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Mayday for Marriage rally seeks healthy marriages

A litany-like video clip opening the Oct. 10 Mayday for Marriage rally at the Spokane Arena featured 30 area pastors affirming their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman for life.  Speakers during the two-hour event called Christians to reflect, repent, revive themselves and model living God’s ways.

Choir sings at rally.
Phil Altmeyer of Union Gospel Mission and the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals welcomed about 3,500 people who gathered, recalling that in November 1998, 70 pastors signed a marriage covenant to promote healthy marriages by encouraging pre-marital counseling, premarital sexual purity and mentoring by older couples.

Some feared this rally was about hate.  It is not,” he asserted.  “I do not tell my three sons it is wrong to lie or steal, or for a married man to have an affair with another woman or man because I hate them, but because I love them, because there are consequences.”

Ken Ortiz of Calvary Chapel said: “We face perilous times, as the foundations of faith, society, family and marriage are being torn down.”
Threats to marriage beyond the effort to redefine marriage, he said, include pornography, decadent language, divorce and adultery.  He said nations and states accepting gay marriage or civil unions see it as a legal issue, not a moral one.

“We feel we have been intimidated to be silent.  Is it unloving to speak the truth, to cite Scriptures calling homosexuality an abomination or to say there are consequences?” he asked.  “We need to be a clear voice so non-Christians will understand God’s standard for righteousness.  We cannot be silent or confused for fear we will be out of step with contemporary culture. The church is reticent to speak for fear of turning away people who may seek Christ.”

Ken asserted that people must do more than pray:
  “How could Germany, a sophisticated culture, allow the Holocaust to occur?  People remained silent and did nothing.  We must humble our hearts before God and pray God will give clarity, so we see God’s heart on this issue,” he said.

singing at rally
Singing during rally.
In another video clip, several youth told of their experiences after their parents divorced—crying, thinking they were not loved, moving back and forth, feeling betrayed and abandoned, assuming they were at fault, thinking of suicide, being confused and wishing their parents would be together again and happy.

Then Joanna Repsold of Fourth Memorial Church pointed out that with the rise in single-parent homes comes more teens being poor, depressed, suicidal, sexually active and on drugs.

“A strong marriage is vital for youth,” she said.  “Our wedding day should be the capstone of our commitment to purity.  Men and women who are not virgins when they marry are more likely to divorce.  Our choices now influence our marriages.”

She challenged teens to consider what their future spouses would think if they saw their teen years:  “Would our actions honor them?”  She called teens to “choose emotional and mental purity, because habits we form now have consequences later.”

After a prayer for hope for the next generation, came another video clip, in which a man, sitting by his wife, told of being in a homosexual relationship before he had a personal relationship with Christ.  He had been lonely, disconnected from men and women. Now married three years, he rejoices that he has brought new life into the world.

Jim Putman of Real Life Ministries in Post Falls then spoke of “the cultural war” represented by about 40 people who protested the event.
“It’s a spiritual war,” he said quoting Ephesians 6.  “Those who are lost are the symptoms, not the enemy.  To fight the spiritual battle in a country with rights, we need to know God’s plan for Christians.   It is to reach the world for Jesus one person at a time, going to the lost to tell them we have the answer, but if we want to make a difference, we need to live what we say we believe.”

When he was lost, Jim heard Christians say they had the answer, but saw it made no difference in their lives. 

“As a non-Christian, I knew I was a sinner, but Christians did not say they were sinners, too,” Jim said.  “Too often we point fingers rather than opening our arms.”

He also challenged people to “be servants” and to follow Acts 32, which tells of people repenting, being baptized, breaking bread and selling their possessions to share with people in need—not just like-minded Christians.

“We must not ‘fight like the devil’ for God’s way of grace,” he said.

Alec Rowlands, pastor of Westgate Chapel in Edmonds, reported on statewide efforts to call pastors to stand together on marriage.  He likened conditions in Isaiah’s time to conditions today.

“We opt not to sit on the sidelines in bondage to sin.  It’s not time for God’s people to be confused about God’s will for righteousness.  God sees the mess and is grieved,” Alec said, calling for prayers of intercession, spending time in “God’s counsel chamber” and then acting.

“The foolish think we will change with political strategies. God will re-establish righteousness.  The problem is not homosexuality, Hollywood or political liberalism.  The problem is us, the church of Jesus Christ.  God looks on America and sees injustice and sin.  Someone needs to intercede,” said Alec, who seeks to link with Eastern Washington pastors in a call for prayer and repentance, for people to put their own houses in order so they are available as intercessors.

This is a wake-up call for the 5,200 churches in our state to unite in prayer and sound the alarm, to network churches and stand up as God’s people.

Following an offering to cover costs, Kristen Waggoner, a Seattle attorney, gave an overview of federal and state court decisions related to marriage.  Having failed with the appeal to the Washington State Supreme Court on the Defense of Marriage law, she favors a constitutional amendment to say marriage is between one man and one woman.

John Repsold of Fourth Memorial Church presented some historical precedents for citizen involvement. 

He believes that the founders did not intend that the Word of God be separated from pubic life and law.  He pointed out that separation of church and state was not established until 1947 in the Board of Education v. Edmunds case in the Supreme Court.  In 1962, school prayers were declared unconstitutional.

“When we depart from our Christian moorings, we track increased sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, abortion as social indicators.  Changing the holy institution of marriage will have consequences.  No society that ceases to honor marriage between one man and one woman has survived,” he said.

“We must pray for a spiritual revival in the nation so we will not slip into moral bondage.  Nothing short of a change of heart will lead us to a future in God’s hand.  Pray more fervently than ever before,” John said.  “We must live responsibly and be done with divorce, abuse, violence, sexual impurity and doing as the world does.”

Phil closed by suggesting some possibilities for action, such as buying bumper stickers, circulating petitions, learning about ministries, contacting legislators, volunteering for the Coalition for Authentic Marriage (C-FAM), strengthening one’s own marriage and voting for leaders supporting marriage.

Names of candidates who endorse a marriage amendment were displayed on the video screen.

Follow-up sessions Oct. 28 and Nov. 16 with pastors and church leaders are being held at Fourth Memorial Church to review statistics and set strategies for action for interested churches, said the Rev. John Tusant, director of the Greater Spokane Association of Evangelicals.

For information, call 487-7429.

By Mary Stamp, Fig Tree editor - Copyright © November 2004