Why Is Moorohler Nervous? Because Evangelicals Are Embracing Gay Marriage

The evangelical intelligentsia is very, very nervous. That’s because opposition to same sex marriage is crumbling among the generations that will be running evangelicalism in coming years. Yesterday, we saw Moorholer attacking a couple younger evangelicals who had the gall to question Arizona’s anti-gay, pro-discrimination legislation. But as the new survey out this week from PRRI shows conclusively, evangelical opinions about gay marriage are shifting very quickly among those under 40.

Here are some other findings of the survey:

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Am I a “Liberal Christian” (According to Roger Olson)?

Roger Olson

Roger Olson recently posted a piece on why he’s not a “liberal Christian.” He said that he came to this conclusion after reading a bunch of liberal/progressive Christian blogs. Roger’s a great blogger, but one of his failings is that he never provides hyperlinks. This post is no exception. He doesn’t name the blogs or tell us who is a liberal blogger, in his opinion, and who is just getting over their fundamentalism (like he is).

Probably some readers think I’m hanging out on the far left, but you only need to read the comments to find a bunch of liberals who think I’m a raving conservative (on some issues). That’s why I’ve fought repeatedly to be listed among both the progressive Christian bloggers and the evangelical bloggers here at Patheos.

(Excursus: It bugs me that in the Patheos channel listings, “Evangelical” is its own category, but “Progressive Christian” is the name of the other channel. Why not “Evangelical Christian” or “Progressive.” This isn’t just a grammatical plea for parallel construction — I think it says something.

A lot of us know that neither “progressive” nor “liberal” is quite right. That’s why I waged a campaign to be called “Incarnational Christians.” Let the conservatives have “evangelical,” but let’s use a similarly theological signifier for ourselves.)

Since Roger doesn’t tell us who is who in his list, I’m left to guess about myself. I was never a fundamentalist, and I was only vaguely evangelical — anyone who attended Fuller Seminary when I was a student will tell you that my relationship with evangelicalism was an uneasy one. So I’m left to go through Roger’s rubric to see if I am, indeed, a “liberal.” Here’s his list, and my responses:

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Is “Evangelical” the New “Jewish”?

In light of last week’s gathering of evangelical leaders, in which they threw their support behind Rick Santorum, David Neff of Christianity Today wrote a sensible essay called, “Why Last Saturday’s Political Conclave of Evangelical Leaders Was Dangerous: Brothers and sisters, we are neither kingmakers nor powerbrokers.” He’s smart to distance himself from that group in Texas — in fact, he admits that he wasn’t invited.

He also cops to being at the center of the group that in 2008 published “An Evangelical Manifesto,” a piece of rhetoric that was meant to unify evangelicals around a few core theological and moral concerns. But the real reason for the Manifesto in that election year was to tell the mainstream media, “We’re not all crazy, right-wing reactionaries.”

Based on the coverage of the Texas conclave, I don’t think the lamestream* media got the message.

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Picking a Label to Replace “Progressive”

So, yesterday’s post has generated lots of great suggestions for a label to replace “Progressive” Christian.  Below is a survey in which you can vote for your favorite.  But before we get there:

  • Yes, we need a label.  Words shape us; words do things; words have power.  It’s no mistake that conservatives have captured the term “evangelical.”  They did that because they know that words matter.
  • Calling yourself a “Christian” or a “follower of Christ” is fine, but when your local paper quotes you in an article about the next presidential election, they’re going to put a qualifier on that, whether you like it or not.  Trust me, the organizers of the Wild Goose Festival didn’t want it to be considered primarily a gathering of “emergent Christians,” but that’s what it said in every news report.
  • We can’t be “post-evangelical” or “post-conservative,” because then we’re just defining ourselves over against others.
  • Of the suggestions that came in, I have chosen five for a vote.  I eliminated the non-theological terms (except for one), and I eliminated the theological-but-obscure (soterial, basieleia, hodosian).
  • I already have my favorite, but let’s see what you think.

Please vote below, and feel free to justify you vote in the comments (and rally others to your cause!):

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