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  • abcdnewguydude
    Am new here, but wanted to say sup. It s good to know that there are other Christian gays here. Anyway, one thing that has gotten me through life as a gay
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 4, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Am new here, but wanted to say sup. It's good to know that there are
      other Christian gays here. Anyway, one thing that has gotten me
      through life as a gay person living in a loving gay, Christian
      relationship has been my faith...so here's a good site to check out
      guys for those who don't know the vibrant gay, Christian
      community...it's not 100% complete by any means but it's good...

      http://www.christianlesbians.com/congregations/

      Also, here are some interesting articles...God Bless.

      __________________________________________________
      From the very beginning, the "ex-gay" ministries have been enmeshed
      in a
      series of high profile failures. In addition to the crestfallen
      Paulk, the
      following are the most well publicized defections and scandals in the
      colorful annals of "ex-gay" history:

      * In 1973, John Evans, co-founded the world's first modern "ex-gay"
      ministry, Love In Action, on the outskirts of San Francisco. However,
      after
      Evans' best friend Jack McIntyre committed suicide in despair over
      not being
      able to change, Evans realized that the program was not working and
      denounced Love in Action. To this day, the co-founder of the world's
      original "ex-gay" ministry condemns the program as a dangerous - and
      sometimes fatal - fraud.

      * In the early 1970's Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee were counselors
      at an
      "ex-gay" ministry in Anaheim, Calif. In 1976, they organized the first
      national conference of "ex-gay" ministries. At this conference, Exodus
      International was formed and it is now the world's largest "ex-gay"
      organization. While traveling on behalf of Exodus, the two men
      acknowledged
      that they had not changed and were in love with each other. They soon
      divorced their wives, moved in together and eventually held a
      commitment
      ceremony.

      * In 1979, Seventh Day Adventist minister Colin Cook founded
      Homosexuals
      Anonymous (HA). Appearing twice on the Phil Donahue show, he
      solidified his
      reputation in the early 80's as the nation's premier "ex-gay"
      spokesperson.
      But Cook's efforts collapsed in 1986 after he was exposed for giving
      clients
      nude massages. Cook moved to Colorado and made a comeback in 1992 by
      helping
      Colorado for Family Values and Focus on the Family promote their anti-
      gay
      agenda. But in 1995, Cook's efforts unraveled, once again, after
      several of
      Cook's clients accused him of phone sex and inappropriate hugs.

      * In 2000, Wade Richard's appeared as a media spokesperson for a group
      called the Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth and gave his
      testimony of
      "change" at a major press conference sponsored by right-wing leader
      Peter
      LaBarbera, who now works for an affiliate of Concerned Women for
      America.
      But a year later, Richards rebuked the "ex-gay" ministries when he
      came out
      in an interview with the Advocate magazine.

      * In 1987, Jeremy Marks founded Courage, London's first "ex-gay"
      ministry.
      In 2001, after nearly 15 years of watching people - including
      himself -
      struggle in vain to change, he renounced Exodus's methods by saying
      that
      they were failing in their efforts to change peoples' sexual
      orientation.

      "Those who do not study history are destined to repeat it," said
      Herrschaft.
      "And the history of the 'ex-gay' myth is clearly one of extreme
      sadness and
      failure. We implore Focus on the Family to stop this campaign of ill
      will
      and tell the truth: Many people escape the 'ex-gay' hoax and go on to
      live
      satisfying, spiritually-fulfilling lives as openly gay men and women."
      _____________________________________________________________


      Search for biological roots of homosexuality leads to genes<o:p></o:p>

      Judy Foreman<o:p></o:p>

      <o:p></o:p>

      Published December 7, 2003<o:p></o:p>
      FORE07<o:p></o:p>


      Is there a biological basis for homosexuality?

      With gay marriage likely to be a hot-button issue in the presidential
      campaign, the question of whether sexual orientation is an innate or
      acquired trait is increasingly urgent.

      Since at least 1991, some scientific research has suggested a
      biological basis to homosexuality -- meaning sexual orientation is
      probably at least partly not a choice. But that point is open to
      political and scientific debate, and our understanding of how biology
      drives sexual orientation is still fuzzy. An estimated 2 to 4 percent
      of the general population is homosexual, although activists say the
      figure is higher.

      Some data on identical twins suggest that homosexuality --
      particularly in men -- is inherited. Other scientists have tried to
      pin down differences in brain structure.

