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Culture Friday: Counting the cost of Biblical ethics

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WORLD Radio - Culture Friday: Counting the cost of Biblical ethics

Andy Stanley to host a conference featuring LGBTQ-affirming speakers, Kim Davis to appeal fines for causing same-sex couples “mental anguish,” and Donald Trump appears to retreat from a pro-life position


Former President Donald Trump greets supporters at the Treehouse Pub & Eatery, Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Bettendorf, Iowa. Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Neibergall

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: It’s Friday, the 22nd of September, 2023.

Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher.

It's Culture Friday. Joining us now is Katie McCoy. She has a PhD in theology and she is author of the book titled To Be a Woman. Good morning, Katie.

KATIE MCCOY: Hey, Nick, and Myrna. Great to be with you.

BROWN: Good to see you.

EICHER: Well, Katie, Andy Stanley's North Point Community Church, it'll be a week from today, and over there, they will be wrapping up day two of a two day conference on supporting parents and LGBTQ+ children in their churches. Now I'm quoting here and I'll continue to quote, “You will be equipped, refreshed and inspired as you hear from leading communicators on topics that speak to your heart, soul and mind.” This is billed as the premier event and this topic, presumably, the topic of supporting parents and LGBTQ+ children in their churches, they say we'll be approached quoting again, “from the quieter middle space.” Now Albert Mohler, who is Editor of WORLD Opinions pointed out that two of the conference speakers are men who are in marriages mandated by the Obergefell decision of 2015, which is to say same-sex marriages. Another speaker is public intellectual David Gushee. Gushee is author of the book called Changing our Mind subtitled A Landmark Call for Inclusion of LGBT Christians. Now, the church where this is to be held, as I say, is North Point church in Atlanta, headed by Pastor Andy Stanley. And so let me quote near the end of the Mohler column at WORLD, he writes, “Maybe the conference will surprise us. Maybe Stanley will present a resounding affirmation of biblical authority and the Christian Church's long standing convictions concerning sexuality, marriage and gender. But then that would require a reversal of Stanley's trajectory, and a bold correction of his platform guests to state the obvious, that is not what is advertised.” So Katie, if there are no surprises, if the conference goes on, as advertised, what then?

MCCOY: This was such an unfortunate story to read on many levels. So first, I am a graduate of Union University and I was a student there when Dr. Gushee was on faculty, and I remember him being one of the most kind and empathetic professors. And I think what's unfortunate on the surface of it, first, looking at the lineup and speakers, is this false conflation of kindness and empathy and acceptance, and kindness, not only to the person who might be struggling, the kindness to the person who might be confused, but kindness being translated as I'm not going to challenge your beliefs, I'm not going to tell you what you may not want to hear in the name of truth. But then along with that was this familiar phrase when I heard about this conference, and it's the idea of supporting families, or supporting people in the LGBTQ community, and I always have to ask. “Support for what? Support to what end and goal?” Because if it is support to help someone struggle in the strength that Christ provides by the Spirit against the flesh, that's one thing. But if it is support to affirm or accept one's lifestyle, one's choices, one's sexual preferences, and that goes contrary to the Bible, that is a completely separate issue. So when people talk about whether it is same-sex couples, people who struggle with same-sex attraction, or transgender people, and they say we need to provide support for them, I always feel like they are not finishing that sentence, because we've not defined what support means. But not only that, but what is the end and goal of that support? What is it that we're trying to support them to do? Is it to live in accordance with God's design or not. And this reminds me also, though, of a quote by Pastor John Mark Comer, and his book Live No Lies, and he describes how sexuality has for all of the history of the church been the place where God's people most sharply contrast their culture. And specifically, he talks about it as the primary test of our generation's faithfulness to the way of Jesus or the world's ideas and ideologies. This is going to be ever present with us that that is going to become more and more rare, even among professing evangelical circles, that to hold fast to a biblical sexual ethic, according to God's design for our bodies and all of our lives. Are we going to compromise on that truth in the name of kindness? Are we going to conflate support with acceptance? Or are we simply going to say the hard things like every other generation of the church has done?

