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"Tempting as it is to dismiss the malleability of sexual orientation, resist the urge"

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William Saletan of Slate is a must-read columnist for me. He's center-left, which means we would not agree on a number of topics if we were sitting together at a coffee shop. But I could see us actually sitting at a coffee shop. In a recent column, "Fifty Shades of Gay," Saletan cautions his fellow pro-gay advocates against insisting on what kind of thinking must be right for everyone with same-sex attractions: "Homosexuality is fundamentally personal, not political. Like heterosexuality, it varies from person to person, and it can evolve over a lifetime. Experience and research suggest it’s extremely unlikely that you can change your sexual orientation, and you’re better off accepting who you are. But what’s true for you may not be true for someone closer to the margins of homosexuality. Tempting as it is to...dismiss the malleability of sexual orientation, resist that urge. Morally and therapeutically, it’s better to treat people as individuals....An unusual subset of highly motivated people can find ways to alter their sexual self-understanding and possibly their behavior. Those people have no grounds to say conversion therapy will work for the rest of us. And we have no grounds to say it can’t work for them." He's written about this before. It seems a perfectly tolerant position, though stated more center-left than I would state it. In fact, other than the "accepting who you are" sentiment, his view is compatible with the Christian message. The "accepting who you are" sentiment won't do: I don't want to "accept" those parts of me that are incompatible with Christ's expectation of me. But aside from that, Saletan's on to something with his defense of those "highly motivated people" who have found ways to "alter their sexual self-understanding and possibly their behavior." That's a good description of discipleship for Christians who have same-sex attractions. The call of Christ to those with such an orientation is not to first expunge the attraction and only then surrender to Christ's saving Lordship. Rather, the call of Christ to those experiencing same-sex attraction is like the call he extends to every other believer: We receive his mercy and then accept the task of conforming our mind and actions to his values. We are indeed--all Christians--"highly motivated to alter our self-understanding and behavior," to use Saletan's words, in whatever ways our self-understanding or behavior is out of line with Christ's expectations. Such a process isn't easy or overnight, but neither is it dangerous or unreasonable. Links: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2012/05/robert_spitzer_s_apology_for_his_reparative_therapy_study_can_gays_become_straight_.html http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2009/04/shades_of_gay.html