Actually, quite a bit—and some evidence of the ground shifting within the evangelical community.
First, this wasn’t a backwoods, country bumpkin; no Fred Phelps or Bryan Fischer; nor a dottering old Pat Robertson. This was the young, telegenic, and popular Robby Gallaty of Brainerd Baptist (mega-)Church in Tennessee. Despite significant fanfare that evangelicals are evolving on homosexuality and same-sex marriage—about 23 percent of evangelicals now support (PDF) civil marriage equality—there is still a rear-guard, and that includes young pastors like Gallaty.
Second, Gallaty, in choosing to orate for 20 minutes on the subject of homosexuality, has bucked the emerging trend to make the issue a “very low priority,” in the words of Rick Warren. For whatever reason, it’s still a high priority for Gallaty. (Naturally, the gay press has enjoyed speculating as to the exact reason.)
Yet what is perhaps most striking about Gallaty’s hateful sermon is how old it sounds—as if he hasn’t read a book on the subject of Christianity and sexuality in two decades. He makes the same thoroughly refuted arguments about Scripture’s supposed clarity on homosexuality, as if the shelf-full of books by John McNeill, Virginia Mollenkott, Daniel Helminiak, Gene Robinson, Mel White, Matthew Vines, Steve Greenberg, Jeffrey Chu, and, yes, this writer, all of which have completely dispatched these claims.
Examples? Gallaty equates Leviticus’s prohibition on male anal sex with a ban on “homosexuality.” He uses the word “abomination” to describe the Levitical sin, apparently unaware that the Hebrew term toevah actually means a cultic ritual violation, not an ethical one (and thus has no relevance for Christians). He quotes Paul out of context, conveniently omitting the fact that Paul was talking about why non-Christian courts are unfit to hear disputes, not laying down laws about sex.
And so on. None of this is new anymore. What’s interesting is that Gallaty acts as if none of it has even been said. His theological head is deep in the sand.
Likewise his pseudo-scientific one. Unbelievably, Gallaty says that sexuality—unlike race and gender—can be changed. Did he miss the news that Exodus International, the world’s leading ex-gay “change therapy” organization, has closed its doors? Or the scandals involving homophobic-but-secretly-gay Christian leaders like Ted Haggard, George Rekers, John Paulk, and a legion of others? Does he still think you can pray the gay away?
Source: The Daily Beast | Jay Michaelson