Is Anita Bryant Right? Yes!

The Banner recently (8/26/77) published an article written by Rev. Alvin Hoksbergen. entitled, “Is Anita Bryant Right?” In this article the author asserts that she is wrong, that she “has done the Christian community a disservice by claiming that hers is a Christian cause.” Quite the opposite is true; Anita Bryant is right and Rev. Hoksbergen is wrong.

In his article Rev. Hoksbergen in several respects presents an incorrect view of homosexuality, a view contrary to Scripture. On the one hand he admits that the Bible condemns homosexuality, that God holds homosexual persons responsible for their sin. And on the other hand he asserts that Many homosexual persons are not homosexual by choice (apparently referring in particular to those who are old enough to seek employment or to rent housing). He correctly observes that “the Bible makes no distinction between persons who are without their choice homosexual and those who by deliberate choice pervert their heterosexual ways and assume a homosexual orientation.” But without warrant he implies that this is true only because “the writers of the Bible were not aware of this distinction.”

Homosexuality is a learned behavior. If one is sexually oriented toward persons of his own sex this was developed in his lifetime. While it is true that we are all “conceived and born in sin,” no one is born with a natural tendency or orientation toward one particular life-dominating sin, whether that takes the form of thievery, heterosexual perversity, homosexuality or any such sin. No one can say, “I cant help being this way; it‘s in my genes. It is a physical problem.” The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, makes it very clear that this is true for homo. sexuals no less than for others when he says, “Even the women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions” (Rom. 1:26, 27, NIV). To engage in homosexuality is to choose to go contrary to one’s own nature, his own physical makeup.

To be sure, some learn homosexuality at a very young age. A child can quite easily get started in that direction. Once this has happened, if the restraining influences are not present and the conditions prevail that tend to promote it, often a fixed pattern gradually develops. The natural sex drives become increasingly perverted. Gradually this becomes a habit—a very deeply ingrained habit. It becomes a way of life. As with other sins, it becomes second nature to him. The longer he continues in this way the more he becomes oriented in this direction. His habitual responses become molded in this way.

Is this not essentially the same with other sins? The boy who gets started at a qoung age with heterosexual perversion will quite likely continue to grow in that—unless he is stopped by strong positive influences. Is it not true that if a young man once has had the experience of sexual intercourse, he is going to be extremely inclined to seek more of the same? Passions will continue to burn. Likewise, the boy who grows up in an environment where stealing is a way of life, will easily fall into that sin. He may very early in childhood become a thief. This becomes a way of life, a learned pattern of behavior. It becomes second nature to him. However, such patterns of behavior, no matter how deeply ingrained, can also be unlearned, can be broken. Homosexuality is no exception.

Homosexuality can be overcome. Admittedly, this will be extremely difficult for some, but not impossible for any. True Christians can do so in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is clearly indicated for us in I Corinthians 6:9–11: “Dont you know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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” (NIV). Notice carefully that Paul says that some of the Corinthian Christians had been idolaters, adulterers, prostitutes, etc. But for them it’s a thing of the past. And that is what some of you were,” says Paul. They are not only “justified,” they are “washed,” “sanctified”—freed from the power of their sin. “Homosexual offenders” tool John, in his first letter says, “No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (3:6) . . . . “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because Gods seed remains in him; he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (3:9).

See also the sixth chapter of Romans (I suggest that you read the whole chapter with this issue in mind), where the Holy Spirit moved Paul to tell us that those who are united to Christ by faith have died to sin, have the new life in Christ and thus are no longer in bondage to sin. He also says that it is impossible for a Christian to continue in sin. Notice, for example, what he says in verses 1, 2, 6, 7, 14 and 18: “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? . . . For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from si. . . . For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.”

That homosexuality is a sin that can be overcome is amply demonstrated by the fact that many are being delivered from it today. Christian counselors have verified this. Dr. Jay Adams, for example writes, “Excellent success has been the result of the counseling of homosexuals at the Hatboro Counseling center.” (See his Christian Couneslor’s Manual, p. 403, where he also gives instructions on how to help persons involved in the sin of homosexuality.) Recently a local pastor witnessed one of these cases as he was taking the Pastor’s Training Course at the counseling center.

As to Anita Bryant‘s valiant crusade in Dade County, Florida, Rev. Hoksbergen is less than accurate in his evaluation of it, and certainly is unkind. After attempting to discredit her by suggesting “that Ms. Bryant is painfully ignorant about homosexuality,” he unjustly accuses her of engaging “in a crusade to suppress and ostracize homosexual persons” and of wanting to deny “such persons the privileges of housing and employment which heterosexual persons enjoy . . .” This is a caricature of her real position and goal, quite similar to that painted by much of the liberal news media. Mrs. Bryant is knowledgeable about homosexuality, although she holds to a different view than that held by Rev. Hoksbergen.

Furthermore, the real issue in Dade County was: Should Christians (or all Americans, for that matter) have the right and freedom to choose not to employ those whose moral behavior is contrary to their religious convictions and commitments? Should Americans have the right and the freedom not to allow those of morally deviant behavior to rent or to use their property wherein they would carryon their immoral activity? Anita Bryant says, Yes—also when it comes to homosexuality. She is right!

That this is true can perhaps be made clearer if we show how the same basic principle is involved in this as well as in the other moral issues. Say that you own a business and you want to hire a man to work alongside you or your son or daughter. Two men apply for the job. The one is a Christian, living an upright life. The other also professes to be a Christian but he is living with a woman out of wedlock, or is known to live in sexual promiscuity. However, he has better qualifications for the job than the first man. Even then, should you not have the right and the freedom to discriminate against him in this matter, simply on the basis of his sexually deviant behavior? Should not the same be true if he were a homosexual? Or say that you have a house for rent, and you advertise for tenants. The first applicant qualifies in every way. Others apply. You have no reason to believe that they would be better tenants as far as paying the rent and the care of the property is concerned. But the first applicant happens to be a woman who is known to engage in sexual perversion, say by entertaining men over night. Should you not be free to discriminate against her in this matter simply on the basis of her sexually deviant behavior? Should you not have the same freedom if her sexual perversion took the form of lesbianism? If you should own a motel or hotel, ought it not be your right and freedom to deny the privilege of its use to those who are known to practice sexual perversion—homosexuals no less than others? The Christian conscience ought not to be bound in these matters, not by a law in Dade County, Florida, or in any part of our country. Much is at stake! Anita Bryant’s cause is a Christian cause. The Christian community ought to encourage her and lend our support to the cause.

At the same time we will actually be doing the homosexuals a favor. For this will prove to be best for our whole nation, of which they are privileged to be citizens. Furthermore, we ought to give hope and encouragement to all homosexuals by letting it be known that theirs is not a hopeless condition, that they need not remain slaves to the sin of homosexuality. And let us help them to gain the victory over it. This is the way of love.