Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
can only be secured by a state strictly separated from religion

14 January 2009

Duty of Sexual Restraint?

By Diana Hsieh

The Hill's Blog Briefing Room reports the following:

Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a leading candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC), is coming under fire Monday for making remarks this summer that gays and lesbians suffer from a "compulsion" that can be "restrained."

"You can choose to restrain that compulsion," Blackwell told radio host Michelangelo Signorile, a gay and lesbian advocate, this summer during the Republican National Convention. "And so I think in fact you don't have to give in to the compulsion to be homosexual."

"I've never had to make the choice because I've never had the urge to be other than a heterosexual," Blackwell added, "but if in fact I had the urge to be something else I could have in fact suppressed that urge."

Another RNC chairman candidate, Chip Saltsman, saw his bid derailed after circulating a CD to RNC voters that critics said was racially insensitive toward President-elect Obama.
The worst part of this statement is not Blackwell's bizarre hypothetical that if he did have homosexual urges, he knows that he could resist them. If by that, he means "I could remain celibate for the rest of my life," then sure, a person could do that. But the question is "Why?!?" In particular, why should gays and lesbians cut themselves off from the possibility of healthy, loving, fulfilling sexual relationships for their whole lives?

Ultimately, the only answer is because God forbids it. According to scripture, he commanded, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). We are supposed to obey without question, whatever the cost to our own personal happiness -- just the faithful Abraham does in the story of the Binding of Isaac.

Of course, politicians are welcome to embrace the religious values of obedience and sacrifice, if they so choose. However, such beliefs ought to be regarded by all as private and personal -- not as relevant to public policy. After all, in a free society, every person has the right to enter into whatever consensual sexual relationships he wishes. The government has no business legislating sexuality.

Unfortunately, that's not the view of politicians today, particularly not in the GOP. So the worst part of this interview is that a person seeking the top job of a major political party in America -- a country founded on the principle of inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness -- would suggest that gays and lesbians have any kind of obligation to suppress their sexual desires. Given today's climate of pervasive statism, the step from such publicly-expressed opinions to attempting to restrict or even forbid gay and lesbian relationships is very, very short.

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