HIGHLAND, Calif. (BP)–The pastor of the host church for a “Reclaiming California Conference” said the Feb. 5 gathering was designed to raise churches’ awareness about important issues on next month’s California primary election ballot.
Rob Zinn, along with several speakers at the conference, exhorted churches to support Proposition 22, the California ballot initiative that defines marriage as “between one man and one woman.”
“March 7 is not going to be an insignificant vote,” Zinn told some 235 fellow pastors and guests attending a dinner on the eve of the conference. “If Prop. 22 is defeated, you won’t recognize this state in five years.”
Zinn said pastors need to encourage church members to register and vote yes on Proposition 22 and other pro-morality issues and to defeat several gambling issues on the March 7 ballot.
“The homosexuals are not going to be happy just defeating [Proposition] 22,” Zinn said. “Their agenda says they want to redefine marriage [and] bring in a whole new set of principles. If Christians don’t vote, aren’t in the political process, who’s making the policy for our country?” Zinn asked.
An authority on church-state separation issues echoed the call for churches to become more active in the electoral process. David Barton noted that only one out of four Christians voted in America in 1998.
“If we don’t stand up as salt and light, God won’t bless,” declared Barton, founder of WallBuilders, a Texas-based organization dedicated to restoring America’s founding values through general education and specific legislation.
“What happens in California affects the rest of us, every state in the nation,” Barton continued. He appealed to Christians in California to turn back the growing push for special rights for homosexuals.
“Do us a favor,” Barton pleaded, “get this thing beat here. This doesn’t need to go across the country.”
D. James Kennedy, a Presbyterian minister and head of Coral Ridge Ministries in Coral Gables, Fla., addressed the gathering in a videotaped message. Churches must address “the great moral issues of our time,” Kennedy said, because “government has obtruded itself into the realm of the spiritual, ecclesiological and moral issues as never before.”
As a result, Kennedy said, “There are millions of Christians who are looking for a pastor with the intestinal fortitude to stand up” against immorality in government and society. Working to pass Proposition 22 is one way to do that, he said.
A self-described “former homosexual” also spoke to the group, dismissing claims comparing the battle over Proposition 22 to the civil rights struggle.
“This is not a gay rights issue,” Keno Rogers said emphatically.
Besides supporting Proposition 22, Rogers said Christians also should reach out to homosexuals with the love of Jesus Christ. “Do everything you can to tell the gay community ‘we love you,'” he said. Christians “are supposed to love” homosexuals, Rogers continued. “But you have a responsibility to tell ’em that they’re wrong,” he added.
Testifying from personal experience, Rogers said many homosexuals are “confused and troubled.” But Jesus Christ offers homosexuals a way out of the gay lifestyle, he declared.
“God didn’t make me [homosexual] but he showed me I chose to be. The truth has set me free. I am not a homosexual anymore. I’m not a drug addict. I’m a child of God!” Rogers declared.
Rogers disclosed he is being treated for Acquired Immunity Deficiency Syndrome and said he wants to begin a ministry to warn young people about AIDS. He said tens of thousands of teens in California’s San Bernardino County would contract AIDS this year, not all due to homosexual behavior.
“AIDS is not a gay disease, it’s an immorality disease,” said Rogers, noting that AIDS frequently is transmitted among illicit drug users through contaminated syringes.
Zinn gave credit for the success of the Reclaiming California Conference to Jan Williams and Gail Mullinez, co-chairs of the event. They and other church members helped organize the inaugural conference under the auspices of a Pastor’s Information Resource Council formed last year at Immanuel Baptist Church.
Zinn said he decided to create P.I.R.C. when homosexual activists targeted another evangelical church for daring to speak out against homosexuality. Dinner participants showed their approval with a standing ovation as Zinn presented a plaque to pastor Don Wallace honoring Redlands Christian Center for its bold stance.
In addition to sponsoring the Reclaiming California conference, the Pastor’s Information Resource Council produces a monthly newsletter circulated through subscriptions. Churches interested in starting a similar group can contact Williams or Mullinez at Immanuel Baptist Church in Highland at (909) 425-1777, ext. 3227.