Friday, September 23, 2011

Young evangelicals increasingly support marriage equality

From the HuffPo: (my emphases)
We should not be surprised that a new poll indicates that almost half (44 percent) of young evangelical Christians between the ages of 18 to 29 favor same-sex marriage. ... 
Doing our theological and ethical thinking with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other leaves us with decisions we need to make. Either gay and lesbian individuals are persons who have chosen to intentionally rebel against God by deciding to romantically love another of the same gender in defiance of God's will or else they are another group within the rich diversity of humanity that God intends to liberate, treat justly and fairly, reconcile, and include. ... 
More than 40 years ago, the Anglican theologian Norman Pittenger addressed these questions in his book entitled "Time for Consent." He argued on the basis of the biblical revelation in Christ that sexual behavior must be judged by its character alone. Is it characterized by commitment and trust, tenderness, respect for the other and the desire for ongoing and responsible communion with the other? Or, conversely, is it characterized by selfish sexual expression, cruelty, impersonal sex, obsession with sex and an unwillingness to take responsibility for the consequences? He argued that both gay and straight people desire and need deep and lasting relationships and that appropriate sexual expression should not be denied to either group. He argued that there should not be a double standard of morality, introducing the concept of moral equality -- not judging two different groups by different standards of morality. 
The Bible is deeply sensitive to double standards. Some of Jesus' harshest criticisms are reserved for those who lay heavy burdens on the backs of others that they themselves are unwilling to carry (Matt. 23:4). The attempts to use a few verses in the Bible to justify a double standard for straight and gay people will not withstand a careful and thoughtful reading of the Bible. 
I believe young, thoughtful evangelicals are discovering this not as a result of the culture blinding them but as a result of the Bible opening their eyes to the dishonesty and hypocrisy of straight Christians who claim for themselves the blessings and comforts of marriage while denying it to others.

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