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
"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.
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.