Christianity,  Politics

No grand bargain with the sexual revolutionaries

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.

Negative responses to this announcement have come forth from all sides. Russell Moore said the move was “naïve,” and I agree with him. Any position that relies on the magnanimity of gay rights proponents is doomed to fail. Evidence of this comes this morning from Andrew Rosenthal in The New York Times, who rejects the Mormon compromise as an attempt to get “legal permission to use their religion as an excuse to discriminate.” Likewise, the Human Rights Campaign also rejects the substance of the Mormon proposal. In other words, the sexual revolutionaries are going to offer no quarter to the religious consciences of their fellow citizens. All claims to religious liberty must give way to the totalizing claims of the sexual revolution.

A few years ago, Robbie George wrote presciently of what was coming. He warned that the sexual revolutionaries would brook no compromise in their cause. He writes:

The fundamental error made by some supporters of conjugal marriage was and is, I believe, to imagine that a grand bargain could be struck with their opponents: “We will accept the legal redefinition of marriage; you will respect our right to act on our consciences without penalty, discrimination, or civil disabilities of any type. Same-sex partners will get marriage licenses, but no one will be forced for any reason to recognize those marriages or suffer discrimination or disabilities for declining to recognize them.” There was never any hope of such a bargain being accepted. Perhaps parts of such a bargain would be accepted by liberal forces temporarily for strategic or tactical reasons, as part of the political project of getting marriage redefined; but guarantees of religious liberty and non-discrimination for people who cannot in conscience accept same-sex marriage could then be eroded and eventually removed. After all, “full equality” requires that no quarter be given to the “bigots” who want to engage in “discrimination” (people with a “separate but equal” mindset) in the name of their retrograde religious beliefs…

There is, in my opinion, no chance—no chance—of persuading champions of sexual liberation (and it should be clear by now that this is the cause they serve), that they should respect, or permit the law to respect, the conscience rights of those with whom they disagree. Look at it from their point of view: Why should we permit “full equality” to be trumped by bigotry? Why should we respect religions and religious institutions that are “incubators of homophobia”? Bigotry, religiously based or not, must be smashed and eradicated. The law should certainly not give it recognition or lend it any standing or dignity.

George’s prediction has certainly proven true over the last few years. As popular opinion solidifies behind gay marriage, it’s difficult to imagine why the activists would make accommodations for the consciences of those they regard as bigots.

So I agree that the LDS position is naïve. We are not dealing with good faith opponents. The sexual revolutionaries are ready and willing to run roughshod over the consciences of those who disagree with their program. They are even willing to set aside the first amendment to do it. The LDS and every other supporter of traditional marriage need to come to terms with that.


  • Christiane Smith

    All of us likely know someone who either is or is related to a person who is LGBT. These persons are either family, or friends, or co-workers, or neighbors, or in my case, the daughter of my good friend, a child who grew up with my own daughter and was in my home many times over a period of years.
    She is very dear to me. It would be impossible for me to support any form of governmental discrimination against her . . . she is an attorney now who works on behalf of disabled people and those who specifically in our society are at the ‘fringes’ and highly vulnerable to abuse. When I think of her, I see someone I respect as a person who gives much back to our broken world, and is not so much a part of its ‘brokenness’.

    We are all of us wounded. Some are made to sit ‘outside the gate’ but not being bitter, they spend their time bandaging the wounds of others. When I consider the kindness of those people, I grow weary of ‘labels’, DENNY.

    • Ian Shaw

      We all do know people. But we also cannot let our feelings cloud our judgment (not judgment in the sense of judging, but cloud what God’s word says).

      Sounds like the woman you know does a lot of good work for others less fortunate. We’re all wounded, you’re right. So as a Christ follower (I assume you are), if put to a vote in your state, would you A) vote for a pro-homosexual issue law, B) vote against the pro-homosexual issue, or C) choose to omit your vote as you cannot fathom violating God’s word in voting for something that is in it’s nature sinful and yet cannot vote against something that may prevent discrimination?

      • Christiane Smith

        Hi IAN,
        I would never vote for any kind of discrimination directed at people who were ‘different’ from me. My own father came from a different country and suffered from discrimination when he was young.

        My state can’t formulate any laws that I could possibly respect regarding the discrimination of any ‘group’ in a way that I could support.

