Beliefs Culture Ethics

Why same-sex marriage is expected to heat up this election among evangelicals

Former National Association of Evangelicals vice president Rich Cizik. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality
Former National Association of Evangelicals vice president Rich Cizik. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

Former National Association of Evangelicals vice president Richard Cizik is on the advisory board of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

(RNS) As more states affirm same-sex marriage, U.S. evangelicals continue to wrestle with homosexuality, setting boundaries for what’s acceptable and what’s not, and setting the stage for a heated fall election season.

This week, things got hotter.

A new group called Evangelicals for Marriage Equality launched Tuesday (Sept. 9) and is collecting signatures from evangelicals who support same-sex marriage. Its advisory board includes author and speaker Brian McLaren, former National Association of Evangelicals vice president Richard Cizik, and former USAID faith adviser Chris LaTondresse. Cizik resigned from his NAE position over his support for same-sex civil unions.

“Our organization is not taking a theological position on the issue of the sacrament of marriage,” said spokesman Brandan Robertson. “We just want evangelicals to see that it is possible to hold a plethora of beliefs about sexuality and marriage while affirming the rights of LGBTQ men and women to be civilly married under the law.”

Evangelicals for Marriage Equality spokesman Brandan Robertson. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

Evangelicals for Marriage Equality spokesman Brandan Robertson. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

Testing evangelical boundaries didn’t work well for World Vision earlier this year when it decided and then reversed its position on same-sex employees. The new marriage equality group is already facing challenges from evangelical institutions. An ad it placed with Christianity Today, World and Relevant magazines was rejected by all three evangelical mainstays.

The organization, founded by two straight evangelicals, Josh Dickson and Michael Saltsman, will join other groups planning to dialogue on same-sex marriage this fall.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will host a conference in Nashville, Tenn., in October on “The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage,” urging faith leaders to oppose same-sex marriage.

At the other end of the spectrum, author Matthew Vines will lead a gathering in November in Washington focused on LGBT inclusion in churches. Vines is hopeful the new group might change evangelical minds.

“We still haven’t arrived at a sea change among evangelicals, but the tone and passion around the issue of civil marriage equality has certainly been changing as more evangelicals are accepting that same-sex marriage will soon be the law of the land, whether they are pleased about it or not,” Vines said. “I think they have a chance to persuade more evangelicals to lay down their arms in this culture war battle that has been so harmful to the primary mission of the church.”

The group’s arguments may sway younger evangelicals who are more open to the idea that theology shouldn’t dictate public policy, said Eric Teetsel, director of the Manhattan Declaration, a conservative movement focused on life, marriage and religious freedom issues.

Author and speaker Brian McLaren. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

Author and speaker Brian McLaren. Photo courtesy of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality

“It’s ironic that you have a group of politically liberal Christians who have made a name for themselves specifically by using theological principles to advocate political ends,” Teetsel said. “If you told them that what the Bible says about caring for the poor shouldn’t be applied to foreign policy, they would dismiss it. I’m confused to why they draw this line when it comes to marriage.”

Research on evangelicals suggest that younger evangelicals are more likely to support same-sex marriage than those of an older generation, though many still resist it.

In 2012, Pew found that 29 percent of young white evangelicals (age 18-29) expressed support for allowing gays and lesbians to marry legally, higher than older evangelicals at 17 percent. That’s far below the level of support for same-sex marriage expressed by young adults as a whole (65 percent).

A 2014 Public Religion Research Institute survey suggested that white evangelical Protestant millennials are more than twice as likely to favor same-sex marriage as the oldest generation of white evangelical Protestants (43 percent compared to 19 percent).


About the author

Sarah Pulliam Bailey

Sarah Pulliam Bailey is a national correspondent for RNS, covering how faith intersects with politics, culture and other news. She previously served as online editor for Christianity Today where she remains an editor-at-large.


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  • Funny. Get a bunch of people together with little credibility to fight against the Word of God. Pitifully a waste of time.

