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Church-sponsored conference urges Christians to ‘reclaim California’

HIGHLAND, Calif. (BP)–Churches share the blame for “the greatest moral issue in America” and must work harder to eliminate abortion, a Texas pastor said at a “Reclaiming California Conference” Feb. 5 organized by Immanuel Southern Baptist Church in Highland.

“We have entered into a covenant with death that is destroying the soul of America,” declared Laurence White, pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston.

“We are the ones who have permitted and perpetuated this abomination by our own indifference,” White said. “We are to blame for the deaths of 40 million boys and girls because of our own self-serving bargains with expediency and convenience.”

White said “the killing would stop” if Christians united in a strong stand against abortion.

“Politicians aren’t very good at seeing the light but they are good at feeling the heat. We need to turn that heat up,” White said to cheers and applause from hundreds attending the conference.

Besides abortion, conference speakers and breakout sessions dealt with moral issues including homosexuality, pornography, gambling, public education and the rights of parents.

Homosexuality is not a civil right, a niece of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. told the gathering. Alveda King of Atlanta, founder of King for America, said, “Human sexuality is not a civil right or a civil issue, but an issue dealt with by the individual in the context of the family.”

King, a former state legislator in Georgia, told of being vilified by homosexuals for advocating traditional morality. She finally left politics when she realized it was “full of corruption.” King said she grew tired of being constantly criticized for telling homosexuals to accept responsibility for their behavior instead of claiming they were “born that way.” Eventually, she tried a new approach.

“OK, so you were born that way; get born again!” King said.

King urged Christians in California to vote for Proposition 22, the “Defense of Marriage” initiative, in the March 7 primary election.

“It is so important that we put away complacency and remember to do those things we were called to do,” King exhorted. “March 7 they won’t let me vote, but you can. That’s why I’m here. I’m here to encourage you.”

Attorney Brad Dacus felt so strongly about the need to promote the pro-marriage ballot initiative that he appeared at the conference the very day his wedding was to have taken place. Dacus, founder and president of the Pacific Justice Institute, said his fiancee agreed to postpone their nuptials two weeks and accompanied him to the Highland conference.

Dacus responded to those who ask why Proposition 22 should matter to churches. “If we don’t defend the institution of the family, then the doctrine and theology of the church becomes a joke in the eyes of society,” he said.

Too often, Dacus said, churches shy away from public morality issues because their leaders fear reprisals from government agencies. He told the conference churches “are entitled to use up to 5 percent of your resources” on matters related to public elections without jeopardizing their tax-exempt status.

Churches can even sponsor and host political meetings, he added. “Your church cannot formally endorse or reject candidates, but can invite candidates to speak in the church,” Dacus said.

“There are many opportunities, and yet we see there is greater intimidation against Christians and the church,” Dacus lamented. He encouraged those attending the conference to resist intimidation and to overcome ignorance about the rights of churches in society.

Looking beyond the March primary, Dacus said the Pacific Justice Institute is getting ready to fight a pair of pro-homosexual bills — AB 1001 and AB 537 — in the California legislature. In the meantime, he plans to continue working for passage of Proposition 22 and said PJI will continue representing individuals and religious groups without charge in legal cases involving civil liberties, parents’ rights and religious freedom.

David Barton, an authority on the religious and political views held by the founders of the United States of America, also addressed the conference. Barton is the founder and president of WallBuilders, a Texas-based organization “dedicated to restoring the values upon which America was built.”

Fervent belief in God and respect for the moral authority of Scripture were values shared by virtually all of the nation’s founders, Barton told the gathering. That the founders frequently quoted Bible passages amply demonstrates this assertion, Barton stated. But the founders’ original intent has been twisted in many cases, he continued. Among numerous examples Barton cited to support his claim was the frequently misunderstood doctrine of church-state separation.

“Separation of church and state was never meant to keep God out of government,” Barton said. “It was meant to keep government out of the church.”

    About the Author

  • Mark A. Wyatt