Retired evangelist Billy Graham used his power to influence the vote in North Carolina on May 8. “The Bible is clear: God’s definition of marriage is between a man and a woman,” he stated in a newspaper advertisement. “I want to urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for the marriage amendment.”

Many other church leaders advocated for etching into the state Constitution the definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman. The two North Carolina Roman Catholic bishops issued a letter to be read during worship throughout the state on the Sunday before the vote.

“We ask you to join in our support for the sacred vocation of marriage and what its definition means to us and to the future of our great state,” they wrote. The bishops spent $100,000 of their church’s money for the campaign to change the state Constitution.

The institutional and cultural power of Christianity succeeded in fortifying a law that affects everyone in the state, regardless of a person’s religious convictions about marriage. Graham and the Catholic bishops, among others, found a way to alter the state constitution to privilege their biblically informed definition of marriage.

Given the dominance of Christianity in the United States, we ought to rethink using the language of “post-Christendom” to describe our time and place.

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