Dear Marriage Supporter,
This week the Maryland Marriage Alliance had to do something to keep the fight against gay marriage going in Maryland. They had to turn in over 18,000 valid signatures just to sustain the efforts to get a vote to repeal gay marriage to the people. Well guess what? Standing on the steps outside the Maryland Secretary of State's office, Pastor Derek McCoy turned in over 113,000 petition signatures.
Here's McCoy in a video explaining the significance of this huge accomplishment:
The fight for marriage continues to create an unprecedented coalition of people of all faiths and colors. In Washington State the press reported this week a surge of requests for petitions from Muslim Americans who want to repeal gay marriage.
(For an interesting essay on Islamic opposition to gay marriage, check out The Public Discourse)
New York City Jews, along with others, played a key role in another undersung victory this week. David Storobin, a Republican, emerged as the winner in the 27th State Senate district special election by 27 votes (yet another recount is in play).
The victory is largely symbolic because, by the time the automatic recount is undertaken and certified, the seat will have been redistricted out of existence. But we're talking about a Republican winning a Senate seat in a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 5 to 1. Lew Fidler lost in a colossal upset because he endorsed gay marriage.
Unprecedented and amazing things are happening by the grace of God!
The most amazing thing is the powerful moral leadership of the Black church. We see it happening in Maryland.
We see it even in the halls of Washington, D.C. The Daily Caller sent a reporter to a meeting of black church leaders with the Congressional Black Caucus.
Is gay marriage a civil right, she asked?
Here's the video of their responses: No, gay marriage is not a civil right.
I'm also proud to bring you some original video footage—never before seen—of a historic press conference organized by the Coalition of African-American Pastors that took place on May 17 in Memphis, Tennessee. Leaders of the black church, many of whom marched for in the civil rights movement, called on Pres. Obama to "evolve again" on gay marriage.
Rev. Bill Owens, who organized the conference is NOM's liaison to the African-American churches.
In the minds of the hard left "evolution" works in only one direction: towards gay marriage.
But there is no reason to accept the inevitability or the permanence of this politicized innovation in marriage.
A convert to Catholicism, a scientist now home raising her kids, blogged about her own personal "evolution" on the marriage issue—in exactly the opposite direction.
Like Obama, I have also evolved on the marriage debate. I suspect a lot of people journeyed a similar path, and even more so, I suspect a lot more people are evolving now. Here's how I went from not really caring to wide-eyed activism.
"Let's Be Diverse" Stage: It was cool and sophisticated to hang out with "gay" people, and people made sure others knew they hung out with "gay" people to appear diverse and tolerant. As a single, liberal, non-religious, bicep-pumping, hair-tossing mom and career woman (career woman before mom) I had plenty of "gay" friends. They seemed to love my approval, and well, I loved theirs... We were crazy and fabulous together!
"Ambivalent" Stage: I realized my priorities were—not right. This whole message in society seemed to be that adults can do whatever they want, that they could follow any desire and frown at anyone who criticized them. It wasn't about children; but about adults and their desires. At some point a grown-up senses he or she needs to act grown up, however, and demanding your way is childish. There are reasons not to make certain choices. As my priorities changed and I focused more on raising my kids, I still knew "gay" couples and my kids played with their kids. I honestly did not care one squash about "gay rights" or "gay marriage" though. If that's what they wanted, fine. I was too busy with my own life trying to align my priorities and figure out how to be a responsible parent.
"Leave Me Alone" Stage: As I converted to Catholicism, I began to understand the teaching of the Church regarding Marriage, and how children are gifts who ought to raised by parents committed to loving them unconditionally... Even as I realized the beauty of Marriage, I still didn't really care if two men or two women wanted to call themselves married. Rather libertarian in my views, I thought perhaps government should just stay out of marriage altogether and leave that personal part of life alone.
"Imposing?" Stage: I discovered social media and began to identify myself as a Catholic wife and mother. Immediately, to my shock, I got called names I'd never been called in all my life, even when I explained my views about government leaving people alone. I got called "misogynist" and "homophobe" and "bigot" and "seeyounexttuesday" and people jumped from the abyss of the internet to tell me how much they despised me. I began to realize that the issue isn't really so much about two same-sex people having the liberty to live however they want and to call themselves whatever they want, but the issue was far more politically driven and weighty. Whether I wanted to or not, I had to approve and people were going to use the government to impose approval on me and my family, or silence us. Tolerance wasn't enough. I had flashbacks to the behaviors of people I met in the "Let's Be Diverse" stage.
"I Must Stand" Stage: It is worth noting that even then, I still knew same-sex couples whom I considered friendly acquaintances. They respected my faith and my family, and they knew where I stood; there was trust. However, the hostility and tyrannical behavior of the "gay rights" activists was remarkably disturbing. Not only do they want to silence anyone who doesn't approve, they want to harm them too. I grew resentful until I realized that anger wasn't helpful, so I grew attentive and dedicated. I saw the slow creep of social change they pushed for—to make marriage meaningless—and I saw that it was not healthy for society, not good for the future of our children because it isn't about the children. I saw the lies that a Godless society tells young people in greater clarity than ever before, and I saw how that message is destructive. Then I posted my frustration, and hell broke loose. I realized that I owe it to my children to defend the truth without compromise in my country and my world. Even more, I owe it to God who gave me those children.