BROWN: Yep, so Katie, I want to talk to you about a woman who is very clear on what she believes about marriage. Biblical marriage, that is. Kim Davis is back in the news and, and she's still standing up for biblical marriage. In 2015, she was the county clerk in Kentucky who refused to sign a marriage license for two same-sex couples. Both couples filed civil lawsuits against Davis. And last week, two juries, two juries, reached different conclusions on how much she should pay for mental anguish the four men said she caused when she refused to sign the marriage licenses. So here's the update. Katie Davis's attorney will appeal and in a statement indicated the jury verdict has paved the way for this case to go to the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, it may still be a long road to vindication for Davis. My question is, how long of a road do you think?

MCCOY: Well, unfortunately, we can measure the length of that road by how litigious our society is. And it is ridiculous. When I hear that this county clerk was sued for mental anguish, you've got to be kidding me that there was nobody else that could sign marriage licenses for whom it was not a conflict of conscience. We're just asking the government to afford people the right to express and worship according to their conscience. And if this is the case, then they are going to see a retreat of people of faith from government jobs. And this isn't just Christians. This is other faith traditions as well, Judaism, for instance, even Islam. Do you see people suing Muslims for some of the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric that they have out there? No, it's just the Christian faith. And so I was just flabbergasted when I heard this story, it's a little bit like this poor baker out in Colorado, like can people just not leave this man alone, and just let him live his life in peace according to his convictions. And so unfortunately, it sounds like this county clerk in Kentucky is headed for a long road. And I think it is absolutely absurd that in our society this has to go to the Supreme Court when they can't just find someone else to sign the stinking marriage licenses. And instead, we have to make an entire issue. Don't you know, this is going to end up being subjects of debates in primaries, both Republican and Democratic, if we end up having one. So this is absurd. And it's just a sign of how much we have left common sense. I wish that young college female athletes had just as much of an on-ramp to sue schools and administrators for the mental anguish that they were put in by having to share a locker room with a biologically intact male. We're not going to see that level of media attention, because this type of outrage is reserved for Christians living out their convictions in the public square.

EICHER: Katie, you mentioned political primaries, and on that score, I want to shift to the pro-life issue. We've covered this pretty extensively on the World and Everything in It this week. President Trump's position on, uh, former President Trump's position on protecting unborn life. Concerning the six week pro-life protections signed in Florida by his distant second place challenger Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump said on national TV It was a terrible mistake on the governor's part to sign that bill. So President Trump deserves credit for the Supreme Court that reversed Roe vs. Wade, clearly, but he seems to be saying now that the freedom that the court gave the states shouldn't be exercised quite so freely as Florida exercised it. He seems to be, in the words of another of our WORLD Opinions writers, retreating on abortion. So I ask, has the former president and front runner for 2024 made a terrible mistake in your view?

MCCOY: Well, he certainly is retreating from his pro-life stance and time will tell the political implications of that, especially in this Republican primary season that we're in. President Trump did give the Supreme Court three I don't want to say pro-life justices. It wasn't that they were pro life, it's that they had a philosophy of jurisprudence that led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But what we're seeing now with President Trump is it is no longer politically expedient to be pro-life and I think it behooves every voter who, in the past, perhaps justified a vote for President Trump on the basis of his pro-life stance to say, Does this candidate's policies actually support your values? Now, let's take a zoom out of former President Trump. And look at the state by state debates over abortion and access to it since the overturning of Roe and overwhelmingly, states have voted to protect abortion rights, or not to allow legislation that would impede those abortion rights. And what this tells us is that at the core, this is not just a legislative issue, this is not just a political issue, we can have Roe v. Wade overturned, and we still have to win over the hearts and the minds of a new generation as to what it is that abortion does as to who it is that abortion kills. And until we do that, we're going to continue this ideological lobbying back and forth over who's the right candidate to support abortion because the sad reality is, even among a political party known for its pro-life stance, it's becoming unpopular, it's becoming something that is no longer politically expedient. It's no longer becoming something that we can assume of the candidates of that party. So whether it's same-sex marriage legalization, whether it's LGBTQ issues, whether it's abortion, I think it is a sign that we the people of faith, the family of God need to get very familiar and used to being in a cultural minority.

BROWN: All right, Katie McCoy, her PhD is in theology, and she's author of a book just released titled To Be a Woman. Thanks, Katie.

MCCOY: Thanks for having me.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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