A very popular social columnist recently suggested that we not refer to homosexuality as a “sexual preference,” but rather as a “sexual orientation.” Until this statement, I had really never given much thought to the difference between the two terms. To me they seemed synonymous. But, obviously, to the columnist there is a difference, a clear distinction between the two terms.
To her, using the term “sexual orientation” is to acknowledge “Once Gay, Always Gay” and to recognize homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle. Using the term “sexual preference” is to indicate that one could choose between homosexuality and heterosexuality, and, therefore, there could be no excuse for one to be gay or to remain gay. Consequently, for those espousing the theory of “Once Gay, Always Gay”, the term “sexual preference” is unacceptable, generating a little uneasiness and giving cause for the questioning of their position.
So, just what is the case with homosexuality? Is it a “sexual preference”? Or is it a “sexual orientation”?
In light of the fact that one’s perception is one’s reality until such perception is altered, we might offer the simplistic answer, “Who cares…?” Or, “What difference does it make?” If a person believes himself to have been born gay, then he might as well have been born gay, because as long as he perceives himself as hopeless, he is hopeless. As long as he sees no need, then there can be no assistance. As the old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”
The homosexual who wants to remain gay and sees no need of being saved from homosexuality cannot be saved from it. If, in fact, someone was truly born gay, which theory I have come to doubt, then we could label his condition as purely “sexual orientation.” But even if he is not born gay, but, instead, was conditioned, or programmed, or taught to be gay through childhood molestation, or abuse, or environment, etc., his homosexuality could still be labeled as “sexual orientation.” That is the road he is traveling, the life he is living, that is the focus of his sexual attractions, and, yes, that is his “sexual orientation”.
However, and this is a big “however,” once the homosexual has been shown that his lifestyle is one of sin, and that Jesus came to save His people from their sins, and that there is newness of life through Jesus Christ, that there is a way out; then, if Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, is rejected; if His way out is spurned, then at that point the homosexual lifestyle becomes not only one of “sexual orientation” but also now one of “sexual preference.” He has been presented with a choice and prefers to remain unchanged. Instead, he may want the world around him to change their opinion; or he may want the church to change its stand and become more accepting of that which the unchangeable God of the church has condemned.
“God is love.” And in this love Jesus came to “save His people from their sins,” from their orientation to sin, of whatever nature, “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” “Sin is the transgression of [God’s] law” which states clearly “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” And “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” And He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” for “he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him” (1 John 4:8; Mathew 1:21; Romans 3:23; 1 John 3:4; Exodus 20:14; Romans 6:23; 2 Peter 3:9; Hebrews 7:25)
Is homosexuality a “sexual orientation,” or is it a “sexual preference”?