  • Looking forward to the creation of the political group “Evangelicals for Atheism.”

    (Why not? Makes just as much sense as “Evangelicals for Marriage Equality.”)

  • And why not Doc? I look forward to coming to your door uninvited-about dinner time- flanked by a few pathetic youngsters, well below the age of enlightenment, to press with undeniable sincerity, positions that they do not understand.

  • “The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission…”

    Beware of proclamations on “ethics” from organizations that formed for the specific purpose of supporting slavery…

  • I thought God commanded us to love one another.
    I don’t see much beyond selfishness, withdrawal and snark in the preceding comment posts.
    Where are the Christians?

  • Because if you can’t discuss the issue, make insinuations about the people involved. Ad hominem as usual from Artie.

  • What issue? You’re not going to craft a justification for the West Village or the Castro district from Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium and Richard Cizik knows that very well. This is not about some dispute within Christian theology. This is about taking Christian denominations and turning them into shells for something else that’s less trouble for people who wish to ‘do ministry’ but toward basically cloying ends.

  • More ad hominem in defending ad hominem. Can you get any sillier?

    This is about saying that people like yourself do not own the Bible nor are the last word on its interpretation.

    It is the pinnacle of narcissism to claim absolute authority on scripture. But that is par for the course for evangelicals. It makes them feel good and feeds their egos enough to pretend they lord over everyone else on the subject.

    Nobody died and made you Jesus. It is not your decision as to who is Christian and who isn’t. Obviously several sects of Christianity do not feel the need to exhibit the kind of rabid bigotry against gays as others do. That is their belief.

    My main issue with the NALT (Not All Like That) Christians is you never see them when the subject comes up and they spend most of their time being defensive. Rather than make their presence known in an affirmative way.

  • More ad hominem in defending ad hominem.

    Again, you do not understand the meaning of the term.

    And you have never show in one of our exchanges the slightest ability to argue an issue in lieu of lobbing insults at your interlocutors.

  • I told ya’ll this was coming. The tide has turned against the church on this issue, and these guys are trying to profit from it by anticipating the church’s “loss” of this issue in this election and future elections. Now what are you going to talk about in the pulpit?? All you have left is abortion and evolution, and you’ve already lost both of those fights as well, you just don’t realize it. “God’s Word” is about as valuable as what the tooth fairy says, because he IS the tooth fairy, and the leprechaun and the unicorn and the gremlin. It’s good to see some Christians realize this is just one big game. Know when to fold ’em!

  • Religion is dying. Evangelicals are helping to kill it.
    They keep using politics as a Jesus-preaching program and it is worse than a turn-off.
    Smuggling Jesus into government is obvious pandering to the Creationist yahoos. Yet another needless evil brought to us by religion and it’s mindless defenders.

  • its getting more easy to know if a Christian church body is trying to follow the bible now days..

    if your church body allows women pastors or homosexual weddings .. they more than likely are not very interested in many other things the bible says also ..

  • 6 natural day creation around 6 000 years ago is what

    the oldest Lutheran synods still teach and believe so I guess your referring to people like me..

    Your the ones that need to stop.. making atheism the national religion. along with your religions bing bang theory..

    You stop that and you wont have to worry about religion infiltrating public schools and government ..

    your the ones doing it not us.

    we have our own Lutheran schools yet why should our people be subjected to what your religion says if they choose to Go to public schools ..its atheist that need a Big bang
    across the noggin .. you start your own schools if you want that taught ..keep your atheism and your fool big bang theory out of government and public schools..

  • Jack Mathy’s
    Do you have any idea at all the lengths some people have tried to do away with Gods word through history .. And it still here . its you and me that will disappear yet Gods word will always remain .. Christians know what happens at the very end,, God wins ..

