The sexual revolutionaries are not satisfied with liberty. Those who disagree are hereby excused from the table of public discourse, thus declares David Gushee in his recent column, “On LGBT equality, middle ground is disappearing.”
I agree with Gushee’s observation that there is no more middle ground. At the table of public discourse if you do not affirm the LGBT agenda you will find that your chair has been removed. He rightly observes that “most visible institutions of American life…are increasingly intolerant of any remaining discrimination, or even any effort to stay in a neutral middle ground.” As others have already witnessed, there is no coexist if you don’t agree.
Gushee’s primary argument for the abandonment of sincerely held religious beliefs and Church doctrine is personal experience. He admits setting up his own experience as the way to be followed by others. Experience, he argues, “is the major path to theological reconsideration.”
Those whose theological convictions refuse to be bent and reshaped by human sexual desire are thus described as “digging in their heels” and interpreting the “pressure to reconsider as pressure to succumb to error, or even heresy.” Gushee is right even as he misses the point.
He fails to see that the violation of conscience and the theological gymnastics necessary to be welcomed at the table is not a contortion evangelicals are willing to make. Orthodoxy is not so easily redefined nor abandoned.
The kind of Christians who continue to be conscience bound by the plain meaning of the Scriptures, believe that God, through His Word, informs our understanding of the world, not the other way around. Those guided by public opinion, on the other hand, are subject to the ever rising and falling waves of human proclivity.
God, the Scriptures declare, is the same yesterday today and tomorrow. Those who strive to conform to His unchanging character are seen as hold-outs to history’s momentum. Gushee sees us as having dug in our heels, failing to see that we care more about being found on the right side of a holy God than on the right side of history.
I particularly take umbrage at Gushee’s assertion that “they are organizing legal defense efforts under the guise of religious liberty, and interpreting their plight as religious persecution.” It’s no guise.
We live in a day and time when Christians are being actively persecuted in dozens of countries around the world by the very same forces that persecute LGBT people. The only reason we’re even having these conversations is because of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of both freedom of expression and freedom of religion. To force compliance of my sincerely held religious beliefs to your sexual anarchist ideas is as much a violation as any other threat to my conscience. Yet those now seeking to bind the conscience of Christians who remain aligned with the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world are unable to see their religious intolerance.
The clash within our culture will prove to others around the world whether we genuinely believe everyone has a right to freely exercise their religion, even if that religion is convictional Christianity.
So, is there room at the proverbial table of public discourse for those who disagree with the prevailing winds of evermore libertine sexual ethics? Gushee is arguing a definitive no. And, by the way, he sees no need to further debate. The sexual revolutionaries have determined that the case is closed and all dissenting voices are hereby barred from the table. “Space for neutrality,” he declares, “will close up as well.”
Gushee errs elsewhere. Like when he asserts “they are confident that they have the moral high ground.” No one should know better than an evangelical Christian how we’re all equal at the foot of the cross. We all lost the moral high ground in a place called Eden in what might as well be a galaxy far far away. And as for those “shrinking places of power” from whence Gushee seems to think we’re out to get those he calls “strays,” the heart of the evangelical is for prodigals to come home and be redeemed, restored, and blessed, not punished.
Gushee has clearly become an A+ student of the sexual revolutionaries. Maybe it’s time he took up the study of the new face of evangelicalism where love for those with whom we disagree is the starting point for Kingdom advancement–not for power nor positional authority in the kingdoms of this world.
Deny us a seat at the table of here-and-now if you want. We’ve actually set our minds and hearts on taking a seat at the table in the Kingdom of now-and-forevermore.
David Gushee–The Missing Link, by Jeff Gissing
LGBT Rights vs. Religious Freedom: No Middle Ground? by John Stonestreet