A Brief Thought Experiment or, Homosexuality and Abortion in the Same Post, Oh Boy


DSC01794As I’ve been quite busy and I’m spending more time writing my series on Virtue Capitalism, I was thinking today, which is dangerous. I was looking at how sometimes we can hold highly inconsistent views, or at least a hierarchy of views. Two very hot-button cultural issues tend to be homosexuality and abortion; nothing provides a strong line between what constitutes a liberal and what constitutes a conservative than these two issues. So I want to compose a very simple thought-experiment that will hopefully show how we are inconsistent with our views. Keep in mind that thought-experiments test our ethics in situations that most likely will not happen. So debating on the specifics or saying, “Well that could never happen!” doesn’t get one out of a thought experiment.

Imagine that later this year, scientists discover a gene or biological function that causes homosexuality. They find that this development occurs in utero and can through tests can be discovered in utero. Thus, we discover absolute evidence that our biological composition dictates who we’re attracted to.

With this in mind, a semi-religious family discovers their unborn child will grow up as a homosexual. Not wanting to deal with a gay child they decide it’s best to just abort the child. A judge intervenes and attempts to stop the abortion, saying that what the parents are doing is akin to genocide. Would you still support the parent’s right to abort their child even if the sole reason for the abortion is they just don’t want to raise a homosexual?

Alternatively, to those who lean more pro-choice, but believe homosexuality is a sin, would you still side with the judge, arguing that all humans have a right to life? Would you still be pro-life and defend the life of this unborn child even though you knew he would grow up to be a homosexual?

My hope is that this will force some people to face their beliefs head-on. If we can kill a fetus because we don’t like who that fetus will become, then the only moral boundary between killing that fetus and a child of the same disposition is a womb; as many pro-choice philosophers have argued, such a line is arbitrary. Likewise, if we would defend the life of this child even if we believe his homosexuality will be sinful, then why do we hold homosexuals in such contempt today? Why do we ignore the persecution and violence they undergo? If we value their lives in the womb, why would we disdain their lives outside of the womb?

As I said, this is a thought experiment for people to wrestle with, so I offer no grand narrative on how we should react. My only hope is that you’re truly challenged by it and forced to rethink some positions.

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10 thoughts on “A Brief Thought Experiment or, Homosexuality and Abortion in the Same Post, Oh Boy

  1. Shhhh. You don’t want to make the believers uncomfortable, do you? What would Charles Worley, Bryan Fischer or John Hagee say? If the book says it’s a sin, then it’s a sin, according to them. For the record, though, there have always been gay people, and there always will be. We’re here whether believers like it or not, whether it’s genetic or a sinful choice. And we expect that we will continue to be depicted as the villain for quite some time. Thanks for the good thoughts.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the thought, but please understand that it does cut both ways.

      It’s not just targeted to “believers.” It’s really supposed to cause some introspection no matter where you fall on these beliefs. For instance, for someone who is pro-choice and pro-homosexuality, could they justify defending someone aborting their baby out of fear the baby is gay?

      1. I think most pro-gay people would be insulted by the fact that someone wants to abort because the fetus might become a gay person. Would it be right to abort a fetus because a parent fears the child might be left-handed?

        I’m sure there will be many evangelical people fuming today, following the Texas business about abortion, and now the DOMA and gay marriage issue. Being gay has always been a sin and we (gay people) are constantly reminded of it, when we’re denied employment, housing, benefits that other people get, etc. Plus, the bullying and physical abuse that some of us have endured is alarming, and often it’s been done by people who were told that being gay is evil (so, they decide to retaliate and attempt to defeat “evil”).

        I doubt that you’ll get much encouragement from the evangelical crowd on your suggestions, unless you want to be branded a heretic, a false prophet, etc.

      2. Seeing as how I’m not evangelical I’m not really concerned about their support. Not all Christians are evangelical, not are all pro-life proponents or those who relieve homosexuality is a sin.

        Regarding the first paragraph, you hit at what I was driving at. Right now a parent can test their child in the womb for “deformities” and then terminate the child if they don’t like what they see. How is that not genocide? How is it any better than those who abuse homosexuals or the mentally challenged?

  2. “Alternatively, to those who lean more pro-choice, but believe homosexuality is a sin, would you still side with the judge, arguing that all humans have a right to life? Would you still be pro-life and defend the life of this unborn child even though you knew he would grow up to be a homosexual?”

    This depends wholly on the way one perceives sin. Homosexuality has been given a stigma, because non-religious people don’t understand the reason why religious people oppose gay marriage. At least my personal views are entirely that there needs to be a line. If you allow homosexuals to marry, why can’t furries marry animals or polygamists marry?

    But honestly, I would never condone an abortion, even under those circumstances. Just become someone has a tendency to sin, doesn’t mean anything. All humans sin, and all humans struggle with some sins more than others. Your thought experiment could apply to murderers as well. If you knew your child would have tendencies to want to kill people would you abort them? For most this is even worse than having a gay child. I wouldn’t abort my child, even if I knew they would have internal urges to murder people.

    The internal, however, does not have to be the external. Gay people don’t have to act on their desires, just like straight people don’t. There are plenty of straight people who remain celibate throughout their entire lives due to religious convictions, and I don’t understand why that is so hard to ask of someone with homosexual tendencies. If a person truly has no attraction to the opposite sex, but maintains an attraction to the same sex the Bible says that it is better to never “marry.”

    The basic, intrinsic thing that proponents of abortion and gay marriage have in common is that they believe that people should be able to do whatever makes them happy. That they should have every right to their own body, but in my opinion that is the most flawed logic ever. When you have sex with someone else, it isn’t a one person deal. If you have an abortion you are involving another party, at the very least. Selfishness is the issue in both of these instances. People are very reluctant to give of themselves, especially their happiness, sense of control, or money.

    Just my two cents, good post.

    1. “Gay people don’t have to act on their desires” .. is it wrong for left-handed people to “act on their desires” by writing with their left hand? We didn’t choose to be gay or to rebel — contrary to a popular theory amongst evangelical people, and why should we comply to suit the whims of religious people? Then again, preaching against gays seems to be the last remaining thing that they can constantly talk about. We won’t hear much about sermons on fornication or adultery and divorce. Is it little wonder, considering that the divorce rates amongst born-agains is the highest in the US? Or, for a diversion perhaps check out stopbaptistpredators dot com and see the other sins that they won’t preach against!

      1. I think you misunderstood my comment. Things that non-Christians do are of no concern to Christians. If someone, who doesn’t believe in Christianity decides to murder, I don’t care, and I don’t judge them. They don’t have the same moral standards I do. However, what I was saying would be from the perspective as a Christian parent, and talking to gay Christians. The argument that “we didn’t choose” has no weight in the mind of a Christian either. We don’t choose to have sinful natures, and we don’t choose to struggle with our sin of choice be it homosexuality or compulsive lying. I don’t kill people because I think it’s wrong, but sometimes I’d love to. I think it’s fair to ask Christians who struggle with their sexuality to refrain as well. But for a non-Christian, I don’t care.

        The divorce rates “thing” doesn’t really apply, either, nor does the website you directed me to. The fact is, people who play “half-sies” aren’t any more of a Christian than an Atheist – actually the Bible says that they’re worse (Rev 3:16). People who truly believe in God are much more careful about their lives than that, and dare I say, aren’t so weak as to give up on a marriage that isn’t abusive or cheating. Most “born-agains” are only “born again” in the sense that they’ve disillusioned themselves into believing that they are.

        I hope I’ve clarified a bit. If not, know that I honestly couldn’t care less about the actions of people who choose not to believe in God. However, I will say that you most definitely don’t know enough about Christianity to make a strong case against it. Most Christians you see are about as two-faced as Janus – especially the ones that you hear through media. Those people are, generally, fake.

  3. This seems more a debate about eugenics, emerging technologies and how we as a society would react to such a thing. Generally, I find the notion of eugenics appalling and we’ve seen what the extreme case of perpetuating that is (the Holocaust). That said, it’s an interesting thought-experiment, nonetheless. So, even as a pro-choice person, I would have a difficult time saying, “They are allowed to abort the baby.” That just feels…dirty and circles back to my point about eugenics.

    Well-articulated post, thanks for sharing.

    1. Milambc,

      Thank you very much for the comment. Even when I find people who disagree with me, I always place a high value on honesty and thinking. It’s greatly appreciated.

  4. I am Pro Life by virtue of undeniable scientific fact. And and although one is hard pressed to find chapter and verse declaring abortion as a sin, I believe that the choice of life is reflected throughout scripture and aligns with the Divine will. By the same logic that it is against the law to destroy an eagle egg, I would always choose life, regardless. God is in the business of redemtion. Your equation illiminates that central fact. This is not a simple either/or, negative or positive. It is not solved with the pre weighted scales in the human heart. I was born with the biological desire to have multiple sex partners. I have an overwhelming sex drive. Yet, I have been married 38 years and have never violated my wedding vows. What you are born with and what God can do is two seperate issues.
    A word concerning the persecution of homosexuals. I would challenge the assertion that they are under any broad scale persecution. Any persecution I am aware of is from individuals. The three Texans that chained a black man to their truck and drug him until his head was ripped off by a culvert were not representative of the many. Although there were those who attempted to make that a fact. I’m sure that, in this society, writ large, that there are those who would verbally persecute a homosexual, maybe a few that would seriously harm or even kill. But by in large, most are living relatively comfortable lives and suffer no more than the obese.

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