Richard Cizik, who resigned in 2008 as VP for governmental affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals after voicing support for civil unions and telling Terry Gross that his views on same-sex marriage were “shifting,” made a return to “Fresh Air” yesterday. (Gross said her interview with Cizik was the only in her career that has resulted in her guest losing his job.) Cizik talked about what’s good and his new organization, the Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.
Gross got right to it:
GROSS: Let me ask you, you say you really identify with the concerns and priorities of younger evangelical voters, and one of those priorities is - it’s more of an acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage.
A couple of years ago when you were on our show, I asked you if you were changing your mind on that. And two years ago, you said you were still opposed to gay marriage. But now, as you identify more and more with the younger voters and their priorities, have you changed on gay marriage?
Rev. CIZIK: I’m shifting, I have to admit. In other words, I would willingly say I believe in civil unions. I don’t officially support redefining marriage from its traditional definition, I don’t think.
GROSS: Okay, Richard Cizik, that’s what you said in 2008, and…
Rev. CIZIK: And I still agree with that.
GROSS: So did you expect to say that? Did you expect to say publicly that you supported civil unions, or did that just kind of come out?
Rev. CIZIK: It came out. It came out of the depths of the heart the mouth speaks - that’s what the Bible says, and so it just came out. I hadn’t planned on saying it, but I had been thinking about it a long time.
And that was because I was looking at constitutional arguments that are even now being weighed by the California Supreme Court and others. In other words, can we deny rights to others whose rights we don’t especially share or, in fact, may disagree with strongly? And yet, yes I agree with what I said then. I happen to agree with it now.
I can definitely identify with speaking when not expecting to.