Three mainline Protestant denominations—the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the United Methodist Church—faced organized pressure this summer to revise their historic and biblical teachings on marriage. Despite the media-savvy civil disobedience of Mel White's Soulforce activists at three church conferences, the denominations declined to equate homosexual unions with marriage. Christianity Today shares the relief of evangelicals within these large denominations. Nevertheless, we agree with the Chicago Tribune's Steve Kloehn when he writes that "the controversy is only beginning."Homosexual people are far more visible and vocal than they were before the protests inspired by the Stonewall Inn raid in 1969. Homosexual men and women will not return to the collective closet, the centuries-old practice of culturally imposed silence. Nor should they. Homosexual activists rightly insist that they not face verbal and physical abuse, threats, or even murders because of their sexual orientation.Further, we need to resist the notion that any individual vote of a national church conference will send pro-homosexual activists limping away from mainline Protestantism's marketplace of theologies, never again to return. These activists show a remarkable tenacity and an unflinching commitment to their goals. Homosexual people should not fear for their safety, but whether their behavior should enjoy cultural approval is an altogether different question. If Christians are foolish to expect homosexuals to return to their closets, many homosexual activists are naïve to expect that they can achieve cultural affirmation by demanding it frequently and loudly enough.
What should the church bless?
Whether homosexual couples should ...1