Laurie Higgins to Atheist Joe: ‘I Care that Others are Teaching Children Lies’

I was greatly encouraged by the many letters AFTAH received responding to 14-year-old “Joe,” who wrote via our website explaining that he is a gay atheist who hates Americans For Truth. I will be passing on all the notes to Joe, and publishing a few, including this from suburban Chicago writer Laurie Higgins (emphasis added)–Peter L.:
Dear Joe,
What you have said, what you feel, and what you think break my heart. All reveal the deception that our culture has taught our children. Mr. LaBarbera doesn’t hate you or homosexuals. And even though I firmly believe that homosexual conduct is not moral, I do not hate you either.
I no more hate you than I hate those who engage in other behaviors that I consider immoral, and those would include me, my husband, and my children. Every single human who has ever lived, save one, engages in immoral behavior. Our task is figuring out what constitutes moral and immoral behavior. You have appropriated one philosophical perspective on what determines right and wrong: you believe that if a behavior doesn’t directly harm another person physically, then it’s moral. But some of the greatest thinkers who have ever lived define morality differently. Defining morality as you have would permit adult consensual incest, lying, selfishness, polyamory, and apotemnophilia.
Neither Mr. LaBarbera nor I believe that homosexuals choose the feelings they have anymore than those who are attracted to adolescents or children or their siblings choose their powerful attractions, or those married men who are attracted to other women choose those attractions, or those who are powerfully drawn toward gambling or alcohol or drugs choose those attractions. We do believe, however, that those who experience same-sex attraction choose how they will respond to their desires, just as I choose how to respond to my selfish, or greedy, or angry, or lustful desires. Some in society tell you that acting on same-sex impulses is legitimate and good. They have lied to you, and it is a cruel lie.
You ask why someone would care about the sexual practices of others. I care that others are teaching children lies. I care that others are teaching kids that homosexual conduct is morally equivalent to heterosexual conduct when it’s not. I care because that lie carries devastating emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual consequences. I care because I care about truth and its impact on the lives of individuals and on society.
Joe, homosexuals do have the full complement of civil rights.  They even have marital rights. Every homosexual can get married; they simply can’t redefine marriage. They can’t eliminate the criterion of complementarity, just as those who “love” children cannot eliminate the minimum age criterion, and those who love relatives cannot eliminate the consanguinity requirement, and those who love multiple partners cannot eliminate the binary requirement. The fact that homosexuals cannot redefine the institution does not mean the institution is unavailable to them.
As to your comment that homosexuals can think logically: You’re absolutely right, Joe; you were created in the image and likeness of God, and, therefore, you possess the gift of reason. It is not just religious traditions that inform us that homosexual conduct is wrong. Natural law tells us that. You are heterosexual, Joe. All humans are. Species cannot procreate homosexually. Our bodies are not designed for homosexual sex. They are exquisitely designed for heterosex. Desires do not define identity. And the male sex drive is so powerful, it can be misdirected to a whole host of inappropriate objects and activities. Don’t allow the unbidden presence of desires, impulses, or attractions define who you are. None of us should.
Please, do not dismiss arguments that emerge from religious tradition. Speaking as one who deeply values logic, evidence, and intellectual argument, I can attest that Christianity holds up intellectually. And remember, atheism too is based on faith. You are no more able to prove the non-existence of God than I am able to prove unequivocally God’s existence. But search out some “apologetics.” I would recommend the website of Ravi Zacharias. And read about the conversions of atheists like Mortimer Adler who was a famous University of Chicago philosopher, or British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, or more recently the physicist Anthony Flew. And it’s not just the Christian Bible that teaches that homosexuality is wrong; the Old Testament does also, as does the Koran.
By the way, there are no scientific studies that prove that homosexuality is genetic. In fact, most scientists, even those who identify as gay and whose studies are most often cited, believe that at most, biology may play a part in desire, but that environmental influences are significant. In addition, the presence of biological influences tells us precisely nothing about morality.
Joe, there is freedom, truth, beauty, joy, and peace available to you. Seek them relentlessly, and know this, except for a very few fringe wackos, those who hold traditional beliefs do not hate you. On the contrary, they grieve for the lies you’ve been taught and desire nothing but that which is truly good for you.
If you would like to talk more, and your parents are agreeable to us talking, I would love nothing more. You can contact me through AFTAH. 

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