Mike Haley was gay until almost 10 years ago, when he rejected homosexuality. A youth and gender specialist with Focus on the Family, he is now active in ex-gay youth ministry, leading seminars around the country. He lives with his wife and child in Colorado Springs.

Reprinted with permission from Single Parent Family Magazine.

After speaking to a group of high school seniors about the damage of viewing homosexuality as a normal, alternative lifestyle, I opened up for questions. The first one came at me like a runaway freight train.

"What's wrong with two people of the same sex sleeping together if they love one another?"

I froze.

Knowing that my personal reason--"because the Bible says it's wrong"--would not satisfy this questioner, I racked my brain for a solid answer that wouldn't compromise God's truth. I came up empty.

Scripture says that Christians should "always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have" (1 Peter 3:15). But how can we counter arguments for homosexuality without relying on Scripture, which our opponents may dismiss as invalid?

While I wasn't ready for my Q&A session with the high schoolers, I vowed that I'd learn to present a biblical view of homosexuality to nonbelievers. Moreover, as the apostle Peter suggested in the verse quoted above, I promised to present my case with "gentleness and respect." Anger won't change someone's mind.

This is what I discovered.

Argument #1: "One of every 10 people is gay."
In 1948, Alfred C. Kinsey, Wardell B. Pomeroy, and Clyde E. Martin published a book called "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" (Indiana University Press). They devised a seven-point scale that placed exclusive heterosexuality and exclusive homosexuality at opposite poles, with bisexuality at the midpoint. Using this scale, the researchers averaged figures supporting their claims that 10 percent of males between the ages of 16 and 55 were more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years.

Recent studies support a figure of 3 percent. On March 31, 1993, The Wall Street Journal ran an article titled "Homosexuals and the 10-Percent Fallacy." After reviewing more than 30 studies from the United States and Europe, J. Gordon Muir reported that he had found "substantial evidence indicating that less than 5 percent of men and women have had any homosexual contact in their lifetime, and no more than 3 percent of men and considerably fewer women claim to be bisexual or exclusively homosexual."

Despite these findings, some groups continue to use the 10 percent figure to make homosexuality sound more widespread. When I hear this argument, I don't quote the Bible. I quote The Wall Street Journal.

Argument #2: "People are born gay."
Recognize that there is no scientific consensus on this subject.

The latest research on this area, published this April in Science, could not reproduce the findings of a previous study which had tied homosexual behavior to certain genetic patterns. Still, future research may alter this view.

Each of us most choose his battles wisely--and I would not die on the sword of a nongenetic link to homosexuality. Even if researchers were to suggest a hereditary tie with homosexuality, as they have with alcoholism, the right tack with this argument is not to contend that it's false, but that it promotes life-threatening behavior.

Consider the mortality rates for alcoholics and homosexuals. In a 1993 Journal of the American Medical Association article titled "Actual Causes of Death in the United States," J. McGinnis and W. Foege wrote, "Alcohol contributes to 100,000 deaths annually, making it the third leading cause of preventable mortality in the U.S." Findings such as these cause reasonable people to label alcoholism as neither normal nor acceptable. Likewise, a recent Census Bureau abstract noted that AIDS deaths for gay men in the United States totaled more than 28,300 in 1995. Why should we not view these deaths as "preventable mortality?"

While AIDS is no longer considered just a gay disease, its universality often overshadows the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, "homosexuals continue to make up the majority of cases." Consequently, the 1993 findings of three researchers with the Eastern Psychological Association, quoted by Jeffrey Satinover in "Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth" (Baker), should come as no surprise. Satinover writes that "they found that the gay male lifespan, even apart from AIDS and with a long-term partner, is significantly shorter than that of married men in general by more than three decades."

Though researchers have yet to prove or disprove a genetic link for homosexuality, they have proven one undeniable fact: Homosexuality can be deadly.

Argument #3: "Love legitimizes homosexuality."
This was the high schooler's argument that stumped me. It sounds so reasonable: "Don't judge what two adults do in the privacy of their own home." That's why so many people use this logic to support the homosexual viewpoint.

Unfortunately, many homosexual relationships do not demonstrate one of the key indicators of love: monogamy.

A 1990 study conducted by David P. McWhirter and Andrew M. Mattison found that even homosexual men in "permanent" relationships tend to stray more often than heterosexual men: "Yes, that wayward impulse is as inevitable in man-to-man affairs as in man-to-woman, only, for gays, it starts itching faster."

In "Straight Answers About Homosexuality for Straight Readers" (Prentice-Hall), David Loovis admits that fidelity is a problem for male and female homosexuals. Loovis, who is no defender of traditional morality, links this behavior to the search for the ideal partner, a goal rarely achieved.

This lack of monogamy indicates that the "loving relationships" described by apologists for homosexuality look more like fiction than fact.

One final word on how to address these views: Though solid arguments play an important role in convincing others, so does genuine humility--a variable we can control. After all, God isn't concerned with aligning only the thoughts of homosexual advocates to His Word. He doesn't want their heads; He wants their hearts.

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