Tony Perkins, back from the interfaith conference at the Vatican which he attended along with American anti-gay religious leaders including Rick Warren and Russell Moore, gave an interview reflecting on the experience to the National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez yesterday.
The Family Research Council president told Lopez that at the conference, “Apart from the pope, almost all of the standing ovations were received by American evangelicals.” When Lopez pressed him on whether the Religious Right should soften its stance on gay rights and marriage equality in order to build a movement going forward, Perkins disagreed.
“It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals” from marriage, Perkins said, “it is that those who reject such complementarity [between men and women] are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.”
He added that it’s not insulting to imply that homosexuality is “unnatural” because “when it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.”
Q: It seems difficult if not near impossible these days to talk about men and women and marriage without sounding like you’re excluding those who are attracted to the same sex. Is it in fact an impossible task?
A: I believe this is why the focus of the colloquium was on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals; it is that those who reject such complementarity are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.
Q: When you talk about a natural order, isn’t there a danger of making it seem some are unnatural? That could seem the case with those with same-sex attraction and those who are not married.
A: When it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.
Q: It still escapes a lot of people why same-sex marriage is a threat to any man and woman’s marriage or marriage itself. If marriage and family are in crisis, why not open it up to more?
A: The crisis in marriage has grown in proportion to the degree to which society has allowed it to deviate from what it was designed to be, a life-long monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.