[Amy] Tincher was one of 50 people flown from around the country and the world—Canada, China, Nigeria and South Korea—to a four-day Bible boot camp dedicated to discussing, and embracing, gay relationships. The gathering was organized by Matthew Vines, who by then was enjoying modest fame for a 2012 YouTube video in which Vines, looking even younger than his 21 years, delivers an hour-long lecture arguing that the Bible does not, in fact, condemn all same-sex relationships. The video has gone viral, racking up more than 730,000 views to date, landing Vines on the cover of the New York Times Sunday Styles section and helping him raise $100,000 for the conference, where he launched The Reformation Project, a nationwide network of pro-gay evangelicals committed to ending their church’s longstanding hostility toward gay people. [...]Evangelicals have a ways to go, but even within this laggard group, we see progress, we see energy building on the side of equality while opponents of equality are fighting defensive battles. It won't happen overnight, but an evangelical majority for equality will happen eventually.
“We must prepare people for what the future holds, when Christian beliefs about marriage and sexuality aren’t part of the cultural consensus but are seen to be strange and freakish and even subversive,” Russell Moore, chief political spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote in an April blog post. As if in confirmation of Moore’s warning, the following month, a Southern Baptist congregation outside Los Angeles became the first in the 16 million-member denomination to vote to accept gay worshippers even if they are in relationships. “I realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings regarding homosexuality,” the church’s pastor, Danny Cortez, wrote in an online statement.
White evangelicals continue to distantly trail other Christian groups on support for marriage equality, but their young people are starting to catch up. And now, there's an actual movement for equality building among evangelicals—again, particularly younger ones. Many of the far-right organizations that had long fought equality are fighting rear-guard actions to preserve the right to discriminate; meanwhile, forward-looking evangelicals are forging connections with each other and creating spaces in which it's okay to be evangelical and pro-equality: