Why Is 2 Thessalonians 1:12 Constantly Mistranslated?

The standard English translation of 2 Thessalonians 1:12 ends with “our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” This creates the impression that “God” and “Lord” each have a different referent in this verse. But unless you look at the Greek text, you would never know that the word “the” has been added in before “Jesus Christ.” I would propose that the translation, “our God and Lord Jesus Christ” is far superior and demanded by the grammatical construction of the verse. The ESV, HCSB, NET, NIV, NRSV, RSV, NASB, KJV, NKJV, GNV all mistranslate the verse by adding the word “the” and so obscure the clear reference to the deity of Christ. Only the NAB, NLT, and YLT translate the verse correctly.

On what basis can you justify inserting the definite article “the” in 2 Thessalonians 1:12 before “Jesus Christ” but omit it in 2 Peter 1:1; 1:11 and Titus 2:13 which are all close parallels? If we are to apply Granville-Sharp’s rule to Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 to argue for the deity of Christ, how can we not apply it to 2 Thessalonians 1:12 since they both have the same grammatical construction (two singular nouns connected by “and” with a definite article before the first one)? 2 Peter 1:1 has literally the same wording in Greek except that “Lord” has been replaced by “Savior.” If 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is not a reference to the deity of Christ, then would that not invalidate Granville-Sharp’s rule and provide an escape clause for those who oppose the deity of Christ?

The following chart illustrates the similarities between these verses:

2 Thessalonians 1:12 our God and Lord Jesus Christ tou theou hēmōn kai kuriou Iēsou Christou
2 Peter 1:1 our God and Savior Jesus Christ tou theou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou
2 Peter 1:11 our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ tou kuriou hēmōn kai sōtēros Iēsou Christou
Titus 2:13 our great God and Savior Jesus Christ tou megalou theou and sōtēros hēmōn Iēsou Christou

Do the people who make these translations actually look at the Greek text or do they just rely on the work that was done before them? Because the way 2 Thessalonians 1:12 is translated makes me seriously wonder whether or not the Greek text is carefully studied or if they are just making minor variations to older English Bibles so each Christian publisher can have its own Bible translation to avoid paying royalties for quotations of other translations.

The more I study the Greek text, the more often I see that words have been added to the text for the sake of clarification for English readers. However, I do not agree with all of their decisions because often I believe these additions obscure the meaning of the original text. The translation then functions as an interpretation rather than as a translation and I don’t believe their interpretation of the text is always right.

Cultivating Local Missions

If the church is to reach the world for Christ, then it must reach its Jerusalem first (Acts 1:8).  If a church is not involved in its community through evangelism, then it will not be involved in missions.  And as Yemi Ladipo says, “A church not involved in mission will forever be a mission field.” Charles Spurgeon put it well: “A church which does not exist to do good in the slums and dens and kennels of the city is a church that does not exist to reclaim heathenism, to fight with evil, to destroy error, to put down falsehood. A church that does not exist to take the side of the poor, to denounce injustice and to hold to righteousness, is a church that has no right to be.”

The church needs to learn how to serve the local community through good works and service.  People need to learn servanthood and humility here before they attempt to serve others in a foreign country.  The congregation needs to develop hospitality for strangers so they can be hospitable when they leave the comforts of home.  Perhaps the reason why so many missionaries return home from the mission field discouraged from lack of results is that they expected to see people saved outside of America when they never expected to see people saved while in America.

Local missionary work is the training ground for foreign missionary work.  The church can learn how to be evangelistic in their Jerusalem through evangelism training classes that the church offers and through church outreaches.  The church can offer a Sunday School class where the people are first trained in evangelism and then go door to door witnessing after the church service.  The church can start a prison ministry and a nursing home ministry to reach those who otherwise would not be reached.  The church can start a homeless shelter or a food pantry as a way to witness to those who otherwise would never hear the gospel.  Church members should be encouraged to invite their neighbors over for dinner in order to introduce them to the Christian faith and to invite them to church.  The congregation should be encouraged to ask others how they can pray for them.  This is a good way to open up dialogue about faith in Christ.  The church could hold question and answer sessions in order to answer questions about how to more effectively share the gospel and how to answer objections to Christianity.  There are a multitude of things the church can do to reach others for Christ.

What the church does locally to reach the lost should be used in the other countries the church is involved in as well.  Those on the mission team will be able to better evangelize in foreign countries when they have already been using the same method at home when going door to door.  The church should use evangelistic tracts which are also available in other languages so they can use the same ones for missions.  Each member needs to know how to give their testimony and be able to explain the gospel accurately and quickly.  If they can do this, they will be better prepared for going on mission trips.  The pastor must preach about and present the gospel regularly from the pulpit.  He should preach specifically on the gospel and the resurrection of Christ several times a year.  A pastor who speaks often of Christ and the gospel will have a congregation that can tell others about Christ without fear and with boldness.

Reflections on “Quest for More” by Paul Tripp

So often I forget God’s calling on my life to not shrink the size of it down to my own personal desires (30).  It can be so easy sometimes to live for myself instead of living for the one who willingly suffered and died on my behalf.  I forget that I am on a quest for more than this life.  I can stray off the path and instead pursue my own desires instead of the objectives of the kingdom of God.  God’s children need to be reminded constantly that they are not their own because they have been bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20).  Because I do not belong to myself, I have no right to live a life that is centered around my wants because I owe my existence and every breath to God.  It is easy to believe the lie of autonomy because individualism is the driving force behind the values of Western culture.  I found Tripp’s comments on exchanging the creator for the creation to be very convicting (41).  Everyone all the time is a worshiper.  Everyone worships something.  Though Christians worship the Triune God of Scripture, they can live inconsistently and sin against God by valuing things in his creation like money and success more than him.  After reading A Quest for More, I now realize that I am more selfish than I thought I was.  I need to deal with the remaining selfishness in my heart through the power of the Holy Spirit and prayer.  Though Christians have been given new hearts in regeneration, there is still an ongoing need for sanctification in order to remove the selfishness that remains.

Too often I have allowed myself to be deceived into believing that I am living for God’s glory when in reality I have been selfish and am living for myself (77).  I can mistake zeal for my own kingdom for the kingdom of God.  Tripp’s analysis of the deceptiveness of sin in chapter six is very revealing.  He understands the human heart better than any other counselor I know of.  I can fall into patterns of using the glory of God as “a means to an end rather than the end itself” (81).  I must avoid man-centered worship because God’s glory is at stake in worship.  I have often fallen into the sin of being anti-social and avoiding others when I should talk with them.  I see now that such a desire is sinful and is rooted in my desire to uphold my own integrity and ensure that others have a high opinion of me (90).  I cannot forget that I am created for community.  It is not good for man to be alone (Gen 2:18).  I need to have a higher esteem for the body of Christ because it is the worshiping community that God has created me to be part of and of which I will be a member for all eternity.

As a young man, I often forget that I am mortal.  I am prone to think that I am immortal and have many years left on earth to do what I want before I decide to give the rest of my time to God.  But in reality, “The entire length of our lives on earth is but an infinitesimal blip in time” (92).  I need to live for the world to come instead of living for my own glory and pleasure on this world which will soon pass away.  I do not know when I shall have to give an account to God because he holds my life in his hand (Psa 31:15).  This should give us pause and ignite in our hearts a fervent desire to live every day for his glory.  I must not believe the lie of sin that this world is all that there is (95).  Too often Christians reduce Christianity down to moralism (105).  But the Christian life is more than rules to be obeyed.  The commands of Scripture are rooted in God’s desire for us to no longer live for ourselves but for his sake.  Only God’s grace can give us the power to do what is right in his eyes (105).

The truth of God’s incomparable glory calls me to submit every desire I have to his larger plan for my life (107).  I must re-evaluate the goals and plans of my life to see whether or not they are in conformity with God’s revealed will (107).  Christians are called to submit their desires to those of Scripture.  I need to examine my heart to see “what treasures or pleasures so excite and motivate you that they shape everything you desire, think, speak, and do” (119).  Instead of putting myself at the center of my universe, I need to see Christ as the center of it and live for his glory (124).  Instead of living in fear of man, I need to fear God and obey his commands (127).  Because “all of us are better at seeing the sin of others than we are our own” (156), I need the accountability of the church so that others can evaluate the motives of my heart.  May God use the church to bring his people into greater conformity with the image of Christ.

The Personality of the Holy Spirit

I would agree with Gordon Fee that for many Christians, the Holy Spirit is “a gray, oblong blur.” In contrast to the ambiguity that exists in much of Christianity regarding the Spirit, the Bible clearly affirms the personal nature of the Spirit of God. Far from being an impersonal force or power, the Spirit is the personal God of Scripture through whom the Father and Son carry out their work.

One of the first references to the personality of the Spirit occurs in 2 Samuel 23:2 when David says, “The Spirit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.” Here David declares that though he is the one who is literally speaking, it is the Spirit who is speaking through him so that his words are the very words of the Spirit. Another Old Testament example of the Spirit speaking is Ezekiel 3:24, “But the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and he spoke with me and said to me, ‘Go, shut yourself within your house.’” While some scholars assert that it is God speaking in this verse and not the Spirit, this creates a false dichotomy between God and the Spirit since the Spirit is equated with God’s presence (Psa 139:7; Isa 63:14).

As the Spirit spoke through David, so too Jesus promises that the Spirit will speak through believers in times of persecution (Matt 10:20). The Spirit in John 16:13 not only hears and communicates Christ’s will to the disciples, but also declares to them what is to come. Throughout Acts, Luke reveals that the Spirit has knowledge of future events through David’s prophecy concerning Judas (1:16), Agabus’ prophecy of a great famine (11:28), and the Spirit speaking through Agabus regarding Paul’s imprisonment (21:11). Additionally, there are several places in Acts where the Spirit speaks in an audible voice such as when the Spirit tells Philip, “Go over and join this chariot” (8:29). The Spirit tells Peter about the men who are looking for him (10:19-20), speaks and chooses individuals for missionary work (13:2), tells Paul about his future afflictions (20:23), and spoke through Isaiah the prophet (28:25-27).

In Paul’s letters, the Spirit cries out “Abba! Father!” (Gal 4:6), and says that in the future false teachers will arise teaching ascetic rigorism (1 Tim 4:1). Hebrews 3:7 reveals that the Spirit spoke through the Psalmist as he wrote Psalm 95. Throughout the book of Revelation, the Spirit speaks to John and the churches (Rev 2:7; 3:6; 14:13; 22:17). What is significant is that when the Spirit speaks in Revelation 14:13, it is preceded by another “voice from heaven” which alludes to God himself speaking (Matt 3:17; John 12:28; Rev 18:4). Both the Bride of Christ and the Spirit proclaim the gospel (Rev 22:17). The Spirit was also active in inspiration through carrying along the authors of Scripture as they spoke (2 Pet 1:19-21). Since it was by the Spirit that the biblical authors wrote, it is God the Spirit who breathes out Scripture so that it is the very breath of God himself (2 Tim 3:16). Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses who teach that the Spirit is only an active force believe that Satan is personal because he speaks:

“Can an unintelligent ‘force’ carry on a conversation with a person? Also, the Bible calls Satan a manslayer, a liar, a father (in a spiritual sense) and a ruler. . . . Only an intelligent person could fit all those descriptions” (Awake!, Dec. 8, 1973).

The utter inconsistency of affirming the personality of Satan since he speaks, while denying the personality of the Spirit, even though he likewise speaks, only demonstrates the depths of unregenerate man’s depravity and capacity for self-deception.

The following chart outlines the Spirit’s work and personal nature in Scripture:

1. Speaks Ezek 3:24; 11:5; John 16:13-14; Acts 8:29; 10:19-20; 13:2-4; 20:23; 28:25-27; Gal 4:6; 1 Tim 4:1; Heb 3:7; Rev 2:7; 3:6; 14:13; 22:17
2. Speaks through Inspiration 2 Sam 23:2; Matt 10:19-20; 22:43; Acts 1:16; 11:28; 21:11; 28:25-27; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pet 1:19-21
3. Knows the Future John 16:13-14; Acts 1:16; 11:28; 20:23; 21:11; 1 Tim 4:1
4. Can be Sinned Against Isa 63:10; Matt 12:31-32; Acts 5:3-4, 9; 7:51; Eph 4:30; Heb 10:29
5. Associated with Personality Isa 48:16; Matt 28:19; John 14:16, 26; 15:26-27; 16:7-11; Acts 5:32; 15:28; 2 Cor 13:14; Eph 2:18; 1 John 4:4; Rev 14:13; 22:17
6. Deity Implies Personality Ps 139:7-10; Isa 40:13-14; Acts 5:3-4; 2 Cor 3:16-18; 6:16; Heb 3:7-11; 9:14; 10:15-17
7. Teaches Neh 9:20, 30; Isa 11:2; Luke 12:12; John 14:26; 16:13-14; 1 Cor 2:10-13
8. Bears Witness John 15:26; Acts 5:32; Rom 8:16; Heb 10:15-17
9. Intercedes for Rom 8:26-27
10. Active in Salvation John 3:3-6; 6:63; 16:7-11; Rom 8:11, 14, 16; 2 Cor 3:6, 18; Gal 5:18, 22-23; Eph 1:13; 2 Thess 2:13; Heb 10:15-17
11. Sovereign John 3:8; Acts 13:2-4; 15:28; 16:6-7; 20:28; 1 Cor 12:9-11
12. Glorifies Christ John 16:13-14
13. Mind and Desires Rom 8:26-27; Gal 5:17
14. Personal Knowledge of John 14:17
15. Loves Rom 5:5; 15:30; Gal 5:22
16. Use of Masculine Pronoun John 14:26; 15:26; 16:8, 13-14

