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Dane Skelton is the Pastor of Faith Community Church and the author of Jungle Flight: Spiritual Adventures at the Ends of the Earth, a book of true stories from the ministry of JAARS (formerly Jungle Aviation and Radio Service). His second book, Papua Pilot: Flying the Bible to the Last Lost Peoples, co-authored with the late Paul Westlund, is now available on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com.
Thank you for commenting on my blog titled SAME SEX MARRIAGE MYTHS. I’m sorry it took this long to reply and hope you are still watching the site. Your comments are intriguing to me and help me to understand how hard it is for the traditional heterosexual community and homosexual community to communicate on this issue.
Here then are some responses to your concerns about the article. I’ve quoted what I thought to be the most important parts of your comments and underlined the quote to distinguish your comments from mine. I hope they will serve to build bridges of understanding between us.
“I will address the first two facts as soon as you find evidence that non-monogamous relationships are harmful …”
My first reaction to this was, “Wow, someone believes that non-monogamous relationships AREN’T harmful?” But I guess that’s because I’m a pastor and people tell me things that they don’t share with others.
In twenty-plus years of pastoral counseling I’ve never seen a situation where adultery – the breaking of the marriage vow to keep oneself wholly for one’s mate – wasn’t harmful in the extreme. I’ve seen situations where I thought, the next thing that’s going to happen here is murder, because the pain and betrayal went so deep and the anger was so intense. Thankfully that never happened. But I think you get my point. I’ve seen the emotional lives of children utterly shattered when dad cheated on mom, or vice-versa. I’ve witnessed the financial ruin of one or both parties in the ensuing divorce. I’ve met and counseled the grown-up children of homes broken by infidelity that have extreme difficulty trusting people of the opposite sex and building healthy marriages of their own. The list of negative consequences goes on and on.
But then I realized, Kevin isn’t talking about marriage the way I, and so many other traditional people, have understood it. He is talking about what some would call “open marriage,” where two consenting adults, hetero or homosexual, agree to have multiple sexual partners while maintaining a commonly held house.
If that is the case then what the “marriage equality” movement is attempting to do is not make access to marriage available to everyone, but rather to completely redefine it.
If I’m right about that then we have completely different, completely irreconcilable views of marriage. To me, and to most of the married people that I know, so-called open marriage isn’t marriage at all.
You mentioned that it would be helpful if I could site “studies that control for partner’s consent.” I’ll be on the lookout for those. Please do forward a link if you find them.
Until then you might be interested in reading Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, by Doctors Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush. They make the point, and back it up with convincing science, that having multiple partners can have serious emotional and psychological consequences. Sexual activity triggers powerful chemical reactions in the brain. The production of serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and especially oxytocin are stimulated by sexual activity. These chemicals give us the high associated with sex. But they are also extremely powerful bonding agents, drawing us like magnets to our sexual partners, creating the enormously exciting emotions of love. When we jump from one sexual partner to another the brain’s emotional bonding mechanism is damaged, making it difficult to form healthy, lasting emotional relationships, and blunting those blissfully romantic feelings in the process.
Add to that the amplified dangers of sexually transmitted disease and you can see why even consenting open relationships aren’t very healthy.
“The government will discriminate against private groups as retribution for their own discriminatory policies, also known as enforcing civil rights …” (emphasis mine)
I want to talk about the legal concerns, but I’ll get to that in a moment. First, allow me to say something that needs to be said by a pastor of an evangelical church to the homosexual community. Bad things have come from the malpractice of Biblical Christianity in this country. People with same sex attraction have been mistreated by people who claim to follow Jesus. In large part due to the outcry of people in the homosexual community many of us who consider ourselves to be Biblical Christians have become aware of the uneven emphasis we have put on certain sins above others, as well as the pain we have caused, and have had some “come to Jesus moments” about how we treat homosexual people. I am glad that they spoke out and I apologize for the pain we have caused. Without compromising our convictions, many of us are now attempting to build bridges of understanding to those in the homosexual community. We will never fully agree on everything, but I think we do agree that belittling and bullying one another isn’t helpful.
Now to the legal issues; I am not a legal scholar, but I don’t think the government is in the business of meeting out retribution. Government’s role is to provide for and protect justice and equity in human affairs.
The founding fathers, some who were Christian and some who were not, determined long ago that freedom of religion, the freedom to put into civil practice the dictates of one’s religion so long as it doesn’t impinge on or endanger someone else’s life or well-being, was fundamental to the establishment and maintenance of a just and equitable civilization. They believed that the law of God trumps the law of men and was the only true guarantee of freedom for all. From that conviction flowed the Declaration of Independence and all of the other freedoms that we enjoy. Forcing people of faith, through fines and or imprisonment, to engage in business practices contrary to their consciences is neither just nor equitable. If we defy the Being who authored our freedoms we can expect to lose them.
