The Gay “Marriage” Revolution, and the Future of American Christianity

Almost 30 years ago, in 11th grade health class, we all had a very substantial discussion of homosexuality. (The health class included a sex-ed component, and it was in this context that the discussion took place.)

The teacher–RR, who was also my tennis coach–was quite liberal, but, to his credit, was fair in his presentation to the class. He was a secular Jew who, while not Christian, grudgingly appreciated the benefits that Christians brought to the table. Neither myself, nor any other Christians in the class, ever had a problem with him.

In fact, get this, folks: RR referred to anal sex as “sodomy” and, while conceding to conventional wisdom–which, at the time, dictated that one in ten people were gay–he seemed to think of that lifestyle as an aberration. (In fact, most of the teachers–even the most liberal, tolerant folks who were high up in the local teacher union–were of that mindset. While they harbored no hatred of gays, they did not look at the lifestyle as one to be embraced or promoted, either.)

The year was 1983, and the United States was a different country. Reagan was President; the Cold War was hot; the Moral Majority had its high water mark of relevance; and, while Americans were not on board with Jerry Falwell, the American people had no desire to ditch the Christian consensus that made America–and Western Civilization–exceptional. Americans weren’t all Bible-believing Christians; they did, however–sometimes grudgingly–accept that the Christian consensus that informed our understanding of law and justice, even with its faults in execution, was a good thing.

Back then, gay “marriage” was on no one’s radar.

Sadly, the year was 1983, and the decline–while under the radar–was already in progress.

The same decline that has destroyed Europe had not quite come full-circle in the United States. But the wheels were turning.

Abortion had been legal for ten years; the process that led to its legalization had been in play for longer than that. The Kinsey reports of the 1940s were a culmination of the synthesis of Darwinian thought presented as science, Nihilist rejection of objective truth, academic hatred of all things Christian, and outright fraud.

But, over time, Kinsey’s key mantras were absorbed into the mainstream: the academy, the justice system, the news media, the entertainment sector, and–before long–most sectors of government.

Making matters worse, key sectors of the Church were already in the process of succumbing to European skepticism. This process began in Europe with the Enlightenment, then accelerated with the advent of Biblical liberalism, whose adherents promoted “Higher Criticism”. By the mid-1940s, the same Germany and France that gave us Luther and Calvin, and the same England that had given us Wilberforce, Spurgeon, Tyndale, and Edwards, was all but dead.

While the Europeanization of America had been going on since the late 1800s, this process accelerated after World War II. American seminaries welcomed European scholars, and sent their best students to study in European seminaries. Those great students would go on to become pastors, scholars, authors, and professors who would pass on that liberalism to their students and parishioners.

This is why mainline Protestants in the 1960s, sadly, were making “care packages” for Communist soldiers in North Vietnam, all while our men were fighting valiantly–and dying–to liberate people from a brutality that was rooted in the godlessness of Communism.

This is why the Church was caught flat-footed by the onslaught of feminism and the ensuing Sexual Revolution.

This is why the response of the Church has been largely reactionary: opposition to agendas rather than a promotion of a better agenda rooted in Creation and Redemption. If the Church teaches a sexuality that consists of, “Don’t have sex until you get married; it’s better when you wait…” or “If you wait until marriage, you will be a better flower in the garden…” or “The men will appreciate you better if you wait until marriage…”, then that is proof-positive that they are being reactionary.

Otherwise well-intentioned efforts–such as the True Love Waits initiatives–reflect a Church that is in reactionary mode. As a result, the Church is failing in its role of salt and light. They first are caught flat-footed, and their response is proving to be years late and many dollars short.

Hugh Hefner started Playboy in 1953; at the time, he called himself Kinsey’s pamphleteer. This marked the advent of modern pornography, which added rocket fuel to the fire of the Sexual Revolution. A pornography industry that was once constrained to the seedy sectors of American society is now part of our mainstream.

While I have never seen their movies, I know who Jenna Jameson and Ron Jeremy are. But they wouldn’t be mainstream without Linda Lovelace and Harry Reems. (That Bob Woodward would use the title of their signature movie, Deep Throat, as a code name for a Watergate informant speaks volumes to the impact that pornography was already having on our mainstream.)

