Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jim Garlow on Sexual Orientation

Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in La Mesa, CA spoke with Wayne Grudem, co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, on issues surrounding the 2012 presidential election. During "Biblical Issues for this Election," they spoke at length about same-sex marriage and LGBTQ issues, during which Garlow insisted that sexual orientation is merely a modern "construct."
"There are those that try to content, 'Well, I was born this way.' Well, there is no scientific evidence of that. We don't know what the causative factors are. But the Bible does not address orientation, to my knowledge. The Bible does address the issue of practice, so we're not talking about orientation, how one sees themselves. That's a modern phenomenon. Only in the last few years they've started using those kinds of constructs. We do know the Bible talks about practices, any practices."
Garlow also claimed that every "healthy heterosexual male" has an inclination toward polygamy, a statement that says volumes about his attitudes on sex and gender. Unfortunately, Garlow does not seem to realize that there are males and females who might be drawn to multiple partners throughout their lives, males and females who are happy with monogamy, and males and females who are asexual. Garlow compared homosexual feelings to adulterous temptation, lumping them together with other kinds of sinful "brokenness."
GARLOW: I would contend that every male, every healthy heterosexual male I know has a pernicious tendency towards polygamy. We have that capacity, but we don't act out on it. We don't act on it. In the same way that a person may have a pernicious tendency toward same-sex attraction. They don't have to act out. That is a practice or an act. We're not talking about orientation, because all of us have enough wrong orientations within us. We've got a lot of corruption, a lot of brokenness within every single one of us. We don't have to act out on any of those, including that same-sex attraction.

GRUDEM: Or give legal endorsement and approval and promotion to it. And once it's required by law, then it has to be taught to the children in all the schools of the nation, as something that's morally ... right.
As I listened to Garlow's words, I realized how similar they sounded to Exodus International's rhetoric at the two Exodus events I infiltrated (see here and here). Like Exodus' speakers, Garlow conflated homosexuality with other forms of sexual "sin" and "brokenness," refusing to acknowledge sexual orientation as innate. The words of Garlow, Grudem, and Exodus International all served the same purpose: to delegitimize calls for LGBTQ equality and erase non-heterosexual sexual orientations. The more I listen to Religious Right rhetoric, the more connections I notice among the rhetoric of its members.

(Hat tip to Right Wing Watch.)


  1. I can't wait to tell my devoted husband that he has a pernicious tendency to polygamy!

    1. Knatolee -- I wonder if Garlow is projecting here. I have a pernicious tendency to eat lots of olives, but I don't assume that the rest of the world does too.


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