Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders 05.16


Silence of the shepherds. Richard Viguerie was one of the architects of the conservative resurgence that swept Ronald Reagan into the White House in 1980. He made his reputation in the 1960s and '70s as one of the early "kings of direct mail." Now in his 70s, Viguerie is as active as ever, now using email and social media in addition to direct mail to promote conservative causes. And he's not just a technician. He often speaks out himself on issues, and he's weighed in on President Obama's support of homosexual marriage, taking religious leaders to task for their silence. "Since the 1960s, the Left has been winning the cultural wars," he wrote this week. "Those who want to tear down traditional Judeo-Christian moral values have been fully engaged in the battle, but those in leadership positions who should be protecting our culture and the values have mostly been AWOL." Viguerie praised those religious leaders who have spoken out to criticize Obama, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rev. Bryant Wright, president of the Southern Baptist Convention; Rev. Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; and Rabbi Josh Yuter, a nationally prominent Jewish leader. I would add Billy and Franklin Graham to that list. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took full-page ads out in North Carolina newspapers in support of Amendment One. But Viguerie is right: The silence of America's pastors has been a source of frustration, in part because-as Viguerie said-"Silence is evil's best friend."

Obama and the pastors. Certainly President Obama understands the importance of pastors to the public debate. That's why soon after he made his announcement about homosexual marriage he, according to a report in The New York Times, "gathered eight or so African-American ministers on a conference call to explain himself." The Rev. Delman Coates, pastor of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., was on the call and said the call worked, adding that those on it agreed to "work aggressively" on behalf of the president's campaign, despite the fact, Coates said, that "gay marriage is contrary to their understanding of Scripture." The Times also said that "in the hours following Mr. Obama's politically charged announcement, the president and his team embarked on a quiet campaign to contain the possible damage among religious leaders and voters." Among those the White House called was Joel Hunter, who told the president that "some of the faith communities are … afraid that this is an attack against religious liberty." Hunter said that this decision made it more difficult to support Obama but that-so far, at least-he would continue to do so.

Deconstructing DOMA. During a fundraising event in New York City Monday, President Obama for the first time personally called for the repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for purposes of federal laws and regulations. It also protects individual states from being forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Former Sen. Don Nickels, R-Okla., who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, said DOMA was absolutely necessary to protect one state from having judges or legislatures in other states dictate its laws. "If you believe in states' rights, then we need DOMA," Nickels said. Though the Obama administration has done several things to undermine DOMA over the last four years-including not defending it in court when it's attacked-the president's address Monday marked the first time he's publicly called for the law to be repealed or struck down outright.

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Survey says. All this gay activism hasn't been good for the president's poll numbers. The latest CBS/New York Times poll has Mitt Romney leading Barack Obama 46 percent to 43 percent. Romney is supposed to have a problem with women, but the poll also finds him leading Obama with women 46 percent to 44 percent. According to conservative activist Gary Bauer, "Top Obama campaign aides are whining that the poll is biased. They have a point. The poll is biased. As is often the case, the CBS/New York Times poll oversampled Democrats-this time by 8 percentage points, and Obama still could do no better than 43 percent!"

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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