Three Things for Thursday Night. Okay, Make it Four.

1. Do you care what I think about the Brendan Eich situation? I didn’t think so. If you do, the piece that best expresses my opinion is this one, by Bishop Gene Robinson.

2. Remember when I said, after the Michigan gay marriage case, that Mark Regnerus’ NFSS study is now, finally, D-E-A-D? And that “it would take serious stupidity for gay marriage opponents to keep pulling it out now?”

Well, it looks like I was right. And it turns out that the attorneys representing the state of Utah in its appeal of that state’s gay marriage decision aren’t quite that stupid. According to Jim Burroway at, those attorneys are distancing themselves from Regnerus. They had largely based their case on Regnerus’ work, but after his humiliation in the wolverine state, they filed a supplemental brief yesterday basically writing Regnerus out of their argument.

Unfortunately for them, as Mark Joseph Stern notes in Slate, that turns their argument into “gibberish.”

3. Important but relatively un-discussed on this side of the Atlantic: Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recently disclosed that he was once shown a mass grave in Nigeria, and informed that in it were buried hundreds of Christians who were killed by people who claimed that their actions were justified by American Christians’ tolerance for gays. The Guardian reports that, “Speaking on an LBC phone in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: ‘If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.’”

On one hand, this helps me better understand the reluctance of the higher-ups in the Anglican Communion to embrace simple, obvious justice. I feel for leaders like Welby and his predecessor, Rowan Williams, who must be constantly aware of the ways their actions and decisions will be interpreted globally. And Welby is right to say that, “We have to listen to that. We have to be aware of the fact.”

On the other hand, it’s a misguided stance. At least if Welby is suggesting that we shouldn’t embrace gay marriage because non-Christians might use that as an excuse to kill Christians. As Andrew Brown points out in the Guardian:

[Y]ielding to bullies does nothing to discourage them. It’s a dreadful thing to say that the lives of Christians who will die in Africa should be balanced against the rights of LGBT people here. But the equation is worse than that. The lives of LGBT people in Africa are put at risk whenever homophobic arguments are accepted as valid. We’re balancing Christians who are massacred for being Christians against gay men burnt alive by Christian lynch mobs in Uganda. Unfortunately, it seems that the lives of LGBT people in Uganda are just as much threatened when foreigners reject homophobic arguments as bigoted.

More to the point, it’s not a very Christian stance. As Brown aptly puts it: “Archbishops are not supposed to be Peter Singer-style utilitarians.”

4. You know who should know that? Catholic (and former Anglican) priest and blogger Dwight Longenecker. In a disturbing post from last week, Longenecker (who opposes gay marriage, obviously) writes:

I’d never thought of those ramifications. The African Anglicans are heartily opposed to homosexuality and the biggest fight in the Anglican Church over this issue is between the Africans and the Americans. The Africans think homosexuals are all demon possessed while the Americans make soothing, patronizing noises to the Africans saying things like, ‘One day you will have grown in your understanding of human sexuality as we have…’

And then:

What will Church of England proponents of same sex marriage do with this information? In my experience they will dismiss it as irrelevant. As one Episcopalian minister said to me, ‘I don’t really understand what the problems of a Nigerian have to do with the people in my parish in Massachusetts.’

Look. There a few things that ought to be clear to any moral person. Among them:

Killing Christians for being Christians is wrong.

Killing gays for being gay is wrong.

Killing Christians for supporting gay marriage is wrong.

Killing Christians because other Christians support gay marriage is wrong.

Believing that living near Christians will turn you gay is wrong. (This one is less morally wrong than just stupid.)

But those moral truths aren’t what Longenecker finds important in this story. Instead, for him, this story is a chance to beat up the real villains: American Episcopalians. 

And, yes, this is the same Dwight Longenecker who spends half of his posts insisting that “progressives” are all relativist utilitarians who don’t believe in objective truth.


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