  • Larry.

    you best me very easy with how well your able to write.. the correct words capitalized . Sentence structure seems to me is perfected down to the exact place the period belongs and at times the words
    used relate your high intellect..

    yet your thinking process is not even close to being Christian .. So even though you are unable to accept this,, I still don’t mind explaining it to you .

    its not bigoted to point the dangers of homosexuality out its loving ..its really bigoted to love some one all the way to hell with out pointing why some one is headed that way ..

    just like people have justified murder ..

    homosexuality also has the potential to soon become in some minds as no sin at all. And if they think it is no sin ,, why would they need Jesus forgiveness..
    and rejecting the forgiveness Jesus won on the cross is rejecting Jesus and the heaven he won for them that is the clear and present danger.

    Now some one with a high intellect must know homosexuality would not be the choice of most parent for their children .. Most parents want grandchildren and their Kids to have a healthy Spouse of the opposite sex if they want biological grandchildren.
    Larry here a question
    dairy farmers are nice people yet they would not want homosexual dairy cattle.. does that make them bigoted.
    no the danger of that would be no lactating cattle ..
    and the danger of that would be no milk no money.. does that make them greedy no Larry it makes them smart .

    Your a hoot just wish you didn’t pollute..

  • @ Fran

    “Thank God I don’t get involved in politics !!!! ”

    Sort of a funny simple statement, yet good advice for many.

  • Here’s a couple of verses that are interestingly prophetic.

    They are already happening in the world today. Many who know-it-all in Christendom and to those who can’t stop the hypocrisy and scorn directed towards LGBT’s are not gonna be happy about it either, especially when they figure out who’s doing it.

    1. But God can choose what is nonsense in the world to make the wise feel ashamed. God can choose what is weak in the world to make the strong feel ashamed…….1 Cor 1:27

    2. God can choose what is low and despised in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something……..1 Cor 1:28

  • But God ain’t repealing 1 Cor. 6:9-11, either.

    “Neither homosexuals, nor sodomites…”

    Sin on ALL sides, He’s not happy with. America is in real trouble right now.

  • Billysees,

    Thanks for the passages. It is what is understood in GNOSIS as “High Prophesy.” This having to do with the ascending of the heart to the mind (Upper Room … all highly SYMBOLIC). You see, the Orthodox were of a more ‘trident’ mindset in their understanding of Theophan the Recluse where he said:

    Ascend the mind to the heart.

    To fully navigate the elements in Spiritual Reason, ONE is of the Essence (originating from Essenes), which is a “perfecting”, if you will, of the mind, which requires the saliency of HEART, understood as Word, or Word of God. As John says: Walk as He walked. This having to do with Abiding Love. It is a journey (Even CS Lewis in Mere Christianity stated, “Love is God” … but one is called to Understanding within THIS Love: what is it; what is my/our place in this?). In understanding the LIFE and Way of Jesus as Christ, one sees this Spirit Reasoning in the Parables, and the Wisdom of those passages you shared. Paul was of gnosis; he was gnostic, and would have been of this High Art, as we call it. There is Spirit Language inherent in Holy Scripture not yet exercised in those claiming Christendom, for it requires “movement” from place in and FOR Understanding.
    For this movement … it is like a photographer seeing an animal in the field at a distance, and wanting to “capture” it through his tools of “vision” but he does not have a lens that reaches far enough to Identify what is in the field. It can be fleeting if he does not move in some way to see. Should he leave and go buy better tools that he might ‘know’ what is in the field? He can and he may return to this field in “hopes’ of seeing the animal again. He may decide instead to rush to it to get a closer view, but it may run away before he can see. He may softly make his way closer, and in this he may use both camera and vision. What is of High Art is that walk. Draw near to God that he might draw near to you. What the gnostic uses is all those things given him … including his Senses …

    Sin is understood as having MISSED ____ (see Hebrew/Greek origins). It has to do with AWARENESS, being mind-fully alert—using Sense and Reason through that Ascending of Heart to Mind. In Spirit Language, there is not a: I am right and you are wrong type of living; it is of Soulship alliances. Bringing or uniting all parts into the One to be of a more perfect vessel of use. So, I guess one of gnosis might say that he brings that trident view (or three) into ONE more candescent vision. The piercing (Jesus brings not peace but a sword) is a piercing of the heart to help [this] ascend. The sword then is UNDERSTANDING in the higher wellness of fruitful thinking.

