You canít win the fight if you donít put on the gloves.

A punch-drunk, old heavyweight boxer knows thatís a truism, but not the churches of America.

The Supreme Court heard arguments last week on the constitutionality of Californiaís Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in the state by a 52-to-47 margin in 2008, but has since been declared unconstitutional by federal courts.

Fox TV, Rush Limbaugh and other talk-show pundits have weighed in, arguing the conservative ó and moral ó position that sanctifying gay marriage with the grace of the U.S. Constitution is not only wrong but a serious threat to the culture of this country.

But those media outlets often speak to those who are already in the choir. That leaves a lot of other Americans who arenít hearing anyone preaching the conservative argument on gay marriage.

I donít expect the GOP to provide any leadership. Republicans are too busy cat-fighting with each other and making sure their presidential choice will be whooped by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

And where in the heck are the churches on the issue of legalizing gay marriage?

Where are the Protestants, Jews and Catholics? Have they lost their tongues? Their hearts and wills? Their institutional you-know-whats?

Whereís the moral outrage? Why arenít thousands of our pastors, priests and rabbis shouting from their pulpits? Why arenít they leading their congregations through the streets in mass protest?

Why arenít their bishops appearing on the tube with David Gregory and Piers Morgan to defend the institution of marriage as a union of one man and one woman?

Like the bank executives who are too chicken to stand up to the federal bullies in Washington, and like the energy company bosses in California who wonít stand up to the Green Socialists in Sacramento, the churches cower in fear.

Are they afraid to lose their 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by engaging in political activity? Are they afraid to be derided as religious nuts and cultural Cro-Magnons by the liberal media?

Or are our churches and their comfortable leaders simply no longer willing to fight for what is right?

This fight over Proposition 8 isnít just about saying it should be legal in the eyes of government for two people of the same sex to get married in California.

Itís ultimately about changing the culture of the entire country; it inevitably will lead to teaching our public school kids that gay marriage is a perfectly fine alternative and no different than traditional marriage. There also is a very slippery slope leading to other alternative relationships and the unconstitutionality of any law based on morality. Think about polygamy, bestiality, and perhaps even murder.

Churches should be in the vanguard of the fight to defend the culture against legalized gay marriage, not hiding in their pews.

Sure, the mainstream liberal media will be against them and will ignore them as much as they can. But if the churches show up en masse ó and make sure millions of their membersí voices are heard ó the media will be forced to cover them, and even the Supreme Court will feel the political wind.

Meanwhile, as the High Court decides our fate, itís time for the churches to get engaged and start fighting for America, instead of wimping out. If it takes them giving up their 501(c)(3) status to start fighting for righteousness, then Iím all for it.

Michael Reagan, the elder son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is a Cagle Cartoons syndicated columnist. Email him at