Even Rick Perry Is Turning Pro-Gay

If Rick Perry is softening his stance toward gays, we’ve jumped the shark.

Although some idiocy still reigns — like this guy who says that sexual preference is akin to religious belief — we’ve clearly passed the tipping point when even the looniest Republican politician is signaling that he’s going to support gay marriage. That would be none other than Texas governor and past-and-future presidential hopeful Rick Perry. Gun-totin’-cowboy Perry spoke at one of the most adamantly anti-gay churches in the country, First Baptist-Dallas, last weekend at the dedication of the church’s $130 million addition:

“We cannot condemn certain lifestyles while turning a blind eye to sins that, in God’s eye, are just as grievous,” Perry said. “We must love all… welcome all… and be a model for Christ.”

“Scripture tells us it is no credit to love people who love us. You know, on that side of the ledger sheet, you don’t get a check mark,” the governor continued. “It is loving the estranged, those who we might not even like, that we truly show the love of God.”

Observers say that Perry is softening his stance to grease the skids for a 2016 presidential run. So be it.

Even Bill O’Reilly, who previously mocked President Obama for saying that his views on gay marriage have “evolved,” has now co-opted the same language:

Even some social conservative rabble-rousers have conceded defeat. Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, who in the past has compared gay unions to marrying a goat or a dolphin, has flipped, saying his views have “evolved.” “The compelling argument is on the side of homosexuals,” O’Reilly said last week. “The other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.” Rush Limbaugh, too, is reluctantly resigned to the change. “I don’t care what the Supreme Court does, this is now inevitable,” he said.

Nicholas Wapshott, who penned that paragraph, goes on to conclude that the social/sexual revolution of the 1960s has come to an end, with the revolutionaries winning (even as Boomers retire to Florida).

In a TV interview for the Odyssey Network earlier this week, I was asked how I felt about Christian leaders like Rob Bell and Jim Wallis coming late to the pro-gay party. You’ll have to wait for the video to be released to hear my answer, but I can tell you that I quoted a parable of Jesus. Can you guess which one?

In any case, it’s impossible to dispute the fact: the tipping point has been passed. If you’re a Christian who’s still on the fence, I encourage you to get over the “yuck factor” and read a book that deals with the biblical, legal, and political arguments against the full inclusion of all persons in society and church.

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  • I was seriously hoping that the link to “a book that deals with biblical, legal, and political arguments against the full inclusion of all persons in society in church” was gonna be a sarcastic link to the Bible.

  • Jason Rea

    Matthew 20:1-16?

  • I think a big reason why this tipping point is happening so fast, is that progressive Christians have been good at articulating a message that is both pro-gospel as well as pro-gay. This message has given conservative Christians something that they can hang on to, a way to accept gays even while they continue to proclaim the Bible. The pro-gospel, pro-gay message gives conservatives a way to “save Christian face”, while they follow the road of political expediency that is directing all politicians to acceptance of full civil rights for gays.

  • Bethany

    I’m not sure that Rick Perry is pro-gay here. I think he’s saying that homosexuality is among the list of other sins that we all at one time or another have committed or are currently burdened by. He’s saying we can’t single out homosexuality and turn a blind eye to other. Second, he’s saying that God calls us to love everyone. EVERYONE.

    • Being pro-everybody is probably close enough.

  • Bethany

    I don’t think this means Perry is turning pro-gay… nor Bill O’Reilly. I think Perry is saying that homosexuality is among the list of sins that we all have at one time or another committed or are currently burdened by. We can’t turn a blind eye to the other sins and just single out homosexuality. Further to that, we are to love everyone. EVERYONE. He’s preaching about the plank in our own eyes and putting on love. O’Reilly is stating facts. Christians have offered much more than stating what the bible says – something that non-Christians are not accountable to. Just my two cents.

    • I agree, he’s not turning pro-gay – that is a misleading headline. He is simply realizing that focusing exclusively on this one “sin” (which is already very misunderstood to be a sin) is so contrary to what Christianity and smaller government is all about.

      The call of Christ is share the message of love and redemption Christianity offers, not to try to legislate someone into acting the way we want them to.

      If the Evangelical’s can just to the same place they are with pre-martial cohabitation, the world could be a better place. They still think it’s a sin and a bad idea, but they don’t beat anyone over the head with that message.

      I’m so glad to see the last holdouts of Conservativedom changing their tune.

  • Bethany

    Sorry… thought this one didn’t go through.

  • That is what I was thinking too!

  • Jason, that is what I was thinking too.

  • LoneWolf

    It’s more like politicians have figured out that the majority of Americans are for marriage equality, and that majority is growing, so if their careers are going to survive past the next election, they have to be for it too.

  • Bethany, you said “Christians have offered much more than stating what the bible says – something that non-Christians are not accountable to.” Sorry, that is not true…Christians and non-Christians are all accountable to what the Bible says (regardless of whether they want to be or admit to being accountable.)

  • bethany

    But being “pro” something generally means that you support it/them. That goes beyond loving.

  • bethany

    Yes, you are correct, all are accountable according to scripture. What I was trying to say that they believe they are not accountable so they don’t have to abide by God’s word. I may not be making sense. Hard to get my point across.

  • bethany

    But being “pro” something generally means that you support it/them. That goes beyond loving.

    • Only Christians seem to contemplate the idea of loving people without supporting them. It is a strange, “Christian” kind of love that makes most people want to stay away from church.

