When “Evangelicals for Marriage Equality” (EME) launched this week, they had one message: “you can be a devout, Bible-believing evangelical and support the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by the government as married.” Predictably, not everyone participated in the organization’s coming out party.
A leading evangelical magazine, Christianity Today, for example, rejected EME’s full-page advertisement (pictured below), which stated, “There are hundreds of verses in the Bible that talk about love. There aren’t any that talk about the civil definition of marriage.” According to the EME website, an editor for Christianity Today said, “the ad advocates for a position that we have editorialized against.”
The organization then submitted the ad to Relevant, and was also rejected because the publisher reportedly said, “the ad was not approved based on political issues.” Lastly, EME submitted the advertisement to World Magazine who also turned them down.
Were these publications justified in rejecting this advertisement?
The simple answer is “yes.” And it has nothing to do with the truthfulness of the ad’s message or the lack thereof. Rather, these are independent evangelical publications who hold to a particular view of marriage. They have audiences with expectations about what is and isn’t consistent with a Christian worldview. And they should be free to only publish content that is consistent with both.
One might think such an assertion is as clear as the nose on one’s face. But it isn’t. Several LGBT publications have reported on the rejection of this ad, and the EME website has devoted an entire webpage to the matter arguing that the situation illustrates “an evangelical culture that’s not currently conducive to frank conversations about a hot button topic like marriage equality.”
But does “frank conversation” mean obligating others to broadcast messages with which they disagree?