    Peace and Love

  • @Rob

    Loving? That is what you call ostracism, discrimination, imprisonment and murder that many Christians who share your beliefs do to gays? Really? I guess whatever you can tell yourself to justify such behavior will work for you. But to anyone looking at it objectively would say otherwise.

    “just like people have justified murder ..”

    Especially against gays!

    Using the arguments against them you have employed!

    Fact of the matter is you don’t speak for all of Christendom. You may not want to recognize people who believe differently from yourself as Christians, but they do exist. Hence the point of this article. Christians, Evangelicals even who do not find the need to treat gays as less than people, as you do.

    The fact that you want to look for excuses to treat people in a patently malicious fashion on such a basis, makes you not only a bigot, but one with a major case of denial.

  • “6 natural day creation around 6 000 years ago is what the oldest Lutheran synods still teach and believe so I guess your referring to people like me.. ”

    So you admit to being both ignorant and dishonest in service of your religious faith. Good to know. If you are a creationist, keep it to yourself. Your views are far too silly to be disseminated through public education.

    Public education of science requires education of science. If you want to teach mythology like your ideas, go to religious schools (but not Catholic ones, they teach evolution)

  • The advantage of being a fundamentalist is you get to carry on like you speak for all of a given faith, despite not actually doing so, without any sense of shame whatsoever.

  • Its a bingo catchphrase of conservative gibberish. Like “Benghazi”, “death panels” and “secret muslim”.

  • It is not the business of any religious group to have any say about civil marriages. Any of their members who are so inclined have a right to a civil marriage, in states that now allow it, no matter the sexual orientation involved. Civil marriage and church marriages, or “sacramental” marriages, are two completely different things. Civil marriage is the business of civil government, not religious groups. States license religious ministers to preside at their church marriages to give those marriages civil status and eliminate the requirement to go through both a civil and a church marriage. Those ministerial licenses are a convenience to cover the civil requirements of marriage only. Such ministerial licenses in no way make any religious ceremony a requirement or part of the civil action.

    Anyone who marries under the authority of a person duly licensed by the state, whether that person be a mayor, justice of the peace, or a church minister, is civilly married. The church participation is extra, not intrinsic to the legality of the civil aspect of marriage. In those states where marriage of same-gender people is recognized, the same holds true. They can be married under the presiding of a church minister or a civilly licensed person like a justice of the peace.

    So all this activity of any religious or church groups to promote same-sex marriage should be directed at their own people to be bound with religious or sacramental marriage. If they wish to work within their church groups to change minds about same-sex marriage within their churches, that is a separate activity, but those people, those groups, those churches have no say when it comes to same-sex marriage laws legislated by states.

    In no way is it constitutional to use “theological principles to advocate political ends” in this religion-free nation. Mind your own religious business! Let civil governments handle the civil aspects of marriage for the protection of the partners in a marriage and any children that may result from such a union–by natural birth or by adoption.

    It always takes time to learn and time to change attitudes about what has been learned. It is no different with attitudes about same-sex marriage. It has been quite historical that older people become less able to change attitudes about most things. They too often presume they already know all there is to know. They do not pursue studies about new learnings, new understandings, like the varieties of gender orientation. Hence, they have much less understanding of the need to share the same rights to love and marriage that they as heterosexuals have always maintained.

    The worlds of younger people are bigger, newer, more in tune with the times, such as the drives for women’s rights and gay rights. It should be no surprise that they have come in contact with gays much more than their elders because different gender orientations are no longer hidden as much as in the times of the “old fogies.”

