This is the easiest way to become a pariah in American Christendom:
- Become a famous Christian mommy blogger
- Get divorced
- Get remarried — to a woman
Such is the story of Glennon Doyle Melton, whose recent marriage to soccer star Abby Wambach rocked her career like a president found guilty of conspiring with Russia. A recent profile in Elle shows how the evangelical Christian world couldn’t handle the sudden change.
Let’s pretend for a minute that it’s early 2016 and you are Glennon Doyle Melton — wife, mother, spiritual exemplar, sun-bronzed poster girl for a kind of messy, beautiful domestic imperfection that, somehow, makes you even more perfect. You’re the world’s most famous Christian mommy blogger, a heroine and role model to your one million social media followers. Your first memoir, Carry On, Warrior, was a best-seller. Now you’re about to release your second — Love Warrior, a gripping chronicle of how you saved your marriage following your husband Craig’s infidelity. The book ends with you and Craig standing on the beach facing the Gulf of Mexico, renewing your vows and affirming the gritty path of the Warrior: “Love, Pain, Life: I am not afraid. I was born to do this.”
And then, right before the book is published, you attend a literary conference and spot a woman across the room. She has spiky, platinum-tipped hair, an impish smile, and calf muscles the size of tree trunks. She is U.S. soccer superstar Abby Wambach. And you know instantly that she is the love of your life. What do you do?
… ChristianityToday, the highest-circulation magazine for evangelical Christians, ran not just one but two scathing editorials against Melton, castigating her “adoring fans” for embracing her “gospel of self-fulfillment.” The Christian Post newspaper quoted a minister who called her a “false prophet” and said he would pray for her: “Please, I beg you, stop claiming a relationship with Jesus, while claiming a homosexual relationship with another woman.”
It’s worth noting that Melton’s brand of Christianity was criticized long before her relationship with Wambach became public. As the article notes, Melton has been denounced by Christianity Today, among other Christian publications, as following a “gospel of self-fulfillment.” The conservative, evangelical consensus is that Melton cares more about following her own selfish, lustful desires than fulfilling the teachings of Christ (even though Jesus mentioned homosexuality a grand total of zero times). Worse than homosexuality, in their view, is her sin of cherry-picking the Bible: She follows the parts she likes and rejects the parts she doesn’t.
Yet if Christians are truly honest with themselves, they have to admit that everyone cherry-picks. It’s easier to indulge in “socially acceptable” sins, like gossip or lying, without guilt, than it is to marry someone of your own gender. Even divorce, which is condemned in the New Testament, occurs as often among evangelicals as it does in secular groups.
What’s most infuriating about the response to Melton’s marriage is the hypocrisy it reveals. The same demographic that is condemning Melton also gleefully and overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump, a thrice-married, serial adulterer. Their outrage about gay marriage far outweighs their concern about poverty and confessed child molesters like Josh Duggar playing the victim. Duggar’s victims have to live with the trauma for the rest of their lives, yet he gets a “pass” because he claims that God forgave him.
Melton’s happiness, on the other hand, affects no one but her own family.
Evangelicals claim that all sins are equal in the eyes of God, yet their selective anger always seems to suggest otherwise.
(Image via Instagram)