Just when you thought Rev. Danny Cortez would be busy avoiding controversy after he and his congregation were dismissed by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2014 for adopting a “third way” affirming same-sex unions, he has landed himself in hot water again.
This time, dissension arose during an interview between the “third way” pastor and another gay-affirming minister who finds holes in Cortez’s logic on sexuality, Scripture, and polyamory. The host of the interview is Rev. Jeff Hood, who describes himself as “a Southerner, Queer, and Christian, I am a committed activist, visionary writer and radical prophetic voice to a closed society.”
At the beginning of the interview Hood simply asks whether or not Cortez believes the Bible makes room for polyamory. Cortez starts off firmly rejecting polyamory relationships saying, “I don’t see polyamory spoken of positively at all in scripture. When polyamory is mentioned, it is not approved or valued.” Hood presses on, at one point even insinuating Jesus and His twelve disciples engaged in a polyamorous relationship. Again, Cortez denies polyamory and the idea that Jesus engaged in sexual relationships with His disciples.
However, Cortez’s steady rejection of polyamory did not last long. As Hood disagrees, he begins to advocate polyamory by using Cortez’s own unorthodox reasoning against him. Hood succeeds at pointing out that Cortez’s love-and-let-live theology on sexuality have no choice but to include polyamory relationships.
Below you can see Cortez recognize that his logic is faulty and he begins to retract his previous statements:
Hood: Would you bring all three parents or four parents up during a baby dedication or any other special church service?
Cortez: I have no desire to police the relationships of our people.
H: I am not interested in condemning love. If people have learned to love each other and not do violence to each other, I just want to let them be. I love my neighbor as my self by letting them be.
C: I don’t think that scripture gives a robust position on this topic.
H: I don’t think that scripture gives any position on this topic.
The messiness of Cortez’s reasoning extended outside of his interview with Hood. The President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Owen Strachan, took issue with Cortez’s unwillingness to disciple his congregation on matters of sin well. On his Patheos blog called Thought Life, Strachan wrote, “The lack of interest in ‘policing’ relationships is striking. Cortez explicitly disavows any kind of watchcare over his members.”
Strachan also pointed out the faulty logic associated with Christians advocating “Gay Christianity” writing, “It is clear, however, that those who are driving the conversation will not in the end embrace any meaningful limits on sexual activity. To put it more bluntly, there are no brakes on this speeding train.”
After responding to Strachan’s blog in the comment section, Cortez backpedaled more by adding an evasive addendum to his interview with Hood:
So to be clear, even though polygamy was allowed in the [Old Testament], I believe the trajectory of scripture moves us towards monogamy. So when I say, I wouldn’t police the relationships, I say that in the same way missionaries have addressed polyamory in other cultures. What I meant is similar to what John Piper’s stance is in understanding that we need to give grace to people who are already in these relationships. Piper gives insight into the dilemma missionaries find themselves in when they encounter polygamy. Do we police the relationship and force them to divorce? Or do we leave room for grace?
The bottom line: Hood applied consistent logic, and against that reasoning, Cortez visibly pulled back during the interview because he no longer holds a foundation in traditional Christian teaching. His compromise on same-sex relationships has left him with nothing more than moral relativism that could not stand the testing of Hood’s reasoning, much less orthodoxy.
Once the truth has been twisted, there can be no more distinct line by which we measure right versus wrong. As Hood concludes, “I don’t believe that the polyamorous struggle for equality is all that different from the LGBT struggle for equality. Love is love.”