This past Friday, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced in a Facebook post that he would not be voting to confirm Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. In the statement, he echoed the sentiments he expressed in his questioning of Pompeo in a Senate confirmation hearing the day before.
Booker believes that Pompeo’s views on homosexuality are somehow grounds to disqualify him from being Secretary of State. “I am not sure how you truly lead others—not to mention ‘love thy neighbor’—and still view a fundamental and innate part of who they are as a perversion,” Booker wrote.
This statement went along perfectly with his in-person questions for Pompeo the day prior: “You said in a speech that, warning an America that endorses perversion and calls it an alternative lifestyle, those are your words. Is being gay a perversion?”
“Senator, when I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same sex persons to marry. I stand by that,” Pompeo replied.
Booker went on: “I do not necessarily concur that you are putting forward the values of our nation when you believe that there are people in our country that are perverse.”
The core of Booker’s argument relies on the idea that homosexuality is something innate and unchangeable. Essentially, biology has written in stone an individual’s sexual orientation and thus it constitutes a fundamental and immutable aspect of his or her being. Consequently, to call homosexuality a perversion would be no different than identifying any other immutable characteristic (such as skin color) as inherently bad.
But homosexuality is not as strongly genetically determined as Senator Booker and others assert. A Columbia and Yale twin study on self-reported same-sex attraction reported only a roughly 10 percent concordance rate (the rate at which both responses aligned) for both identical and non-identical twins. In other words, approximately 10 percent of the time when one twin reported same-sex attraction, the other did as well.
No doubt genetics have a role to play in the predisposition of individuals to same sex attraction, just as genetics have a role to play in a whole host of issues that we do not consider to be exclusively genetically predetermined – things like predisposition to violent crime, which happens to have an identical-twin concordance rate higher than that of same-sex attraction.
Simply put, Booker wields the myth of “born this way” as a cudgel to shame Americans who do not morally support homosexual activity as bigots.
Moreover, what I can only assume Booker thought of as a brilliant indictment of Pompeo turned out to reveal what many leftists will not say explicitly but certainly believe: Failing to celebrate and promote homosexual activity is no longer in line with ‘acceptable’ discourse.
According to a Pew study, as of 2015, 46% of Christians—about a third of America’s total population—did not believe that homosexuality should be accepted by society.
This would seem to indicate Senator Booker deems one-third of Americans unfit for public office because of their deeply held moral beliefs on the topic of homosexuality. More than that, he believes that these people do not put forth “the values of our nation” or “love thy neighbor.”
This can be divided into two separate, but equally important criticisms. First, this is an absurdly radical way to view a third of the US population. Perhaps it is not surprising given how polarized the two-party system has become, but it should give us some pause that someone like Senator Booker is seen as a popular candidate for the presidency in 2020.
In my opinion, the more important correction to be made, however, is regarding Senator Booker’s complete misunderstanding of the Christian worldview.
Booker seems to think that reviling what God calls sin is equivalent to condemning those who practice it, but this is not what the Bible teaches. It certainly tells us to hate evil (Psalm 97:10), but we are told to hate evil because it pulls us (and others) away from God.
So when Christians say that they believe homosexuality is a perversion, it should not be seen as reflecting hatred for the individual(s) practicing it. In fact, Christians are to hate sin out of love: love for God and love for our neighbors. All sin runs contrary to God’s good design and ultimately leads to physical and spiritual death—which is why we want people to be set free from it.
That is one of the most important messages in Christianity: the message of the Gospel and grace and the idea that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)
In short, maybe Senator Booker should spend less time mischaracterizing the Christian worldview and virtue-signaling to his constituents and focus on considering if acceptance of homosexuality is a fair litmus test for public office.