by: Rev. Dr. Ephraim Radner, ACI
The unexpectedly rapid civil acceptance of same-sex marriage in the West may lead one to imagine that the issue is somehow already settled. Whatever doubts one may have had, they have been swept away by the overwhelming flood of changed public opinion. Fait accompli. Traditional Christians must simply step aside now.
Such a judgment would be a mistake. Indeed, far from the matter being settled, at least form a Christian perspective it has hardly been engaged, despite claims to the contrary by proponents of same-sex marriage. What we have had instead is a bait-and-switch set of tactics, first seeking civil and religious recognition and affirmation somehow of same-sex attractions, then pressing for ordinations, then blessings of unions. What comes next? The question of a “slippery slope” is hardly a fallacy here, for in this case we have a historical track-record of legal advocacy and movement that stands as quite rational “evidence” for the slope’s existence.
All the while, most discussions claimed that “marriage” was never nor could be ever the issue at stake. But here we are: changes to “marriage canons” and Prayer Books are now in the works. At this stage the advocates of change are merciful enough to suggest “conscience clauses” for those who disagree.
“Disagree” how, exactly? What happened? Was a carefully developed argument offered, studied, engaged consultatively across lines of commitment and ecclesial fellowship, and then adopted by a kind of consensual accord? Of course not! Failure to persuade on the part of same-sex advocates has simply been reinterpreted as “legitimate decision in the face of minority dissent”.
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