October 4, 2007 Publishing Good News since 1884 Volume 124 Number 235

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Guest Editorial

Federal Marriage Amendment: A wake-up call


Why We Can’t Stay Silent

A few weeks ago, the Federal Marriage Amendment, an amendment that would have defined marriage in America as the union between one man and one woman, did not pass. Granted, for some senators, it was a political hot potato in an election year. The safe response was to leave it alone.

 Jerry Waugh

Florida Senators Bob Graham and Bill Nelson did just that by opposing the amendment. Senator Graham said, “I believe marriage should be reserved to a woman and a man, based on the long tradition and religious context of the institution. But I see no need for a constitutional amendment.”

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Sounds good on the surface

Sounds good to me, except for one problem — many of today’s activist judges will declare that anything less than the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide violates equal protection by the U.S. Constitution.

What these judges seem to forget is, although there are some things our constitution protects, there are also some things our constitution prohibits. For example, the constitution protects the right of our citizens to vote at the age of eighteen, but prohibits anyone under eighteen from voting. In a sense, the constitution discriminates against anyone seventeen-years-old or younger. Actually, it is not discrimination; it is wisdom.

For 228 years, America has had the wisdom to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman – to alter the definition of marriage is to alter the values of America. Marriage will only be protected and preserved when it is protected in our constitution.

We can’t stay silent any longer

In the last forty years, we have lost prayer in our schools; the posting of the Ten Commandments in our schools; the public display of the Ten Commandments (in some cases the display of a cross, and in some cases the display of any religious symbol like the nativity scene or God Bless America signs).

The killing of unborn babies through abortions has been legalized; the ban forbidding sodomy has been overturned; one nation under God is being challenged in our pledge of allegiance; and the redefining of marriage and family could potentially become a reality. All along, some in the Christian community have stood up and spoken out against these tragedies –while others have yawned and conceded this is just the way things are.

Shouldn’t the church stay out of politics?

The church should not be a part of supporting any political person or party. However, when a political issue is a moral issue, the church should not be silent. We are called to be moral gatekeepers, salt and light in this world.

Today’s secular government has stepped boldly onto the church’s turf (prayer, the Ten Commandments, abortion, homosexuality, marriage and family), and therefore, the church, especially the church, should speak up. We have lost so much, but could lose so much more if we choose to sit out of this culture war, that will define the moral direction for our children and our children’s children. Part of what it means to be salt and light means we contend for godly standards and protect them when they are under assault.

The church is to be a public voice protecting and defending the standards of right and wrong that God has given us. This is no time for the church to get moral laryngitis.

What can I do?

The way to get the attention of our leaders in Washington who have the power to make these moral decisions, is to let them hear from you. The only sure way they will know that these issues matter to the majority is if you contact them.

It is time that our convictions be translated into action. Also, by the time you read this article, there will be less than one hundred days left before our nation makes voting decisions that will affect the moral direction of our nation and our future. Definitely, pray for our nation, but also be informed on where the candidates stand on issues that matter most. Your vote for leaders who best reflect our values is an important way to hold our leaders accountable as to what they approve or what they ignore.

For helpful information about the candidates, visit the Web sites of American Family Association online at www.afa.net, The Center for Reclaiming America online at www.reclaimamerica.org or the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission online at www.ivotevalues.org.

"When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan" (Proverbs 29:2).

Jerry Waugh is senior pastor of Northcliffe Baptist Church, Spring Hill.