    There are two basic principles that must be kept in the forefront of all action: !. Keep religion personal, in the home, in one’s church, or in groups where members desire to share it. 2. Keep religion out of all civil activity because our Constitution wisely separated church and state, religion and government, when it declared the right of religious freedom.

    A vital aspect of religious freedom is the right to be free of all religion.

  • Agnikan,

    Your comment: Both ascending and descending are part of the process.

    Please clarify this, and what do you mean by “process?”



  • Well, there’s always the BIBLE’s explanation if you’re sincerely interested.

    Most skeptics, atheists, and homosexuals are not.

  • Too bad the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sharply disagreed with Gilhcan. Jim Crow and the KKK would still be in power if churches didn’t use “theological principles to advocate political ends in this religion-free nation.”

    So American history ALREADY disproves Gilhcan’s position.

  • God’s Love is omnipresent. It extends to everyone and everything. Including the Devil’s Hell. Jesus(PBUH) embraced the sinner with love and brought the Word of God. Denying God’s Love extends to sinners, hell, and even the Devil is denying the omnipotence and ever-merciful nature of God and the Word of Christ’s Dispensation on unconditional love for all mankind.

  • gilhcan: There are two basic principles that must be kept in the forefront of all action: !. Keep religion personal, in the home, in one’s church, or in groups where members desire to share it. 2. Keep religion out of all civil activity because our Constitution wisely separated church and state, religion and government, when it declared the right of religious freedom.

    I understand what you say here, and it is of value, but there are areas of concern not fully realized. I digress some in bringing attention to these areas, however, one needs closer scrutiny: religious doctrine that fails to meet the necessary requirements for the safety of all citizens.

    I have shared in these threads where Religion has injected fatalistic dogma into societies—those practicing in their parishes, homes, assemblies … carry this “mindset” into the greater whole. For instance, if man believes all his “wrongdoings” are absolved through practices and or doctrines of his religion exercised in these private places, how can government/the people feel that they are not at risk? If a belief is that no matter what you do that is understood as wrongdoing ( example: man in a gang murdering/raping/abusing/lying/theft …) can be removed through confessing to a priest, sacrament of communion, last rites, purgatory … just to name a few, how do the people know that these offenses are not repeated by religious within societies, because there is no REALITY of repentance or there is no “place” of realistic accountability? If a religious thinks he can be absolved in ‘his process’ through ‘his’ doctrine and practices, would you say these would and should be a concern in our societies? What has been poured into our communities for centuries through these beliefs? Is there a point where law of man realizes and sees a connection of bad or offensive behavior and religious doctrine? Well, yes, this is what so many are very upset about … As you know, isolation of religious practice in no way keeps those practices away from those not abiding in these. How many gangs/groups have used the ways of RELIGION to not move out of abusive mindset and these groups that foster this? If you are concerned about religious infringing on the rights of the non religious, or the rights of the non believer in set doctrines, then know the enemy. It may not be the people, but the rules designed to manipulate and control, and this always finds its way to the innocence of children, and those more vulnerable.

    People feed on the darndest things.

    Peace and Love

  • Your take on it anyway. Since it is hardly a coherent unified work and prone to selective and self-serving interpretation.

  • Not at all. MLK’s advisor Bayard Rustin was gay (and completely against the mixing of religion and state). The civil rights movement had enough on its plate at the time with racial equality. MLK wouldn’t touch it at the time.

    Its telling that the organization which continues his legacy, the NAACP is wholeheartedly supportive of marriage equality. Even getting support from churches on the subject.

    So it proves Doc Anthony doesn’t know American history or read up on current events.

  • Gilhcan’s point was that churches shouldn’t use “theological principles to advocate political ends in this religion-free nation.”
    MLK clearly destroyed that position.

    Meanwhile, MLK’s associate Bayard Rustin was indeed gay, but that doesn’t mean MLK accepted homosexuality. He described homosexuality as “a problem with a solution” in a 1958 issue of Ebony magazine.

    The NAACP, and the churches, of MLK’s day never accepted gay marriage at all.

