It's been really fun showing this ad to people. I just got off the phone with a friend in New York--he's a major business leader--who told me, "I almost fell off my chair when I saw this ad--it's spectacular!"
You remember the back story, right? The Manhattan Declaration is a thoughtful and civil statement calling on Christians to defend life, marriage and religious liberty as core values. NOM's founding chairman Robby George helped draft it, alongside Chuck Colson. I signed it. Maggie signed it. So did major, mainstream religious figures like Archbishop Wuerl and about 500,000 Christians.
Apple's own reviewers certified that the Manhattan Declaration iPhone app was free from offensive content. But then 7000 LGBT activists signed a position saying they considered the Manhattan Declaration offensive. Steve Jobs pulled it, and his rep called it "offensive."
Now, it's Steve Jobs's company, we understand that. We are not asking the government to intervene. When Steve Jobs donated $100,000 to defeat Prop 8, we didn't try to hurt his company or boycott his products, as so many gay rights groups did to pro-marriage donors. We never organized to try to prevent Planned Parenthood or pro-gay-marriage groups from posting their own apps, however personally offensive we might find them.
But Apple has always positioned its brand as the champion of free thought, creativity and free minds. So it's pretty hypocritical and jarring now for Steve Jobs to make Apple into the new thought police, protecting customers from ideas he considers "offensive."
Steve Jobs issuing what his own iconic ad once called "information purification directives" to protect Apple customers from "contradictory and confusing truths." Pretty ironic, huh, for the spunky little company which saw itself as taking on Big Brother?
NOM's dynamite new ad calls Steve Jobs out for being untrue to his own values, and to the company's brand.
I need your help spreading the word--and this "spectacular" ad which makes people fall off their chairs!
Go to view it on NOM's website. Next to the title there's a button that says "Share This." Click on the "Share This" link and send it to your friends!
In the tech and business world, people are sitting up and taking notice.
"NOM does have a point," said Advertising Age's reporter-blogger. "Let's not mistake the clever '1984' for anything more than slick marketing."
Business Net's columnist Jim Edwards says we are making "Steve Jobs look ridiculous":
"Thus, Apple's policy of approving--or rejecting--apps based on their content has managed to make an anti-gay group look like it's standing up for freedom, and Jobs look like someone who doesn't want his customers to access anything he disagrees with."
But we have to keep the heat on. Right now the Manhattan Declaration sponsors, like the good Christians they are, are working overtime to meet the unfair objections of their critics. They've removed a questionnaire some found offensive and resubmitted the app.
One of my favorite quotes comes from Charisma News, which kindly posted a link: "Apple was not immediately available for comment." No, not immediately, but we'll keep the pressure up!
So far, as I write, more than 12,000 of you have viewed the "Ironic Steve Jobs" ad on YouTube. If you haven't yet, do something for me: Can you go there and watch it? (And remember, click the "Share This" link to spread the word to your friends!)
Tell your friends they have to go and watch this great video! 90 seconds of pure unadulterated pleasure wherein you and I hoist Steve Jobs "on his own petard," as the Business Net reporter put it.
The internet was supposed to launch an information revolution for freedom. Can we stand by and let one incredibly wealthy man use his market share to try to squeeze thoughtful debate from the public square?
Now you know me: I like to think big. Wouldn't it be great if Steve Jobs woke up every morning for a week seeing that ad as he sipped his morning cup of joe?
To make that happen, we need to find at least 483 people today willing to donate $10 to turn this internet ad into a TV ad in Silicon Valley. Would you be one of those? Remember, anything you donate between now and the end of the year will magically double, thanks to a generous donor who's offered to match, today, anything you give. $10 to put this ad in Steve Jobs's breakfast nook--and to support all of NOM's important work.
(Of course if you can give more--$20, $50, or even $100--that too will double. Steve Jobs may have billions of dollars, but you and I have truth and justice on our side--let Steve Jobs know what you think of his attempt to repress Christian thought!)
More amazingly good news. Two of NOM's key founders were just named to Newsweek's list of the "New Faces of the Christian Right." Number one was NOM's founding Chairman, Prof. Robby George. And Number 4 was NOM's current Chairman Maggie Gallagher.
