The Church’s genetic predisposition to prejudice, intolerance and homophobia..

A Post by Neil hart on homosexuality, LGBTI, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Magda Szubanski talks about being gay

Dave Hughes: Imagine the church having to confront prejudice. WOW! (Loud and sustained applause)

Magda: The bottom line is, theres nothing wrong with being gay. If there was a tablet you could take to cure it. I wouldn’t take it…

Magda: If they are so concerned…as though gay people are the problem, really, seriously, if they wanna look at a genetic predisposition, look at the genetic predisposition for prejudice and intolerance, find a pill that can cure that, put it in the water, bang. problem solved.

Hey reader! I think I’ve told you about my mistress, the LCAi list, the email discussion forum. Dont worry reader, you will always be my real true love…but… i just cant leave the list alone! Ive tried! I even took my name off. But I just keep running back. Maybe its because of the opinionated, arrogant, self-serving, loudmouthed, pastor on the list that wont listen to reason and thinks he’s totally right in everything he says. And that just ME! You should see what the others are like!

Anyway, one of the more reasonable members on the list emailed this today. Karin has given me permission to post it. It serves as a perfect follow up to Magda’s comments above. I’m not sure… but i think Karin is a professor of …something-or-other…and is a world renowned expert on….stuff… and I think she came “this close” to getting a Nobel Prize once…

Anyway…point is….Try as i might, I cant fault her logic or research…can you?

Have a read.

A few days ago I read a post on Neil’s blog where someone had written that he did not consider himself to be homophobic, rather that he was a follower of the Word of God. What is the reluctance to calling oneself a “homophobic” person, (definition of homophobic: “prejudiced against homosexual people”)? And why is there a need to transfer responsibility for one’s own opinion and actions to a third party (in this case God)?

Past discussions on homosexuality on this list have also been focused on the homosexuals themselves. Are they born this way or not? Is it a lifestyle choice? Should they be doing it? What does God think of THEM? I thought that it may be interesting to apply this same process of enquiry to homophobic people. What does science say about them? Are they born this way? What type of people are they? What makes some people homophobic but not others? A simple Scholar Google search will reveal that extensive research has been conducted on this topic.

WARNING: The content below has been classified MA. It contains scientific findings and conclusions, which may be offensive to some people. The author recommends reading by mature audiences only!

Research findings:

Research suggests that homophobia is more prevalent in males than in females, more prevalent in young males than older males, and more prevalent in religious people than non-religious people (e.g. Johnson et al 1997).

People with homophobic tendencies have been found to have lower levels of empathy and less respect for human rights than people who are not homophobic (Johnson et al., 1997). Homophobic people also scored low on the personality dimension of Openness to Experience, thus closed individuals “tend to be conventional in their beliefs and attitudes, conservative in their tastes, dogmatic, and rigid in their beliefs; they are behaviorally set in their ways and emotionally unresponsive” (Costa & Widiger cited in Shackelford & Besser, 2007).

Moreover, homophobic people tend to have an external mode of assigning blame (i.e. people who “…live with more denial tend to be more likely to look for causes and negativity outside of themselves and hence are more likely to discriminate and respond prejudicially in a manner that violates others’ rights.” Johnson et al 1997).

Homophobia in males has been linked to gender issues, with these males feeling insecure and threatened about their male identity (Faomir-Pichasotr & Mugny, 2009). Adams, et al (1996) conducted a study, which examined the responses of heterosexual males (2 groups, one group comprising homophobic males, the other group with males who were not homophobic) to videos showing heterosexual, lesbian and homosexual sex. Sexual arousal was recorded.

The results showed that males in both groups experienced erections while watching scenes of heterosexual and lesbian sex, yet only males who were homophobic experienced erections when watching homosexual sex. The authors of the study concluded that:” “Homophobia is apparently associated with homosexual arousal that the homophobic individual is either unaware of or denies.”

Finally, some researchers claim that homophobia is a psychopathology and/or a possible personality disorder and should be treated like any other mental disease (e.g. Guindon et al., 2003.


Falomir-Pichastor, J. M., & Mugny, G. (2009). “I’m not gay… I’m a real man!”: Heterosexual men’s gender self-esteem and sexual prejudice.

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35 (9), 1233-1243. Guindon, M.H., Green, A.G., Hanna, F.J. (2003). Intolerance and

Psychopathology: Toward a General Diagnosis for Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 73 (2), 167–176.

Johnson, M. E., Brems, C. & Alford-Keating P (1997): Personality Correlates of Homophobia. Journal of Homosexuality, 34:1, 57-69

Shackelford T. K. & Besser, A. (2007) Predicting Attitudes toward Homosexuality: Insights from Personality Psychology. Individual Differences Research, 5, (2), 106-114.]

Karin concludes her Nobel Prizes (almost) winning dissertation with a discussion on the use of scripture. (Sorry Professor Karin.. I edited some of this. Length of post and all that. Hope that wasn’t  too presumptious of me.)

To date, all scripture readings cited on this list have been about what is wrong with homosexuals. However, there are other passages that are relevant to this topic also. 

Mathew 7:3 “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

The invitation here is to go inward and to see what it is in me that needs attention (rather than focusing on the other).

Scripture may be understood in many ways, for example:

1) Scripture as a weapon of the law. If I choose to understand scripture in this way, I become judge and executioner over the other without my own involvement. With this version I can, just as the Nazis did at Nuremberg, say that this is not me persecuting, judging, killing you. Rather, I am obeying orders from a higher authority only. The Nuremberg trials showed that this is not a position that is morally acceptable, because ultimately each individual needs to be accountable for their own actions.

2) Scripture as a tool of transformation, mine and yours. If I choose to understand scripture this way, both you and I are invited to become adults, who accept God’s invitation to become co-creators. But to do so we need to stand by our actions, and not pass on responsibility for our actions to others.

After having done the research on homosexuals and homophobes, and after acknowledging that I am a judgmental person, I believe that come judgment time, homosexuals will be better off. Many of them at least, have chosen to move out of darkness and to present themselves to God (and to the world) for who they truly are. No lies, no hiding, no dirty secrets. This is who I am!

Homophobic people, in contrast, are still in the shadows, not only hiding their own sinfulness and limitations behind scripture or cultural values, but then proceeding to throw stones at those who have had the courage to own their own shadows and move towards the light.   “The truth will set you free!” (John 8:32).

Maybe this whole debate is not about sexuality at all, but more about our ability to courageously own our own truth!


Thanks Karin: Pure Gold! And good luck in your new position as Personal Theological  Advisor to the Pope and UN Human Rights Ambassador to the Universe. You’ll do a great job I’m sure.