Perpetuating a nasty myth - gays choose sexuality

Colin Craig could choose to be gay if he wanted. It sounds like something only some demented satirist could invent, but it's something that the real Colin Craig actually said. Unless Colin Craig is actually a demented satirist, which is a possibility that hadn't actually occurred to me until now, but is seeming more and more likely as I give it some thought.

So Colin Craig could choose to be gay. I suppose this means he is choosing to be heterosexual. Mr Craig's sexual orientation is his business, but in making a statement like this he's either ignoring the science that tells us that people don't exactly choose their sexual orientation or there's something else he's keeping in the closet. For what it's worth, I don't think Colin Craig is gay or bisexual or whatever. I don't actually care. I do care that it seems he's being deliberately ignorant and disingenuous.

Many leaders in the conservative-Christian movement making similar arguments to Mr Craig have turned out to be gay, making them hypocrites of the first order. A good example can be found by searching Google for "Ted Haggard".

There is, of course, nothing wrong with their sexuality in itself. The problem is they lied to their followers, to the public, to their families and presumably to themselves about their sexuality in order to promote a worldview that actively oppressed it. Am I suggesting everyone who opposes homosexual law reform is secretly gay? Of course not. But I do find it interesting that many who are most vehemently opposed, turn out to be at war with a part of themselves they find abhorrent and shameful. An aspect that science tells us is natural. I think that's incredibly sad.

Mr Craig, and others opposing the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill, recently plucked from the Parliamentary ballot, claim to be doing so because the Bible, and by extension God, considers homosexuality "an abomination".

I don't actually think this is why they oppose it, though. Other things the Old Testament considers abominations include prawns, pork and mildew, but I rarely hear them speaking out against these. I think Colin Craig and company think homosexuality is just icky and wrong, yet somehow also incredibly tantalising. Which is a weird way of looking at it. The way they talk, you'd think being gay was the most awesomely sinful good time in the world. Only the stern visage of Jesus gets in the way of this fleshly vision of cavorting, nubile same-sex sirens. Jesus, whose earthly appearance, it occurs to me, was supposedly the product of God the Father's good mate and Jesus' special uncle, the Holy Spirit, surprising a young virgin Mary with pregnancy. Somehow this is never questioned, but love between two people of the same sex is seen as disgusting.

I should point out that although I don't actually believe in the myth of the Virgin Birth, I find nearly all of what Jesus is quoted saying in the Bible wise and good. The Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes are wonderful, and if more people lived in the manner prescribed the world would be a much better place. I also find it interesting Jesus never mentions homosexuality. Adultery he pays much attention to, hypocrisy also, but homosexuality? Not a word. It is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, principally by the odious Paul, who also thought women should shut up in church. I think we can ignore that.

All this is a bit beside the point, which is: being homosexual isn't exactly a gay old time. (I use the word in the old sense, meaning "happy", which should sate certain types who moan incessantly about the word being ruined for them.) Being gay means you're far more likely to kill yourself as a teenager, which might have something to do with the fact families - particularly conservative Christian families - tend to believe their child is making a choice to be gay for the sheer sinful hell of it. The gay kid feels pressure to become something they're not, from the very people who should be loving and accepting them. I can't think of many situations more conducive to suicide. Shamefully, the fact gay people are more likely to commit suicide is often cited as yet another reason people should "stop choosing to be gay". And so the cycle continues.

Equal rights under the law shouldn't be subject to faith - that is theocracy. If churches want to reserve a particular version of marriage for themselves, fine, but the rest of us should be able to recognise homosexuality isn't a choice, and that there's nothing wrong with it. You don't want to be on the Colin Craig side of history.

Joshua Drummond is a Hamilton freelance writer who doesn't want to be on the Colin Craig side of much at all.

Correction - published on 03/09/2012

Colin Craig's response to Joshua Drummond's column was published online on 24/08/2012.

Waikato Times