A Prediction

Rob Tisinai

November 4th, 2014

A hundred years from now, Christians will proudly recall how they fought for LGBT rights at the beginning of the 21st Century, and if anyone reminds them of Christian opposition to our equality, they will reply, “But that was a FALSE Christianity!” So it happened with slavery, so it will happen with gays.

Richard Rush

November 4th, 2014

Oh, I don’t think so . . . it won’t take a hundred years.


November 4th, 2014

However long it takes – I think 100 years is reasonable, but my perspective may be skewed because I live in the Bible belt – the “No TRUE Scotsman…” fallacy will live to see another day.


November 4th, 2014

The difference is that the Civil Rights Movement was largely a religious movement. The religious denominations which actually supported slavery were a minority.

It’s not the case for the LGBT movement. The religious denominations that support LGBT rights are minority denominations.

It’s why attempts to parallel the LGBT rights movement to the Civil Rights Movement is such a bad idea. The women’s right movement is far more similar to ours in its secular scope.

It just so happens that in the American narrative and our history curricula African American movements take the lion’s share of the attention and cultural prominence whereas other marginalized minorities get a much smaller piece of the pie, such as Asians and early Irish/Italian/Jewish immigrants.

Priya Lynn

November 4th, 2014

“The religious denominations which actually supported slavery were a minority.”

Yeah, that’s not true. There was widespread christian support of slavery in the U.S. You’re doing exactly what christians will be doing when they talk about the fight for LGBT rights down the road.

Lightning Baltimore

November 4th, 2014

It wouldn’t surprise me if it happens within the next twenty years or so.


November 4th, 2014

And by widespread you mean Baptists and Mormons Priya.

David Malcolm

November 5th, 2014

Speaking as a Christian who’s been fighting for gay rights for a while, I think it’s important to realize that overall support for gay rights has been firstly a gay thing, and then both a family/friends thing and a generational thing. There is a lot of support for gay people in the Church, just not a ton of support from Church leaders or the people who hold the purse strings.

Large portions of surveyed Evangelical youth (basically anybody under 40) are showing that they are disillusioned with the Church because of the anti-gay bias that the older generation has. And that older generation is generally slowly becoming less anti-gay at a fairly uniformed rate. It’s just that the non-Church people don’t talk about it as much.

There will be lots of Churches that will say that they were on the right side of history, because they were. And those are going to be the ones that survive.

Richard Rush

November 5th, 2014

As I said, “it won’t take a hundred years.” . . . The seed has already been planted:

Unearthing The Surprising Religious History Of American Gay Rights Activism


November 5th, 2014

Republicans already do that with Civil Rights in the 60’s. They absolutely will do that with gay rights too, and it won’t take 100 years.

Timothy Kincaid

November 5th, 2014

I’m giving it less than 25 years.

In recollection the SBC’s position will be invisible while UCC, UMC and Episcopalians will be quoted with gay abandon.

Timothy Kincaid

November 5th, 2014

It’s not the case for the LGBT movement. The religious denominations that support LGBT rights are minority denominations.

Not exactly.

It is true that UCC and MCC are small. And it is true that the SBC is huge.

But the second largest Protestant church in the US is the United Methodist Church. And while official policy is less than supportive due to African and Asian votes in conference, the US Methodists are largely (and loudly) supportive.

Also, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) are no small potatoes. And while the Episcopal Church is no longer dominant in size, it still holds a good deal of influence.

I think the “position of Christians” question hangs is in the Catholic Church. If we talk only denominational positions, then they are horrific. But if we talk the position of parishioners, then the Catholic Church is at least majority supportive.

These issues are difficult to apply labels to.

Timothy Kincaid

November 5th, 2014

There will be lots of Churches that will say that they were on the right side of history, because they were. And those are going to be the ones that survive.

That stirred another thought. At what point is one on “the right side of history”?

None were at one point, many are now.

If we were to pit two institutions against each other, one might claim earlier support, but it really depends on how the matchup is aligned.

For example, the Democratic Party got to the right side of history before the Southern Baptist Convention (which is still firmly anchored in anachronism). But the Quakers got there before the Democrats.

Libertarian Party presidential candidates got there before Democratic Party presidential candidates, but the current “libertarian” heros such as the Paul family aren’t there yet.

If we speak of the population, anyone not yet in favor of equality is a lagger. But in the realm of religion, someone who is on the fence today could prove to be an advocate and a hero in the upcoming battles.

Take the Baptist ethicist David Gushee who just has found support for same-sex relationships and has called on the church to reexamine Scripture. Will history see him on the right side or wrong side?

