Perkins and Dobson Issue Joint Letter Assuring 'Battle for Marriage' Churches of Event's Legality

( [email protected] ) Jun 09, 2004 11:26 AM EDT

Tony Perkins, president Family Research Council, sponsor of “The Battle for Marriage” Simulcast in which more than 700 churches and 1,500 radio stations participated, issued a joint letter along with Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson to assure churches that the event was perfectly legal despite harassment from pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups toward some churches.

FRC says the groups’ actions only reflect their fear of what has been formed.

"Homosexual activists are fearful of a mobilized American Church," said Perkins. "Their agenda will not stop at gaining the right to 'marry.' Rather, they want to silence all critics of their lifestyle, including groups like FRC and our nation's churches.

"We will not allow their disdain for religious freedom to bully America's pulpits into silence."

After the simulcast on May 23, which included leading evangelical speakers such as Perkins, Dobson, Chuck Colson, Ted Haggard, and Wellington Boone, Montanans for Families and Fairness, an umbrella group for pro-homosexual organizations and the local Planned Parenthood chapter has filed a complaint against one Montana church, saying that the “the church should have registered as a political committee and filed reports under election law because ‘expenditures’ were made to obtain the simulcast,” reported the Alliance Defense Fund who is representing the Montana church in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Montana statute being used.

Also, in the letter entitled, “Alliance Defense Fund: Legal Analysis Regarding ‘Battle for Marriage’”, ADF also reassured Christian churches that “similar attacks were launched by anti-Christian activists”.

“By this letter,” wrote ADF Senior Counsel Gary S. McCaleb, “we assure you that participating in the simulcast is entirely permissible under the relevant federal law.”

The ADF letter continues with an explanation on why the arguments made against the churches were not valid with analysis about the Federal tax law and the State Election law.

Below is the joint letter, entitled, “Joint Letter: FRC and Focus on the Family Regarding Simulcast Legal Challenges”, issued by FRC and FOTF to pastors of participating churches:

Dear Pastor,

Thank you for being a part of the historic simulcast event on May 23, 2004 - "The Battle for Marriage." In the days following the simulcast it has become even clearer that this is indeed a battle and we want you to know that Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council are committed to standing side by side with pastors like you in this battle.

Our opponents in this battle are afraid of an engaged and energized Church. As a result, in keeping with the tactics they have used for years, some homosexual organizations are now attempting to scare churches into silence - silence on political issues, moral issues, and eventually spiritual issues as well. While their legal strategies are rarely - if ever - successful, their goal is not to win a verdict in court, but rather it is simply to scare pastors like you from continuing to exercise your Constitutionally-protected and Biblically-mandated duty to stand for the truth.

We have heard rumors that some organizations affiliated with the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual movement may seek to harass some of you, merely because you participated in the May 23 simulcast. In fact, a church in Montana has had a complaint filed against it by a homosexual group which teamed up with Planned Parenthood because following the simulcast program the pastor asked his congregation to sign a petition supporting a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in that state.

The attached letter is from our friends at the Alliance Defense Fund, a wonderful group of Christian attorneys, which will put to rest any fears the opponents may create for you with their wild allegations. Bottom line, you have no reason to worry that involvement in projects like "The Battle for Marriage" could jeopardize your 501c (3) status. Our opponents know that too. But they may nonetheless try to intimidate you into silence with harassing letters and other tactics. We will not allow them to succeed because we need the voice of America's pastors to be heard on this important issue. Again Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council is committed to stand with any pastor who is falsely accused by those trying to silence the Church.

As was pointed out during the simulcast program, in countries around the world where same-sex "marriage" has been legalized, churches have had their ability to speak out against homosexuality greatly curtailed. Let this serve as our warning - the same will happen here if we allow it.

We encourage you to read the attached letter from the Alliance Defense Fund, and to stand firm should any anti-Christian organizations attempt to threaten your church. We must continue to stand if we are to protect marriage and religious freedom in America. If you or your church becomes a target for these radical homosexuals please contact us immediately at (800) 225-4008.

James C. Dobson, Ph.D.

Chairman, Focus on the Family

Tony Perkins

President, Family Research Council