It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol.
Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.
It’s not like the GOP has become a bastion of progressiveness on gay rights, but there has been an evolution in the political approach — and an acknowledgment of a cultural shift in the country. Same-sex relationships are more prominent and accepted. There are more gay public figures — including politicians — and it’s likely that many Washington Republicans have gay friends and coworkers. Just as important — there’s also a libertarian streak of acceptance on people’s sexuality coursing through the House Republican Conference.
For those paying attention, none of this is surprising. While social conservatives have been gaining ground in the pro-life cause, they have been losing ground in the sanctity of marriage cause. Public opinion is changing rapidly, and the politicos know it. They are not going to hitch their wagons to a losing issue, and many of them are ditching the cause. What we are finding out is who really believed in marriage in the first place versus those who were simply using it as a wedge issue.
I think this is instructive for Christians on a number of levels. First, we must recognize that the interests of the Kingdom are not coterminous with the interests of any single political party. There are unchristian errors on both the right and left, among both Democrats and Republicans. This will become more apparent as more and more Republicans fold like a cheap nickel knife on the marriage issue.
Second, it’s a reminder to us how countercultural Christianity really is. The kingdoms of men will rise and fall. So also will their political machinations. But the truth of the gospel and of God’s word is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As Christians, we’ve hitched our wagon to this truth. Faithfulness to Christ means standing firm even when our views become the minority position. On this issue, we’re almost there.