There has been an interesting discussion recently between evangelical conservatives and Christian moderates concerning the potential arrival of new legislation to protect the religious liberty of persons whose consciences will not allow them or their businesses to endorse same-sex marriage. Thus far we have seen examples of wedding photographers and cake bakers who have experienced this dilemma. Kirsten Powers recently published an article suggesting the refusal to offer services to same-sex couples is tantamount to gay and lesbian Jim Crow laws.
What I found interesting was the inclusion of civil rights language into the argumentation of those who are against the aforementioned legislation. I have argued before how the tenacity of the evangelical perspective for this issue remaining protected by religious liberty is dependent on our ability to demonstrate how Jim Crow is, in fact, not applicable. Dr. Albert Mohler briefly touched on the issue in his recent article by saying, “They claim that the rights of gays and lesbians and others in the LGBT community are equivalent to the rights rightly demanded by African Americans in the civil rights movement. Thus far, they have been stunningly successful in persuading courts to accept their argument.” And they will remain stunningly successful unless this specific aspect of the debate is effectively addressed. It is perhaps too late; religious liberty is a freedom worth defending, but once society at large believes homosexuality, and then necessarily same-sex marriage, is identical to race, the conversation is over.
By the way, this issue is bigger than a simple declaration of being for or against same-sex marriage. I have many moderate Christian friends and readers of this website, most of whom do not have a biblical problem with same-sex marriage. Such a position does not necessarily default to coercing individuals to participate in a wedding that violates their conscience. This particular issue is deeper and carries consequences greater than our own personal positions.
So, I just want to reiterate what I wrote on December 21, 2013. Here is the article in case you missed it the first time.
**Update 2/25 – today I saw a new, well written article from Joe Carter entitled “Is Sexual Orientation Analogous to Race?” In the article he addresses the very issue I have been writing about the last few months. This is the conversation that needs to be happening and I hope to see more of it. Concerning the statement that sexual orientation is analogous to race, Carter is correct to say, “Such claims are often repeated but rarely examined.” Yes indeed!