Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Sunday, July 24, 2005


In the Garden of Eden

In my July 16th post, I made reference to the Garden of Eden, hoping alert Herald-News readers would recall a previous letter I had written the month before. For those of you who might have wondered which part of left field I was coming from when they noted this reference, here is the letter:

May 18, 1994
To the Editor:

God created an ideal place when He created the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were created as two true reflections of God's multifaceted image. God saw what He had created and it was good. Then the devil convinced them to eat from the tree of knowledge. This knowledge was the devilish idea that if two people are different then one must be better, the other worse; one must be "good," and so the other, being different, must be "evil."

Suddenly they were ashamed of their differences. They hid from God and sewed fig leaves together to cover the places where their differences were most obvious. The devil knows that if he can divide us over our differences, he can separate us from God as well, since we are each a part of God's marvelous creation. That's exactly what happened.

We see this again with Cain and Able. Cain raised crops; Able raised animals, so their two offerings to the Lord were different. Cain got the idea that since these were different, then one must be better, the other worse. He assumed that his was the worse and in his anger, he rose up and killed his brother.

So it goes through human history. The idea that if two people (groups, races, religions) are different, then one must be good, the other bad, has led to more death, destruction and human misery than any other evil scheme the devil could have devised. The devil has neither the power to create nor destroy, but by convincing us to hate those who are different, he can sit back and gleefully watch as we destroy one another.

Jesus came to change all this. He extended His love to all without reservation.

When people came for help to the house He was visiting, He didn't stick His head out the door and say, "OK, now, all you women get to the end of the line." Instead, He treated both men and women in turn with equal consideration.

When He had His disciples pass out the loaves of bread and the fish He had blessed, He didn't say, "except for those Ethiopians back there in the corner." Instead, He had them give what little they had to everyone, and what was small became great as a result of His kindness.

When the lepers seeking help met Him on the road, He didn't tell the five heterosexuals, "Boys, have I got good news for you," and tell the two homosexuals, "Go jump off that cliff over there." Instead, He sent all seven on the road to recovery.

He didn't ignore the man at the pool of trembling waters because he was too old or allow His disciples to turn the children away because they were too young. Instead, His promise of redemption reaches down to all ages.

He turned no one away because they were too sick or their bodies too broken. Instead, He extended the healing power of His love even beyond death, beyond the grave.

By His words and His actions, Jesus left us with one simple message: That we should love God and love one another. But that's just two ways of saying the same thing! We cannot love God and not love every one of His children.

Only when we follow Christ's example and treat every person with understanding and respect, despite our differences, can we thwart the devil's attempt to divide us and become one again with God our creator.

William J. Ware

Saturday, July 16, 2005


How Do We Treat Our Gay Children?

I read in the Tampa paper that it's happened again.

TAMPA - Even though the boy would shake and wet himself, his father, Ronnie Paris Jr., would box with the 3-year-old, slapping him in the head until he cried because he didn't want his son to grow up to be ``a sissy,'' the boy's mother testified Monday.

Others corroborated Nysheerah Paris' testimony as the prosecution built its case during the first day of the capital murder trial of Ronnie Paris Jr., 21, accused of abusing 3-year- old Ronnie Paris until the boy slipped into a coma Jan. 22.

He died six days later with swelling on both sides of his brain.

``He was trying to teach him how to fight,'' said Shanita Powell, Nysheerah Paris' sister. ``He was concerned that the child might be gay.''

I addressed this issue before in a letter to the editor:

June 2, 1994

The Herald-News
PO Box 286
Dayton, TN 37321

To the Editor,

We see that this years gay pride parade is stirring up the usual animosities. The saddest effect of those who encourage us to hate homosexuals is what it is doing to our children.

We read in the paper that a man from Fort Worth was sent to prison for beating his two year old son to death. Why? Because he worried that the boy we becoming a homosexual. We learn that the man pummeled the boy for playing with dolls and holding his hands a certain way.

Few boys who are gay play with dolls, however. Adolescence is the time when most of us become aware of our sexual orientation. Imagine what it must be like when a teenager realizes that he or she is gay and then considers how he or she will be treated by some in today’s society. No wonder one third of our teen suicides are a result of this discovery.

When I was a junior in high school, a classmate of ours found her younger brother hanging in the basement. "If only I had gone down to check on the clothes in the dryer a few minutes sooner, I might have been able to cut him down in time," she told us.

Clearly, ignorance about homosexuality is killing our children. Fortunately, these is some cause for hope: The more education a person has or the more gay people one knows or the younger one is, the more tolerant one is likely to be. Education is the best cure for prejudice.

Beyond education there are two things we can do for our children:

First, we must not support preachers who encourage people to hate our gay sons and daughters. Most churches agree with the scientific findings that sexual orientation is an inborn characteristic. For example, the Catholic Church is its 185 page Guide to Human Sexuality states, "Homosexual orientation is not a sin... because it is not freely chosen."

This does not mean that these churches condone promiscuity among homosexuals any more than they do among heterosexuals. Far from it. It simply means that they extend God’s love to all His children. Like Christ, they accept people as they are; they don’t try to make them into something they’re not.

Second, we must not support politicians who stir up hatred of others to gain votes. This "Willie Horton" approach has no place in America. In the Garden of Eden, the devil convinced us to be ashamed of our differences. He knows that if he can separate us because of these differences, he can separate us from God as well, since we are all a part of God’s marvelous creation. Those who attempt to divide us by race or gender or sexual orientation are doing the devil’s work, it’s just that simple.

Since sexual orientation results from the complex selection processes that occur during conception, which is more or less random, having a child who is gay can happen to anyone.

So what will you do if your young son is gay? Will you try to beat the "sin" out of him if he plays with dolls or holds his hands a certain way?

What will you do if your daughter is gay? Will you tell her to pretend she’s not gay until she’s older and then give her a one-way bus ticket to San Francisco?

What if you realize your teen-aged son is gay? Will you make his life so miserable that he takes care of your problem for you by hanging himself in the basement?

Jesus taught us that God’s love extends to all His children, not just this one or that one. What parent, Jesus asks us, when his child asks for bread would give him a stone?

We cannot change the whole world as Jesus did, but we can follow His example when it comes to our own children. We must replace the stone of ignorance and hate with the bread of understanding and kindness. With the lives of our children at stake, we cannot do otherwise.


William J. Ware

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Gay and Lesbian Adoptions

Dear Catherine & David,

You mention that we should not try something new like gay adoption or gay marriage until gays can "prove" that this would not lead to some harm in any way. This idea would lead to the end of all progress since one can never prove the negative, of course.

From the 2000 census we find that nearly 4,000,000 children are being raised by at least one gay parent. The majority of these, about 85%, are the result of a previous heterosexual marriage. There are 416,000 children being raised in households led by a same sex couple.

So children being raised by gays and gay couples already exist. These latter are the children in the studies comparing children raised by same sex verses opposite sex couples I mentioned earlier. When a divorced woman later remarries, the laws of every state allow the step-father to adopt the woman's children. Some states allow the partner in a recognized same sex relationship to adopt the partner's children. Many states say that only a person married to the child's legal (biological) parent can be considered in a potential adoption. Since gays cannot legally marry in all but one state, this automatically leaves them out. Other states say that gays in a civil union or who are registered domestic partners can adopt their same sex partner's children. Nine states and DC allow gay and lesbian couples to adopt jointly.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has always encouraged step-parents to adopt their mates children, since having two legally responsible parents serves the child's best interest far better than having just one. The AAP recognizes that these benefits would apply to children of gay couples as well and therefore supports legislation which would allow second parent adoption by gay partners.

Family court matters have always been the jurisdiction of each state. Reciprocity agreements among the states have, in the past, always ensured that domestic matters settled in one state's courts would be honored in every other. Custody, child support, divorce, adoption and so on are each state's prerogative. The Defense of Marriage Act has thrown this civility into abject confusion.

In an adoption, the judges court order, the adoption agency's investigation, the original birth certificate and so on are placed under a seal of confidentiality. The state of birth then issues a new birth certificate listing the adoptive couple as parents. This is needed when entering kindergarten, applying for a passport and so on. This is to ensure that these children are not discriminated against as a result of their status and allows the adoptive parents to determine when and how these children will be informed that they are adopted.

