Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a contender for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is taking heat from those within his own progressive camp for speaking years ago at an Illinois megachurch with very mainstream views on the biblical understanding of marriage and sexuality.
In August 2011, Booker spoke at the Global Leadership Summit hosted by Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. That years-old appearance is the subject of a recent Huffington Post story.
Amanda Terkel, who wrote the article, accused the megachurch, formerly pastored by Bill Hybels, who left the church last year over allegations of sexual impropriety, of “supporting policies that discriminate against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.”
All that essentially means is the Chicago congregation has held to a biblical understanding of marriage as a holy union between one man and one woman.
When the summit took place, then-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who has for months been mulling a presidential run, backed out of the event over Willow Creek’s mainstream beliefs regarding marriage.
Hybels, at the time, defended his church. He told The Chicago Tribune he “challenge[s] homosexuals and heterosexuals to live out the sexual ethics taught in Scriptures, which encourage sexual expression between a man and a woman in the context of marriage.”
For anyone outside the confines of a male-female marriage, Hybels added, the Bible commands “sexual abstinence and purity.”
While Willow Creek’s stated position on marriage and sexuality is far from new, the issue has received a disproportionate amount of attention this year, particularly from one of Booker’s presidential competitors, Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Buttigieg, despite having never faced any criticism over his sexual orientation from Vice President Mike Pence, has spent a fair amount of time rebuking the former governor of Indiana for adhering to a biblical understanding of sexuality and marriage, which is mainstream within the Christian community.
In early April, Buttigieg claimed his homosexuality has “moved me closer to God,” arguing his sexual orientation was not a choice.
“That’s the thing that I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” he said. “That if you have a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
All of this — both Buttigieg’s comments and Terkel’s fascination with Booker’s old comments at a church with very common views on marriage and sexuality — is the result of a society of people doing their level best to jettison tolerance.
By labeling those who adhere to a different theological understanding of sexuality as “bigots” and describing their convictions as “discrimination,” the left is eating away at what it means to truly live in a pluralistic society in which people hold peacefully to different worldviews on myriad issues, to include sexuality and marriage.
For his part, Booker capitulated to the criticism. A spokesperson for the New Jersey lawmaker told Terkel that Booker “didn’t know about the church’s record at that time, and he wouldn’t have spoken there if he had.”