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Top leaders thank Bush for marriage amendment stance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Some 70 of the nation’s leading evangelical and pro-family leaders have signed a letter thanking President Bush for his courage in endorsing a constitutional marriage amendment.

The letter, dated Feb. 24, includes such names as Franklin Graham, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Richard Land, Charles Colson, Tony Perkins and D. James Kennedy.

In addition to Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the letter is signed by four other Southern Baptist leaders, including Morris H. Chapman, president of the SBC Executive Committee.

Leaders from the Church of the Nazarene, Church of God (Holiness), Missionary Church, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel and International Pentecostal Holiness Church also signed it.

The letter was released after Bush endorsed an amendment to the Constitution that would protect the traditional definition of marriage, thus banning same-sex “marriage.”

“Mr. President, we applaud your courage,” the letter reads. “There have been times in our history when presidents have been called upon to make difficult decisions to protect the balance of power in our government. Abraham Lincoln did this when he refused to recognize the Constitutional precedent of the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision. We think you are making just such a stand in opposing what we view as runaway courts. Thank you, sir, for standing with the people and for doing what is right.”

The letter promises the leaders’ support in pushing an amendment.

“We pledge to you that we will do everything in our power to inform and educate our constituents about the importance and urgency of this issue both for the preservation of the family in America as well as the right ordering of our government,” it reads. “We will speak on behalf of and to our communities encouraging their fullest participation in what must be a great national debate to preserve the sanctity of marriage and representative government.”

The leaders also praised Bush for his leadership in preserving the traditional family.

“We are deeply grateful to you for your long-standing and deep-seated commitment to the preservation of the family,” it reads. “We especially thank you for the decision you have announced to support and work for the passage of the Federal Marriage Amendment, as introduced in both Houses of Congress.

“We can think of no more crucial issue for our nation than the preservation of the institution of marriage. As you have repeatedly pointed out, it is threatened today by courts which have acted contrary to the Constitution, making rather than interpreting the law.”

The letter ends with: “God bless you as you carry out your great responsibilities.”

Other Southern Baptists signing the letter are Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Robert E. Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board.

The complete list of signees follows:

Gary Palmer, president, Alabama Policy Institute; Keith Wiebe, president, American Association of Christian Schools; Bay Buchanan, president, American Cause (The); Gary Glenn, president, American Family Association of Michigan; Gary Bauer, president, American Values; Jerry Cox, president, Arkansas Family Council; Franklin Graham, president and CEO, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritan’s Purse; Richard Bott II, executive vice president, Bott Radio Network; Steve Baldwin, president, CNP Action Inc.;

Ron Prentice, executive director, California Family Council; Len Munsil, president & general counsel, Center for Arizona Policy; Michael S. Heath, executive director, Christian Civic League of Maine; Roberta Combs, president, Christian Coalition of America; James C. Lafferty, executive director, Christian Seniors Association; Jack Stone, general secretary, Church of the Nazarene;

Jack R. Smith, executive secretary, Church of God (Holiness); Phil Burress, president, Citizens for Community Values; D. James Kennedy, president, Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc.; Karen Testerman, Cornerstone Policy Research (N.H.); Deal Hudson, publisher, Crisis Magazine, Washington, D.C.; Janet Folger, president, Faith2Action; Dave Bydalek, executive director, Family First; Kent Ostrander, executive director, Family Foundation of Kentucky; John Whitlock, president, Family Foundation of Virginia;

Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council; Kelly Shackelford, president, Free Market Foundation; James C. Dobson, president and founder, Focus on the Family; Donald Paul Hodel, president, Focus on the Family; Tom Minnery, vice president of public policy, Focus on the Family; Paul Weyrich, chairman and CEO, Free Congress; Randy Hicks, president, Georgia Family Council; Peter LaBarbera, executive director, Illinois Family Institute;

Curt Smith, president, Indiana Family Institute; Ron Shuping, senior vice president of Programming, Inspiration Networks; Paul Risser, president, Int’l Church of the Foursquare Gospel; M. Donald Duncan, vice chairman, International Pentecostal Holiness Church & Executive Director, World Missions Ministries; Bishop James D. Leggett, Int’l Pentecostal Holiness Church; Chuck Hurley, president, Iowa Family Policy Center, and associate counsel, Iowa Liberty & Justice Center; Jerry Falwell, chancellor, Liberty University;

Gene Mills, executive director, Louisiana Family Forum; Ron Crews, president, Massachusetts Family Institute; Brad Snavely, executive director, Michigan Family Forum; Tom Prichard, president, Minnesota Family Council; Bill Hossler, president, Missionary Church Inc.; Joseph M. Stowell, president, Moody Bible Institute; Ted A. Haggard, president, National Association of Evangelicals; Len Deo, president, New Jersey Family Policy Council; Steven J. Kidder, executive director & president, New York Family Policy Council;

Rick Schatz, president, National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families; Frank Wright, president, National Religious Broadcasters; Bill Brooks, president, North Carolina Family Policy Council; Christina Kindel, executive director, North Dakota Family Alliance; Mike Jestes, executive director, Oklahoma Family Policy Council; Michael Novak, author; Charles W. Colson, chairman, Prison Fellowship Ministries; Mark L. Earley, president, Prison Fellowship Ministries

Michael Snyder, senior vice president, Wilberforce Forum
Prison Fellowship Ministries; Peggy S. Birchfield, executive director, Religious Freedom Coalition; William J. Murray, chairman, Religious Freedom Coalition; Jim Chapman, president, Rocky Mountain Family Council (Colo.); Stuart Epperson, chairman, Salem Communications Corp.; Robert Regier, executive director, South Dakota Family Policy Council;

Daniel L. Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Morris H. Chapman, CEO, Executive Committee, Southern Baptist Convention; Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Richard Land, president, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Robert E. Reccord, president, Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board; Andrea S. Lafferty, executive director, Traditional Values Coalition; Louis P. Sheldon, chairman, Traditional Values Coalition; Joel Belz, founder and publisher, WORLD Magazine.
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  • Michael Foust