads the text in Matthew 18. Some extraordinary number of relapses was possible, but you have to, at the end of the day, repent! And if repentance needs to be done every day then one must do it.

Gagnon: What is not possible within a Christian Communion is to engage in serial unrepentant conduct of an egregious sort and expect that it will be forgiven simply because of what? That God is going to look the other way irrespective of whether we want to be led by his spirit. That’s not a Christian view of things.

So, if somebody wanted to perpetuate having sex with a close sibling, like a sister or a mother, or wanted to perpetuate an act of polyamory, of multiple sexual partners concurrently, that can be forgiven, but a person must repent of the behavior in question. So, that’s really what the church offers.

The behavior itself is changeable. We are not automatons, we are not robots, where we are compelled to carry out whatever desires we experience. Most desires that we experience as human beings are not desires that honor God, they are desires that can be innate, that can be given to us from birth on, congenital desires, and we may not be able to… in most cases we cannot eradicate those desires.

Basic ones that we all accept… is greed, it is certainly an impulse all of us experience jealousy is an impulse we all experience. These are not the things we ask to experience but we do, but that doesn’t make them right, doesn’t make them legitimate in God’s eyes. And we are not allowed to engage in behavior consistent with these desires without repentance.

Same thing with the sexual desires. Persons can have an array of heterosexual desires, to do things that God says don’t do. And just because we experience the desire to do them as an innate urge doesn’t mean that they remain part of God’s will. In fact, Scripture defines sin in Romans 7 as an innate impulse passed on by an ancestor running through the members of the human body and never entirely within human control.

So, that doesn’t characterize that it is being good simply because it is innate, but rather usually it is sin which is why Jesus talks about discipleship as taking up your cross, denying yourself and losing your life because we are not fundamentally good human beings, good persons, but rather we are fundamentally oriented to please ourselves rather than our creator or our neighbor.

So, what the church asks of persons with same sex attractions is not the demand that they lose their attraction, but rather that they conform their lives irrespective of the attraction to the will of God. This is true not only with persons of same sex attraction but with any innate desires to do what God expressly forbids to be done.

Robles: You mentioned multiple unions and other, for a lack of a better word, deviations, is there a danger that these things may be legalized by the state sometime in the future? Do you think, or…?

Gagnon: Certainly! We are already facing that danger in this country and it is well along and much further along the spectrum in Canada and in Europe. And the dangers are multiple. For one it is a danger to the participants, to the offenders involved in the practice.

Homosexual practice is: in its essence, a rejection of the way God has made one as a male or female, as a counterpart to the other sex that exists, not to a counterpart to their own sex. And to attempt to unite sexually in a union with somebody of the same sex dishonors or degrades the person that God intended them to be.

And once the state gets a hold of this and approves of something like gay marriage, or even at a preliminary stage, civil partnerships, or even at a stage beyond that, sexual orientation laws, it puts into place ultimately a discriminatory system toward persons who do not accept that such unions are moral and good, and ought to be approved by a society.

The State Demanding Support for Gay Marriage - Part Two

Download audio file 18 January, 15:11  

In part 2 of our conversation with Dr. Robert Gagnon he talks about some of the ways in which members of society are being forced to accept, endorse and support homosexual behavior, even though not something that a majority considers to be acceptable. Dr. Gagnon discusses how the US is attempting to promote homosexuality and equate the acceptance of homosexuality the fight against racial discrimination.

So, even in the US, we’ve had something like in New Mexico, a photographer did not want to photograph a lesbian wedding. It was a freelance photographer. And the lesbian couple, as a result, sued the photographer and won several thousand dollars worth of damages in New Mexico because of sexual orientation laws that they have. So, in effect, when such laws get passed Christians are compelled in many different venues then to support, to affirm, to promote forms of sexual behavior that they regard as immoral.

I see. Now, for the homosexual community, a lot of them just want to be accepted, a lot are saying that they are beaten and even killed for their orientation. And the thing with calling it a marriage, in my opinion couldn’t the state have called it something else and allow them to have their tax breaks or the same rights to hospital visitation and things like that without having to call it a marriage. Would the church be against something like that?

