By L.A. Williams
Christian Action League
BOONE — “There is no issue for the citizens of this great state to consider now or later that is of greater gravity than how marriage will ultimately be defined among us,” the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, told a crowd of an estimated 200 Tuesday night at the Watauga High School auditorium.
Sponsored by the Three Forks Baptist Association, the rally for the Marriage Protection Amendment gave Dr. Creech and other speakers — including Rep. Jonathan Jordan (R-Ashe) and Sen. Dan Soucek (R-Watauga), and retired Ashe County attorney Ed McClearen — a chance to clarify the need for the amendment, explain what it will accomplish and spur supporters to action. Voters will decide on the amendment, which would add the definition of marriage — one man/one woman — to the N.C. Constitution, on May 8. The Tar Heel state is the only one in the Southeast that doesn’t protect marriage in its constitution.
“Marriage benefits society — especially children — in ways that no other relationship can. The lifelong, faithful union of husband and wife promotes healthy, natural families, for the common good,” Dr. Creech said. “Marriage is God’s time-tested way to bless as many children as possible with both a Mom and a Dad.”
He called comparisons between same-sex marriage and interracial marriage “untenable” because “race is irrelevant to marriage, while gender is essential to it,” and explained the fallacy that same-sex and traditional marriages are just different sides of the same coin and could co-exist without harm to society.
“… If marriage is redefined to include same-sex relationships — then people who believe in marriage as one man and one woman, will ultimately be declared the legal equivalents of bigots for acting on their religious or heartfelt beliefs,” he said.
Dr. Creech went on to debunk a number of claims that the opposition has made about the Marriage Protection Amendment, regarding everything from discrimination to violation of the separation of church and state. He said the amendment is discriminatory in the same way that the U.S. Constitution says that 17-year-olds can’t vote or that a man can’t have two wives — “it is discrimination against behavior,” he added.
Both Sen. Soucek and Rep. Jordan shared briefly with the crowd about their role in bringing the Marriage Protection Amendment to the ballot so that all North Carolina voters — not just judges or lawmakers — could determine the fate of marriage. McClearen, co-founder of the TEA Party organization “We the People of Ashe County” addressed the “do’s and dont’s” of political activism for church leaders, assuring them that pastors do not have to “check their First Amendment rights at the door upon ordination.”
The Rev. Bud Russell, minister of education and administration at Mount Vernon Baptist Church, helped organize the event and said he had received positive feedback from pastors and others who were both encouraged and equipped by the speakers.
Among the crowd were a handful of opponents to the Marriage Protection Amendment, one of whom caused a scene as he angrily stormed out and others who heckled or laughed during Dr. Creech’s speech. But among the MPA proponents, his remarks were met with applause, choruses of “amens” and a rousing standing ovation.
“Mark brought the crowd to its feet with his strong pro-marriage message,” noted McClearen.
The Rev. Russell, who introduced the speakers, had clarified from the start that the event was sponsored by supporters of the amendment and that it was not a question-and-answer forum, but that all were welcome to attend.
“We can agree to disagree, but still be agreeable,” he told the crowd. He said Thursday that although there were some who tried to “stir the pot,” he felt it was clear that organizers were not trying to pick a fight. He said he was most thankful for a chance to gather with like-minded believers and pray.
“Assembling some of God’s people together to petition Him was one of the best parts,” he said.
Dr. Creech ended his presentation by challenging the crowd with the hard truth that the fight for marriage will require “passionate intensity.”
“Marriage is God’s first institution. It is the cause of Christ and we dare not be found as traitors of it,” he said.