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Putting the Best Face on a Troublesome Study

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The media outdid themselves last week when reporting on a genetic study that blows apart the much-repeated myth of an elusive “gay gene” that supposedly causes homosexuality.

Actually, the massive Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health did pretty much the same thing a few years ago, but the media declined to ask.  It didn’t fit their ongoing narrative that people are born gay, cannot change, and therefore it’s just like race or ethnicity.  Anyone who says otherwise is a “hater.”

But it’s always been an invalid comparison.  Unlike biologically immutable and morally neutral traits such as race, sex or ethnicity, sexual behavior is volitional and has moral, social and health implications.     

Instead of reporting the limitations of this new study up front, the media deployed misleading headlines, knowing that few people read beyond them.

The New York Times headline was: “Many Genes Influence Same-Sex Sexuality, not a single ‘gay gene.’”

The Washington Post entry was: “Study: No ‘gay gene,’ but genetics linked to same-sex behavior.”

Ah, so there’s no single gene, but being gay must still be caused somehow by genetics.  The study, which involved more than 490,000 people, shows that same-sex behavior is “a natural part of our diversity as a species,” according to lead author Andrea Ganna of the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Finland.  

The article in the August 30, 2019 edition of Science does have caveats against hasty conclusions about causation.

The study suggests that various genetic factors together may correlate with perhaps a third of the variation in same-sex sexual behavior, whose incidence is as little as 2 percent of the population, and which could be a single encounter for many people. This means the vast majority of instances of same-sex behavior correlate with social, cultural and environmental factors—not genetics.

The Wall Street Journal had perhaps the most misleading headline: “Genetics Tied To Same-Sex Behavior.” However, in the very last paragraph, readers learn an inconvenient truth:

Researchers “worked with several advocacy and alliance groups, such as Sense about Science and GLAAD [the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a media pressure group), and received feedback on the science and how to best communicate the findings.  The authors then rewrote sections of the paper to highlight the focus on behavior rather than a person’s identity or orientation.”

In other words, the original findings damaged the idea of the “gay gene” so badly that the researchers were pressured into recasting the data.

Imagine the outrage if, say, researchers rewrote tobacco smoke studies to please cigarette company lawyers.

A dishonest axis between politically correct sex researchers and activist media has been afoot since Alfred C. Kinsey wooed credulous reporters before publishing his groundbreaking and fraudulent study of male sexual behavior in 1948.  He did the same with his volume on female sexuality in 1953.   Eager to validate casual sex of all kinds, the media have suppressed negative medical evidence about certain behaviors while hyping fake science, such as genetic studies that fail to be replicated.       

“To be succinct, this study is not worth very much,” said David Pickup, a California-based license marriage and family therapist.  “The title and article implies there are many genes that cause homosexuality, then the statement underneath the title says there’s no way genes can predict sexual preference. It’s the same old attempt to influence public beliefs. What’s actually relevant is that they admit in the article there are environmental (emotional) influences that have a bearing on sexuality.”

This is important because the LGBTQ movement is on a jihad to criminalize professionally licensed counseling aimed at reducing homosexual or gender dysphoric inclinations – even if a client wants it.

Their main argument is that if people are born gay or transgender and can’t change, then any effort to assist them to do so amounts to malpractice or even criminal activity.   With this reasoning, the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center managed to persuade a liberal judge in New Jersey to rule that a small Jewish group had committed consumer fraud simply because they referred people to counselors who specialize in reparative therapy.  

But this affects far more than counselors. The myth that people are born gay and cannot possibly change is a direct rejection of the Christian gospel of sin and redemption.   It has fueled a dangerously unconstitutional movement to criminalize traditional moral views regarding sexuality.   

It’s one thing to treat everyone with respect. It’s quite another to use cultural and political power to crush dissent and force people to lie.  These are the seeds of tyranny.

Star quarterback Drew Brees is the latest to feel the love.  He made a short video for Focus on the Family promoting “Bring Your Bible to School Day” and is now being hammered as “anti-LGBT” because Focus supports traditional family values.   

As America reels under the Left’s many infringements on our liberties, Big Brother is taking the form of a fist in a rainbow-colored glove.

But they won’t have the “gay gene” in that glove anymore.

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