All of us at ADF are rejoicing over the recent victory in North Carolina, which became the 31st state to enshrine marriage as between one man and one woman in its state constitution. I am of the firm belief that the victory would not have taken place had it not been for North Carolina’s churches standing and proclaiming biblical truth about marriage.
One church found itself at the center of the controversy during the voting. The Devon Park United Methodist Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, served as a polling place and also put a message on its church sign that read, “A true marriage is male and female and God.” Voters saw the sign on their way in to vote and some complained about the message. One woman even called the message on the sign “voter intimidation.”
The truth is that the sign and its message broke no law in North Carolina. The law in that state establishes a buffer zone around polling places and restricts what type of messages can be in the buffer zone. But the church’s sign was outside the buffer zone and so was completely lawful. The message on the sign was simply one church proclaiming scriptural truth about marriage.
Sadly, many in society today equate the message of the Bible with “voter intimidation” or “hate” or “bigotry.” And they try to silence it by any means possible. The elections board for the county where the church is located plans to address the issue of the church’s sign in the coming days. If they do, they need to recognize that our country values the rights of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion. It is impossible to keep people from seeing things or messages that they disagree with. And if government attempts to equate a biblical message with “voter intimidation,” it will be censoring the constitutional rights of America’s churches to speak and exercise their faith.
I am grateful for churches like Devon Park United Methodist Church who courageously stand for biblical truth. More churches can (and should) learn from their example.