Saturday, October 18, 2008

West Virginia Marriage Ammendment

It is hard for many of us to imagine, but the accepted definition of marriage is changing right before our eyes. Five states have passed laws which allow "same sex marriage" and the ramifications are powerful for the remaining 45 states. Even a Defense of Marriage Act in California, (defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman) which was signed into law, was struck down by a four judge panel. A number of state legislatures have passed laws defining marriage in the traditional, Biblical way. These acts have been nullified as unconstitutional by judicial activists with a personal agenda. The only way to prevent liberal activist judges from legislating from the bench is to pass a constitutional amendment, and that is exactly what we are hoping to do in West Virginia.

A number of states have passed such amendments to their constitutions. Since it appears that a hostile U.S. Congress, is highly unlikely to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, action must begin at the state level. I have joined with 52 other pastors and religious leaders across the Mountain State who have signed an open letter to W.Va. Governor Joe Manchin, requesting that he include a Constitutional Amendment proposal on agenda of the upcoming November Special Legislative Session. Thus far, Manchin has said that he "doesn't see the need" for such an amendment at this time. My question is, if not now, when?

This should not be a "Democrat/Republican" issue. This is a moral issue. Will you join us by adding your voices to this request? If the legislature would pass the amendment, then it would go to the ballot and let the voters of West Virginia decide. I think we all know how that vote would shake out! West Virginians can call the governor’s office at (304) 558-2000 to encourage Manchin to place the subject of a marriage amendment on the agenda of the November 2008 special session. The link at the bottom of this post will provide more information to those who are interested in getting involved.

The following is the text of the letter and the list of signors to it:

The Hon. Joe Manchin, III
Office of the Governor, State Capitol
1900 Kanawha Blvd., East
Charleston, WV 25305

October 16, 2008

RE: An Open Letter to Gov. Manchin from the Pastors of West Virginia

Gov. Manchin:

We, the undersigned pastors of churches in the State of West Virginia, stand united in support of the institution of marriage.

As you set the agenda for the remaining special sessions of the 2008 West Virginia Legislature, we ask that you include legislation that would allow the citizens of West Virginia to define marriage as between one man and one woman within the Constitution of the State of West Virginia.

The time to defend marriage in West Virginia is now. Our common belief is that marriage is
between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a society that can be home to all human
beings, the reflection of our relationship with God, and a cornerstone of our society. This
compels our humble request.

Courts, legislatures, and even governors from around the country have placed marriages in West Virginia in immediate jeopardy. We believe that an amendment to the state constitution is
necessary in order to prevent the redefinition of marriage by judicial pen, legislative whimsy, or
executive inaction.

Our names below reflect our affirmation of the following:

First, God created marriage for the good of His creation (Matthew 19:4-7). Scriptural Truth,
followed by centuries of tradition, reminds us that the union of one man and one woman is much
more than a contract (Genesis 1). It is a sacred, lifelong union that creates an intimate
community of life and love that, in turn, supports all of society.

Second, same-sex unions are not the same as opposite-sex unions. To believe otherwise is to
ignore the uniqueness of each gender’s design and undermines marriage (Genesis 2:18). The
break down or weakening of the institution of marriage has devastating moral, spiritual,
economic, and social effects on the whole of society. Marriage protects children by giving them
an opportunity to grow up in the ideal environment: with a married mom and dad. Knowingly
depriving children of that opportunity exposes our children to a great social experiment that is in no one’s best interest.

Third, marriage mirrors God’s relationship with us, thus completing, enriching, and perpetuating humanity (Ephesians 5). Any other pairing disrupts that relationship and is not marriage. As ministers of the Gospel, we are compelled to defend the institution of marriage as created by God– in church and in culture.

Fourth, as children of God, equally possessing the human dignity of being created in his image, our stand for marriage in no way disparages others – even if they disagree with us. As recipients of God’s grace, we are committed to demonstrating the love of Christ to those living the homosexual lifestyle.

Fifth, we commit to pray and humbly work toward a just resolution of this issue, which is of
grave importance to the well-being of the human family.

Sixth, as Christians, we cannot ignore our duty to speak the Truth to culture (Matthew 5:13-16). As citizens of West Virginia, we avail ourselves of the opportunity to affirm the historic, legal, and reasonable definition of marriage by making this request.

Seventh, we will strongly encourage Christians throughout West Virginia to engage in the civic process in defense of marriage and in support of the government’s leadership in defining
marriage as the union of one man and one woman (Romans 13).

Eighth, we commit to earnestly and regularly pray for our governor, our state senators and
delegates, judges, and all of the leaders set in positions of human authority over us (I Timothy
2:1-2). We pray for God’s wisdom to be imparted to each of them as they work to strengthen
marriages in this state.

Finally, we believe the union of one man and one woman, in the institution of marriage, is
foundational to our society and cannot be compared with any other union.

