Why Bother?

Things just don't add up. The polls tell us that a significant majority of American voters oppose same-sex "marriage." Yet congressmen and senators tell us that their phones aren't exactly ringing off the hook over this issue. In fact, they're hardly getting any calls on the subject at all -- not even from Christians. What's going on? One explanation might be that, for many secularists who oppose same-sex "marriage," it's just not that big a deal. The general public often shies away from controversial social issues, especially during election years, and no one wants to seem judgmental, after all, in today's "tolerant" environment. But what about Christians? What's our excuse for staying silent? I think some don't really believe this is such a critical battle. To them I can only say -- wake up and pay attention. This issue has the potential to redefine and, ultimately, to destroy the institution of marriage in this country -- and with marriage goes the family. You can't ignore this. But there are other Christians who recognize the importance of the battle over same-sex "marriage" but are still not speaking up. For many of them, I think the problem is a lack of faith. Now, that may sound harsh, but I can't think of a better way to put it. A lot of Christians -- even some of our most prominent leaders -- seem to have succumbed to a "What's the use?" attitude. They believe that the cultural climate has turned so much against us that we'll never be able to stop the advance of same-sex "marriage." And they have heard that we don't have the votes to pass a constitutional amendment in this session of Congress -- so they don't even want to urge the House and Senate to vote. Some Christian commentators have sounded a defeatist note. I understand the need to be realistic about the odds we are facing -- yes, it's a tough fight. But it's quite another thing to believe that because we don't have the votes today, there's no reason to fight. I worked in the U.S. Senate between 1956 and 1960. We fought hard for civil rights bills -- against entrenched segregation. Every year the bills were blocked by filibusters. But we kept fighting year after year. So did leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. By 1964 the voting rights act was passed. And what about Ronald Reagan, whom we honored just weeks ago -- the man who led us to victory in the Cold War? He dared to demand that the Berlin Wall be torn down when almost no one else thought it possible. It took years, but it happened. Remember, too, Wilberforce and his campaigns against slavery. He had only a handful of votes when he started, but he trusted in God. He battled year after year in the Parliament, and twenty years later, an overwhelming majority voted to end that horrible villainy. The Senate has, I'm happy to say, scheduled debate to begin the week of July 12. Maybe there aren't the votes there this year to pass a constitutional amendment, but that's no excuse not to start the fight. We need a great national debate so we can make our case. And maybe we'll lose this year -- maybe next year we'll lose again. But we'll come back year after year -- until we win. Like the cause of abolition, our cause is just. And if we trust in God, I believe that during the coming public debates, the public will see this as a great defining issue. And when they do, the pressure will be on recalcitrant congressmen to come our way. I say let the debate begin. Let us engage the battle. For further reading and information: Joel Belz, "Leaving out the Lord," World, 28 February 2004. Joel Belz, "A totally alien mindset," World, 20 March 2004. Cal Thomas, "'Same sex' marriage in Massachusetts just the beginning," (Georgia) Citizen. Anne E. Kornblut, "Senate GOP speeds vote on marriage amendment," Boston Globe, 19 June 2004. "Frist: Judges Forcing Gay Marriage Debate," Associated Press, 20 June 2004. Alan Cooperman, "Foes Confounded by Limited Outcry against Gay Marriage," Washington Post, 20 June 2004, A03. Peggy Noonan, "Thanks from a Grateful Country," Wall Street Journal, 7 June 2004. Noonan discusses President Reagan's optimism and faith, which serve as an example to all of us. Alan Wolfe, "The Gay Marriage Paradox," Beliefnet, 6 February 2004. Associated Press, "Gay Marriage Opponents Gear Up for Election," Beliefnet, 17 June 2004. Roberto Rivera, "Fixing Marriage at the Wrong End," Beliefnet, 20 January 2004. See BreakPoint's sanctity of marriage resource page. Visit One Hundred Thousand Ministers for information on what pastors can do. Call 1-877-322-5527 to request the BreakPoint marriage amendment information packet. Also available is the Speak the Truth in Love kit (suggested donation: $25). Peter Kreeft, How to Win the Culture War (InterVarsity, 2002). Call 1-877-322-5527 to order. Kevin Belmonte, Hero for Humanity: A Biography of William Wilberforce (NavPress, 2002). Call 1-877-322-5527 to order.


Chuck Colson


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