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Dale's Web Pages

NJ Supreme Court Defines Moral Teachings as Bigotry


NJ Supreme Court 
Defines Moral Teachings as Bigotry

By Dale O'Leary

In its ruling that the Boy Scouts have no right to exclude openly homosexual individuals from membership, the NJ Supreme Court took direct aim on freedom of religion. According to Chief Justice, Deborah T. Poritz the scout leader's dismissal was "based on little more than prejudice." She characterized the Boy Scouts' action as "bigotry" and "invidious discrimination."

Justice Handler, in his concurring opinion, said the Boy Scouts' legal contention in the Dale case that homosexuality is immoral is out of touch with current law, public policy and social mores: "One particular stereotype that we renounce today is that homosexuals are inherently immoral... In short, a lesbian and gay person, merely because he or she is a homosexual, is no more or less likely to be moral than a person who is heterosexual."

"Boy Scouts' adherence to 'traditional moral values,' its 'belief in moral values,' " Justice Handler said, "remain undisturbed and undeterred by Dale's open avowal of his homosexuality."

One hardly knows how to respond to such reasoning. For judges to say that "current law, public policy, and social mores" must be given precedence over thousands of years of religious teaching represents an unequaled act of judicial arrogance and a threat to religious freedom which demands an immediate response. If the courts of NJ can decide what is moral and what is not, and impose this belief on private organizations, it is only a matter of time before they impose their views on other religious institutions.

SEXUAL MORALITY

According to traditional religious teaching, all sexual relations outside of marriage are immoral - that is contrary to human dignity and to God's loving plan. A person who is tempted to immoral behavior, of whatever kind, but rejects that temptation is not immoral, but a person who engages in sexual activity outside marriage -- with either sex -- is committing an immoral act. Those who express an intention to engage in sexual activity outside marriage are not proper examples of morality for young men.

An open avowal of homosexuality must be taken, at the least, as an expression of an intention to engage in sexual activity outside marriage and therefore is prima facia evidence of immoral intentions. Had the scout leader in question decided to live a chaste, celibate life and resist whatever temptations he might have, he would surely not have publicly declared his "homosexuality."

Cruelty toward persons experiencing homosexual attractions is never acceptable and has been condemned by the same religious organizations that regard sexual acts outside marriage as immoral. It is an act of anti-religious prejudice to accuse organizations of "ugly prejudice" or "intolerance" when they defend the moral injunction against homosexual acts.

UNDERSTANDING HOMOSEXUAL ATTRACTION

Some people believe that it is okay for homosexuals to engage in homosexual acts because "God made them that way." However, the existence of identical twins discordant for sexual attraction - that is one twin homosexual and one heterosexual - proves that homosexual attraction is not a genetically determined trait.

On the other hand, there is overwhelming evidence that homosexual attractions are a symptom of a developmental disorder. When an emotionally sensitive child is raised by parents who fail to encourage appropriate same-sex identification, or when a child is the victim of inappropriate early sexualization or sexual abuse, the homosexual attractions can develop. Homosexual men often report that in early childhood they were excessively afraid of rough and tumble play and that this limited their same-sex peer relationships, leaving them feeling different and lonely. No single pattern describes every homosexually attracted individual, but in almost every personal history the trauma behind the attraction is easily discernible. The literature produced by gay-affirming therapists reveals precisely the same disrupted childhood patterns as the reports from therapists who treat homosexuality as a developmental disorder.

Homosexual attraction has its origins in early childhood experiences and is not freely chosen. The choice to act on the attraction or to seek help can be freely made by the individual. Unfortunately, homosexual activists have pressured various mental health professional organizations into declaring therapy for traumatically caused homosexual attractions unethical. They have spread the lie that therapy is not effective and that change of sexual orientation is impossible, when there are scores of studies, which document successful therapy.

The anti-religion bias seen in the NJ Supreme Court decision has also invaded the mental health field. In an 1988 article in Journal of Mental Health Counseling B. Schreier criticized therapists who offered therapy for homosexuals who wanted to change and defended therapists who told their clients that change was impossible and that rather than changing their sexual orientation they should change their religion: "Perhaps instead of sexual reorientation, individuals could seek religious reorientation to any number of major U.S. religions that are affirming of people with same-sex orientations.... Not all religions are judgmental and condemning. Advocating for sexual reorientation while being critical of religious reorientation again demonstrates nothing more than bias."

Unless religious Americans and those who defend freedom of religion move quickly, the right of religious people to freedom of speech and association may be lost.


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From Dale's Disk, njscout.rtf - Jan. 2000
Formatted in HTML 2000 11 03 —WHS