American Family Association Supports Legal Sanctions for Homosexual Behavior
An American Family Association executive, official spokesman, and radio show host promotes legal sanctions for Americans engaging in “homosexual behavior” . . . and twists Scripture until it screams to support his agenda.
Who’s Bryan Fischer?
Bryan Fischer is the AFA’s Director of Issue Analysis. He hosts the radio program “Focal Point” on AFR Talk, which is a division of the American Family Association. He writes a blog hosted on www.afa.net, in which he provides a written response to a listener.
The listener thought it was not appropriate for Mr. Fischer to suggest that the United States should establish legal sanctions against those who engage in homosexual behavior. Let’s have a look at Mr. Fischer’s response:
It might be worth noting that what I actually suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.
I was unaware that lesbians had the same risk of contracting HIV as IV drug users. Here I thought their risk was far lower than that of, say, heterosexuals. Oh, he must mean homosexual men only.
But what about promiscuous men and women? After all, in Africa, HIV is primarily a heterosexual disease. Does Fischer promote legal sanctions against anyone engaging in relations outside of a monogamous marriage?
Is homosexuality like IV drug use?
According to Fischer, it is. He now suggests that homosexuality is an addiction, or should at least be treated as one:
I’d be curious to know what you think should be done with IV drug abusers, because whatever it is, I think the same response should be made to those who engage in homosexual behavior.
If you believe that what drug abusers need is to go into an effective detox program, then we should likewise put active homosexuals through an effective reparative therapy program.
Is there an effective reparative therapy program?
I’d be interested to see the program Mr. Fischer would recommend. After all, there’s no evidence that any of them have a lasting success rate.
The “highly successful” People Can Change program falsified its own success rate, and only surveyed participants between 6 months and one year after participation in their “therapy”.
Back in 2007, Evangelical magazine Christianity Today even questioned the efficacy of such programs in what was intended to be an unquestioningly-supportive article:
Most of the individuals who reported that they were heterosexual at Time 3 did not report themselves to be without experience of homosexual arousal, and did not report heterosexual orientation to be unequivocal and uncomplicated. … We believe the individuals who presented themselves as heterosexual success stories at Time 3 are heterosexual in some meaningful but complicated sense of the term.
How rigorous was the study? Christianity Today addresses this as well!
Jones and Yarhouse emphasize the imperfections of their research, carefully noting points at which their method could be criticized. For example, they had hoped for 300 or more participants, but found many Exodus ministries mysteriously uncooperative. In the end, they settled for 98 people in their initial sample. (To boost the sample size, Jones and Yarhouse added a less-than-ideal cohort who had already been involved in the program for one to three years.) They also chose not to use physiological measures of sexual attraction, primarily because Exodus ministries would have found the use of pornography in research ethically abhorrent. Though humble in their presentation, Jones and Yarhouse conclude that their research is the most rigorous ever conducted on this subject.
In other words, they relied entirely upon self-reporting by people with a strong emotional desire to be perceived by God (and everyone else) as heterosexual, instead of even attempting to determine attraction through an objective means. That ain’t a study.
Finally, as one blogger astutely points out:
If “change” means one is constantly fighting off same-sex urges, then that sounds more like “ex-gay” means ticking time bombs (Bob Allen, Larry Craig, and the like, who truly believe they are straight but seek out sex with men) or chaste individuals suppressing their orientation than it does a true conversion. Sexual orientation is not simply about sex acts, something the ex-gay movement continually fails to acknowledge when touting “success.”
Ceasing a behavior is not the same as changing your sexuality. Ceasing the behavior out of guilt because of belief that your chosen deity will cast you into eternal torment because of it is psychologically damaging at best, and can lead to self-destructive behaviors at worst.
Let’s get back to Fischer.
Fischer now falls onto the Bible — the book of one religion, not the laws of a modern nation — to justify legal sanctions on Americans who engage in homosexual behavior.
Secondly, I’m afraid you’re simply wrong about the Bible’s perspective on the law and homosexuality.
Paul lists quite explicitly in 1 Timothy 1:8-11 the actions and behaviors that are the proper concern of the law:
“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…”
The bottom line here is that, biblically, those “who practice homosexuality” should come under the purview of the law just as much as those who take people captive in order to sell them into slavery.
You express a belief in the Scriptures, and I trust your confidence in Scripture is not selective. If you believe all Scripture is inspired, then you are compelled to accept that legal sanctions may appropriately be applied to those who engage in homosexual behavior.
Mr. Fischer misses an important point. Paul is not speaking here of secular law, but of the Law of God. That is, law created by and enforced by God, not by man. Christians in Paul’s time were not in positions of power; they were being rounded up and fed to lions. They weren’t making secular laws.
The Law of God has but one punishment: Eternal damnation, no matter what the infraction. Human-administered punishments are not part of God’s Law (in the New Testament, according to “under grace” proponents).
Mr. Fischer is trying here to avoid the “but that is OLD TESTAMENT” trap by quoting New Testament Scripture. You see, if he quotes the Old Testament and says that Christians have to follow all of it, that means he has to change his life in ways he might not find convenient . . . like keeping Kosher.
Instead, like many so-called “supermarket Christians”, he has picked out the bits of the Bible that he finds useful to support his own radical agenda, taking them completely out of context, rather than creating an agenda which follows what the Bible actually says.
So, why should I care?
The American Family Association has about 2.5 million members. They’re a generally well-respected Christian Right organization. They have the ear of many candidates. Make sure your voice is heard, too.
Is it any surprise that Fischer, while working for the Idaho Values Alliance, openly expressed support for Uganda bravely keeping homosexuality illegal?
Here’s some good news: the government of Uganda is continuing to resist relentless efforts to accept homosexual behavior as normative. A government official said flatly that Uganda will not bow to international pressure to “legalize practices that are illegal, unnatural and abnormal.” The U.N., he declares, is tying to “impose homosexuality on the rest of us.” He adds, “It is the duty of Ugandans to be vigilant because agents of immorality are busy using all lies and deceptions to hurt our society.” Uganda has already seen a precipitous drop in the rate of HIV/AIDS by emphasizing abstinence before marriage and fidelity after. The day has now come where a nation in the Third World is well ahead of the United States when it comes to adopting public policy shaped in accordance with the truth about human sexuality. (Uganda Refuses to Bow to United Nations Pressure to Accept Homosexuality)