      Rick is considering treating everyone the same, which is a huge leap from his previous rhetoric. Now, whether that now means Rick is “pro-everyone” or “anti-everyone”, I’ll let you decide. The point is, Rick is now saying gays should be treated no different than anyone else. I’ll take that. If that means that Rick now believes that all people are equally condemned, I guess that is what Paul was getting at too, in his letter to the Romans. If there are Christians out there who believe that somehow, because of the way they act or believe, they are not condemned, I would say it is there loss that they can’t experience the full gospel of Christ. Christ still loves them anyway, even though it seems they haven’t really experienced love yet.

  • Simon

    Thanks for posting the Mattox article. I like the analogy. I think it works, but leads to the absolute opposite conclusion. He is essentially saying, “Sexual orientation is like religion. Its a mystery. And like any good religious mystery, it is important that the state and federal government come in and defend the ‘traditional’ notions of religious mystery. Don’t get suckered by the cool kids.”

    Of course, the irony of his position is that if the Supreme Court were to rule that sexual orientation should be treated like religion, it would be an enormous win for gay rights. Religious freedom is protected in the 1st amendment (i.e. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of…”). Tony, you’d be happy. The government might be forced to get out of the marriage business altogether. All the anti-gay laws would be put under the “strict scrutiny” legal standard and almost necessarily be ruled unconstitutional. (For a non-lawyers guide to “strict scrutiny” look here http://bit.ly/16Nmd6V )

    Religious freedom is a fundamental right, and viewed under strict scrutiny. Right now, the courts are arguing over whether or not anti-gay laws pass the much tougher standard of “rational basis” (i.e. If there is any possible rationale for this law the court will defer to Congress). A great illustration of this is when Justice Sotomayor asked the petitioner if he could think of any other circumstance where there would be a “rational basis” to exclude gay people (he could not).http://bit.ly/ZJbPGS

  • Andy

    As long as we are posting links to books, Robert Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics demolishes the case for same sex relationships (including William Stacy Johnson’s).

    • Hardly. Gagnon has a habit of overstating the strength of his inferences. As long as he’s dealing with what the Bible actually says, he’s OK (e.g., he recognizes that the OT condemnations never explicitly mention lesbian acts, and the OT objects to pagan cultic homosexual acts, etc.). But he desperately wants to extend the biblical objection to loving, even monogamous same-sex relationships, on which the Bible is silent. (His tortured argument about what Jesus said is painful to read, since Jesus said nothing about homosexual acts… but Jesus was pretty clear about divorce, even though not even Gagnon believes that we should follow what Jesus said about divorce.) The second half of Gagnon’s book is a train wreck when he tries to address “contemporary” sociological and psychological issues. Instead of relying on peer reviewed research, he supports his “analysis” by appealing to widely discredited writings.

      Gagnon’s book isn’t as good as Gagnon seems to think it is.

      • Andy

        Scot, the Bible condemns homosexual acts in every instance and, accommodations like polygamy aside, affirms sex only in the context of male-female marriage. So while Jesus does not explicitly address homosexual acts, he does so implicitly by affirming the creation account in Mt 19. While the historic consensus among Christians has clearly fragmented in recent years, the biblical, historic and theological evidence against homosexuality is massive (as Gagnon points out).

        And let’s dispense with the ‘Jesus says nothing about homosexuality’ canard; he is not recorded as mentioning rape or child abuse either… It is exactly that sort of half-baked reasoning purportedly to support same sex relationships that Gagnon exposes. And there are a lot of people who think it is a good work, although it is increasingly counter-cultural even among Christians, like those who frequent this blog.

      • Andy

        P.S. Scot, do you know of any published rebuttals to Gagnon? I’ve read Walter Wink’s review of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics, including the subsequent back and forth between the two. Frankly, the exchange is an embarrassment to Wink.

        • Andy, search the archives of this blog for Scot’s multi-post response to Gagnon.

          • Andy

            Thanks for the suggestion, and I read Scot’s responses in detail along with your wrap up Tony. I was underwhelmed (shocker, I know), and still find the biblical, historical and theological case against same sex relationships to be decisive. Walter Wink’s embarrassing review of the book and Gagnon’s responses can be found here http://www.robgagnon.net/Reviews/homoWinkExchanges.pdf The exchange is instructive as Gagnon responds to many of the standard (and, I believe, discredited) arguments of same sex advocates, including those posting on this blog.

            By the way, I’m in pretty good company in commending The Bible and Homosexual Practice; a partial listing of scholars who have praised it: Kenneth Bailey, James Barr, C. K. Barrett, John Barton, Jürgen Becker, Brevard Childs, C. E. B. Cranfield, James D. G. Dunn, E. Earle Ellis, Gabriel Fackre, Robert F. Hull; Craig Koester, I. Howard Marshall, Ulrich Mauser, Scot McKnight, Bruce Metzger, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, Martti Nissinen, John Nolland, Richard Ostling, J. I. Packer, Marion Soards, Max Stackhouse, Willard Swartley, Charles H. Talbert, Frank Thielman, Duane Watson, Gordon J. Wenham, Stephen Westerholm, and David F. Wright.

            Not to be unkind, but I think I’ll go with Scot McKnight and the rest of them over Scot Miller.

  • JP

    I have heard a lot of “I wonder how much that $130 million could have fed/clothed/sheltered.” Well I work for one of the companies that built the new church. It helped feed/clothe/shelter me and my coworkers by providing work. Just a thought.

  • nimblewill

    When are we going to realize that Christianity and Americanism are not the same? I agree with Rick Perry’s language. I don’t see Jesus not loving homosexuals. He did however get on the ultra religious who wouldn’t accept that God loved everyone.

  • stardreamer42

    Tangential comment: if you think Rick Perry is “the looniest Republican politician”… he’s not even the looniest one in Texas. Look up Ted Cruz, the new teahadist Senator from Texas.