‘Evangelicals are sensitive to this reality, but are less aware of how much we proactively participate in the culture of individualism. While stopping short of abortion, we have not given much thought to our easy acceptance of artificial contraception. I’m not arguing for or against contraception here, only pointing to the reality that contraception has separated sex from procreation. That, in turn, has prompted most couples, evangelicals included, to think that sex is first and foremost a fulfilling psychological and physical experience, that a couple has a right to enjoy themselves for a few years before they settle down to family life.
‘In essence, we have already redefined marriage as an institution designed for personal happiness. . .
‘We are, of all Christian traditions, the most individualistic. This individual emphasis has flourished in different ways and in different settings, and often for the good. . . But it is individualism nonetheless, and it cuts right to the heart of one of our best arguments against gay marriage.
‘We cannot very well argue for the sanctity of marriage as a crucial social institution while we blithely go about divorcing and approving of remarriage at a rate that destabilizes marriage. We cannot say that an institution, like the state, has a perfect right to insist on certain values and behavior from its citizens while we refuse to submit to denominational or local church authority. We cannot tell gay couples that marriage is about something much larger than self-fulfillment when we, like the rest of heterosexual culture, delay marriage until we can experience life, and delay having children until we can enjoy each other for a few years.
‘In short, we have been perfect hypocrites on this issue.’
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