        Maybe you have to live with people who have been through the fire of discrimination in order to see things as I do, but it does make a difference in our idea of right and wrong, I suppose.

        If I were a homosexual person who had not chosen that burden in my life, I would not want to be the victim of discrimination. It is in that light that I could not support making anyone a victim through my own free vote politically, no. You and I may be emphasizing different points of sacred Scripture, but my conscience leads me to do no harm to these people, Ian. I hope that answers your question. Thanks for responding. God Bless.

        • Ian Shaw

          Thank you for your response. It does sound like we are coming from two different perspectives. I guess based on your last statement, I would ask if you believe that homosexuality is sinful or not.

          I would agree not to harm others, but are you saying harm in a sense regarding society/the state, or harm to the soul?

          • Christiane Smith

            Hi IAN,
            I’m Catholic. I don’t believe that someone with ‘same-sex attraction’ is sinning, when they have not chosen to bear that burden. In my Church are many homosexual people who have chosen to live celibate lives and they are in full communion with the whole Church.

            As far as ‘harm to others’, I personally, by conscience, am not in favor of voting for any state laws socially discriminate against any particular group of people, no.

            • Ian Shaw


              I can understand where you’re coming from. I would also hold that people that struggle with “same-sex attraction” is not a sin in and of itself, but when it moves into fantasy/lust, that’s when the sin begins. Though your statement about homosexual people living celibate lives raises a question for me. Do we define/identify ourselves by our gender/sexual orientation, or by our identity in Christ?

              Those who have believe in Christ, who He is and what He did for us are made a new creation. So our identity is in Him, not how our flesh defines us as. People with same-sex attraction and people who claim themselves as homosexuals are 2 different things. I guess I wonder if you misspoke referencing celibate homosexuals can have full communion with the church or if you meant to say those that deal with same-sex attraction can have full communion with the church.

              • Ryan Davidson


                You seem to be using the term “homosexual” in a way that’s different from how it’s almost universally used. The term typically refers to one’s sexual orientation. In that sense, it simply means that one experiences some measure of aesthetic, emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions to persons of the same sex in excess of what is deemed acceptable by his or her culture’s scripts for normative masculinity or femininity.

                As someone who’s asexual, I often identify as queer, as my asexuality places me outside of the sexualized/Freudian views of masculinity and femininity that prevail in American culture (and especially within American evangelical culture).

              • Christiane Smith

                Hi IAN,
                By ‘full communion’, I mean that they are baptized Christians who receive the Eucharist (our communion) within the Catholic Church.
                They are not separate from the rest of us . . . they need us, their family, and we need them and their service to the Church and to the world.

                In the sense that they live with burdens not of their own choosing, we are called to help them bear those burdens, Ian.

                I fully agree with you that we find our identity in Christ. And yes, perhaps the word ‘homosexual’ has connotations that are mis-leading in reference to those who experience same-sex attraction and choose to not act on it. I think that the word ‘homosexual’ among evangelicals may refer to someone who is sexually active, so in that regard, I see your point.
                For me, the term ‘homosexual’ does not refer to someone who is sexually active anymore than the term ‘heterosexual’ refers to someone who is sexually active.
                We have a long tradition in my Church of people who are called into celibate lives as a part of their service to Christ.

                ‘ . . . no longer I but Christ Who lives within me . . . ‘ is from a hymn in my Church that is rooted in sacred Scripture . . .
                ‘He must increase and I must decrease . . . ‘ echoing the words of St. John the Baptist

  • Andrew Alladin

    Also “naïve” are all those Christian thinkers who thought that jumping on the social justice, racial justice, environment justice, amnesty, etc., bandwagon would somehow distance themselves from the dreaded Christian Right stigma. Naively hoping that their embrace of progressive solutions would buy them credibility on Christian sexual ethics (“we’re opposed to gay marriage and abortion but we also support immigration amnesty and abolishing the death penalty”), they now find themselves abandoned by those who have no use for any departure from the dictates of pagan sexual morality.

    For a while it was cool to be an Evangelical Christian for Obama; it was even way cooler to be a Young, Restless, and Reformed for Obama. But now those in charge of who gets labeled as “cool” (not Christians of any stripe) have cast them all aside being that the gay-marriage debate is decisively over – judicially, politically, and culturally.

