The media storm over an evangelical leader's blog post on babies and homosexuality prompted him to set the record straight on Friday.
Recent media reports have claimed that the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, suggested that homosexuality may be genetic in origin and that he would support "treatment" of it.
In response, Mohler stated, "My purpose in writing my previous article was, in the main, to draw attention to a very real threat to human dignity that lurks as a possibility on our horizon ... This is the possibility that, if a biological marker (real or not) is ever claimed to mark homosexuality in prenatal testing, widespread abortion of such babies might well follow," according to his latest blog post. "In that event, hypothetical in the present time, it will be biblical Christians, opposed to all elective abortions, who will stand for the full human dignity of all human beings, born and unborn."
His March 2 post – titled "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?" – drew fire from both homosexual activists and Christians, the latter of which has frustrated the Southern Baptist more than the inaccurate media reports and protests by homosexuals.
"I am even more frustrated with many conservative Christians who read the secular headlines without even bothering to read my article. They jumped to conclusions that I do not hold and castigated me for advocating things I have opposed all my life," wrote Mohler, adding that he received hate mail from both homosexuals and those who identified themselves as Christians.
"Furthermore, some who identified themselves as Christians spoke of homosexuality and homosexuals with hate-filled language that literally made me shudder. Do we really love sinners? Do we not understand ourselves to be sinners saved by grace?"
The sharp attacks come after Mohler's earlier blog suggested a challenge to the belief of conservative Christians that homosexuality is a matter of choice that can be overcome through prayer and counseling.
"We sin against homosexuals by insisting that sexual temptation and attraction are predominately chosen," Mohler wrote. "We do not always (or even generally) choose our temptations."
Some Christians raised concerns over Mohler's other comments over science. Mohler implied that Christians should not rule out the possibility that science can prove a biological basis for sexual orientation. Moreover, if a biological basis is found and then a successful treatment is ever developed, he wrote, "we would support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin."
He clarified with Time magazine that he opposes genetic manipulation of all kinds and that if a hormone therapy were developed for fetuses that would help them be born straight rather than gay, he would support its use, just as he would support medical treatment to give sight to the blind fetus.
Such comments have upset gay-rights supporters as well who say Mohler's arguments imply there is something wrong with being gay. Mohler had affirmed his belief that homosexuality is a sin and the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior wouldn't change even if it were biologically based.
In his latest response to sharp criticism from both sides of the homosexual debate, Mohler directed some thoughts to both evangelical Christians and homosexuals.
One of the points he wrote to evangelical Christians stated: "Some Christians seem absolutely convinced that there is no such thing as sexual orientation. There is a point to be made here. No 'orientation' can alter the sinful status of sinful acts. Some have written me to say that there is no such reality as a homosexual, only those who perform homosexual acts. This flies in the face of the Bible, however, which speaks of those who commit such sins by their sin - murderers, liars, adulterers, gossips, etc. It does not help to deny this. But, even though no 'orientation' can alter the moral status of actions, the fact remains that some persons are sexually attracted to persons of the same sex while the majority are sexually attracted to persons of the opposite sex. There are other terms to use here, ranging from 'sexual attraction pattern' to 'sexual arousal profile,' but sexual orientation seems a bit less explicit and is generally understood within the culture."
Mohler also reminded Christians that everyone is a sinner "from the start" and all are born "marked by Adam's sin and already under God's just condemnation for that sin."
"The only cure for sin itself is the cross of Christ," he added.
To those identifying themselves as homosexuals, Mohler wrote, "All I can do is be clear about what the Bible reveals about God's verdict on all homosexual acts. Christians are called to love homosexual persons, but we cannot love homosexuality. That is simply not an option. We cannot mislead you by telling you anything other than what the Bible says about homosexuality. The greatest act of compassion a biblical Christian can offer is to tell the truth about our sin, and point all persons to redemption through faith in Christ."
Despite the fiery attacks, Mohler said he welcomes further responses from and continued communication with evangelicals and homosexuals.
"I am sure God means for me to learn much from what you say."