NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A national Christian organization is seeking to mobilize 50,000 pastors against same-sex “marriage” and has set up a website for the effort.
ChurchCoalition.com, a website of the American Family Association, was launched in late October with the goal of lining up thousands of pastors across the country to defend the traditional definition of marriage. The website promises occasional e-mail updates about various pro-family issues — including same-sex “marriage” — and additionally promises that subscribers won’t be “spammed.”
“Our goal is to secure 50,000 pastors who will take a stand for the Biblical concept of marriage by signing this Pledge,” a statement on the website reads. “… Only by letting our combined voices be heard can we hope to protect the sacred institution of marriage as being between one man and one woman.”
Tom Elliff, an Oklahoma pastor who chairs the Southern Baptist Convention’s Council on Family Life, said he likes the idea.
“This is one more opportunity for pastors to speak out in defense of marriage,” said Elliff, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, Okla. “I pray that we will use every such credible avenue available to make known our position on this crucial issue.”
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said he has been pointing people to the website. The ERLC is part of a coalition of more than 20 likeminded organizations that have joined together in support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex “marriage.” Known as the “Arlington Group,” it includes such organizations as the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family.
“The pastors are the keys to the churches,” Land said. “They’re the shepherds. We are depending on them to rouse their flocks to the danger that our courts may attempt to force a redefinition of God’s holy institution of marriage, which is the basic building block of human society. The only way to stop that from happening is to amend the Constitution to prohibit them from doing so.”
The four-sentence pledge reads: “I oppose ‘homosexual marriage.’ I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman only. In addition, I oppose giving the benefits of marriage to ‘civil unions’ between members of the same sex. I pledge to defend the Biblical concept of marriage as between one man and one woman only.”
An amendment that would ban same-sex “marriage” has been introduced in the House of Representatives and has roughly 100 co-sponsors. Labeled the “Federal Marriage Amendment,” it has yet to be introduced in the Senate. Some conservatives want it strengthened so that it will also ban Vermont-type civil unions that give same-sex couples most of the benefits of marriage without the name.
Four polls released this year show that anywhere from 54 to 58 percent of Americans support an amendment banning same-sex “marriage.”