Respectfully submitted,

Rev. Seth N. Polk,
Cross Lanes Baptist Church,
Cross Lanes, WV

Rev. Keith Wiebe, Sr.
Grace Gospel Church,
Huntington, WV

Rev. Darrin Wright,
First Baptist Church of Wheeling,
Wheeling, WV

Terry Harper, Executive Director
WV Convention of Southern Baptists
Teays Valley, WV

Pastor James R. Wright, Jr.
Maranatha Fellowship,
St. Albans, WV

Rev. David Lemming,
Lewis Memorial Baptist Church,
Huntington, WV

Pastor Nathan Cherry
Central Chapel,
Hedgesville, WV

Rev. Richard Mahan
St. Timothy’s Lutheran,
Charleston, WV

Rev. Keith Cobb
Perrow Presbyterian Church
Cross Lanes, WV

Rev. Greg Varndale
Fairlawn Baptist Church,
Parkersburg, WV

Rev. C.J. Adkins
Westmoreland Baptist Church
Huntington, WV

Rev. Kevin Prevett
First Baptist Church of Fairlea
Lewisburg, WV

Rev. Todd Hill
Grace Baptist Church,
Parkersburg, WV

Rev. H. Kenneth Stidham, Jr.
Good Shepherd Baptist Church,
Scott Depot, WV

Rev. Bernard Toppings
Witcher Baptist Church,
Belle, WV

Rev. Dan Jividen
Immanuel Baptist Church,
Princeton, WV

Rev. Dave Buckley
Cross Lanes Bible Church,
Cross Lanes, WV

Rev. Kevin Dennis, District Superintendent
West Virginia North District,
Church of the Nazerene,
Morgantown WV

Rev. Mark Johnson
Independent Bible Church,
Martinsburg, WV

Rev. Van Marsceau
Fellowship Bible Church
Charles Town, WV

Rev. David Goodin
Chaplain, Mepco, Inc.,
Morgantown, WV

Pastor Jonathan Rinker
Crow Christian Church,
Beaver, WV

Dr. Daniel Anderson, President
Appalachian Bible College,
Mt. Hope, WV

Rev. James Morton, Jr.
Freedom Baptist Church
Charleston, WV

Rev. Donald E. Knotts
Wayside Baptist Church,
Buckhannon, WV

Rev. Eddie Henson
Highlawn Baptist Church, Chinese Mission,
Huntington, WV

Rev. Tommy Knotts
Brenton Baptist Church,
Brenton, WV

Rev. Daniel Gunnoe
East End Baptist Church,
Bluefield, WV

Rev. Bill Hines
Parkersburg Broadway Church of
the Nazarene,
Parkersburg, WV

Rev. Chad Harvey
Little Sandy Church of the
Bruceton Mills, WV

Rev. Dave Turner
Terra Alta Church of the Nazarene,
Terra Alta, WV

Rev. Scott Mapes
Ravenswood Church of the
Ravenswood, WV

Rev. Matthew Bates
Colliers Church of the Nazarene,
Colliers, WV

Rev. Everett Clay
Newell First Church of the
Newell, WV

Rev. Robert Kniley
Blennerhassett Church of the
Parkersburg, WV

Rev. Dennis Yingling
Wellsburg Church of the Nazarene,
Wellsburg, WV

Rev. Jerry Dooley
Mannington Church of the
Mannington, WV

Rev. Keith Miller
Canaan Baptist Church,
Mill Creek, WV

Pastor Jesse Wisnewski,
Perrow Presbyterian Church,
Cross Lanes, WV

Rev. Dana Snodgrass
Weirton First Church of the Nazarene,
Weirton, WV

Rev. Danny Linger
Parsons Church of the Nazarene,
Parsons, WV

Rev. Tom Fletcher
Spencer Church of the Nazarene,
Spencer, WV

Rev. Tim Bess
Shinnston Church of the Nazarene,
Shinnston, WV

Rev. Brett Phipps
Summersville Nazarene Camp,
Summersville, WV

Rev. David Edwards
Paden City Church of the Nazarene,
Paden City, WV

Rev. Steve Cummings
Chester Church of the Nazarene,
Chester, WV

Pastor Dean Brdlik
Emmanuel Community Church,
Lewisburg, WV

Pastor David Johns
Winfield Baptist Church
Winfield, WV

Rev. Darrell L. Clark
Southern Baptist Church,
Wayne, WV

Rev. Vernon Beachum
First Baptist Church,
Fort Ashby, WV

Pastor Mike Hager
Faith Missionary Baptist Church
St. Albans, WV

Greg Wrigley
WV Convention of Southern Baptists,
Teays Valley, WV

Rev. David Spence
Cornerstone Community Church
Reedsville, WV

NOTE TO OUR READERS: for more detailed information on this effort, check out the website of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia by clicking here -

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