“You people need to address the problems of your families. The lack of fathers is at the heart of the ills you face,” spoke the patronizing white-haired, Caucasian minister. His intentions were great but in a myopic way, he had just looked past the problems of his own community and zeroed in on mine. He, like many others, dismissed the true national urgency around the soaring out-of-wedlock birthrates and genocidal abortion rates in the black community. He had distanced himself from these statistics by making them “a black problem.” As long as family breakdown is viewed as an ethnic or minority problem, the average American will not feel that he must address it. Black family breakdown is actually a foreboding signpost which points to the future of all American families, if left unchecked. My minister friend fails to see that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, along with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are redefining concepts of family, fatherhood, and relational fidelity for all America. Perhaps thug rappers, BET videos, and glorified ghetto life are affecting the affluent.
Let me explain. Most thinking people connect family breakdown with generational poverty, poor academic performance of children, prison terms, violence, and crime. Further, they think that only the family can instill in a child the values and sense of personal identity needed to live a meaningful life. Don’t get me wrong---I’m not questioning these common sense views about family. I am questioning whether we see the urgent need to protect all American families, black or white. As Americans, we are inextricably connected.
Recent studies concerning same-sex marriage have shown that in Sweden and the Netherlands, where such unions have been allowed, marriage is devalued---resulting in fewer and later marriages. Secondly, they lead to rising out-of-wedlock births akin to the current black community dilemma in the U.S. Therefore, one wonders why all races rallied so vehemently to protect marriage during the 2004 election cycle, while going strangely silent this summer when these issues came to Capitol Hill.
The answer is simple. The gay community, with the help of the liberal media, has worked strategically on a P.R. campaign to make Americans comfortable with homosexuality. From the slightly effeminate male assistant to the first gay marriage ceremony on television, American audiences have watched homosexual themes creep into their lives.
In addition, people do not generally understand the long process which produces Constitutional amendments. Many mistakenly feel that last June’s defeat cancelled all hope. This is totally untrue. We can still fight for marriage, but we must act urgently. Members of Congress hear their constituents making noise about the rise in gas prices and the unrest in the Middle East. Although these issues deserve the attention of this nation, we must not be mute over the battle to save traditional marriage. The opposition isn’t.
Bill O’Reilly’s website has a “Culture Warrior Test” that he has given. The same-sex marriage issue is one of the major issues that determines which side of the culture war you are on. Ann Coulter, in her recent book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, speaks out against the liberal desire to make perverse sex and sexuality a banner issue for their side. Coulter goes on to imply the wide-spread acceptance of homosexuality may actually lead to greater problems of pedophilia and other abhorrent behaviors in the future. Further, religious leaders of every stripe---Christian and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, evangelical and mainline, black and white---think that same-sex marriage has serious moral consequences that cannot be ignored.
Despite my respect for the opinions of those just mentioned, the question comes down to you. How do you feel about the issue? Have true conservatives lost their will to fight, or is the movement becoming as inconsistent and unprincipled as the liberals we decry?
If we are to save marriage, our efforts must surpass those of the gay community. The first step is an easy one---do not be silent. Communicate with your Congressman by waging your own letter writing campaign with your small group, parents’ circle, or neighbors. Guidelines can be found on our website at hilc.net.
Let’s speak out to preserve the definition of marriage for the generation to come!
Bishop Harry Jackson is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition and senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, MD, and co-authored, Personal Faith, Public Policy [FrontLine; March 2008] with Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.