Monday, September 14, 2015


For American society as a whole, the front of homosexuality in the culture war is now closed. The Supreme Court has ruled. Equality for homosexual persons is settled. People such as county clerk Kim Davis are fighting post-war Battles of New Orleans; but even she knows the war is over as she has agreed to let her deputies issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Of course there are still holdouts on the right who think the war is still on like Japanese cave soldiers, but they are rather lonely exceptions to the rule.

However, it appears an all-out counter-revolutionary civil war is on between two rival factions on the right. It seems anti-Episcopal Church "orthodox" groups have turned their guns on each other about how they should react to the Supreme Court ruling. Wes Hill is on one side. Remember him? He is the openly gay Trinity School for Ministry prof who presented a talk in DSC last year. He advocates the theory of the innate nature of homosexuality. The "conventional wisdom" among conservative Christians is that homosexuality is a choice of lifestyle and not inborn. Hill also advocates "friendship" and celibacy among gays. He is one who maintains a website called Spiritual Friendships. In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, he posted an essay on June 28 expressing some admiration for the effects of the ruling: "Hoping for Love," (

Apparently, the entrenched hardliners were outraged even by this rather mild sentiment. Robert A.J. Gagnon wrote a lengthy and scathing reply, "On Valorizing Gay Marriage: A Response to Wesley Hill." It was posted on the website Stand Firm ( Gagnon is a prof at the Pittsburgh theological seminary only a few miles from Trinity. Apparently geography is the only thing that makes these two profs close. For years Gagnon has been the academic standard-bearer for the "orthodox" position that strongly condemns homosexuality. Bishop Lawrence relied on his writings in his war against the Episcopal Church.

I recommend that everyone read Hill's and Gagnon's essays and the comments below them to get a helpful picture of the civil war now waging on the right.

In the wake of the recent victory of homosexual equality, right-wing Christians are falling apart on how to respond. There is no solid block of opposition left. The spat between Hill and Gagnon illuminates this phenomenon.

Meanwhile, the DSC leaders are stubbornly holding the hardline against rights for homosexuals. As I have pointed out, the new DSC creation called the Anglican Leadership Institute requires all applicants for the semester program in Charleston to sign a statement rejecting marriage equality for homosexuals and rejecting the authority of the Episcopal Church. No signature against homosexuality and the Episcopal Church, no admittance. 

Note to DSC: the culture war on homosexuality is over. American society is moving on. The world is moving on. Even among "orthodox" Christians, ranks are breaking up as they are bound to do. Statistical studies show that even conservative Christians are moving toward acceptance of gays.

DSC would do well to invite Prof. Hill back to the Low Country for more talks. If DSC continues fighting a war that is already over, it has no where to go but to oblivion.