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SSAD: Same-sex attraction disorder

by Charles Hesse, M.D. (WordAlone board member)

August, 2007

photo of Dr. HesseOther than electing a presiding bishop and secretary at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Churchwide Assembly, the overriding issue may be sexuality. Both sides of the homosexuality issue are gearing up for a debate on synod resolutions that may be coming before the Assembly, even though the sexuality study leading to a social statement is not to be completed or brought up for discussion until 2009.

Those of us associated with WordAlone and the stand the organization has taken on this issue are armored with the divine Word of God in both the law and Gospel. It speaks clearly and emphatically against this lifestyle. Repeating those texts here would be redundant. The scientific and psychological study of homosexuality reveals facts about this disorder that must be emphasized and used to counter charges of homophobia leveled at those who regard this disorder as sin. First and foremost, there is no genetic basis for "same-sex attraction disorder" (SSAD). Genetics is a complicated issue, with many possible inherited predisposing factors for a personality type that could be vulnerable to the development of SSAD.

It has been shown in many studies that environmental influences acting on the "vulnerable" individual can lead to confusion and eventual adoption of a homosexual lifestyle. There is still a difference between SSAD and the ultimate adoption of a homosexual lifestyle. This leads to the next issue, which is that no one chooses to be attracted to individuals of the same sex. Why would anyone choose a lifestyle that goes counter to 95 to 97% of the population? However, there is a choice involved when one succumbs to homosexual relationships.

Another significant point that is heavily countered by the gay community is that SSAD is treatable. The success rate varies from 30 to 70%, depending on the treatment methodology. Those that are the most successful rely on a strong support group or individual, and most importantly, on a spiritual foundation. There is a significant incidence of recidivism for those who have already succumbed to a homosexual lifestyle as the sex drive is very addicting.

Any withdrawal from a society or church that espouses compassion and the theology of acceptance of homosexuality will be looked upon as homophobic, no matter how carefully the debate is worded. The opinion previously held by many against a homosexual lifestyle, quickly turns 180 degrees with personal involvement such as with a close relative. Although a structured and contained debate of this subject is preferable, the gay community has suspended the rules. The only way to counter the hue and cry of the gay lesbian bisexual transsexual organizations is with facts, not the least of which is the physical and psychological damage to the individual and his or her loved ones. It is time for all of us, especially the clergy, to be brave enough to discuss homosexuality for what it really is in our families and congregations.

May the Lord give us the strength and conviction to do this now.