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Women who answer God's call provide valuable local ministries (1/11/04)

Pastors predict bleak future if local casinos open (12/28/03)

Soap, figurines, candles keep books company in Christian stores (12/21/03)

In order to form a more perfect union (11/30/03)

Federal Marriage Amendment receives Fellowship’s endorsement (11/23/03)

Drug czar congratulates Teen Challenge (11/16/03)

Christian fiction no long back-shelf item (10/19/03)

DREAM3 benefits churches (10/19/03)

Youth rise to DC03 challenge (10/12/03)

Ministry uses drama, music to touch city for Christ (9/28/03)

Displeased viewers protest raunchy programs (9/21/03)

Grit, determination key to cities blocking cable pornography (8/31/03)

Economic slump doesn't always derail giving (8/24/03)

Ruling threatens family, Christian leaders say (8/17/03)

Anti-aging options require balanced approach to health, beauty (8/10/03)

Convoy of Hope reaches out to inner-city neighborhood (7/27/03)

Fight for the flag moves to nation’s schools (7/20/03)

Drama speaks volumes to alienated veterans (7/13/03)

Church's integrity well received following nightmarish ordeal (6/29/03)

Tornadoes cut wide swath across nation's midsection (6/22/03)

Accountability partners provide human feedback that filters don't (6/15/03)

Checking out your horoscope? God advises you to skip it (6/8/03)

Christian filmmakers pursue wider market success (5/25/03)

Intervention is key to preventing suicide (5/18/03)

Adoption often right decision for young expectant mothers (5/11/03)

Dallas-based ministry keeps inmates out of jail (4/27/03)

Medical analysis of Jesus' death generates interest (4/20/03)

Small-town church reaches community (4/13/03)

Young married couples lulled by false sense of security (3/30/03)

Virtual gambling days may be numbered (3/23/03)

Contemporary Christian music copes with its continuing success (3/16/03)

A/G prayer event set for gathering in nation's capital (3/9/03)

Volunteers give church voice in community (2/23/02)

Federal law protects churches in zoning battles (2/16/03)

Singles find cyberspace dating not always match made in heaven (2/9/03)

Predators often plan strategies long in advance (1/19/03)

The Cross and the Switchblade still makes impact 40 years later (1/12/03)


Frontline Reports


2002 PE Report stories


2001 News Digest stories


2000 News Digest stories

Ruling threatens family, Christian leaders say

By John W. Kennedy (8/17/03)

Many evangelical legal and family leaders are concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-to-3 decision in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas has not only established a fundamental right to sodomy (homosexual sex) but is potentially the most destructive ruling on the American family in the nation’s history.

The June 26 decision, evangelical leaders warn, undermines the marriage laws of all U.S. states that define marriage as between one man and one woman, and opens a path to future rulings that will tolerate “deviate” sexual behavior.

“By saying anything goes as long as people consent opens up a lot of behavior that most Americans don’t think should be constitutionally protected,” says Glenn T. Stanton, 41, Focus on the Family marriage and sexuality senior research analyst. “If privacy and mutual consent are the only criteria, it opens up incest, polygamy and statutory rape. ”

The ruling overturns the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick 5-4 decision in which the Supreme Court found no constitutionally protected right to homosexual sex.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that Garner and Lawrence “are entitled to respect for their private lives. The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.’’

In a stinging dissent, three justices condemned the outcome.

“The court has taken sides in the culture war,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote, with support from Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas. They said the ruling would spur state laws allowing same-sex marriages. Scalia wrote that the ruling also threatens laws banning bestiality, bigamy and incest.

This case stems from a 1998 incident in which police, upon responding to a neighbor’s report, found John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner in Lawrence’s Houston apartment. The pair, charged with “deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex,” spent a night in jail, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges and each paid a $200 fine.

Before the Supreme Court in March, Paul M. Smith of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund argued that Texas’ statute regulating homosexual acts violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. “Among the fundamental rights that are implicit in our concept of order of liberty must be the right of all adult couples, whether same-sex or not, to be free from unwarranted state intrusion into their personal decisions about their preferred forms of sexual expression,” Smith said.

Stanton, author of Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Postmodern Society, believes the Lawrence case will have the same type of impact as Roe v. Wade had on abortion. “It will fundamentally change how we view sexual ethics,” he says. “No longer is it that one thing — marriage — is right and one thing — gay sex — is wrong. This equates marital sexual love with any kind of sex act.”

“The next argument is that if the state has no rational basis to distinguish the gender of sex partners, it has no right to limit the number of sex partners,” says Ken Connor, 56, who stepped down as president of the Family Research Council in July.

The Christian Medical and Dental Associations, among others, filed a friend of the court brief noting that same-sex sodomy is a chief method of spreading sexually transmitted diseases and increasing the risk of HIV. “On that basis alone, states should retain power to regulate it,” Connor says. “The state regulates everything from cigarette smoking to bungee jumping for the sake of public health.”

Alan E. Sears, 51, president of the Alliance Defense Fund, believes the government has an overriding interest in containing the health hazards related to homosexual sex. “Sodomy is practiced in many public places beyond the bedroom,” says Sears, author of The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principle Threat to Religious Freedom Today, a book released in June. “It takes place in bushes, parks, cars and bathhouses.”

Smith claimed that sodomy laws discriminate because they can be used to deny homosexuals employment and parents visitation rights of their children. In a friend of the court brief, Human Rights Campaign said sodomy laws fuel anti-homosexual harassment and violence. Although every state had laws banning sodomy as recently as 1960, by this year only 13 did, although statutes aren’t actively enforced anywhere.

A May Gallup poll indicated that a record 60 percent of Americans accept the idea that homosexual relations between consenting adults should be legal and that homosexuality is an acceptable way of life. That compares to only 32 percent at the time of the Bowers ruling.

Randy Thomas, 35, is ministry manager for Exodus International, an organization that promotes freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ. He says Lawrence will further help shape public policy. “This ruling gives validity to the gay community,” he says. “In addition to potentially redefining the family, it further solidifies their position as a political and social force.”

Gary R. Allen, Assemblies of God Ministerial Enrichment national coordinator, finds it ironic that the homosexual community, thought by many to represent about 1 percent of the population, can wield such political clout. The court ruling doesn’t change Christianity’s message, he says, that God’s intent is for sexual relations to be between a married man and woman.

“While the local church should minister to the homosexual with love and respect as with any other human beings, at the same time we need to take a stand against the homosexual lifestyle,” Allen told PE Report. “My experience as a pastor and counselor has shown that homosexuality does not bring, on the whole, a life of fulfillment, joy or long-lasting relationships.”

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