During this time, the sexual revolution was in full swing, and homosexuals were gaining an unprecedented level of acceptance. The Church’s response: the liberals began the process of blessing homosexuality; the conservative response was mostly reactionary, providing Biblical exposition as to why homosexuality is a sin.

On abortion, the Church was sleeping at the wheel. While the Catholics were fighting it–even as they were decimated by the Griswold v. Connecticut decision–the Protestant world was all over the map, and didn’t have a clue what they were up against. When Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton came down in 1973, even the Southern Baptist Convention was ambivalent if not supportive of it. In fact, it would not be until after 1993 that The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary would bring in an ethics professor who opposed abortion.

During that time, conservatives embarked on campaigns against gay rights. In spite of these efforts, court decisions and corporate-political-academic tides have not only ramrodded homosexuality down our throats, they have managed to capture public opinion by pointing to social and economic inequities–that our liberal establishment has spent decades creating–in order to promote the cause of gay “marriage”.

On pornography, the reaction was similar: the Church mounted spirited campaigns against pornography. The Supreme Court punted on the issue of obscenity and established a “community standard”. That led to a plethora of anti-porn efforts in local circles. All of that was rendered moot with the advent of the World Wide Web.

When public schools began promoting promiscuity-based sex education, the reaction of conservatives was to bring in abstinence-based sex education. (Again, reactionary.)

While I have no qualms with the conservative viewpoints regarding pornography, homosexuality, and abortion–I oppose abortion, sodomy, and pornography–the problem is not the viewpoints, but rather the reactionary presentation of sexuality as a whole. (On sex education, I oppose all government involvement in this. That is the responsibility of parents.)

What Christians have failed to grasp is that the Sexual Revolution is not simply about sex. If it were just that, the “revolution” would have been over as soon as AIDS came to fruition in the 1980s. Roe v. Wade would have fallen during the Reagan years.

No, the Sexual Revolution was–and still is–merely one front in the larger attack against God’s created order. It is rooted in a denial of a God who Created everything; it is rooted in the denial of the primacy of Man over other created things; it is rooted in the denial of Man’s fallenness; it is rooted in the denial of Man’s need for a Messiah.

While Jerry Falwell was absolutely correct about the sinfulness of homosexuality, I think he missed it when he categorized it as one of our great “National Sins”. Ditto for pornography.

While we must rightly call homosexuality for what it is–just as we must call adultery for what it is, just as we must call lustful intent for what it is, just as we must rightly call covetousness for what it is–the societal recognition of these things is not the problem; it is a symptom.

Rejection of God’s Natural Law–and the implications of that–has led us to where we are today.

From here, it will get worse before it gets better. The Christian consensus that made America exceptional is eroding, and that erosion has accelerated from a slow, arduous process to a very rapid process.

Will we go the way of Europe, or will we experience a reclamation? Will we face the hard truths about our failings and act diligently on that truth, or will we continue to live in denial, providing–at best–reactionary answers to problems that require addressing the ugly roots?

I am not hopeful for the short-term. I believe we will probably see at least one post-Christian generation, during which we will witness an era of barbarism that would make the worst of our atrocities against the Indians pale in comparison. Legalized abortion is the tip of the iceberg, and that is fomenting a culture of death that has yet to come to full fruition. But it will, and the results will be ugly.

In the long-term, I am hopeful. Jesus said that not even the gates of Hell would prevail against the Church. Not even all the blunders of the Vatican of old could extinguish the Gospel; God raised up reformers like Luther, Calvin, and their contemporaries. Fallen men they were, but they were instruments of deliverance nonetheless.

Every dog has its day, and that is true of the godless. They will revel in their short-term victories, just as their predecessors–from Nero to Stalin–did.

And yet the Church–bloodied as She may be–is still in the fight. And while Her enemy will make that path ugly and nasty and dark, Her light will overcome that darkness.

But just as Jesus–when confronted by the Pharisees on various matters–responded by pointing to the roots (in some cases Natural Law), the Church must be forceful in doing this.

Whether you are a young earth Creationist or someone who accepts that the earth and universe could be much older, Creation is a big deal. Connecting sexuality with marriage, rooted in Creation–as Scripture does–is a big deal.

That’s because it never was “all about sex,” but rather about a God who makes and keeps His promises.

17 thoughts on “The Gay “Marriage” Revolution, and the Future of American Christianity

  1. excellent. just … excellent. one of the best pieces you’ve written.

    the ebb and flow of the faithfulness/faith-less-ness of man is woven all through the bible … concurrent with then infinite faithfulness and steadfastness of Holy, Sovereign, Just, GOD.

    humanity is a reflection of the fierce spiritual war that rages without pause. satan roams the earth looking for whom he may devour … but God roams the earth looking for those who are faithful to Him. satan came to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. both are going on at the same time.

    keep rooted in God’s Holy Word. read it often and digest it into the very depths of your heart and soul and mind and being, pouring God’s truth into you. teach it to your children and your children’s children. there is always a remnant who follow God; choose to be the remnant.

  2. Well said, Amir.

    Sadly, I don’t see any changes to the church’s reactionary responses on the horizon. Quite frankly, the church doesn’t always set such a great example either. Three megachurch pastors in the Orlando area have resigned in the last six months following adultery scandals; there’s also the disturbing story of Jack Schaap covered in previous posts.

    • Wow….didn’t hear about the ones in Orlando.

      Schaap…well, he was a piece of work.

      As for the Church, the problem here is that, while there is some junk that the Church must own in this matter, I am reluctant to say that this junk would account for the whole problem or even the majority of it.

      Fact is, throughout the 2,000+ years A.D., the Church has never been totally pristine. There have always been some scandals in every era. The Vatican got things wrong then and now; the Reformers had baggage of their own; every denomination has had scandals and crises over both doctrine and practice.

      The Vatican has seen the exposure of a systemic problem–not just sexual abuses, but the coverups of them, which are, IMHO, worse than the abuses themselves. None of the Popes have done a good job addressing this problem, and–in fact–a major housecleaning needs to be done.

      The Protestant world is only slightly better. Due to the independent nature of the denominations, there does not appear to be a widespread, systemic abuse problem that is being covered up. At the same time, there are still no small number of sex scandals.

      These represent a huge black eye, but I would be reluctant to attribute the larger decline in America to these factors.

      From what I’m seeing, even if the Church did everything right, the suck meter would still be high.

      This is because the factors that are driving it have been in play for over a century, and they were going to have their run, irrespective of the Church showing up with their A-game.

      European skepticism has given the secular world the ammo they were looking for.

      And the dogs are having their day.

      • james 1:15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

        when something is conceived, it WILL give birth.

        • Sheesh….Isaac Hunter, Sam Hinn (brother of Benny), and David Loveless.

          I’ve seen megachurches whose leadership has been successful, and have transitioned–without scandal–in healthy fashion.

          Here in Kentucky, Bob Russell–the founding pastor of Six Flags Over JesusSoutheast Christian Church–retired honorably a few years ago.

          While I have my difference with him, I can’t say he was a bad preacher, and–from all accounts I’ve heard from people I know who knew him–he provided good counsel and was able to hold the line when the going got tough.

          But in any position of leadership, narcissism–a product of pride–is always lurking. And that leads to a mother lode of disasters.

          The recent affairs coming out of Orlando are evidence of that.

  3. One must also remember from those times, and I was in medicine,this was the breakout of aids/hiv, plus whatever else seem to fit. I watched at least 200 gay/homosexual men die in ER with pneumocystic carini and caposis sarcoma. Too bad the phrase homophobic was applied to straight men and not gay men. They had some reason to be afraid, but now they are all dead. 20 to 30 thousand in canada i suspect. These dogs had their day, and what a bunch of days it was, and now in retrospect, no one wants to admit the truth of their behaviour. Yet they are all still dead, and the newbies of today, are engaging in the same behaviour. Please dont make me say I told you so.

  4. Regarding the the repeated emphasis on the “Europeanisation” of America. Looking at the US from Europe (from UK, but lived in Ireland and eastern Europe too) I am not convinced that your country is massively better off morally than we are.

    While church attendance figures suggest that the US is a more Christian society than Europe, the increasingly shallow nature of US evangelicalism makes me wonder how genuine much of this is.

