Admittedly, America, the place where every person is said to possess the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, has not always lived up to its lofty aspirations. As an African-American, Langston Hughes spoke for many of his brothers and sisters when he said, “America was never America to me.” But praise God that because of the brave efforts of many Americans of diverse ethnic backgrounds, the terrible legacy of overt institutionalized racism has been dying a slow death for many years now. The testament to this cultural transformation is November 4th 2008, when Americans of all stripes elected the first African-American President.
Yet on the same night when African-Americans danced in the streets all across America, celebrating the mortal blow delivered to institutionalized discrimination, many homosexuals accused them of being a principal party in institutionalizing another form of discrimination. Gay activist Wayne Besen wrote, "There is something particularly galling and repugnant about people who have felt the sting of discrimination, turn around and step on another minority. What happened at the ballot box feels like a personal betrayal and the hijacking of history." He poignantly added, “Let's not pretend that the repudiation of Martin Luther King Jr's dream by African American voters did not hurt more than, say, rejection by white evangelicals. It did.” While I can empathize with his deep disappointment and even anguish, my response to his rationale is, wow! The basis of his charge is that on the same night many African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Obama, 70% of them voted yes for a traditional one man one woman definition of marriage in California. African Americans were the key voting block responsible for the passage of prop 8.
Besen deduced that African Americans voted to “take away a gay person's right to marry primarily based on a book -- the Bible.” He also believed that the less educated a person was (regardless of their ethnicity) the more apt they would be to vote yes on 8. I actually agree in part with his analysis as to why African Americans voted yes on 8. The secularization of our education system by the Left makes it so that the more education a person receives, the more secular their value system is likely to become. I am not advocating that people stop going to school. I am noting how radically Left our educational system has moved from the Christian foundation of nearly all of our Ivy League schools and our collective education system. For example, no on 8 proponents used an expensive TV ad campaign to persuade voters that they didn’t have an agenda to introduce a homosexual lifestyle in our schools. The catch is that, at least in part, the campaign was paid for with a million dollar donation from the California Teachers Association. Why? They realize what everyone knows—that people just don’t wake up thinking there is no difference between having a mother and a father and being raised by two intimately involved women or two romantically engaged men. You have to undergo a substantial amount of re-education to believe that. Besen openly admitted that the future strategy for same sex marriage advocates must involve re-educating people to embrace a secular worldview rather than a Judeo-Christian one. So I agree with Besen that the Bible played a key role in informing the decision for many African Americans to vote yes on 8. There is a much higher church attendance among African Americans as a group than other ethnic groups in the US, and, therefore, African Americans are much more inclined to embrace a biblical definition of marriage instead of a secular one. Read Besen’s article “Proposition 8 and Race” particularly his “solutions to ponder” section.
The point with which I profoundly disagree with many prop 8 opponents is that they imply a significant number of African Americans voted yes on 8 because they read the measure incorrectly. For sure the nearly 40 million dollars that prop 8 opponents spent to confuse voters affected many people. However, the equal amount spent by proponents of 8 clarified the issues for African Americans. Once in the polling booths, folks didn’t have a problem understanding the 14 words on prop 8. They clearly understood them and the nearly countless negative implications a no vote meant for Californians and our nation as a whole. What many African Americans and everyone else who voted yes on 8 were thinking is, Where would we stop if we legally defined minority status based upon sexual desires, and granted those groups civil rights? Wouldn’t we have to classify bi-sexuals as a minority group and redefine marriage again? Wouldn’t we have to define polygamists as a minority group and redefine marriage again? And wouldn’t we have to grant incestuous partners civil rights to marry? That’s to say nothing of what would happen if we adopted a gender-neutral worldview? Which bathrooms would people go in? Would teachers tell little elementary school girls they could marry each other when they said that boys were yucky? Don’t all little kids think that the opposite sex is yucky? If a great number of kids grew up embracing the no on 8 secular worldview, then how would we produce a new workforce to outpace our nation’s mortality rate? Far from erroneously marking yes instead of no, many African Americans thought the issues through quite well and decided to thoroughly reject the notion that what someone chooses to do in their bedroom should be the basis of granting them minority status accompanied with civil rights to redefine the ancient tradition of marriage. If it is not obvious that man and woman are designed differently to come together in a complimentary way in marriage for the survival of human society, then everyone had their right to vote “no” on 8. As law abiding people, it should seem that at this point all Californians should honor the twice stated will of the people and all of human history which has defined marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Last, let me emphatically state that voting yes on 8 in no way makes someone an unloving, hate mongering, unreasoning, intolerant religious bigot, “a hijacker of history,” or a repudiator of King's Dream. A person can vote yes on 8 and affirm one of the greatest truths in the Bible, John 3:16, which explains how God so loved all sinners that He gave His unique Son to die so that those who are actually guilty of death could experience His love and forgiveness. The apostle Paul writes:
- Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
Most Americans used to proudly sing "God Bless America." Despite her many failings, America as a nation has in significant ways acknowledged God’s ways. And in doing so has validated in her experience God's blessings. But of course Americans can choose to reject God and choose secular ways of thinking. And more and more often America is choosing to do that. The consequences of these choices would have to be the subject of another blog (cf. Romans 1:18-32). While we wait to see if the California Supreme Court justices will once again overrule the will of the people and rule that sexual preference constitutes a minority group with the civil right to redefine marriage, let me affirm as a Christian I am proud that so many of my African American brothers and sisters voted yes on prop 8. The witness of history testifies and the Bible confirms that they made the wiser choice on prop 8 on November 4th. And wise laws make a nation stronger for all of its citizens, even those who disagree.