      Understanding homosexuality, or even heterosexuality, involves, among
      other things, figuring out how the brain, the seat of all complex
      behavior, becomes male or female in the first place.

      Until recently, researchers thought that a surge in the male hormone
      testosterone in the fetus set the brain on a male track. Without
      testosterone, the brain continues on a female track.

      But in a study published in October, California researchers
      identified 54 genes that play a role in the expression of sex --
      before hormones are ever released.

      "This refutes the idea that hormones are the only story in sexual
      differentiation of the brain. That has been the dogma in the field
      for 30 years," said lead researcher Dr. Eric Vilain, assistant
      professor of human genetics and urology at the David Geffen School of
      Medicine at UCLA.

      The study's implications are many. An estimated one in 4,000 babies
      is born with "ambiguous genitalia," making it difficult to tell
      whether the baby is a boy or a girl. By analyzing chromosomes and
      looking for internal sexual organs such as ovaries or prostate gland,
      doctors make their best guess as to the true sex of the child and
      sometimes perform surgery to make the anatomy conform to that. DNA
      analysis of the variations in these 54 genes and other genes that
      interact with them may help doctors in figuring out the child's
      gender, Vilain says.

      Genes and gender identity

      The 54 genes may also help explain transgenderism. That condition,
      which affects about one in 50,000 people, is characterized by the
      feeling that one was born the "wrong" sex. Some transgendered
      individuals simply live as the gender they feel they are, regardless
      of anatomy; others have sex-change surgery.

      The UCLA study does not address homosexuality directly. But other
      data suggest that 75 percent of boys who were confused about their
      gender identity as children grow up to be gay, Vilain says. The
      study, he said, may help "pave the way to find out about gender
      identity" in such children.

      Other studies on the genetic roots of homosexuality are mixed.

      Dr. Richard Pillard, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University
      School of Medicine, has studied male and female homosexuals. In men,
      he said, sexual orientation is often inherited. In women, "sexuality
      is not as rigidly set."

      In identical male twins, his research shows, if one is gay, there's a
      50 percent chance that the other one is, too. If homosexuality were
      totally genetically determined, that figure should be 100 percent. On
      the other hand, in male fraternal twins, there's only a 20 percent
      chance that if one is homosexual, the other will be.

      In 1991, an autopsy study by Simon LeVay at the Salk Institute for
      Biological Studies in San Diego found that part of the brain called
      the anterior hypothalamus was twice as large in heterosexual men as
      in homosexual men, suggesting a biological basis for homosexuality.
      Because the gay men in the study all were infected with HIV, it is
      possible that the disease, rather than their homosexuality,
      transformed their brains.

      Proof proves evasive

      Other studies that have tried to draw a biological link to
      homosexuality have faced problems, as well.

      In 1993, Dean Hamer, a molecular biologist at the National Cancer
      Institute, studied 40 pairs of gay brothers and published his results
      in Science. With a technique called linkage mapping, Hamer identified
      a region called Xq28 on the X chromosome (inherited from the mother)
      that was statistically correlated to homosexuality. In 1995, a second
      study by Hamer and others confirmed that finding.

      In 1999, researchers at the University of Western Ontario studied the
      same brain region in 52 gay male sibling pairs and reported
      contradictory findings.

      Clearly, more research is needed to prove homosexuality is inherited.

      However, Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins University
      School of Medicine, said the basic conclusion is already clear:
      Homosexuality "is not due to voluntary choice. None of us as kids sat
      down and said, 'Do I want to be attracted to members of the same
      gender?' "

      Judy Foreman is a lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical School.She
      can be reached at judyforeman@....

      ___________________________________________________________________

      A call for intense dialogue: Catholics need to do their own research
      and search their consciences before reaching conclusions, pastor says

      THE REVEREND SCOTT GALE

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      ----------
      Reverend Scott Gale is pastor of St. Andrew's Roman Catholic Church
      in Thunder Bay (in Canada). This is his homily of last Sunday which
      first ran in The Chronicle-Journal. Reprinted with permission.


      In the present ongoing discussion about same-sex marriages, the one
      thing that seems to be missing within the Roman Catholic Church and
      within our country, is a dialogue among people who respect one
      another.

      And for me, as your pastor, it is much easier to remain silent, than
      to take up the challenge to use my own mind, and to listen to my own
      conscience, about how to deal with this very contentious issue, and
      to share some thoughts with you today.

