She continues in a review of Stackhouse’s argument in the book which she calls (and I agree, from her summary) “extremely convincing to all those who are already egalitarians.” She defends the egalitarian view of gender, I’m quietly nodding along. She returns to the suggestion that the tight hold evangelicals have on their view of gender is curious:
“As a defense of the Bible, this is very peculiar. If allowing women to be ordained will destroy the authority of Scripture, why doesn't the slippery slope argument go, "Ordain women, and Christ's bodily resurrection will be the next thing to go," or, "Ordain women, and we may have to relinquish our belief in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of the sins, and the life everlasting"?”
Right on! Why is the negative result from respecting women as equals also respecting homosexuals as equals? How did evangelicals become so dogmatic about their views about sexuality that even questioning them – questioning an issue related to them – is heresy? Bauer goes the other direction with this argument, however, suggesting that perhaps this is a slope that is not so slippery. Just because gay rights are closely linked with women’s rights in secular politics doesn’t mean it has to be in Christianity.
“To those who argue that, in some denominations, the ordination of women has led to the open acceptance of homosexuality, I would agree that this is indeed a real phenomenon. It has occurred because, in those denominations, the church has completely lost sight of the fact that it is supposed to be the gathered people of God, a counterculture which lives apart from the power-structures of the world.”
This baffles me. I don’t understand how her questioning of the protection of gender norms does not lead also to questioning of evangelical terror over “deviant” sexualities. Why doesn't the reading of the bible that leads to an egalitarian view of gender necessarily lead us to re-read the bible with an eye toward accepting those of other sexual orientations? The passages that reference that are even more difficult than those about women. Bauer also points out that “The theologians who insist that the commands restricting women are obvious and universal—and if you don't think so, that's your problem—have to do some fancy footwork if they're going to assert that the equally "clear" passages on slavery suddenly became no longer applicable sometime in the 19th century.” I find it curious that she is willing to take a step toward gender equality, based on this reasoning, and not continue this reasoning to include our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters. Her earlier suggestion that questions why accepting gay and lesbian persons is such a horrible outcome, I believe, is a saner way.