Yet it took a federal court order to get Virginia to issue a new birth certificate for a lesbian couple who adopted a child in one of the 21 states that allows both parents in a gay couple to adopt as recommended by many health organizations. This birth certificate is for the child's benefit, not the parents. It allows the child to be included on either parents health insurance, for example. Delaying this birth certificate certainly showed no concern for the well fare of the child in this instance.

So letting gays adopt would not be an experiment, it's already a fact in the many cases sited above. More information is available at the About Adoption web site.

Love, Dad


Therapeutic and Reproductive Cloning

David & Catherine,

There are two types of cloning, therapeutic and reproductive.

The idea behind therapeutic cloning is to generate new cells that perform a function that is missing in the patient, such as cells that produce dopamine in those who suffer from Parkinson's disease or those that produce insulin for those with diabetes.

Cells in the early embryo have nearly all their genes left turned on (unmethylated) which allows them to go on to produce all the structures and functions of the body. As the fetus develops, cells differentiate into cell types with specific functions as the genes for unrelated cell functions are systematically turned off.

Embryotic stem cell research attempts to take these poli-potential cells and coax then into producing specific cell types. Heart muscle cells have been produced in this way. The hope is to mass produce cells that produce dopamine or insulin then introduce them into the patients body where they would migrate to the brain or pancreas, settle in and start producing these missing products.

We know from organ transplants that material from someone else is treated as foreign to the recipient's immune system and may be destroyed if care isn't taken to find compatible donors and the use of immune system suppressants.

This potential rejection can be eliminated in these embryotic stem cell efforts if the stem cells used are created with the patients own dna. A cell from the patient, say a skin cell, can be demethylated through chemical means to return it to its poli-potential state, then introduced onto an egg provided by a donor whose own dna has been removed. The cell is then induced to begin dividing like it would after normal fertilization. The stem cells that result are used to grow the cells that produce the products that are missing in the patient. Since these are clones of the patient's cells, they will not be rejected.

I have no problem with this type of embryotic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning since it is designed to produce only specific cell types in an effort to find relief for specific diseases.

Reproductive cloning is not yet feasible. Gametes which come together during normal fertilization have nearly all their sets of genes turned on. This provides the embryo the potential to produce all the body's structures and functions. The exception to this is that one pattern of genes is turned off (methylated) in the egg and a different pattern of genes is methylated in those in the sperm. When these two gametes with complimentary patterns combine, the likelihood of having a healthy full term baby is increased.

When a skin cell, for example, has to be demethylated to return it to a poly-potential state for potential cloning, this indiscriminate process would remove the male and female methylation patterns as well, resulting in all kinds of potential difficulties in the developing fetus which cannot be ethically tolerated.

The same would apply to same sex procreation. No matter how one tried to produce two gametes, at least one would not have the male or female methylation pattern required for success.

In either case, producing an embryo with the same methylation patterns as occur in the natural fertilization process is way beyond our current understanding or abilities. I would be in favor of a ten year moratorium on human cloning and SS procreation which could be extended after review. If results can be produced that are equivalent in safety and efficacy as IVF, then I see no reason for it to be banned from that point on.

Love, Dad

Monday, July 11, 2005


Understanding Sexual Orientation

Catherine and David,

While homosexuals are attracted to persons of the same gender, they are no different than anyone else otherwise. This is one of the three main reasons that homosexuality was taken out of the DSM. There was no psychological test in use at the time or proposed (and many tried to construct one) that could distinguish gays as a group from straights as a group. Sure gays have problems, but in the same proportions as the rest of the population. Homosexuality is not correlated with any other psychological disorder. Certainly not pedophilia. Sexual orientation is a distinct trait, like eye color, which is separate and unrelated to anything else.

To the extent that gays are anxious and depressed, this is situational anxiety and situational depression due to the way gays are treated by some in today's society. It is not psychological anxiety or psychological depression due to any underlying personality deficiency.

