It’s been quite a while since we’ve done a program examining the gay marriage issue. Our last treatment included the voices of 2 self-described evangelicals—Richard Mouw, the president of Fuller Seminary, and Virginia Mollencott, a Professor Emeritus at William Patterson University. We wanted to frame the conversation in the terms most often used in our culture to discuss it, so we chose two evangelicals. But we also wanted to go beyond the yelling and meanness of the debate, which may have reached a peak about the time we did the show. I think we succeeded.
But along with a good amount of positive feedback, and despite our deliberately conciliatory approach, we heard from people form all “sides” that we had hurt them, or offended them, or otherwise inflamed them. I mention this not to say I think we did it wrong, but because to me it’s a measure of how much pain people are in on this topic.
With the California ruling recently, the door is open to that state beginning to marry gays and lesbians as early as next week, and we have asked ourselves what our next forway into the subject might be. It seems clear there has been a great deal of movement in the last couple of years. Witness, for example, a press release that crossed my desk this morning about GLBT families, led by Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Faye) attending services on Father’s Day at Saddleback Church (Rick Warren’s church) and then meeting with its leaders. That perhaps would not have happened a few years ago.
What are your thoughts about how to cover this issue? Share your thoughts here if you have some.
The Father’s Day visit Kate mentions is the American Family Outing, a series of events being held this spring by Soulforce in order to establish dialogue between LGBT families and six of the country’s largest Evangelical churches and their leaders. The previous five visits have been incredibly successful, and many have ended with pledges to continue the conversation and build on the relationships that were formed.
I’ve got an idea, Kate. Perhaps Speaking of Faith could bring together members of the American Family Outing and leaders from the churches they visited at some point, say six months down the road, in a forum that encourages continuation of this dialogue? That’s a program I’d really like to hear. (Of course, I’m such a fan that you know I’ll be listening regardless!)