Readers Respond

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stand tall for marriage


On the cold morning of January 16, our family loaded up in our van and headed to the state capital in Des Moines. This would be our children's first opportunity to see the inside of the capital. Excitement grew as the gold dome came into sight, and before long we were standing in the center of the capital. What a thrill to watch my wide-eyed eleven-year-old gaze up at the majesty of the dome from the inside. We sat in the balcony above the house chamber and saw where our representative sits, then listened to the Chief Justice give her state of the Judiciary speech. Many veterans were on hand for a special event they had that day and even the Governor was on hand for the occasion. Later I introduced my son to Senator Kettering and we briefly discussed some of the current affairs in our state. My son saw some incredible things that day, but the best was yet to come.

We had not driven to Des Moines merely to watch the political process, but to be part of it. What my son saw next (and what I hope he will always remember) is that we can and must speak up for what is right and true in this country. Believers in Jesus Christ are called to be "salt and light" in the world around us. My son saw an example of this in Des Moines on January 16th.

This shining example was not the dome, the governor, the legislators, nor the judges. The shining example was the hundreds of other ordinary Iowans who had set aside there other responsibilities for that day in order to stand up for righteousness at the state capital.

When the speeches and sightseeing were over inside, we took our place outside on the west steps with hundreds of others to support the biblical view of marriage as being between one man and one woman. That day I stood alongside more than a hundred other pastors in support of biblical marriage. These men and women were Protestant and Catholic, Black, White, and Hispanic, Democrat and Republican, old and young. The uniting factor was the common knowledge that the sacred institution of marriage is foundational for society. From his vantage point down, in the crowd, my son saw something amazing that day.

From my vantage point, at the top of steps, I saw something even better. Many people might expect over a hundred pastors to show up at the capital in support of marriage. It might even cynically be referred to as "part of their job". However, from my vantage point at the front I could see hundreds and hundreds more people, who were not pastors and yet had also driven to the capital to stand up for righteousness. The only reason my four-foot-tall son could see anything in the crowd that day was because he was sitting on the shoulders of one of these ordinary Iowans. We did not know he was coming that day. We just ran into him in the hall. We had not bussed him in for some kind of show of force. He simply left his auto parts store in the hands of others and drove several hours to Des Moines to do something more important that day. My son could see that day because an ordinary guy was standing tall for righteousness. This also is a lesson I hope he will always remember.

There is no benefit to our country in ignoring the sin of homosexuality. The homosexual movement is denying the reality that their life choices are sinful. It is not being loving to participate in that delusion. Furthermore, we have a responsibility to those who are truly the weakest and most vulnerable. I am speaking of the children of our country. Homosexuals, in their same-sex relationships, do not reproduce. They must recruit to grow. If our leaders endorse the idea of gay marriage, they will be telling our children that homosexuality is a normal life choice. The fact is homosexuality is a dangerous and destructive life choice. Further more, our leaders would be calling good what God has called "unnatural" and a "perversion" (Romans chapter 1). Our government does have a role to play. Romans 13:4 says of the government, "For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer." Those in authority are supposed to suppress evil and promote good. Gay marriage would suppress good and promote evil.

These truths may be difficult for some to hear, but we must speak them to protect our children and preserve society. If America follows the pattern of some other parts of the world, then after gay marriage will come laws that prohibit speaking against homosexuality. These "hate speech" laws are already on the books in other countries. We do not speak the truth about sin out of hate, but out of love so that our children can be protected and so that those caught in the trap of homosexuality can know that Christ died for their sins and that they can be forgiven. You do not have to choose between speaking out and being loving. As believers in Christ we must do both. Jesus did both. Though He was falsely accused and misunderstood, he accomplished much. You also may be accused and misunderstood if you speak out, but if you remain silent, that simply makes the voice of evil that much louder.

The defining issues of this legislative session will not be pop bottles and budgets. The defining issues will be right and wrong. Our leaders should know the difference. Believers should encourage them to do right. I encourage you to be the salt and light you were called to be. I encourage you to stand tall for marriage.