    In fact, decades later, the individual members of the NAACP were NEVER allowed to vote their own consciences on the issue of legalized gay marriage. The associated churches weren’t allowed to vote on it either.

    The sellout liberal bums at the top made the big decision and the rank-and-file members were forced to swalllow it period. They weren’t allowed to vote their own individual votes on it.

    That’s simple American black history, Larry. Do you study American black history at all?????

  • Doc, they shouldn’t.

    Our laws cannot be guided on purely theological points. If a law does not have a rational and secular basis to it, it has no business being on the books. It merely violates the Establishment Clause by elevating one given religious faith over others under color of law.

    Considering gay rights didn’t become an organized thing until a few years after MLK’s death, that is just weaselwording on your part.

    The NAACP did vote on the subject and passed a resolution supporting it. All but two members of the board accepted it. People voted their conscience. It just wasn’t in line with your beliefs. Fact of the matter is even among black protestants, support for marriage equality is sharply increasing over time. Even the churches.

  • “Your take on it anyway.”

    We can always rationally and scripturally examine YOUR take on it, if you are up for the challenge.

  • rob, i have said for years there are some some churches that would be doing GOD a favor if they met at the golf course on Sunday morning and played a round of golf and went home and quit messing people up.

  • I’m 57, Single , never been close to marriage even.
    I’m not dead because I never got married!
    Many people never marry and they didn’t die from not being able to marry either!

  • You could go farther back and say the same for slavery. In fact, Wilberforce’s more “reasonable” peers in Parliament cautioned him about bringing so much “religious zeal” into politics. Yet in a mere 20 years he finished the job that the “enlightenment men” had merely tiptoed around for a couple of centuires. And religious zeal finished the job in America shortly thereafter–back when the founders’ ideas were still fresh in everyone’s minds and no half-baked revisionists were screaming for people to keep religious opinion “out of all civil activity.”

  • Lets see what Jesus had to say on the subject.


  • Wilberforce was doing something besides preaching his faith in public. He had plenty of arguments against slavery that didn’t start with “God tells me so”. Rational and secular points which did not require one to be a God fearing Bible thumping Christian to accept.

    That is a lot more than you can say about people who oppose marriage equality.

  • Funny that you should put it that way. Actually that WAS Wilberforce’s primary argument: “God Almighty has set before me two great objects: the suppression of the slave trade and the Reformation of society.”

    Also funny that it took Christianity’s “God told me so” to accomplish, not once but twice, what all the “rational and secular” arguments of several millenia human civilization could NOT.

    Washington was eternally right when he said: “Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

  • You miss the point because your analogy was so very very bad. Slavery did not require religious arguments against it to be considered wrong. In fact you pointed out, such religious arguments actually turned out to be counter-productive. Rational and secular arguments abounded for the subject. None exist for the argument against marriage equality. It is all religious zeal, none of the substance.

    Religious zeal for political action without a rational/secular purpose is nothing more than discriminatory nattering. Something of no value for anyone outside of that given sect/faith. Founders were highly skeptical of religious zeal in service of political ends for its own sake. It had a tendency to express itself in rather undemocratic ways.

  • Sorry, Frank, there are already over a million American same gender legally married couples. Many Christian and Jewish denominations marry same gender couples in US States where their Freedom Of Religion is honored. 16 of the 32 anti-gay Hate Votes have already been revoked.

    Please learn to stop obsessing about what your gay Neighbors (remember when Jesus used that term?) are doing.

  • How nice for you that your Constitutional right to marry the person you love has never been denied you, Mr. Murray.

  • “Rational and secular arguments abounded for the subject.”

    Then why did it ALWAYS require the mobilization of Christians to get any progress on the “subject?”

  • Why? Jesus’ words concerning sexual immorality covers all this and a lot more besides.

    If anything, Paul was LESS particular than Jesus’ disciples felt Jesus would have liked.

