> Biblical Reference > Historical Precedents > Quotations & Writings > Commentary
> Home > Current Trends > Family > Homosexuality & Transgenderism > KJ Quick-Take: "Two Roads Diverged"
> Category

“Two Roads Diverged”

As a blizzard smothered Washington, D.C., on December 18, 2009, a bizarre ceremony took place in the city’s All Souls Church. There, a religiously indifferent mayor, Adrian Fenty, signed a bill legalizing homosexual marriage in the district.

As D.C.-area pastor Harry Jackson rightly charged, it was “more like a PR stunt.” For the council “had ignored the voices of both prominent African-American churches and the powerful Roman Catholic Archdiocese.”1 Fenty and his crew claimed 200 clergy supporters, but, as Jackson noted, the list showed these ministers clustered in far fewer that 200 churches (with, for example, 14 from Covenant Baptist Church, nine from Wesley Theological Seminary, six each from Foundry United Methodist Church and the National Cathedral, and five from the Metropolitan Community Church).2 And when Dennis Wiley of Covenant Baptist boasted of being “the first and only traditional black church in the District of Columbia to perform same-sex unions,”3 he unwittingly showed that this ecclesiastical groundswell was an illusion.

All Souls, where the bill was signed, is Unitarian, and so is a “church” in only the most strained sense of the word. As the Unitarian Universalists proclaim, “We believe that . . . religious authority lies not in a book or person or institution, but in ourselves.”4 In other words, to suit their personal tastes, they make it up as they go along. And it has suited the taste of this particular congregation to call a gay pastor, Robert Hardies, who is only too eager to normalize and sanctify homosexuality at the expense of decency and good sense.

But what shall we make of his co-conspirators, pastors Dennis and Christine Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church, the one with 14 ministerial signatories? The Wileys lead what was once a full-fledged Southern Baptist church, which was aligned with a denomination standing both firmly and biblically against homosexuality. Now this couple proudly performs same-sex marriages in their church and advocates this policy in the Washington Post. So what happened?

In brief, Dennis has chosen the perspective of his alma mater, Union Theological Seminary, which draws no moral distinctions over “sexual orientation” and has favored alignment with the doctrinally challenged Progressive National Baptist Convention.5

Meanwhile, during Wiley’s tenure as pastor, the SBC6 has expelled three churches condoning homosexuality and has passed several resolutions against gay marriage. Its six seminaries honor these actions, and Article XVIII of its doctrinal statement, the Baptist Faith and Message, declares, “Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.”

So Covenant Baptist Church has made its choice to go down the road of cultural accommodation, in this case the culture of secular elites and the hedonists they serve. In the words of the poet Robert Frost, the choice of this particular diverging road “has made all the difference.”


Jackson did acknowledge two people on the council who were exceptions to this. See Harry Jackson, “Same-Sex Marriage Bill Signed in a Church,” Church Report Website, December 21, 2009, http://www.thechurchreport.com/index.cfm?objectID=18711 (accessed December 30, 2009).


See “Read the Declaration,” Clergy United for Marriage Equality Website, http://www.clergyformarriage.com/read.html (accessed December 30, 2009).


Dennis and Christine Wiley, “Why Two Black Pastors Support Gay Marriage,” Washington Post Website, December 20, 2009, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/18/AR2009121802049.html (accessed December 30, 2009).


See Marta Flanagan, “We Are Unitarian Universalists,” Unitarian Universalist Association Website, http://archive.uua.org/pamphlet/3081.html (accessed December 30, 2009).


Visit this denomination’s web site, and, in place of a statement of faith, one finds only a brief mission statement, which seems to define “disciples of Christ” as those who, exercising their prerogatives within the “priesthood of all believers,” arrive at a program of “fellowship, service, progress and peace.” Which, if one did not know better, could make the church just another local civic club. See “PNBC Mission Statement,” Progressive National Baptist Convention Website, http://www.pnbc.org/About%20Us/aboutus.htm (accessed December 30, 2009).


Southern Baptist Convention.