By Bob Allen
The Southern Baptist Convention went online April 7 urging people in the pews to pray when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments about whether state gay-marriage bans are constitutional.
The SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission introduced #PrayForMarriage, a social media campaign enlisting Southern Baptists “to join us in praying for the preservation and strengthening of marriage” on April 28, the day lawyers on both sides will argue in cases challenging laws in four states forbidding same-sex couples to wed.
“As Christians prepare for the April oral arguments and a late June decision, we should remember the essential truths of marriage,” says an appeal on the ERLC website. “It is an institution embedded into the created order that unites men and women into husbands and wives that they might become fathers and mothers.
“At the same time, marriage is a shadow or icon that depicts the truest reality of the cosmos: Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection that secures for him, his own bride — the church.”
Leaders of the SBC agency tasked with education and lobbying on matters of public and private morality compared the anticipated up-or-down vote on gay marriage to Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to abortion.
“The outcome of this decision will shape the landscape of the church’s ministry in the United States for generations to come; and it will have significant consequences on the future of religious liberty,” the website appealed.
“We are inviting you to join other organizations and churches that will set aside time on the morning of April 28 at 10 a.m. EDT to appeal to God to preserve marriage in our land,” the appeal continued.
ERLC leaders invited individuals to help spread word about the call to prayer by changing the avatar on social media accounts to a graphic illustrating interlocked wedding rings and posting with the hashtag #PrayForMarriage.
ERLC President Russell Moore said in an April 7 blog that the stakes are high.
“The price of getting marriage wrong is steep, and as in the rest of the Sexual Revolution, children will foot much of the bill,” he said. “It matters tremendously to our nation and to future generations that we agree with God on this.”
“Let’s pray that the Court gets this right and stays within the limits of its authority — recognizing that the state did not create the family, and cannot recreate it. And at the same time let’s pray with confidence in the knowing that regardless of how the Court decides, on the other side of our culture wars there is a sexual counter-revolution waiting to be born — again.”
On April 2 the ERLC joined 18 organizations including the National Association of Evangelicals, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod and the Assemblies of God in a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to leave the definition of marriage up to each state.
“To declare an unprecedented constitutional right to same-sex marriage would deny people of faith who support traditional marriage the liberty to participate as equal citizens in deciding which values and policies will govern their communities,” the brief argued.
“We urge the Court to trust the people and their democratic institutions to resolve the marriage issue, as it has on other divisive issues so many times before.”