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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Does Criticism of Homosexuality Foster High Suicide Rates?

Last week, the Supreme Court in Canada unanimously  struck down many of that nation's laws against prostitution. The ruling wasn't because the laws ran afoul of legal precedents, but was because the court held that by making prostitution clandestine, the laws are "imposing dangerous conditions" (emphasis original) to prostitutes to be vulnerable to violence and therefore violates the basic values that Canada holds.

This kind of reasoning is, of course, insanity. Prostitution is illegal because it causes harm to people and communities. For example, it's widely known that men who visit prostitutes catch sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, herpes, or AIDS. They will then go home and sleep with their wives, infecting them. Young girls who are displaced are more at risk for becoming entrapped in prostitution as a legally available service creates a need for more and more sex workers. Making prostitution legal doesn't rid girls of danger; it will more likely make it worse.

However, prostitution isn't the only area where such reasoning exists, even in the church. Homosexuality is another area where confusion has prevailed. On the same day the Canadian court delivered its ruling, Youth Pastor Tyler Smither wrote a blog piece entitled What You Believe About Homosexuality Doesn't Matter. After noting that there is strong theological debate on the issue, Smither notes that 30% of kids who identify as homosexual commit suicide. He then writes, "It does not matter if you think homosexuality is a sin, or if you think it is simply another expression of human love. It doesn't matter. Why doesn't it matter? Because people are dying. Kids are literally killing themselves because they are so tired of being rejected and dehumanized that they feel their only option left is to end their life." Smither then concludes that we should keep our opinions about the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality to ourselves, as it's the morally responsible thing to do. This kind of thinking is well-meaning but just as mistaken as Canada's court decision.

First, it isn't at all clear that "telling a gay kid that you love him and you don't want him to die" will solve this problem. In fact, it may not curb the problem at all. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has published data showing that men who have sex with men have higher rates of substance abuse, engage in high risk sexual practices, and up to 44% experience domestic violence from within their same-sex relationship. So, it doesn't follow that suicide rates are higher than normal simply because others are criticizing their behavior.

The rise in suicide isn't confined to only young homosexuals either. The U.S. National Library on Medicine published a report detailing the high rates of suicide among alcoholics. High school dropouts are also at a higher risk. Tellingly, transsexuals have the same suicide rate as the homosexual kids Smither worries about even after they have completed their surgeries and their transition! It's obvious that the proposed cure isn't working there.

I agree that the loss of life we see for young homosexual kids is abhorrent. I agree with Smither that we should do everything we can to save as many kids as possible. But accepting the person is not the same thing as giving homosexual behavior a free pass, any more than saving young girls caught up in the sex industry means abolishing prostitution laws.  We must try to understand and be compassionate, but not excuse their proclivity to same-sex encounters. Otherwise we will be widening a door that destroys one out of three human beings, which isn't at all a moral thing to do.


  1. "We must try to understand and be compassionate, but not excuse their proclivity to same-sex encounters."

    The problem is that this is not acceptable to homosexuals and the rest of the Rainbow Crowd.

    I their eyes, the only acceptable attitude is to openly celebrate these behaviors - not just 'live and let live', but celebration of it.

    Anything less than this is immediately labeled "hate". And the person expressing it - again, no matter how gently or kindly it's done- is branded a bigot.

    There is no middle ground for these folks.

  2. I will have to definitely disagree with both these comments. Let me ask you a rhetorical question - Do you commit the same sins over and over again? Of course you do. Why? Because you can't stop it. Yet , you are going to tell homosexuals that you love them but hate theirs sins and they need to stop it. When you can stop yours, then maybe you have a right to tell others to stop theirs! Matthew 7:5. Or let's just go with John 8:7. All you self-righteous fools know nothing of Jesus' teachings. You're all too busy knocking everyone else down so you can feel better about yourself.

    1. I'm confused by your comment, Jim. Are you saying that because people may fall into the same sin more than once it is never right to actually say that such action is sin? Or are you saying that only a perfect person can properly identify right and wrong and therefore no one is qualified to tell anyone what is right or wrong?

  3. I'm extremely dubious of the claim that 30% of gay kids kill themselves; that's a crazy high percentage. If it is true, though, then gays must be the most self-destructive people on the planet. Think of young black slaves in America in 1830, or young Jews in Germany in 1942. Those groups were treated far, far worse than anything that can be claimed for gays today, but did their suicide rates even begin to approach 30%? Anyway, I appreciate you tackling these difficult issues.

    1. Hi Rachel. You may have misunderstood my comment. The 30% statistic does not refer to those who Identify as gay kids. It refers to those people of all ages who identify as transsexuals. In fact, sexual reassignment surgery was developed at Johns Hopkins, but the hospital no longer performs the procedure because, according to Dr. Paul McHugh the psychiatrist in chief who helped pioneer the operation, it has proven ineffective in helping people. Read more at


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