Top Evangelical Resigns for Expressing ‘Shifting’ Gay Marriage Views

Reverend Richard Cizik, the vice president for governmental affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, resigned from his position Thursday following remarks he made on National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” program with Terry Gross.

In the remarks, Cizik said he supported civil unions and that his position was shifting on same-sex marriage.

CizikOn the December 2 interview, which you can listen to here, Gross asked:

“A couple of years ago when you were on our show, I asked you if you were changing your mind on that. And two years ago, you said you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now as you identify more with younger voters, would you say you have changed on gay marriage?”

Cizik replied:

“I’m shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say that I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think. We have this tension going on in the movement between what is church-building and what is nation-building, and I lean in this spectrum at times maybe we should concentrate on building our values in our own movement. We have become so absorbed in the question of gay rights and the rest that we fail to understand the challenges and theats to marriage itself — heterosexual marriage. Maybe we need to re-evaluate this, look at it a bit differently. I’m always looking for ways to reframe issues, give the biblical point of view a diffferent slant, if you will. And look at, we have to.”

Moving his discussion toward global warming, Cizik added: “Literally the whole world, the planet it changing around us. And if you don’t change the way you think and adapt, especially to things like climate change, you may ultimately be a loser.”

The AP reports: “A fixture in Washington for nearly three decades, Cizik has played a key role in bringing evangelical Christian concerns to the political table. But in recent years, he earned enemies in the movement for pushing to broaden the evangelical agenda…Cizik did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday. The NAE said in a statement that Cizik had expressed regret, apologized and ‘affirmed our values.’ The NAE is an umbrella group for tens of thousands of churches and organizations.”

Rev. Richard Cizik On God And Global Warming [npr]
Top evangelical resigns after backing gay unions [sf chronicle]


  1. says

    Yet another data point demonstrating that when they insist that they are only interested in “defending traditional marriage,” they lie.

    Also savory to note how downright godless-soviet-communist they can be in purging even the slighest dissent from even the most loyal insider.

  2. gabriel says

    I love this part the most:
    “We have become so absorbed in the question of gay rights and the rest that we fail to understand the challenges and theats to marriage itself — heterosexual marriage.”

    How sad that he had to resign over this.

  3. yipyip says

    My partner told me she really liked this guy when he was on Fresh Air – I thought she was crazy.

    But now, I get it. He wasn’t spewing the usual religious nonsensical rhetoric – clearly, going against the entire evangelical movement.

  4. Tony says

    I heard him on Fresh Air, too, and it was refreshing (no pun intended). So much for the Religious Extremists changing the way they do business after this past election. Brent Hartinger over at AfterElton wrote a difficult piece a few weeks ago claiming that we’re in for much, much worse from the extremists over the next decade. This might be a sign that Brent was on to something.

  5. Sargon Bighorn says

    The Radical Religious Extremists will see members falling away as the reality of American Equality and Constitutional Values are assaulted by their hard core leadership. Mr Cizik is an example of that falling away. With a the progressive Obama administration, I think we will see a turn back to the American Value of Equality for all.

  6. says

    All of this would be 100% irrelevant if we had Separation of Church and State. We don’t. Not e-v-e-n. THAT is America’s problem.

    Bishop John Shelby Spong’s book “Sins of the Scriptures” should be required reading for every “Christian”.

  7. Steven says

    There was a great article in The Atlantic saying that the movement, in order to gain more power and acceptance , has to become more moderate. But alas it seems that evangelicals don’t want that to happen, which then begs the question if they truly want the power.

    Also before we just slam him for not wanting “marriages” the fact that he is willing to shift in the first place is a victory in itself. :)

  8. JBo says

    Such hypocrites. The religious right cries unfair when people who donated money for prop 8 resign from jobs due to views that don’t match their constituency yet are willing to do the same thing to one of their own. They need to follow their own advice or STFU already.

  9. greysells says

    Marriage in the 21st Century.

    I assume all Evangelicals believe that God loves all people, straight and gay. So being on God’s side and Him on ours, we need to find a solution that works which includes loving gays in the Christian Community. Try this one. There is only one kind of marriage that the State recognizes – [Civil] marriage by a justice of the peace. Everyone gets married that way. Everyone including all those that were previously married under the old rules. Remarriage could be an occasion of great rejoicing and renewal. My wife and I are up for it. And if would help solve this problem it is worth it.

    Since we have separation of Church and State, churches are free to do what they want additionally including remarrying members in any manner they choose and within their own rules. The Constitution protects worship so no one could force a church to do anything it did not want to do. Individuals are free to participate in whatever ceromonies they want. Some churches will want to marry gays. Some won’t. That’s OK. However, with declining church participation rates, many churches might review their policies on membership once we remove the conflict and get back to being followers of Jesus. Good stuff like love thy neighbor and being my brother’s keeper, etc. New Testament stuff.

    So now what do we have by doing the above? Everyone who wants to marry can do so Those who want a [church] marriage in addition can do so. The State is out of a church’s business. And the churches are out of the States’ business. All marriages are equal in law. The more marriages the merrier. No one is harmed and no one is hurt. Sounds Christian to me. Isn’t love wonderful?

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