Many people are going through some version of these stages, this evolution, this dawning recognition of the biggest of the Big Lies: gay marriage is not going to affect you, so why should you care?
The first, very human response to the organized flood of hatred directed at you when you stand up for marriage is to flinch, to duck, to try to find some way to get out of the heat.
Like this Catholic blogger, it's important for us not to confuse gay people generally with the organized gay marriage movement. Many of our friends and fellow citizens who are homosexual are just ordinary, law-biding, (if misguided on marriage) people of good will. We can disagree with each other without hatred or insults, and we do!
But the gay marriage movement's leadership, at this point in history, is dominated by ideological hard leftists who want, as this Catholic mother has discovered, to impose a new morality on America. A new morality that stigmatizes and represses traditional Christian understandings of sex, gender, and marriage. The result is not diversity or pluralism or respect for our civil right to disagree, but an angry insistence on public affirmation of the goodness of gay unions as marriage whether we like it or not.
And as more Americans are recognizing this, two things are happening simultaneously: the mushy middle is flinching—getting scared to express its views; and the polling is becoming seriously unreliable on the marriage question.
This is a problem.
In this sense the strategy of hurling charges of hatred and bigotry at supporters of our marriage tradition is "working." That's probably why they keep doing it, in addition to the normal human satisfaction of the primal urge to hate those with whom we disagree—an urge only kept in check by people of any ideology by consistent, civilized, moral discipline!
At the same time, we see more and more examples of this strategy backfiring: the people most committed to the Biblical understanding of marriage are recognizing, like never before, that they—we—are being called to stand. We are called to stand up in truth, with love, in defense of marriage.
I'd like to close with another such testimony, from David French, an evangelical who wrote an "Open Letter to Young 'Post-Partisan' Evangelicals" about his own evolution, rather similar to our Catholic mom's.
It's an amazing letter. I'm going to quote him at length because really it's that important:
David begins by noting,
It's that time again—the time when the younger evangelical generation surveys our damaged nation, observes the terrible reputation of leading evangelical 'culture warriors' in the pop culture and with their peers, and says, 'You guys blew it. It's time for a new approach, for a post-partisan approach. We're not in anyone's political pocket. We're not focused on politics at all.' ... Young, post-partisan evangelicals, this letter is for you.
"Dear fed-up idealists," David French writes, "I used to be you. I know that's hard to believe. After all, I'm pretty darn partisan. I'm a religious liberties lawyer, a pro-life activist, the founder of Evangelicals for Mitt, and the most recent winner of the American Conservative Union's Ronald Reagan Award. I serve my country in uniform in the Army Reserves and am a veteran of the Iraq War. In other words, for a lot of you out there, I'm less role model than cautionary tale. I'm the guy you're trying not to be—the guy you think is destroying our Christian witness. Heck, I'm the guy that even I used to hate."
He describes his own evolution from a post-partisan evangelical to a culture warrior.
Step 1 he says was "Despising my elders."
We called ourselves 'Solomon's Colonnade' after the temple area where Jesus delivered one of his many stinging rebukes to the religious leaders of the day. There were only a few of us, friends from college, but we were determined to upend the silly, partisan hypocrisy of the religious right. I blame Bono, really. I attended a U2 concert during the 1987 'Joshua Tree' tour, and was enthralled as Bono (a real rock star!) not [only] spoke openly about his love for Jesus, he wound up his rousing mini-sermon with a passionate condemnation of the televangelists who were then dominating public religious life. His words were both shocking and exhilarating: 'Here's my message to the televangelists: get the f**k off my TV screen!'
Shortly after law school, while reflecting on the latest media-reported "outrage" from Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson or James Dobson, I remember emailing my friends something like this: 'There has to be a revolution in American Christianity. The old guard has to go, and we have to put Jesus at the center of all we do. I don't have to lead the revolution, but at least let me drive the tank.' How those words would come to haunt my conscience...
Step 2 he calls "Encountering Life," real life.
I was living my dream. Sure, I was still pro-life (I co-founded Harvard Law School's only pro-life student group), but you couldn't categorize me! I had also written a then widely-read op-ed arguing that gay marriage was 'inevitable' and that the state had forfeited any legal grounds for denying gay couples the 'right' to marry. No labels for me!
But he says, "I soon realized that my nonpartisanship had a steep price. I could be pro-life, but not too pro-life. You see, if you're too pro-life; if you talk about [it] too much, then you can't be post-partisan. One political party is completely dedicated to legal protection of abortion on demand. The other political party is completely dedicated to repealing Roe v. Wade. If you talk too much about abortion, others will define you, and if you're defined how can you be independent?
'No problem,' my hip inner voice said. Pro-life is really whole life. Anti-poverty programs, environmental advocacy—that's all 'pro-life' in the broad sense, right? Can't I be pro-life and maintain my independence?' But my rational inner voice quickly rebelled. If I'm 'whole life' without talking about unborn children then I'm functionally pro-abortion, but if I'm 'whole life' and bring unborn children into that conversation in any meaningful way, then I'm right back where I started....
