An author who wrote two books about homosexuality told managers at the University of Toledo in an open letter they should praise an administrator who said being "gay" is not the same as black, not suspend her.
University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs
The comments were addressed to University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs by Robert A.J. Gagnon, the author of "The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics" and "Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views." Gagnon also is an associate professor at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and the author of numerous other publications.
Associate Vice President of Human Resources Crystal Dixon wrote the column in response to a newspaper editor's column criticizing a lack of equality for homosexuals. Dixon said, "I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims.' Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman.'"
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University officials continued to decline to comment on their position. Spokesman Tobin Klinger today told WND the statement published by the Toledo newspaper that the university "repudiated" Dixon's comments would serve at its "ongoing" statement.
"Ms. Dixon is absolutely right that sexual orientation is not akin to race or sex," Gagnon said in his website's "open letter" to Toledo. "Unlike a homosexual orientation, race and sex are 100 percent congenitally predetermined, cannot be fundamentally changed in their essence by cultural influences, and are not a primary or direct desire for behavior that is incompatible with embodied structures."
"Your suspension of Ms. Crystal Dixon, associate vice president of human resources at the University of Toledo, for rejecting a comparison between homosexuality on the one hand and being black or handicapped on the other hand constitutes, in my view, a gross injustice and an expression of the very intolerance that you claim to abhor."
Gagnon said the closer parallels to adult-committed homosexual relations are not ethnicity or gender but, rather, adult-committed incestuous unions and adult-committed polysexual unions.
"Given your full affirmation of homosexual activity, you are left with Oprah Winfrey's conclusion after meeting some economically upscale, adult-committed polygamists for a 2007 show: 'The best part of doing this job … [is that] I come in with one idea and then I leave a little more open about the whole idea. And what I realize … is that in every situation there are people who give things a bad name," Gagnon wrote.
"Give America more exposure to upscale, adult-committed polygamous bonds (and adult-committed incestuous bonds) and American will learn to be more tolerant of such bonds, as Oprah has," he wrote. "Those who dismiss a polygamy analogy and an incest analogy on the grounds that polygamy and incest always produce 'demonstrable harm' are simply responding out of their 'polyphobia' and 'incest-phobia.' And then you can suspend peole who say critical things about such relationships, once you overcome your own prejudices," he said.
Gagnon told WND he doesn't normally "blog," but instead provides commentary and research on his site. He holds degrees from Princeton, Harvard and Dartmouth and wrote the "Sexuality" entry for the "New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics," the same entry for the "Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of Scripture," and dozens of other such articles. He's written for "Theology Matters," "Catholic Biblical Quarterly" and "Journal of Biblical Literature."
He says the most "shameful" part of the University of Toledo's actions is that managers are shutting off any dissent.
Such actions "come out of the Stalinistic, Soviet state. This is the kind of elimination of any expression of differences of opinion [found there]," he said.
"If I were a professor at that institution and I disagreed with the president and laid out this case assembled by scholars who know far more than he does, I would be subject to termination," he told WND.
"It's a kind of threat: If you dare to think the unthinkable, which by the way is supported by scientific study, we're going to cut you off at the knees," he said.
In support of his position he cited a number of studies, including the 1992 National Health and Social Life survey, which assumed that a "genetic-based" homosexuality would be spread randomly through the population like left-handedness or intelligence.
That, however, wasn't the finding. "Homosexuality … is clearly distributed differentially within categories of … social and demographic variables," the study said.
"An environment that provides increased opportunities for and fewer negative sanctions against same-gender sexuality may both allow and even elicit expression of same-gender interest and sexual behavior. ... There is evidence for the effect of the degree of urbanization of residence while growing up on reported homosexuality. This effect is quite marked and strong for men," the study said.
Also, a study of nearly 35,000 Minnesota junior and senior high school students found "responses to individual sexual orientation items varied with age, religiosity, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. …"
Gagnon warned, too, of results indicating that when homosexuality is supported, homosexuality increases. He said that should be a warning to voters in the U.S.
If either Democrat candidate gains the White House, he said, "They're going to run down the homosexual agenda: Hate crimes, employment non-discrimination, remove the federal marriage [act], gay marriage will be instituted."
"Then anyone who disagrees or has reservations … will be regarded legally as the equivalent of a virulent racist," he said.
He noted Christian universities whose students attend on federal grants or loans would be endangered under such a social agenda, "because somebody like me teachers here."
"Even the Kinsey Institute has acknowledged that nine out of 10 persons with same-sex attractions will experience at least one shift on the Kinsey spectrum from 0 to 6 during their life; six out of 10 will experience two or more shifts. The intensity of impulses, and sometimes even their direction, can and often do change over time. Like various forms of sexual impulses, the degree to which a homosexual 'orientation' becomes fixed in an individual's brain and the intensity with which it is experienced, at least in part and for some, can be affected by choices regarding fantasy life, responses to social and environmental factors in childhood and adolescence, the degree to which one acts on impulses, and the degree of self-motivation for change," he told Toledo officials.
"I hope as a president of a university you will provide your students with an example of thoughtful and rigorous reflection rather than the kind of harsh, knee-jerk response that you have thus far taken. Instead of suspending Ms. Dixon you should be singing her praises for her honesty and her courage of conviction," he wrote.
The Toledo newspaper editor had written about his support for the homosexual community and drew the university in by mentioning he moderated a town hall meeting sponsored by two homosexual activists groups.
It dealt "with issues of employment discrimination against gay people," he said. Acccording to the panelists, he continued, "UT has offered domestic partner benefits since then-president Dan Johnson signed them into effect. The Medical University of Ohio did not offer those benefits. When the institutions merged, UT employees retained the domestic-partner benefits, but MUO employees were not offered them. So, people working for the same employer do not have access to the same benefits."
Dixon's response said: "First, human beings, regardless of their choices in life, are of ultimate value to God and should be viewed the same by others. At the same time, one's personal choices lead to outcomes either positive or negative.
"As a black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims.' Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a black woman. I am genetically and biologically a black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended. Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few.
She said the alleged benefits disparity at the university, cited by the editor, came about simply because the employees of the two institutions were working under different contracts.
Then came the suspension announcement from the school, along with Jacobs' condemnation of Dixon's writings.
"Her comments do not accord with the values of the University of Toledo. It is necessary, therefore, for me to repudiate much of her writing," Jacobs said.
"We will be taking certain internal actions in this instance to more fully align our utterances and actions with this value system," he said..
The editor said he disagreed with Dixon, but acknowledged she had the right to express her beliefs.