Molly Ball reports at the Atlantic on the “quiet revolution” in Christian views of gays and gay marriage over the past decade. “Congregations across the country increasingly accept, nurture, and even marry their gay brethren,” she writes. “Polls show majorities of major Christian denominations — including American Catholics, despite their church’s staunch opposition — support legal gay marriage. Leaders of some of the most conservative sects, like the Southern Baptists, have moved away from the vitriolic rhetoric of yesteryear and toward a more compassionate tone.”

This was not, she points out, an accident: “It is the fruit of an aggressive campaign by a determined gay-rights movement that realized, particularly in the wake of the 2004 elections, that you cannot win politically in America if you are arguing against religious faith. It is a recent development . . . and it has helped marginalize gay-marriage opponents by discrediting their most powerful claim: that they speak for the religious community.”

Ball’s article details the various prongs of this campaign, and concludes, “A cynic could see these churches’ repositioning as a response to market pressure. As the culture changes, they fear being left behind if they don’t evolve along with it, particularly considering the overwhelming sentiment of the younger generation. (Even among the most conservative Christian group in America, 51 percent of white evangelicals aged 18 to 34 now support gay marriage.).”

Count me among the cynics.