George A. Sprecace M.D., J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New London, P.C.
www.asthma-drsprecace.com


Point and Counterpoint: Abortion and Alternatives - Article 33, for Sunday, February 2, 2008

SEXUAL ORIENTATION:  RELIGION, AND SCIENCE 

Among the festering wounds besetting the body politic in America, issues like race relations and immigration policy revolve around self-interest and good will…and as such are refractory to mere facts.  The matter of societal attitudes toward sexual orientation has carried the added involvement of deep-seated religious belief.  However, this latter wound is beginning to heal with the benefit of recent scientific findings. 

The Holy Bible tells us of the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah, of the condemned practice of sodomy and homosexuality.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church is clear on this: “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominantly sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex…Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.  Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’.  They are contrary to the natural law…Under no circumstances can they be approved.” (Second Edition, 1997, #2357). 

Now come scientific facts from various reputable sources that indicate that sexual orientation is most often not a choice or a “life-style”; but rather that we are largely genetically, congenitally and immunologically programmed to be and feel the sex that we are.  Nelson’s Textbook of Pediatrics informs us that gender identity is generally established by the 30th week in utero; but that gender confusion can begin as early as two years of age.  In some children, this clears up.   In others, it produces “Gender Identity Disorder” that can lead to homosexuality in up to 50% of the children.  We learn from this and from textbooks of Neurology and Psychiatry that there are differences in the hypothalamus and anterior commissure of the brains of boys and girls; that the youngest of groups of male siblings have a much higher incidence of homosexuality, attributed to the progressive development of anti-testosterone antibodies in the mother; that there appears to be some related genetic influence between father and child. 

We also learn that up to 30% of adolescent suicides are related to inner conflict with sexual orientation; that nearly 30% of gay/bisexual males in grades 7-12 had attempted suicide, compared with 4% of heterosexuals.   The American Psychiatric Association no longer lists Homosexuality as a mental disorder. 

Other readings on this subject are offered: Wall Street Journal, Dec. 28, 2007; Newsweek, May 2, 2007; NYTimes Magazine, Nov. 19, 2006; Trial Magazine, Dec. 2006. 

Bottom line: Sexual Orientation in most cases is not a choice, but a fact.  Of course, in-your-face, irresponsible,  flaming homosexuals and heterosexuals are equally to be condemned.  But the further admonition of the Catechism (#2358) now carries much greater resonance:  The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible.  This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.  They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.  These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.”

Peter Moore, PhD                                 George A. Sprecace, M.D., J.D.


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