BP This Week: Eugene Peterson, the Media, and ‘Hate Groups’

This week’s big story was Eugene Peterson, author of “The Message,” who apparently embraced homosexual relationships and same-sex “marriage,” and then retracted his comments the next day. Peterson’s reasoning in both cases illustrates an authority problem and confusion over sexuality and Christian anthropology in the evangelical church.

It’s not difficult to see why Peterson and other popular authors, musicians, and pastors have faltered on the biblical view of sex and marriage. The pressure to conform to an increasingly secular culture is immense. This week mainstream news outlets like ABC and NBC adopted the Southern Poverty Law Center’s language describing the Alliance Defending Freedom as “an anti-LGBT hate group.” John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer explain why this will likely hurt the credibility of mainstream news networks more than ADF or other Christian groups.

Image: Clappstar, Wikimedia Commons, Eugene Peterson at University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA

Resources

Q&A Best-selling author Eugene Peterson changes his mind on gay marriage
  • Jonathan Merritt
  • Religion News Service
  • July 12, 2017
Actually, Eugene Peterson Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage
  • Kate Shellnutt
  • Christianity Today
  • July 13, 2017
Eugene Peterson's Theological Sigh
  • Samuel D. James
  • First Things
  • July 13, 2017
Notable Christians who’ve had a change of heart on LGBT issues
  • Madeleine Buckley
  • Religion News Service
  • July 12, 2017
Jeff Sessions addresses 'anti-LGBT hate group,' but DOJ won't release his remarks
  • Pete Madden and Erin Galloway
  • ABC News
  • July 12, 2017
Justices to Hear Case on Religious Objections to Same-Sex Marriage
  • Adam Liptak
  • The New York Times
  • June 26, 2017

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  • Phoenix1977

    “This week mainstream news outlets like ABC and NBC adopted the Southern Poverty Law Center’s language describing the Alliance Defending Freedom as “an anti-LGBT hate group.” John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer explain why this will likely hurt the credibility of mainstream news networks more than ADF or other Christian groups.”
    Why would that hurt the mainstream media? Just because your president says so? No offense but when it comes to telling the truth, or even a truth, Donald Trump definitely does NOT come to mind.
    People like John Stonestreet and Ed Stetzer, but also myself, tend to overestimate how important the general public a subject thinks. For example: prior to the Supreme Court ruling on Obergefell vs. Hodges conservative groups predicted Americans would go out and protest on a massive scale! Liberals could expect riots and chaos! The only ones who keep protesting are the ultra-conservatives. According to even the most conservative polls 67% of the Americans is now on board with same-sex marriage and even a small majority says religious freedom needs to make way for the LGBT right to marry the one they love. If you take a look at liberal polls, the numbers are as high as 94%. And, since then, there is also a slow increase in people who think polygamy should no longer be forbidden.
    ABC and NBC will suffer nothing from this choice. Those who do not trust the mainstream media will not be surprised of their move and those who do trust the mainstream media will not lose that trust, also because the mainstream media is where they get their information from while alternative media, like websites as Breakpoint.org and dailysignal.com are met with suspicion and distrust.

    • Steve

      The ADF merely represents individuals or groups in court. How can it be a hate group for providing someone representation, isn’t that part of our democracy? Once that is taken away things turn to tyranny. Be careful what you ask for or you just might get it.

      • Phoenix1977

        How about people finding their own lawyers to represent them? Like pretty much everyone has to do as well?

        • Steve

          In the case of the baker in Colorado, the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is the plaintiff against him, not another person. They have enormous resources to fight this individual. Why shouldn’t he have help from an outside lawyer?
          Would you be arguing that people should not get assistance from the ACLU?
          So, no, “pretty much everyone else” don’t “find their own lawyers”. In cases like this each side is represented by others with a stake in the outcome.

          • Phoenix1977

            “They have enormous resources to fight this individual. Why shouldn’t he have help from an outside lawyer?”
            Correction: they didn’t decide to fight Jack Philips. Jack Philips decided to fight them. Big difference.

            “Would you be arguing that people should not get assistance from the ACLU?”
            Hmm, you actually have a point there. Need to think about that one.

            “In cases like this each side is represented by others with a stake in the outcome.”
            Somehow I doubt the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is supported by non-profit lawyers. I’m pretty sure they have their own.

  • Phoenix1977

    “This reply doesn’t answer Steve’s question though. Also we have determined that different worldviews/opinions don’t equal hate.”
    Ok, than how about this? As a gay man the ADF would never be willing to defend me in a court of law, which constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation. And that constiutes hate.

    “Calling the ADF a hate group based on their representation of Phillips’ case is irresponsible.”
    The media are not the ones calling ADF hate groups. The SPLC did and other organisations simply use the same designation.

    • Scott

      As a Christian I believe it is time for us to put down our stones! We need to defend your rights as equal to our own because you are equally loved by God, whether or not you recognize Him. I would defend your rights as equal under the law.

      “As a gay man the ADF would never be willing to defend me in a court of law, which constitutes discrimination based on sexual orientation. And that constiutes hate.”

      I do not know if you are right about what the ADF would or wouldn’t do as I cannot speak for that organization. I would imagine the ADF would defend your rights under the law as their very name suggests (Alliance Defending Freedom). You sexual orientation should not conflict with the defense of freedom. What I do know is that they should be allowed to represent the Phillip’s case without being labeled as a hate group.

    • Scott

      “The media are not the ones calling ADF hate groups. The SPLC did and other organisations simply use the same designation.”

