Evangelicals pledge to defend traditional marriage by witness and example

Timothy Kincaid

June 29th, 2015

Those who make a living defending God and the family from television commercials, gay pizza eaters, and children’s books are frothing and spewing about the Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality. They are pledging that they “refuse to accept” the ruling and calling for a constitutional amendment.

Meanwhile, the most prominent Evangelical Christians are taking another path entirely.

Evangelical Christianity (in this instance) is comprised primarily of Baptist, Pentecostal, Non-Denominational, conservative Lutheran, conservative Presbyterian, Brethren, Reformed, and other smaller denominations.

Of these, the Pentecostal movement has mostly stayed out of the political fray. This is consistent with their tradition of seeing themselves as outside of the world to a large extent. Also mostly outside the political debate have been Brethren, Reformed, and the more conservative cousins of Mainline denominations.

But for many years, Southern Baptists railed against homosexuality and fought a culture war determined to keep equality out of the hands of their LGBT brothers and sisters. And those states in which Southern Baptists hold sway are chuck-full of anti-gay politicians who make little effort to hide their animus.

However, a few years back I noticed that there had been a shift in the Baptists’ approach. The SBC, though still hostile and hurtful, appeared to be largely stepping out of the battle. And their response to the Supreme Court ruling, along with other leading Evangelicals, is even more an evidence of this disengagement.

In a statement entitled Here We Stand: An Evangelical Declaration on Marriage, a virtual who’s who of evangelical leaders staked out their position in response to marriage equality being found to be constitutionally protected. Signatories includes such leaders as David French, Eric Teetsel, Jim Daly, John Stonestreet, Marvin Olasky, Paul Nyquist, Albert Mohler, Richard Land, Ronnie Floyd, and many more.

Absent from the list were the usual clutch of firebrands, extremists, and lunatics. And the statement reflects a serious approach based less on political rhetoric and hyperbole and focused instead on how this change impacts the lives of those who share this faith.

Yes, they proclaim that “The Bible clearly teaches the enduring truth that marriage consists of one man and one woman”, when anyone with a Bible would be hard pressed to find such a marriage within its covers. But this is a statement of faith, a proclamation of belief, rather than a call to arms. And their objection to the ruling is termed as a dissent.

The meat of their statement is in what they commit to do.

    The gospel must inform our approach to public witness. As evangelicals animated by the good news that God offers reconciliation through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus, we commit to:

  • Respect and pray for our governing authorities even as we work through the democratic process to rebuild a culture of marriage (Rom. 13:1-7);
  • teach the truth about biblical marriage in a way that brings healing to a sexually broken culture;
  • affirm the biblical mandate that all persons, including LGBT persons, are created in the image of God and deserve dignity and respect;
  • love our neighbors regardless of whatever disagreements arise as a result of conflicting beliefs about marriage;
  • live respectfully and civilly alongside those who may disagree with us for the sake of the common good;
  • cultivate a common culture of religious liberty that allows the freedom to live and believe differently to prosper.

I will, of course, fight any of their democratic efforts to exclude me from full inclusion in society. And I’m not sure that we would draw the same boundaries for religious liberty. But otherwise I don’t find much with which to quibble.

Should Evangelicals live up to this mandate – to live respectfully, loving all people, and affirming dignity and respect – I would find them to be good neighbors and decent people. And if they wish to live an example of what marriage ‘should be like’, that would certainly go farther than all the name-calling and rejection that they have engaged in over the past several decades.

Ben in Oakland

June 29th, 2015

“I will, of course, fight any of their democratic efforts to exclude me from full inclusion in society.”

That is a bang on description of their modus operandi right now. And a perfect response to it.

“Should Evangelicals live up to this mandate – to live respectfully, loving all people, and affirming dignity and respect…”

Unfortunately, they have been claiming that they are simply proclaiming the truth in love for decades. It’s not love, it’s narcissism. And there is absolutely no difference, as far as I can tell, in the rhetoric of those proclaiming the truth in love and those proclaiming their lies in hate.

This is ALL we have ever asked of them: to extend the same courtesy and respect to us that they routinely extend to all of the other people they believe are going to burn in hell forever.

And until they actually do so, I have no reason to believe that their current incarnation will be any different from their usual ones.


June 30th, 2015

So, reading between the lines, it sounds like one of their priorities is passing a constitutional anti-marriage equality amendment, which has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing, but they’ll still waste their time and money on it so they can make it clear to us how much they “love” us.

Bear in mind, these are the people whose idea of “love” has far less to do with treating an LGBT person with neighborly kindness and respect, and more to do with parroting a veritable cornucopia of lies (… damned lies, and statistics) about us. If they were truly going to focus on strengthening their own marriages and dropping the BS, that would be commendable. But given their past behavior, I’ll believe it when I see it.


June 30th, 2015

I love that one of the signers is named Eric Teetsel. The name instantly transports me back many years to Sunday school classes at the mainline Protestant church of my childhood where we were instilled with contempt for Johann Tetzel and the perfidious pope and unholy church he represented, whose sins against God and humanity could only be washed away with the blood of the reforming martyrs and kept away by our eternal vigilance against papist plots, possibly in collusion with the Communists, to dominate the U.S. Of course, in the very next chapter various Protestant factions were slaughtering each other to purify the true church of heresy. Interestingly, God had a whole different set of enemies then. In a dozen years of twice weekly churchgoing, I never heard a word about the homos.


June 30th, 2015

By witness and example.

Paul Douglas

June 30th, 2015

When I see fundagelicals demonstrating some of this “love of Jesus” they are always blathering on about, I will start to consider the possibility that they are serious. They’ve had decades to do exactly what they are talking about now and haven’t.
This must be plan B.
So much for christianism.

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