Dear Marriage Supporter,
I flew to Europe this week to spread the good news: marriage is a winning issue!
I was in London.
The Law Society had banned the conference. So the organizers switched the venue to the Queen Elizabeth II Center, which is actually owned by the government.
The managers of the QE2 Center waited until the night before the event to ban the conference against gay marriage—again.
We assembled at a London hotel instead.
Here's what I told the crowd:
"I'm an American—so I'm a bit of a rebel. You guys have accomplished something amazing here. Six months ago you gave yourselves only a ten percent shot of derailing David Cameron's gay marriage bandwagon. Now it's a fifty-fifty battle, a result of a genuine rebellion of the people against the elites who looked at polls and were going to throw in the towel."
And I told them, that's exactly what has happened in the U.S., over and over again. Political elites try to shut down the debate, they tell us it's impossible to win. Then we win, over and over again.
Phillip Blond is an important public intellectual in Great Britain. He's behind David Cameron's emphasis on localism and the true diversity it encourages. He's not behind the Prime Minister's absurdly counterproductive embrace of gay marriage.
He's actually taken the position that gay marriage is "homophobic" for forcing gay people out of authentic diversity into an institution designed by and for opposite sex couples. Domestic partnerships, he says, offer homosexual people a chance to develop their own diverse cultural norms.
Philip Blond showed up at the conference, and sat there tweeting a response to all those who claimed he was hanging out with bigots, saying more or less 'I haven't heard anything homophobic, and the way to get me to show up at something is to try to ban it.'
(For some of his actual tweets, the liberal press in the U.K. reports them here.)
We got a chance to hang out together afterwards.
For the flavor of Phillip Blond, take a look at this video from the nomblog:
Philip Blond is not the only rebel for marriage!
Brendan O'Neil used to publish a Marxist magazine. He now edits his own progressive online journal Spiked.
After the amazing victory for marriage in North Carolina, he published an essay in The Telegraph chronicling the open hatred and insults directed at an entire state by elites:
The bile being spat at the people of North Carolina exposes the ugly elitism of the gay-marriage lobby.
This orgy of bile, from the mainstream branding of North Carolina's voters as 'ignorant' to the peripheral demands that they do the world a favour and kill themselves, shows what is behind the gay-marriage campaign. This is not about rights and equality, or love and happiness. Rather, gay marriage has become a tool through which the right-minded sections of society express their moral superiority over the dumb, the brainwashed, the insufficiently cosmopolitan, the churchgoing. Gay marriage has become a kind of weapon, wielded by the right-on to demonstrate that they are better—that is, less brainwashed and more caring—than your average redneck or country black. Supporting gay marriage has become a kind of cultural signifier, a way of distinguishing oneself from the ignorant throng.
Given all this, it is possible that the voters of North Carolina were not only voting against gay marriage, but were also sticking two fingers up at the sneering cultural elite which has been hectoring them for weeks to do "the right thing" and embrace "liberal values." In the intensively divided America of 2012, being against gay marriage can now be seen almost as an act of political rebellion, against a faraway elite which fears and loathes anyone who is not like them.
A New York progressive named Sean Collins was inspired (I suspect in part by Brendan's courage) to rebel and come out as another progressive opponent of gay marriage:
In this environment, those who disagree with, or have questions about, gay marriage will feel tremendous pressure to start conforming. Opposing gay marriage has become a view that "dare not speak its name". Following Obama, expect more public figures to be called upon to recant and say 'I now believe'.
Well, count me out. I will not join the cultural elite's bandwagon, a bandwagon that runs on self-flattery and the demonisation of 'backward' voters. Critics of the same-sex marriage campaign are here, and we're not all bible-thumping Christians—get used to it.
Sean Collins' piece is worth reading, both for its own sake and as a cultural signifier of its own: this thing called gay marriage is not anywhere near inevitable!
At some point even the Manhattan liberals are going to start questioning a movement that seeks to brand the majority of the black and the white working class as "bigots."
