Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Evangelicals are changing their minds on gay marriage. So argues the Log Cabin Republicans’ David Lampo in a recent op-ed in the Daily Caller. In defense of his thesis, Lampo trots out the examples of two prominent evolved evangelicals: David Blankenhorn and yours truly. The problem here is that Blankenhorn is not an Evangelical and I have not changed my mind on gay marriage. If David and I are the two best examples of an evangelical evolution, it ain’t happening.

Lampo calls me a “conservative convert to marriage equality,” on the basis of an article where I insist that marriages can only exist between men and women, who in turn have a duty to open their married life—through hospitality, friendship, sacrifice—to those who can’t or haven’t entered into marriage on their own. If this were what the slogan “marriage equality” was meant to invoke, I’d be there with smells and bells on. But it isn’t—Lampo’s is a simple and severe misreading. I invite him to revisit my argument now.

Lampo’s errors extend throughout. He misidentifies publications and mischaracterizes organizations, calling Focus on the Family an “anti-gay rights group,” a description that will be obviously tendentious to anyone who grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey. It would be equally accurate to call the New York Times a pro-gay rights group. Both are large media firms that have a clear stake in the marriage debate, but neither is best identified in terms of its stance on that issue. Gay marriage has not somehow transformed every American organization into a single-issue lobby.

So what is happening with Evangelicals and gay marriage? A recent Pew report, unmentioned by Lampo, shows their support for gay marriage dropping—down four points from 22 percent to 18 percent. Perhaps Lampo simply has a healthy fear of statistical noise. Even then, he should realize that the changes in Evangelicalism have had much more to do with shifts in tone and focus than in doctrine. Has the gross caricaturing of gay marriage opponents made it impossible for outsiders to discern the subtleties of their positions?

I have been promised a correction of his characterization of my position. I hope for two larger corrections, though, ones that Lampo may be unable to provide. The first is of the now pervasive false suggestion that gay marriage skeptics are bigots. The second is of the suggestion that gay relationships—for all their loving aspiration and achievement—are appropriately described as marriages. In the end ours really is a dispute over facts, not all of which can be googled.

More on: Gay Marriage

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles