‘Religion’ is not synonymous with ‘homophobia’ as proven by the Christian group Evangelicals for Marriage Equality (EME) whose mission states: “As scripture and tradition have shown, for Christians, few bonds are more sacred than the one created at the marriage altar. As Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, we affirm the importance of this marriage bond and recognize our nation’s longstanding commitment to religious freedom. We also believe that in a religiously diverse society, no one religious perspective should determine who can and cannot be married.” You can read their full mission statement here.
The power of this statement and the boldness of stating it are impressive, but the message is not without controversy and not all Christian groups are willing to see their position. According to a recent blog post, the group tried to run an advertisement supporting their cause in at least three different prominent Christian magazines, all of which refused.
The ad is very simple and straightforward, displaying a book (the Bible perhaps? We don’t know) open with the center pages folded into a heart. Above, on a calming blue background, are the words “There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that talk about love. There aren’t any that talk about the definition of civil marriage.”
Below the image, smaller type states “It’s time for a new evangelical conversation about marriage equality.”
I think it’s wise and effective that the call to action in this ad is not pushy, or overt. The group must have known that their target audience would be reluctant to hear their message, and would not likely respond to an ad asking them to vote for marriage equality or to quickly change their stance. As we all know, small steps are the answer to making big change, and asking religious people to have a “conversation” about same-sex marriage is non-threatening, non-aggressive, and, I think, a good place to start.
Still, the three magazines they approached were unwilling to run the ad. EME handled the situation tactfully, publishing a tasteful blog post in which they were careful not to hurt the integrity of the magazines who had turned them down, but instead respectfully expressed distaste for their unwillingness to take a stand on controversial issues, stating: “It’s not our intention to shame these three magazines: All three serve and exist within an evangelical culture that’s not currently conducive to frank conversations about a hot button topic like marriage equality. It’s our intent to change that.” In a follow-up blog post addressing accusations that the group was “attacking” the magazines which rejected them, they wrote, “We affirm the right of any and all publications to be able to decide whom they allow to advertise within their pages. That’s one of the beautiful benefits of a free press and a testimony to the diversity of belief and position within evangelical Christianity. Our use of the rejections was meant to support our already strong case that the work of EME is both unique and necessary.”
It is understandable that these magazines may not want to risk the backlash which may come from their target audience in the decision to run such an ad, but it is worrisome that there are still such prominent media sources which find themselves unable even to ask for a conversation on the topic of marriage equality. Hopefully with groups like EME around, others will begin to see that it is not impossible to be a good Christian and to support same sex marriage.