      I do not mean to be disrespectful towards the Pope, or towards our
      Canadian Bishops, but I am concerned that we are being treated
      like "parrots" rather than being recognized for the important role
      that we have as members of the Body of Christ of being pastors,
      parishioners, and yes, some are even parliamentarians. What we need
      is dialogue, not dictates.

      As your pastor, I try, through my homilies, to challenge myself, and
      you, to lead Christian lives and to follow Gospel values. Can
      homilies not also be challenging to those in leadership positions as
      well?

      In my homily today, I am not trying to tell anyone how they should
      vote or act. I am merely presenting other perspectives to consider as
      you form your own conscience on this important issue.

      Certainly the recent Vatican statement must be considered, but it
      must also be studied to see if it reflects the lived experiences of
      the People of God, and whether it has been truly received by them.

      We are in the midst of great social change regarding our
      understanding of homosexuality, spurred on by scientific studies
      about human sexuality. What is needed now is an intense dialogue
      among people of goodwill that will incorporate this new understanding
      of sexuality into our theology.

      In past centuries, theologians and the Church used to consider women
      as being less human than men because of ignorance about reproduction.
      No one would dare suggest such a concept now.

      For centuries the Church tolerated slavery, and, once again, no one
      would dare suggest such a concept now.

      The Vatican's harsh language in the document Considerations Regarding
      Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual
      Persons is very hurtful to our gay and lesbian relatives and friends,
      and their families. I can only hope that a serious dialogue will take
      place between gay and lesbian Catholics and Church leaders, in order
      that the lived, loving experiences of gays and lesbians can be truly
      listened to, and taken into account in a re-examination of the
      Church's attitudes regarding homosexuality and those persons with a
      homosexual orientation.

      But there are two issues here.

      There is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church's leadership on
      homosexuality, and there is the question of civil recognition of same-
      sex marriages. With regard to the legal recognition of homosexual
      unions, the recent Vatican document states that "... the Catholic
      lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and
      publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so
      harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."

      And yet, how do we reconcile this statement with what the Second
      Vatican Council teaches about the dignity of one's own moral
      conscience?

      For in the Pastoral constitution On The Church In The Modern World it
      states: "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has
      not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling
      him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, tells him
      inwardly at the right moment: do this, shun that.

      "For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. His dignity lies in
      observing this law and by it he will be judged. His conscience is
      man's most secret core, and his sanctuary .... Through loyalty to
      conscience, Christians are joined to other men in the search for
      truth and for the right solution to so many moral problems which
      arise both in the life of individuals and from social relationships."

      In Vatican II's Document of Religious Liberty, it further
      states: "The search for truth ... must be carried out in a manner
      that is appropriate to the dignity of the human person and his social
      nature, namely, by free enquiry with the help of teaching or
      instruction, communication and dialogue.

      "It is by these means that men share with each other the truth they
      have discovered, or think they have discovered, in such a way that
      they help one another in the search for truth ... It is through his
      conscience that man sees and recognizes the demands of the divine
      law. He is bound to follow this conscience faithfully in all his
      activity so that he may come to God, who is his last end. Therefore
      he must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience."

      I believe that Prime Minister Jean Chrtien and Paul Martin are right
      in stating that, although they are Roman Catholics, in acting as
      Members of Parliament, they must take into account a much wider range
      of factors than the Vatican's directive on same-sex marriage.

      How politicians should deal with conflict between their own personal,
      moral or religious beliefs and their obligations as parliamentarians
      is very complex.

      All politicians, not just religious ones, are open to such conflicts,
      because all have we hope moral beliefs. As is required, they must act
      in good conscience and with integrity. Sometimes that can require
      having the courage to accept either political damage or the wrath of
      their religious community.

      If Parliament and the Supreme Court agree to law reforms that will
      give the country same-sex marriage, it will be only one more example
      of the state respecting the individual's freedom to choose without
      impinging on the freedom of churches or other faith communities to do
      their best to persuade people to behave otherwise.

      This should not offend churches and other faith communities. For any
      church or citizen group is free to teach Canadians that homosexual
      behaviour is still wrong, and same-sex marriage is a sin, if that is
      what they really believe.

      They just won't have the arm of the law reinforcing their beliefs.
      Such legislation will hardly amount to a social revolution. It will
      be more of an evolution.

      If we accept sexual diversity as believing Christians, it does not
      necessarily mean that we approve it, like it, or understand it. It
      does mean that we can live with it because it is in everyone's
      interests, even when that can mean rethinking what many Christians
      see as the sacrament of marriage.

      Marriage has traditionally been the precious way that a man and a
      woman have shared themselves with one another, in joys and in
      sorrows, in bearing one another up, from youth to old age. Gays and
      lesbians are telling us that is precisely what they want to do too.

      Their way of doing it may not be your particular choice, but courts
      in Ontario and Quebec have ruled that denying same-sex couples the
      right to marry contravenes the spirit if not the explicit letter, of
      the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      And let us not be distracted by the argument about the primacy of
      Parliament over the courts, or about free votes in the House of
      Commons, or about the 1999 Commons resolution on the definition of
      marriage.

      The Charter is the law of our land, and both the courts and
      Parliament must follow it. For extending marriage rights to gay and
      lesbian couples is fundamentally a matter of law, not religion.
      Church groups will still be free to bless only those marriages that
      their religious denomination recognizes.

      The Vatican directive also takes aim at gay parents being able to
      adopt children. It says: "As experience has shown, the absence of
      sexual complementarity in these (homosexual) unions creates obstacles
      in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care
      of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either
      fatherhood or motherhood.

      "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such union
      would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense
      that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an
      environment that is not conducive to their full human development."

      This position has been condemned by the Canadian Psychological
      Association as repeating misconceptions about same-sex parents that
      are scientifically unfounded, since psychosocial research into
      lesbian and gay parenting indicates that there is no basis in the
      scientific literature for this perception.

      One might ask whether the Vatican opposes adoption by single parents,
      since those children would have only a mother or father.

      In many cases, gay and lesbian couples have adopted children who are
      often considered not adoptable because of age, race or special needs.
      Are these children better off in revolving foster homes and
      orphanages? For who is truly acting in the best interests of the
      children? The gay and lesbian couples who open their homes to those
      vulnerable children or the Church hierarchy that has a terrible track
      record of protecting children?

      Before you sign any petitions or write any letters, I urge you to
      consider all the information at your disposal.

      Talk to your friends, talk to someone who is gay or lesbian, read the
      Vatican document (off the Vatican Web site), read Bishop Colli's
      letter at the doors of the church this weekend, read the newspapers,
      and do your own research. Draw your own prayerful conclusions and
      then act as your conscience dictates.
    • nyguy_1225
      abcdnewdude: Although you ve chosen to include Jeremy Marks and his Courage ministry in your extensive list of defections and scandals, it should be pointed
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 4, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        abcdnewdude: Although you've chosen to include Jeremy Marks and his
        Courage ministry in your extensive list of "defections and
        scandals," it should be pointed out that as Jeremy became
        increasingly unconvinced by the conventional exegesis of the proof-
        texts usually cited to support the anti-gay evangelical position, he
        did not as did most, throw out the baby with the bath water.
        Rather, after 14 years as the "ex-gay" leader in Britain, Jeremy had
        the real courage to shift the ministry's focus from sexual
        orientation "change" to the integration of unchanged sexual
        orientation with an honest life of Christian discipleship. Jeremy's
        Courage ministry is quite alive and, as irony would have it,
        stronger than ever.

        Marks has stated: "In my own pastoral work with gay people over 14
        years, it has become obvious that the church's hard line anti-gay
        stance (and Courage's too in earlier years) has not only failed to
        preserve the moral purity of gay people (or the church) but, on the
        contrary, has proved to have an extremely destructive effect on the
        lives of many gay people. Worse still, such a line has had an
        extremely corrosive effect on their faith in God. ... Of course the
        pro-gay lobby's view, that espouses a "free-love/anything goes"
        approach, can be equally destructive in its effect. . . . So, at
        the end of the day, whilst wanting to be considerate of the EA's
        biblical convictions and moral conscience, and work towards
        Christian unity on this issue, I felt I just could not compromise
        what I believe that God has clearly revealed – that God loves and
        accepts gay people as much as straight people; that He loves and
        accepts us as we are; that He does want to see a change of heart
        because we are all sinners; but apparently He is not all that
        bothered about the gender of the people we feel attracted to! … In
        recent years, therefore, I have seen that God accepts gay
        partnerships, entered into freely, sincerely and on the basis of
        love and mutual respect."

