The Word by Sheila

The Religion News Service has reported the formation of a new organization called — And I am not making this up — Evangelicals for Marriage Equality. It was launched on Tuesday and immediately began collecting signatures from evangelicals who support same-sex marriage. Its advisory board includes several evangelical luminaries: author and speaker Brian McLaren, former National Association of Evangelicals vice president Richard Cizik and former USAID faith adviser Chris LaTondresse.

Some of you may recall news articles awhile back, when Cizik resigned from his position with the National Association of Evangelicals, citing his support for same-sex civil unions.

It is immensely heartening to see significant evangelicals come to a realization that if the institution of marriage is good for society, and good for opposite-sex couples, it should be equally good for same-sex couples. This new organization is yet another expression of the growing recognition that fidelity and stability require social acceptance — that when you demonize people, when you deny them respect and equal civil rights, you are encouraging destructive behaviors.

So — you may be late to the party, Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, but we certainly welcome you.

That said, there may also be an element of self-preservation in this sudden turnaround. Over the past few years, membership in these conservative churches has been declining. Young Christians, especially, have rejected a theology that seemed to place homophobia at the very center of its belief structure.

Polling has confirmed that the demographic split that characterizes the broader American society is equally pronounced among adherents of conservative and evangelical Christianity. Not that young evangelicals are leading the charge to embrace equal rights for their lesbian, gay, bi & trans peel’s, but they are demonstrably less homophobic than their elders and changing (for the better) with dizzying rapidity.

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