So, for years I have posted a quote from a 1995 book, The Assault: Liberalism’s Attack on Religion, Freedom, and Democracy, by Dale A. Berryhill. I recommend his other book as well, The Liberal Contradiction: How Contemporary Liberalism Violates Its Own Principles and Endangers Its Own Goals. (Both are out of print so you know.) The quote is this:
“If homosexuality is really genetic, we may soon be able to tell if a fetus is predisposed to homosexuality, in which case many parents might choose to abort it. Will gay rights activists continue to support abortion rights if this occurs?”
This quote, in my mind’s eye, hits close at the contradictions present in equal rights versus special rights. Well, the gay community has another medical procedure to contend with soon. First Things, a wonderful conservative Catholic Journal, has a great article entitle, “Gay Gene Eugenics,” by Joe Carter. In it (I recommend the entire reading of the article if you have time) this idea of special rights is in conflict with societal norms, humanity, and medical ethics. Joe Carter points out that soon homosexuality may be a thing of the past:
Ironically, such an explanation could have just the opposite effect of what they hope for. As the Los Angeles Times recently reported, a prenatal pill used to prevent ambiguous genitalia may reduce the chance that a female with the disorder will be gay. A bioethicist quoted in the story worried that the treatment could lead to “engineering in the womb for sexual orientation.”
The ability to chemically steer a child’s sexual orientation has become increasingly possible in recent years, with evidence building that homosexuality has biological roots and with advances in the treatment of babies in utero. Prenatal treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia is the first to test—unintentionally or not—that potential.
No one who has followed the trajectory of eugenics-oriented biotechnology will be surprised that one the first targets for manipulation would be sexual orientation. In 2002 Francis Fukuyama speculated that within twenty years we would be able to devise a way for parents to sharply reduce the likelihood that they will give birth to a gay child. Even in a society in which “social norms have become totally accepting of homosexuality,” he argues, most parents would choose the treatment.
Fukuyama is right. Even if homosexuality were considered a benign trait such as baldness or left-handedness, the majority of parents would opt to have a heterosexual child (“What if we want grandchildren?”).
WOW. of course this whole choice of orientation creates an ethical mess, Carter continues:
Although they will naturally abhor the aborting of such children, many conservative Christians will be amenable to changing sexual orientations in the womb. A prenatal treatment seems a humane solution for a moral problem, an easy way to deliver children from a particularly difficult temptation.
This acceptance of the “medicalization” of sexual orientations is misguided. Treating orientation as a malady promotes a reductionist view in which human behavior is explainable by chemical and physical laws. As we’ve seen in other areas of bioethics, reductionism inevitably undermines both moral autonomy and the dignity of the individual.
But even Christians who disagree with me should recognize that embracing the use of drugs and genetic engineering to correct for behavioral orientations opens the Pandora’s box of natal eugenics. Bioethicist Samuel Hensley also warns that rather than unconditionally accepting offspring as a gift of God, we will be tempted to redefine parenthood to include choosing the particular characteristics we want in children.
Christians should reject this cult of choice. We should be vigilant in expressing the truth that children are a blessing from God, not a product we manufacture to our specifications.
Out of the frying pan into the fire? The radical homosexual community will be in an awkward place of teaming up with Christians to not allow genetic engineering to eradicate them. Carter says that we
Oh what a tangled web technology weaves. (read more)