  • Let’s face it Larry. If I asked you in all sincerity to show me how that 1 Cor. 6:9-11 does NOT condemn homosexual behavior, you would not be able to do it. Period.

    Not because you aren’t smart enough to do so, but simply because the Bible text doesn’t allow any wiggle room at all. Homosexual behavior is a sin, like so many other sins (including atheism, of course).

  • “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
    -Anatole France

  • It didn’t. Major slave revolts and the tying up of military resources to enforce slavery (which could be used to expand and protect the Empire) contributed greatly to the institution’s demise.

    Your question also fails to negate the fact that such rational and secular arguments existed and were frequently employed. Something which clearly does not exist on the subject of marriage equality.

  • @ Shawnie
    Jesus is so much vaguer to the point of covering virtually any kind of behavior. Including malicious acts towards one’s “neighbor” and actively pointing out the sins of others. Things people to do constantly as part of being “good Christians”. 🙂

    Not a lot of help there for you.

    Sure. If that makes you feel better.

  • So Doc, you are saying letters by Paul override Jesus’s own acts and words. Good to know

    “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

    We can also add Jesus affirming a gay couple in
    Matthew 8:5-13 & Luke 7:1-10
    [Your mileage may vary on this one, which is precisely my point]

    You can also bother to ask people who actually believe this stuff. Like the affirming evangelicals of the congregations mentioned in the article.

  • “Major slave revolts and the tying up of military resources to enforce slavery (which could be used to expand and protect the Empire) contributed greatly to the institution’s demise.”

    Slave revolts were nothing new. Ever hear of Spartacus? Funny how it never occurred to the ever so reasonable and sophisticated Romans (or any other non-Christian civilization) to simply get rid of slavery to free up all that “military might.” It took the Christians of western Europe, the so-called ignorant, superstitious ushers-in of the so-called “Dark Ages” to figure that one out, completely apart from the Imago Dei and the teachings of Christianity. Riiiiight 😀

    Funny too that the people that suddenly got so smart and “threw off the shackles of the Church” or somesuch during the Rennaissance and the Age of Exploration were stupid enough to effect a resurrection of such an utterly unprofitable and disadvantageous institution. Only for the alleged unprofitability of it to be rediscovered, quite coincidentally, during the First Great Awakening–completely apart from the Imago Dei and the teachings of Christianity. Riiiiight. 😀

    Funny too how Wilberforce’s pro-slavery contemporaries were certainly not deluded about the nature of the controversy. Such as William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, a future prime minister who said scornfully of Wilberforce’s anti-slavery campaign “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life.” (Sound familiar?) Or Willoughby Bertie, 4th Earl of Abingdon who sneered at Wilberforce, “Humanity is a private feeling, not a public principle to act upon.” (Sound familiar?)

    Incidentally, Great Britain expended much more military might enforcing the slave trade ban than it ever did “enforcing slavery.”

    Here’s a little hint for your future reference, Larry — even the most secular historians don’t question the fact that Christianity is primarily responsible for the ending of slavery. Get some education.

  • You are making excuses again Shawnie. Bad ones. A specific slave revolt in Jamaica in 1831 that got the British government and military into rethinking its position on the subject. I am talking about a specific event, you are talking in generalities and apologia.

    Wilberforce’s efforts didn’t extend to slavery in India until 10 years after his abolition act. Nor did it end the rampant non-chattel slavery of peonage and blackbirding which didn’t end until well into the end of the 19th Century.

    Slavery in the US wasn’t ended by religious zealots. It was ended by force of arms, a president and two curmudgeony generals (Grant and Sherman) who were not professed adherents to any given sect.

    “Incidentally, Great Britain expended much more military might enforcing the slave trade ban than it ever did “enforcing slavery.”

    To their benefit. Sudan was acquired under such pretexts as was expansion into Sub-sahara Africa. British were able to harass shipping of rival nations without risking war by doing so.

    “even the most secular historians don’t question the fact that Christianity is primarily responsible for the ending of slavery. Get some education.”

