Dear Marriage Supporter,
Like me, you probably spent yesterday in some sort of celebration with family and friends.
Barbecuing, swimming, fireworks.
I was talking with a friend who is not a believer, and I asked him, "Do you believe that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights? Among them being the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?"
It is an amazing thing to wake up in a country which is founded on that principle, and that faith.
A faith that includes our right to doubt and our right to strive.
America's second founding was during the Civil War, and its ultimate expression is President Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address.
The horrors of the war and the purpose for which that war was fought were both vividly in Lincoln's mind:
...The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
We are so lucky that we fight only a culture war, aren't we?
The reason Lincoln fought was to hold a nation together. He could not, therefore, simply expel from the body politic—from the circle of charity—those with whom he fought.
To fight a civil war for the unity of the nation—and end up with excluding the South, excluding the evil of slave owners from the nation—would be to defeat himself.
And so he finished his address with the most magnificent and stirring of all the words he wrote.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in....
When people try to tell me that some philosopher—some John Rawls or somebody else, has issued a fatwa that religion must be excluded from public policy on some grounds or the other—these are the words that echo in my mind.
(And I studied political philosophy at Oxford, mind you!)
That and a fleeting phrase from J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, "A lesser son of great sires am I, but I do not need to lick your fingers."
Let us expunge all hatred from our hearts, and remind ourselves those we disagree with are also children of God, for whom (we Christians believe) He sent his only Son to the cross.
And let us also, with great firmness, continue to press for the right as God gives us to see the right.
Marriage is the union of a husband and a wife, ordained before any government was constituted, for the good of the husband and the wife and the children they make together.
I am keeping the newsletter short this holiday weekend. But if you have a chance, take a look at this video of NOM's Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance spokesman Damian Goddard speaking about his "re-conversion" to faith, and his decision to stand up for marriage. He's paid a bigger price for it than most of us will ever be able to equal.
And be on the lookout for a new interview to be posted to MarriageADA.org soon!
With malice towards none, with charity towards all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in.
It is a great blessing to me to fight for the good by your side.
Thank you for your courage, your decency, your persistence.
May God bless you and your family. May God bless our great country.
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.