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Battle for Marriage: Evangelicals Say They're in it for the Long Haul

( [email protected] ) Jul 12, 2004 01:22 PM EDT

In the battle for marriage, evangelicals have made it clear: they are here to stay. That convicted message broadcasted to millions of Americans on Sunday’s “Battle for Marriage: The Imminent Vote,” a live simulcast in which high-profile evangelicals lit the fighting spirit of the Christian community and urged them to flood the Capitol on Monday with calls suppporting the Federal Marriage Amendment in the wake of the U.S. Senate’s “imminent” vote on the issue.

Dr. Adrian Rogers, pastor of the hosting church, Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn., opened the second “Battle for Marriage” simulcast with a with a grave warning.

“If things change in the next 15 years as they have in the past 15 years -- oh friend -- there won’t be an America that we love so much,” said Rogers. “We don’t have to wait 15 years. We are in a crisis.”

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins served as the overall presider for the event, which had gathered 10,000 people at Bellevue and millions of Americans through simulcast nationwide. The simulcast was part of a pro-family effort to mobilize Christians in the fight to protect traditional marriage and ban same-sex marriages, specifically by rooting for the FMA, a constitutional amendment defining marriage to be between a man and a woman, to pass in Congress.

Sen. Bill Frist, the Senate Majority leader who urged the Senate to begin the FMA on Friday and has reported the debate will continue up to Wednesday’s vote, joined the event through video. He said that when 1997’s Defense of Marriage Act, a law defining marriage to be between a man and a woman, was passed, he thought it was “enough to protect marriage.”

However, “it has become clear that same-sex marriages will be exported to all 50 states through the legal process,” said Frist, referring to “activist judges of the Supreme Court.”

Perkins then identified 15 “battleground states” with Senators who are most likely not to vote for the FMA. The screen then flashed a picture of each Senator poised next to an image of the corresponding state along with a contact phone number. He told the audience to visit the program’s Web site, wevotevalues.com, or call 1-888-234-6600 if they missed their Senators’ contact information.

The first speaker for the event was Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries.

Colson emphasize the importance of respecting the three God-ordained insitutions: family, government, and church. He then refuted “smoke screens” or misinformation the callers could expect to hear from Senators and other church members. He reminded listeners that placing boundaries to marriage is not taking away a right since a homosexual man has the same right as any man to marry a woman.

Although Colson admitted “it takes years to change a culture,” he made it clear he was in it for the long haul and urged others to do the same.

“The word ‘surrender’ isn’t in my dictionary,” said Colson. “I guarantee you that if they see we are here to stay, the political winds will begin to change.”

Heavy-weight evangelical and pro-family leader, Dr. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, also exemplified the same determination as he took the stage. He labeled the current efforts to protect marriage as part of “the climatic battle in the civil war of battles.”

“In any war, there is a battle that becomes pivotal, a battle that even in retrospect you can see led to the eventually victory or defeat,” he said. “I believe that the battle for the family is that confrontation and we must not lose it!”

The FMA needs at least 2/3 majority -- 67 votes -- in the Senate to pass. Supporters of traditional marriage are well aware that not even 60 votes might come through but they have refused to back down.

“We may not win this time,”said Dobson, but “we’re coming back.”

Dobson, who recently authored the book “Marriage Under Fire: Why We Must Win This Battle,” recalled 50 years of an assault of marriage starting from the 1969 Marriage Penalty Tax to the No-fault Divorce law, which resulted in a 30% higher divorce rate.

Tampering with the family will not only cause children to suffer, according to Dobson, but will also put the tradition of spreading the Gospel in jeaopardy.

“The Gospel of Jesus Christ is on the line because it’s families that transmit the Gospel to the next generation,” he explained.

Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church, who organized the Seattle “May Day for Marriage,” in which 20,000 pastors rallied for traditional marriage, talked about: Creation, Commitment, Communication.

As he told opponents not to “touch God’s creation” when it comes to marriage between a man and a woman, Hutcherson called on Christians to totally commit themselves to protecting marriage even if it means suffering persecution.

“I’m sick and tired that evangelical Christians who have no spiritual interverbrate,” lamented Hutcherson, a former Seattlehawk line-backer.

Hutcherson also announced his plans to for the second “May Day for Marriage” rally on Oct. 14, when he would communicate God’s message by dropping “a spiritual bomb” on Washington D.C. just like the terrorists did in Spain and changed the course of elections in Spain.

The 90-minute simulcast concluded as Dobson and Colson lead prayer. It was sponsored by the Family Research Council and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Liberty Commission in association with Focus on the Family, National Association of Evangelicals and SkyAngel. The "We Vote Values Campaign," which supports any initiative, organization, or individual that will champion biblical values through legal or legislative means, will air two more pro-family simulcasts this year, "Reconnecting God & Government" on August 29 and "Every Vote Counts" on October 24.

Concluding the tone of Sunday's gathering, Dobson said in his prayer, “Lord, we will not let it fall and we will be faithful in its purpose.”