Al Mohler, Photo by James Thompson

Well Happy-Doodle-Doo! Someone Is Finally Being Honest!

Al Mohler, Photo by James Thompson
Al Mohler, Photo by James Thompson

The leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, Albert Mohler, spoke the truth yesterday at the Southern Baptist Convention. His words should jar the religious conservatists to the bone!

Look I really don’t fear- It’s really important that you and … every other pastor needs to say “I’m not going to perform a same-sex wedding,” but let’s be honest, there’s not really a danger that the sheriff’s gonna show up and say, “you have to do this.” So far as I know, no pastor has been sued successfully for refusing to marry someone on other grounds- that’s not the real danger.

The real danger is we’re going to pay an enormous social, cultural price for not doing a same-sex ceremony. We’re going to be considered morally deficient.

Let’s admit it. We’re much more accustomed to being accused of being morally superior. They’ve said we’ve been “stand-offish” meaning “better than them.” Now a large part of this culture thinks we are morally deficient. And we’re going to find that’s a very different way to do ministry.”

Source: Transcript of video (below) from 6-17-2015

If a pastor were sued over being unwilling to officiate a same-sex wedding, I would be angry, and I wholly support marriage equality. I know of ministers who have refused to officiate weddings for a variety of completely unrelated reasons, and nobody sued anybody. Get real.

Everyone knows the FOX “News” extension of the War on Christmas to the all out War on Christianity is a big fat stinking pile of horse poo. But when you lose your standing in the public’s eye, you simply redefine the argument.

The Real Problem

Here’s what the extremists’ leadership is horrified about:  the extremists have become the self-appointed spokespeople for Christianity and have taken a determined “to my last dying breath” stand against what Americans widely regard as fair and right. The vast majority of Americans now believe the church is morally deficient—is just flat out wrong. This is a problem for the church, a huge problem with astonishing ramifications.

The church has lost, of all things, the moral argument and any elevated status the moral high ground would naturally have.

I see it as a simple matter: Americans believe in fairness. And when religion, which is supposed to stand with those being treated unfairly, actually becomes their oppressors and their enemy, Americans will not stand for that. The American belief in fairness is stronger than the American belief in giving religion a free pass to be unfair. Wow! The extremists have misjudged in a big way.

The Pew Survey, America’s Changing Religious Landscape, as a result, has noted that Americans are fleeing the church literally by the millions—in staggering numbers very closely related to the astonishing rise in support for marriage equality.

Simple fairness.

Being fair is the moral high ground.

I hope the SCOTUS will make marriage equality the law of the land this month. And, if they do, as Mohler has aptly said, those who refuse to perform same sex weddings are “going to pay an enormous social, cultural price for not doing a same-sex ceremony.”

I hate to say it, but the truth is: I hope these extremists continue to take the morally indefensible position, loudly and unabashedly refuse to marry same sex couples, continue to lose their influence, and just dry up and blow away like the chaff they are—the sooner the better! Why am I taking such a hard position? Because this is the path in which the least number of people get hurt in the long run because of their arrogant, warped thinking.

Fred Clark Weighs in on the Matter

I highly recommend your reading the entire article, Revisiting the immorality of the religious right’s ‘moral high ground by Fred Clark, whose writing on matters of faith always provokes my thinking.

Speaking of marriage equality, he wrote:

When Franklin Graham took out full-page newspaper ads declaring that “there are profound moral issues at stake” in this election, voters agreed with that much of his argument. Voters thought Graham was right that this argument about “the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman” is a “profound moral issue,” but they believed that Graham himself was profoundly wrong — that his opposition to marriage equality put him on the wrong side of a moral issue. …

It was not a disagreement about the political implications of the preachers’ righteous moral claims, but a denial of those claims, of their righteousness and of their morality. No, these political preachers are incorrect about morality and immorality. No, pretending that some “biblical definition of marriage” is a pretext for denying people their rights or delegitimizing their families is not good or decent or right. No, legal coercion compelling rape victims to bear the offspring of their attackers is not good or decent or right.

And that cuts to the core of the matter. That isn’t just a single defeat in a single election, but a fundamental rejection of the entire basis for why anyone, anywhere should ever listen to the religious right.

The religious right can no longer simply assert and assume that it has the moral high ground. If it wants to make that claim, it will have to argue for it, will have to explain why its absolute opposition to legal abortion and to civil rights for LGBT people is right or true or good.”

Fred Clark Quotation on Inerrancy