Sometimes, when I’m away from my local congregation here in Tennessee, I listen to sermon podcasts from my former congregation, Times Square Church in New York City.
Today I found myself driving down Interstate 71 instead of sitting in the pews of my church, so I pulled up a May 27 sermon by Pastor Carter Conlon. In his sermon, called “We Still Have Time to Make a Difference,” Pastor Conlon said the definition of family is being challenged by the “highest levels of government.” He warned of the cultural dissolution that will invariably come with this ever-changing definition of family and told his congregants that “there’s still time to make a difference” in the culture. He said that Christians have acted like we’re on some sort of cruise ship while others have infiltrated every segment of society trying to push evil down our throats. He encouraged his congregants to vote Biblically, to run for office, and to be involved in all areas of the community.
Times Square Church, for those unfamiliar with the congregation, is very diverse. In other words, many of the people in the seats are not white Republicans. However, I could hear agreement and applause coming from the church when he warned about, presumably, President Obama’s attack on traditional marriage.
Since the most reliable constituency of Democrats has been the black community, what effect, if any, will the President’s “evolution” have on religious African Americans who overwhelmingly support traditional marriage? Here in my home state of Tennessee, Reverend Bill Owens — a vital part of the civil rights movement in Nashville in the late 50’s and early 60’s — has begun the Coalition of African American Pastors, USA. This organization’s website describes itself as a “grass-roots movement of African-American Christians who believe in traditional family values such as supporting the role of religion in American public life, protecting the lives of the unborn, and defending the sacred institution of marriage.”
The Rev. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a politically influential black minister who preaches at Rising Sun Baptist Church in Baltimore, withdrew his support from the President over his same-sex marriage and predicted he’d lose re-election in November. Also according to the Christian Post, Dr. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Washington, said he won’t ever vote for a leader who believes in same-sex marriage, “regardless who it is, regardless how white they are, regardless how black they are.”
In other words, congregations of all ethnicities across America are being encouraged by their pastors to think Biblically about this issue . . . even in the heart of New York City.