As a former Southern Baptist, I shouldn't be too surprised by this week's brouhaha over Albert Mohler's statements about homosexuality and prenatal treatment. Southern Baptists are really not as bad as they are usually portrayed, but in their attempts to take an educated view of things, they sometimes fall short on working the logic all the way through to its end.
Apparently, Mr. Mohler has conceded, in his own mind, that homosexuality has a biological basis. Those in favor of the acceptance of homosexuality as normal, healthy behavior have sung this chorus for many years. The only remarkable thing is that Albert Mohler is a "leading Southern Baptist" (according to my local paper) which has caused some upset.
Because Mr.Mohler has accepted the notion that homosexuality might be caused in utero, he suggested that prenatal, hormonal treatment could prevent babies from becoming gay.
There is so much bad thinking and fuzzy logic in his argument I have a hard time choosing where to start.
First, the fact that there might be "some level of causation" for homosexuality is not the same as proving that there actually is causation. Proving such a theory would require more in-depth studies than have been done, and would have to take into account a multitude of environmental and life-choice factors.
Secondly, even if homosexuality was determined in utero, the human experimentation that would be necessary to "prevent" it would be highly unethical, risky to mother and child, and expensive.
Thirdly, the focus on eliminating homosexuality does nothing to further the cause of Christ. Homosexuality is defined as sinful by the Bible. You can't escape that if you are going to take the Bible for what it says. It is very clear. However, promiscuity, greed, idolatry, malice and numerous other sins are described with the same scathing language that is used to condemn homosexuality. You can't cherry-pick sins.
Those three points are ancillary to the real problem with Mohler's thoughts.
The worst part lies in the sheer audacity of believing that sin can be rooted out through science. One of the most central concepts of Christianity is original sin; the belief that we are born with a fatal flaw already wired into us. From the moment we are conceived, and begin developing, original sin develops right along with us. It is already lurking within our hearts even as we begin our "innocent" lives as newborn babes. It is what condemns us before we even get a chance to live rightly. T
Trying to fix original sin with science is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer--it's the wrong tool for the job. It is also counter to evangelical Christianity. If we could have figured out a way to be perfect on our own, why would we need Jesus? It seems like a lot of trouble for God to go to for no reason.
Who teaches a three-year-old to knowingly lie? Who teaches four-year-olds to name-call, hit and be spiteful with the ever famous, "I'm not your friend anymore!"? Nobody. Sometimes they might imitate bad behavior they've seen in others, but even in the most perfect circumstances those things come naturally. As we grow, our sins become less petty and more serious as we begin to be tempted by our own minds and bodies.
Sex, heterosexual or homosexual, begins to creep into our minds and tempt us to engage in behavior that isn't good for us outside of certain boundaries. Thirteen-year-old boys don't need to see pornography before they begin to struggle with masturbation and fantasizing about the girl in their class. (and yes..as a mother to two boys....I don't want to even think about that! :-) Infidelity, promiscuity, and sexual addiction don't have to be modeled for us, although that can certainly increase our chances of accepting such behavior. But, we can fall into these things at any time because sex has a powerful biological and psychological pull to it.
So...is Homosexuality biological? Yes, as is every other type of behavior that the Bible condemns. We are all touched with the "sin" gene. It is imprinted in every cell of our bodies' DNA. Attempting to erase it through gene therapy is like trying to hold the ocean in a teaspoon--pointless and futile.
The crux of Christianity is the premise that we need Jesus. That without him, we are powerless to overcome our lesser nature. That through Him, we can overcome the sin that so easily entangles us. That we are valuable enough for his sacrifice despite living up to our biological weakness for sin.
So, Mr. Mohler, even if you make "straight" babies they are going to be just as sinful as before. Sin always has a way of finding us, even if all our hormones are perfectly balanced.