Over the past decade, significant pillars of the evangelical community have wavered in their convictions about marriage and human sexuality. In 2014, World Vision announced it would hire Christians in same-sex relationships—only to reverse course after a backlash threatened donations.
Things have gone differently for Bethany Christian Services, one of the country’s leading adoption providers, which recently disclosed its plan to place children with same-sex couples. While the organization stressed that “discussions about doctrine are important,” the decision effectively severs a Christian doctrine of marriage from the practice of adoption.
Conservative evangelicals have reacted by trying to purify the ranks of the faithful. In 2017, the Nashville Statement, put out by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, responded to weakening evangelical adherence to Christian teachings on sexuality. The ill-fated effort did little to build evangelicals’ confidence that their witness on sexual ethics would be simultaneously orthodox and also welcoming toward LGBT individuals.
Nonetheless, there is reason to be seriously concerned about the future of evangelical communities in an increasingly post-Christian America. The Supreme Court’s decisions in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized and legitimized same-sex marriage, and Bostock v. Clayton County, which extended nondiscrimination protections to LGBT individuals, have ratified the long reshaping of America’s norms on marriage and sexuality.
They have also raised serious questions about the rights of faith communities. Despite enjoying unprecedented access to the White House during the Trump administration, evangelicals secured few religious ...1
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