      This might be true, but it is not like ABC and NBC disputed the claim. Repeating it to the general public achieves exactly what I said above. It perpetuates hate/anger/distrust between “liberals” and “conservatives.” Their agenda is not helpful to american society or humanity as a whole.

      • Phoenix1977

        “This might be true, but it is not like ABC and NBC disputed the claim.”
        Of course not. Why would everyone discover their own wheel? The SPLC categorizes organisations and others adopt those. It’s actually quite clever because, if an organization disagrees, you can simply point them elsewhere. And it’s not like ABC and NBC are the only ones using the SPLC’s categories. If I’m not mistaken recently there was another article here about a website which keeps track of charities using the SPLC’s system.

        “Their agenda is not helpful to american society or humanity as a whole.”
        Probably because that’s not meant to be the case. The media needs to be a guard dog for unwanted / illegal situations in society. And with an increase in people supporting LGBT rights it automatically means a decrease in people supporting religion. Those two are almost mutually exclusive. According to recent polls, even the most conservative ones, a majority of people believes religious freedom should take a backseat when dealing with civil rights, including LGBT rights. It’s not strange the media reflect those points of view in their broadcasts.

        “We need to defend your rights as equal to our own because you are equally loved by God, whether or not you recognize Him. I would defend your rights as equal under the law.”
        And that’s where we hit a rough spot because, as I said above, LGBT rights and religious rights are almost entirely mutually exclusive. You cannot say I have to right to be who I am and love who I do while at the same time allowing Christians to openly discriminate against me. Something’s gotta give.

        “I would imagine the ADF would defend your rights under the law as their very name suggests (Alliance Defending Freedom). ”
        Perhaps you should look into the ADF. The ADF only defends religious freedom and related issues, like opposing abortion and the crusade against marriage equality. In most cases the lawyers from the ADF are opposing LGBTs and in more than one case their “expert” witnesses came from organisations like the FRC and NOM, which, suprisingly, are also labeled hate groups by the SPLC. Too bad I can no longer find the amicus brief the ADF filed in Obergefell vs. Hodges because reading that might change your mind on the “hate group” issue.

        • Scott

          “This might be true, but it is not like ABC and NBC disputed the claim.”

          

”Of course not. Why would everyone discover their own wheel? The SPLC categorizes organisations and others adopt those. It’s actually quite clever because, if an organization disagrees, you can simply point them elsewhere. And it’s not like ABC and NBC are the only ones using the SPLC’s categories. If I’m not mistaken recently there was another article here about a website which keeps track of charities using the SPLC’s system.”



          So you confirm my point.

          

”And that’s where we hit a rough spot because, as I said above, LGBT rights and religious rights are almost entirely mutually exclusive. You cannot say I have to right to be who I am and love who I do while at the same time allowing Christians to openly discriminate against me. Something’s gotta give.”

          

When you say “somethings gotta give” you are partially correct, but you fail to recognize what (and who) has to give. Either you wish to continue the cycle of hate/anger or you will consider that both sides need equal space for existing together as the cost of peace:

          Let me give you a real example from my life. Believe it or not I personally know members of the LGBT community and live several houses down the street from one. For the sake of privacy, I will call this person Joe. We have been neighbors for over 10 years now and have become friends. My son has mowed her lawn, she is present at all our block parties, she joins us every other week when we all gather Friday evenings to connect (our street is unlike most I”ll give you that), She has been to our house and we to hers. There are many other connections I can list, but I think you get the point. Whats more is that she knows we are devout Christians and we know that she is LGBT. We (she and my family) respect what those differences mean and agree to honor them. We do our best to make her feel as though she is welcome in our neighborhood and she returns the favor. Our rights are not mutually exclusive as you say. We can work together to create the space needed for LGBTs and Christians to live peacefully among each other. This space would allow for same-sex marriage to be legal and for Christians to be able to legally refuse participation. If we are willing to objectively look at the heart of our differences, they mostly surround matters of sexuality and do not affect the majority of our daily life… as my neighbor and I demonstrate on a daily basis.

          If both sides reach a willingness to live peacefully along sided each other, than we can accomplish that very thing.

          

”Perhaps you should look into the ADF.” This is fair… I will.

        • Scott

          “And that’s where we hit a rough spot because, as I said above, LGBT rights and religious rights are almost entirely mutually exclusive. You cannot say I have to right to be who I am and love who I do while at the same time allowing Christians to openly discriminate against me. Something’s gotta give.”

          I’m not saying Christians have the right to openly discriminate. Refusing to participate in a ceremony celebrating something that we believe will be held against us eternally (sin) is not the same as “open discrimination.” We just can’t take part in certain ceremonies… your beliefs are no more valid than ours.

          • Phoenix1977

            “Refusing to participate in a ceremony celebrating something that we believe will be held against us eternally (sin) is not the same as “open discrimination.””
            You’re not participating in anything. You’re selling a cake, flowers or a service. Participation would mean you’re in the wedding party like a maid of honor, a bridesmaid or a best man. Even being a simple wedding guest is already questionable. And if Christians are allowed to deny LGBTs services they do offer to others that is discrinination, no matter how you want to spin it.

          • Scott

            Its not that simple… Jack Phillips would have sold the same-sex couple a cake. In fact he offered to sell them a cake without any message. The couple wanted him to decorate the cake with a same-sex message. It was that message that violated his beliefs, forcing him to use his artistic talents to create something that goes against his conscience. Selling a cake is one thing, forcing someone to create something against their will is another… I would guess that Jack Phillips believes his talents were given to him by God and does not want to dishonor God with those talents.

            This gets to the heart of what we were discussing before… the content of the wedding matters.