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Land: Marriage debate is over society’s ‘basic building block’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–“We are locked in a struggle to defend the basic building block of society,” Richard Land said of marriage when he addressed the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee Sept. 21.

“The legalization of same-sex ‘marriages’ would be a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions for America’s children,” Land warned, recounting that the battle intensified when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex “marriage” in that state.

The illegitimacy rate in some Scandinavian countries is above 80 percent because men and women are cohabiting instead of marrying, Land noted.

In European countries when same-sex partners are allowed to marry, he continued, the divorce rate is higher for homosexual and lesbian couples than for those in traditional marriages and there has been a steep decline in the number of heterosexual marriages, he recounted.

There is no question that fathers and mothers in monogamous marital relationships are fundamental for properly raising children, Land said.

“You can’t expand the definition of marriage,” he said. “You can only shatter it.”

Land went on to say the legalization of same-sex “marriage” would portend dark days ahead for the U.S. government. “Democracy itself is at stake,” he said. “Are we to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people, or a government of judges, by judges and for judges?” he asked.

When American voters have an opportunity to speak out on this issue, they speak out resoundingly in favor of traditional marriage, he said, noting in all seven of the states that have voted on the issue, citizens have overwhelmingly supported marriage as only between one man and one woman.

Even a majority of Californians gave God’s design for marriage the thumbs up, Land said, noting the issue carried every demographic in the state except 18-24-year-olds, voicing a cause for concern: This age group’s support of a broader definition of marriage could be directly attributed to “compulsory, homosexual-friendly sex education.”

“It’s time we took back our schools,” he said to much applause from the Executive Committee audience.

There are those who say the Constitution is a sacred document in the nation’s history and it should not be amended to reflect marriage as the union of only one man and one woman, Land said.

They are wrong, he continued. “The Bible is the most sacred document in our country’s history,” he said. “If we can amend the Constitution to regulate congressional pay raises, as was done in the most recent amendment, then we surely can amend the Constitution to make certain marriage in our nation is only between one man and one woman.”

This is one reason why this election is the most crucial election in his lifetime, Land said, and that is the reason the ERLC launched the iVoteValues.com voter registration and awareness effort earlier this year.

The aim of the iVoteValues initiative, Land explained, is to get people registered, to encourage them to be informed about the candidates and the issues and then to “vote their values, their beliefs and their convictions.”

You can’t vote if you’re not registered, Land said. “It is a disgrace that some 30 percent of Southern Baptists are not even registered to vote.”

With more than 4 million visitors to the two iVoteValues websites, Land said the initiative’s reach has been extended through a partnership with Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.

“We have seen phenomenal results and tremendous receptivity” and people are registering to vote, Land said, reporting a tally of at least 15,000 people on the Web and at the locations where the iVoteValues.com Mobile Information Center and Registration Rig has visited on its cross-country tour. Land added that tens of thousands of voter registration forms have been distributed off the Web, at the truck and through the iVoteValues.com Tool Kit.

The effort is being well represented across the country by the iVoteValues.com truck, Land said, as photographs of the tractor-trailer were shown on jumbo screens behind him.

Logging nearly 20,000 miles since it pulled out of the Indianapolis Convention Center after the Southern Baptist Convention in June, the truck brings the message of values-based voting to big cities and small communities alike, he said.

Land told the SBC Executive Committee about the truck’s owner, Sid Yochim, who held on to the truck for years after leaving the country music business even when he had offers to sell the vehicle and could have used the money. Yochim was convinced God had something grand in store for the old Peterbilt truck and trailer, which he once drove from city to city carrying merchandise for the Charlie Daniels Band.

A providential encounter between Yochim and an ERLC staff member at First Baptist Church in Lebanon, Tenn., where the two are members led to the ERLC completing what they called an “extreme makeover” of the huge truck for the iVoteValues.com outreach effort.

Another element of the initiative, a political party platform comparison resource, will be released the week of Sept. 27, Land told Executive Committee members. The eight-page, full-color mini-magazine lays out specific proposals and pledges made by the two major political parties in their platforms. The resource contains only excerpts from the two platforms and, due to space constraints, is unable to cover each issue raised, he continued.

Land noted the ERLC has gone to great efforts to ensure the iVoteValues voter registration and awareness effort is nonpartisan and in compliance with the requirements for 501(c)(3) organizations, such as churches.

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  • Dwayne Hastings