For those of you who have been living under a rock the past week, North Carolina just passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage permanently. This amendment is problematic: it is worded vaguely and could have unforeseen consequences down the road that go far beyond just not allowing gays to get married in North Carolina. These have yet to be sorted out, and this could be a very messy process. And all for the sake of banning something that was already illegal according to North Carolina law.
The greatest problem in play here is the overwhelming support that this measure enjoyed in some parts of the Christian community. This only serves to reinforce the stereotypes held by many non-Christians that Christianity is ALL ABOUT anti-homosexuality. This perception is causing Christianity to lose an awful lot of esteem among young people.
In her post “How to win a culture war and lose a generation“, Rachel Held Evans offers a bare-knuckled rant about the sort of culture war Christianity that pushes measures like North Carolina’s Amendment One. The post leads off with a picture of 93-year-old Billy Graham with a brief message in favor of the amendment that appeared in full-page ads throughout the state. She goes on to discuss how Christianity’s strong association with the anti-gay agenda has tarnished it in the eyes of young people and how support of Amendment One only serves to alienate gays and young Christians who are weary of the culture wars.
So my question for those evangelicals leading the charge in the culture wars is this: Is it worth it?
Is a political “victory” really worth losing millions more young people to cynicism regarding the Church?
Is a political “victory” worth further alienating people who identify as LGBT?
Is a political “victory” worth perpetuating the idea that evangelical Christians are at war with gays and lesbians?
And is a political “victory” worth drowning out that quiet but persistent internal voice that asks—what if we get this wrong?
Too many Christian leaders seem to think the answer to that question is “yes,” and it’s costing them.
Because young Christians are ready for peace.
We are ready to lay down our arms.
We are ready to start washing feet instead of waging war.
And if we cannot find that sort of peace within the Church, I fear we will look for it elsewhere.
More on Amendment One:
Kevin DeYoung offers this piece which, though not a direct rebuttal to Evans’ post, offers reasons why Christians should continue to fight the battle against gay marriage.
Skye Jethani offers his take on same-sex marriage: Obama is trying to steer the conversation to this issue and away from the economy, where he is extremely vulnerable. Will conservatives take the bait?