Letter to Bishop Thompson
from Daniel W. Nebert, M.D.

Introduction to the letter by Dr. Lucia Jorge-Nebert

9 September 2003

The Rt. Rev. Herbert Thompson Jr., D.Min.
Jane E. Procter Memorial Church House
412 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati OH 45202-4179

Dear Bishop Thompson :

I am writing this letter in support of your vote at the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church against the consecration of Canon Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. For several reasons, as stated below, I also am fervently opposed to holding up this "11-year committed male-male relationship" as an example for our children to follow. The timing of this "urgent" vote at the Convention, and, indeed, I understand Robinson's ex-wife and one or more of his daughters wrote letters strongly supporting his consecration as Bishop--have absolutely convinced me that this action was nothing more than a purely political agenda, pushed forth by progressive liberals. This achievement has nothing to do with religion and has nothing to do with the mission of the Episcopal Church, which (I understand) is to spread the Word and tell the world about Jesus Christ.

I have been an Episcopalian since 1964--first in Los Angeles, then Maryland, and since 1990 in Cincinnati. I am a physician, board-qualified in Pediatrics and Human Genetics, and have been involved in molecular biology and genetics, cloning, and The Human Genome Project. Since 1990 I have been a Professor at the University Cincinnati Medical Center. I am author/coauthor of more than 520 scientific publications and have received a number of awards, recognitions and citations for my work during the past 30 years. For the past decade I have collected folders of material for a book that I am planning to write (once I retire), entitled God as Revealed by Science and Evolution. Whether this book ever becomes a reality or represents something like the Portrait of Dorian Gray, remains to be seen.

Because of my qualifications, I believe I am reasonably able to provide a viewpoint of homosexuality from the basis of science, genetics and evolution. The evidence is strong that this trait reflects a combination of genes and the environment. Two distinct genes have been identified and characterized in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, which--in their mutated form--cause abnormal male courtship behavior. I am certain that similar (or the same) genes will be found in mice and rats but, so far, they have not been characterized. In humans, chromosomal regions have been shown to be statistically significantly associated with homosexual behavior, portions of the brain have different sizes and shapes in homosexuals (men more so than women), and studies with identical versus fraternal twins--all support the conclusion that homosexual behavior represents a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Homosexuality is thus no different from what is called in Human Genetics "complex diseases," which include heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholism and drug addiction. In each example, the "normal" or "wild-type" trait is the healthy characteristic, whereas the complex disease is the mutant, variant or aberration. Several (likely to be dozens, or hundreds of) genes having mutated alleles, combined with environmental factors (diet, lifestyle, occupation, nutrition, age, hormones, society, family upbringing, etc.) will ultimately lead to manifestation of the "full-blown" complex disease. To call homosexuality "natural" in the field of genomics, or in the eyes of God, therefore, is to make a purely political statement rather than a factual scientific statement or a religious statement. Obviously, from an evolutionary point of view, if homosexuality predominated over heterosexuality in any species, that species would soon become extinct.

This week a person in the clergy suggested to me that "the trait of homosexuality is probably as 'natural' as having red hair or green eyes." This is not scientifically correct. Red hair and green eyes are traits that are favorable for sexual selection--meaning this is why these traits continue to be passed from one generation to the next. On the other hand, a predisposition toward homosexuality, like heart disease or cancer, is a condition, or disease, caused by mutant genes and is neither normal nor "natural."

Since you know more than I about passages in the Bible, I need not say anything further about the statements in the Scripture about homosexuality (several times mentioned, in the same sentence, with bestiality, sodomy and incest). However, we in the Episcopal Church must love our brethren and behold them in the eyes of God, even if they: [a] have heart disease yet refuse to eat healthily, [b] have lung cancer or a stroke but refuse to stop smoking, [c] are grossly overweight or have diabetes yet refuse to exercise or go on a diet, [d] have osteoporosis, arthritis, Parkinson disease or Alzheimer disease yet refuse to take medication that might help, [e] are alcoholics or drug addicts but refuse to get help, or [f] are homosexuals who should keep this behavior to themselves but instead would rather flaunt their condition in front of our children. To reiterate, this approval at the General Convention to proceed with the consecration of Gene Robinson as Bishop is a political agenda that goes contrary to scientific facts as well as religious thinking. Moreover, your (or my) vote against this approval should not be construed as our being "gay-hating," "gay-bashing," or going against what some might argue is "natural" in the eyes of God.

Finally, one might ask "why is the Episcopal Church in this country pushing this political agenda?" Since my occupation gives me the opportunity to have traveled on six continents, my view of the "Ugly American" is just that: like the boy who lived many years in a sterile bubble at the National Institutes of Health because he had no immune cells to fight infection--the average American is a sleepy, overweight, apathetic blob living in a "bubble" and having a very na´ve view of the rest of the world. The 9/11 World Trade Center disaster was, in part, such a shock to most Americans because we had become accustomed (since Pearl Harbor) to living such highly protected childlike lives. Few realize that, of 79 million Episcopalians worldwide, only 2.2 million reside in the United States. The vast majority of Episcopalians live in countries where homosexuality is not only frowned upon but is against the law; subjects practicing homosexuality are prosecuted and imprisoned or executed. Thus, we have a small progressive-liberalism faction within the American Episcopalian tiny, tiny minority, trying to tell the Episcopal Church in the rest of the world how to "act." This is like a flea on the rear end of an elephant trying to tell the elephant which path in the jungle it should take. And, of the 2.2 million American Episcopalians, how large is this progressive-liberalism faction? I'd dare to guess not more than a few tens of thousands (at most); the rest are apathetic or, like me, more religiously conservative.

A question beyond Episcopalians might be: why is America pushing homosexuality and same-sex marriages? This is, likewise, a purely political agenda. There is a small, well-organized, well-financed, outspoken group of homosexuals that--as a lobby--have pushed their agenda on politicians. This lobby has also played a big role in promoting this behavior on television and radio, in Hollywood and the movies, and in other venues of high visibility. How many TV sitcoms and movies these days are now promoting homosexuality? From the age of 4 or 6, our children in America are now being encouraged, "If it feels good, do it." It will be only a matter of time until we also see incest, sodomy and pedophilia promoted as "mainstream" and "acceptable" behaviors in our progressively-liberal society. Anecdotally, it is this same self-centered righteousness, arrogance and progressive liberalism of the Ugly American that frightens the Arab and Muslim countries so much.

In conclusion, I await the decision of the Primates when they meet in London next month. It would be most surprising to me if they do not vote to "cut loose" the American Episcopalian Church from the rest of the Church's body (like amputating a gangrenous small toe). After this happens, I would only hope your Diocese will be able to re-align itself with the Anglican Church of England, Africa, Southeast Asia and the rest of the world and avoid the small progressive-liberal faction. Thank you for your attention.

Warmest personal regards,

Daniel W. Nebert, M.D.
dan.nebert@uc.edu


Introduction to the letter by Dr. Lucia Jorge-Nebert

September 16, 2003

Dear Mr. Figueroa:

Father Bob Rademaker, Rector of the Ascension and Holy Trinity Parish in Wyoming, OH, suggested that I should write to you and send for your consideration a letter that my husband, Dan W. Nebert, MD, wrote and sent to Bishop Thompson. Several copies of this letter have circulated in the parish and have generated a positive response. As a matter of fact, several parishioners who have not read it yet, have expressed their interest in obtaining a copy. As my husband commented, you either love it or hate it, but it is difficult to stay neutral and show no response.

I think the readership of the American Anglican Council (both at the Diocesan and National levels) will find the approach of this letter quite interesting and informative. The subject of the ratification of Gene Robinson as Bishop and the recognition of same-sex unions has caused a great stir in our parish, as it has done elsewhere in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion. Our parishioners are more than ever interested in matters of theology and are eager for information about the future of our Church. Adult educational forums have been attended as never before in the last weeks and people are claiming for more!! In this sense, the websites of the American Anglican Council have been very useful and I want to thank you for the effort put into these websites.

Even though the majority of the published material in the section of Articles of Current Special Interest has been authored by clergy and authorities of the Church or by Christian scholars or theologians who are experts in the subject at hand, I have not seen anything exploring homosexuality from the biological point of view. It is true that Dr. Gagnon, a brilliant theologian, reviews some scientific studies on homosexuality, but he is by far not a recognized expert in the matter (from the medical or biological point to view), and that is a great weakness that has been pointed out several times. Unfortunately, I have not yet seen the intervention of true experts (and in this case I should exclude the practitioners of the modern social or psychological sciences). It is unlikely they will dare to participate, since political correctness is the tone of the day and, sadly, most serious scientists pay little attention to religion and are rather secularly inclined. I should know, since both my husband and I come from such godless environments.

Very few scientists of my husband's stature would have the courage to risk their good name and standing in the scientific community by presenting an unpopular view of the reality of what the biological sciences actually have to say about homosexuality. The misinterpretations and misrepresentations by amateurs in the field are multiple and should be rectified now, for the survival of our Church.

If you would consider the publication of this letter in the website under your care and wish to make a background check on my husband's credentials you could investigate the following website: http://www.isihighlycited.com/ This is a site maintained by the Institute of Scientific Information (responsible for the series Current Contents and other reputable publications for the scientific community). As one of the most highly cited researchers in their database (top 0.5% in all scientific publications, appearing between 1980 and 2000), they present Dr. Dan W. Nebert's biographical profile, list of publications and other pertinent information, including the contact information in the University of Cincinnati. You may use the search feature to retrieve the data. For correspondence, Dr. Nebert may be reached at dnebert@uc.edu

Editors note: See: http://hcr3.newisiknowledge.com/author.cgi?&link1=Search&link2=Search%20Results&AuthLastName=nebert&AuthFirstName=daniel&AuthMiddleName=&AuthMailnstName=&CountryID=-1&DisciplineID=0&id=755

I will send you, by regular mail, an official publication of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (date: Dec. 2001) that contains more information on my husband's area of expertise and achievements.

I thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely Dr. Lucia Jorge-Nebert

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