As America awaits a potential landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court this summer regarding gay marriage, speakers at The Awakening 2015: Rebuilding the Wall conference this weekend said the outcome could set the nation on a "collision course with religious freedom." More than 1,900 people attended.
"Let me address the seriousness and the basis for engaging with resistance to a Supreme Court decision that could go the wrong way," Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver told the large crowd gathered at Faith Assembly in Orlando, Florida. "Once you elevate same-sex marriage to the level of protected status, whether on the federal or the state level, you begin to change and transform the face of society. In my view it will result in the beginning of the end of Western Civilization."
Rick Santorum, a former United States senator and Republican presidential candidate, said the nation is at a critical point in its history—one that will determine whether it continues as a Judeo-Christian society with God-given rights in its founding documents or morphs into "European socialism."
"The European Union doesn't have the word God in its Constitution or in any of its documents," Santorum said. "It is a secular society and it is the model for America. It is the reason you are seeing this assault. The left cannot be successful in a country with God-given rights. It can't because they want to be the purveyor of rights and if God is the purveyor then they lose.
"America is at a crossroads and a tipping point. This means it can go either way. This means you have the potential right here to make a huge difference in the future of our country. Be not afraid."
The conference, featuring noted Christian leaders and politicians such as Franklin Graham, Mike Huckabee and David and Jason Benham, comes as the nation is waiting to see whether the high court will rule this summer against the biblical and historical institution of marriage in favor of same-sex marriage.
The Supreme Court's deliberations on whether to formally legalize same-sex marriage follows a steady increase of rulings in state and federal courts. Federal judges have declared gay marriage bans unconstitutional in state after state in recent years. In January, the Supreme Court said they would hear cases from the Sixth Circuit regarding marriage bans in four states. The justices, who have previously not addressed the question of same-sex marriage nationally, will now consider whether states are constitutionally required to issue marriage licences and if states are required to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. If answered in the affirmative, this would effectively legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S.
In response, Owen Cardwell Jr., a pastor and civil rights activist, called on Americans to participate in "100 days of prayer and praise."
"(It's) to begin today and extend until June 23," Cardwell told the audience. "This is the approximate time when the Supreme Court will announce their decision on same-sex marriage."
Greg Quinlan, an ex-gay activist who is now a committed Christian, said gay activists are not really interested in equality. "It's about dominance. It's about silencing any voice that is against what they want to do."
Matt Barber, vice president of Liberty Action Counsel and the founder and editor-in-chief of barbwire.com, said gay activists view the legalization of same-sex marriage as a "hammer to attack the natural family, natural marriage and to attack religious liberty."
"Ultimately, this is about undermining God's design for human sexuality for marriage and family and getting the government's official stamp of approval so the government can take sides," Barber said.
With same-sex marriage now legal in 37 states, only 13 states still have bans on gay marriage, including Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Texas, Ohio and Tennessee.
The high court's decision is expected to be made at the end of June. The result is not likely to be in favor of biblical marriage, according to officials at the conference.
"As liberal as the Greek culture was, neither they or any other country in the world has ever adopted same-sex unions," Staver said. "In fact, if you look back in history, this experiment worldwide throughout all history is only about 25 years old, starting in the Netherlands in Denmark in 1989, and then in the United States where it's only in its 11th year of experimentation and that began with a 4-3 decision in the Massachusetts Supreme Court. It sets us on a significant collision course with religious freedom."
Revising marriage is dangerous because America's strength comes from the strength of its families, Staver said. By legalizing same-sex marriage, "You are essentially saying that boys and girls don't need moms and dads—that moms and dads are irrelevant," Staver said.
In the face of these dangers, why is America succumbing to this break from traditional and moral marriage? Cardwell said it's because America has not fully repented of racism and slavery, and many of its citizens are advocating gay marriage to assuage their guilt.
"By accepting same-sex marriage, America is trying to prove that it's no longer discriminatory," Cardwell said.
Gay rights activists use much of the same language to describe gay rights issues as they use to describe civil rights issues, causing many Americans to see them as the same thing.
So what can Christians do when there is so much pressure to ignore biblical morality in order to be considered "loving," "tolerant" and "accepting?"
Living examples of this include David and Jason Benham, who were recently fired from their HGTV reality TV show because gay rights activists were upset with their expressions of faith in Christ. David Benham fought back tears as he recounted the word God gave him a week before they were fired: "The devil has a stronghold in America through the influences of media and entertainment. The world watches and wants to be like them. But God is sending us now to tear down the stronghold in which they trust and to build an altar to Him upon that stronghold, like Gideon and Elijah."
Every Christian in America has an opportunity to take a stand like this. Cardwell has called for Christians to choose one day a week to fast and cry out to God, as well as to devote one hour from each day of the week to pray for the nation to turn back to God.
"I don't have to tell you that our country is in trouble," said Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "There is a battle to fight. It's not against flesh and blood. This is a spiritual battle. We are fighting Satan and his demons and let me tell you something: They have gotten their way into government; they have gotten their way into every level of our government and we've got to speak up. We've still got our voice."
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