    • buddyglass

      “Also “naïve” are all those Christian thinkers who thought that jumping on the social justice, racial justice, environment justice, amnesty, etc., bandwagon would somehow distance themselves from the dreaded Christian Right stigma.”

      I’d maintain supporting those causes actually does serve to distance one from the dreaded Christian Right stigma. The person who’s “progressive” on those issues but nevertheless opposes same-sex marriage is going to be less odious to those outside the Christian Right than the person who’s “conservative” on all those issues and opposes same-sex marriage.

      This also ignores the fact that the person who’s “progressive” on all the issues you list but nevertheless holds to a traditional view of homosexual behavior is likely to take a “third way” when it comes to same-sex marriage: allowing for its legal recognition even while continuing to maintain that homosexual relationships are sinful and same-sex marriages aren’t spiritually legitimate.

      • Chris Ryan

        Buddy is entirely right. But beyond that Christians should embrace racial and immigration justice of their own accord. How can we be Christian if we ignore Leviticus 19:33-34 ?

  • Bob Marean


    You say: “We are not dealing with good faith opponents. The sexual revolutionaries are ready and willing to run roughshod over the consciences of those who disagree with their program. ”

    I ask: How is this different from what LGBT folks should feel about the climate that is proposed by so many “Christians”?

    What if the sentences are changed to “We are not dealing with good faith opponents. The “Christians” are ready and willing to run roughshod over the consciences of those who disagree with their program.”

    Isn’t that what is happening?

    LGBT folks are asking to be accepted for who they are. To be granted the same rights that everyone else has. Is this different than a black person asking for the rights and respect that they deserve as a human? Or a Native American? Or a White Christian?

    If you lived in a different culture… one that was NOT predominately and or historically Christian… wouldn’t you want … expect… demand… to have your beliefs, traditions, and culture respected and allowed for within the laws of the land, as long as they didn’t cause harm to another, and respected the rights of others?

    I find it perfectly acceptable for you to be against the LGBT beliefs if you so wish, as long as you don’t break the law in the process, or demean or harm any individuals. Go for it. Feel free to be a supporter of Traditional Marriage as it applies to your life.

    But, at the same time you must love all and allow them to have their own beliefs and lives in return for your right to hold your own individual beliefs and your right to live them.

    One of things that is overlooked is that in denying and or being non-supportive of non-traditional marriages that are legally based, people in the long run are begging to have traditional marriages denied and not supported.

    In essence, tradition is just that. At what point does a marriage become “traditional”? After 100 years? In 200 years, will Gay marriages be considered traditional?

    The best any of us can do is to be the best and most Christian individuals we can and hope and pray that we are accepted and loved for that., while we accept those and love those for their beliefs as they apply to themselves, within the legal structures that exist.

    Peace and love for your beliefs 🙂

  • James Bradshaw

    “As popular opinion solidifies behind gay marriage, it’s difficult to imagine why the activists would make accommodations for the consciences of those they regard as bigots.”

    So when Christians oppose ENDA laws that protect the livelihoods of gay Americans who are not even employed in religious institutions, they’re merely exercising their freedom of conscience.

    When gays expect Christian business owners and employees NOT to change the essence of their products or services but merely to provide them to *everyone*, they’re being totalitarian and fascist?

    Personally, I’m quite willing to work alongside those with opposing views and to take my business elsewhere if it’s not wanted. I’m not the litigious type. However, I’ve also been warning some for years about making the fight against gay rights as vitriolic as it as been. If and when power should turn hands, the hostility of the Christian fundamentalist community would be remembered, and unfortunately, gay activists would likely reciprocate with the same sort of treatment they were dealt (perhaps not personally by men like Denny, but certainly by the fundamentalist Christian community in general).

    So what now? What accommodations are being sought? If they are the same things that Christians have asked in regards to dealing with other groups whose actions or theology they oppose, I don’t see why concessions can’t be made. The law is the law, and it cannot favor gays over Jews, Mormons or heterosexual divorcees.

    • Bob Wilson

      Yes, not much good faith on either side, it seems. I wince at the lack of generosity from the LGBT side as they are quickly gaining equality. But at the same time, while the slanderous language from the traditionalist side is thankfully disappearing from the most prominent spokesman, there is still no evidence of real understanding. A simple and clear call from religious leaders, Denny included, to their followers not to fire LGBT people from secular jobs or deny them housing would mean something. I don’t hear it and it’s hard not to think it’s because they don’t believe it.