    Untrue. There is not enough there to consider your statement a fact, let alone something to dispute. “Christianity primarily responsible for ending of slavery” is so vague as to be meaningless.

    Christianity in what sense? There is nothing within the general belief of the faith which opposed slavery. In fact Christianity frequently was used as a tool to pacify slaves and justify the existence of the institution (See the Papal “Discovery Doctrine”). Few if any churches opposed slavery. Most supported it.

    You just want to give credit to the entire faith for the work of some of its adherents. Not even the majority of the adherents or institutions ascribing to such belief.

    The more honest way to say it is Christianity is responsible for promoting and opposing slavery.

    History aside, you fail to acknowledge the simple point that religious belief alone is not a valid basis for political action in our religiously neutral government/legal system. Without rational and secular concerns, it just becomes sectarian discriminatory action. There is nothing but religious zealotry in the opposition to marriage equality. No rational or secular motives or arguments employed.

  • Excuses? All you and your camp do is make excuses for why the accomplishments of Christendom really had nothing to do with Christianity, and for why the atrocities of atheism really had nothing to do with atheism, and why atheists aren’t really atheists when they’re doing rotten stuff (I particularly love that one!)

    Jamaican revolt? Nice try. That would never have happened but for Christianity either. The whole thing was a peaceful strike gone wrong organized by a black Christian preacher. As for the “force of arms” in America, no one would have been motivated to go to those extremes but for the work of the Christian abolitionists. Even Lincoln knew that; he personally considered the war to be a national judgment from God, and famously called Harriet Beecher Stowe, Christian abolitionist author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, “the little lady who started this big war.” Which may be an entirely apochryphal story, of course, but it certainly expressed the prevailing sentiment of the times.

    “Christianity in what sense? There is nothing within the general belief of the faith which opposed slavery.”

    That’s because you don’t know much about the general belief of the faith. It repudiates slavery not by proclamation but by necessity. If all are created in the Imago Dei with the same inherent human rights and value and we are to love neighbor as self, slavery becomes a moral impossibility. You are quite used to this by now but at the time of Christianity’s birth this was a very revolutionary concept.

    “You just want to give credit to the entire faith for the work of some of its adherents. Not even the majority of the adherents or institutions ascribing to such belief.”

    Some adherents (and not all adherents are true adherents according to Christ) are better than no adherents — which is about the number of adherents of other faiths or non-faiths to whom we owe progress in the battle against slavery.

    “I am talking about a specific event, you are talking in generalities and apologia.”

    Apologia is a specialty of atheist revisionists, so I’ll let that pass. But as for generalities — when you have a thorough knowledge of history you DO tend to think of it in generalities and trends, in a more panoramic kind of fashion. You, on the other hand, aim at a tree or two and think you’re blowing away the whole forest. Again, get some education.

  • Still fulminating over details and hurling insults instead of addressing the point.

    Unlike many a beneficial, acknowledged moral crusade into politics, there is absolutely no rational or remotely secular arguments to be made for your position. Same can’t ever be said of your poor example of slavery. The fact that you avoided that point tells me everything I need to know.

    Imago Dei is a nonsense concept since nobody ever seemed to want to follow it. Be it towards people of different faiths, sects, races, and in your case orientation. The idea of treating others with a modicum of decency and respect appears to pure lip service on your part. If you aren’t going to take it seriously, neither should anyone else.

  • There are secular arguments against gay marriage, as there were secular arguments against slavery. However, in both cases they are both easily countered by other secular arguments. That is the nature of secular “morality.” It will always blow this way and that according to culture, popular sentiment and utility. What gave the case against slavery its power, both in post-pagan Europe and during the First and Second Great Awakenings, was the Imago Dei. Sorry if that pinches but at the end of the day we owe abolition to nothing else.

  • “There are secular arguments against gay marriage, as there were secular arguments against slavery. ”

    Yet you couldn’t give one. Nobody gives one when giving such views. They don’t exist.