Russell Moore

Are Southern Baptists Ceding Ground in Natural Marriage Debate?


A Pew survey, released just this month, reveals that an overwhelming majority of Democrats (69 percent) approve of unnatural marriage. However, only 39 percent of Republicans do. Pew also breaks those numbers down further by age group. 61 percent of Republicans aged 18-29 approve of unnatural marriage, and 43 percent of those aged 30-49 approve.

So, what kind of Republican presidential candidate can we expect in 2016? Will the GOP field a candidate who takes a strong stance in favor of biblical marriage, or will they try to dupe a majority of their conservative voting bloc by opting for a deceptive, nuanced stance? In an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, Byron York writes that “a hint came this week, not from a politician, but from a leading evangelical.”

At a conference of journalists, Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, was asked to describe his ideal presidential candidate with regard to the same-sex “marriage” issue.

“I would want a presidential candidate who understands the public good of marriage, Moore responded, “and one who is not hostile to evangelical concerns, and who is going to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience.Moore’s answer did not, however, include a firm requirement that a Republican presidential candidate be a vocal supporter of natural marriage. Later in his speech, Moore stated that he believes evangelicals are “beginning to realize that the American culture is moving toward same-sex marriage.

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

As Byron York observed, “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…There’s little doubt he’s putting new emphasis on liberty and less on manning the barricades against gay marriage.However, Moore did wisely acknowledge that sin-based marriage activists, who have filed numerous lawsuits against Christian businesses and organizations across the country, are not going to willingly respect the religious freedom and conscience rights of those who do not support the reckless redefinition of marriage. He admits we are going to have to fight to protect our First Amendment rights in the courts.

Additionally, Moore explained that he thinks a constitutional marriage amendment is “a politically ridiculous thing to do right now.” Many Christians, who disagree with that premature assessment, would actually argue that this is not the time to concede defeat. It is absolutely critical that we continue our fight for true marriage at every point. The soul of America and the future of the family are at stake.

“As time goes on, the illusion of a moral majority is no longer sustainable in this country, Moore said, “I don’t think the culture wars are over … but are moving into a new phase.” Moore’s new “phase” sounds an awful lot like retreat to me, and the homosexual activists will definitely see this as further evidence that they should double down on their destructive efforts.

Protecting religious liberty is certainly very important, but to do so, while at the same time, ceding the rest of the country to the homosexual activists is not a position that evangelicals should adopt. We are called to a transformational role for the entire world, and that includes all of America. Merely protecting our turf is not the Christian thing to do.

Moore represents an influential voice, but let’s just hope he doesn’t speak for most concerned Christians.

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  • Matthew T. Mason

    Russell Moore is a moron.

    “Let’s give them this while we take the rest.” You DO realize they have no intention of stopping at same-sex marriage, right? No, they want to FORCE people, especially Christians, to bow down and be completely subservient to them. Why do you think that Oregon baker got sued by homosexual activists for not providing for a same-sex wedding in a state that does NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE SUCH WEDDINGS?

    Why do you think a same-sex couple is demanding the Church of England perform their ceremony?

    This is because of their own personal hatred, a need to punish those who oppose them, in the very same way they went after those who financially supported California’s Prop 8.

    Make no mistake: Compromise is consent. And if you aren’t willing to draw the line here, you aren’t willing to draw the line at all.

    If Moore had any real backbone he’d immediately resign.

  • Dannyboy

    Russell Moore, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty
    I think that Russell Moore would be more comfortable if he came out of the closet, quit the Southern Baptists, and became a Unitarian. I am sure that Southern Baptists would be a lot happier too.
    What Mr. Moore does not understand, or chooses not to, is that the homosexual movement aims to eventually destroy marriage altogether in a final, thunderous pique of jealousy over the ability of heterosexuals to procreate.
    Homosexuals may even make it illegal for a heterosexual to engage only in heterosexual sex, because that will be viewed as discrimination. That is, openmindedness will require that a person engage in homosexual sex.
    As a prelude to all this, churches will no longer be able to perform legal marriage between a man and woman because that is regarded by homosexuals as “discrimination.” Clergy who try to do so will be put into concentration camps.
    Homosexuals claim that this will never happen, but in their atheistic world it is OK to lie about such things because “the ends justify the means.”