It would if it extends basically all the rights. Like California right now, all the rights were given to homosexual unions short of the title of marriage before they decided to try to impose gay marriage on the citizenry and then the citizen initiative overturned that. And now the courts are saying no, we are going to go back to what we imposed on you despite the citizens’ initiative. And this is the problem that comes about, if you give it all the benefits of being married, essentially it is marriage.

The state benefits, not before God, but just sort of before bureaucracy.

Well, what happens is that the state winds up promoting a form of behavior which is not good for the state to promote and still ends up compelling citizens to promote it. So, in the end it gets taught, like again in California, in the school systems as a civil right and children from the age of first grade on are subjected to this indoctrination, and anyone who disagrees with it is basically relegated to the category of “bigot” and ostracized, and marginalized, and even at some level prosecuted in the society as a result of that belief.

There is no two ways or two options here. Now, in regards to violence – the state prosecutes any form of violence. You are not allowed to be violent towards anyone; you’ll be subjected to criminal prosecution for whatever the reason is. And those laws are already in the books, so there is no need to add anything to that. As far as hospital visitations occur – hospitals have already long since become much more liberal in allowing the kinds of persons that can be involved in visitation rights.

These really are not issues anymore that we face. What really now is being thrust on society is a demand that you support our relationships, that you provide financial incentives for the relationship, that you support indoctrination of children in the schools systems from first grade on and if you don’t do that we are going to marginalize, ostracize and ultimately prosecute you.

For not accepting this behavior, right?

That’s right, because they equate the non-acceptance of this behavior with racism; it is the moral equivalent of racism. And think of all the ways in which races will have their abuse attenuated in society. And if they say this is the equivalent of racism, then anybody who opposes homosexual practice will be relegated to the same position. That means loss of job. For example, we’ve already had numerous situations in the US, for example, among teachers, where if on your Facebook page, which is supposed to be your own Facebook page and that’s something you do in private. If you say that you are opposed to gay marriage, there’ve been several incidences where such persons either had their positions terminated or they’ve been put on probation.

And this is extraordinary. Twenty years ago you didn’t have to be for gay marriage, you could be for civil unions and that was enough. And now, if you are not for gay marriage, you now receive the same kind of treatment.

I haven’t been in the US for a long time and when I left this was not an issue, I mean nobody would have accepted that.

That’s right. That’s how far this has progressed. And it is all incremental. When you give us position A, we are going to move to position B, when you give us be, we are going to go to C, until eventually it moves to the point where it is now in places like in Europe and in Canada. The EU just came yesterday or today with a ruling that in a charity where a Christian psychologist didn’t want to counsel a homosexual couple about how to have good gay sex was fired and now the UN courts have upheld that firing. It is an extraordinary kind of thing.

Who was the counselor, who was fired?

This was a Christian counselor in a charity in the UK who did not want to counsel two men in a gay sex union on how to have good gay sex.

On sex? They went to a Christian counselor?

That’s right. They were having “civil partnership troubles” and part of it involved a sexual relationship and they asked for appropriate counseling for that. And the counselor said – well, you know, I can refer you to somebody else, but I myself don’t approve of this kind of relationship. So, it wouldn’t be appropriate with my biases against your relationship for me to be the one to be asked to counsel.

And he said that openly and got fired for that?

That’s right. And still got fired for it, exactly. And we’ve had a couple of incidents even in the US along those lines. Even when an attempt was made for referral, but that wasn’t good enough because they say that’s prejudicial, that’s discriminatory and you are not abiding by sexual orientation policies, so therefore you’ll be removed.

And this is where it is getting to. It is getting a sort of to be totalitarian like state where it is not the question of simply now looking the other way and saying you could do what you want to do in the privacy of your own home, but rather we have to actually provide all the supports financially, in terms of professional responsibilities, and we are not allowed to express an alternative viewpoint.

Once you have sexual orientation laws in place you have a right to all the services, good services, societal approval that is expected of this and if you add sexual orientation into the civil rights category, along with, for example, race, then everything that would apply to racial discrimination would apply in the case of homosexual relationships.

What do you think can be done? I mean, I like the idea, you do what you want, that’s your business, but don’t ask me to accept it and don’t put it on my face. Is there any way they can be integrated into society and somehow accepted?

Well, not really. Not once you get it put in the legal system. Once you say sexual orientation is a civil rights category, then you’re pretty much down the road where it’s going to be forced on everybody because then the state has essentially taken a decision on this question and made the choice to say that anyone who opposes such unions, or anyone who finds such unions offensive, is essentially a bigot and will be prosecuted accordingly.

So, if they don’t provide them goods and services, again in Canada, a retail store did not want to provide Xeroxes for people who were holding a homosexual celebration of some sort. They recommended them to go down the street to this next copier and that will be fine. That wasn’t good enough, he wound up getting sued.

Obama Equates Opposition to Gay Marriage with Miscegenation Laws - Part Three

Download audio file  29 January, 09:53  

In part 3 of our conversation with Dr. Robert Gagnon he tells us about some of the consequences people face in the workplace and in society for speaking out against gay marriage. Dr. Gagnon also reveals that for the most part the US educational system and the media are places where it is forbidden to say anything against gay marriage, not speaking against gays in general, but about gay marriage, and how this is a reason for which one might lose their job.

Robles: I mean, I kind of like the idea where, you know, you do what you want, that’s your business, but don’t ask me to accept it and don’t put it in my face. Is there any way they can be integrated into society and somehow accepted?

Gagnon: Well, not really. Once you get it put into the legal system. Once you say sexual orientation is a civil rights category, then you are pretty much down the road, where it is going to be hoisted on everybody, because then the state has essentially taken a decision on this question and made its choice to say that anyone who opposes such unions or anyone who finds such unions offensive is essentially a bigot and will be prosecuted accordingly.

So, if they don’t provide the goods and services, again in Canada… They had somebody who had a copying place, in Canada, and he did not want to copy literature for promoting a homosexual, I think it was like a sex party, it was virtually an orgy, homosexual sex orgy. And he recommended: “Go down the street there are other copiers you could find there”, and the persons would have certainly had access to, but they sued him, as a result of sexual orientation law in Canada. And he subsequently had to pay over $10,000 in his own legal fees and their fees. I think they might have fined him $10,000 plus his own fees, plus he had to pay the fees of those who were suing him.

And a counselor, a teacher, in the British Columbia School System, as a private citizen, wrote a letter to a newspaper when they were having a gay pride celebration: saying that he didn’t think it was something they should be celebrating because of some of the medical consequences of homosexual behavior. He was immediately suspended without pay and then it went all the way up to the British Columbia Supreme Court. The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that if you are in a white collar position, and if you even say anything that can be considered discriminatory, by the legal system of the state, then it is perfectly ok if your employer were to terminate you, even if the action does not come in the context of your employment.

Robles: Wow!

Gagnon: So, Big Brother reaches out. I mean this is what it is coming down to. It is Orwellian, essentially.

Robles: Really. What would your solution be, I mean to: dealing with homosexuals and their behavior in society?

Gagnon: My solution will be the same way that we basically view promiscuous behavior, or persons who want to have non-promiscuous unions consisting of three or more persons concurrently. Really, nothing is being done about that. But we are not going to grant state licenses for it, we are not going to provide state endorsement of the behavior, we are not going to subsidize it in any way, and we are not going to persecute anyone who is opposed to it, and it can be taken into consideration in certain employment situations.

If you are employed at a certain responsible white collar position, and let’s say you are the face of the company in effect, and it is known that you are in a sexual relationship with your mother, consensual relationship, or with three other persons concurrently, this reflects on the corporation and that can be taken into consideration. As it is now though, it is in the reverse.

I have friends for example who are in the banking system, who are high up in particular bank companies, and now they have, in those companies, affirmative action policies for those who describe themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, or transgender, so that the company actually now gives incentives for hiring persons who act out in that way. And it puts a person, like my friends, in a difficult position because if they don’t go along with the affirmative action policies for this, then their own jobs become in jeopardy.

So, now we are at a point where in the corporate world, in many corporations if you don’t actually promote homosexual behavior, if you don’t actually give greater benefits to those engaged in homosexual practice, as you would to those engaged in a normal heterosexual union or marriage, then you are going to have your job put in jeopardy.

