Russell Moore is the guy who replaced Richard Land as the head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. In some ways he’s been an upgrade from Land’s rank ignorance and bigotry. But at a recent conference he had this to say, as described by William Saletan.
“The illusion of a Moral Majority is no longer sustainable in this country,” Moore told the conference participants. Given the country’s cultural transformation, he argued, pursuing “a constitutional amendment for same-sex marriage is a politically ridiculous thing to talk about.”
Instead, he described a future in which “Christianity becomes, with a secularizing America, increasingly strange and increasingly freakish to many people.” He continued:
Christianity, even in some of its most basic claims, is going to seem strange, is going to seem freakish. And I say we should embrace the freakishness of Christianity, because it enables us to talk clearly about what really matters.
I think this ignores the entire history of the evolution of Christianity. Yes, religions evolve greatly over time. One could just as easily have said the exact same thing during the fight over separation of church and state 225 years ago or over women’s suffrage a century ago, or even over slavery 150 years ago. The institutional weight of Christianity was every bit as squarely in opposition to today’s accepted position on those issues as they are against gay rights today, yet those previous positions that were then the prevailing Christian view are no longer accepted by most Christians today.
Christianity has evolved greatly over the last few centuries and it will evolve on gay rights as well. Holy scripture will be reinterpreted, as it has been many times in the past. For centuries it was believed that the Bible commanded slavery and it was thus ordained by God (and it was), but very few Christians still believe that today. It was believed that God himself opposed allowing women to vote and that passing the amendment to do that would bring down his wrath. Aside from Jesse Lee Peterson, Vox Day, David Barton and a tiny band of their fellow misogynists, that position is almost unheard of in the church today.
There will still be pockets of resistance, of course, but they will shrink over time. Mainline Christians will find a way to reconcile their doctrines with greater equality for LGBT people and then, over time, those views will become the standard version and they will go on as though no such reinterpretation ever happened.