Gays' attraction to other men is exactly the same as a heterosexual woman's attraction to men, no more, no less. It is derived from the same set of genes and effects the same sexual arousal centers in the limbic system. It is a primal autonomic nervous system reaction like the "fight or flight" reaction and produces many of the same hormones and physiological reactions. In addition, sexual arousal produces the hormone oxitocin, the human bonding hormone also found in lactating women, which is required to form the bonds of love and affection necessary in romance. Since women don't stimulate this reaction in gay men, these men are not able to form bonds of love and affection to persons of the opposite gender.

These primitive reactions are not under voluntary control, they occur when the activating stimuli are present, whether we like it or not. They cannot be changed by any type of therapy. This is the second main reason that homosexuality was dropped from the DMS. There is no way to cure such a primitive instinct. The best professionals can do is help gays live with this innate difference.

The way we can apply the Christian "love thy neighbor" principle is to understand the scientific basis for sexual attraction, realize that this physiological reaction is not chosen, and accept gay people as they are the way God does.

Behavior is completely different from orientation, since it is chosen. Yet we can't have a reasoned discussion about behavior if we fail to acknowledge the limits that orientation places on the available options. Love, Dad

PS: Here's the latest article that reviews the current information on gay and lesbian parenting. It appears in the Obstetrics - Gynecology medical journal. It even includes that latest study I listed in my previous e-mail.

Summary: The literature supports the notion that children of lesbian mothers and gay fathers are not more likely to become homosexual and are not measurably different from children raised by heterosexual parents in terms of personality development, psychological development, and gender identity. Larger longitudinal studies of same sex parents, particularly gay men, are needed, including those who choose to become parents through the use of assisted reproduction.

Since gays are no different than anyone else otherwise, why would we expect there to be any difference in the way their children turn out?

Saturday, July 09, 2005


Gay and Lesbian Adoption

Catherine & David,

Thanks for your reply. I will be quite busy responding.

So first let me just make some overall comments about gay adoption. I'll address individual studies later.

The professional consensus regarding gays, lesbians and children is exemplified by this from the Am Psychological Ass'n web site.

The page has other "Answers to Your Questions About Sexual Orientation and Homosexuality" that are worth reading. I refer you to the first question, "What is Sexual Orientation." Please note the sexual orientation, an emotional arousal reaction, is distinct from sexual behavior. Willfully confounding these two is a common way to arrive at intentionally misleading conclusions about gays.

Organizations which support gay and lesbian children are listed here.

In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics supports second parent adoption for gay and lesbian couples.

All fifty states and DC allow gay foster parents and all states and DC except Florida allow gay adoptions. These homes are investigated and monitored by the appropriate state agencies. Florida, too, allowed gay adoptions until 1977 when singer Anita Bryant successfully led a campaign to have the law changed.

Here is a web site with a Florida gay couple and the five children they raised in foster care.

This is the couple involved in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals case you mentioned. I agree there is no "right" to be an adoptive parent, family court judges should have great leeway in these matters. Excluding a whole class of people as no other state does seems regrettable. Gays in particular seem more willing to take children with HIV, "crack" babies, and those suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. We need "those individuals whom [the court] deems most capable of parenting adoptive children and providing them with a secure environment." Yet all 32 of the studies which compared children raised by gay or lesbian couples with those raised by comparable opposite sex couples, there hasn't been even one that suggests that the former do not do as well as the latter. The latest study is reported here.

Included in the Eleventh Circuit's 2-1 decision was recess appointed Judge William Pryor. Alone among other out of state Attorneys General, he submitted a particularly nasty anti-gay amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of Lawrence v Texas supporting the states anti-sodomy laws. He suggested that any kind of homosexual activity is bad and the states have the right to prohibit it. With extreme views like this, how could he fairly judge the Florida adoption case? If he believes that gays are intrinsically evil, of course he's going to keep children away from them. No amount of objective evidence that shows that gays make fit parents is going to persuade him otherwise. More about Judge Pryor is here.

All states allow gay foster care and all states but Florida have permitted gay adoptions for decades. If there were negative consequences to this, surely someone would have noticed and reported it by now. We must separate the anti-gay rhetoric from the facts of the matter. More later, Love, Dad