      • dr. james willingham

        The real reason that there is not much good faith on either side is that they are totally antithetical. That is one reason. Another is that the intention for the development of such a move in American morals is the destruction of the Christian element in this nation which gave such hope to the world at its beginning that the much of the world was desirous of imitating the experiment. The King and I with the skit concerning Abraham Lincoln and Uncle Tom’s Cabin is suggestive. However, as one writer stated back in the 1800s, “Some Evidence is so circumstantial as when one finds fish in his mild.” No one follows the money trail. No one asks or even dares to ask: “Is there a conspiracy behind this?” Carroll Quigley’s Tragedy and Hope as well as Bella Dodd’s School of Darkness as well as a quarter of a million other volumes would help us to get a better handle on what is really happening. Just consider how I felt at having a theoretician for world communism as a professor at a small state university in the Midwest, a man who wrote works for the rulers of the communist nations to read so that they might know how to govern those countries. If you had some real idea of what is planned for all who even remotely imbibe the Christian faith, including wrongful interpretations of and including those agent provocateurs who promoted such interpretations. Trust is not a built in factor with those folks, and Mr. Solzhenitsyn was a sufferer because of it.

      • Chris Ryan

        Very true. I applaud the Mormons because this is precisely the grand bargain Christians should have struck long ago. Instead we followed Bush’s lead and the chickens are coming home to roost.

        This love for the culture wars makes no sense. If the gay rights community is destined to win as Denny says, then the only hope that religious liberty will be preserved is thru a grand bargain. Matthew 7:12, we have an obligation to treat others as well as we want to be treated. Continuing Bush’s & Rove’s calls to shun gay people will only heighten their thirst for vengeance. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. God’s Kingdom will only flourish when we ignore the culture wars and return to evangelizing.

        • dr. james willingham

          Sure makes, “And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified….”(I Cors.6;11), totally meaningless. Strange! The message could bring to an end such practices then, but it can’t do it today. And why should it not be involved in the cultural struggle over the laws. After all, the advocates of pedophilia, incest, and bestiality are right behind the homosexuals, using some of the same arguments. And one ought to study and see what kind of effect such practices have on the children. Observations indicate that the developmental stages in a child’s life are interrupted, destroying initiative, industriousness, the wherewithal to develop close relationships and intimacy necessary for stable marriages and for the production of children who are balanced and flexible and creative and constant and magnetic, able to take on the trials of this world. The recipe of doing nothing just to evangelize amounts to a nauseous stew of professions without real separation and commitment or, in other words, a bunch of worldly people who amount to little more than a country club kind of living – besides being self-indulgent, careless of the rights of others and unwilling to make sacrifices. And if we must admit professions without change in conduct, then we will guarantee the demise of civilization. We could go back to old Athens with its numerous idols, so numerous in fact that a chariot could not be driven down the streets in the main parts of the city. Why? Because someone erected a statute to some god in the middle of the avenue. Many did so. Hence, the traffic problem.

        • Christiane Smith

          CHRIS, I think that long ago people bought into the Republican brand thinking it was a way of establishing laws that would protect unborn children. And having done that, they ‘accepted’ much of the rest of Republican agendas, the proof being ‘the Ryan budget’ in 2012. But lately, people ARE taking another look at any ALL political agendas of BOTH political parties for good that also shelter in the shadows other political agendas that will cause real harm to vulnerable people.

          And Christian people are remembering something so basic that we are called to re-examine the goals of the ‘culture wars’ which unfortunately are designed to harness political power through engaging the contempt of ‘the base’ towards those who are different and doing it in a way that is designed to cause real harm to those people who are placed ‘outside the gates’.

