A new Politico article details how the tides are shifting towards support and equality among Evangelicals regarding their views on being gay.
The article describes how only a decade ago, radical Evangelical groups led a political campaign leading to the outlawing of marriage equality in 11 states; and barely 10% of evangelicals in general supported marriage equality. Since then, Evangelical support for marriage equality has more than doubled and prominent Evangelicals like best-selling author Rob Bell have come out in support of LGB issues. The article didn't focus on gender identity or include transgender Evangelicals.
Jeremy Thomas, an Idaho State University sociologist who has studied conservative Christians’ changing attitudes toward homosexuality, believes that this trend of support for LGB justice will continue in the near future. Thomas stated,
Evangelicals will more or less come to embrace homosexuality in the next 20 to 30 years…I would put all my money on that statement.
The growing trend indeed appears to be that Evangelicals are shifting to support LGB equality not despite their faith but because of their faith. One of the most prominent examples of this is Matthew Vines, a 24-year-old who recently came out with a book, God and the Gay Christian, which powerfully articulates how the Bible 1) supports same-sex relationships; and 2) rather than condemning them, condemns prejudice and injustice against them. Vines worked with GLAAD to raise his profile after a YouTube video (shown below) of his lecture on how the Bible supports LGB equality went viral. Since then, Vines has published his book as well as founded the Reformation Project, an organization that educates Christians on these biblical values. The organization's regular conference (shown above), trains Evangelicals on biblical values of LGB equality. The next of these conferences in DC is expected to draw almost a thousand participants.
While the Politico article makes a good case for this growing trend of LGB acceptance among Evangelicals, it also highlights known anti-LGBT activsits, who often use religious langauge to mask their activism. The article, for example, references organizations against marriage equality like the American Family Association (AFA) as if they hold moderate to conservative political and theological views. For example, AFA's issues analysis director, Bryan Fischer, is quoted saying, "What we are seeing is the impact of this relentless brainwashing by the mainstream media, and it affects people that aren’t thinking clearly or aren’t grounded in a biblical worldview."
In reality, however, the injustice of AFA's mission is not grounded in biblical values but rather in shocking, radical, and often violent hostility. Just this past March, Fischer made a statement calling for a literal war against LGB equality, which seems less surprising when one recalls how two years ago he was advocating that being LGB should be a criminal offense. Several of his radical statements are found in his profile on GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project.
It is hopeful, however, that such shocking hostility is increasingly becoming the minority and support for LGB equality is on a steady rise among Evangelicals.