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RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses (July 4, 2004)         

         Several evangelical Christian leaders are urging churches across the country to declare July 11th "Protect Marriage Sunday."  The Rev. Jerry Falwell predicts that thousands of churches will participate.  James Dobson's Focus on the Family and the Rev. Donald E. Wildmon's association are also promoting the event.  These ministers and organizations are shamelessly using scare tactics and exaggerations to inflame the passions of other ministers and congregations to press their point of view.  The president of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also endorsed the Marriage Amendment and has urged all Roman Catholics to lobby for its passage.

          Twenty-six religious groups have sent a letter to Congress opposing the amendment, "It is not the task of our government and elected representatives to enshrine in our laws the religious point of view of any one faith," stated the June 2 letter, whose signers included leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Episcopal Church USA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the Sikh Council on Religion and Education.

         As someone who has studied the Bible extensively, I believe that the reason for this difference of attitudes toward the Marriage Amendment has to do with understanding and the lack of understanding of the Bible.  The Bible is filled with simple statements that are so profound that unless we contemplate them and pray for understanding, we will miss the point.  It cannot be taken literally ... nor can the laws and rules of ancient cultures be forced upon a contemporary culture.

         The most important lesson in the Bible is the evolution of man's/woman's understanding of God.  In the Old Testament we find the peoples relationship with God based on fear and over-powering someone or something.  In the New Testament we have the Gospels, the "Good News" the evolution from the Law ... to Love.  In other words, we find that the Ten Commandments according to the Master Mind Jesus, can be summed us thusly, "Love God and Love your neighbor as your self."  Simple ... yet a stark change from the old concepts of reward and punishment, fear and damnation.  The highly enlightened Jesus demonstrated the Power of Love greater than anyone else who has walked on this planet.  His message was not "do as I say" ... but "do as I do."  And then He said, "these things I do and greater things still shall you do."  He demonstrated the Truth and He demonstrated God's Love in a way that was beyond the understanding of the people at the time ... and for far too many today.  He demonstrated that Love is the Law of Life.

       I visited a minister who preaches in a tent near Indio one Sunday before I opened the church here in Palm Springs and he was talking "about" Jonah and the whale ... he had the audience's rapt attention as he talked about Jonah in the belly of the whale.  As I sat and listened to him, I wondered, would he be willing to go into the belly of a whale and demonstrate that what he is saying is the Truth?  I don't think so.  But Jesus would not have made a statement and declare it as Truth without demonstrating that it is so.  So when Jesus stated "judge not lest ye be judged" and "love your neighbor as your self" ... He wasn't just whistling Dixie ... He knew that our judgments and lack of compassion and love will demonstrate in our own lives.  If we add an amendment to our Constitution here in the United States that separates us as a people and classifies some people as being outside of the "kingdom of God" ... outside of equality ... what will be our demonstration?  It can only be the reaping of the seed we have planted ... there can be no other way ... "as you sow, so shall you reap" ... simple, yet profound.  How can we restrict the freedom of others and expect to enjoy freedom ourselves?  It would be nonsense to believe that we can.

      In the state of Massachusetts we have a governor that is using a 1913 law that prevented interracial marriage in the state as a justification of preventing out-of-state gay and lesbian people to get married in the state of Massachusetts where same-sex marriage is legal.  Did this law stop interracial marriage from becoming legal?  Of course not.  The Master Mind Jesus was clear ... "love God" ... why? ... because God loves us ... with an ever-lasting Love ... and that Love will always be sustained and maintained by the Law of Life ... which is a Law of Love ... and this Law brings freedom to Love even amidst the turmoil of evolving religions and religious leaders.

And So It Is!
                                       

Maximum Love
,
Rev. Hank Bates
                        

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