What One Lesbian’s Unanswered Question to Ben Carson Can Teach Us

A woman waded through the crowds at a Town Hall meeting in New York to ask Ben Carson just one question. She had thought long and hard on this question to maximize its impact. She was after all going to be talking to the man who just might be the next president of the United States. So, of course, she made some pointed inquiry concerning Carson’s political philosophy, right? Not so much. She didn’t ask Carson anything about himself. Instead, she asked Carson a question about herself. And it was a question to which she thought she already knew the answer:

The woman asked, “Do you think I chose to be gay?” Carson responded, “Did you choose to be gay?” The woman said, “Yeah, did I choose to be gay?”

“That’s a long conversation. That’s a long conversation,” Carson said.

“I think you’re full of s***,” the woman responded.

Yeah. Well, I think we can all say with little deliberation that this woman chose to be rude and idiotic. Oh, wait. Sorry. I’m being insensitive. Clearly, she was born that way. But seriously, what was Carson supposed to say? Yes? He was correct in his response. It would require a conversation to unpack her question, and she wasn’t looking for an answer anyway. She just wanted to embarrass him.

But unlike Carson, and (perhaps) lucky for you, I have a minute. So let’s talk about this question. Is “being gay” a choice?

As is normally the case, we need to define some terms. What is “being gay”? And what is a choice? Let’s start with being gay. Part of the problem with the whole homosexual identity issue is that homosexuality is a combination of identity and behavior. So if by “being gay,” one means “engaging in gay behavior,” I would say we could all agree that being gay is a choice. Any behavior must involve a choice. But if by “being gay,” our charming lesbian means “being attracted to the same sex,” I would say that “being gay” is not a choice in the typical sense. After all, what is attractive to someone at any given moment is probably not a choice, even though people’s proclivities can change, so there’s that. What is a choice exactly?

According to the dictionary, a “choice,” in this context, is: the right or ability to make, or possibility of making a selection between at least two possibilities. So, the lesbian in question was asking one of two questions: “Do I have the ability to choose to be attracted to men instead of women?” Or perhaps she was asking, “Do I have the ability to choose not to engage in homosexual behavior?”

I’m sure her main thrust was the former question: “Can I choose to be attracted to men instead of women?” But that question is not quite as devastating as she seems to believe. Huge numbers of the population have compulsions of all kinds. Many of those compulsions are self-destructive. Some of them are destructive to others. Any person who suffers from a compulsion could ask Ben Carson a similar question, with just as much apparent self-righteousness. A heroin addict could ask, “Do I have a choice whether or not to crave heroin?” A pedophile could ask, “Do I have a choice whether or not to be attracted to children?” A kleptomaniac could ask, “Do I have a choice whether or not to desire other people’s things?”

You see, pretty much anyone with any compulsion could damn social conservatives on the grounds that social conservatives condemn addicts just for being who they are. But we’re not denying the compulsion. When it comes to destructive compulsions, no one is claiming the compulsion is a choice. But acting on the compulsion surely is. You may crave heroin, but it is your choice whether or not to inject it into your veins. Because if it’s not your choice, the entire basis of jurisprudence collapses completely. It’s impossible to prosecute someone for an action concerning which they had no choice.

So the only real difference between a heterosexual compulsion and a homosexual compulsion is whether or not society considers acting on that compulsion to be destructive. So that’s really the question that the lesbian needed to ask: “Mr. Carson, do you think it is destructive to me and others for me to engage in homosexual behavior?” In other words, “Is my homosexual attraction actually a self-destructive compulsion that I should resist?”

My contention is that homosexual attraction is a destructive compulsion. I don’t see how anyone could claim otherwise. It doesn’t really matter how you parse it, there just isn’t anything biologically, socially, or personally beneficial about homosexuality. Just ask homosexuals, if you don’t believe me. Even the lesbian’s question itself uncovers the reality: “Do you think I would have chosen to be this way if I could help it?” I can’t tell you how many times homosexuals have told me that. So, if the majority of homosexuals would actually choose to have heterosexual attractions if they had a choice, this indicates that homosexual attraction is a destructive compulsion.

Tell me: is it compassionate to celebrate a destructive compulsion as a laudable central characteristic of a person’s social identity? Would it be compassionate to do away with rehabs, AA meetings, interventions, and support groups and instead attempt to convince addicts and maniacs that they should just celebrate the way God made them—that they should have every legal protection against discrimination while they erected social monuments to the public exercise of their compulsions?

I know that many people resist so-called “gay rights” simply because they despise homosexuals. I have no sympathy for those hateful people. But it’s possible that many of us resist gay rights because we care about homosexuals. It’s apparently impossible for some people to wrap their heads around that.

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