Welcome to RelPol, a student peer reviewed online magazine. This magazine is part of the assessment for the module "In God We Trust" @ the University of Hull.
For several decades same sex marriage has been an issue across the world. On June 28th 2013 the U.S Supreme Court recognized that banning same sex marriage was unconstitutional and each separate U.S state had a right to legalize same sex marriage. Over the last decade homosexuality and civil unions have been accepted within society, however with constant religious backlash.
President Barack Obama, who has stated that he is a devout Christian and chose Christianity later in life, has been continuously and publicly rallying for same sex marriage. Within his inauguration speech (January 2013), has been advocating for equal rights for homosexuals stating that“our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law”. Further support for gay marriage and LGBT rights can be seen with his riveting speech at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender leadership gala at the Sheraton, New York; where Obama stated “I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country”. Showing that Obama is a progressive Christian and fully supportive of homosexuality.
Many Christians take the bible passage of Levicticus 18:22 as a template for all Christian views of homosexuality. However in Samuel 20:40-41 it clearly states “And they kissed one another and wept with one another, David weeping the most.” Presenting the idea of a possible homosexual relationship between Jonathon and David, as it is very hard to see how two men kissing does not equate to a homosexual relationship. Christians therefore are picking and choosing passages which reflect the general perceived version of homosexuality; which is where new and millennial Evangelicals differ from the silent generation and generation X. Reverend Richard Cizak has stated that from his research 52 percent favour either same-sex marriage or civil unions.” This can be similarly shown within the Catholic denomination where between the ages of 50-64 40% oppose to gay marriages, where as only 19% oppose in the 18-29 age group; this therefore shows the progressiveness of the younger generation throughout the Christian denominations, however why is it that President Obama, who is part of Generation X, can be liberal minded on the subject of homosexual equality yet others can not?
In 2011 it was estimated that more than 8 million people in the USA admitted that they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and from this it is easy to see how four in ten young evangelicals say that they have a close friend or family member who is gay or lesbian; creating an influx of progressive Evangelicals rallying for homosexual equality. An example of this ‘new age evangelicalism’ is present in the creation of the religious group: Evangelicals for marriage equality, which was launched on the 9th September 2014. The aim of this religious group is to change the Evangelical views on marriage equality and to make sure that a religious perspective cannot determine who can and cannot be married.
This new religious faction has been created in the wake of World Visions decision to hire people who are in Gary marriages or a civil union on 25th March 2014. World Vision has received serious backlash from Christian groups such as Samaritans Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, has gone as far to urge Christians who are supportive of World Vision to discontinue their support in favour of another group that is more true to the gospel. The U.S President of World Vision, Richard Stearns, is not preaching for same- sex marriage but is explaining that it is a “non-essential issue” and that there are more pressing problems that World Vision needs to deal with. Even though the group continues to “affirm and support” traditional marriages this simple act of allowing, within a religious organisation, to practice same-sex marriage shows societies and somewhat of a religious progression and tolerance of gay marriages.
Religious organisations such as The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission are not supportive of same- sex marriage and of the organisations that are, and it would be nice to live in a society where those who practice a religion can be more accepting of those who don’t or do not fully ‘conform’. However instead they are hosting conferences to urge faith leaders to oppose same- sex marriages. One conference in Nashville, Tennessee came as a reaction to the launching of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, who only want Evangelicals to “see that it is possible to hold a plethora of beliefs about sexuality and marriage while affirming the rights of LGBTQ men and women to be civilly married under the law.” Richard Cizak, the Former National Association of Evangelicals Vice President, is one of the founders of Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and fully supports gay marriage and unions. Rallying against the other religious groups who are trying to repress the growing support for same- sex marriage; He is therefore a liberal and progressive Christian member of Generation X sharing a formidable quality with President Barack Obama.
With a waning religious influence on everyday life and Millennial Christians growing up in a more liberal and tolerant society it is easy to see why they are changing their religious life style. These young Christians are becoming more and more liberal as the decades go on. So why it is that Generation X and the Silent Generation cannot grow with their children? Doesn’t the bible say we should be tolerant of each other and to love thy neighbour? And why do those in religious groups think that it doesn’t apply to the LGBT community? I ask you if Obama can; why can’t you?