    Gay marriage looks like an issue whose primary function is to be an excuse to persecute the Church. How many people will go to the local seeker friendly megachurch with its own Starbucks if they face ostracism for it? More likely that the churches will fall behind the “wisdom” of the secular world and ditch the Bible. The European example of the “German Christians” shows how that one can work out.

    • I’d have to agree that, at this point, the U.S. is not massively better-off morally than Europe. The Church over here can almost be summed up in two columns: those that have rejected the theological liberalism that was imported from Europe, and those who have received it. In the latter column, you have the mainline Protestants, which are, with few exceptions, dead.

      Yes, there are some conservative Episcopals out there, and we also have the PCA Presbyterians, and–yes–there are even some conservative Lutherans out there. But, for the most part, mainline Protestantism in America–just as with Europe–is dead in the water.

      OTOH, the conservatives–while successfully resisting the European liberalism–are the reactionary lot.

      And while I share some of your sentiments about the megachurch culture, I would say that, like most things, it’s a mixed bag. Here’s what I am observing of it, and I say that as someone who lives a stone’s throw from some of those megachurches, and know some friends who go to those churches….

      On one hand: if you want to be casual, sit on the sidelines, and have shallow Christianity that attends church for show–and perhaps to grow an MLM business–megachurches, sadly, have that seedy element. It’s easy to spot those types: they dress for show; they park their vehicles–with their business decals–in strategic spots; they get involved with the right small groups, perhaps even seeking the ones that have the most prospects; and they always talk a good talk, although, as you get to know them, their talk is exactly that: all talk.

      OTOH, if you really are interested in serving God and growing in your knowledge and walk, there are plenty of opportunities in the larger churches.

      Not far from where I live, there is a very large church; Cubbie and I call it Six Flags Over Jesus, the moniker, of course, derived from the name of a popular amusement park chain. Cubbie attends Six Flags.

      For those who are serious, there are excellent Bible studies there, and there are some really good, knowledgeable Christian leaders to offer counsel if you wish to seek it.

      At the same time, if you just want to screw offgo to a one-hour service on Saturday or Sunday, and then trek off to your favorite nearby all-you-can-eat buffet, you can do that too.

      The same is true for the larger Baptist churches in the area: the preaching is generally good, and there are good opportunities to serve, grow, and learn. But it is easy to sit on the sidelines and get away with it, too.

      I’m not nearly as hard on the megachurches as I used to be, because I have seen both sides to it.

      I can tell you that the megachurches can be a colossal waste of money on infrastructure that houses a lot of hangers-on.

      I can also tell you that many charitable groups* would be hurting but for those devoted workers–and those who love God from their wallets–from the large churches.

      *And by “charitable”, I don’t mean artsy-fartsy humanistic endeavors; I mean homeless shelters, inner-city churches, places that, were it not for their existence, the down-and-outers would be toast.

      • A couple of interesting things about “Six Flags”…

        Even though it has over 30K on its membership rolls, and somewhere around 22K weekend attendance (at three different sites), its staff is only about 300. By contrast, the church has over 7,000 on its volunteer rolls. It’s a lot more than the usual teachers and children’s/nursery folks, too. The people you see doing maintenance work in the buildings and around the grounds… the folks you see at the bookstore and coffee shop in the main building… the people who prepare Communion (which is a HUGE task at a church that size)… the people at the front desk of the church gym… all these, and more, are overwhelmingly volunteers. Don’t forget greeters (a LOT of them at every service) and information desk people. I could go on…

        Heck, the church newspaper has more than 40 volunteers who are on the mailing list solely for photography. (I’m on that particular list, and I had some of my pics make the paper a few weeks ago.)

        And, the church is carrying zero debt. It’s building a fourth location as we speak, and doing so strictly from offerings and accumulated surplus.

        BTW, full confession: I scuttle off to my “favorite nearby all-you-can-eat buffet” or similar eating establishment… AFTER my Bible study group dismisses. 🙂

        • when i went to a mega church years ago, we were told that the design decor in the buildings was less that 3% of the cost of the buildings. a lot of people complained that money was wasted on that stuff – but, especially with kids, the design/decor stuff was fun.

          a lot of good happens in most all churches, even big ones.