        Personally I believe Jeremy's pastoral motivation and his integrity
        should be commended and applauded. In addition, he is a brilliant
        and gifted writer with a keen grasp of the issues involved. For
        those who are serious in mind and of heart about their Christian
        faith, his web site is also chock full of rich material.
        [http://www.courage.org.uk/%5d

        -Alex



        --- In exexgayministry@yahoogroups.com, abcdnewguydude
        <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > Am new here, but wanted to say sup. It's good to know that there
        are
        > other Christian gays here. Anyway, one thing that has gotten me
        > through life as a gay person living in a loving gay, Christian
        > relationship has been my faith...so here's a good site to check
        out
        > guys for those who don't know the vibrant gay, Christian
        > community...it's not 100% complete by any means but it's good...
        >
        > http://www.christianlesbians.com/congregations/
        >
        > Also, here are some interesting articles...God Bless.
        >
        > __________________________________________________
        > From the very beginning, the "ex-gay" ministries have been
        enmeshed
        > in a
        > series of high profile failures. In addition to the crestfallen
        > Paulk, the
        > following are the most well publicized defections and scandals in
        the
        > colorful annals of "ex-gay" history:
        >
        > * In 1973, John Evans, co-founded the world's first modern "ex-gay"
        > ministry, Love In Action, on the outskirts of San Francisco.
        However,
        > after
        > Evans' best friend Jack McIntyre committed suicide in despair over
        > not being
        > able to change, Evans realized that the program was not working and
        > denounced Love in Action. To this day, the co-founder of the
        world's
        > original "ex-gay" ministry condemns the program as a dangerous -
        and
        > sometimes fatal - fraud.
        >
        > * In the early 1970's Gary Cooper and Michael Bussee were
        counselors
        > at an
        > "ex-gay" ministry in Anaheim, Calif. In 1976, they organized the
        first
        > national conference of "ex-gay" ministries. At this conference,
        Exodus
        > International was formed and it is now the world's largest "ex-gay"
        > organization. While traveling on behalf of Exodus, the two men
        > acknowledged
        > that they had not changed and were in love with each other. They
        soon
        > divorced their wives, moved in together and eventually held a
        > commitment
        > ceremony.
        >
        > * In 1979, Seventh Day Adventist minister Colin Cook founded
        > Homosexuals
        > Anonymous (HA). Appearing twice on the Phil Donahue show, he
        > solidified his
        > reputation in the early 80's as the nation's premier "ex-gay"
        > spokesperson.
        > But Cook's efforts collapsed in 1986 after he was exposed for
        giving
        > clients
        > nude massages. Cook moved to Colorado and made a comeback in 1992
        by
        > helping
        > Colorado for Family Values and Focus on the Family promote their
        anti-
        > gay
        > agenda. But in 1995, Cook's efforts unraveled, once again, after
        > several of
        > Cook's clients accused him of phone sex and inappropriate hugs.
        >
        > * In 2000, Wade Richard's appeared as a media spokesperson for a
        group
        > called the Saviors Alliance for Lifting the Truth and gave his
        > testimony of
        > "change" at a major press conference sponsored by right-wing
        leader
        > Peter
        > LaBarbera, who now works for an affiliate of Concerned Women for
        > America.
        > But a year later, Richards rebuked the "ex-gay" ministries when he
        > came out
        > in an interview with the Advocate magazine.
        >
        > * In 1987, Jeremy Marks founded Courage, London's first "ex-gay"
        > ministry.
        > In 2001, after nearly 15 years of watching people - including
        > himself -
        > struggle in vain to change, he renounced Exodus's methods by
        saying
        > that
        > they were failing in their efforts to change peoples' sexual
        > orientation.
        >
        > "Those who do not study history are destined to repeat it," said
        > Herrschaft.
        > "And the history of the 'ex-gay' myth is clearly one of extreme
        > sadness and
        > failure. We implore Focus on the Family to stop this campaign of
        ill
        > will
        > and tell the truth: Many people escape the 'ex-gay' hoax and go on
        to
        > live
        > satisfying, spiritually-fulfilling lives as openly gay men and
        women."
        > _____________________________________________________________
        >
        >
        > Search for biological roots of homosexuality leads to
        genes<o:p></o:p>
        >
        > Judy Foreman<o:p></o:p>
        >
        > <o:p></o:p>
        >
        > Published December 7, 2003<o:p></o:p>
        > FORE07<o:p></o:p>
        >
        >
        > Is there a biological basis for homosexuality?
        >
        > With gay marriage likely to be a hot-button issue in the
        presidential
        > campaign, the question of whether sexual orientation is an innate
        or
        > acquired trait is increasingly urgent.
        >
        > Since at least 1991, some scientific research has suggested a
        > biological basis to homosexuality -- meaning sexual orientation is
        > probably at least partly not a choice. But that point is open to
        > political and scientific debate, and our understanding of how
        biology
        > drives sexual orientation is still fuzzy. An estimated 2 to 4
