If we preach the sanctity of marriage then let every man live with the wife of his youth (Mal. 2) and let our witness to the world be one of honoring that institution as holy. If we are indistinguishable from the world in our divorce rates, our adultery, our fornications, then how can we proclaim that political recognition of homosexual marriage threatens "family values"?
The overall post is an excellent argument for Christians to watch the way they describe their views and to serve as a model for reasoned discourse. The reason most people think evangelical Christians are stupid and have idiotic views is because enough of the people who claim to speak for evangelicals on political issues make themselves look stupid and make their views look idiotic, even if they're not. But what's just as important as learning how to speak into the mindset of a culture that shares very little of your underlying convictions, that finds very little of your assumptions plausible, is whether you live what you say.
Some of the reports about this are skewed for not paying attention to the right information. The reason the reports are skewed is because they fail to take into account many people who aren't evangelicals who split up after acting married were never legally married to begin with, and so their statistics don't show up, making the evangelical divorce rate look higher with respect to the general divorce rate than it eeally should be. Even so, evangelicals do have a much higher divorce rate than you would expect from people who supposedly believe that no-fault divorce is almost always immoral. I'm unaware of a similar explanation for why the premarital sex numbers might be higher than would be accurate.
Evangelicals don't tend to live different enough lives when it comes to this sort of thing, at least when you compare it to their convictions. Does this invalidate the Christian gospel? Not at all. It confirms it. Those who are saved are being transformed, but transformation starts somewhere and isn't instantaneous. What it does do, however, is undermine the Christian's call to the world to live morally.
Consider the example of Isaiah. In the sixth chapter of his prophecy, we have an account of his call to the office of prophet. He was in the temple worshiping God, and he had a vision of God's glory, one that immobilized him. When he was asked to go speak to God's people with a message for them, he responded that he was a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips. He identifies with his people. He's not morally responsible for their actions, but their uncleanness from their sin affects him, and he's identified with them in such a way that he isn't fit to speak God's message. God (in the vision) has to purify his lips with a hot coal so that the message can go forth from a vessel such as Isaiah, due to his being part of a people of unclean lips.
Daniel, Ezra, and others have similarly associated with the sins of their people, even when they did not themselves commit the sins. The people would publicly repent of sins not all of them committed. The leaders would repent of the sins of the people when on their watch. Those who simply were members of the people would repent because their people had sinned. I've heard Christians tell me that it's stupid to repent on behalf of others on racial issues. If my ancestors or others who aren't me have done terrible things racially, I'm just not responsible for that. This is a thoroughly unbiblical view. I'm in some sense a part of any group I'm part of, and I bear some of the burden of what they do. I'm a citizen of New York, and my state has elected senators who in most respects don't represent my views. They're still my senators, and as a New Yorker I bear the burden of what those senators do. They do it on behalf of me, and if it's shameful then it shames me. If they do things that honor their job as senators, then it reflects well on those they represent, including those who didn't vote for them.
Now I do think the coal searing the lips has a sort of fulfillment in the work of the Holy Spirit among Christians. I don't think evangelical Christians are, by virtue of any uncleanness within themselves due to being associated with evangelicals, made unfit to speak God's message of good news. The Holy Spirit has purified us. That's spoken of more in the past tense than in the present or future in the New Testament. Yet at the same time I wonder if evangelical Christians as a group have the right to speak into a culture about moral issues when evangelicals as a group display very little difference from that culture when it comes to key moral issues.
I want to note two ways that radical American individualism has not completely abandoned the sense of group respondibility and solidarity. One is in sports. You're supposed to root for the home team. That's almost viewed as a moral responsibility. When the home team loses, it's an embarassment to you. When they win, you're supposed to be proud that your team won. The other revealed itself after 9-11. All of a sudden, pride in being an American was once again a good thing.
I'm not just talking about those who accused people of being unpatriotic for happening to disagree with a policy of an imperfect government, though that involves group solidarity. I'm not just talking about those who support our troops even though they oppose the war, wanting to avoid the disgraceful attitude toward the troops during Vietnam, though that's a kind of solidarity as well. I'm talking about the sense of coming together that almost everyone thought was morally required. They thought Falwell and Robertson's criticisms of American values during that time were inappropriate.
I'm not saying this because I agree with all these ways we should have solidarity. Falwell and Robertson, for instance, were right to say that Americans' rebellion against God was one likely explanation for why 9-11 happened. They were wrong to pick out their favorite pet sins that they don't commit as the reasons God had for judging this country. They thus didn't act in the way Isaiah, Daniel, and Ezra did. The criticism of Falwell and Robertson was wrong, though they should have been critcized on other grounds. Anyway, the reason I'm saying this is to point out that many people do believe this sort of thing in certain contexts. They just seem unwilling to apply it to other contexts, where I think it should be applied. One of those is the unrecognition among people who seek to speak for evangelicalism that evangelicals may not really have the podium from which to speak morally into the general culture.