By Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism.
Here are my October 29, 2015 remarks at the World Congress of Families IX in Salt Lake City.
Many religious institutions in America no longer want to defend marriage, family and life because their elites, having transitioned from old liberalism to postmodernism, do not believe in them. Instead many of these elites have actively joined secularism to advocate the deconstruction of marriage and family. Five of 7 Mainline Protestant denominations have rejected natural marriage in favor of same sex rites and other arrangements.
Some, like the Episcopal Church, now endorse transgender clergy.
The United Church of Christ recently has touted a “drag Gospel.”
No Mainline Protestant denomination is pro life. Many are affiliated with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
These anti-family and anti-life stances have helped ensure Mainline collapse. None of these denominations are successfully attracting large numbers of young people. Fifty years ago one of six Americans belonged to these churches. Now fewer than one in 16 do.
Mainline spiritual and ethical failures, above all on marriage, family and life, have metastasized to the Evangelical and Catholic worlds, among other religious communities. Almost everywhere there is explicit or implicit debate over whether to cleave to historic religious teachings or to accommodate secular culture, even though the latter, however politically expedient, inevitably weakens religious communities.
A major threat to vibrant religious defense of marriage, family and life is the ascendancy of the Evangelical Left and even attitudes not on the Left that minimize these issues seen as controversial and not winsome for the Gospel or supposedly lost causes not meriting major effort in social witness. Sometimes the avoidance of these issues is strategic, and sometimes it is doctrinal.
Some Evangelicals instead urge finding common ground with secularism and focus on non-controversial social justice issues. Others counsel pulling inward, focusing on internal church life and not the wider culture.
Most of the Christian and Evangelical world has been relatively silent about assaults on religious liberty over marriage and life involving the Obamacare HHH mandate and cases involving catering same sex rites. Notable exceptions have been Southern Baptist and Catholic bishops, among others, including many in this room.