Further, your statement makes it sound like an aggrieved group is looking forward to using government like a club to punish those who have hurt you, and you don’t care how much of the Constitution you have to dismantle in the process to do it. I thought the goal of same-sex marriage advocates was to achieve equality, not to penalize people who disagree with them.
“Enforcing civil rights”
Just to be clear, we do not agree that “gay rights are civil rights.” That may indeed be what the upcoming Supreme Court’s decisions will amount to. If so, we will oppose that definition of the law the same way that we have opposed the outcome of Roe V. Wade for the last forty years.
“I'd like to know more about these failed attempts to prove the equality of the sexes, could you cite your sources on that please?”
OK, for starters take a look at what is happening to women who try to meet the new Marine Corps pull up standards: http://www.athleticbusiness.com/articles/article.aspx?articleid=3984&zoneid=7.
Also, here is a summary of biological differences with sources footnoted.
• Maccoby and Jacklin found that, “males scored higher in levels of aggressiveness, dominance, self-confidence, and activity level. Females scored higher on verbal ability, compliance, nurturance, and empathy scales.”
• Anthropologists find that substantial differences exist in males and females.
• Basal metabolic rates are unequal in males and females. It is 6% higher in adolescent boys than girls, and increases to about 10% after puberty. Girls convert more energy into stored fat, during metabolism, while boys convert more energy to muscle and expendable circulating reserves. At age 18, girls have almost twice the stored body fat of boys. Boys at age 18 have about 50% more muscle mass than girls, particularly in the upper body. Males, on average, have denser, stronger bones, tendons and ligaments, which allow for heavier work. Because of these and other differences, women tend to do better in endurance related sports, where men maintain an advantage in sports and other activities that require short bursts of strength.
Finally, I have three grown daughters whom I love dearly, all beautiful, all intelligent, all accomplished and in no way inferior to the young men of their generation. (Though one of them can indeed do three pull-ups). They are not inferior, but they aren’t equal either. They are simply different. Men and women aren’t designed to be equal; they are designed by the Creator to be complimentary to each other. Women need men and men need women. We are beautifully unequal and absolutely necessary to each other and to the children we bear.
“Fact five isn't a fact, it's a claim from one man ... Make your points with studies, not anecdotes, and your points will be worth discussing.”
Sometimes, when I am attempting to write to a deadline and keep the word count under 1500, I use anecdotes that illustrate more forcefully than a batch of statistics. Of course, I could ask you to do the same, couldn’t I?
The landmark study on this topic is the one by Sociologist Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas, Austin, titled, The New Family Structure Study (NFSS). The study has been praised for its rigorous adherence to scientific method as well as its sampling size.
Here is a summary of its key findings:
Compared with off-spring from married, intact mother/father homes, children raised in same-sex homes are markedly more likely to…
• Experience poor educational attainment
• Report overall lower levels of happiness, mental and physical health.
• Have impulsive behavior
• Be in counseling or mental health therapy (2xs)
• Suffer from depression (by large margins)
• Have recently thought of suicide (significantly)
• Identify as bisexual, lesbian or gay
• Have male on male or female on female sex partners (dramatically higher)
• Currently be in a same-sex romantic relationship (2x to 3x more likely)
• Be asexual (females with lesbian parents)
• As adults, be unmarried; much more likely to cohabit
• As adults, more likely to be unfaithful in married or cohabiting relationships
• Have a sexually tramsmitted infection (STI)
• Be sexually molested (both inappropriate touching and forced sexual act)
• Feel relationally isolated from bio-mother and -father (Although lesbian-parented children do feel close to their bio-mom – not surprisingly – they are not as close as children with a bio-mom married to father)
• Be unemployed or part-time employed as young adults
• As adults, currently be on public assistance or sometime in their childhood
• Live in homes with lower income levels
• Drink with intention of getting drunk
• To smoke tobacco and marijuana
• Spend more time watching TV
• Have frequency of arrests
• Have pled guilty to minor legal offense
You can read more about the study here: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/about_us/focus-findings/family-formation-trends/regnerus-family-structures-study.aspx
Well, I hope that satisfies your curiosity on this issue. By the way, have you read the article that preceded SAME SEX MARRIAGE MYTHS on the fccsobo.org blog? It is titled I’M NOT GAY and you probably aren’t either. Find it by clicking here http://www.fccsobo.org/rwt-blog-40437, or looking in the archives.
I would appreciate your thoughts on that one as well.
Pastor, Faith Community Church
South Boston, VA