Over at the Anglican Communion Institute Inc. website, a rather strange posting has appeared. "Why Theology Should Precede Change" by a Dr. Jacqueline J. Keenan, critiques "To Set Our Hope On Christ" for relying on outdated science in its comments on same-sexuality.
First of all, I second Dylan's observation that Keenan's paper has nothing to do with theology. Second, and more importantly, it musters an array of papers which do not in fact completely counter what little "To Set Our Hope On Christ" actually says about the state of science:
Altogether, contemporary studies indicate that same-sex affection has a genetic-biological basis which is shaped in interaction with psycho-social and cultural-historical factors. Sexual orientation remains relatively fixed and generally not subject to change. [2.22]
Nothing Keenan presents directly counters or refutes either of these carefully nuanced statements. Yes, there have been some more twin studies, and all they show is that there appears to be some biological or genetic basis, and that rearing and upbringing very likely have a strong influence on the high correlation (far higher than random) of twinship and sexual orientation. That is more or less what the first sentence says. Then the fact that adolescent boys often appear to go through a same-sex "phase" but later become exclusively heterosexual (or so they claim...) hardly should surprise anyone. Or that women's sexuality appears to be more "fluid" than men's. After all, just how strong are those social pressures? The fact remains that few people who seek to change their sexual orientation are able to do so; even if some percentage of the poplulation find their sexual orientation changing of its own accord.
More importantly, however, the major questions TSOHOC raises have little or nothing to do with the etiology of homosexual orientation; which, as any moralist will tell you, is actually irrelevant to the subject.
The only thing science appears to be telling us that has any relevance at all, is that same-sex orientation appears to be a universal and natural part of the human condition; that is, that a certain percentage (whether 1%, 10% or 50%) of all people have such an orientation; and that therefore such orientation is not, in and of itself, "unnatural." Sexual orientation, whether towards the same or different sex, it is not arbitrarily and consciously "chosen."
The theological or moral question -- Whether same-sex relationships are morally good or not -- is not one for medical doctors or psychologists, or veterinarians, to rule upon.
Tobias Haller BSG