I seem to be having a discussion on the same issue in two different threads and I think some folks might be confused. Therefore, I want to clarify an argument I was making.
Here is my argument: sexual expression is a choice. For everyone, regardless of orientation. I don’t think I’m making assumptions on particular sexual practices here or pejoratively ranking different types of sexual expression. There have been terms in the debate on this issue that have become ambiguous.
I have heard the argument levelled often that people who are queer have “chosen” to be that way. When you hear this argument, it is made by someone attempting to prove that they have left their “straight” ways and gone to “the dark side” (i’m a Star Wars geek, I can’t help the reference). However, as Walter Wink has noted, this does not allow the possibility of a homosexual orientation (thanks Katie).
A common queer argument in response is “this is how God made me”. I think this can put the queer debate in the hands of the anti-queer opinion holders because it suggests that sexual expression (different then desire) is given by God at birth, that it is natural. Then they can pejoratively privelege their sexuality as more natural because there are (seemingly) more people who are hetero and heteronormative expression has institutional backing.
An alternative response is that sexual expression is a choice. It could be easily argued to a Christian. Here goes:
1) We are born with sexual desire, or the capacity for sexual desire.
2) Sexual desire is according to the flesh, not according to God.
3) That desire necessitates expression. Expression enters the realm of choice.
4) No matter how that sexuality becomes expressed, either hetero or queer, it is a choice made by an individual. Anything that is according to the flesh, that concentrates itself primarily within this world without building toward the Kingdom, is a choice in rebellion to God. That includes heterosexual sexual expression. While the desire is a not a choice, the expression of that desire is a choice regardless of what that expression ultimately is.
5) Therefore, without scriptual backing for argument, nor the argument of “natural sexual expression”, we can only conclude that there is no sexual expression that is right or wrong, but that sexual desire is something which all of us must at some point in our journey overcome.
I can anticipate one criticism of this line of thinking (thought I’m sure it’s not the only one). I have basically taken up a sixteenth century (and earlier) view of sex, the kind of view of sex our Anabaptist antecedents had (to use an adjective of Buffalo Sabres announcer – ” Sex is SCARY bad!”). This view of sex may be seen as irrelevant; however, there is plenty of scriptual backing for it, which I would be happy to discuss. I am suggesting a more radical monasticism on the part of Chrisitans, which has had its failings. However, I want to make it clear that I don’t think you are burning in hellfire if you have sex. I’m more concerned with the place of sexual desire and sexual expression within one’s spiritual journey. Sexual desire is not spiritual desire, the latter being longing for connection with God, while the former is longing for connection with the human. Sex (and I don’t limit this to Coitus…thanks for that post Eric)is according to the Flesh, spirit is according to God.
Therefore, I think as a church we should encourage right relationships, but I think it is only secular teaching (as there is no biblical basis for it) to say that queer sexual expression is wrong.
I am still trying to develop this argument, so any input (for or against) would be much appreciated.
If you read this far, thank you so much.