michael j. morris


In response to the Family Research Council
24 February, 2009, 1:03 am
Filed under: culture | Tags: , , , ,

This is a letter that I wrote to the Family Research Council in response to their official statement on homosexuality. During the time at which I wrote it, I didn’t feel the need to make it a public statement, but as events in our nation continue to unfold, it felt more necessary that these sort of responses exist in a public arena, just as do the words and ideas to which they are responding.

My letter was originally addressed to Tony Perkins, the President of the Family Research Council. I never received a reply.

The statements of the FRC are in regular type; mine are in bold.

 

“Family Research Council believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large, and can never be affirmed.” 

As a homosexual, it offends me to be told that my conduct, completely removed from its content or intentions, is detrimental to my society and myself. Before a Council appoints itself as judge and jury of such things, it should consider that perhaps the truly harmful conduct is sexual conduct divorced from love or the authenticity of the individual. It should consider the harm done to individuals living in secret repression because their families, churches, governments, and societies tell them that to express who they are and what they feel constitutes a threat to themselves and their society. I offer that perhaps individuals who are faced with this sort of oppression, the oppression of shame, secrecy, dishonesty, and a cultural education in self-hate and condemnation, at the hands of those in positions of power are the true victims of harm in our culture, and their suffering is a far greater detriment to society.

“It is by definition unnatural, and as such is associated with negative physical and psychological health effects.” 

I find it arrogant, ignorant, and narrow that this Council has appointed itself the judge of that which is natural and unhealthy. Despite whatever moral systems might be interpreted or derived from sources such as scripture, we as human beings were not given a manual of natural and unnatural, especially when it comes to our bodies and our interpersonal relations. What we have been given is our own experience, a legacy of human inquiry and investigation serving as the foundation for scientific exposition. And from these inquiries, it can certainly be said that negative physical and psychological effects can be a side effect of all kinds of sexual and emotional conduct, even church and government sanctioned heterosexual marriage. Equally, all kinds of sexual and emotional conduct can be expressed in healthy, life and love affirming manners, including those of homosexual couples.

“While the origins of same-sex attractions may be complex, there is no convincing evidence that a homosexual identity is ever something genetic or inborn.”

The origins of same-sex attraction, like all aspects of human identity, are indeed complex. Like all aspects of human identity, there is no convincing evidence that any essence is purely the product of genetics apart from the influence of environment. Identity is always a negotiation of the predetermined (genetics) and the circumstantial (environment). The question of whether homosexuality stems primarily from a persons genes or their environmental condition becomes remarkably less important when one questions whether heterosexuality stems more from genetics or from a society that dictates that heterosexuality is the only acceptable interpretation and expression of oneself.

“We oppose the vigorous efforts of homosexual activists to demand that homosexuality be accepted as equivalent to heterosexuality in law, in the media, and in schools.”

In turn, I oppose the ill-informed, unconcerned, unloving verbiage proliferated by your organization concerning me, those like me, our rights, and our representation in the media and in schools.

“Attempts to join two men or two women in “marriage” constitute a radical redefinition and falsification of the institution, and FRC supports state and federal constitutional amendments to prevent such redefinition by courts or legislatures.”  

In reality, marriage has always been redefined to reflect the values of the culture in which it emerges. Only a few thousand years ago, as recorded by scripture, marriage was defined in many cultures as including polygamy. In most cultures throughout history, even when those engaging in the union were heterosexual, the roles associated with marriage have varied to reflect the needs and expectations of the culture. It is an institution that emerges principally from the relationships that seek to define themselves as married, and secondarily from a society that agrees to recognize that union with those who have declared it. In reality, church, state, and federal governmental recognition is not necessary for same-sex marriage to exist. As long as couples pledge their union to one another, they are married. As these relationships continue to make themselves public and proclaim their commitment, our society will continue to recognize them as valid. It is only a matter of time before laws emerge to reflect those recognitions. What we homosexual activists seek is not a radical redefinition, but the state and federal rights, benefits, and privileges that are awarded heterosexual couples not on the basis of their love for one another, not on the basis of the sanctity of their marriage, not based on the fidelity of their relationship, nor even their ability or inclination to reproduce. They are awarded these rights, benefits, and privileges for filing a document that they states that they call themselves married. To not award these opportunities equally to homosexual couples is not affirming the sanctity of marriage nor the foundation of the family; it is the affirmation of discrimination.

“Sympathy must be extended to those who struggle with unwanted same-sex attractions, and every effort should be made to assist such persons to overcome those attractions, as many already have.” 

Many have been destroyed by such attempts as well. In turn, I choose to extend sympathy to those who struggle with discrimination against those who are not like them. I extend sympathy to those who feel the need to exclude so that their rights maintain exclusive value. I extend sympathy to those who have been deceived, suppressed, and repressed by the opinions of organizations and individuals such as yourselves. I extend sympathy to those who will one day face the shame of serving as proponents of hate and segregation on the basis of difference in this country.

I do not write to you out of hatred, but out of offense and resentment. Your organization is in a position to do incredible good on behalf of children, born and unborn, families (no matter their composition), and personal liberty in our country. Yet you taint your efforts by weaving with them ignorance, discrimination, and hate. I trust that you have the best of intentions; I appreciate that you fear for the future and feel justified in blaming homosexuality for threatening our culture. But I ask you to consider that perhaps the words you say do more harm than good. Perhaps their capacity for individual destruction and giving sanction to more acute demonstrations of discrimination and hate is greater than you might perceive. Your organization serves as a conscience and moral compass for many in this country. I ask that as such you consider the words I have shared with you in response to your published statements concerning homosexuality, and the implications of your position of power in contributing to cultural liberty and respect for the diversity of what it means to be a human being.

Thank you for your time.

-Michael J. Morris

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[…] Earlier this year, I wrote a letter to the FRC responding line by line to their official statement on homosexuality. At the time I did not feel it necessary to make my statement/response public, but today as events such as the California Supreme Court decision continue to unfold, and as organizations such as FRC continue to proliferate statements of their views into arenas of public discourse, I felt the need to make my statements more public as well. It can be viewed here. […]

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