Evangelicals rally against same-sex marriage
May 24 2004 11:00 PM ET
During a nationally broadcast rally in Colorado, evangelical leaders urged Christians to lobby for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Chuck Colson of Prison Fellowship Ministries called it "the mother of all cultural war battles" and said evangelical Christians were "the great sleeping
army." The Sunday event was in response to the holding of legal marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples in Massachusetts last week. It was simulcast to 500 churches nationwide, said the Reverend Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals. It also was broadcast on hundreds of radio stations and the Church Communication Network. About 3,200 people attending the event at New Life Church in Colorado Springs gave speakers a standing ovation and frequently interrupted with applause.
Outside, a handful of Christian protesters who support same-sex marriage cheered and waved at people at the entrance to New Life's parking lot. About 25 protesters stayed throughout the 90-minute program and held a prayer vigil. "We're not trying to be condemning," said the Reverend Nori Rost, senior pastor of the predominantly gay Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church. "We're just
trying to say, Look, there's another voice of Christianity than what you're hearing tonight. They do not speak for all of Christianity."
Tony Perkins, president of the antigay Family Research Council, said such protests were designed to "intimidate" Christians. Speakers said the will of God would prevail. "They have a lot of political clout and a lot of financial clout. But I believe that we have the holy spirit on our side," Rost countered. Speakers at the rally, among the country's most powerful evangelical leaders, included Bishop Wellington Boone of Wellington Boone Ministries, Perkins, and Haggard, senior pastor for New Life. They urged Christians to support an amendment, such as one proposed by U.S. representative Marilyn Musgrave, to preserve traditional marriages. James Dobson, head of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, said same-sex marriage was a threat to families and to religious freedom and could mean
"the end of morality." Dobson said he has been called a homophobe, but Boone said evangelicals are
not homophobic. He said Jesus died for sinful people. "We are not afraid of [gays]," he said. "We are afraid of God. We are standing flat-footed on this. There is no wiggle room."