Thursday, July 09, 2015

Religion and Politics in the Age of Gay Marriage

When the president of the Southern Baptist Convention publishes an essay titled "A Country in Chaos: What Southern Baptists Should Do" in The Baptist Press, no way under God's blue sky shall I not pay heed.

"Chaos"? It's the gay marriage thing and the incipient threat that any minute now some gay couples are going to be showing up at Southern Baptist congregations all across the land and demanding a big church wedding, with gay ring-bearers and the whole works!

With the legalization of same-sex marriage, the reverend writes,
we see a country divided and teetering on a moral collapse. You see, as many of us warned, this is not the end, but the beginning of so much more. The court's overreach could now push us to more of a divide, creating chaos in many towns, cities and states. Plus, the court itself, the White House and Congress will begin to see that some people are just not going to give up their values.
Some will be willing to walk away. Southern Baptist Linda Barnette resigned her county clerk job after 24 years, refusing to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples. I spoke with Linda and her husband Sherman of Mississippi, encouraging and thanking them for their stand. Let me make something clear: This couple and others like them are not troublemakers or radicals, but born-again Bible believers who stand on the authority of Scripture.
I'm totally cool with "Southern Baptist Linda Barnette" resigning her job because of her "values." She should do exactly that. She's in the minority, apparently, among public officials paid to do a job who subsequently refuse to do that job because doing it would offend their Christian beliefs. (There are such officials, a few of them, in certain counties of Alabama, where the clock hasn't ticked a second past 1926, and in Texas, where clocks are actually running backward now. Even in North Carolina, where the General Assembly, accompanied by much religious grandstanding, passed the magistrate recusal law, only a handful of magistrates, out of over 600, have opted out to issuing marriage licenses. They didn't want to do their jobs. They don't have to now by law.)

I wanted to push on to the end of the reverend's article, to the subhead "What We Should Do." Pray is number 1, and of course. Nothing wrong with that. Number 2 is "Raise up convictional leaders who will do what is right in the eyes of God," and that Byzantine word-choice seems designed to hide what is actually being said.

"Convictional leaders"? What does that mean? After much prayerful thought, I believe it means "leaders who will never relent on their opposition to gay marriage," and the good reverend is in very good stead with the entire 128-candidate field of Republicans running for president. Every last one of them has expressed outrage about the Supremes' gay marriage ruling.

"Raise up convictional leaders," the reverend advises. Raise up. Is that more of the call to action of # 1, i.e., pray? Probably it means something a little more, something along the lines of "make your local church a forward base for political activism, O my brethren."

In other words, do exactly what you've been doing for years.

Hardly seems like action commensurate to the destructive chaos descending on America, does it? What? No pitchforks and torches? No calling down fire from heaven on the heads of sinners?


Jesse Steele said...

Near my new Apartment in Hendersonville J.W. there is a baptist church that has put on their sign (and keeps it lit at night) "What has happened to America?"

I keep finding myself far too tempted to go knock on the front door and say, "We evolved, you should try the same."

Anonagain said...

It's all so over the top. I've seen several articles where the good Baptists and other holy rollers are clutching their pearls and saying that the whole country is going straight to hell. However, they can't list a single way that gay marriage has affected them personally. Didn't they make the same arguments over integration, interracial marriage, women voting, etc.? There have been several times in our history when we've been "Doomed, doomed I tell ya!!" The End Times have been a-coming for hundreds of years now!