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03/28/2014

Even top Southern Baptist Convention official knows marriage equality is inevitable

by Jeremy Hooper

When Bryan Fischer tweets something like this...

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 At 1.12.42 Pm

...my ears certainly perk up. Sure enough, the development is a fascinating one:

Indeed, at another point in his remarks, [Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention] noted that evangelicals are "beginning to realize that American culture is moving toward same-sex marriage."

"We have been saying, 'Look, same-sex marriage is inevitable in American culture," Moore continued. "It doesn't mean we should stop talking about it … It means we need to start preparing our churches for a new generation."

Moore's fallback position — there's no other way to describe it — is to insist that once the marriage fight is lost, the beliefs of Americans who oppose homosexual marriage on religious grounds be respected. While Moore rejected those who "suggest, 'Let's simply abandon the question of marriage altogether and simply deal with religious liberty issues,'" there's little doubt he's putting new emphasis on liberty and less on manning the barricades against gay marriage.

Moore's position fits perfectly with a recent assessment by the
Washington Examiner's Tim Carney: "Conservatives see religious liberty arguments as the last redoubt in the culture war: You guys won your gay marriages, permissive abortion laws, taxpayer-subsidized birth control, and divorce-on-demand; let us just live our lives according to our own consciences."
FULL:
Evangelical leader shows how GOP can finesse gay marriage [DC Examiner]

For geeky little wonks like me, it's been obvious for some time that the anti-LGBT forces are putting all of their eggs in this wacky new license-to-discriminate basket. But it's definitely interesting to hear some of them starting to admit it.

I would also offer that it's politically dumb of them to make such admissions. By admitting that they see these "religious freedom" bills as a last-ditch effort in the marriage fight, it only helps us show that these license-to-discriminate bills are really nothing more than an effort to save face/score some points against us. If practical concerns were truly driving the "religious freedom" (i.e. license-to-discriminate) conversation, then it wouldn't have to be an either/or proposal. If there were true threats against religious freedom that were organically cropping up across this fruited plain, then that would be one national conversation and the fight over civil marriage would be another one; most Americans can walk and chewing gum. But with the anti-LGBT conservatives now starting to admit that this "religious freedom" (i.e. license-to-discriminate) thing is, in fact, just a new phase in their strategic battle against LGBT equality, they are showing their cards. They are proving how contrived this whole conversation about bakers and florists and photographers really is.

Or, to condense my thoughts into a much shorter sentence: "Keep it up, kiddos!"

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