Southern Christians Deeply Concerned Over Preserving Christian Values

( [email protected] ) Apr 08, 2004 08:48 AM EDT

While homosexual marriages have been performed in the cities such as San Francisco and New York, local governments in southern states are fighting to preserve traditional marriage and the values that represent Christian morals.

Christians in southern states that are part of “Bible Belt,” are the ones who strongly hold on to conservative values and are known to be most bold and persistent about preserving ban against homosexuality and any kinds of anti-sodomy laws.

Recently, an action was taken in one of the counties Dayton, Tennessee, to ban homosexuals from living in the county but after drawing great opposition, the action was rescinded. Chattanooga. Dayton is best known as the site of the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, in which John Scopes, represented by Chicago attorney Clarence Darrow, was convicted of teaching evolution in school.

"They are forcing their way into our towns, breaking our doors down, saying, `We are sodomites and there is nothing you can do about it.' They want to be able to commit sodomy without it being called a crime, and then cover up their sins with our tax dollars," said Griffin, 64, a Dayton minister.

"We still have mountain boys living here," she said, "and they might not know much about giving speeches, but if you come across their property, they will fill you with lead. This is a God-fearing place, and we don't see anything wrong with running [homosexuals] out of town."

"We couldn't have paid $2 million to get this kind of publicity, but it's the kind of thing that never goes away," said Rhea County Atty. Gary Fritts, who said he planned to rework the action to reflect the county's opposition to gay marriage. "This [gay marriage] has caused irreparable harm all over the world. Some people are embarrassed and want to look down on us, but a lot of people have called and said, `Hey, go to it, boy.'"

While many Christians are calling for tolerance, some evangelicals see homosexuality and same-sex marriage as an assault on the most sacred values of their religion.

At this point, the most concerning social issue to evangelical Christians in the south is gay marriage and they will do anything to prevent it from becoming legalized.

Last week, Georgia, which already has a law banning gay marriage, approved a constitutional amendment ensuring that same-sex couples would not be allowed to wed.

"We are overwhelmingly opposed to same-sex marriage and we are overwhelmingly in support of a federal constitutional amendment to ban it," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "The courts are trying to force us to redefine the nature of the family, the basic building block of human society. It's a dangerous move, and people won't allow it."

The Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 16 million members and 42,000 churches nationwide, is trying to reach out to homosexuals to help them accept Jesus Christ so that they could reject their “sinful, destructive lifestyle.” Its main focus of teaching is “hate the sin but love the sinner.”

In the rest of Bible Belt regions, conservative Christians are actively engaged to ban gay events such as, the annual Southern Decadence festival, or "gay Mardi Gras," an event that draws thousands of homosexuals and Gay Days at Disney World in Florida.

In Wilmington, N.C., parents complained that the elementary school library carried the children's book "King & King," in which a prince falls in love with another prince.

As a conservative evangelical Christian, Kenneth Daniel Miller doesn’t want any violence but he sees homosexuality and same-sex marriage as "a sin that goes against God's command."

"They want us to endorse the homosexual lifestyle, but Christians will never do that," said Miller, 23, who graduated with a degree in Bible from Bryan College, a religious institution in Dayton. "If we allow gay marriage, it will dehumanize people and they will be no different than some kind of mechanized cog."