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'The collapse of antigay religion'

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, May 2, 2014.

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  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    This reflects what I've said on here many times, that Christianity, in particular, is going to find a way to make gay marriage compatible with Scripture, as its acceptance continues to grow:


    Fundamentalists, contrary to their reputation, are pretty good at ditching unsustainable positions. Moore demonstrated this during the Q-and-A when he declared young-Earth creationism “not essential to evangelicalism.” Many, if not most, evangelicals no longer believe the earth is only a few thousand years old, he said. Their new line in the sand is Adam and Eve:

    "We may differ about when Adam existed. We may even differ about how Adam came to exist. But when science says, 'There’s no way the human race descended from an original pair,' evangelicals are going to go with Scripture."

    That’s how fundamentalists retreat. They relocate their fundamentalism to less vulnerable terrain—all the while proclaiming their defiant adherence to the literal word of God—until the new position, too, must be abandoned. In the case of homosexuality, my guess is that the relocation will happen in two stages. First, churches will find ways to acknowledge faithful same-sex relationships. Then they’ll decide that these couples ought to get married, because sex outside of marriage is wrong. The new fundamentalist position will be that sexual activity is moral only within the confines of marriage, gay or straight, just as the Bible always taught us.
  2. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I had this discussion with the younger pastor at my church.

    He told me he was in favor of gay marriage, but said they go out of their way to leave politics and social views out of any and all sermons because the goal is never to alienate anyone, which I think is great.

    I have a former co-worker who is gay who goes there. His parents are members. I don't know how well-known it is with others that he's gay, and while we're friendly with each other (both us of bounced from the same chain on the same day) we're also not friendly enough to have that kind of a conversation.
  3. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    The problem for this pastor is that events surrounding the church are going to force its hand. When Illinois approved its civil union law a few years ago, our church, affiliated with the United Church of Christ, had to decide what to do because the UCC was a-OK with performing same-sex marriages. Now that the state had no restrictions, too, this position was no longer a theoretical one, and we had to take some stand even though the UCC does not require churches to follow the mother church's dictates (actually, UCC is congregational, so everything is bottom-up). We had a couple of sessions for the congregation to talk about it, and the decision was, yes, we'll do them. (Now that Illinois allows straight-up -- ha! -- gay marriage, the ceremony we performed in March became our first official same-sex marraige.)

    The same thing also has come into play with another UCC initiative, called Open and Affirming, where you basically declare as a church you would welcome gay people in leadership positions and be much more vocal in your support of things like same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws. Again, it's something our church is working through now because it's abundantly clear from people we talk to who have joined (straight and gay) and a zillion surveys out there that how a church feels about gay people is what people, particularly straight people, use to project how a church feels about everyone. You don't like gay people? Oh, then how do I know you won't turn on me if I do something "wrong"? Generally we're very gay-friendly, but we're well aware that, for marketing purposes, being the church that is pro-gay, as we're surrounded by churches that aren't, could be a help in drawing new members.

    I also thought it was interesting that the piece talked about the impact of a growing acknowledgement that sexuality is based on genes. More conservative members of my church -- and despite being a "liberal" congregation, there are plenty of them, and we're pretty proud of being able to get over political differences -- are coming around on the gay thing, not happily in all cases, because they figure if people are born that way, what can you do?
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    By the way, the UCC is the denomination that has sued the state of North Carolina because of a law that would criminalize anyone who performed a same-sex union.


    Other, more conservative denominations are showing support for the lawsuit, because the last thing any of them want is to have their religious activities criminalized -- whether it's going to jail for performing same-sex marriages, or going to jail for not doing so. (It's been pretty well established that churches in marriage equality states are still free to marry or not performing ceremonies for whomever they please, straight or gay.)
  5. Christianity is nothing if not very flexible. Perhaps that accounts for its staying power. I realize I'm speaking broadly and there are certainly exceptions, but "orthodox Christianity" and its views have been "wrong" so many times through history that it might be impossible to count. They just regroup, reinterpret and move on. That's how you survive and flourish.
  6. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I don't think it will be an issue unless gay marriage becomes legal where I live and someone wants to get married there. I would be curious what they would do about that.

    Even though both pastors at my church tend to lean conservative, they have liberal views on social issues. I know the younger one skews conservative because my wife and I ran into him and his wife at a fundraiser for a conservative politician. From the sermons you would never have any idea which way they lean.

    I like it that way.
  7. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    That's great, but at some point he and his church will have to take a stand on the issue because it's something that is very important to the churchgoing public. It's about politics, but it's not. There is precedent for this sort of dichotomy, what with Jesus executed as a political threat despite his assertion he didn't want King Herod's crown.

    One question that has come up in my church's Open and Affirming discussion that has come up is, if we know we're OK with gay marriage and gay people, why do we have to make a public pronouncement about it? And the answer is that because this is one critical issue on which churches are looked at by the public, you have to take a stand if you are OK with it. Not taking one is akin to saying you're against gay marriage and unfriendly to gay people in general. That's not me saying it -- that's the wider, potential churchgoing public, particularly younger Christians.

    Of course, a church is welcome to take a stance against gay marriage for what it believes to be Biblical reason. Certainly, there's still a very large Christian audience for that point of view.
  8. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Churches are a lot like newspapers, mostly supported by older folks but trying to appeal to the younger generation.

    A third of all Americans under 30 don't claim a religion, according to Pew Research.

    So why would a religion try to appeal to a group, who wouldn't be going to church anyway?

    And if you do, you're going to alienate some of your strongest supporters.
  9. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Well, you have to do something, or else you're guaranteeing your death as a church. It is a balancing act, but at least in my church the older members have the recognition things have to evolve or else the church is done. Granted, it took membership dropping from 1,000 (at its peak) to 350 (now bounced back up to 400) to get there, but it happens.
  10. Morris816

    Morris816 Member

    The problem is that, if churches don't find ways to get younger people interested in attending, their attendance will decline further because the older people won't live forever.

    There are those in the current older generation who realizes that the world doesn't always stay the same, so you have to figure out who is willing to adapt, hard as it may be, and go from there.

    Neither newspapers nor churches can cater to those who say, "I don't want things to change, no matter what," because that ensures the demise of said newspaper or church. Those who work to find that new audience and incorporate the current audience who understands change is inevitable, are the ones that will evolve and carry on.
  11. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I honestly don't think it will come up unless a gay couple wants to get married at the church.

    There are at least two gay couples that we know of who attend regularly and one is pretty active in the church. Nobody seems to care, but I don't think it's necessary for the church to make any declaration on the topic one way or another.
  12. DeskMonkey1

    DeskMonkey1 Active Member

    One of the reasons I lost my faith was because I'd hear this religion or that religion changing its stance on this or that based on the times we live in. Well, God doesn't change, so how can we say this is good after being bad for centuries?

    Ultimately, I stopped believing because I simply don't believe but I stopped going to church because I seem to disagree on virtually every topic. But, if I'm wrong and the church is right, well, how can man change the will of God?
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