David Benkof's "Gays Defend Marriage" site is back again. He took the site down in mid-July 2008, citing disagreements with some of the rhetoric behind Prop 8. But he is back blogging again; most of his old stuff is still available. He sent me an email since I had been one of his fans of his bold, clear thinking in the past. And I still am.
David is a Jewish man who identifies as a bi-sexual, however he believes that gay sex is an abomination before God. So he has chosen celibacy for himself. As for everyone else, he is not afraid to tell them what he believes that God thinks about homosexual activity, especially gay male sexual relations. This obviously puts him at odds with many of the religious liberals of the world and probably all of the in-your-face gay activist community. Ironically, he is the type of person who will do the most good for the cause of gays by setting an example of boldness and unselfishness that unbigoted heterosexuals will be forced to respect.
As an introduction to David's philosophy and viewpoints on many gay issues, I recommend reading Selfless Agenda first. I can't agree with everything he writes, but I agree with a lot of it. Plus he's an incredible communicator and is always challenging. After you've digested that, time to tackle Phantom Past. It's very interesting, especially since it's the kind of stuff you never hear in the popular media. Here's an excerpt:
Clearly, all the research taken as a whole suggests that being gay or straight arises out of our specific social context, rather than being etched into our DNA. Of course, given the scant popular awareness about this situation, the idea that gays haven’t always existed can be completely unsettling. Many gays and lesbians have experienced their sexual orientations as unchosen and unchangeable, and therefore they are skeptical - and even hostile - toward anything that implies being gay isn’t part of human nature. And even lots of nongay people and organizations have built outlooks about homosexuality around a belief that the gay minority occurs naturally.
For example, the American Psychological Association (APA) argued in its Supreme Court brief in the landmark 2003 sodomy case of Lawrence v. Texas that “the sexual orientation known as homosexuality - which is based on an enduring pattern of sexual or romantic attraction exclusively or primarily to others of one’s own sex - is a normal variant of human sexual expression.”
Since the specific sexual orientation described is a recent, culturally driven phenomenon, it cannot be a “normal variant of human sexual expression.” Had the APA argued that homosexual orientation “appears to arise involuntarily among some people in our society,” it would have been closer to the mark. There were good, legitimate reasons (such as privacy) to oppose anti-sodomy laws. The supposed natural occurrence of homosexual orientation in the human species, however, was not one of them.
You really need to read the entire piece in which his scholarship on his topic is stunning. I include the excerpt so you can see how Benkof is not in sync with the standard P.C. mantra of "they're born that way", an assertion which he shows is not backed up by any anthropological or historical evidence. His last sentence asserts something I agree with fully: "It's a whole new conversation, one that’s touchy and hard to predict but long overdue."