Last Wednesday and Thursday, (May 23-24, 2012), 175 Christian leaders from around the country gathered for a 24-hour marriage summit in the DC metro area. The small group represented nearly 100,000 individual churches and several denominations. The purpose of the summit was to strategize how we would respond to President Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage. The group, which included pastors, community activists and denominational leaders, decided to send out a group letter to the president and to develop a pro-biblical marriage resource that could be used around the country.
The summit culminated with a press conference in which black, Hispanic, white and Asian leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder. We wanted to let the nation know that Christian leaders will not be silent on the issue of same-sex marriage. We also wanted to ask the president and the legislators of both parties to convey to us their specific strategies. Many of the leaders who attended our press conference voted for President Obama in 2008; nonetheless, they wanted clarity on what the president, the senate, and the congress planned to actually do as a result of the president’s “evolution” concerning same-sex marriage.
We are deeply concerned about what this means for the future of the already dangerously weakened social fabric of our country. The first media responses to our press conference were predictable. Many outlets seemed to dismiss us as simply anti-Obama “Neanderthals.” One of CNN's press team even accused Tony Perkins (President, Family Research Council) of having a personal hatred for homosexuals.
While traditional news outlets continue to create and misread their own tea leaves (polls), pro-biblical marriage masses are rallying. For example, I was present yesterday (May 29, 2012) when marriage advocates delivered 113,000 petitions to the Maryland State House in order to add a marriage amendment to the 2012 ballot (twice as many petitions as needed, delivered 5 weeks early).
Those who misconstrue our concern about same sex marriage as rank bigotry would do well to keep in mind several facts:
First, we must be clear that this is not primarily a political issue. Democratic President Bill Clinton understood this when he signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. People across the political spectrum believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. It is a shame that an issue of such magnitude is being intellectually suffocated and pushed into a partisan political package.
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.