Are evangelicals going to "walk the talk" on marriage? Or, having seen what can happen to those who voice their belief in biblical marriage, like Dan Cathy, president of Chick-fil-A, will they back away from this issue?
Across all denominations, white evangelicals are still the largest percentage of those who oppose same-sex "marriage." According to a July poll by the Pew Research Center, 73 percent oppose it. In the mainline Protestant denominations, the number is only 40 percent and it's about the same for Roman Catholics.
The recent announcement by the Democratic Party that its party platform supports same-sex "marriage," (which is dubbed "marriage equality"), should put the issue squarely in the middle of the political debates. But will Christians be intimidated into silence on this issue?
The Democrats have also pledged to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. It yet remains to be seen whether the Republican platform will take a strong stand for marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act when it drafts its platform next week.
What difference does it make if the laws of the land give homosexuals and lesbians the right to marry?
It tells the practicing homosexual that there is no hope for changing his/her lifestyle. It tells our children and grandchildren that marriage is whatever you want it to be. And, most importantly, it denies the sanctity of marriage as God designed and instituted it to be a model of Christ's love for his bride, the church.
In spite of the efforts of the political left to make same-sex "marriage" a political issue, it remains a deeply moral issue-one that we as Christians must not back away from, even if it means becoming the brunt of personal attacks.
Those who want to make same-sex "marriage" a "civil right" may be seeking acceptance and love the only way they know how to get it. But those who have hardened their hearts against God's law also want to gain the government's endorsement so that they "normalize" homosexuality in American society-and silence any opposition from those who are morally opposed to it.
As Dr. D. James Kennedy pointed out in his sermon, "The Importance of Marriage," homosexuals are not interested primarily in securing the right to marry so that they can enter into long-lasting, monogamous relationships. According to Dr. Kennedy, "A number of their leaders have said that they don't really want to get married."
The true goal is to destroy marriage altogether. "They don't want to become like us, as so many naïve people think," said Dr. Kennedy. "What they want to do is make us like them, and open the door to all kinds of sexual chaos. If two men can get married, what about three or five? That is called polyamory-and 'many loves' and group marriage, and all such things as this are already in the wings and are waiting to be filed in our courts."
This would bring "absolute cultural chaos in this country," warned Dr. Kennedy. "Mother and father, husband and wife would be old-fashioned things in a generation. This nation would be unrecognizable. This is the most dangerous attack on marriage that the world has ever seen."
It is self-evident that whatever definition state and federal governments adopt will have a direct impact on churches and society as a whole. Healthy marriages beget healthy families, and healthy families are the fountain source of a healthy society.
As Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, has pointed out:
There is scarcely a dollar that state and federal government spends on social programs that is that is not driven in large part by family fragmentation: crime, poverty, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure, mental and physical health problems.
And these are problems that the church can address, bringing the healing power of the gospel to those whose lives have been broken and shattered by the effects of sin. But should we not also seek to prevent these problems by ensuring that our government is adopting laws and policies that are in accordance with God's divine law and design for human life?
If we neglect our role as citizens by failing to hold our government leaders accountable for their actions by voting for those who will protect marriage, the sanctity of life, and our religious freedoms, can we stand without shame before the One who will ultimately hold us accountable for our actions here on earth?
Thankfully, many in the church are now making their voices heard on this issue, both in the Democratic and the Republican parties.
Rev. William Owens, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) liaison to the black churches, has been organizing black pastors who oppose same-sex "marriage." More than 3,700 black pastors have now joined together to form the Coalition of African-American Pastors, which is formally opposing the position of the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama on this issue.
But the voting record of evangelicals doesn't give much confidence that they will make their opposition known at the polls in November. Only half of those who were registered to vote actually voted in recent national elections, and it's estimated that 40 percent are not registered for this election.
The truth is, as Dr. Kennedy stated in "The Importance of Marriage," "Before the state, before the church, God created the oldest institution on this planet, and that is the institution of marriage. It is the oldest and the most universal of all of God's institutions. Wherever you would go in this world today-whatever continent, whatever nation-you would find that men and women are joined together in the bonds of matrimony and are rearing families."
The question for Christians is not whether we believe that God has ordained marriage to be between a man and a woman. The question is whether we are willing to stand up for that belief among our family and friends, in public forums and assemblies-and in the voting booth.