So I was pro-life. Firmly. Actively.
I clung, however, to my marriage position—with even greater ferocity. But my rational voice rebelled once again against my hip inner voice. Didn't no-fault divorce fly directly in the face of biblical marriage? Weren't legal regimes that were focused entirely around adult self-actualization having measurable and devastating effects on our culture? Why then would we continue down the path of marriage as a legally recognized means of adult self-actualization rather than marriage as a legally-protected institution of cultural preservation?
Finally like our Catholic blogger mom he saw through hard experience that gay marriage is not just about letting gay people live as they want.
Then, as a lawyer, I saw the catastrophic effects that normalization of same-sex relationships was having on religious liberty. And I realized I was wrong.
He realized something else: Christians are not obsessed with politics. The vast majority of Christian time and effort is in helping the poor and the sick around the world.
In 2011, I researched the budgets of the leading culture war organizations and compared them to the leading Christian anti-poverty organizations. Here's what I found:
How do those numbers stack up with leading Christian anti-poverty charities? Let's look at just three: World Vision, Compassion International, and Samaritan's Purse. Their total annual gross receipts (again, according to most recently available Form 990s) exceed $2.1 billion. The smallest of the three organizations (Samaritan's Purse) has larger gross receipts than every major "pro-family" culture war organization in the United States combined. World Vision, the largest, not only takes in more than $1 billion per year, it also has more than 1,400 employees and 43,000 volunteers.
In other words, Christians are overwhelmingly focused with their money and their time on the poor, not on culture war issues. Then why are Christians portrayed differently? Because the media is obsessed with the sexual revolution and demonizes dissent....
Anyone who believes that Christians are in control of their own public image does not understand how public perceptions are created in this country. No one is in total control of their own image and reputation.
We do not create the caricature we are subjected to it, in other words.
The final stage for David French was Step 3: "Becoming my elders."
I'll never forget the day I met James Dobson. I was preparing to appear on a Focus on the Family broadcast highlighting a number of my cases on behalf of Christian students. In a very real way that broadcast would cement my transition (not that anyone cared about that but me) from 'post-partisan' to firmly, completely 'religious right.' I was joining Focus and many others in their long fight against cultural and legal trends that result in millions of aborted babies, millions of broken families, persistent poverty, and increasing inequality.
Of course they're not perfect. Of course I'm not perfect. Of course I'm in fact deeply flawed. But so are relief workers at World Vision. So is the pastor you may admire so much. So were each one of Jesus's disciples and apostles. As we fight the culture war, we're going to make mistakes, we're not going to agree with each other, and sometimes I still get deeply frustrated at my own side. But I no longer believe the lie that there is a path for Christians through this culture that everyone will love—or even most people will love. I no longer believe the lie that American Christians are 'too political' and if we only spoke less about abortion we'd be more respected (the mainline denominations have taken that path for two generations, and they continue to lose members and cultural influence).
He ends with this remarkable call for these young people to evolve again.
So, 'post-partisan' Christians, please ponder this: First, as the price for your new path, are you willing to forego any effective voice at all for unborn children? Are you willing to keep silent when the secular world demands your silence? After all, that is the true price of non-partisanship—silence.... Follow Jesus, yes, but don't think for a moment that will improve your image, and don't be surprised if He takes you down much the same path He took the generation before you.
As for me, my fight for faithfulness to the Bible and for marriage will take me soon to Seattle, Washington.
A few weeks ago, in this very newsletter to you all, I issued a challenge to Dan Savage, after watching him insult the Bible and Christians who believe in it to a conference of high school student journalists. (Warning: offensive and profane language used in the video.)
Pick on someone your own size, I told Dan. Don't prove you can make 14-year-old girls cry by your over the top rhetoric and your ignorance of what the Biblical understanding of sex and marriage means.
Any time, any place, I told him, I'll be there.
Dan Savage responded with an invitation to his house for dinner, with New York Times columnist Mark Oppenheimer for a moderator and a film crew to cover.
This week, I accepted that invitation!
Dan—I accept and will look forward to debating you at your dining room table. As I said in my challenge to you, anytime, any place.
While I appreciate the invitation that you have extended to my wife, she will not be able to attend. She is a full-time mom with seven beautiful children and an eighth on the way.
I have no objection to Mark Oppenheimer from the New York Times covering the discussion, nor to you hiring your own video crew to film the event, provided that I am able to hire my own video crew to be sure there is no creative editing of the discussion.
Not that a New York Times reporter would slant the news, mind you!
This will be fun!
The fight continues. For truth, for justice, for an America in which the ideal for a child—a mom and dad united in marriage—is upheld and respected, not stigmatized as hatred or bigotry.
More and more of us now know: we must stand for these truths.
Thank you for being one of those decent, loving law-abiding Americans who do stand.
Thank you for all the victories you have made possible.
God bless you and your family: Please pray for all those on the front lines of this great fight.
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.