A prominent American Christian author and retired pastor stated that after, “reflection and prayer,” he was taking back his statement from one day earlier in support of performing same-sex weddings. Pastor Eugene Peterson plunged the knife even deeper into the collective LGBTQ Christian community’s back by saying, “frankly, I hope I never am asked.”
Matthew Vines, writing for Time magazine, is the executive director of The Reformation Project, a gay Christian advocacy organization, described Peterson as a compassionate man who caused a lot of harm. According to Vines, in Peterson’s retraction, he stated his decision was made, “out of respect for the congregation, the larger church body,” but he never stated his personal belief. In other words, Peterson may still be sympathetic to gay Christian unions.
Peterson was bombarded with intense pressure from conservative Christian power elites to recant his support. The biggest Christian book distributor, LifeWay, went so far as to threaten to pull as his books from their shelves. To Vines, this pressure, not Peterson’s personal beliefs, led to his vacillating on marriage for Christian gays.
Whatever the reason for Peterson’s reversal, the damage is done and will serve to further the widen the gaping rift between gay Christians and the church.