What’s Going On?

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

As a baby boomer, the music I identify with is Rock and Roll.  I came of age in the 60s and “my music” was the British invasion of the Beatles, but even more so, the

Motown sound of the Contours, Smokey Robinson, and, of course, Marvin Gaye.  In fact, Marvin Gaye has the top Motown song, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” as well as the fifth most popular song, “What’s Goin’ On?”  In fact, I ask myself that question a lot these days.

Some of my column topics don’t require courage.  I can’t imagine someone being offended by an essay on liver disease.  However, in these politically correct times someone will find a way to be offended or victimized by almost anything.  A reader once took issue with me because I deigned to write about history, opining that I had no history degree and therefore I had no credentials to study or comment on the past.  Another said I should stick with medicine and not comment on art or travel.  I reminded these arm chair critics that this is an opinion column, my opinion.  Actually, I find the experts of academia woefully detached from the real world and capable of little more than theory.  And “experts” in the media no longer report the news, instead publishing opinion pieces couched as the news.

There are many courageous writers at The Focus which has become a real alternative to the other newspaper in Knoxville.  I’ve thought about the topic for this week’s column for some time, but until now have avoided the controversy that will undoubtedly ensue.  Well, so be it.  Pablum isn’t interesting and doesn’t do justice to The Focus.

What percentage of Americans would you say identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender?  I’ve heard it stated recently by the Democrat political operative and CNN commentator, Paul Begala, that 10% of Americans are gay.  For years I’ve heard this same one in ten number quoted as a fact, and the experts are wrong.

The National Health Interview Survey done annually by the government (CDC and Census Bureau) and recently reported in the Washington Post found that 1.6 % of adults identified themselves as gay or lesbian.  An additional 0.7 % considered themselves bisexual.  Another 1.1 % said they “didn’t know the answer” or considered themselves “something else.”  The fact remains that the cultural tsunami that is rocking our nation and western society is driven by a small minority of individuals.  The question remains, “What’s goin’ on?”

One can quibble with the results of the National Health Survey by observing that some might be reluctant to tell the government the truth.  Our government’s history of lying to the people and abusing power, as well as the sensitive nature of the question, might lead to under-reporting of the truth.  Intrusion of an all powerful Federal government even into the examination room is a reality these days with Obama-care mandates.  Many of us were fearful of rumors that Obama-care would force us to ask our patients whether men were having sex with other men or whether there were firearms in our patient’s homes.  Fortunately, these mandates never made it to Knoxville while I was still in group practice.  It should be noted that the National Survey data were collected from more than 18,000 respondents and the results were considered valid by statisticians.

After reading this study I wondered what else I’d been led to believe as truth was, in fact, a lie.  And I wondered how this myth regarding human sexuality became the perceived reality.  Not many people read results from the CDC.  The only reason I learned of this report is from internet news.  What if my only news source were the “Alphabet news outlets” or those driven by money and market share or demographics?  Furthermore, I found it fascinating to learn that those under thirty-five years old thought that 30 % of Americans were gay.  Where did Millennials learn this lie?

We now receive “news” that is tailored to our philosophy.  Talk radio and Fox News are more conservative.  ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN (need I go on with the alphabet?) as well as the NY Times and The Washington Post are liberal…er excuse me, progressive.

I am not a betting man, but I would wager that many of you do not know a major source of news for Millennials.  The answer is the TMZ network.  TMZ stands for “thirty mile zone” as measured from downtown Hollywood.  Recognize that the perspective of Hollywood is vastly different than the rest of the country.  If entertainment industry news is presented along side world news and sprinkled with Hollywood’s philosophy you can begin to see why the unaware can be manipulated to think that the incidence of homosexuality in the country is ten times what it actually is.

There are three aspects of human sexual orientation.  The term gay generally refers to those who identify themselves as such, whereas others may have homosexual desires, but not engage in homosexual behavior.  The latter may occur from sexual experimentation or for cultural shock effect like Madonna’s escapades.

Humans accept a wide range of behavior defined as normal, and the standard bell shaped curve defines a population of  95 % of us.  Medicine has been my life’s study and we still don’t understand why a small percentage of humans are so different.  The latest and most plausible explanation of homosexuality is not due to genetics, as much as to external influences on our unique genetic predispositions.  I’ve written about this concept of epigenetics in a February 2014 Focus essay.

The more pragmatic issue is not why we are different, but how we should treat each other’s differences.  I celebrate our human differences.  How boring it would be if we were all the same.  The problem comes when some demand that the majority change their principles (even our language) or be branded as homophobes, bigots or racists.  These denigrating epithets are vile and evil.

I maintain that we are all God’s children who should be treated equally under the law.  I don’t judge a man by the color of his skin, as Eric Holder apparently does.  But you see I answer to the Author of all laws, not just man’s law.

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