        percent
        > of the general population is homosexual, although activists say
        the
        > figure is higher.
        >
        > Some data on identical twins suggest that homosexuality --
        > particularly in men -- is inherited. Other scientists have tried
        to
        > pin down differences in brain structure.
        >
        > Understanding homosexuality, or even heterosexuality, involves,
        among
        > other things, figuring out how the brain, the seat of all complex
        > behavior, becomes male or female in the first place.
        >
        > Until recently, researchers thought that a surge in the male
        hormone
        > testosterone in the fetus set the brain on a male track. Without
        > testosterone, the brain continues on a female track.
        >
        > But in a study published in October, California researchers
        > identified 54 genes that play a role in the expression of sex --
        > before hormones are ever released.
        >
        > "This refutes the idea that hormones are the only story in sexual
        > differentiation of the brain. That has been the dogma in the field
        > for 30 years," said lead researcher Dr. Eric Vilain, assistant
        > professor of human genetics and urology at the David Geffen School
        of
        > Medicine at UCLA.
        >
        > The study's implications are many. An estimated one in 4,000
        babies
        > is born with "ambiguous genitalia," making it difficult to tell
        > whether the baby is a boy or a girl. By analyzing chromosomes and
        > looking for internal sexual organs such as ovaries or prostate
        gland,
        > doctors make their best guess as to the true sex of the child and
        > sometimes perform surgery to make the anatomy conform to that. DNA
        > analysis of the variations in these 54 genes and other genes that
        > interact with them may help doctors in figuring out the child's
        > gender, Vilain says.
        >
        > Genes and gender identity
        >
        > The 54 genes may also help explain transgenderism. That condition,
        > which affects about one in 50,000 people, is characterized by the
        > feeling that one was born the "wrong" sex. Some transgendered
        > individuals simply live as the gender they feel they are,
        regardless
        > of anatomy; others have sex-change surgery.
        >
        > The UCLA study does not address homosexuality directly. But other
        > data suggest that 75 percent of boys who were confused about their
        > gender identity as children grow up to be gay, Vilain says. The
        > study, he said, may help "pave the way to find out about gender
        > identity" in such children.
        >
        > Other studies on the genetic roots of homosexuality are mixed.
        >
        > Dr. Richard Pillard, a professor of psychiatry at Boston
        University
        > School of Medicine, has studied male and female homosexuals. In
        men,
        > he said, sexual orientation is often inherited. In
        women, "sexuality
        > is not as rigidly set."
        >
        > In identical male twins, his research shows, if one is gay,
        there's a
        > 50 percent chance that the other one is, too. If homosexuality
        were
        > totally genetically determined, that figure should be 100 percent.
        On
        > the other hand, in male fraternal twins, there's only a 20 percent
        > chance that if one is homosexual, the other will be.
        >
        > In 1991, an autopsy study by Simon LeVay at the Salk Institute for
        > Biological Studies in San Diego found that part of the brain
        called
        > the anterior hypothalamus was twice as large in heterosexual men
        as
        > in homosexual men, suggesting a biological basis for
        homosexuality.
        > Because the gay men in the study all were infected with HIV, it is
        > possible that the disease, rather than their homosexuality,
        > transformed their brains.
        >
        > Proof proves evasive
        >
        > Other studies that have tried to draw a biological link to
        > homosexuality have faced problems, as well.
        >
        > In 1993, Dean Hamer, a molecular biologist at the National Cancer
        > Institute, studied 40 pairs of gay brothers and published his
        results
        > in Science. With a technique called linkage mapping, Hamer
        identified
        > a region called Xq28 on the X chromosome (inherited from the
        mother)
        > that was statistically correlated to homosexuality. In 1995, a
        second
        > study by Hamer and others confirmed that finding.
        >
        > In 1999, researchers at the University of Western Ontario studied
        the
        > same brain region in 52 gay male sibling pairs and reported
        > contradictory findings.
        >
        > Clearly, more research is needed to prove homosexuality is
        inherited.
        >
        > However, Dr. Fred Berlin, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins
        University
        > School of Medicine, said the basic conclusion is already clear:
        > Homosexuality "is not due to voluntary choice. None of us as kids
        sat
        > down and said, 'Do I want to be attracted to members of the same
        > gender?' "
        >
        > Judy Foreman is a lecturer on medicine at Harvard Medical
        School.She
        > can be reached at judyforeman@m...
        >
        >
        ___________________________________________________________________
        >
        > A call for intense dialogue: Catholics need to do their own
        research
        > and search their consciences before reaching conclusions, pastor
        says
        >
        > THE REVEREND SCOTT GALE
        >
        > -------------------------------------------------------------------
