Where Does the Slippery Slope End?
I recently read an opinion column in The Baptist News reacting to the Southern Baptist Convention’s rejection of women pastors. Famous American Southern Baptist mega-church pastor Rick Warren was appealing to the SBC to reinstate him and his church after they dropped their rule against women pastors and women preaching. (Warren’s Saddleback Church in California has multiple pastors and, apparently, at least one is a woman.) Warren’s appeal was rejected at the recent annual meeting of the SBC which reaffirmed its rule against women pastors and women preaching.
The opinion column was by a Texas Baptist minister: “Embracing the Slippery Slope.” There he argued that the argument used by many people against allowing women to pastor is that allowing women to pastor and preach would inevitably lead to embracing gay marriage within the churches. His response to the argument was that Baptists (and no doubt others) should embrace the slippery slope. At the end of the column he listed a number of sexual identities that should be embraced by Baptists and others.
The natural question which he did not address is “polyamory.” He didn’t even mention it. And yet, at least in certain parts of America, polyamory is now “a thing.” Polyamory is defined as “the practice of engaging in multiple romantic and typically sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved.” Documentary maker Louis Theroux has recently made a documentary about it entitled “Love without Limits” which focuses on the rising movement of polyamory in Portland, Oregon. I’m sure that’s not the only place where polyamory without polygamy can be found.
Neither the writer of the Baptist News opinion column nor I, here, were/are addressing law or public policy. We were/I am addressing Christian churches and their leaders, their “deciders.” Here I am also addressing him, the author of the column, and those who agree with him. My question to him and them is “Where does the slippery slope end?”
This is not intended as a logical argument; it is only a question. (Note to readers: Do not object that “slippery slope arguments” are illogical. This is not an argument but only a question.)
Personally, I don’t see any reason in the column in question to end it at all. And when I have asked Christian advocates of gay marriage in Christian churches about polyamory the only responses I get is “We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.” Well, it seems the bridge is very near. I believe in “crossing bridges” before we come to them in the sense of asking about the bridge itself. Not every bridge is strong. Think of the I-35 bridge in downtown Minneapolis that suddenly failed plunging numerous cars into the Mississippi River.
Now, some people confuse polyamory with polygamy and when they think of polygamy they think of women being forced into multiple marriage with one man dominating several “wives.” That is not polyamory, or at least it is only one form of it. Polyamory can include two or more women in a romantic, even sexual, relationship with one man—absolutely voluntarily.
So, to those who agree with the “embrace the slippery slope” argument I ask: Where does the slippery slope you are talking about end? Why? What will you decide when a polyamorous “family” comes to your church and asks for membership?
Now, to those who argue that accepting women pastors and preachers inevitably leads to inclusion of practicing gays within the churches (and I’m not talking about “inclusion” as in accepting them into worship but I’m talking about gay marriage and inclusion of them in teaching and leading positions) I point out that many very conservative, evangelical denominations and churches have had women pastors and preachers for many decades without welcoming and affirming practicing gay people into full membership or teaching or leadership roles. And they resist gay marriage within their ranks. I will here name a few: The Free Methodist Church, The Wesleyan Church, The Church of the Nazarene, The Assemblies of God, the Churches of God (both Anderson, Indiana and Cleveland Tennessee), and many others in the “Holiness” and “Pentecostal” traditions.
Again, I want to point out that I am NOT talking here in favor of any laws against polyamory or gay civil unions or consenting adults doing whatever they want to do sexually. All I am asking is where the “embrace the slippery slope” opinion ends—within Christian churches and especially those that consider themselves biblically committed Christians.
I will not accept any “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” responses. Reasoned responses are welcome so long as they are—as always—relatively brief, etc. (See my “rules of the road” below.) Also, this question and discussion is intended only for Christians.
*Note: If you decide to comment, make sure your comment is relatively brief (no more than about 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative), and devoid of pictures or links.*