“Evangelicals like to present their position as biblical and therefore immutable. They want us to believe that they have never before adjusted to shifting public sentiments on sexuality and marriage. That is not so,” says Professor Randall Balmer in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece about the recent Supreme Court ruling that made same-sex marriage legal thought the United States.
In making a case for evangelicals’ eventual acceptance of the new law, Balmer points out that decades ago, evangelicals denounced divorce and maintained that a divorced person who remarried someone else was living in adultery. But the issue faded away when the same group embraced the presidency of Ronald Reagan, says Balmer, the John Phillips Professor in Religion.
“Not only was Reagan divorced, he was divorced and remarried, a clear violation of biblical teaching,” he writes. “As governor of California, moreover, Reagan signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce law in 1969. Having cast their lot with Reagan in the 1980 election, evangelical denunciations of divorce all but disappeared.
“If evangelicals can alter their attitudes toward divorce, they can do likewise with homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Indeed, views may soften as LGBT evangelicals come out of the closet and, like divorcees, make their communities confront their existence.”
Read the full opinion piece, published 7/5/15 by the Los Angeles Times.