A couple of developments for watchers of the Baptist and evangelical scene, with regard to the topic that one can't seem to stop talking about these days, unfortunately.
The ERLC of the Southern Baptists has put out a disturbingly insufficient statement about the recent Supreme Court ruling, and Robert Gagnon has some trenchant criticisms here. I especially want to emphasize Gagnon's points I, II, and IV. (Which is not to denigrate his points III and V.) This whole, "Outrage is out of place" approach is plain wrong.
Also, as point IV says, it is disturbing that the Southern Baptists have increasingly adopted the "LGBT" nomenclature and have adopted uncritically the language of loving, respecting, etc., "LGBT persons" without clarifying what that means. For example, does it mean that parents have to subsidize their adult children's homosexual lifestyles? Moore's recent thunderings in various venues about parents who kick out their young adult children for "coming out," without any apparent discussion of the complexities of these situations, might indicate so. If your 20-year-old "comes out," that doesn't mean you have to let him use your home as a hotel from which he goes out and engages in homosexual acts. Nor do you have to continue subsidizing his college education so that he can have sex at college. But all the outrage against parents suggests that Moore might think continuing to do so is part of showing "dignity and respect" to homosexuals.
Gagnon's points are well taken. I also want to stress that I'm quite certain, as Gagnon says, that many of the signatories of the statement did not mean to endorse its flaws but only its good points. So I would not blame someone for signing it (though I would want to point out the flaws). Whoever wrote the statement is responsible for its problems. I haven't, unfortunately, heard any news to the effect that the ERLC has taken Gagnon's criticisms to heart.
In other news, readers who are interested or concerned are invited to look at the public Facebook status of evangelical scholar and author Michael Licona, and the comments beneath, where he raises an extremely easily answered "question" asked by one of his Facebook friends who appears to be an advocate of homosexual civil "marriage." Unfortunately, Licona indicates that this question is a real poser, and even more unfortunately, when people (including yours truly) gave the sensible and obvious answers, Licona said he was unconvinced that these answered this really good question. Even more unfortunately, after having raised this "question" and having endorsed it so far as to say, and repeat, statements such as that it is a "great question," he indicated that he doesn't have the time even to read someone like Ryan Anderson, Robert P. George, or Robert Gagnon in order to clarify and strengthen his own position on the nature and proper goods of civil marriage, which would dissolve this "great question." (Hint: The question had to do with comparing homosexual civil "marriage" to the recognition that Islam is a religion and giving religious liberty to Muslims.) This is all in the thread. Feel free to read through. I submit my characterization here to the judgement of the fair-minded who read the exchange for themselves. Steve at Triablogue has blogged a bit about this and has been accused of gross misrepresentation, so I have summarized the circumstances of the exchange at somewhat more length, making it clear that this was a matter of raising as a "good question" someone else's question, etc., and I encourage anyone interested in getting the facts to read the thread for himself. (It is unfortunate that Facebook now has sub-threaded comments. I have tried to draw attention by the link above to one of the most relevant sub-threads, beyond the early first-level comments on the status.) Speaking for myself, I found this development extremely discouraging and disappointing. Those with influence in the evangelical world should be well-informed enough about this urgent and timely issue that they are able to answer such shallow, slanted questions with one hand tied behind their backs, just to make it fair, not be so arrested by them as to tell the whole world and especially their 5,000 Facebook "friends" what a tough, good question this is. And if you wake up one day and find yourself thrown by such a question, and you are such an evangelical writer and scholar, you should for goodness' sake take the time to read a couple of articles by Ryan Anderson and co. and give it some thought, clarifying your own ideas about what, precisely, civil marriage is, what its purpose and goods are, and whether homosexual "marriage" can be a variety thereof, before you raise these doubts in other people's minds. To first raise such a "question" and then retreat to, "It's not my role to research this further. I'm busy, there are only 24 hours in a day, and I have other research interests" is, quite frankly, gravely irresponsible.
Finally, a small house-keeping question. If you ever comment on this blog, have you run into a problem with your comment utterly disappearing when you press "publish," without any indication that the comment has gone to moderation? I ask, because I've realized that some blogger blogs have the following problem: If you try to publish a comment before logging in, e.g., with a Blogger account, the comment disappears entirely. It does not go to moderation. It just disappears. Then Blogger presents the commenter with a new, empty combox, with the drop-down menu below showing that he is now logged in. If he repeats the comment after this happens, it goes through. I have full moderation enabled, and it may be that this is preventing this problem here at Extra Thoughts.