Second, African Americans have been among the most difficult to sway on this issue. While some may indeed change their minds because of President Obama’s endorsement, word of mouth around our community indicates that many more no longer feel they can wholeheartedly support the president. They may not become Republicans, but their sentiments may be similar to those of a former president who said famously, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” The Obama endorsement seemed like a slap in the face to grassroots black and Hispanic Christians.
Third, the overwhelming majority of African Americans do not believe that the redefinition of marriage to include homosexual unions is in keeping with the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) activists have repeatedly attempted to hijack the moral authority of racial minorities who suffered under centuries of legalized racial discrimination at the hands of the government. Americans as a whole should know that most black Americans find this deeply offensive. At the core of this new coalition is a commitment to biblical marriage that transcends race, class or culture. The Hispanic community shares the common sense understanding that same-sex marriage is not a civil right.
Both major minorities understand that rights must be granted from some superior source such as the Constitution or the Bible. To make same-sex marriage a 14th amendment issue would desecrate the sacrifices of black and brown champions of yester year. Further the Bible can hardly be seen to endorse either homosexuality or same-sex marriage. Therefore, our group realizes that same-sex marriage is a request for special rights. As a result of this kind of thinking, black and Hispanic Christian leaders have become uniquely aware that they are the last stronghold of protection for traditional, biblical marriage as we know it.
Fourth, many Americans who do not profess religious faith are deeply concerned about the social effects of redefining marriage. Similar legislative decisions in Scandinavian countries in the 1990s have been associated with skyrocketing out-of-wedlock birthrates and an overall decline in marriage. Common sense reminds us that words that mean everything mean nothing. The broader the definition of marriage becomes, the weaker it becomes as an institution.
This new coalition has not yet been given a formal name, but the concept has gripped our hearts. We have agreed to take three immediate steps of action:
1.) join in a 40-day fast through which we will beseech God to heal the soul of our nation,
2.) recruit a diverse group of churches around the nation to affirm traditional marriage on Father’s Day (June 17, 2012) – they will do this by preaching an appropriate message on marriage and by reading a declaration of commitment to defend and uphold God’s first institution, and
3.) participate with the High Impact Leadership Coalition, City Action Coalition, Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), Charisma Media and the National Hispanic Leadership Conference along with others of faith in a “vertical vote” campaign this election season designed to inform, inspire and register groundswell Christians to vote. (More information to follow.)
In conclusion, if you want to be part of this growing coalition that transcends traditional ethnic boundaries, party lines and denominations, go to www.thetruthinblackandwhite.com. Click on the Stand for Marriage graphic, sign the letter to the president, read the information. Next, you should order the DVDs and CDs (available 6/7/12) and take the important 3 steps listed above. Together, we can make the difference in our communities and nation!
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.