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"Can't take credit for my sexual orientation"

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Lisbeth:
I'm writing to encourage you to write a letter to the editor of Baptists Today, thanking him for the Malcolm Tolbert article posted below. I think it's a brave piece--for Tolbert (a former Southern Baptist missionary and seminary professor) to write and John Pierce (the editor) to print.

Your note doesn't have to be long or detailed. And it is important that the journal hears from you--letters to the editor do impact editorial judgment in what does and does not appear in most any publication.

If you're willing to do so, here's the address to write you can send a note:

editor@baptiststoday.org

(Or the postal address: Baptists Today, PO Box 6318, Macon, GA 31208)

Ken Sehested

"Can't take credit for my sexual orientation"
by Malcolm Tolbert

Malcolm Tolbert lives in retirement in Baton Rouge, La. He is a former missionary to Brazil, pastor of First Baptist Church of Gainesville, Ga., and New Testament professor at two Baptist seminaries. His latest book, Shaping the Church, was published by Smyth & Helwys.

guest commentary for the August 2005 issue of Baptists Today

I have come to the conclusion that I am different from many heterosexual males. I say this because they seem to take credit for their sexual orientation.

Apparently they have concluded that their choice of heterosexuality is a very  strong proof that they are good, moral persons. I say that I am different  because my heterosexuality has nothing to do with any choice I made.

Since I began having sexual urges, I have only been attracted to females. I  have many male friends whom I love dearly, but I have never had any erotic  feelings toward a one of them.

These states of the country could have passed laws against heterosexuality,   but that would have not made any difference. All the pulpits in America could  have thundered against heterosexuality, but that would not have changed me.

People could have quoted any number of biblical texts forbidding  heterosexuality, but that would have had no influence on my sexual feelings. All the power of society and state could have been arrayed against my relationship with Nell through the years, but that would have in no way diminished the force of my heterosexual love for her.

The majority of people with whom I lived could have been homosexual, but that would have had no effect on the way I felt.

Because I had no choice in the matter, my being heterosexual has nothing to do with whether I am a moral person. I am fortunate enough to be by nature what the majority of males are. This is much more agreeable than being regarded as a pariah because I differ from them.

That, however, is much like the accident of being born white into a society dominated by white people. Many white people are arrogant about their skin  color, something over which they had no control.

Whether or not I am a moral person sexually can only be determined with reference to the way I have used my heterosexuality. If I had viewed females as objects, fair prey to be used to satisfy my lusts, or if I had been unfaithful to Nell, I would be an immoral person.

I can understand the impulses of most people. What they have felt I also have felt. I confess, however, that I do not have any basis in my own experience to understand how a homosexual feels.

I do know that for the preservation of the race it is good that most people are heterosexual. If 95 percent of humans were homosexual, the human family would not long endure.

I also know, however, that there are many anomalies in nature. If I am to be a good follower of Jesus, I must be open to people all kinds of people.

There was no despised group of his day that Jesus shut out of his life. Too few of the people in the world are on the side of being for people. Most of us tend to take antagonistic positions with reference to people who differ from us in some way.

If anybody fears that there won't be enough people against others if they decide to get on the other side, she/he doesn't have to be anxious about that. The majority of people, unfortunately, are going to be against others, whether it has to do with a question of race, education, wealth, sexual orientation or religious differences.

You can be sure that the side of prejudice, hatred and arrogance is well supported even if you desert the ranks of the critics. Of course, such a decision can open you up to condemnation.

As Jesus found out, people who identify with those whom society ostracizes have to suffer the consequences.

Valerie:
Wow!  Thanks for sharing this Lisbeth!  I'm definitely sending kudos to the magazine!!

Celia:
This is pretty good.  I wish it would dawn on a few more people. :)

-Celia

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