Liberty Counsel, the Orlando-based Religious Right law firm that has represented public officials who got into trouble for defying the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling, put out a press release yesterday attacking Orlando pastor Joel Hunter for hosting an event on LGBTQ inclusion in the church.
In the press release, Liberty Counsel founder and chairman Mat Staver said it was “heresy” for Hunter to host The Reformation Project and its founder Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian.” Staver called Vines’s views “an affront to Jesus and the Bible.”
While Religious Right leaders are quick to portray criticism of their political agendas and tactics as an attack on their faith and freedom, they clearly have no problem attacking the faith of Christians who disagree with them. As we noted in March, the American Pastors Network devoted an entire radio show to trashing religious progressives and declaring that it is impossible for a “genuine” Christian to be part of the “religious left.” A few years ago, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins even suggested that Christians who support equality for gay people don’t deserve the same legal protection as other Christians because “true religious freedom” only applies to “orthodox religious viewpoints.”
Liberty Counsel describes itself as “an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.” We’re not sure where defining orthodoxy and heresy fits. There’s nothing in Staver’s press release that addresses any legal or policy issues, but we assume he is worried that the continued growth in acceptance of LGBTQ equality among American Christians will undermine the Religious Right’s efforts to codify their anti-LGBTQ views in law.