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Moore: Christian Is the New Gay

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.

Comments

  1. John Pieret says

    I say we should embrace the freakishness of Christianity, because it enables us to talk clearly about what really matters.

    What really matters about Christianity is how freakish it is? Then you’ve been doing a bang-up job letting people know about that, I must say!

    But Ed’s right. People don’t want to think of themselves as freaks and they will move to where they don’t feel that way. Fortunately for them, they have lots of different “kinds” of Christianity to choose from and as some of them adapt to the modern world the rest will be forced to go in the same direction or go extinct.

  2. says

    “Christianity becomes, with a secularizing America, increasingly strange and increasingly freakish to many people.

    “Becomes”?? Dude, it’s been strange and freakish since the council of Nicea. Well, before that, really. But the council is a good marker.

  3. Gvlgeologist, FCD says

    Clearly Christianity will be unfairly discriminated against, just like gays are today… It’s not fair to discriminate against us because of our beliefs and actions…

    We can see what happens to LBGTQs today, and it’s terrible, and we don’t want that to happen to us… It’s terrible when people do that to other people…

    Oh, wait….

  4. freehand says

    As with their clothing, Christian doctrine will continue to adapt, kicking and screaming, to the past generation’s mores and standards. Southern Baptists will always dress like your mom, and they will rarely be more bigoted and hateful than the meanest uncle at your family dinner. Some of them will even be decent folk, but their fashion sense will still be just old enough to be out of style without being retro..
    .

  5. matty1 says

    His language is a little odd but I think he’s urging his audience to give up on unwinnable political fights and focus on the actual religion more. This strikes me as a good thing if it means the SBC doing less political lobbying

  6. scienceavenger says

    Christianity becomes, with a secularizing America, increasingly strange and increasingly freakish to many people.

    That pretty much sums up the attitude of most millenials I talk to. And while I take Ed’s point that Christianity has evolved over time and will continue to do so, what is unique about the current situation is both the speed and extent to which that demand is being made. I’m not sure the churches will be able to keep up, and that it’s likely that their speech will sound more and more out-of-touch-wise like Cliven Bundy’s “what I know about the negro” rant.

  7. Kevin Kehres says

    And again…someone does not understand the difference between discrimination and evaluation.

  8. Synfandel says

    For centuries it was believed that the Bible commanded slavery and it was thus ordained by God (and it was)…

    Slavery was ordained by God?! Ed? Really?

  9. Sastra says

    “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.

    No, I think he’s right. Not because religions don’t evolve and adapt, but because they DO. Eventually all that will be left to distinguish Christianity from secular humanism will be … the basic claims. The supernatural beliefs. The freakish supernatural beliefs.

    If we’re lucky, these basic claims will also gradually turn into poetic metaphors for perfectly natural things — like “sin” becoming “causing unnecessary harm to other people.” But because religion needs an enemy in order to elevate itself from the common ground it’s more likely that they will — at least at first — try to double down on the significance and truth of the supernatural. Watch for more attacks on the “absurdity” or naturalism, more ‘proofs of God’ and more scientists-confirm-the-paranormal.

  10. says

    matty1 “His language is a little odd but I think he’s urging his audience to give up on unwinnable political fights and focus on the actual religion more. This strikes me as a good thing if it means the SBC doing less political lobbying”
    What’s Conservative Christianity without the political lobbying? I drew a Venn diagram of “Conservative Christianity” and “Politics” and it formed pretty damn near overlapping circles. I mean, sure, stripped of political lobbying they can sit at home, alone, hating homos and their gayhomo mansex, but it’s not Real Old Time Religion if they can’t do anything about it.

  11. Synfandel says

    Perhaps I was too subtle. I’m surprised to see Ed saying that God ordained slavery, given that he has in the past maintained that God didn’t exist.

  12. says

    Synfandel “You’re lucky I’m wearing one.”
    This is luck? Luck’s not what it used to be. This one time, I found a dollar! I know!

  13. ysoldeangelique says

    In 15 or so years all the major denominations will be saying they championed gay rights. Except Catholic it might take them about 40, but once they change all of them will say that “No True Christian” would have wanted inequality . . .

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