My friend Jonathan Merritt and Kirsten Powers co-penned a piece on the Daily Beast titled, “Conservative Christians Selectively Apply Biblical Teachings in the Same-Sex Marriage Debate.” Their essay, written in opposition to the Arizona legislation allowing companies to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds, is fair and even-handed. In fact, if anything, it’s too safe.
But we’d be naive not to acknowledge that there’s another working definition of evangelicalism at play. That’s a cultural definition, and it swirls less around theology and more around brands: Christianity Today, James Dobson, contemporary Christian music, Christian colleges, and Republican politics. Jim Wallis can jump up and down all day, screaming, “I’m an evangelical!,” and Moorohler will calmly say, “No you’re not.” Or, they might quote Jerry Falwell, who once told Jim that he was “as much an evangelical as an oak tree.”