Unless you spent yesterday hiding in the woods you heard that our President came out publicly in support of gay marriage. He was already the most aggressive Presidential advocate the LGTBQ has had, over turning Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, giving executive orders to secure legal rights for gay partners, and ending executive support for the defense of marriage act, so one could think that this public announcement isn’t a significant shift in policy at all and in the end a liability for re-election. Regardless of any long term consequences, I am proud of Obama when he said that “In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she (Michelle) cares most deeply about is how we treat other people.”
You see for those who pay attention to how he has served as President we already knew what he thought. He has been actively supporting the recognition of equal rights for the gay community throughout his first term. Obama was never evolving personally in the White House. What has happened is Obama finally let his conscious speak on an issue that is divided and contentious because it was becoming humorous to here again that his mind is ‘evolving’ while acting like his mind was settled. Yet there is something powerful about the one occupying the White House to believe it out loud! I wonder if the same wouldn’t be true if more Christian leaders stopped evolving and started speaking.
Obama’s situation is not much different than many Christian leaders throughout the country whose jobs and personal security necessitate keeping the mysterious ‘independents’ and ‘moderates’ more happy with you than the other options. The number of influential pastors of large churches, seminary professors, and denominational leaders who have been walking the ‘evolving’ tight-rope around gay marriage in the church are huge. Just from personal conversations I can think of 15 well known church leaders who would loose their jobs if their actual conviction as a Christian was known. If you ask these individuals who have dedicated their lives to the service of the church what they really believe they are open and affirming to the full inclusion of the LGTBQ community into the church and yet their public stance is ‘evolving.’
Just this past week a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship minister from North Carolina said regarding Amendment One, “It’s sad that the only three people at the church voting against the amendment are the three ordained ministers and the congregation will never know.” That is a sad but all too frequent decision by many.
It is my hope that my Brother in Christ Obama’s risky move to make his personal convictions known will inspire the silent ‘evolving’ leaders in the church to do the same. Maybe then we can end the culture war that is costing the church its integrity with a generation and communicating hatred toward our gay brothers and sisters.