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Calif. churches to boost marriage with prayer, fasting for Prop. 22

SAN FRANCISCO (BP)–A statewide day of prayer and fasting has been called in California for supporters of a proposition that would legally define marriage.

Focus on the Family, a Colorado-based pro-family organization headed by James Dobson, and Capital Resource Institute, a California-based ministry headed by Mark Washburn, have asked all churches in California to set aside March 5 as a day of prayer and fasting.

“We’ve had dozens and hundreds of pastors asking what they can do to help in the effort to support Proposition 22,” Washburn said. “Recognizing the importance of prayer, we’ve asked all churches and denominations in California to pray and fast on that day.”

Proposition 22, if passed, would block the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in states that have legalized such marriages.

No state permits same-sex unions, but the Vermont legislature is considering it after its state Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to the same benefits as married people.

The day of prayer comes one week after several California churches were threatened by local government agencies for posting signs supporting Prop. 22, according to Brad Dacus, a spokesman for the Pacific Justice Institute.

The Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit legal defense organization, held a press conference March 2 to show its support for the churches.

Dacus reported that the county tax assessor’s office in Pismo Beach, Calif., told the New Life Community Church of the Nazarene that it could not legally put up Proposition 22 signs on its property.

Other churches in the city also reported similar dealings with the tax assessor, prompting Dacus to make a public statement about the incidents.

“The Internal Revenue Code states that churches are not forbidden to participate in local propositions,” Dacus said. “Provided that less than 5 percent of their total financial and labor resources go into the process.

“The intimidation has gone too far,” he added. “We want to send a decisive message that churches are entitled to support Proposition 22, and we at Pacific Justice Institute will continue to support churches, without charge, who are being harassed by local government.”

Various churches throughout the state have been targeted by vandals. At one Mormon congregation, arsonists poured gasoline on Prop. 22 signs and set them on fire.

Proposition 22 will be on the March 7 ballot.

In other developments:

–Radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger is the target of an Internet protest launched by homosexual activists.

According to the Internet site, StopDrLaura.com, the protestors wanted to “expose Paramount’s double standard on prejudice.” Paramount is producing a television program based on Schlessinger’s radio show.

The San Francisco-based Bay Horizons Foundation recently placed ads in three California newspapers accusing Schlessinger of anti-homosexual rhetoric, specifically her support of Prop. 22.

Schlessinger told Reuters, “Unless I have hallucinated, I have never made an anti-gay commentary,” she said. “What these people are trying to do is demonize me in an effort to help their political campaign against Prop. 22.”

–Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley both said they oppose the “Defense of Marriage” proposition during a March 1 Los Angeles debate.

“I don’t support gay marriage, but I do support domestic partnership legislation that would provide to gays and lesbians all the legal and financial rights that accrue in a marriage,” Bradley said.

–Helping Hands Ministry, a Georgia-based religious organization, was forced to take back most of a $440,000 check it sent to supporters of Prop. 22.

Robert Glazier, a spokesman for the Prop. 22 campaign committee, said the Georgia charity could only legally donate $64,000 to the campaign.

Terry Parker, an attorney for the ministry in Tallulah Falls, Ga., told the Los Angeles Times the group’s board opposes same-sex marriage and wanted to make a strong statement. “This is an issue all across the country and California sets the tone. They feel strongly about this.”

–A poll released the week of March 1 indicates a strong base of support for Prop. 22. 55 percent of California’s voters said they support the marriage initiative, 38 percent oppose it, and 7 percent are undecided.

    About the Author

  • Todd Starnes