WASHINGTON — Leaders from most of the world's major religious groups who gathered at the Vatican last month for a conference on marriage left optimistic that they can win their fight against the forces of the sexual revolution emanating from the West, Dr. Russell Moore said.
"One of the most important things that came out of the colloquium is a sense of optimism from the people there," explained Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, in a Monday interview at his Washington, D.C., office. "Being in dialogue with people from all around the world, in almost every [religious] tradition, people who have almost nothing else in common, I think we all walked away with a sense that concern about marriage is much bigger and broader than what we would have previously assumed."
The purpose of the Humanum conference, also called The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium and held at the Vatican Nov. 17-19, was to bring representatives from the major religious groups around the world to discuss how proper understanding the complementarity of the male/female relationship can invigorate efforts to promote the social goods provided my marriage.
Besides the various Christian groups, there were also representatives from the Jewish, Latter-day Saint, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist faith traditions. Moore and Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California represented American Evangelicals.
In his speech at the conference, which you can read here or watch below, Moore spoke about the universally recognized truth that all human beings have a mother and a father and that "the drive toward marital unity is powerful, so powerful that it can feel as wild as fire."
The Sexual Revolution, Moore added, is not simply antithetical to Christian teaching, but to human ecology. And, it has been particularly harmful for women.
"The Sexual Revolution is not liberation at all, but simply the imposition of a different sort of patriarchy. The Sexual Revolution empowers men to pursue a Darwinian fantasy of the predatory alpha-male, rooted in the values of power, prestige, and personal pleasure," he said.
Moore told CP that he appreciated the opportunity to be explicitly Evangelical in his speech. There was no effort to suppress religious expression at the event. In the speech, Moore preached the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The "one-flesh union" of husband and wife, Moore said, "points beyond itself to the union of Christ and his church."
And, he later added, "the gospel tells us that, left to ourselves, all of us are cut off from the life of God, that we all fall short of the glory of God. The gospel tells us that our only hope is to be joined to another, to be hidden in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners and raised by the power of God, received through faith."
The lasting impact of the conference, Moore believes, will be the relationships that were built during the event.
"Many of the most important things happening in the room happened, not in the public sessions," he said, but in "people getting to know one another and talking about the obstacles they are facing."
The religious leaders from non-Western nations see the problems their nations are experiencing as coming from the Sexual Revolution of the West, particularly the United States, Moore discovered.
He also said he wanted to go to the Vatican to get a better sense of any changes that may be occurring within the Roman Catholic Church after some mixed signals about marriage at an October Synod. He found, though, that "the Pope was clear that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that complementarity is essential to marriage."