Yes, he’s a bit late compared to Gene Robinson, but he’s very early compared to Russell Moore. And how will it view Moore, who while theologically anti-gay also just denounced ex-gay therapy?

These are not all easy answers.

Priya Lynn

November 5th, 2014

Lucrece said “And by widespread [support of slavery] you mean Baptists and Mormons Priya.”

Nice try at deception Lucrece. Most protestant churchs split north/south prior to the civil war including churchs such as the presbyterian and episcopal/methodist. I didn’t have time to research all the others but as we can see off the top you weren’t telling the truth. Norhern churchs were far from united on the issue as well with many in each denomination supoorting slavery and many others thinnking slavery wasn’t a good thing but it was wrong to abolish it because slavery would stop eventually:

“some [northern church members] argued that the Bible treated slavery as a morally legitimate institution. For example, parts of the Old Testament law recognized and regulated slavery. Jesus lived in a world where slavery existed, and he apparently uttered not a single word of censure against it. The letters of the apostle Paul contained explicit commands that slaves be obedient to their masters. Therefore, ran this argument, contemporary Christians had no business condemning as sinful a social arrangement that the Bible itself sanctioned. Most church leaders appear to have fallen somewhere between these extremes. They considered slavery less than ideal and believed that it would eventually be eradicated by slow and peaceful means, but they also abhorred the abolitionists’ attack on slaveholders as sinners and their demand for immediate emancipation. Suspicious alike of proslavery and abolitionist positions, they were prepared to await God’s providential resolution of the issue.”.

It wasn’t a matter of “this religion was for slavery” and “that religion was against slavery”, it was that christians in almost every church were split over the issue with many supporting slavery or thinking that although it was bad christians should look the other way.

Just like will happen with gay rights and christianity you and other modern christians are rewriting history by falsely claiming there wasn’t widespread chrisitian support for slavery prior to the civil war. You count on people not knowing the truth and make up stories that fit your false narrative.

Timothy Kincaid

November 5th, 2014

I certainly have a lot to say on this…

I took a look at the 15 largest protestant denominations in the US and broke them into supportive, opposing, and more-or-less neutral.

Based solely on membership in denominations (which is perhaps not the best method of identification), there are roughly

32.3 million people in churches that actively oppose gay rights

17.1 million people in churches that allow full participation and which advocate for gay rights

12.6 million people in churches (mainly non-SBC baptists) which allow local decisions but don’t take a political stand.

There are another 50 million Catholics in churches where the Bishops say one thing and the people do another.


November 5th, 2014

To be fair while Catholics are generally supportive of gay rights, they also take instruction from church leaders on political decisions that span a wide array of issues.

For example, here in Florida there are many gay supportive Cuban families that are deeply Catholic, but nevertheless they reliably vote for the likes of Rick Scott, Curbello, and most importantly the vile Marco Rubio.

So while they may not campaign for gay oppression, many Catholics through sheer neglect allow oppression to take place.

This is also prevalent in Spanish speaking media, where gay issues barely receive any coverage and candidates’ antigay positions are not even mentioned because it’s not deemed relevant.

Richard Rush

November 5th, 2014

Timothy said, “But the second largest Protestant church in the US is the United Methodist Church. And while official policy is less than supportive due to African and Asian votes in conference, the US Methodists are largely (and loudly) supportive.”

It appears that their sincerely held power takes precedence over their sincerely held beliefs. The US Methodists could simply and easily choose to break away from the bigoted factions. After all, there are now somewhere between 30,000 and 40,000 Christian denominations on earth preaching their own version of absolute truth, so adding one more should not be a big deal.

Timothy Kincaid

November 5th, 2014


The UMC may well schism over this issue. In fact, I think it likely should the rules not change at the next convention in 2016.

But it is a peculiar assumption that their unity to date has something to do with “power”. Perhaps your antipathy towards religion has flavored your perspective.

Incidentally, many many churches are not competing for “absolute truth”. They may disagree on matters of doctrine, structure, or worship, but such differences are not always considered to be a matter of importance. Many mainline churches have reciprocal agreements whereby those ordained in one can accept positions of ministry in the other.

A Methodist and a Presbyterian are not by any means considered to be in disagreement over absolute truth.

Also those “different denominations” include those organized by nation. For example, nearly every non-Muslim African nation has an Anglican church. These are not necessarily competing with each other for “absolute truth”.

Mark F.

November 5th, 2014

Ryan, Many GOP Congressman voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Even Goldwater was against forced segregation, but he took the libertarian position in favor of absolute freedom of association.


November 5th, 2014

The history of the abolitionist movement is complex. There was religious support both for the retention of slavery and for abolition. This is because the Bible is also complex.

