Has anything really changed since 2008?

Recently, Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigned (after 11 days on the job) after an uproar ensued over his 2008 contribution of $1,000 in support of California Proposition 8 — the proposition defining marriage in traditional terms of monogamous heterosexuality.

Though one of the original figures at Mozilla, Eich was not able to survive the fact that he gave a private, political contribution which is now deemed to be bigoted and hateful against homosexuals.

After his resignation, the Mozilla chairwoman wrote these incredibly ironic words:

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.

Apparently, whatever this means — “Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public” — it doesn’t mean that an employee can support traditional marriage and become the CEO.

Even if you have been a close observer of our culture’s evolution on the subject of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, it still comes as a shock to realize how far we have moved in just the last six years. Whereas the “traditional view” was at that time seen as one side of a spirited debate — political, cultural, theological — now anyone who exclusively supports a “one man and one woman” position of marriage is labeled homophobic and depicted as a contemporary version of a KKK member from the 1960s. Russell Moore elaborates on this reality in a recent article: “Same Sex Marriage and the Future.”

He says:

If our people assume that everything goes back to normal with the right President and a quick constitutional amendment, they are not being equipped for a world that views evangelical Protestants and traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews and others as bigots or freaks.

Jesus told us we would have hard times. He never promised us a prosperity gospel. He said we would face opposition, but he said he would be with us. If we are going to be faithful to his gospel, we must preach repentance—even when that repentance is culturally unwelcome. And we must preach that any sinner can be forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ. That means courage and that means kindness. Sexual revolutionaries will hate the repentance. Buffoonish heretics, who want only to vent paranoia and rally their troops, will hate the kindness. So be it.

Our churches must be ready to call out the revisionists who wish to do away with a Christian sexual ethic. And we must be ready to call out those who tell us that acknowledging the signs of the times is forbidden, and we should just keep doing what we’ve been doing. An issue this culturally powerful cannot be addressed by a halfway-gospel or by talk-radio sloganeering.

The marriage revolution around us means we must do a better job articulating a theology of marriage to our people, as well as a theology of suffering and marginalization.

Why is that? Because nothing has changed for the Christian. The Word of God has not changed. God’s calling to lead lives worthy of the calling of Christ has not changed. God’s power to transform human life has not changed. God’s holy standards have not changed. God’s solution for sin has not changed. God’s offer of redemption has not changed. For the Christian, nothing has changed since 2008. The authority of the “one man and one woman” definition never rested on cultural acceptance.

Now, if in 2008, an advocate of traditional marriage did so strictly on sociological, pragmatic, political, or sexual-aesthetic grounds, then of course that ground could shift. New sociological data, political polls, or aesthetic presentation of the homosexual life could very well change one’s belief in the normative nature of heterosexual marriage.

But if someone in 2008 said that it was their Christian faith which led them to hold to a definition of marriage as “a man and a woman,” but now in 2014 they hold to the right of homosexuals to marry, then it is good for us to ask: “What has changed within Christianity, since 2008?”

Nothing has changed for the Christian…so what has changed?

(Video from 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign forum, hosted by Saddleback Community Church and Pastor Rick Warren).

Carmen Fowler LaBerge