NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptists are partnering with a host of notable evangelical ministries to help churches get involved in the work to preserve the divine institution of marriage, Richard Land reported to the SBC Executive Committee Sept. 23.
In announcing Marriage Protection Week (www.marriageprotectionweek.com), Land said the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission which he leads has worked with concerned ministries, such as Focus on the Family, the American Family Association and Prison Fellowship, “to develop a cohesive and workable plan to aid and assist churches in responding to the well-organized and well-funded effort to redefine marriage.” Churches are being asked to mark Marriage Protection Week Oct. 12-18.
The Marriage Protection Week website includes downloadable resources such as a sample poster; commentary on Scriptures related to the issue; a sermon outline by Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church of Springdale, Ark.; and bulletin inserts with action steps to get the amendment moving through Congress and out to state legislatures.
Land also noted the ERLC has drafted a model resolution on the issue that can be used by churches, local Baptist associations and state conventions, available on the Web at www.faithandfamily.com
America is at a critical juncture in her history, Land told the Executive Committee, saying there is “titanic clash of values” reflected in the battle to redefine marriage as something other than what God intended — the union of one man and one woman.
There are two vastly different visions of what America’s future should be, Land said. “There is a tremendous and titanic clash of values and morals that is taking place in our society between the Judeo-Christian understanding of truth and the neo-pagan understanding of truth,” he explained, underscoring the importance of Southern Baptists becoming engaged in the struggle to preserve the biblical model of marriage.
“The best legal minds in the country have come to the conclusion that the only way we can protect ourselves from having the judiciary force same-sex ‘marriage’ upon an unwilling nation is to have a constitutional amendment that says specifically that nothing in the U.S. Constitution or any of the state constitutions shall be construed as requiring that marriage be anything other than the union of a man and a woman,” Land said.
The federal judiciary resembles a “runaway freight train” intent on enforcing a “secular bias on all of our public places and all of our public institutions,” Land said, calling on Southern Baptist churches and seminaries to use resources developed in support of Marriage Protection Week to create an awareness within their church and their community of the issue and of the desperate need for passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment.
“I can think of nothing that would have a more chilling effect on the federal judiciary in this country than for the people of this country to rise up and say enough is enough and urge their elected representatives to pass this amendment,” Land said.
“We are going to do our best to make certain that everyone knows Southern Baptists are opposed to same-sex ‘marriage’ and that Southern Baptists support what needs to be done to protect the sanctity of marriage in the United States,” Land promised.
Tom Elliff, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Okla., and chairman of the Southern Baptist Council on Family Life, added his support to the effort to make Southern Baptists aware of the push to legalize same-sex “marriages” and thereby normalize homosexual behavior.
The resolution in support of Marriage Protection Week is especially noteworthy, Elliff said, noting it clearly enunciated what Southern Baptists have been saying for years. “It calls upon us to courageously align ourselves with the biblical position that homosexuality is a sin. It further addresses the absolute legal nightmare that would be caused by affirming same-sex unions as ‘marriages,'” he continued, calling Southern Baptists to pray for those who feel they are “trapped in a homosexual lifestyle.”
“For too long, 97 percent of our nation’s citizens have been denied an appropriate voice as the courts, media and Congress have allowed the avowedly gay 3 percent of our population to assert their agenda,” Elliff said, citing the fall TV lineup as an example, such as ABC’s “It’s All Relative.”
Southern Baptists are key in the effort to preserve the traditional and proper model of marriage and to turn back the efforts to cast homosexuality as just another lifestyle choice, Land said. “If we can turn back this assault on the most basic, foundational institution in our society, we will have been used by God to win a tremendous victory in this spiritual struggle for the hearts and minds of our citizens,” he said, noting that the time for hand-wringing has passed and the time for action is at hand.
While Land said he doesn’t expect Congress to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment until 2004, he said a state court ruling that legalizes same-sex “marriage,” such as in Massachusetts or New Jersey where such cases are already before the states’ Supreme Courts, will necessitate accelerated action on the Federal Marriage Amendment.
“The problem is that once same-sex ‘marriage’ is sanctioned in one state, homosexual activists will immediately go into some federal court to argue that the Defense of Marriage Acts that have been passed by 37 state legislatures and Congress are null and void because of the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution,” Land warned.
Land said while he is hopeful, he is not optimistic that opponents of same-sex “marriage” will prevail in the short run. He said the “sweeping and unimaginable scope” of the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas might have strengthened the case for those on the Massachusetts Supreme Court who were arguing for not just civil unions but full-blown same-sex “marriages.” The Lawrence ruling on Texas’ anti-sodomy statutes went far beyond even what the homosexual lobby had anticipated, Land said. “It was a truly awful decision.”
To learn more about Marriage Protection Week and access a downloadable model resolution pertaining to this issue, visit www.faithandfamily.com.