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FIRST-PERSON: The enemy, they say, is you

LYNCHBURG, Va. (BP)–President Bush took a bold stance in voicing his backing of traditional marriage in America on July 30.

“I think it’s very important,” the president said, “for our society to respect each individual, to welcome those with good hearts, to be a welcoming country. On the other hand, that does not mean that somebody like me needs to compromise on an issue such as marriage. And that’s really where the issue is headed here in Washington, and that is the definition of marriage. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I believe a marriage is between a man and a woman. And I think we ought to codify that one way or the other. And we’ve got lawyers looking at the best way to do that.”

Following that statement, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), a national homosexual-rights organization, called into question President Bush’s “invocation of personal religious beliefs” in his comments opposing “marriage” for same-sex couples.

What this means is that GLAAD officials believe that personal religious beliefs should have no place in the public arena. They know that by eliminating religious ethics they can make further social inroads. Never mind that these moral guidelines have preserved the nation’s moral heritage since its inception.

This reproach of traditional religious values has brought us to a turning point. Conservative people of faith — those who embrace the Judeo-Christian doctrines of the Bible — are considered illegitimate in the important social/political debate on homosexual marriage (and other key issues, for that matter) solely because our beliefs are founded in historic sacred teachings.

Listen to the comments of John Sonego, GLAAD’s director of communications:

“It is equally important that the media carefully scrutinize and hold up for debate President Bush’s invocation of religion as the fundamental rationale for his policy of excluding same-sex couples and families from the protections of marriage. By saying he has charged government attorneys to explore ways to ‘codify’ the ‘sanctity of marriage,’ and through numerous biblical references in his discussion about this issue, the president is clearly signaling his conviction that his personal religious beliefs should be the basis for governing law. In a country where the separation of church and state is a founding principle, this mix of personal beliefs and his administration’s public policy needs to be examined critically by the media.”

I find this statement quite alarming because Mr. Sonego is essentially calling on the nation’s mainstream media to publicly censure President Bush for daring to invoke his sincerely held religious beliefs in supporting traditional marriage. Even President Clinton supported traditional marriage, signing the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, 37 states have Defense of Marriage Acts that define marriage as a union exclusively between one man and one woman.

Someone should also give Mr. Sonego a history lesson to instruct him that the so-called separation of church and state is not a “founding principle” of this nation and can be found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution (the document reflecting the founding principles of our founders).

Manipulating and rewriting history has become quite fashionable these days as those who define the Constitution as a “living” document attempt to diabolically mold it so that it sanctions their ever-changing moral “standards.”

Understanding their willingness to shamelessly amend our history, it’s really no surprise that these careless revisionists also would stoop to aggressively disparage those who utilize religious teachings in forming their political beliefs.

It is becoming ever more clear that evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics in America are going to be further ridiculed and portrayed as dangerous “homophobes” simply because we wish to hold forth the Judeo-Christian teachings that shaped the beliefs of Washington, Madison, Franklin and most of our founders.

The 200,000 pastors of evangelical churches in this nation need to ensure that their congregants are aware of the fact that we are public enemy number one in this escalating cultural battle. And these pastors need to fervently instruct their flocks to remain socially active and politically astute as we fight together to retain moral sanity in America.
Falwell is pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., and chancellor of Liberty University.

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  • Jerry Falwell