Don’t Tell Mr. Roper

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The current cultural rush toward gay marriage just might lead to polygamy. Can you say that? Well, it depends on who you are.  If you are a traditionalist Roman Catholic political leader, you’d better not, or you will be labeled a bigot stirring up fear with a “slippery slope” argument. Just ask U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

On the other hand, if you’re a leftist activist with two female roommates; then you’re a cobelligerent for peace, justice, and the American way.

Bill Roden of Cleburne, Texas writes a letter to the July 5, 2003, issue of The Nation, praising the leftist weekly’s pro-gay marriage stance. He notes that his situation is “a bit more complex” than that of a same-sex couple. “I have two wives whom I love and, after twelve years of marriage, have six children with,” Roden explains. “We view ourselves as able to make our own decision about marriage, but the law will not allow us to be married because of its prejudice. We, too, will have our rights. Keep up the good fight.”

The Roden three seem to understand something about the “complexity” of this whole debate.  You cannot redefine marriage without, well, redefining marriage. I think they understand something about The Nation’s definition of “social progress” that mainstream America doesn’t quite perceive yet. From Mother Jones to Joseph Smith, it has been a long, strange trip.

We live in a fearful and cowardly time. The crisis we face is not a crisis of clarity but a crisis of courage.


About Russell Moore

Russell Moore is Public Theologian at Christianity Today and Director of Christianity Today’s Public Theology Project.