A kind of absurd! It is not even now an equal playing field where those in homosexual unions get the same kind of benefits as those in heterosexual unions, but they actually get affirmative action programs, because they are now viewed as “quote-unquote” sexual minorities.

The state really should say: “Look, we are not going to approve it, we are not going to prosecute for your homosexual relationships, like the former sodomy laws that were in place. But we are not going to also approve it. That’s the position that the US was in about ten years ago, but we are way passed that now.

Robles: Why has that happened, I mean is it because the gay lobby has so much money, or they are powerful? Why is that?

Gagnon: That is a big part of it. For example, those who run Amazon.com are major supporters of homosexual rights issues (so called). Bill Gates has been a major supporter of it, and on and on goes the list of billionaires and millionaires who have expended enormous amount of money. Some of them expended enormous amount of money to support candidates who identify as gay or lesbian, or supporting of gay or lesbian causes and to get rid of congressmen and senators who were not. And a lot of good Christians who should have spoken up about issues like this and should have made it an issue of voting concern, have decided to relinquish that responsibility.

Robles: And why is that? I mean, why couldn’t the church come out stronger?

Gagnon: Many people within the church are fearful of being labeled a bigot. So, they hide in closets themselves. And there is usually a price to pay. For example, I came out with a book on Bible and homosexual practice just before I came up for tenure, I teach at a Presbyterian Church USA Seminary. Even thought the position that I was upholding at that time, (It’s a 500 page book, very well reviewed by biblical scholars and theologians and church historians around the world. I got blurbs from about 30 different people, top-notch scholars), but even so it made it a very difficult attempt for me to get tenure at my institution, even though at the time I was basically supporting the official position of the Presbyterian Church USA because; it is a sort of take-no-prisoner-kind-of-approach.

Those who claim to be tolerant on this issue are very often highly intolerant on this and their view of tolerance is that: we are tolerant about those who support homosexual unions, those who don’t we have to get rid of.

So, that kind of thing that people have experienced in the workplace, in society generally, and certainly in educational systems, certainly in all the media outlets, certainly in Hollywood: if you indicate that you are not absolutely, 100% supportive now of gay marriage, you are likely going to lose your job.

Robles: That’s everywhere in the United States now?

Gagnon: Not everywhere, but in particular places more so, than in others. Again in the entertainment industry, the media industry, educational institutions…

Robles: Exactly gay marriage, you have to support gay marriage, not just gays?

Gagnon: Yes, that’s right! It is not good enough anymore that you are only for civil unions. You got to be completely for gay marriage, otherwise you are a bigot.

Robles: I mean I can say I’m ok with homosexuals, they can do whatever they want but I’m against…

Gagnon: It is not good enough anymore. It is not that way everywhere, but it is certainly that way in many avant-garde institutions of the United States right now. And it is only going to get more so that way with Obama’s statement about gay marriage. Obama has been long for gay marriage, even before he was elected as president. He basically made equivalent opposition to gay marriage with miscegenation laws in the south in the 1950s and early 1960s. So, that tells you where he is on the issue. And when you think about persons who were supportive of miscegenation laws in the US…

Robles: I’m sorry, can you explain (for our listeners) that term?

Gagnon: Yes, miscegenation laws are laws that were passed in the South before the Civil Rights Legislation, of the mid and late 1960s in the United States, which forbade marriage across races. So, an African-American could not marry a white person, for example. Now, I myself, I’m married to a Jamaican woman who is mostly of African descent. So, for me to hear this equation that somebody like Obama did, between those who oppose homosexual practice and those who oppose interracial marriages, I mean this is the height of offensiveness, this is absurdity.

Robles: Yeah

Race is a benign characteristic, it doesn’t lead somebody to do things that are inconsistent with their embodied existence as a male and female. To compare race with an innate urge (sexual urge) to unite with somebody who is not a true sexual complement, well this is absurd.

But when you have a President making those kinds of connections and essentially equating anyone who does not support gay marriage with persons who support miscegenation laws, then you are going to get this kind of vitriolic reaction in society now, to those who don’t support gay marriage.

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