  • Mourning for Our Republic

    Moore is another compromiser…wishy-washy. Apparently the Bible isn’t absolute truth to him.
    Moore can choose to hold such viewpoints, however he should be dismissed from his position IMMEDIATELY!!
    Can you imagine if our spiritual fathers in the Christian faith were this spineless…we’d not even have a Bible to read.

  • thisoldspouse

    Moore is only a symptom. The very fact that someone of moral cowardice like him could be selected for this high visibility position at all reveals a core sickness in the SBC leadership.

  • James

    So you think it’s advisable for the Christian Right to demand that Republican candidates support a constitutional amendment banning equal marriage?

    I don’t know if you’ve read your Constitution lately, but Article V is pretty clear that such an amendment would require 2/3 supermajority votes in both houses of Congress (or the ridiculously unlikely constitutional convention), and then ratification by the legislatures of 3/4 of the states.

    Do you really think that you’ll manage to get anti-equality Republicans to control 2/3 of both houses of Congress? And even if by some miracle you did clear that hurdle, given that 17 states already have marriage equality and a majority of the American public (even in many states that continue to deny their LGBT citizens the right to marry) supports marriage equality, where do you think you’re going to get the 38 state legislatures you need to ratify the amendment?

    Please do tell us what you think the Republican candidates should say when confronted by that reality.

    I mean, as a Democrat and supporter of marriage equality, I’m all for your splitting the Republican Party by demanding that candidates stand in opposition to the majority of the American public by taking socially regressive positions, and make ridiculously unrealistic promises to their supporters. But if you’re into winning elections, I’m not sure how that’s going to help.

    • LouiseCA

      You haven’t heard? We serve the God of miracles.

      • James

        First, I’m wondering exactly what kind of miracle you’re expecting here. Are you seriously suggesting that despite continual surveys showing a majority in favor of marriage equality and LGBT human rights, God will suddenly change the country’s mind and cause them to reject and hate their LGBT family members and friends? Or that God will strike down or disenfranchise the majority in order to allow the minority who still believe that their sect’s opposition to human rights for LGBT people should be imposed upon everyone? If the latter, I have to ask—do you believe in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

        Second, your counting on a “miracle” presumes that:
        (a) God agrees with your particular sect’s position on human sexuality,
        (b) God agrees that your particular sect’s position on human sexuality should be imposed as normative throughout the culture regardless of the rights or sincerely-held beliefs of others, and
        (c) God agrees strongly enough with (a) and (b) as to do something miraculous to bring it about, despite God’s having not intervened in any such way over the past twenty years as societal acceptance of human rights for LGBT people has continued to increase.

        Again, as a Democrat, I’m all too happy for you to demand that Republican candidates take such a position, since it runs pretty squarely against that of a growing majority in this country, and is sure to lose your party many more votes than it wins. But it doesn’t seem to me to be a winning proposition for you.

        • Jeff Allen

          We do not want anyone to hate or reject LGBT family members. Your characterization is asinine, and you know it. We believe that the gay lifestyle will send a person to hell. So, it is very loving to steer them away from that. And disagreement with someone is NOT hatred. Do you agree 100% with every person? Does that mean that you hate them? We can disagree on this issue without it meaning that there is hatred involved. Stop judging our hearts. You do NOT know how we feel inside.

          A majority of people agree with you in certain states. There are, however, many states where the majority agrees with us.

          I don’t know what God will do with regards to this issue, but don’t assume that just because things are going your way that that is somehow to be understood as a sign that God approves. Revelation says things get worse before they get better. So, this is all part of the plan. The Bible says that sin and perversion will greatly increase. Yet, we will not go down without a fight. We are fighting for souls, and if we win one person to Christ it’s worth it.

  • LouiseCA

    Well, so much for Baptists with backbones. Are we also supposed to roll over and play dead when they start pushing for group marriage and beastiality? Where does it all end?
    Mr. Moore may speak for lukewarm Christians who don’t know what they believe but he does not speak for any Christian with a truly committed relationship with Christ.

