Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church mega-church, the man who delivered the invocation at President Obama’s inauguration, insisted on the Larry King television programme in the USA last week that he isn’t against gays or same sex marriage. He recanted his earlier support for Proposition 8 and claimed that such support had never even been offered, despite the evidence on his own website.
Conservative evangelicals aren’t happy about this. Neither are they happy about the failure of “orthodox” evangelical Christian leaders and bishops in the UK to speak out in opposing the progress to equality for LGBT people.
Posting on Anglican Mainstream, Lisa Nolland claims that gay marriage “is not the last gasp but the first new breath of freedom and ‘coming out’ for a whole host of other sexual ‘lifestyles’ which claim the same authenticity and legitimacy as gays and lesbians.” This means, among other things, the rights of bisexual triads and poly (3,4, 5 or more) sexual unions to be ’married’ as well. Lisa is well researched. She references the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in the USA as a group arguing for the equality of more extreme expressions of human sexuality.
Conservatives fear many things at the moment.
They fear unbridled sexual licence, random and rampant promiscuity, the breakdown of family and marriage and the loss of Christian influence in society.
They are afraid that radical change on an enormous scale is taking place in British society which has “massive implications” for a particular group of Christians, those conservatives who believe that recent legislation forces them to “collude, shut up, get fired, fined, sued or get out”.
They fear that conservative Christian teachers, doctors, nurses, judges and social workers are forced to acknowledge and promote alternative sexual lifestyles.
They fear that all debate and dissent about sexual issues is being silenced because people are fearful of being accused of hate speech and homophobia.
They fear that society says that all sexual lifestyles are equal and must be affirmed and protected culturally, politically and legally, enveloping all present institutions.
They fear this culture will soon be imposed on the church. ’Anti-gay’ churches will be viewed in the same light as society now sees white supremacist ones.
This is an extreme reaction. Conservative Christians want the right to preach and teach that homosexuality is sinful – in the workplace. They want the freedom to express prejudices which are no longer acceptable in British society.
They use dishonest tactics in making their case. They describe extremes of sexual licence and behaviour and imply by association that LGBT Christians and groups like Changing Attitude have a hidden agenda. They imply that we will ultimately seek to abandon the Christian ethical position.
Changing Attitude is a Christian group embodying Christian ethical sexual values. There are appropriate and inappropriate forms of sexual encounter – fidelity and love are the hallmarks. We assume that conservative evangelicals agree with us.