        ---
        > ----------
        > Reverend Scott Gale is pastor of St. Andrew's Roman Catholic
        Church
        > in Thunder Bay (in Canada). This is his homily of last Sunday
        which
        > first ran in The Chronicle-Journal. Reprinted with permission.
        >
        >
        > In the present ongoing discussion about same-sex marriages, the
        one
        > thing that seems to be missing within the Roman Catholic Church
        and
        > within our country, is a dialogue among people who respect one
        > another.
        >
        > And for me, as your pastor, it is much easier to remain silent,
        than
        > to take up the challenge to use my own mind, and to listen to my
        own
        > conscience, about how to deal with this very contentious issue,
        and
        > to share some thoughts with you today.
        >
        > I do not mean to be disrespectful towards the Pope, or towards our
        > Canadian Bishops, but I am concerned that we are being treated
        > like "parrots" rather than being recognized for the important role
        > that we have as members of the Body of Christ of being pastors,
        > parishioners, and yes, some are even parliamentarians. What we
        need
        > is dialogue, not dictates.
        >
        > As your pastor, I try, through my homilies, to challenge myself,
        and
        > you, to lead Christian lives and to follow Gospel values. Can
        > homilies not also be challenging to those in leadership positions
        as
        > well?
        >
        > In my homily today, I am not trying to tell anyone how they should
        > vote or act. I am merely presenting other perspectives to consider
        as
        > you form your own conscience on this important issue.
        >
        > Certainly the recent Vatican statement must be considered, but it
        > must also be studied to see if it reflects the lived experiences
        of
        > the People of God, and whether it has been truly received by them.
        >
        > We are in the midst of great social change regarding our
        > understanding of homosexuality, spurred on by scientific studies
        > about human sexuality. What is needed now is an intense dialogue
        > among people of goodwill that will incorporate this new
        understanding
        > of sexuality into our theology.
        >
        > In past centuries, theologians and the Church used to consider
        women
        > as being less human than men because of ignorance about
        reproduction.
        > No one would dare suggest such a concept now.
        >
        > For centuries the Church tolerated slavery, and, once again, no
        one
        > would dare suggest such a concept now.
        >
        > The Vatican's harsh language in the document Considerations
        Regarding
        > Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual
        > Persons is very hurtful to our gay and lesbian relatives and
        friends,
        > and their families. I can only hope that a serious dialogue will
        take
        > place between gay and lesbian Catholics and Church leaders, in
        order
        > that the lived, loving experiences of gays and lesbians can be
        truly
        > listened to, and taken into account in a re-examination of the
        > Church's attitudes regarding homosexuality and those persons with
        a
        > homosexual orientation.
        >
        > But there are two issues here.
        >
        > There is the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church's leadership on
        > homosexuality, and there is the question of civil recognition of
        same-
        > sex marriages. With regard to the legal recognition of homosexual
        > unions, the recent Vatican document states that "... the Catholic
        > lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and
        > publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favour of a law so
        > harmful to the common good is gravely immoral."
        >
        > And yet, how do we reconcile this statement with what the Second
        > Vatican Council teaches about the dignity of one's own moral
        > conscience?
        >
        > For in the Pastoral constitution On The Church In The Modern World
        it
        > states: "Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he
        has
        > not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever
        calling
        > him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, tells him
        > inwardly at the right moment: do this, shun that.
        >
        > "For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. His dignity lies
        in
        > observing this law and by it he will be judged. His conscience is
        > man's most secret core, and his sanctuary .... Through loyalty to
        > conscience, Christians are joined to other men in the search for
        > truth and for the right solution to so many moral problems which
        > arise both in the life of individuals and from social
        relationships."
        >
        > In Vatican II's Document of Religious Liberty, it further
        > states: "The search for truth ... must be carried out in a manner
        > that is appropriate to the dignity of the human person and his
        social
        > nature, namely, by free enquiry with the help of teaching or
        > instruction, communication and dialogue.
        >
        > "It is by these means that men share with each other the truth
        they
        > have discovered, or think they have discovered, in such a way that
        > they help one another in the search for truth ... It is through
        his
        > conscience that man sees and recognizes the demands of the divine
        > law. He is bound to follow this conscience faithfully in all his
        > activity so that he may come to God, who is his last end.
