When studying the founding of the United States, you canâ€™t help but encounter the faith of the nationâ€™s forefathers. Time and again they recognized Godâ€™s hand in the shaping of America. You will find Him repeatedly mentioned in their words and documents. And you will find Him having an active, vibrant role in the countryâ€™s early history.
Today, God continues His work in America â€“ but itâ€™s in a nation that has clearly lost its moral compass. Every week, â€œMorality in Americaâ€ will address the myriad of moral concerns facing the United States and undermining its Godly heritage:
- Sanctity of lifeÂ â€“ abortion and euthanasia.
- Sanctity of marriageÂ â€“ same-sex marriage and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues.
- Sanctity of the familyÂ â€“ divorce, spousal and child abuse, out-of-wedlock pregnancies and absentee fathers.
- Judicial activismÂ (Supreme and lower court decisions).
- Revisionist education in the public schools.
- The perceived rise of Socialism and one-world government trends.
- Attacks and media bias against Christianity.
- And much moreâ€¦
After you read, remember to intercede in prayerÂ for America â€“ that this nation will return to the Christian standards that once defined it.
We have theÂ Presidential Prayer Team web siteÂ to thanks for these graphics and exceptional articles. The article below was written by Jim Ray.
Giving Licenses and Taking Liberties
Well, not really, but thatâ€™s the way the well-worn joke goes. In truth, you wouldnâ€™t expect to see a rabbi, a priest and a minister together very often â€“ until now. A group of diverse religious leaders united earlier this month to present an open letter to â€œAll Americansâ€ defending the institution of marriage.
The letter is, in essence, a response to this question endlessly posed by homosexual rights activists: How does it harm you if two men â€“ or two women â€“ want to be married to each other? The harm, the religious leaders answer, is to the constitutionally-protected right to religious freedom. The rabbi, the priest and the minister disagree on many subjects, but on this they are unified.
The effort to preserve the definition of marriage as being the union of one man and one woman is, by some accounts, a losing proposition. Homosexual activists have skillfully composed their argument as one of civil rights, and merely an effort to â€œkeep the government out of the bedroom.â€ But as government acquiesces to the demands of homosexual rights supporters, other fundamental rights are being quietly stripped away.
Signed by 39 national religious leaders representing a wide variety of faith communities, the letter notes that altering the civil definition of marriage â€œdoes not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once,â€ and infringes upon the religious rights of those who believe homosexual behavior is inconsistent with the instructions of the Scriptures. For example:
- Religious adoption services that place children exclusively with married couples would be required by law to place children with same-sex couples who are civilly â€œmarried.â€
- Religious marriage counselors would be denied professional accreditation for refusing to counsel same-sex â€œmarriedâ€ relationships.
- Religious employers who provide special health benefits to married couples would be required to offer identical benefits to same-sex â€œspouses.â€
- In addition to civil liability, religious people and groups would face the targeted withdrawal of government grants and other benefits.
All of the scenarios cited have, in fact, already occurred, even though at present only a minority of states authorize licenses for same-sex couples. The governmentâ€™s continued meddling in the definition of marriage â€“ an institution created by God before any government existed â€“ will destroy many more rights than it will create or preserve.
But rather than simply curse the darkness, people of faith should work to promote the value of traditional marriage, and on this subject the religious leaders are also unified. Marriage serves the â€œwell-being of the couple, of children, of civil society and all people,â€ they write, and it is â€œa universal good and the foundational institution of all societies.â€
2012 will be a critical year in the battle to preserve marriage and religious freedom. If you believe these are values worth fighting for:
- Let your political candidates know where you stand on the issues and how you intend to vote.
- Work to strengthen traditional marriages â€“ your own, or the marriages of loved ones or friends.
- Encourage your church to take a role in promoting marriage, such as celebrating National Marriage Week USA February 7-14.
- Pray for special compassion and wisdom as you confront this issue in your community, that you may speak â€œthe truth in love.â€ (Ephesians 4:15)
Jim Ray is a writer and marketing specialist who currently serves as Estate Gift Representative with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. He also serves on the advisory board for Street 2 Street, a New York-based charity ministering to inner-city youth through the vehicle of sports. Jim and his wife Stacey have two children and reside in Nashville, TN.