    • Gay marriage looks like an issue whose primary function is to be an excuse to persecute the Church. How many people will go to the local seeker friendly megachurch with its own Starbucks if they face ostracism for it? More likely that the churches will fall behind the “wisdom” of the secular world and ditch the Bible. The European example of the “German Christians” shows how that one can work out.

      That is one of the major objectives of the gay “marriage” movement: ultimately, they seek to put the screws to the Church. Right now, the move is more passive-aggressive. Soon, there will be a move to make tax-exempt status contingent upon a group’s recognition of same-sex “marriages”.

      Whether that works or backfires is anyone’s guess. If government tried that today, the backlash would be severe.

      This is because there are a LOT of religious-based charitable organizations that perform functions that very few others do. By that, I mean orphanages, homeless shelters, even hospice facilities. These groups provide low-cost–if not free–services to people in severe need, including children. If they were shut down today, it’s not like you’d see a bunch of secular atheist groups lining up to meet that need.

      At the same time, if there is enough erosion over time, the proverbial frog might just boil in the water. Not sure if that is what will come down, but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility.

      As for the churches ditching the Bible, I think you will see increased polarization over here. Mainline Protestants, with few exceptions, have already jumped overboard into the vat of sulfuric acid. Many of their Emergent friends are not far behind.

      OTOH, the evangelical ranks–for all their problems–are both over and under-rated. Whether they will follow the Mainline Protestants is a wildcard.

      This is because Congregational churches–which tend to dominate the evangelical world–are run from the bottom-up, not the top-down. This is even the case in the large denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention.

      While some of the leaders of those denominations may punt, I don’t see the masses of conservatives on the ground doing this. In fact, they are more likely to start a revolt against the would-be apostates. You might see many of the casual folks in their ranks jump ship. But whether the masses would, that’s a different ballgame.

      One of the very weaknesses of the evangelical ranks–the fragmentation–could actually be an advantage in this scenario. The masses on the ground are not beholden to kiss the proverbial tushies of their leaders. They are, in fact, more prone to say, “What on earth are you weasels smoking?” It’s one thing to get a congregation to buy into a “building program” or even a relocation; it’s another thing to get them to bless gay “marriage”. It’s one thing to get a church to build a gymnasium; it’s another matter when you try to get them to vote on a resolution proclaiming that the Scriptures are anything short of God’s Word. I just don’t see the masses of evangelicals buying into that.

      Even when liberals ran most of the Southern Baptist Convention leadership–including most of the Seminaries–the rank and file remained relatively conservative. This was how the conservatives managed to retake the Convention: the liberals who once ran the show totally underestimated the level of resistance among the rank and file.

      For DECADES, liberals dominated the Southern Baptist seminaries, dominated the key committees, dominated the missions organizations, and controlled who got nominated to key posts. And yet, in spite of all that, the rank and file did not buy in.

      That is why the conservatives eventually won, and the SBC was–and remains–the only denomination in which liberals controlled the leadership, but were successfully ousted.

      I say this not to promote the greatness of the SBC–Ame and I could give you an earful about the things that are wrong with it. At the same time, I use some of that dynamic–resistance at the ground level–to point out why I am not ready to say that the demise of American Christianity is a foregone conclusion.

      American evangelicalism–for all its issues, and there are many–is more resilient, for better and worse, than we give it credit.

  5. ‘Marriage’ will be all the rage in the gay community, until the time when the divorce industry is turned loose on them, as it has been on straight males.
    More straight males have found what a one-sided risk marriage has become to them, and more and more are avoiding it (as well as toxic Modern Womyn). Hence the ‘marriage strike’ and MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way).
    The divorce industry has become used to it’s high profits and is always hungry for new victims. Straight male victims have become fewer and fewer; it won’t be long…

    • “The divorce industry has become used to it’s high profits and is always hungry for new victims.” i definitely agree. the world of divorce is a HUGE industry, pouring money into a seemingly infinite number of pockets. there are many who do not want that to end, ever.

  6. I am not hopeful for the short-term. I believe we will probably see at least one post-Christian generation, during which we will witness an era of barbarism that would make the worst of our atrocities against the Indians pale in comparison. Legalized abortion is the tip of the iceberg, and that is fomenting a culture of death that has yet to come to full fruition. But it will, and the results will be ugly.

    I hope this doesn’t happen, but I’m afraid you may be right about this.

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