“Foes of gay rights are now seen by the press as fighting the bad war, roughly analogous to Vietnam,” wrote Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard. “Pro-lifers are waging the good war, like World War II.” Timothy Dalrymple has an excellent post examining this analogy and shares a story that most evangelical editors can relate to:
Consider this little bit of anecdotal information. As an editor and director for a large religion website now, I can tell you: It’s substantially easier to find Christians and evangelicals to write on the abortion issue than it is to find ones who will write on same-sex marriage. Academics in particular are terrified that anything critical of homosexuality or same-sex marriage will come up before hiring or tenure committees. One of the first subjects we addressed in our “Public Square” at Patheos was the same-sex marriage debate, and nearly every person I approached to write on the topic had to ask himself or herself: “Am I willing to give up the next job, the next promotion, the next award, because of my views on this topic?”
In academic circles, you can question the morality of abortion and still be tolerated. But if you question the morality of homosexuality, you are an oppressor and an opponent of human rights. They’re perfectly justified in rejecting you, since your opinion is not only factually wrong but morally wrong, reprehensible and oppressive. By rejecting you, they’re not being prejudicial or intolerant; they’re protecting the rights of gay faculty and students.
Ah, but we just have to wait until these evangelicals are established in academia. They have to remain silent now, but once they gain tenure they find their courage to speak truth to power, right?
Sadly, no. I catch flack every time I point it out but it’s the shameful truth: Most evangelicals serving in the secular areas of academia will always be too frightened to stand up for unpopular moral truths. Though they may be our allies in secret, we have to relinquish the hope that they’ll slip from their Ivory Towers and come to our aid in the Public Square. We can stop looking to them for support; they ain’t coming. The most we can do is hold the line, and pray that God will ensure that future generations of evangelical academics are born with backbones.