The Disappearing “Middleground” and The Coming Conflict

Denny Burk


David Gushee has written a column for Religion News Service arguing that the “middleground” is disappearing on LGBT rights. He writes:

Middle ground is disappearing on the question of whether LGBT persons should be treated as full equals, without any discrimination in society — and on the related question of whether religious institutions should be allowed to continue discriminating due to their doctrinal beliefs.

It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed. This is true both for individuals and for institutions.

Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject. Hide as you might, the issue will come and find you.

Chained Bible2Gushee is no doubt right about this. Those pushing for LGBT “rights” do not mean to offer any accommodation whatsoever to those of us who dissent from the moral revolution overtaking the West. All dissent must be eliminated, and those who continue to defy the revolution must be marginalized as morally retrograde bigots. There will be no hiding. No compromises. Everyone will eventually be smoked-out. And those who resist will be crushed. That is their aim.

Gushee argues that this moral revolution represents “progress.” He also agrees with the sexual revolutionaries that traditional Christians are guilty of invidious discrimination. The implication seems to be that Christians deserve what they have coming to them.

Over against this sweeping trend in favor of full LGBT equality and nondiscrimination stands America’s most conservative religious communities and their leaders, together with localities and states most affected by such conservative religiosity, and a weakening but still powerful contingent of activists, lobbyists, and Republican Party stalwarts.

I have been a participant in the effort to encourage Protestant religious conservatives, generally known as fundamentalists and evangelicals, to reconsider their position voluntarily. The same conversation is happening in almost every US religious community.

Notice that Gushee says that he is trying to convince evangelical Christians to change their views “voluntarily.” Don’t miss the significance of that. Gushee knows that those who resist the revolution will eventually run out of chances to cooperate. He knows that we will face coercive measures from the government and from private interests to force Christians to accept what their faith forbids. If we won’t submit “voluntarily” we will be forced to do so “involuntarily.”

Gushee describes in detail the coercive measures coming toward Christians.

Openly discriminatory religious schools and parachurch organizations will feel the pinch first. Any entity that requires government accreditation or touches government dollars will be in the immediate line of fire. Some organizations will face the choice either to abandon discriminatory policies or risk potential closure. Others will simply face increasing social marginalization.

A vast host of neutralist, avoidist, or de facto discriminatory institutions and individuals will also find that they can no longer finesse the LGBT issue. Space for neutrality or “mild” discrimination will close up as well.

Read article HERE.