Equipping Families to Shepherd Their Children

The heart of any family-equipping church is training parents to be the primary spiritual discipler of their children.  Voddie Baucham in his Family Driven Faith records that “between 70 and 88 percent of Christian teens are leaving the church by their second year in college” (10).  In an age when perhaps the majority of churched youth abandon the Christian faith during college, it is now more important than ever that parents take the imitative to raise godly men and women who are well-grounded in Scripture.  Grace Fellowship Church must hold fathers accountable to teach their family the Word of God rather than completely turning over their children to the church to disciple (177).  As Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”  A Father, as the head of his household (1 Cor 11:3), has a special responsibility to teach his children the Word of God (Eph 6:4).  Grace Fellowship Church seeks to be a family-equipping church that trains parents how to disciple their children so that they will grow up to be men and women of God.

Jay Strother in his article in Perspectives on Family Ministry provides an extremely helpful explanation of what a family-equipping church does and how to move a church to this model.  Because the spiritual immaturity of the youth of the church is directly related to the immaturity of their parents (143), parents must first be discipled before they can disciple their children.  The church needs to teach on the spiritual disciplines of the Christian life and the importance of family worship.  Donald Whitney’s books Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Family Worship should be taught to the church to impress upon them the importance of Bible reading, prayer, and worshiping as a family.  Husbands need to be taught what it means to be a Christian man and women need to be instructed in what a godly wife looks like.  The pastor should preach on biblical manhood and womanhood and the importance of family worship.  This teaching needs to be reinforced by the Sunday School teachers and other leaders in the church to demonstrate that there is no disagreement among the leaders of the church about the significance of parents teaching their children the Scriptures.  As Strother notes, parents need to be convinced of the importance of training their children and why the church cannot do everything for them (150).

The church needs to create a system of accountability where it simply becomes part of the church’s culture to have parents worship together with and teach the Scriptures to their children at home.  Strother gives seven excellent strategies which Grace Fellowship should try to emulate in order to help parents be more involved in the discipleship of their children such as keeping the family the priority in church activities, communicating the message of parents as the primary discipler of their children, making a guide for resources, communicating with the teachers of their children, having special events devoted to teaching parents these truths, having family mission trips, and worshiping together as an entire family in church (154-56).  Parents should be able to be involved in every aspect of their children’s education at church.  The church should create a mentoring program for children who do not have Christian parents and therefore cannot be part of family worship (158).

In order for parents to teach their children the Bible, they must understand it first.  This is why expositional preaching is so important.  The whole counsel of God must be taught so that parents will be able to accurately pass on the truths of God’s Word to their children (2 Tim 2:2).  The teachers of the church must instruct the congregation in how to be good students of God’s Word and how to interpret it correctly.  Only when parents have a good model in their pastor of handling the Scriptures properly will they do so with their children.

Is Sexual Orientation Genetically Determined? (Part 2)

My last blog post addressed the question of whether or not sexual orientation is genetically determined.  The next section will answer the question, “If my same-sex desires are not genetically inherited, where did they come from and what do you expect me to do?”

The two prevailing theories concerning same-sex attraction in the scientific community are that it is either biological in origin or that it is environmental.  These two theories represent the nature/nurture dichotomy that psychologists and sociologists have been debating for centuries.  While it is true that our experiences help to shape who we are and what we desire, neither of these theories stand up to biblical scrutiny.  Both options point the individual away from himself to some outside cause that he or she had little to no control over.  It shifts the guilt and burden of responsibility away from the person to something else that can be blamed instead of taking accountability for one’s actions.  We only have ourselves to blame for our sins.

