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October 16, 2004
Column #1,207

                   National Preaching Initiative on Marriage

     Thousands of pastors are preaching weekly sermons on marriage this month.  Many encouraged Christians to attend a Mayday for Marriage Rally on the Washington Mall October 15 at which Dr. James Dobson, Chuck Colson and others spoke to hundreds of thousands.

     Clergy have joined a "National Preaching Initiative" inspired by Chuck Colson, creator of Prison Fellowship and of the "Wilberforce Forum" which offers free sermons and research at marriage.wilberforce.org.

     Why is this initiative necessary?

      Last May by a slim 4-3  margin, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to legalize same sex marriage. That touched off a drive to define marriage as "one man, one woman" into both federal and state constitutions. 

     Louisianans recently voted for such an amendment by a wide 78-22 percent margin. Yet a judge there has already struck down the provision as unconstitutional. Two judges in Washington State also overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage.

     Colson argues that "out-of-control" courts are ignoring the will of the people. "This movement threatens to permanently damage our society's most basic institution. That being so, you would expect a huge public outcry. Unfortunately and surprisingly, that isn't happening."

     "Widespread acceptance of same-sex `marriage' will widen the already existing gap between parenthood and marriage and continue to break down the family. Countries like Norway, that adopted same-sex `marriage' saw their rates of cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births shoot up."

     The sermons Colson makes available could help any pastor. "We are living in a
paganized time," preached R. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. "Pagans speak of holy things as if they were lowly, and pagans speak of lowly things as if they were holy....The world either corrupts sex into the lowest form of human expression or it elevates sex to the level of worship...

     "Today marriage is a flashpoint of cultural confusion. Americans still marry, many of them again and again."

     Where should Christians look for a holy conversation about this holy reality?  He points to Genesis 2:18., "It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him."

     Today, however, only 73 percent of American adults have ever married, reports a George Barna Poll, and 35 percent of born again Americans have divorced; nearly a
quarter of whom have two or more divorces. Among all Protestants, 39 percent have divorced, higher than the 38 percent of atheists or agnostics. Only Catholics have a lower divorce rate of 25 percent.

     Father Roger J. Landry, a Catholic priest in Fall River, MA quotes Jesus in Matthew 19: "In the beginning, God made them male and female," and adds: "God created the human person male and female to exist as a communion of persons in love in such a way that their love would similarly be capable of generating a third person, a child.  In this way, man and woman together would also image God the Creator, by participating with him in the act of the creation of another human being."

     Rev. John Guest, an Episcopal evangelist, says he asks couples he marries if they want a great marriage. When they reply, "Yes," he tells them "If you want a great marriage, since God is the designer of marriage, you want to do it his way.  It all sounds so obvious, but sexual unfaithfulness in marriage has produced the horrors of a society in which half the children in the United States are growing up in single-parent homes."

     The tyranny of unelected judges redefining marriage prompted Pastor Ken Hutcherson, a former pro football player, to organize a rally in Seattle that drew 20,000. He charged, "If the bride of Christ is not going to stand up for what God has ordained, we should be most miserable and ashamed."  "Hutch"also called for the Mayday for Marriage Rally he hopes will attract a million two weeks before the election. 

     "We wanted to let everyone know...that the church is going to be voting. And as a politician, you better watch what you vote for and how you vote because if you don't vote right on this issue, we're going to change your view from your office on Nov. 2."

     Most U.S. Senators and 196 Members of Congress did not support a Marriage Protection Amendment. (To see how your representatives voted, go to AllianceForMarriage.org )

     If some become unelected over this issue, others would pay attention in 2005.

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