A couple weeks ago, I noted Elizabeth Diaz’s feature-length article in Time magazine arguing that evangelicals are changing their mind about gay marriage. Today she has a follow-up piece about Nashville, Tennessee’s GracePointe Community Church which has become “one of the first evangelical megachurches in the country to openly stand for full equality and inclusion of the LGBTQ community.” The church’s pastor, Stan Mitchell, made the announcement at the end of a sermon a few weeks ago. You can watch it above beginning at 44:00. Continue Reading →
Yesterday, Mormon leaders announced a kind of via media on gay rights. In a public statement, leaders agreed to
…support legislation where it is being sought to provide protections in housing, employment and some other areas where LGBT people do not have protections, while ensuring that religious freedom is not compromised.
In other words, the church proposes to give a little in order to get a little. If I understand their statement of principles correctly, they are now willing to acknowledge sexual orientation as a protected class along with religion, race, and sex. They are willing to do this in certain “areas” of public life, so long as religious liberty is not curtailed in any way. Continue Reading →
Last week I read a report about philosophy professors who believe the debate about marriage is over. For many (perhaps most) of them, the question has been settled. There is no rational basis to privilege the union of one man and one woman in our laws and culture. To do so is the equivalent of bigotry. Or so these professors believe. And that is why many of them are no longer treating it as a matter up for debate. Conversation over.
It struck me that while many people in our culture will evade this discussion in a similar way, that doesn’t close the issue. Why? Because an ostrich with his head in the dirt doesn’t actually make the sun disappear. The sun shines as ever, no matter how much one closes his eyes to it. Likewise, marriage really is the covenanted union of one man and one woman with a unique connection to procreation and child-rearing. That truth about marriage remains the truth, no matter how much people try to pretend that it is not. The evidence of that truth will persist and will explain—perhaps better than anything else—the pain of brokenness of those who deny it. Continue Reading →
The religious liberty implications of our culture’s moral transformation on homosexuality continue apace. The big news out of California yesterday is something that we should all take note of. I don’t know how else to view it except as a foreboding sign of things to come.
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court ruled that state judges could no longer hold membership in the Boy Scouts of America. Why? Because the Boy Scouts allow gay scouts but not gay Scout leaders. As far as the California Supreme Court is concerned, the Boy Scouts discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and that violates their code of ethics. The Los Angeles Times reports,
I just read the news that Congressional Republicans have decided to abandon plans to vote on a bill protecting unborn children capable of feeling pain. According to the report, these “pro-life” lawmakers have decided to forsake the unborn for the sake of political expediency. The going got tough, and they got going. It is the definition of what Proverbs 24:10-12 warns against:
If you are slack in the day of distress,
Your strength is limited.
Deliver those who are being taken away to death,
And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.
If you say, “See, we did not know this,”
Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts?
And does He not know it who keeps your soul?
And will He not render to man according to his work?
Elizabeth Dias has a feature-length article in Time magazine titled “Inside the Evangelical Fight Over Gay Marriage.” The usual suspects are brought forth as evidence of a shift among younger evangelicals: Justin Lee, Matthew Vines, Brandan Robertson, etc.
Nevertheless, I’m skeptical about the young “evangelicals” profiled in this piece. It is not even clear from the article whether we are dealing with bona fide evangelicals or those who are leaving evangelicalism. Can they in any meaningful sense be considered bellwethers for a movement defined by convictions that they have largely abandoned? I don’t think so. It is indeed telling that at Vines’s recent conference, “most of the panelists advocating change were not evangelical but from the mainline Protestant traditions.” That says just about everything you need to know. Continue Reading →
Terminated Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran spoke at a rally today in the Georgia State Capitol. It was really well done, and I encourage you to listen to all of it (it begins at 1:20:57 above). But I would draw your attention now to his conclusion below. In his own words:
It has been said by Council Member Alex Wan that my termination has made a great statement. I could not agree with him more. It has made the statement that though there is no evidence that my religious beliefs have created a hostile work environment (as alleged) and no discrimination against any LGBT members of our community, there are grave consequences for publicly expressing our faith and having the audacity to believe that sex was created for procreation and should be in the bonds of holy matrimony between a man and a woman.
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The New York Times offers a lead editorial today supporting the termination of Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. The editorial argues that Cochran’s Christian beliefs about homosexuality are “homophobic,” “virulent anti-gay views.” It denies that Cochran’s firing has anything to do with religious liberty, but only with Chief Cochran’s failure to get permission to publish the book, commenting on his suspension, and exposing the city to lawsuits.
But is this really accurate? Do the editors really believe that Chief Cochran’s primary error was failing to get permission to publish the book? Mayor Kasim Reed, who fired Chief Cochran, first commented on the book in November. He made it plain that his main problem was with the message of the book, not with how it came about. Mayor Reed writes: Continue Reading →
Frank Bruni‘s illiberal New York Times column over the weekend has been rightly panned for being absolutely inimical to religious freedom. I encourage you to read responses from Ramesh Ponnuru, Albert Mohler, and Andrew Walker—all of them very well done and exposing the weaknesses of Bruni’s piece. My favorite tweet-length response comes from Robbie George, who sums up the matter rather accurately:
I don't know Frank Bruni, but he cannot be as obtuse, ignorant of religion, and illiberal as he pretends to be in his NYT column today.
— Robert P. George (@McCormickProf) January 12, 2015
No doubt by now you have read about the Fire Chief in Atlanta who was fired for his views on homosexuality. The New York Times
Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday that he had fired the chief of the city’s Fire Rescue Department, Kelvin Cochran, after Mr. Cochran gave workers a religious book he wrote containing passages that condemn homosexuality…
Continue Reading →