Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Last week’s public relations “Victim of the Week” award should go to Carrie Prejean. Her ordeal has gone both viral and global. Made to feel like a twelve-year-old during the Miss California competition, she has now been vilified or immortalized by the press and cable news industry. Whether you believe she should have won the pageant or not, the caustic remarks of Hilton Perez about Prejean on his video blog were obviously uncalled for. Hilton’s statements mark the beginning of a new era of gay marriage activist boldness. To add insult to injury Keith Lewis, co-director of the Miss California USA and who runs the Miss California competition, attempted to moralize about the “right to marry.” I found it ironic that a man who runs a competition that parades women around in scanty clothing could attempt to speak out about gender prejudice and stereotypes.

Both Perez and Lewis believe that their opinions would not be challenged. They were wrong. In fact, they overplayed their hands this time. Their remarks were just like the intimidation I faced as a child from bullies in the schoolyard. In my experience, the only way to make bullies be quiet is to stand up to them. Just one brave person on the playground can stand down the school bully and break free from their tyranny. In our adult world, however, we need the strength of numbers. When one person stands alone, he can feel overwhelmed. In contrast, when thousands of people stand up for what they believe, they become a force to be reckoned with.

Gay marriage is not an inevitability in our nation. It can still be halted and turned around. The institution of marriage can be protected, but we need the collective voice. Let me remind you that marriage is worth fighting for. Those of us in the biblical marriage movement are not fighting because we dislike gays. We are fighting for marriage because we realize that whoever’s values shape this law will shape the practices of the next few generations.

Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

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.