Paul Tripp has said many times that the greatest danger we face is to believe that our greatest problem is outside of us rather than inside of us.  All sinful desires come from the heart and flow out of rebellion and unbelief toward God.  As Jesus said, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matt 15:19).  The “heart” in Scripture describes our desires, will, and affections.  These things will always be ruled by something, the question is, who or what is ruling them.  If our greatest treasure is our own desire for pleasure, then our actions will reflect the deepest desires of our heart: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21).  But if Christ the Lord is ruling our heart, then our desire will be to honor him rather than live for ourselves.  That’s why Paul says, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9).  God must dethrone the idols of our heart and reign supreme.

The cause of homosexual desires and actions is a heart of idolatry that worships creation rather than the creator.  Therefore God gives those who are lost over to the sinful desires of their hearts because they have rejected him.  As Paul says, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Rom 1:24-27).  The cause of homosexuality is idolatry, not genetics or environmental factors.

Therefore there is hope for anyone who turns to Christ in faith and repentance because today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2).  While we cannot change our skin-color or gender because they are genetically determined, sinful sexual orientations are worship disorders that can be fixed by God the Holy Spirit and that should give us hope.  The message that homosexual orientation is an unchangeable genetically determined attribute drives people to despair because they don’t believe they can ever change.  But Paul mentions that there were former practicing homosexuals in the church at Corinth when he says, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality. . . . And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:9-11).  When we are saved, our struggles do not all go away, but God is transforming us through the process of making us like his Son Jesus.  As Russell Moore said during the ERLC conference on marriage and homosexuality, God has not promised to take away our temptations, but to walk with us in the midst of them (1 Cor 10:13).

Is Sexual Orientation Genetically Determined? (Part 1)

Are people born gay?  Can sexual orientation be changed?  How should the Christian church respond to the challenges of ministering to those with same-sex attraction?  The first part of this article will discuss whether or not homosexual orientation is genetically determined and the second part will discuss where same-sex attraction comes from and if it is possible for that orientation to be changed.

While many assume that people are “born gay” or are gay as a result of a “gay gene,” there is absolutely no proof that homosexuality is determined by genetics (Stanton and Maier, Marriage on Trial, 133).  The first major study to try to find a biological cause for homosexuality is Simon LeVay’s study comparing the hypothalamuses of several gay men who died of AIDS with “sixteen presumed heterosexual men, six of whom died of AIDS” (Welch, Blame It on the Brain?, 166).  However, even LeVay has admitted that his study does not prove homosexuality is biologically determined: “I did not prove that homosexuality is genetic, or find a genetic cause for being gay.  I didn’t show that gay men are born that way, the most common mistake people make in interpreting my work” (Cited in Staver, Same-Sex Marriage, 77).  There are several problems with LeVay’s study which include too small a sample size, the impact of AIDS or AIDS medication on the brain, three homosexual brains were no different from that of the heterosexuals, and the differences may have been the result of homosexual practice as LeVay has admitted (Welch, 166).   Because six of the sixteen men who were assumed to be heterosexual died of AIDS, it is unlikely that they all were heterosexual (Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice, 397).  A later “more careful (blind) study by William Byne did not find a difference between male homosexual and male heterosexual INAH3s” (Gagnon, 398).

A later study by Michael Bailey and Richard Pillard studied the frequency of homosexuality among identical twins when one twin is gay to see if there is a genetic cause to homosexuality.  They found that when one identical twin is gay there is a higher statistical probability that the other one will be too (Stanton and Maier, 134).  But rather than proving that homosexuality is genetically determined, it actually proves the opposite.  As Robert Gagnon explains, “If homosexuality were determined completely by the genes, we would expect the concordance rate in such cases to be 100%” (Gagnon, 403).  When one identical twin is gay, the other twin would always be gay because they both have the same genes.  But this is not the case.  The higher rates of homosexuality among identical twins when one twin is gay is likely because “identical twins typically have a profound influence on each other” (Welch, 168).  This would “explain why adoptive brothers of homosexuals would be four times more likely than the general population to be homosexual” (Gagnon, 406).