          That ‘something’ so basic to our Christian faith is this:
          that the Fire of the Holy Spirit does NOT consume. . .

          the reality of that causes us to question any Christian activity that injures another, or places another at risk, or reduces others in trouble into more poverty, or casts away those for whom the Church is commanded to care for in ministry . . .

          the Fire of the Holy Spirit does NOT consume . . . we need to hold this truth close when considering those whom we have labeled ‘the others’

  • Ryan Davidson

    I’d suggest that the tone of this piece goes a long way towards explaining why evangelicals are often accused of bigotry on this issue. I have a number of friends and professional colleagues who identify as LGBTQ, and not one of them comes anywhere close to fitting the description proffered here. Suing the non-affirming Baptist church down the street is the last thing on their minds. Even so, they don’t want to be fired from their jobs or have their rental applications denied merely because of their sexual orientation. And it’s not clear to me why certain Christians think that LGBTQ people should have to live in fear of such indignities.

    Further, I don’t see some parade of horribles ensuing. There are plenty of groups in this country, including religious groups, that discriminate on the basis of race and sex. Legal protections against racial and sexual discrimination have not run such organizations out of business. So, I don’t see why those organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation should expect to fare worse.

    • jimwillingham

      Ah, the great propaganda technique: Tag them with the sobriquet of bigotry. But where is the method of avoiding a delusion or deception, if you do not allow for people who express their differences? Consider the judicial officials in North Carolina who resigned rather than be parties to a transaction that they regard as a violation of every thing they hold dear and sacred? Now are they second class citizens? Will they be treated as such, if the trend continues? Was that the plan from the very beginning? And who planned that so many of our attorneys would begin to favor such alliances or that would be advocates and even adherents of such a way of life? And what about the secularism and humanism which produced an attitude that was critical of everything that spoke of the Divine and open to everything that was supposedly based in reality – even of the most gruesome kind? Just the other night on a history channel, I heard a fellow who referred to the sacrifice of babies, practiced by early religionists, as an acceptable expression of religion. Guess why child and human sacrifice begin to come to end. Ask the American service men of World War II about what Island they would like to reach in the South Pacific, if their plane was shot down or their ship was sunk and they survived: an island where the missionaries had not been or one where the missionaries had been? I have talked with such people and read accounts of the war, and they all agreed that they would prefer to reach an island, where the missionaries had been. There they might be the guests at dinner, but if they reached the other they might be the dinner. I don’t think anyone would call those service people bigots. And when is confidence and conviction sane and stable and sure, and when is it bigotry? And as to expecting the worse, pent up frustrations and anger, attended with aggravating circumstances (some who agitate for that very purpose), might well be a reason to expect the worst. Thomas Jefferson regarded the Missouri Compromise and the expressions of frustration attending that event as an alarm bell in the night, a fire alarm that is. What we are hearing now is the fire alarm in the night. Forty one years later, that fire consumed this nation for four years, killing some 620,000-659,000 battlefield casualties, not counting those who died of disease, etc., nor the civilians who suffered and died, too.

      • Ryan Davidson

        Well, actually, they were. Those convicted of same-sex sodomy (before such statutes were determined to be unconstitutional) generally lost the right to vote in future elections.

  • Trent Whalin

    Besides a right to life, freedom of association which includes discrimination is the basis for every other single right given us.
    Liberals and statists got rid of one and now are doing away with the other.

    • James Bradshaw

      Trent writes: “Besides a right to life, freedom of association which includes discrimination is the basis for every other single right given us.”


      The freedom you have as an individual to discriminate is not extended to you when you’re acting on behalf of a public entity or corporation. For example, if a company has non-discrimination policies, a hiring manager cannot allow his personal dislike for Mormons or Jews or gays or blacks to enter into his hiring decisions. Absent such regulations, the matter is dependent on the laws of the governing State.

      Private clubs (such as campus organizations) are a bit different, although they are sometimes dependent on the policies of the school administration. Generally, though, private enterprises have a great deal more freedom.

      Outside of these, people are always free to start or join their own private little non-taxable entities. If someone really dislikes blacks, they can join the KKK (which is apparently still active in some parts of the South), and the government can’t do a thing about it.

      This seems a reasonable system to me.

      • Trent Whalin

        You operate with a liberal statist mindset that is enshrined into our present post Civil Rights law while I do not. You quote from law, I quote from ideology.
        Many of the old right guard disagreed with Civil Rights legislation noting its far wider implications.

        • James Stanton

          Many of this old right (and left) guard were unrepentant advocates of racial separation and white supremacy. You should read some of the material that was published in the National Review under William F. Buckley in response to the Civil Rights movement. You cannot reconcile these attitudes with Christianity.

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