Why Evangelicals Will Never Embrace Gay Marriage

Virginia Postrel is wrong. In response to today’s Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling that anti-homosexual marriage laws are unconstitutional, Postrel writes about the evangelical Protestant view on homosexual marriage:

As I’ve said before, saying that homosexuality is wrong has increasingly become the defining public characteristic of evangelical Protestants. Publicly disapproving of gays separates them from popular culture–and, hence, reinforces religious commitment—while exacting little personal toll. When I was a kid, evangelical churches disapproved of dancing, of rock music, of working women, of divorce. Now they incorporate all of those elements in their church programs. (They still don’t like divorce–who does?–but today’s evangelical churches not only have programs for divorced members, they even arrange their buildings’ security so non-custodial parents can’t swipe the kids.) What’s left? Gays. That’s why pastors tend to talk so much about them.

Why not? Through the years, evangelicals have changed their positions on many issues. Take slavery and racial issues for example. My own denomination, Southern Baptists, have at times come out in support of slavery, and many churches were explicitly racist. Thankfully, the faithful in the churches eventually saw the sinfulness in this behavior and reputiated it.

Isn’t the issue of homosexual marriage just another cultural issue that evangelicals need to get over? I argue that it is not. Homosexual marriage will never be welcomed in evangelical circles because it is fundamentally different from an issue like race relations. Regarding racism and slavery, the church was clearly in the wrong—not because the outside culture said that they were wrong, but because the Scriptures said that the churches were wrong. The revelation of God can shed light on many cultural issues, and it blazed its light upon the sin of racism in the church.

The issue of homosexual marriage is an entirely different animal. With racism, popular culture was in the right with respect to the Bible and the racists in the church were wrong. With homosexual marriage, popular culture is clearly in the wrong according to the Bible, and evangelicals are actually in the right this time: Scripture is very clear in its teaching that homosexual practices are sinful.

What this boils down to is that the minute that evangelicals throw out Scripture, they cease to be evangelicals. Our worldview hinges on the fact that the Bible is the revelation of God to man. Some may claim that this is ridiculous or even “Neanderthal.” I say that it is much more solid than resting a worldview on a popular culture that will change thousands of years of civilization on the whim of a few.