A New Enthusiasm

Yesterday the motion to bring the Federal Marriage Amendment to a vote was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 48 to 50. We knew going in that we didn't have the votes, and actually we did a little better than we expected: Some of the undecideds have been moving our way. I wish we had won, but I'm certainly not discouraged. This is part of a long process of educating the public and the Congress. There are a lot of phony arguments out here in the political atmosphere that we have to knock down one by one. And with a pending vote in the House this fall, we need to keep working with House members. And we'll be back with another vote in the Senate next year. Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), the Majority Leader, is a strong supporter. He knows that in great efforts like this, it can take years to marshal the necessary public support, so do not despair. As a matter of fact, there could be a blessing here that none of us expected. Last Sunday night, Jim Dobson, Tony Perkins, Ken Hutcherson, and I all spoke in a simulcast from Adrian Rogers's great Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis. There were 10,000 people in the church auditorium, a million connected by satellite, and many millions more by radio and TV -- amazing. For months all of us had been wringing our hands over the lethargy in the evangelical movement over the same-sex "marriage" issue. It seemed as if people were only concerned with what's in it for them and that they were staying in their churches, concerned about recruiting and nothing else. David Brooks in the New York Times, in fact, wrote that the evangelical Church has become part of the American cultural mainstream. Well, for all the hand-wringers and for David Brooks, I just wish you had been with me at Bellevue Baptist. There were several times during that meeting when I thought the roof was going to come off the church. We gave listeners explicit instructions about getting on the phones to their congressmen and senators, and those Capitol Hill switchboards were jammed for days. I had trouble getting calls through myself. The Church has come alive this week for this fight -- and that is good news in the long term. Bear in mind, we weren't looking for this fight over gay "marriage." It was thrust on us by the courts. But maybe there's a blessing. I have not seen believers as excited as they were Sunday night at Bellevue Baptist in years. It reminds me of the early days of the eighties when Christians were just engaging again in politics after decades of fundamentalist isolation. There was freshness and enthusiasm then, and it's back. Those folks at Bellevue were ready to go to war. Jim Dobson and I speculated afterwards that this may be the beginning of a real revival in the Church. Remember two centuries ago when William Wilberforce started his campaign to abolish the slave trade in Britain. He didn't have the votes, but he persisted. And after twenty years, he prevailed. But the battle so energized the Church that it led to the Second Great [Wesley] Awakening that swept across England and the English-speaking world. So do not despair -- the same thing could very well happen in this country. God in His providence sometimes puts adversities and battles in our way just for the purpose of awakening His Church. And awakened, we'll press forward. For further reading and information: Find out how your senators voted on the cloture to debate the Federal Marriage Amendment (S.J.RES. 40). "Same-sex marriage Senate battle over, war is not," CNN, 14 July 2004. Read President Bush's radio address on the marriage amendment. Edwin Meese, III, "Marriage Amendment Protects Federalism," Heritage Foundation, 12 July 2004. "Toying with Marriage," Wall Street Journal, 14 July 2004. Terry Eastland, for the Editors, "Cloturekampf," Weekly Standard, 19 July 2004. Hadley Arkes, "Kerry's Contradictions," National Review Online, 13 July 2004. Joshua Baker and Maggie Gallagher, "Saving Marriage," National Review Online, 12 July 2004. Ted Olsen, "Weblog: Which Federal Marriage Amendment?Christianity Today, 13 July 2004. Charles Colson and Anne Morse, "Societal Suicide: How Legalizing Gay Marriage Will Hurt America," Christianity Today, June 2004. (Reprinted on BreakPoint Online.) Alan Sears, "Who Will Define Marriage?BreakPoint Online, 8 July 2004. BreakPoint Commentary No. 040614, "Fudging with Federalism: FMA and the States." Warren Throckmorton, Ph.D., et al., "Respect and the Facts: How to have both in the sexual orientation debate,", 6 July 2004. (Adobe Acrobat Reader required.) BreakPoint Commentary No. 040116, "Say It Ain't So, Dave: Evangelicals and the Cultural Mainstream." Learn more about the "Battle for Marriage" simulcast with Charles Colson, James Dobson, and others. See BreakPoint's sanctity of marriage resource page. Call 1-877-322-5527 to request the free BreakPoint marriage amendment information packet and the free "Talking Points on Marriage and Same-Sex Unions." Also available is the Speak the Truth in Love kit (suggested donation: $25).


Chuck Colson


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