What is left of progressivism as a movement of the working classes against the elites? What is left but open disdain for the views and values of the people whose interests progressives claim to champion?
An Associated Press reporter this week rebelled against the directive that all portrayals of people who oppose gay marriage "MUST" be unsympathetic.
(I know a little about this informal press rule. When a Washington Post lifestyle columnist published a personally humane profile of me a few years back, the avalanche of hatred directed against her for finding me personally likable was amazing! She had to come out, through the WaPo ombudsman, as a personally pro-gay marriage bisexual to survive!).
So the AP profiles John Tolo, a St. Paul missionary, whose ministry has bought and is renovating an abandoned house to create a safe space for teens.
From his own life, ("recalling his own drug use and multiple sexual relationships after his parents divorced") and his work with the poor in St. Paul, Tolo worries about "this fundamental breakdown of having a healthy father role model and a healthy mother role model." He says that "there's this major identity issue where men are just missing."
Tolo supports some kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples, but told the AP that marriage is a sacred template for raising and caring for children as God intended. Broadening marriage risks undermining that, while infringing on the rights of Christians to define their own institutions.
"It's almost like the government wants to come and rewrite the Bible and, to me, that's a position that I don't think the government should take," Tolo said.
Another opponent of gay marriage, April Brown of Lewisville, Texas, told the AP "I was evolving, definitely, just like the president," said Brown, the mother of four. But not in the same direction!
Until a few years ago, Brown said she was heading toward acceptance of the idea of civil unions for gay couples. But she was troubled after reading about a lawsuit filed by a gay man against the eHarmony dating site, demanding it provide matchmaking for gays and lesbians. That struck a chord because Brown knew two straight couples who had met through eHarmony and gotten married. While same-sex couples might argue they had a right to be together, what gave gays or lesbians the right, she wondered, to demand a private business change its ways to suit them?...
"I just began kind of questioning, what do they really want?" she said.
Brown said she doesn't want to tell people they can't be together. But the word "marriage" means something more, the joining of a man and a woman that is critical for society to sustain itself. "That's when it goes from a right to a privilege," she said.
You and I know that millions of Americans are like Mrs. Brown and Mr. Tolo: decent, loving, law abiding people who don't hate anyone but who do want to stand up for what's right—in our eyes, and more importantly in the eyes of God.
The rebellion continues!
A young teen in North Carolina rebelled this week against the hatred and invective directed at her and her whole state for standing up for marriage:
But for me the personally most moving "rebellion" is not a rebellion at all, it's a demonstration of a profound faithfulness to the Christian tradition.
Since President Obama's announcement that gay marriage is a right, we've seen an extraordinary outpouring of faithfulness and leadership from the black Church.
Two quick examples:
Here's a roundup from the local press of black pastors speaking out and speaking up, in defense of core Christian teachings.
The Orlando Sentinel, among other news outlets, reveals the reality: Even More Black Pastors Speak Out Against Obama's Marriage Switch
"I'm opposed to same-sex marriage. I don't find any support for it in the Bible," said the Rev. Willie Barnes, pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville. "I wish he had never made that statement."
And watch this TV coverage of a historic press conference held by civil rights leaders who marched with Rev. Martin Luther King, along with major bishops of the Church of God in Christ
Rev. Bill Owens, who consults with NOM as a liaison to the black churches, organized the effort as he is organizing 100000signatures4marriage.com among African-American Christians.
Most importantly, I want to thank Bishop Blake and the Church of God in Christ for publicly speaking out in defense of marriage, reaffirming their commitment to core Christian principles, after the media coverage of President Obama's announcement.
Let me share with you this important statement in its entirety because I don't think you will read it elsewhere. From Charisma News, the official publication of COGIC:
The president's position regarding "same-sex marriage" has set off a "firestorm," unlike any other debate in our civil society, perhaps, since the civil rights unrest of the mid-20th century.
