Christians keep praying, lobbying at the Illinois Capitol

Meredith Flynn —  March 7, 2013

 

Christians gathered to pray on the Illinois Capitol steps Thursday. David Howard, director of missions for the Capital City Baptist Association, and Kevin Carrothers, pastor of Rochester First Baptist, were among the group of about 25 people.

Christians gather to pray on the Illinois Capitol steps Thursday. David Howard, director of missions for Capital City Baptist Association, and Kevin Carrothers, pastor of Rochester First Baptist, were among the group of 25.

SPRINGFIELD | Meredith Flynn

Christians from several Christian denominations – including Southern Baptists – gathered on the Illinois Capitol steps Thursday to pray together and voice their support for a traditional definition of marriage.

Esther Wang and her husband, Pine, were among the group of about 25 people. “Some of the Christians I know – Chinese Christians – say, ‘Oh, there’s no way, because state after state” has approved legislation in favor of same-sex marriage, Esther said. The Wangs, who work with a network of Chinese Christian churches in Chicagoland, came to Springfield for the prayer vigil with fellow Moody Bible Institute graduates John and Grace Chao.

“My husband and John Chao, they said whether the bill will be passed or not is not in our hands,” Esther said. “But our duty there, our responsibility there, [is] that we should speak out the truth, in this moment.”

The State House vote, yet to be scheduled, is the final step before Governor Pat Quinn would receive the same-sex marriage bill. He has promised to sign it.

After they prayed, the group went inside the nearby Stratton Building to lobby their representatives to vote no on the bill. They met up with two busloads of Christians from Chicagoland who were mobilized by New Life Covenant Church, affiliated with Assemblies of God.

On the Stratton Building’s second floor, where many representatives have offices, Pastor Danny Holliday of Victory Baptist in Alton stood in the hallway with the inter-denominational group of volunteer lobbyists. Holliday spoke against same-sex marriage during the House Executive Committee hearing, and has spent time in Springfield this week meeting with legislators. Opponents of the bill have been getting good response at the Capitol, he said.

“We want to shore up the people that are coming our way, because a lot of pressure has been applied by President Obama, and by people from Illinois who want this to go through.”

The President expressed his support for same-sex marriage last spring, and has since said he would support the bill in Illinois, were he still a State Senator. On Feb. 28, the U.S. Justice Department filed a friend-of-the-court brief that asked the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8, which protects a traditional definition of marriage. The move is seen by some as an abandonment of a states’ right position on marriage, and the next step in legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

-With reporting by Baptist Press

Esther Wang and John and Grace Chao pose with a sign reading "Vote No" in Chinese characters.

Esther Wang and John and Grace Chao pose with a sign reading “Vote No” in Chinese characters.

Rev. Bob Vanden Bosch (third from left) of Concerned Christian Ministries helps people locate their representatives' offices at the Stratton Building in downtown Springfield.

Rev. Bob Vanden Bosch (third from left) of Concerned Christian Ministries helps people locate their representatives’ offices at the Stratton Building in downtown Springfield. Photos by Meredith Flynn

Meredith Flynn

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Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.