In Domenico Losurdo’s book, Liberalism: A Counter History, there is much evidence presented to show that the precursor to what we call Fundamentalism today was largely and vehemently in favour of abolition. Through the 19th C there was a strong element of radicalism amongst non-denominational Protestants, taking inspiration from Paul’s epistle to Galations, “for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)

This radicalism yielded many voices declaring they would not recognise the legitimacy of secular government over their sacred observations, a double edged position as we’re now seeing in latter day Fundamentalist support for civil disobedience against gay rights.

In the established Churches, too, there were some fierce advocates for abolitionism such as John Newton and James Ramsay, both Anglican priests.

In Catholicism, the picture is even more complicated. Slavery in the Latin cultures has a different history again to that of North America and the great drivers of Liberalism in Britain and Holland.

As for gay rights, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I read in Peter Wildeblood’s account of his conviction and imprisonment for homosexuality, Against The Law, that the Anglican Church had forwarded an official position in favour of legalisation several years before the Wolfenden Report was tabled with it’s own recommendation.

History may fairly judge Christain responses to racial and sexual civil rights with the conclusion, “it’s complicated.” Unsurprisingly, adherents will likely bright-side the matter depending on how far society has come on the respective matters, but they won’t be entirely without justification.

enough already

November 6th, 2014

In one-hundred years, I think we will see that the Christians were split among three groups, regardless of denomination.

The ignorant and ineducable, such as the many African, and other groups who are taking the Methodists further and further away from social justice at the annual conferences. Many American Christians fall into this group, too, though I have always suspected money is the real ‘god’ behind the Osteens and Warrens. They really don’t care, they just want to use hate against us because it’s profitable.

The rigorists, they are more invested in Paul’s Christianity than in what that long-haired, sandal-wearing carpenter, good ol’ whats-his-name had to say on any single topic. In any ‘conflict’ between Jesus’ words and Paul’s positions, they’ll take Paul everytime.

The followers of Jesus. Those are the ones who note the meaning of ‘servant’ in that context, the meaning of ‘eunuch’ in that time and come to the conclusion that gays must not be treated ill.

It’s hard to see these three positions through all the noise, but this is where, I think, the history books will end up.

Timothy Kincaid

November 6th, 2014

Neil, thank you for that additional information and I think that you are correct. “It’s complicated” may well be the final analysis.

enough already, you make a very compelling argument. I’m not completely convinced that this trichotomy will be the eventual outcome, but it certainly is a strong possibility.

Priya Lynn

November 6th, 2014

Dominico Losurdo is a conservative apologist with an axe to grind against liberalism. His claim that fundamentalism was largely and vehmently in favour of abolition is a very much a minority viewpoint and is driven by his own bias.

Of course there were christians in favour of abolition but its dishonest to point them out and ignore all the christians in favour of slavery, a position that was well justified by pointing to the bible.

Priya Lynn

November 6th, 2014

Losurdo’s whole schtick is to falsely claim liberalism is part and parcel of slavery, colonialism, genocide, and racism.

enough already

November 6th, 2014

It’s a synthesis, so bound to be skewed a bit.
Basically, though, the money changers will always exploit the ‘faithful’, there will always be pharisees and there will always be a few who, having understood the true meaning of ‘grace’ will strive to practice it.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not 100 years from now and we gays are still being persecuted.


November 6th, 2014


I’m puzzled why you think an old Marxist like Losurdo is a conservative apo;ogist. His book makes the case that the worser imperialist tendency, the slavery, colonialism, genocide, and racism, was beaten into it’s kinder gentler expression today by radical opposition, unions and various revolutionary uprisings.

To be sure, churches with interests allied to the rising power of Liberalism adapted to and supported the dominant ideology, that private property was an absolute right up to and including the absolute dominion over human beings as chattel; but slavery emerged in that form in defiance of church and state regulation of slavery under the old regime. You could still be bought or sold back then but, for instance, you had a right to marry (and stay with your spouse) and your children were not part of the deal.

Liberalism revolted against such restrictions, and many exponents of the ideology denounced the “political slavery” that might prevent them from doing as they pleased with their slaves. So for the religious, on the question of slavery, there was always a basis for conflict, though also often an accommodation, with the evolution of that practice into what was termed “perfect slavery”, the total possession of a person.

Society in the 19th C wasn’t secular. Abolitionism was as largely driven by a religious as much as a socially inspired sense of justice. I say all this as an atheist. I am no sort of Christian or conservative apologist myself.

Mike Michaels

November 11th, 2014

Southern Baptists will never say they fought for LGBT equality. They’re still fighting the Civil War for goodness sake…

Ben in oakland

November 11th, 2014

You’re quite wrong, Mike.

They’re still fighting the War of Northern aggression.

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