Hispanic Evangelicals' Biblical Definition of Marriage Is a Matter of Faith Not Politics
Hispanic Evangelicals’ Biblical Definition of Marriage Is a Matter of Faith Not Politics
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Takes Bold Action That Defends Truth with Civility
SACRAMENTO, Calif.–Board Members of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (www.nhclc.org), also known as the Hispanic Evangelical Association, the nation's largest Christian Hispanic organization, have collectively signed a statement regarding Biblical marriage originally released by NHCLC President, Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, in response to President Obama’s recent affirmation of same-sex marriage.
In bold action that defends truth with civility, the NHCLC Board, comprised of Hispanic Denominational leaders, Mega-church pastors, prominent ministry and organizational leaders, is calling its 40,118 churches to a 40 day fast beginning June 1, 2012 to pray for righteousness and favor in defense of God's institution of marriage. The NHCLC Board has also announced a Father’s Day event called "Celebrating God's Plan for Marriage Sunday.” Sermon notes and illustrations will be provided and Pastors will read a declaration affirming a commitment to this sacred institution.
In addition, the NHCLC and High Impact Coalition, under the able leadership of Bishop Harry Jackson, have joined forces in the launch of a Peter and John, Black/Brown coalition to defend biblical marriage. The partnership aims to engage Hispanics and African American clergy and laypeople in prophetic activism that repudiates homophobia while simultaneously preserving the biblical definition of marriage.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez’s formal statement in response to President Obama’s affirmation of same-sex marriage, signed collectively by NHCLC Board Members, reads as follows:
"First, as Christians we must stand committed to reconciling the vertical Imago Dei, the image of God, in every human being with the horizontal Habitus Christus, the habits and actions of Christ. This requires a new narrative, an alternative discourse where we stand for truth without sacrificing civility.
It is within this context that we express our deep disappointment in President Obama’s change of position on the vitally important issue of marriage protection. Marriage has always been and should always remain the union of one man and one woman.
Even as we stand for traditional marriage, we affirm that the image of God lives in all human beings; black and white, rich and poor, straight and gay, conservative and liberal, citizen and undocumented.
Our challenge is to see the image of God in the suffering, the marginalized, the oppressed and the hurting. Our challenge is to see the image of God in every human being including those we disagree with. Our challenge is to see the image of God in those that oppose us. Our challenge is to see the image of God even in those that persecute and slander us. Our challenge is to see the image of God in friend and foe, acquaintance and stranger, strong and weak, oppressor and liberator.
We believe this approach is Biblical not political. As Hispanic Evangelicals, we stand committed to advancing not the agenda of the donkey or the elephant but only the agenda of the Lamb. The agenda of Christ is one of righteousness and justice, sanctification and service, covenant and community, holiness and humility, conviction and compassion. It is this agenda that provides the moral imperative to defend biblical truth with love and civility.
While President Obama’s support of same-sex marriage does not reflect the sentiment of either the majority of African Americans or Hispanics and places him at odds with two segments of the electorate that celebrated his election in 2008, we must respond with both civility and conviction.
To Hispanics, our support of the biblical definition of marriage is not a matter of politics but a matter of faith. It is our faith that compels us to care for the poor and speak against injustice. It is our faith that prompts us as Hispanic evangelicals to speak out against bullying and against the persecution of gays and lesbians in third world countries. It is our Christian faith that requires us to uphold the biblical definition of marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman.
To our community, supporting the traditional definition of marriage is not about being anti-anyone or anything. We understand that a marriage with mom and dad in the home serves as the primary antidote against teen pregnancy, gang activity, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency and many social ills.
Hence, the great concern stemming out of the President’s declaration is whether or not he will pursue federal public policy initiatives that in essence redefine a sacred institution whose definition stems from natural law consistent with a Judeo-Christian Worldview. This is, of course, in addition to the recent HHS mandate that infringes on the first amendment rights of religious organizations.
At the end of day, Hispanics are both in support of biblical marriage and against homophobia. We desire that all Americans embrace life, enjoy liberty and pursue happiness without exception.
Yet, we also desire for our elected officials to pursue policy initiatives that advance the common good, using language that brings us together rather than tear us apart. As the Scripture commands, we will pray for President Obama, for his family and for wisdom as he leads our nation.
We will also pray that the President will defend the religious liberties of Americans who, because of conscience and conviction, do not view this issue via the same lens he recently engaged.
Finally, we pray that his support of gay marriage does not exacerbate the growing intolerance of a Christian worldview, which is wholeheartedly embraced by a majority of the Hispanic community.”
NHCLC Board Member signatures include: Dr. Sammy Alfaro, Rev. Nilo Ayala, Rev. Eliezer Bonilla, Dr. Hernan Castano, Revs. Lydia and Jay D’Ross, Rev. Daniel De Leon, Dr. Alberto Delgado, Rev. Benjamin Feliz, Rev. Abraham Hernandez, Bishop Jaime Loya, Rev. Oscar Mendoza, Dr. Moses Mercedes, Dr. Jesse Miranda, Dr. Carlos Moran, Rev. Charlie Olmeda, Rev. Rogelio Olvalle, Pastor Carlos Ortiz, Rev. Emilio Reyes, Dr. Gus Reyes, Dr. Daniel Rodriguez, Dr. Luis Rodriguez, Rev. Joel Roman, Rev. Rosilio Roman, Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R (Rodas), Bishop Samuel Santana, Dr. Mat Staver, Dr. Jaime Tolle, Rev. Arturo Vargas, Dr. Gilbert Velez and Dr. Fermin Whittaker.