Conserving liberty: Conservative Christians debate gay rights in context of Bible-believing faith
Two conservative Christians met Thursday at the University of Idaho Student Union Building ballroom to debate the place of gay rights in a Biblical worldview.
Gabriel Rench, debate coordinator and moderator, said the opposition of two conservatives — rather than debaters from separate philosophies — lent the debate a “dynamic” angle not often examined in our cultural conversation.
“This topic is one of the central topics in our era,” Rench said. “Most people want to blog about it, but not many want to have a serious debate or conversation.”
Rench said debater Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, has served his church 30 years and “believes the whole Bible and every verse in it.” He said Wilson approaches the homosexuality debate in a manner that doesn’t avoid moral accountability or uncomfortable verses.
“He has a responsibility to bring Jesus to every issue in our current day and time,” Rench said.
Wilson said the dual-conservative lens helps people focus on “what the actual debate about gay rights is,” without the obstacles inherent in the “collision of worldviews that differ at every point.”
Wilson said his opponent — R. Clark Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans —isn’t “a fringe guy” in an unknown sector, and it’s important to discuss the question of mainstream gay rights with a mainstream representative.
Cooper was an Eagle Scout in his youth, served in a political capacity during both terms of the George W. Bush administration and is a veteran of the Iraq war. He was elected to his position with the Log Cabin Republicans in 2010, which has its headquarters in Washington, D.C. He also helped gather votes to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy that banned homosexual military involvement.
“Being conservative and being gay are not mutually exclusive,” Cooper said.
Rench said Cooper understands the Republican issues around homosexuality well and uses the party tenets of individual responsibility and liberty in his arguments.
Rench said the Republican party hasn’t seemed to discuss any official stance about gay rights with conservative values, and it’s important for the conversation to be open.
“If the Republican party is going to move in this direction, (let it) talk about this openly, and publicly and honestly, not through a series of backroom deals to weave into the Republican platform,” Rench said.
Wilson said the debate may not have changed everyone’s mind, but it provided needed clarity in the conversation.
“I don’t think this debate will make everyone get in a group hug and say (they) all believe the same thing,” he said. “Even if we disagree more sharply than before, at least the issue (is) clearer than it was.”
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Hayden Crosby | Argonuat
Douglas Wilson, pastor of Christ Church in Moscow, debates his belief on gay rights conflicting with Christian values at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the University of Idaho Student Union Building ballroom. He debated with R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans.