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Colson: Marriage amendment requires a 'flood' of action

  • Michael Foust Baptist Press
  • 2004 7 Jul
  • COMMENTS
Colson:  Marriage amendment requires a 'flood' of action

With 10,000 in attendance and thousands more watching and listening on TV and radio, pro-family leaders at a "Battle for Marriage" rally July 11 encouraged Christians to call their senators and urge them to vote for a proposed Marriage Amendment.

"For us to turn away from this fight would be biblical dereliction," Prison Fellowship's Charles Colson said. "... We must engage this fight now."

The rally was held at Bellevue Baptist Church, led by Adrian Rogers in suburban Memphis. Citizens must contact their senators, leaders said. A vote on the marriage amendment, which would protect the traditional definition of marriage and ban same-sex "marriage," likely will take place this week. It needs 67 votes to pass.

"We may not win this week," Focus on the Family's James Dobson said. "... {But] we're not going to go away and we're not going to forget. We're going to remember in November."

Throughout the rally, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council gave names and phone numbers of senators who either are on the fence or are against the amendment. At one point, he even made a live phone call to the office of one of his senators, Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, urging her to vote for the amendment.

"We need to flood those telephones this week in the Senate," Colson said.

In May, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex "marriage" as a result of a ruling by that state's highest court. At least eight other states are defending their marriage laws in court against supporters of same-sex "marriage."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R.-Tenn., addressed the rally via a video and said he initially was skeptical of the need for the Federal Marriage Amendment. He was in the Senate in 1996 when the Defense of Marriage Act was passed. DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex "marriage" and allows states to do the same. But Frist said he believes the law will be overturned in federal court, where it currently is being challenged.

"I'm convinced that the Constitution will be amended," Frist said. "The only question is how and by whom? Will activist judges destroy marriage, or will the people protect marriage as the best way to raise children?"

Colson said senators opposed to the amendment have been giving "smokescreen" answers as to why they do not support it:

  • They say they are against same-sex "marriage" but believe the issue should be left up to the states.

    "That's disingenuous," he said. "... They know full well that the states can't decide because the courts are blocking the states from deciding it. ... If you say you want to leave it to the states, what you are basically saying is you're in favor of gay marriage."
  • They say are opposed to an amendment because they don't want to take away rights.

    But "nobody is losing a right," Colson said. Already, he said, homosexuals can get married -- as long as they are marrying someone of the opposite sex.
  • They say there are more important issues.

    "This is the No. 1 issue for this country," Colson said. "If this isn't an important issue, then what is an important issue?"
  • They say an amendment amounts to "gay-bashing."

    "This one really hurts me," Colson said. "Look across the country -- who's taking care of people dying with AIDS? Catholic charities and Christian groups. ... Don't talk to me about gay bashing."


When Christians call a senator's office and are presented with a "smokescreen" answer, Colson said, they should "have the courage to say to them ... 'That's not true.'"

Colson and Dobson emphasized the need to continue the fight even if the amendment fails in the Senate. Dobson called the fight the "climactic battle in the civil war of values."

"The other side does not get discouraged," Dobson said. "When they lose, they just keep coming back."

Colson compared the battle for the amendment to the battle for civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s. He worked in the Senate during that time.

"We couldn't get it past the filibusters, and year after year we kept getting defeated," he said. "... It took eight years before the Voting Rights Act [was] passed. Thank God there were men persistent enough to do it."

Noting that both he and Perkins were Marines, Colson said "the word surrender isn't in my dictionary."

"We may be in a long fight," Colson said. "It may be 10 years. ... Roll up our sleeves and let's go fight [and] take it as long as it takes us."

Washington state pastor Ken Hutcherson, who organized a large pro-traditional marriage rally in Seattle earlier this year, joked that the "average Christian commitment" is similar to that of the kamikaze pilot that flew 30 missions.

"I am sick and tired of evangelly-fish Christians with no spiritual vertebrae," he said. "It is time for us to stand up [and] be warriors for God."

Hutcherson is organizing a national, pro-traditional marriage rally that is scheduled to be held on the National Mall in Washington Oct. 15. Information is available online at www.maydayformarriage.com.

Constitutional amendments require the passage of two-thirds of both the House and Senate and ratification by three-fourths of the states.

Visit Baptist Press at www.bpnews.net

 

PHOTO CREDIT: James Dobson leads in a time of prayer during a "Battle for Marriage" rally which drew 10,000 people to the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church and thousands more via TV and radio July 11 in support of a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution. Other speakers included Chuck Colson, Adrian Rogers, Tony Perkins and Ken Hutcherson. Photo by Jim Veneman