The advocacy for same-sex marriage, while in conflict with our nation's long-standing moral posture, has indeed created opportunity for the church to communicate our unequivocal position about God's design and foundation for humanity, the biblical mandate for heterosexuality through the bonds of matrimony and the centuries-old understanding of the only acceptable means of procreation, habitation and the establishment of the family. The president suggests same-sex relationships and male-female relationships committed to by oath before God and/or witnesses, where formal documents are signed before a civil or ecclesiastical figure. It further implies that both are equally good and valuable. In addition to this, it suggests that both equally contribute to the good and advancement of a society. From a fundamental view of Scripture, the same word should not be used to describe both same-sex and heterosexual relationships.
Fundamentally, traditionally and historically, marriage has functioned to unite a man and women together in facing the challenges of life, to sanctify sexual involvement, to authorize the conception of children, provide an environment for the protection and development of offspring and to strengthen and sustain the family unit.
Historically, the sexual coming together of husband and wife produces children who are the fruit of both their bodies and are united by blood to their brothers and sisters. This coming together of husband and wife is the means by which the world has been populated, and the human race sustained.
A husband, wife and children are the bedrock of a society which also mirrors the universal church as a microcosm, or domestic church, out of which God's values are modeled, nurtured and disciplined. This divinely inspired family framework, pronounced in Old and New Testament Scripture, is without compromise. To tamper with the foundation is to disrupt the order God intended. This order is the intended structure by which all humanity is expected to govern their lives.
The human body is designed by God as male and female to anatomically accommodate individuals of the opposite sex in the conception, bearing and nurture of children; the human body is unquestionably designed to accommodate individuals of the opposite sex, not of the same sex.
The Holy Bible, which is the authoritative Word of God, clearly prohibits sexual relations between members of the same sex. Though it does not isolate intercourse between individuals of the same sex as the only sin, it designates this and a series of other activities as sinful behavior from which the Christian is to abstain. 1 Cor. 6:9-11 (NKJV) says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." (See also: Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; and 1 Timothy 1:8).
The Bible indicates that there is nothing that can excuse or eliminate the sinfulness of sexual involvement between individuals of the same sex. Neither so called "marriage vows," civil unions, nor homosexual drives or passions are recognized by the Bible as justifications or acceptable excuses or rationale for sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Sinful desires and inclinations must be resisted and overcome by the power of God in Christ Jesus, and by power of the Holy Spirit who strengthens our minds and our wills.
Our vocabularies are made up of thousands of words because there are so many distinctive entities and concepts to be referred to. Each word designates a category of entities which are unique to that word. Specific words are most useful when they reflect identical images, and when they do not create conflicting or unclear images in the mind of the speaker and the hearer.
The Bible defines marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman (Genesis 2:24; 1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6). To define marriage otherwise is to dilute and destroy its usefulness as a word which denotes what is highest and best about human society.
While we are committed to proclaim and support the tenants of the Bible, and also to persuade others to do so, we recognize that in a free and democratic society morality cannot be legislated. We oppose violence and discrimination against individuals or groups because of sexual orientation. We do not feel that it is necessary to legalize same-sex marriage to provide the civil benefits and civil rights to all regardless of sexual orientation.
COGIC is the largest black Pentecostal denomination in the United States—and the 5th largest Christian denomination of any kind. This kind of affirmation would be big news if the largely white and liberal mainstream press were not clueless and biased in their marriage coverage.
I'm honored to work with and learn from and follow the lead of fearless men and women of God like this, who recognize: this is not primarily about whom you vote for, but about where your heart and its treasure lies. This is about whether we are going to put our faith in princes or in God?
Let me follow where COGIC leads by affirming the closing of their historic statement of faith:
We proclaim the value and worth of every human being regardless of sexual orientation.
But, we passionately and unapologetically defend the right of faith communities to maintain the integrity of their message, mission and identity. We welcome to the church all people who seek to serve and know God and His Word.
God bless you. We rebels for marriage keep growing!
Thank you for making all of this possible. Without you—your courage, your fellowship, your sacrifices of time and treasure—we could not have helped make any of this happen.
This message has been authorized and paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20006, Brian Brown, President. This message has not been authorized or approved by any candidate.