Religious Upbringing and Culture Affects Rates of Homosexuality

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Religious upbringing and culture affects rates of homosexuality. The book My Genes Made Me Do it - a scientific look at sexual orientation, coauthored by biochemist Dr. Neil Whitehead and his wife, writer Briar Whitehead,[1] presents the argument that there are no genetic origins for homosexuality in humans and that individuals are capable of shoving aside homosexual tendencies to return to natural heterosexual orientation.[2]

Homosexuality appears to be rare in Orthodox Jews.

Dr. Whitehead and Briar Whitehead state in their aforementioned book the following:

If homosexuality were significantly influenced by genes, it would appear in every culture, but in twenty-nine of seventy-nine cultures surveyed by Ford and Beach in 1952, homosexuality was rare or absent. It was very rare in the Siriono, even though there were no prohibitions on homosexual relationships in that culture. The researcher observed only one man displaying slight homosexual traits but apparently not sexually involved with another man. Homosexuality appears to be rare among Orthodox Jews, so much so that learned rabbis, the interpreters of Jewish law, usually allowed men to sleep in the same bed, because likelihood of sexual contact was considered negligible. Kinsey also found very low homosexual incidence among Orthodox Jews...

This evidence comes from missionaries who commonly spend 25 years of their lives living in one culture, far more than almost any anthropologist....Overall they can be considered as reliable witnesses. For example, in contrast to groups like the Sambia in the New Guinea highlands, where homosexuality was compulsory, only about 2-3 percent of Western Dani (also in the New Guinea highlands) practiced it. However, in another group of Dani who were genetically related, homosexuality was totally unknown. Missionaries report that when they were translating the Bible into Dani for this group, their tribal assistants, who knew their own culture intimately, were nonplused by references to homosexuality in Romans 1; they did not understand the concept. Another missionary, with the same group for 25 years, overheard many jests and sexually ribald exchanges among the men, but never a single mention of homosexuality in all that time. When Dani went to help with missionary work among the Sambia, they were astounded at some of the homosexual practices they saw for the first time. Although it is always difficult for a foreigner to be completely sure whether a rare and stigmatized behavior exists, it is certainly true that if three such different experiences of homosexuality can occur in groups of people so closely related genetically, genetically enforced homosexuality is an impossibility.[3]

Dr. Alice Dreger is a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. She has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.[4] On December 4, 2012 Dr. Degrer reported in the The Atlantic that among Aka and Ngandu people of central Africa homosexuality was rare or nonexistent.[5]

In 1976, Gwen J. Proude and Sarah J. Green of Harvard University published in the journal Ethnology there were societies in which homosexuality was rare or absent.[6] In addition, Proude and Green in the aforementioned journal article had data which showed a positive correlation between societies which accepted or ignored homosexuality in their cultures and societies which were more likely to report that homososexuality was not uncommon.[7]

In 1993, M. Baron wrote in BMJ (British Medical Journal) the following:

Some cultures - for example, the Assyrian and Graeco-Roman - were more tolerant of homosexuality. The behavior was practiced openly and was highly prevalent. Sexual patterns are to some extent a product of society's expectations, but it would be difficult to envisage a change in the prevalence of the genetic trait merely in response to changing cultural norms.[8]

Dennis Prager wrote the following regarding Orthodox Judaism and homosexuality:

In the Syballine Oracles, written by an Egyptian Jew probably between 163 and 45 B.C., the author compared Jews to the other nations: The Jews "are mindful of holy wedlock, and they do not engage in impious intercourse with male children, as do Phoenicians, Egyptians, and Romans, specious Greece and many nations of others, Persians and Galatians and all Asia." And in our times, sex historian Amo Karlen wrote that according to the sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, "Homosexuality was phenomenally rare among Orthodox Jews."[9]

Herbert Hendin wrote:

Anthropologists had observed that relatively uncompetitive primitive cultures such as those that do not distinguish or reward the best hunters in distinction to the other men in the tribe have virtually no homosexuality."[10]

Individuals Raised in Large Cities Versus Individuals Raised in Suburbs, Towns, and Countryside

In 1994, the book Sex in America: A definitive survey (by Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann, and Gina Kolata) stated:

We discovered that people who were raised in large cities were more likely to be homosexual than people who were raised in suburb, towns, or the countryside. This relationship also showed up in the General Social Survey, an independent national sample.[11]

The aforementioned authors Dr. Whitehead and Briar Whitehead similarly wrote:

There is a much higher incidence of homosexuality among those who have been raised in large cities, rather than in rural areas, arguing that the environment is much more powerful than genes in the development of homosexuality.[12]

Religious leader and civil rights leader Martin Luther King viewed homosexuality as a problem

The religious leader and civil rights leader Martin Luther King (MLK) never championed the homosexual agenda. In fact, MLK saw homosexuality as probably a culturally induced "problem" and he believed that homosexuals could become ex-homosexuals. (see: Overcoming homosexuality).[13]

King wrote in a 1958 column: “The type of feeling that you have toward boys is probably not an innate tendency, but something that has been culturally acquired,” . “You are already on the right road toward a solution, since you honestly recognize the problem and have a desire to solve it.”[14]

See also


  1. Book Review: My Genes Made Me Do It: A Scientific Look at Sexual Orientation by Neil and Briar Whitehead
  3. My Genes Made Me Do it - a scientific look at sexual orientation by Dr Neil Whitehead and Briar Whitehead - Chapter 6
  4. Where Masturbation and Homosexuality Do Not Exist by Dr. Alice Dreger, The Atlantic, December 4, 2012
  5. Where Masturbation and Homosexuality Do Not Exist by Dr. Alice Dreger, The Atlantic, December 4, 2012
  6. Gwen J. Broude and Sarah J. Greene Cross cultural codes on twenty sexual attitudes and practices. Ethnology 1976;15;409-430
  7. Gwen J. Broude and Sarah J. Greene Cross cultural codes on twenty sexual attitudes and practices. Ethnology 1976;15;409-430
  8. BMJ. 1993 August 7; 307(6900): 337–338.
  9. Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality byDENNIS PRAGER
  10. "Kardiner and Linton, in a psychoanalytic anthropological study of Tanala, examined homosexuality in the context of the entire Tanalese culture (1939). They showed that a dramatic rise in homosexuality when social and economic forces inflamed competitiveness was one of several manifestations of frustrated rage (crime was another) among young men who were having particular difficulty with the pressures the culture was exerting on them. Homosexuality: The Psychosocial Dimension - Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 6:479-496(1978)
  11. Sex in America: A definitive survey by Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, Edward O. Laumann, and Gina Kolata, Boston, Little, Brown, 1994, page 182]
  13. MLK: Homosexuality a 'problem' with a 'solution'
  14. MLK: Homosexuality a 'problem' with a 'solution'