"I’ve never understood the opposition to gay marriage." That's the confession with which Sally Quinn -- the agnostic, liberal editor of the Washington Post's "On Faith" religion section-- began her May 11 column. But rather than humbly seek an understanding of the religious faith that informs the beliefs of millions of American Christians, Quinn launched into an attack on them by comparing them to opponents of the racial integration of the nation's public schools.
History, Quinn insists, is on the side of the eventual societal and legal acceptance of same-sex marriage, and those who stand in the way will one day be haunted by it, living their lives knowing how wretched they were to oppose progress in the first place:
How could he [Mitt Romney] be in favor of gay couples adopting children to raise them in a gay household where the parents are not allowed to be married? It makes no sense politically, culturally or religiously.
Gay marriage will soon be an acceptable part of our culture. Those who stood in “the schoolhouse door” will feel nothing but shame and remorse. They will say they don’t remember. But when they are confronted with past views they will apologize. And they will have to live with their positions for the rest of their lives.
Perhaps Quinn has just "never understood" that for those who actually believe the Bible, there's a longer and more significant time horizon than life's end, namely, the day of judgment, on which we must all give account to God (SEE among other verses Matt. 12:36; 19:28; Mark 8:38; John 5:27; Acts 10:42, 17:31; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; Heb. 9:27; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5; Rev. 20:12-15).
Another problem that informs Quinn's bias may be that the religious leaders in her social circle are cowardly hypocrites, liberals who are afraid to publicly profess what they privately believe:
How many pastors and politicians are really against gay marriage and how many believe they have to say they are for fear of losing contributions, votes or congregants? A number of religious leaders of various faiths have told me privately that they have no problem with gay marriage, in fact they see it as fundamental justice, but that they would lose their congregations if they said so publicly.
"The irony of course is that Jesus Christ never mentioned homosexuality and I can find nothing in the Bible about gay marriage," Quinn added. Of course, Quinn can also search the Bible and find no explicit admonitions against Internet pornography, human trafficking, cyber-bullying, or running dog-fighting rings. Yet she'd also find a hard time even with her liberal minister friends finding any of them willing to champion the moral or societal acceptability of any of those things.
"[H]ere’s their opening to take a stand. Times change. So do cultures, morals and even religious interpretations of event," Quinn argues in her call for men of the cloth to bless same-sex marriage.
All of that is true, and yet again, Quinn fails to grasp that to those who truly believe, at issue is not personal interpretation of the Bible but the Bible's clear teaching and its eternal, unchangeable truth. The very Jesus she insists never personally addressed homosexuality also insisted that the words he spoke would outlast heaven and earth themselves, they were so eternally true (Matt. 24: 35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).
Indeed, Jesus taught that his spoken words during his earthly ministry were on par with the recorded words of Hebrew Scripture, preaching that He came not to abolish the Mosaic Law (Matt. 5:17) but to fulfill it and that "it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void" (Luke 16:17).
This is basic, historic orthodox Christian teaching. Quinn doesn't have to agree with it to be a religion feature editor, but it sure as heck would help her to intellectually acknowledge it in order to understand the religious faith that animates Christian conservatives with whom she disagrees.