Black pastors seek gay marriage ban amid family issues

Posted: Aug 08, 2005 12:00 AM
I've been in Dallas for the last few days attending a conference on the state of the black family convened by the Not On My Watch Coalition and the Cornerstone Baptist Church. The coalition is a group of 40 black pastors, representing congregations numbering in the tens of thousands throughout the state of Texas, who support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

The conference concluded with a 10 point resolution pointed toward encouraging behavior in our communities aimed at the task of reconstituting the black family unit.

Nine of the 10 points aim exclusively at an internal re-focusing in communities on education and mentoring on the importance of traditional moral behavior in matters of sex and marriage. We are talking here about moral ABCs such as discouraging pre-marital sex and cohabitation, emphasizing the importance of marriage fidelity and the role of the community in providing support, such as male mentoring for our many fatherless children.

The single point in the resolution that turned outside and looked toward the political arena was the endorsement of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

There is a general feeling in this community that they have been let down in Washington. A good portion of the million and a half blacks that voted Republican in 2004 did so because of the prospect of leadership on the marriage amendment. However, after the presidential election discussion of this issue by our political leaders became as hard to find as icicles on a hot August afternoon in Washington.

And the one representative from the Bush Administration scheduled to appear on a panel at this Dallas conference pulled out in order to appear at a meeting of the overwhelmingly left leaning National Association of Black Journalists.

Meanwhile, while these black pastors were convening in Dallas, in my own home state the California Supreme Court issued a ruling laying another rung in the ladder leading to national legal recognition of gay marriage. The court in California ruled unanimously that "A business that extends benefits to spouses it denies to registered domestic partners engages in impermissible marital status discrimination."

This was the first case probing the scope of California's domestic partner law which took effect this year, granting domestic partners most of the rights of spouses under state law.

The black church community is feeling an ever-increasing sense of futility on this issue. Judge Robert Bork has painted a compelling picture of the inevitability of the national legalization of gay marriage if there is no marriage amendment. We are watching the scenario he painted play out prophetically.

A CNN / Gallup poll done in May showed 56 percent opposition to legalization of gay marriage and 53 percent in support of the marriage amendment. Yet the values of the American people and the democratic process have been hijacked by left leaning elitist liberal judges. What we are watching in America today is a convergence of our courts and Hollywood.

It's also becoming increasingly clear that although that there may be some cameo appearances by politicians stating support for the marriage amendment, behind close doors the political establishment is resigned to what they view as inevitable. There will be no serious political capital spent here.

Blacks have polled consistently higher than national averages in opposition to the sanctioning of gay marriage. Why do we care so much and why do we feel an increasing sense of being abandoned?

Why, I sometimes hear, is a community with such clear and immediate problems with education, employment and crime so obsessed with this issue? Are there that many black gay couples wanting wedding vows that black pastors should be taking valuable time from their daily responsibilities to become political activists for a federal marriage amendment?

The germane point that these black pastors understand is that the black community is the most exposed to and most likely to be injured by the problems of the nation as a whole. When America gets a cold, the black community gets pneumonia.

White America's problem is a loss of moral grounding and gradual erosion of its family structure. Black America's problem is rebuilding a family structure that has already collapsed.

Our pastors preach abstinence, marriage and fidelity on Sunday morning and fatherless black children go to their public schools on Monday morning where adolescent sexual activity is condoned as a fact of life and boys and girls are put into sex classes together and receive instruction on how to use condoms.

Black pastors know that the battle for rebuilding the black family defines the future of black America. If this battle is lost, blacks will become a permanent American underclass.

The moral relativism which increasingly defines American culture is now defining every institution of our society _ our schools, our large corporations and our media. Our families are our only firewall.

The support of the black community for the federal marriage amendment reduces to one word. Survival.