My Alma Mater and the Gay Christian Movement
by Ron F. Hale
My college alma mater is Union University, and its leadership recently made a courageous decision supporting traditional marriage within the Christian tradition. I wish to share more about that decision after providing some historical background pointing to a prolonged and persistent agenda to radically change the thinking of leaders and laity within American Christendom.
On June 28, 1969 nine plain-clothes detectives walked into the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village. They were there to close the establishment for selling liquor without a license. As 200 patrons were commanded to leave the building, the officers proceeded to arrest the bartender, three transvestite customers and a doorman.
Things started getting out of control as the street crowd rapidly swelled to 400 peeved people. As the officers exited the building they were greeted with an avalanche of rocks, bottles, and threats. Running back inside, the officers called for emergency backup. As the NYC policemen poured into the district, the fracas came to a draw after an hour of intense drama.
For several nights, hundreds of Greenwich homosexual protestors caused chaos in the streets. The Gay Power movement was birthed during these “anti-authority” and “anti-establishment” days of the late 60’s as Vietnam War protests, campus unrest, Woodstock, Manson murders, and the civil rights movement shook the foundations of America.
The word “Stonewall” became a rallying cry for homosexual activist groups that quickly formed and devised future plans. Assessing the written accounts of those early days, the strategy would be threefold:
- Encourage all homosexuals to “come out of the closet” and declare their sexuality as a key part of their identity.
- Form and strengthen alliances with groups and individuals sympathetic to the gay cause.
- Confront people or institutions who resist the gay cause.
After forming alliances with key leaders in several liberal Christian denominations the “gay Christian movement” has never been far behind the national gay rights movement in tactical planning for social change over the last forty-five years.
Joe Dallas in his book, A Strong Delusion: Confronting The “Gay Christian Movement” (69-72), lays out the historical perspective I’ve just reiterated. Dallas shares the progressive demands over four decades of the gay Christian movement’s message and agenda:
- “God loves us too” (1969-1976).
- “Not only does God love us, but He also approves of our being gay” (1976-1979).
- “Anyone saying we can’t be gay and Christian must be stopped” (1980-present).
Everything I’ve shared so far seeks to make the point that cultural happenings in 2015 do not exist in a vacuum: almost fifty years of social action and radical change precede our present-day culture-war.
In recent months, Eastern Mennonite University and Goshen College have amended their nondiscrimination policies to add “sexual orientation,” thereby making it possible for the schools to hire same-sex married staff and faculty. As members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), this move places the responsibility on other members of the Council who hold to the authority of Scripture in addition to believing that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment – to make a convictional decision concerning continued membership.
In a recent official news release (8/13/05) by Union University, President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver indicated his grief and concern over the actions of these two Christian schools but more so over the lack of action by the leadership at CCCU. He shared, “Since October 2013, members of the CCCU have known of the trajectory of Eastern Mennonite University in regard to same-sex marriage. There have been several gatherings where the Council could have been clear about our expectations of membership. The Council could have even deliberated and voted on such matters. We did not. As a result, we appear unprepared to state our commitments, much less take action.”
As an alumnus of Union, I support the move by President Oliver and his leadership team and pray for their spiritual stamina.
Remembering the game of “Red rover” that we played as children—skilled and seasoned gay “pressure group” leaders within churches, denominations, and religious institutions have learned well the heavy-handed tactics in breaking the linked hands of Christian fellowship over social and moral issues. Maligning certain evangelical leaders as intolerant, bigoted, and narrow-minded has caused once brave men and women of strong spiritual spines to shrink back into the shadows of this war over worldviews. Pitting generation against generation has worked well too.
Please read the first of two Scriptures I wish to share:
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18, ESV).
This verse begs the following question in 2015: Will it be “possible” for conservative Christians to live peacefully with radical alliances—as they apply social pressure through government and groups to expunge the last vestiges of a traditional Christian worldview from our cultural mores and memory?
Our only recourse is spiritual warfare; the kind that turned the first century world upside down. Our praying must become focused and serious. Evangelism mixed with love, boldness, and apologetics has to be taught and caught by many. We must become as stubborn as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in never bowing to a false god or pagan potentate. We must declare like Martin Luther, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.” Or like John Bunyan, we proclaim, “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.”
Judicial imperialism has radically changed America since Roe v. Wade (1973). Our national collective conscience has been seared with the hot iron of depraved indifference. No other nation in the history of humankind has legally butchered over 50 million of its babies. We have become barbarians and most don’t even care. Even worse, many don’t care—that—they don’t care!
These same judicial imperialists (state, district, circuit, and Supreme) have and will continue usurping powers belonging to “We the people,” as the culture war over traditional marriage, abortion, religious liberty, and euthanasia moves forward.
As the prod, poke, and push of persecution comes, we have the responsibility of glorifying Christ in and through it.
The apostle Peter speaks of a special time:
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God (I Pet. 4:17 ESV).
Divine judgment always began with the people of God in the Old Testament. It will be no different in these last days.
As faithful followers endure judgment—what about those false teachers who have come in to seize control of once great congregations, denominations, and Christian institutions of higher learning and only have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power?
Our secret is sure: we believe the book of Revelation can be summarized in two words, “Jesus wins”; while at the same time prayerfully and confidently committing the apostates to the payment plan of the Lord, for He says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.”