Teresa J. McCormick of Cross Lanes declares that the media and gay activists perpetrate the popular myth that “homosexuality isn’t a choice due to genetic disposition”—that is, homosexuality is not genetic—and that the myth “has permeated every facet of society: businesses, schools, churches and even family.” I am the father of a homosexual and I have studied diligently most of my life to keep myths from permeating my thinking or my family’s thinking. And I am one of those who believe that this “myth” has more than a grain of truth in it, notwithstanding Ms. McCormick’s absolute certainty that homosexuals choose to be gay.

Ms. McCormick is not content to declare that gays choose to be homosexuals. She goes so far at to assert that “there is a significant body of evidence that proves genetic predisposition is not a fact at all.” To take a position that gays chose to be gays is an egregious enough exhibition of misinformation but to confess that one believes that there is no such thing as genetic predisposition borders on the comical and reveals a dearth of knowledge and a mountain of bias. But homophobes, those who are always trying to exculpate themselves from the taint of being haters by claiming to hate the sin but not the sinner, must believe in choice rather than chance in order to feed their phobia. One cannot separate the sin from the sinner any more than one can separate the stink from the skunk.

A homophobe should ask herself why would a person choose to be homosexual instead of heterosexual in a world where homosexuals are murdered and beaten by rednecks and ostracized by 90 percent of the world’s population; and she should look into her own sexual history and ask herself just when she chose to be heterosexual and why she chose to be heterosexual instead of homosexual. Since the aim of sexuality is to love another, to be near another, to enjoy the incomparable pleasure of sexual relations — regardless of the sex combination — with a person one loves, why would a person, knowing the problems encountered by homosexuals, choose to be homosexual and not a heterosexual? No one in his or her right mind would freely chose to be homosexual and thus have to live with the fear that around the next corner he could have the life stomped out of him for so choosing.

The parties in the controversy over the origin of sexual orientation and the origin of the species are pretty much the same people and they have pretty much the same sources of support for their positions. The homophobes cite St. Paul and other Biblical figures and scriptures and they, of recent days, cite pseudo-scientists; for they know that science is gaining ground as a vehicle for truth and thus they must in some manner cast their arguments in scientific terms. The Creationists in their efforts to refute evolution have given leadership and support to straights and their theory by shifting their emphasis from a literal interpretation of the Bible to pseudo-science. But anyone with an open mind who really seeks the truth on both issues can come to no other conclusion but that homosexuality is chance and not choice and that man evolved along with all other species over a period of millions if not billions of years.

Further, on the issue of chance or choice one is confronted with the issue of whether or not man has a free will or whether free will is an illusion. If it is an illusion, then not only do homosexuals not have a choice of their sexual orientation, nobody has a choice in anything. And there are barn-sized libraries that are shelved with volumes that conclude that free will is an illusion and that man’s actions are determined by nature and nurture. Among the literate luminaries that have espoused the proposition that free will is an illusion are Spinoza, Voltaire, T. H. Huxley, William James, Einstein, Tolstoy, Mark Twain and many other of similar intellectual rank.

Free Will is a concept that if considered seriously is an impossible phenomenon. A Free Willer would be one who is divorced from his genetic makeup and from his nurture and from all history. There would be nothing in his past or present that influenced his choice. There is no possibility of any human being or any living thing or inorganic thing discovering itself in such a vacuum. For the Free Willer there would be nothing, no basis, upon which he could exercise his free will or upon any alternatives from which to choose. Any choice is predetermined by nature and nurture, by genes and history. Man is conscious of freewill but it is an illusion.

William James in his essay Pragmatism on the issue of free will and determinism wrote: “ If a ‘free’ act be a sheer novelty, that comes not from me, the previous me, but ex nihilio [from nothing], and simply tacks itself on to me, how can I, the previous I, be responsible? How can I have any permanent character that will stand still long enough for praise or blame? The chaplet of my days tumbles into a case of disconnected beads as soon as the thread of inner necessity is drawn out by the preposterous indeterminist doctrine.”

The illusion of fee will is so strong that one can understand any person’s resistance to the concept on the grounds of common sense. But if one thinks for just a moment and considers that one is born to parents he doesn’t choose, he has a sex he doesn’t choose, he has a physique he doesn’t choose, he has an intelligence he doesn’t choose, friends, an emotional state, a race, teachers, government, and a thousand other influences that enter his makeup which he doesn’t choose, then how can he conclude that one has a totally free will to do anything with all of these influence bearing down upon him and shaping him before he even reaches the age when he is considered responsible?

Ms. McCormick is no different from St. Paul in the sense that she is a human being with all her biases and prejudices and virtues, just as the saint was a human being with all of his biases and prejudices and virtues . And they both have and had among other prejudices a homophobic one that is inherent in heterosexuals and is nurtured by the false belief that gays choose to be gays. I know my son, I know the literature on the origin of homosexuality and on free will; and I assert with equal authority to that of Ms. McCormick and St. Paul and all other homophobes that gays do not choose their sexual orientation.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to Amazon.com to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (wvhighlands.org), and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation (ksff.org). I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at martinjul@aol.com or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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