With Same-Sex Decision, Evangelical Churches Address New Reality

There’s an interesting article in today’s New York Times about how evangelical churches are grappling with changing views on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, even among some of their own members. Here’s a snippet:

The dramatic shift in public opinion, and now in the nation’s laws, has left evangelical Protestants, who make up about a quarter of the American population, in an uncomfortable position. Out of step with the broader society, and often derided as discriminatory or hateful, many are feeling under siege as they try to live out their understanding of biblical teachings, and worry that a changing legal landscape on gay rights will inevitably lead to constraints on religious freedom.

But the challenges are not only external. To a degree that is rarely acknowledged in the public square, many evangelical churches are also grappling with internal questions. Especially in and around large urban areas, pastors increasingly report that some openly gay and lesbian Christians are opting to worship in evangelical congregations (“more and more are coming to our church,” Mr. Allison said) and that heterosexual worshipers are struggling over the church’s posture because friends or family members are gay.

“There is a growing desire on the part of some, even within the church, to combine their Christian faith with the acceptance of homosexual practice,” the Wheaton Bible statement acknowledged.

The result has been an obvious change in tone and emphasis — but not teaching or policy — at many churches. Almost all evangelical churches oppose same-sex marriage, and many do not allow gays and lesbians to serve in leadership positions unless they are celibate. Some pastors, however, now either minimize their preaching on the subject or speak of homosexuality in carefully contextualized sermons emphasizing that everyone is a sinner and that Christians should love and welcome all.


They try to live out their understanding of Biblical teachings, but this endeavor is doomed to fail, from the start, because they lack central authority, a Magisterium, Apostolic Succession, and the Deposit of Faith.

The only thing Evangelicals have to look forward to is a deep, wide, and excruciating schism.

In other words, they are kind of alone, whereas we are a huge bustling family with many branches all over the world, with a deep history and heritage. I sort of feel bad for them.

Trying to serve two masters?

Central authority doesn’t do much good when a lot of Catholics (at least in the US) still don’t follow what it teaches and believe something else. That’s especially true of younger Catholics:

Fully 85% of self-identified Catholics ages 18-29 said in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey that homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with just 13% who said it should be discouraged. Older age groups are less likely to favor acceptance. But even among Catholics ages 65 and older, 57% say that homosexuality should be accepted.

Similarly, despite the church’s continued opposition to same-sex marriage, most U.S. Catholics (57%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally wed, according to aggregated 2014 Pew Research surveys. And again, younger Catholics are particularly likely to express this view. Three-quarters of Catholic adults under 30 support legal same-sex marriage, compared with 53% of Catholics ages 30 and older (including just 38% of those 65 and older).


Moral principles do not depend on a majority vote. Wrong is wrong, even if everybody is wrong. Right is right, even if nobody is right. – Ven. Fulton J. Sheen


The majority of the Catholic Church is in heaven so :shrug:

That doesn’t mean that those Catholics expect (or even want) the Catholic Church to conduct same sex marriages. I know plenty here will disagree with me, but I think there’s a world of difference between a civil marriage (or use a word other than marriage if you like but it’s the same thing as far as the state is concerned), and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and wanting that Sacrament to stay exactly as it is for all the well-rehearsed reasons we all know and with which we presumably agree. Civil marriage already isn’t a sacrament (which is why a couple married in a registry office which later converts to Catholicism needs to have the convalidation). What difference does civil SSM make?

But to get back to the point of the thread, that article is interesting reading. Certainly the evangelical churches, or the evangelical wing of the Church of England, have been in a similar position here in the UK for about a decade and while I don’t think any are seriously considering conducting marriages the rise in openly gay congregants in relationships is something they are having to deal with.

It doesn’t matter if they believe something else. The magisterium preaches, teaches and acts in accordance to the Biblical truth on gay marriage.





The advantage evangelical communities have is precisely that they are individual organizations, and when the government decides to move against non-conforming churches who refuse to perform “same-sex weddings,” they will have to attack each church by itself. The fact that the Catholic Church is a single entity means that the Feds will be able to bring things like the RICO statutes and “civil rights laws” against the entire U.S. Catholic Church at one fell swoop. Remember that Mrs. Clinton is on record as saying “Religion will have to change.” And when it doesn’t Mrs. Clinton???

Our church itself is divided on the issue, just look at the latest tweets by Catholic superstars like prominent author Fr. James Martin, SJ or Jason Welle, SJ who is the editor for the Jesuit Post. Both of these influential priests have been posting things such as “Love Wins” or sharing rainbows and have refused to clarify that they consider marriage between a man and a woman when asked. I find this a sign that even the RCC is in a state of division on the issue…


Just check out this article written by Jason Welle, SJ and read the comments.

Bolding mine

This point is wrong. When two people who are married (given there were no impediments) and one or both later convert to the Catholic Church the marriage becomes sacramental.

The Church is not divided on this issue; some priests and others are going against the Church on this.

It is indeed unfortunate that the Church is being undermined through lack of catechesis and clear teaching, but even when it is priests doing it, it is the work of an enemy not of the Church.

It won’t be long before it hits Catholicism. With someone as liberal as Pope Francis, the sky is the limit.

My point is that their preaching and teaching must not be very effective if they can’t convince over 75% of young Catholics. :shrug:

My wife and I are conservative evangelical protestants. Our feelings on this subject can be summed up by Franklin Graham in the following piece:


I am seriously considering RCIA in the fall although my wife is somewhat anti-Catholic. That sad part is that she indicated she temporarily blocked some of her friends from Facebook who were openly celebrating the Supreme Court SSM ruling and the rainbow over the White House pictures, and she went on to inform me that a high number of them were Catholic friends. In fact, there were more of them than her protestant evangelical friends, and she has more evangelical friends than Catholic ones.

I tried to explain that they were probably Cafeteria Catholics who felt that way, but it makes my job harder to argue in favor of Catholicism when I have to try to defend why Catholics aren’t following Catholic teaching.

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