Another study used to support a biological basis for homosexuality is Dean Hamer’s study of the genetic material of gay brothers who are nonidentical twins (Stanton and Maier, 134).  Glenn T. Stanton and Bill Maier explain why Hamer’s study does not support the contention that homosexuality is genetically determined: “Hamer’s study actually found several gay men who did not have the genetic marker that supposedly contributed to homosexuality.  He also found several men who had the marker but were not gay. Perhaps even more significantly, other researchers have been unable to replicate the results of any of these studies” (135).  Hamer himself says concerning whether his study proves homosexuality is genetically determined: “Absolutely not.  From twin studies, we already know that half or more of the variability in sexual orientation is not inherited. . . . The best recent study suggests that female sexual identification is more a matter of environment than heredity” (Cited in Staver, Same-Sex Marriage, 77).

As Stanton and Maier conclude: “LeVay, Bailey and Pillard, and Hamer have all stated that their studies did not prove that homosexuality is genetically or biologically determined” (Stanton and Maier, 135).  It is therefore rather disingenuous for advocates of gay marriage to argue that science has proved homosexuality is genetically determined when it has proved no such thing.  But if homosexuality is not biologically determined, then what causes homosexuality?  While the reasons for homosexual orientation are not the same in every case, Richard Fitzgibbons lists some of the most important factors that scientists have given: “Weak masculine identity . . . a poor emotional relationship with the father . . . poor body image . . . sexual abuse by older, more powerful children or by adults . . . mistrust of women’s love . . . the pursuit of pleasure” (Richard Fitzgibbons, “The Origins and Therapy of Same-Sex Attraction Disorder,” 88-89).

As Gagnon notes, some homosexual orientation is the result of sexual abuse: “homosexuals and bisexuals are three to nine times more likely to have experienced sex as a child (usually with an adolescent or adult male) than their heterosexual counterparts” (Gagnon, 412).  The Archives of Sexual Behavior reports that “46 percent of homosexual men and 22 percent of homosexual women reported having been molested by a person of the same gender” (Cited in Peter Sprigg and Timothy Dailey, Getting It Straight: What the Research Shows About Homosexuality, 140).  After his study on the subject, David Finkelhor concludes that “boys victimized by older men were over four times more likely to be currently engaged in homosexual activity than were non-victims” (141).

It is also evident that homosexual orientation is not an immutable characteristic on the basis of studies of the sexual history of homosexuals.  Gagnon reports that “Greater than 9 out of every 10 Americans (90.7% of all men and 94.9% of women) who have had any same-gender sex since puberty have also had opposite-gender sex” (Gagnon, 419).  Peter Sprigg and Timothy Dailey report that “only about one in every 15 men with homosexual experience has been exclusively homosexual in behavior, while only about one in every 21 women with homosexual experience has been exclusively homosexual” (Sprigg and Dailey, 49).  That sexual orientation is greatly influenced by the environment in which a child grows up in is evidenced by the fact that “12 percent of the children of lesbians became active lesbians themselves, a rate which is at least four times the base rate of lesbianism in the adult female population” (Sprigg and Dailey, 110).  These findings should forever put to rest the theory that homosexual orientation is genetically determined.

The California Supreme Court has a compelling state interest in not allowing gay marriage because the societal acceptance of homosexuality will only lead to higher rates of homosexuality and all of the health problems that come with it.  The life expectancy of male homosexuals is anywhere between 8 to 20 years less than that of male heterosexuals (Gagnon, 472).  Stanton and Maier report that “homosexuals are more likely to suffer from mental illness, alcohol and substance abuse, and a variety of life-threatening diseases such as AIDS, certain types of cancer, and hepatitis. . . . on average, male homosexuals die a premature death by up to twenty years. . . . both gays and lesbians are more likely than heterosexuals to commit suicide, and to be victims of domestic violence at the hands of a sex partner” (Stanton and Maier, 142).

According to Gagnon, the negative effects of acceptance of homosexuality as a society include: “An increase in serious health problems . . . an increase in the incidence of same-sex pedophilic and adult-adolescent sexual activity . . . a further cheapening of the institutions of marriage and family . . . the annihilation of all societal gender norms . . . the public, political, educational, professional, and legal marginalization of any (both organizational and individuals) who make known their opposition to homosexual behavior, as the societal equivalent of racists” (Gagnon, 488).  Gagnon is exactly right that once homosexual orientation is viewed as being in the same category as skin color, those who disagree with homosexuality must be viewed no differently than racists because both sexual orientation and skin color are now fundamentally the same.