Hale: Is conservative evangelical Christianity becoming more liberal when it comes to premarital sex? | AspenTimes.com

Hale: Is conservative evangelical Christianity becoming more liberal when it comes to premarital sex?

David Hale
David Hale
David Hale

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is the representative for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes the entire Western Slope of Colorado. She likes to remind people that she is a Christian. According to Wikipedia, she became “born again” in 2009. Likewise, she is always a big hit when she speaks out at conservative evangelical churches here in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Earlier in March, she received an award from Mom’s for America at the Women’s Breakfast portion of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). In her acceptance speech (available on YouTube), a beaming Boebert announced that her 17-year-old son’s girlfriend was expecting a baby come this April.

In a Fox News story, she recalled her own experience as a pregnant 17 year old: “I was a brand-new mom, and I had to make hard decisions on successfully raising my child or getting to my high school biology class. And I chose to take care of my child.”   

She goes on to celebrate rural teenage pregnancies, saying, “rural conservative communities” are “special” because the teenage girls who become pregnant in those rural areas tend to “value life.”

Those statements got me wondering about a whole host of issues. First, could the impossible be happening? Is Boebert starting to liberal-up? Is premarital sex now OK? I thought premarital sex was a big no-no in conservative evangelical circles.

Calling an out-of-wedlock, premarital pregnancy “special” sounds to me like a green light for high-school fun. Boy, howdy would I have liked to hear that when I was 17. In fact, when I was doing the woo woo with my girlfriend in high school, the whole Young Life staff was praying for my salvation. The word they used back in those days was “fornication.”

Maybe conservative evangelical Christians are coming around to that more liberal perspective — that the Bible is just way too mean and hurtful when it comes to sin. Did fornication get cancelled somewhere along the way? Here’s an entire quote from the Bible (Ephesians 5:3) that they can get rid of: “But fornication and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is fitting among saints.” While we are at it, why don’t we just get rid of all the mean things in the Bible?   

Maybe we can credit all of this re-interpretation of conservative Christian values to Donald Trump. He probably jump-started the change in conservative evangelical attitudes when he proposed his own ideas for Christian dating — being that he is such a great role model himself. According to Trump, dating success is best achieved by where you “grab them.”

And what about Stormy Daniels? Are we witnessing a return to the Old Testament practice of concubines? After all, they are “biblical,” aren’t they? A little bit of the new mixed with the old? It’s a great marketing plan! Trump’s role-modeling was obviously a big hit. His poll ratings skyrocketed with evangelicals once he became President.

A 2021 Pew Research poll found that an astonishing 93% of Trump’s white voters identified as evangelicals, and that his support among this group actually grew during his presidency.

Boebert’s reference to “rural values” also got me thinking: Do these rural values mean that it’s OK for bored high-school teenagers to do the woo woo out in the north 40 turn-rows?  She says this is a celebration of life values.

But didn’t conservative evangelicals formerly call this a demonstration of lust? Apparently, this is another biblical anachronism that the newly liberalized conservatives are in the process of cancelling.

But what about the Bible that they say they honor so much? (Do they ever even read it?) I quote from 1 John 2:16: For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh … is not of the Father but is of the world.” The author of John might not think that doing the woo woo in the turn-rows is a celebration of “rural life values” but rather a manifestation of plain old fashioned teenage lust.

Conservative evangelicals (and Boebert) love to rant, point fingers, and get hysterical about abortion all in the name of “life.” Funny thing, the Bible never talks about abortion, but it does talk about fornication, lust, and life. None of which are given a free pass, not even life itself.

In fact, Jesus says (Matthew 10:39) one must “lose your life.” What does that mean? It’s hard to construe that that means it’s OK to get your teenage girlfriend pregnant. And isn’t that the leading cause of abortions anyway — pregnancy? Oh, but maybe you would have to go to biology class to know that. 

David Hale earned a joint Ph.D. from the University of Denver and the Iliff School of Theology in Philosophy, Religion, and Cultural Theory. He is a lecturer in philosophy at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction. He lives in Snowmass, where he works full time as a contractor and lives with his wife, Susan, dog-child, Bodhi, and their cat, Black Kitty.