James Hormel, the first openly gay U.S. ambassador, takes aim at Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain in his new memoir for saying that homosexuality is a choice.
In a first read of Fit to Serve: Reflections on a Secret life, Private Struggle and Public Battle to Become the First Openly Gay U.S. Ambassador, The Hill uncovered a section where Hormel criticizes Cain’s same-sex marriage views.
“Being gay is not a choice,” Hormel charged. “If people can come to understand that and people like Herman Cain can stop saying it is a choice, then maybe we’ll make some serious progress.”
Cain made those statements during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.” He responded “yes” to the program host’s question if being gay is a choice. Cain reiterated his belief during an October interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan.
“Although people don't agree with me, I happen to think that it is a personal choice," he responded.
When Morgan tried to draw a comparison between race and homosexuality, Cain replied, “You know that's not true. I was born black."
Cain, a member of Antioch Baptist Church North, has said his belief is based on his faith as a “Bible-believing Christian.”
Several Christian denominations, including the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), have affirmed that homosexuality is not part of God’s plan for human sexuality.
Earlier this year, the SBC released a statement stating, “Homosexuality is not a 'valid alternative lifestyle.' The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.”
By the convention’s standards, homosexuals can choose to seek God’s help to not act on same-sex attractions.
Hormel, grandson to Hormel Foods founder George Hormel, is a gay rights activist. He served as an ambassador to Luxembourg during Bill Clinton’s administration.
In his book, he writes about confirmation hearing where he was questioned about his sexuality.
Then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) stalled his nomination stating Hormel’s sexuality may conflict with many Luxembourgers, including the royal family, who reportedly are Catholic. Lott also said in a 1998 television interview that he believed homosexuality is a sin.
Hormel recalled a face-to-face meeting with then-former Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.) who also opposed his nomination.
“I walked in prepared for just about every question that I could think of, except the ones he asked. The questions he asked had absolutely nothing to do with my competence. They had to do with my being gay and what people’s perceptions would be,” he wrote.
Hormel was later confirmed through a 1999 recess appointment and served until 2001.
Hormel’s Fit to Serve is a continuation of his fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and gay marriage.
Some religious groups have heeded gay activists’ cries for a change in point of view.
Robin Lunn, executive director of Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB), told The Christian Post, “There are things that biblical interpretation leads us to believe that committed monogamous same-sex relationships are no less sacred or holy and that are part of [the] divine plan, if you will.”
The AWAB and other groups such as Truth Wins Out protested outside of the SBC’s annual meeting in June over it statement on homosexuality.
But Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver encouraged opponents of gay marriage to continue to express their beliefs about homosexuality.
“Christians ought to express their faith on any topic that the Bible addresses and should not be hiding their faith under a bushel basket but letting their light shine,” he told CP.
Staver, also a law professor at Liberty University, founded the conservative Liberty Counsel legal firm.
He told CP that the U.S. constitution protect Christians’ rights to express their faith convictions “in different ways and different places.”
“I think sometimes Christians are too passive. That’s why some of our liberties are taken away because we just sit on the sidelines and don’t do anything,” said Staver.