        Therefore
        > he must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience."
        >
        > I believe that Prime Minister Jean Chrtien and Paul Martin are
        right
        > in stating that, although they are Roman Catholics, in acting as
        > Members of Parliament, they must take into account a much wider
        range
        > of factors than the Vatican's directive on same-sex marriage.
        >
        > How politicians should deal with conflict between their own
        personal,
        > moral or religious beliefs and their obligations as
        parliamentarians
        > is very complex.
        >
        > All politicians, not just religious ones, are open to such
        conflicts,
        > because all have we hope moral beliefs. As is required, they must
        act
        > in good conscience and with integrity. Sometimes that can require
        > having the courage to accept either political damage or the wrath
        of
        > their religious community.
        >
        > If Parliament and the Supreme Court agree to law reforms that will
        > give the country same-sex marriage, it will be only one more
        example
        > of the state respecting the individual's freedom to choose without
        > impinging on the freedom of churches or other faith communities to
        do
        > their best to persuade people to behave otherwise.
        >
        > This should not offend churches and other faith communities. For
        any
        > church or citizen group is free to teach Canadians that homosexual
        > behaviour is still wrong, and same-sex marriage is a sin, if that
        is
        > what they really believe.
        >
        > They just won't have the arm of the law reinforcing their beliefs.
        > Such legislation will hardly amount to a social revolution. It
        will
        > be more of an evolution.
        >
        > If we accept sexual diversity as believing Christians, it does not
        > necessarily mean that we approve it, like it, or understand it. It
        > does mean that we can live with it because it is in everyone's
        > interests, even when that can mean rethinking what many Christians
        > see as the sacrament of marriage.
        >
        > Marriage has traditionally been the precious way that a man and a
        > woman have shared themselves with one another, in joys and in
        > sorrows, in bearing one another up, from youth to old age. Gays
        and
        > lesbians are telling us that is precisely what they want to do
        too.
        >
        > Their way of doing it may not be your particular choice, but
        courts
        > in Ontario and Quebec have ruled that denying same-sex couples the
        > right to marry contravenes the spirit if not the explicit letter,
        of
        > the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
        >
        > And let us not be distracted by the argument about the primacy of
        > Parliament over the courts, or about free votes in the House of
        > Commons, or about the 1999 Commons resolution on the definition of
        > marriage.
        >
        > The Charter is the law of our land, and both the courts and
        > Parliament must follow it. For extending marriage rights to gay
        and
        > lesbian couples is fundamentally a matter of law, not religion.
        > Church groups will still be free to bless only those marriages
        that
        > their religious denomination recognizes.
        >
        > The Vatican directive also takes aim at gay parents being able to
        > adopt children. It says: "As experience has shown, the absence of
        > sexual complementarity in these (homosexual) unions creates
        obstacles
        > in the normal development of children who would be placed in the
        care
        > of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of
        either
        > fatherhood or motherhood.
        >
        > "Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such union
        > would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense
        > that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in
        an
        > environment that is not conducive to their full human development."
        >
        > This position has been condemned by the Canadian Psychological
        > Association as repeating misconceptions about same-sex parents
        that
        > are scientifically unfounded, since psychosocial research into
        > lesbian and gay parenting indicates that there is no basis in the
        > scientific literature for this perception.
        >
        > One might ask whether the Vatican opposes adoption by single
        parents,
        > since those children would have only a mother or father.
        >
        > In many cases, gay and lesbian couples have adopted children who
        are
        > often considered not adoptable because of age, race or special
        needs.
        > Are these children better off in revolving foster homes and
        > orphanages? For who is truly acting in the best interests of the
        > children? The gay and lesbian couples who open their homes to
        those
        > vulnerable children or the Church hierarchy that has a terrible
        track
        > record of protecting children?
        >
        > Before you sign any petitions or write any letters, I urge you to
        > consider all the information at your disposal.
        >
        > Talk to your friends, talk to someone who is gay or lesbian, read
        the
        > Vatican document (off the Vatican Web site), read Bishop Colli's
        > letter at the doors of the church this weekend, read the
        newspapers,
        > and do your own research. Draw your own prayerful conclusions and
        > then act as your conscience dictates.
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