FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–On the same day the state of Massachusetts began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, members of a Fort Worth, Texas, church mailed 750 letters encouraging their two U.S. senators to support a Federal Marriage Amendment.
Travis Avenue Baptist Church collected the letters as part of a campaign promoted by the church’s Christian Citizen Task Force. Each of the letters was written, addressed and stamped by individual members of the congregation in order to abide by guidelines for political action set forth by the Internal Revenue Service. The letters were sent to Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn, both Texas Republicans.
Meanwhile, the pastor of another Texas church is encouraging his congregation to contact their U.S. senator by phone. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls told church members May 16 that Christians must stand up for the biblical definition of marriage.
“Once you destroy the sanctity of the marriage relationship, the implications on children is incalculable,” Jeffress said, according to the Times Record News in Wichita Falls. “Study after study shows that children need to be reared in a stable environment where a mother and father are present.”
Jeffress said he was emboldened to speak up after attending a briefing in Washington, D.C., in which senators said they have been receiving few phone calls concerning a marriage amendment.
“Two senators said, ‘Our phones are virtually silent on this issue. Even though the overwhelming majority of the American people are against homosexual ‘marriage,’ we are not hearing from them,’” Jeffress said.
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, recently said it is imperative for Southern Baptists and other Christians to make their voice heard.
“Unless Southern Baptists and other people of faith want to see a judicially decreed, same-sex ‘marriage’ hegemony imposed on the entire country, they must translate their outrage, conviction and concern into phone calls to their senators, congressmen and the president,” Land said. “Unless Washington feels the heat from a groundswell of protest, they won’t see the light, and marriage as we have known it in America will be further imperiled.”
Under IRS regulations, churches and other tax-exempt nonprofit groups cannot expend funds in support of candidates or legislation. Individual members of congregations, however, can use private funds for political action.
Dillard Wilbanks, associate pastor and program ministry coordinator at Travis Avenue Baptist Church, said it was significant that the church gathered actual letters “in an era of e-mail convenience.”
The letter-writing campaign kicked off May 9 when pastor Michael Dean spoke about the role of mothers in society. Dean said the biblical definition of marriage is under attack and that churches in America would have to speak up on the issue of same-sex “marriage” for the institution of marriage to survive. He called on church members to write to their senators and congressional representatives and express their view that God had ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman. The church’s Christian Citizen Task Force provided sample letters for both adults and young people.
It was significant, Wilbanks said, that church members wrote the letter after having only one week’s notice. The expediency of the process demonstrates the importance of the biblical definition of family and marriage, he said.
Members of the church task force developed the idea for the letter writing campaign in March in an effort to see church members participate in the same-sex “marriage” debate and support a Federal Marriage Amendment.
“Mobilization of evangelical church members to take this initiative could well make the difference,” Wilbanks said. “I know of no other way to mobilize and motivate the numbers of persons necessary to have a significant impact on politicians.”
With additional reporting by Michael Foust. For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit