Why Every Christian Leader Needs To Have a Good Answer about Homosexuality

Some commenters expressed consternation at Rob Bell’s answers on the Christian radio show that I highlighted earlier in the week. Some thought he should have had a better answer when asked, point blank, whether it’s a sin for a man to have sex with another man. Others noted that for Rob to do so would have have lowered him to his inquisitors’ level, to mean that he was playing by their rules — and anyone who’s followed Rob’s career knows that he’s not apt to do that.

But it reminded me of a lunch that Doug and I shared with another prominent Christian leader a couple weeks ago. When the subject of marriage equality came up, he pushed back on me a bit: “Tony, it’s just not my issue. My issue is ______. Why do you insist on pulling me into the issue that you think is most important?”

It’s a good question, but I have a good answer.

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Rob Bell Calls “Bullshit” on Christian Radio [VIDEO]

Jay Bakker pointed this video out to me yesterday. Rob Bell, looking frumpled and tired from a long book tour, was on a Christian radio show in the UK. Instead of talking about his book, the host and a conservative pastor push and push and push Rob of homosexuality. Rob grows increasingly frustrated until he tells them this is the “bullshit that really, really, really pushes people away” (16:45).

I encourage you to watch the whole 20 minutes, and here’s why. We most often see Rob in scripted situations (on stage, in Nooma videos), but here you see his heart, his vulnerability, his frustration, and how much shit he takes for his open and affirming stance:

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A Friendly Atheist Critique of Evangelical Acceptance of Gays

Fellow Patheos mega-blogger, Hemant Mehta, watched my video on evangelicals like Rob Bell and Jim Wallis coming around on marriage equality, and he has some thoughts of his own:

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Jim Wallis, Rob Bell, and Gay Marriage

Odyssey Network asked me what I thought of Christian leaders like Jim Wallis and Rob Bell coming out in favor of marriage equality now, after being silent (Bell) or against gay marriage (Wallis) in the past. Here’s my response: