To Leaders

Published Date Author: , June 18th, 2012

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In the last month alone, both the president and vice president of the United States stated their unequivocal support for same-sex marriage. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson described the president’s “evolution” on this issue writing, “He justified his recent switch on gay marriage, in part, as the direct application of Christian teaching. ‘When we think about our faith,’ [Obama] said, ‘the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.’ In 2008, he justified his support for civil unions by saying: ‘If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans.’” Given that the president cited Jesus, it should also be noted that in the Gospel of Matthew (19:4-6), Jesus says, “Haven’t you read…that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together let man not separate.”

Talking heads and strategists in Washington are busy analyzing what constituencies have been mobilized, energized, secured or alienated by the timing of the president’s announcement. But the implications of this shift are more far-reaching than November’s electoral outcome. We believe that the president’s position, which he sought to justify by citing Scripture, necessitates a response. Not only a political response – but a reasoned, winsome, faithful interpretation of what Scripture actually has to say about God’s intent for the sacred institution of marriage. As is befitting those who identify themselves as followers of Jesus, this apologetic for marriage must be seasoned with grace, kindness and love while also being grounded in truth.

The nation needs to hear from its church leaders on this issue. Some segments of the church are already engaged and, if that describes you, we express our profound gratitude. Others, however, are noticeably silent, which begs the question: where are the Christian apologists who will sound the clarion call for Biblical orthodoxy on the institution of marriage? Where are the William Wilberforce’s and the Mother Theresa’s and the C. S. Lewis’ for our day? Who will stand in the gap?

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “Again, if the trumpet does not sound a clear call. who will get ready for battle?” We fear that the trumpet’s call is muffled – that there is uncertainty and confusion among people of faith in part because many of our religious leaders have not yet stepped into the void.

We are asking you, as a follower of Jesus and a leader in His church, to leverage your influence. Consider the teachers in your congregation and the students they shape on a daily basis, or business people wielding their influence in the marketplace, or film students seeking to address the culture. This is where the battle will be won or lost. Are you equipping them? Are you encouraging them to use their own cultural platform and voice?

On this issue, as on so many others, the discussion among government leaders and opinion makers is simply a downstream manifestation of what is already happening in the broader culture, which is why your leadership is so important.

We write to you not as a Republican and a Democrat, which we are, but as men of faith who take seriously the teaching of Scripture – as do you. German Lutheran pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer famously said, “Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” In that spirit, we implore you, with an urgency that the situation demands, to boldly lend your voice to the public square on this defining issue – for such a time as this.

Best wishes.


Frank R. Wolf

U.S. Congressman

Tony P. Hall

U.S. Ambassador

U.S. Congressman (Ret.)


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