Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
Last week, 9/11 memorials took place in New York, Washington, and Shanksville, PA commemorating the heroism and loss of life experienced on that day 8 years ago. The lesson I have treasured the most comes from the story of United Flight 93. Todd Morgan Beamer’s last recorded statement, “Let’s roll” is the kind that epitomizes the American spirit. His statement celebrates individual courage, personal responsibility, and our national “can-do” attitude. Millions of Americans thanked God this past week for the freedom to vote and live in a nation, which promises to give us a government of the people, for the people, and by the people.

In a strange twist of fate, two of DC’s leading newspapers carried a declaration on 9/11 that the DC city council planned to steal the hard-fought freedom to vote from the people they represent. In fact, DC city council members arrogantly declared their ability to speak for the citizens of the nation’s first city without even consulting them on one of the nation’s most defining social issues - marriage. Last month a grassroots citizens’ movement emerged which is asking for a popular vote on marriage and has received the support of Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners (ANC), who represent over 100,000 people. By the time the remaining two-thirds of these commissioners are approached, grassroots activists expect to have over half of these commissioners ask for a vote by all the people

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In spite of a groundswell of local support for the protection of marriage in just a six-week period, the city council decided to accelerate its request to have gay marriages legally performed within D.C. This move would obviously affect the state of marriage in the region and the nation. Vincent Gray, chairman of the city council, sees himself as a protector of the 16,000 to 33,000 gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender people in DC. While these numbers are very high compared to most cities, it only amounts to between 3 and 6 percent of DC’s 570,000-person population. The chairman is quoted in last Friday’s Washington Times as saying, “We are the elected representatives of the people ... I think we are perfectly capable of making an informed decision on this issue. We make important decisions every day on how this city is run. And that is what the people elect us to do…”

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.