  • Ted R. Weiland

    No one should be surprised at these statistics, even among today’s contemporary Christians. When you throw out Yahweh’s immutable moral law as the standard for government and society (as most 21st-century churches do today), it is inevitable that you end up with every man (whether individually, collectively, by representation, or via a five to four majority decision, or as a church) doing that which is right in their own eyes, via Judges 21:25.

    America’s only hope as a nation is our repenting of this humanism, beginning with today’s churches:

    “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17)

    For more on how Yahweh’s immutable triune moral law (His commandments, statutes, and judgments) apply today, see free online book “Law and Kingdom: Their Relevance Under the New Covenant.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Online Books page and scroll down to title.

  • DC/Tex

    Many false prophets in our churches. The Bible is total Truth.

  • CajunPatriot

    Some times denominations become so large as to really not understand or truly know the character and philosophies of its many department leaders and spokesmen. This may be the case here. I do not personally know any Baptists, Baptist pastors, Baptist leadership, and Baptist laity, who support un-natural marriage.

    All know of Romans 1 and various other clear illustrations which list such behavior as sin. Men of spiritual (at least Holy Spirit led spiritual) minds will never endorse or promote activities and lifestyles of those with reprobate mind.

  • Gregory Alan of Johnson

    Most of the “Church” is compromising on “marriage”. A contract with Lucifer (501c3 non-profit status) will do that to you when you are unaware.

  • Martin Rizley

    The challenge that Christians will face in this lawless generation is to know how to deal kindly and respectfully with all people, even those who embrace radically anti-Christian and pagan views of sexuality, while continuing to take a firm and unyielding position on the sanctity of marriage as ordained by God. This is a challenge especially for Christians who work in the public square with children who come from homes with “two mommies” or “two daddies” (I am thinking of public school teachers and nursery workers, especially.) They must learn how to deal graciously with unbelieving adults and with children who come from such households, dealing with all involved in a respectful manner, but at the same time, refusing to endorse, approve, condone, or legitimize by their speech or actions the gross immorality involved in such relationships. This will undoubtedly be a challenge if our culture continues to drift into deeper darkness away from God’s truth; for the pressure will be to affirm in some way the moral acceptability of ‘sexual diversity.’ To meet that challenge, we must pray for grace and wisdom to know how to love the sinner and hate the sin at the same time. We must know how to show love to people without our love being misinterpreted as an endorsement of unbiblical lifestyles.

    • thisoldspouse

      There is a time to drop the namby-pamby “nice” tactic and act like Jesus, who overturned the merchants’ booths and WHIPPED them out of the sanctuary for the zeal He had for His Father’s name.

      • Martin Rizley

        So what are you suggesting that a Christian teacher who is working in a public school say to a child who is coming from one of these pagan households established on a foundation of sexual immorality? Should the teacher say to this young child, “The people raising you are a couple of perverts!” What would that accomplish? It seems to me that we must show respect to people– even those who are living in flagrant violation of God’s moral law. Did not the apostle Paul say, “A servant of the Lord must. . .be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” To be sure, we must not ‘pull punches’ when speaking about sin. We must be willing to call perversion by its name– especially when we are being asked what we think about certain forms of conduct or when we are expressing our views on comment threads like this one. But when dealing with people on a personal level, we need to have wisdom from the Lord to be able to deal wisely, respectfully, and gently with unbelievers who have rejected God’s truth and moral standards. In what way would you suggest we take a ‘whip’ to them? If a public school teacher has two men show up in her classroom on ‘parents’ night’ and present themselves as the parents of a child in that classroom, is she to get out a whip and say, ‘Leave my classroom at once, you perverts! What would that accomplish?’ This is the challenge we are facing in our generation; having to deal with people in the public square who totally reject Christianity and the moral teaching of the Bible. Simply ‘sniping’ at them to their face will not accomplish anything. We need grace to make an impact on others’ lives.

  • Ben

    Even the Southern Baptists are turning on you guys, but don’t worry! The majority of America still hates the homos, you just have to express your opinion in an even louder and more annoying manner. I know this has been your strategy for 4 decades now but sooner or later it will work I swear!