Some 34,000 black-led churches have just announced their departure from the Presbyterian Church because it has “come out” in support of “gay” “marriage.”

They have demanded that it should repent and restore itself to fellowship with them, on the right and proper ground that its “coming out” repudiates the plain and full meaning of unalterable Holy Scripture, to say nothing of the continuous teaching of the saints, fathers, and doctors of the Church to the effect that homosexuality is one of the wrongest of wrongs.

So wrong, in fact, that the official Penny Catechism issued by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to all of us when we were given our first instruction in the faith listed four sins crying out to heaven for vengeance: murder, sodomy, oppressing the poor and defrauding laborers of their wages.

In Leviticus and again in Romans, the teaching is forthright and plain. Here is what the author of the Epistle to the Romans says, at Chapter 1, Verse 27:

“And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men working with men that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”

When I wrote three WND columns on this topical issue late last year, the left – which supports homosexuality because it undermines the hated moral strength that was once the greatness of the West – was furious.

Yet the interesting thing about the hate speech to which I was subjected was that not one of the hundreds of articles and blog postings attacking me admitted that my WND pieces were more than usually well backed up with references not only to the learned journals of epidemiology and medicine but also to the official statistics and even to the leading publications of the homosexual community.

Let us do a little theology. Why is a sin a sin? Because the perp deliberately causes needless harm. Why is a mortal sin a mortal sin? Because the perp deliberately causes needless and grievous harm. Why is a sin crying out to heaven for vengeance a sin crying out to heaven for vengeance? Because the perp deliberately causes needless and grievous harm calculated to be permanent and irremediable.

Does homosexuality cause harm? As the author of Romans rightly points out, it does. It makes homosexuals ill. And then it kills them. Unpleasantly, permanently and irremediably.

A male homosexual is eight times more likely to contract hepatitis and 14 times more likely to contract syphilis than a male heterosexual (Artnak, E., and Cerda, J., “The gay bowel syndrome,” Current Concepts in Gastroenterology).

Almost half of male homosexuals have a history of alcohol abuse, compared to a quarter of males generally. Homosexuals of both sexes are thrice as likely to be problem drinkers as the general population. More than half of male homosexuals have a history of drug abuse, compared to just 1 in 14 males generally. “For the vast majority of homosexual men, and for a significant number of homosexual women – even apart from the deadly plague of AIDS – sexual behaviour is obsessive, psychopathological, and destructive to the body” (Schmidt, T, 1995, Compassion & Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate).

More than four-fifths of Australian homosexuals sometimes use recreational drugs (Prestage, Report C2).

“Gay men and bisexual and homosexually experienced heterosexual individuals had higher levels of psychological distress compared with exclusively heterosexual individuals” (Cochrane, S., and Mays, V., “Physical health complaints among lesbians, gay men, and bisexual and homosexually experienced heterosexual individuals: results from the California quality of life survey,” American Journal of Public Health, April 26).

Homosexual men, because of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, can expect a lifespan up to 21 years shorter than other men (Hogg, Robert, et al.,”Modelling the impact of HIV disease on mortality in gay and bisexual men,” International Journal of Epidemiology).

Life expectancy for gay and bisexual men is eight to 20 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality were to continue, it is estimated that nearly half of gay and bisexual men now aged 20 will not reach their 65th birthday.

Now, we can always hope that the development of anti-retroviral drugs has helped since 18 years ago. However, the life expectancy of a smoker is 10 years shorter than that of a non-smoker, which – even assuming a dramatic improvement in homosexual lifespans since the 1990s – makes promiscuous homosexuality no less dangerous to the health of those who practice it than smoking.

Yet leftists, instead of insisting – as they do with smoking – that public-health campaigns should warn people of the medical dangers of homosexuality, they “celebrate” it and promote “gay” “marriage.”

The facts are clear enough. But the left does not support the facts because the facts do not support the left.

What conclusion should be drawn? It is surely this: Public policy on questions from homosexuality to climate change – where the left is similarly cavalier with the facts (just read any statement from Mr. Obama about the climate) – should be determined on the basis of fact as well as fashion and sentiment.

The Church’s continuous teaching on homosexuality is not some outmoded, fuddy-duddy, far-right, redneck hate-crime. It is born of love for those who might otherwise be drawn into the homosexual deathstyle. It is intended to prevent the misery, disease and death that homosexuality – no less than smoking – brings to its unfortunate practitioners.

Thirty years ago, I pointed out in the American Spectator that in the absence of the usual public-health measure to contain a new and fatal infection – immediate, compulsory, permanent isolation of carriers – millions would die of HIV. I also pointed out that Western sensibilities would not permit the identification and isolation of carriers.

The furious screeching from the left about that famous column continues to this day. Yet was I wrong to speak for the 40 million who have died in agony of HIV since the mid-1980s because Western sensibilities preferred that they should die? Did they not have rights, too?

And is the Church – today splendidly represented by the 34,000 black-led churches – wrong to point out that homosexuality, like smoking, carries with it the prospect of a short, miserable, disease-ridden life followed by a painful and untimely death?

No. In speaking out, gently and humanely and with love for the victims of homosexuality, the Church is doing what Jesus commissioned it to do, and what He declared to Pilate was His life’s work: to bear witness to the truth.

Once a homosexual told me I was the only person who had not condemned him when he had “come out.” I had gone on treating him exactly as before. He asked me, “I know you don’t approve of homosexuality, so why are you the only one among my friends and family who has never uttered a word against me?”

Well, I said, I look in the mirror and remember my own sins, so, even though your sin is not my sin, I do not think any the worse of others who fall by the wayside.

He said, “But I can’t help being a homosexual, and therefore I haven’t fallen by the wayside. I have done nothing wrong.” I replied that I inclined to the view, well established in the scientific literature, that homosexuality was not genetic (well, for obvious reasons it can’t exactly be hereditary). I invited him to bear in mind the possibility that he had a choice.

He is now happily married (to a woman), and has many children. If I had not gently spoken the truth, he might never have realized the choice was his. So the 34,000 black churches – God bless them – are right on all points. No harm ever came from bearing loving but uncompromising witness to the truth.

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