The Rest of Gagnon’s response

Here is the remainder of Gagnon’s response. I guess Movabletype only accommodates so much text, or possibly MySQL will allow only so much to be stored in a single entry/cell.


No one can reasonably deny that a homoerotic desire is an erotic attraction to what that person already is or has as a sexual being. What else are homoerotically inclined persons attracted to? Why else would a person who experiences homoerotic desire, especially exclusively so, desire specifically a person of the same sex rather than a person of the other sex? And we are not talking here simply about a friendship or admiration. We are talking about erotic attraction, a desire to sexually merge and become one with a person who is not a complementary sexual counterpart but a person of the same sex. That’s why we call it “homosexual” intercourse (homo- for homoios, “like” or “same”) and distinguish it from “heterosexual” intercourse (hetero- for heteros, “other, different”). It is patently a desire for the essential sexual self that one shares in common with one’s partner. By definition it is sexual narcissism or sexual self-deception. There is either a conscious recognition that one desires in another what one already possesses as a sexual being (anatomy, physiology, sex-based traits) or a self-delusion of sorts in which the sexual same is perceived as some kind of sexual other. There are no other alternatives.
Notice here that I am not asserting, as Rogers would probably suppose, that two or more persons in a homoerotic relationship are inherently incapable of exhibiting mutual care and compassion. As noted above, such a claim would be absurd for virtually any proscribed form of human sexuality. Rather, so far as the erotic dimension is concerned, homoerotic desire is sexual narcissism or sexual self-deception. The church has no objection to intimate, non-erotic same-sex relationships. We call them friendships. It is only when an erotic dimension is introduced to a same-sex relationship that problems develop. If one protests that there is only a fine line between intimate and erotic, another may respond: parents who do not maintain a clear distinction between intimate and erotic in dealings with their own children are candidates for criminal prosecution.
Again, I’m not talking merely about what some prohomosex advocates derisively refer to as an “obsession with plumbing.” Quite clearly, though, most homosexuals, especially male homosexuals, exhibit an obsession with the “plumbing” or anatomy of persons of the same sex. The tremendous emphasis on “gay” pornography in the male homosexual community, their significantly higher average rates of sex partners, and the existence of “gay bathhouses” are all striking testimony to this. To say that distinctive, same-sex anatomical features are not critically important to homosexual men would be like saying that most heterosexual men experience only minor attraction to beautiful female anatomical distinctives. At the same time, I am talking about something more than “plumbing” or anatomy: recognition of something holistic, an essential maleness or essential femaleness. We have to ask: Why do about 99% of all persons in the United States limit their selection of mates to persons of a particular sex? The only reasonable answer is that sexual differentiation is the primary consideration for mate selection. Either people want a mate of the other sex (97% of us) or they want a mate of the same sex (2%). No other criterion for mate selection comes even close to this one consideration. Clearly, there is a basic human acknowledgement that a person’s sex matters; that there is something essentially male and essentially female that causes persons to rule out of consideration an entire sex when they choose a sex partner. And it is precisely the erotic attraction to the same essential sex that one already is, to the distinctive sexual features that one already has, that can be labeled sexual narcissism.
In this connection, too, it is interesting that homosexual men, even those who bear effeminate traits, usually desire very “masculine” men as their sex partners. Why? Undoubtedly many desire what they see as lacking in themselves: a strong masculine quality. Such a desire is really a form of self-delusion. In the perspective of Scripture and indeed of science, they are already men, already masculine. They are masculine by virtue of their sex, not by virtue of possessing a social construct of masculinity that may or may not reflect true masculinity. They need not seek completion in a sexual same. Rather, they must come to terms with their essential masculinity.
There is a world of difference between being attracted to complementary otherness and non-complementary sameness. A same-sex erotic merger is structurally discordant because the sexual counterpart or complement to oneÂ’s own sex is missing.
Concluding Word
Despite what Rogers would like readers to believe, his narrative underscores that the real catalyst for his change of mind was not Scripture but experiences that called into question his initial naïveté about homosexuality. He then attempted, rather unconvincingly, to contort Scripture in ways that would buttress his newfound beliefs, advancing a temple prostitution argument that is without merit. Ultimately, he effectively eliminates all structural prerequisites to sexual unions and considers only whether “love,” narrowly defined as a subjective disposition of concern for another, is manifested between the participants. Rogers gives no thought for the differences between intimacy and eroticism in the application of this principle of “love.” He tries to hold on to the sanctity of two partners at any one time but he fails to explain to readers why we should maintain this prerequisite when (1) Scripture regards the other-sex dimension as even more significant than the number of partners; (2) fidelity and commitment can be manifested in “threesomes” or other polygamous unions; (3) male homosexual relationships show themselves to be, on the whole, deeply resistant to monogamy; and (4) the limitation of sex partners to two persons at any one time is itself predicated on the idea, rejected by Rogers, that two sexes are needed to create a sufficient sexual whole.
All in all, Rogers’s address raises troubling questions about his competence in handling the biblical text, his integrity in restating accurately and fairly the positions of those with whom he disagrees, the real priority of Scripture in his life, and the consistency and logic of his hermeneutical moves. Then, too, his address raises the same troubling questions for the Covenant Network that sponsors and esteems Rogers’s work. Perhaps the best thing that can be said is that we continue to hope for a properly directed change of mind for Jack Rogers, and the membership of the Covenant Network generally—reforming in the direction of Scripture rather than “deforming” away from it.
© 2004 Robert A. J. Gagnon

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