I am a senior at Ashe County High School and I am a member of the TATU (Teens Against Tobacco use) club. I got involved in tobacco prevention because I am completely against any kind of tobacco use and I want to educate others of the dangers of using tobacco.
Through peer education with students at ACHS and other schools, I have shown my peers, younger children, and adults the dangers and effects of using tobacco. I have also turned some people away from using tobacco just by talking to them in class.
TRU has decreased youth tobacco consumption, and North Carolina currently has the lowest youth smoking rate in our history!
TATU club is really important to me and I would hate to see such an impactful program end because of insufficient funding. I know our legislators have tough budget decisions to make, but tobacco prevention is a smart investment. Contact your legislator and tell them to continue funding tobacco prevention programs!
Ashe County High School
If the issue weren’t so serious, I would have laughed.
Cameron French, the North Carolina campaign spokesman for President Obama, said in a statement last week, “While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples.” To this statement I respond, “Oh really?” If you will allow me to elaborate for just a moment, it will be easy for me to demonstrate that President Obama’s record has been anything but clear.
In 1996, then Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama submitted a survey to a newspaper called “Outlines” saying, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.” Yet, in his 2006 bestseller The Audacity of Hope, he supported “a special place for the union of a man and a woman.” Notice the terminology he uses - “a special place.”
In February 2008, Obama wrote to the LGBT community, “I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether.” Yet again, Obama contradicts his previous statement as from the pulpit of Saddleback Church in August 2008 he defines marriage by saying, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” Notice again the terminology - “the union between a man and a woman. A sacred union.”
Apart from the light that French is attempting to portray the president in, the truth is simply that President Obama has spoken from both sides of his mouth and his record is as foggy as Glendale Springs at early morning sunrise. The president admits in his own words that the marriage union between a man and woman should have “a special place” and that it is “a sacred union.” Yet he undermines his own stated beliefs by advocating the acceptance of a union that he himself has never deemed sacred or worthy of elevation to a special status.
In September 2011, SB 106 entitled “Defense of Marriage” passed the North Carolina General Assembly. The bill gives registered voters in North Carolina the opportunity on May 8, to determine whether the definition of marriage will be observed only as the union of one man and one woman in the North Carolina Constitution. But French declared last week that Amendment One “would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples - and that’s why the President does not support it.”
Both French and Obama are mistaken. Far from being discriminatory, the amendment allows the people of North Carolina to reserve unto themselves how marriage is defined, taking this important definition out of the hands of activist judges and the legislature. This allows the popular vote to determine what is right for their state, and in a democracy, there is nothing less discriminatory.
On April 9, a rally will occur in Ashe County in support of Amendment One. Though I understand and applaud the heart of those behind the promotion and production of such an event, I find it terribly sad that one is needed. I also find it extremely disturbing that a constitutional amendment must be passed to protect the “special place” of “a sacred union.”
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am commanded to “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28). The union of one man and one woman from the beginning of time has been a landmark dear to the heart of God. Ancient landmarks such as marriage became associated with the spiritual boundaries that God had prescribed for His people. This landmark is so important to God that he patterned the relationship of His children with His Son after it (Ephesians 5:32).
Just as God had set both spiritual and physical boundaries for His people then, He has set them for us today. However, over the years, people have tried to reestablish the boundaries by moving the landmarks.
“Don’t touch those landmarks!” is the cry that must go up today. Satan has gazed upon our landmarks with the intent of removing as many as possible. Sadly, it is the church that has allowed them to be relocated or even removed altogether. Christians must wake up and realize the importance associated with these landmarks and adopt an attitude that declares, “We will not budge!”
The president’s opinion of this issue may have evolved over the years, and his words may have contradicted themselves, yet God has never waffled on this issue. Mr. Editor, I don’t need a rally to stir me to action and neither should any other professing Christian in Ashe County. We have God’s Word, and that’s enough.
I will not be attending the rally on April 9 as I will be in Orlando, Fla., preaching a revival meeting. I most likely would not attend if I were to be home. But I do plan on being at the polls on May 8, to cast a vote in support of Amendment One. Likewise, I fully expect every professing Christian registered to vote in Ashe County will do the same, or at least they should.
Rev. Sonny D. Thomas Sr.
Calvary Free Will Baptist Church