Maggie wrote about it in her column this week, which you can find below.
It was a little strange that so many key figures of the religious left also made that list. But we appreciate the recognition of NOM's growing role in helping you fight for marriage and religious liberty!
Prof. Robby George is truly an amazing man. And along with two of his students, he has published a most amazing defense of marriage in the Harvard Journal of Public Policy called "What is Marriage?" You can read the full copy here as PDF.
I was particularly tickled to find this passage, during these scholars' serious discussion of the ways gay marriage will harm marriage and the common good:
"The idea that support for the conjugal conception of marriage is nothing more than a form of bigotry has become so deeply entrenched among marriage revisionists that a Washington Post feature story drew denunciations and cries of journalistic bias for even implying that one conjugal-marriage advocate was 'sane' and 'thoughtful.' Outraged readers compared the profile to a hypothetical puff piece on a Ku Klux Klan member."
Remember? That was poor Monica Hesse's profile of me (!) in the Washington Post last year.
(Also, I'm going to go tell my wife I have a new job title: "Conjugal marriage advocate.")
Next week, I’d like to share more of this important essay--and the public debate it has sparked. For now, let me just mention that when a former Yale Law professor named Kenji Yoshino attempted to take on "What is Marriage?" at Slate, Matthew Franck over at National Review's Bench Memos described it as "A Swing and a Miss in Marriage Debate":
"Bottom line: Yoshino provides nothing--nothing at all--by way of an argument for including gay couples in the institution of marriage. For he provides no alternative answer to the question Girgis, George, and Anderson propound: What Is Marriage? Is this the best pro-gay-marriage folks can do?"
Wow. I've got so much more to tell you. But how much of your time can I take?
There's Newsweek's "Uncivil Rights" story, which questioned whether African-Americans' fight for civil rights can truly be equated with gay rights:
"Gays and lesbians 'may want to cast their fight in civil-rights terms, and a lot of people are buying it. But not the faith community and especially not the black community,' says Bishop Harry Jackson, whose Hope Christian Church has a flock of 3,000 in the Washington, D.C., area. Indeed, some 70 percent of African-Americans voted yes on California's Prop 8, and polls found similar levels of opposition among blacks for a marriage initiative in Florida that same year. After the Washington, D.C., City Council last year approved gay marriage in the District, Jackson joined forces with the National Organization for Marriage in petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to allow voters to decide on overturning the law. 'Many African-Americans believe gays are discriminated against, but they don't believe marriage is a civil-rights issue,' says Jackson, who says his father was threatened at gunpoint in the 1950s by a state trooper while working on a voter-registration drive. 'There are issues of acceptance, but there is no back of the bus. . .'"
There's Iowa, where pro-gay-marriage forces are now trying to invalidate another election: the judicial retention election in which three judges lost their seats. The argument rests on the most specious technical grounds. They say the state constitution requires a "separate ballot" and the sheet of paper voters received also let them vote in other elections. So now they are back in state supreme court, asking the three justices to vote to re-install themselves on the court until a new election can be held.
Will they never respect the democratic process?
Of course, if these lawyers' theory is right and the election was invalid, then these three judges have not been retained either. They lack the authority to continue on the court. And a fourth judge who was retained two years ago, before the Iowa court decision, would have to face the voters again too, right away. Hmmm, maybe not such a bad idea!
But this does goes to show that we need need a marriage amendment in Iowa to settle this question, and we also need to fix a judicial process which has been hijacked by partisan Democrats in Iowa. Kudos to Bob Vander Plaats and Gov.-Elect Terry Branstad for fighting together on that one!
One final note on the court battle. Did you see on your nightly newscast the dramatic way Prop 8 litigator Chuck Cooper called out Olson and Boies at the press conference after oral arguments? ...No, neither did I. No news outlet saw fit to report it, so that's why I'm reporting it to you now. Click below to hear him!
Here's what he said:
"I want to pay our respects to our opponents in this case, who have presented their case with skill and with sincerity and we respect that. I regret in all candor that our opponents do not return that respect ... but rather have seen fit to demean and to ridicule those arguments.
"Our opponents ... believe that everybody on the other side of them in this debate is behaving irrationally, that no defense, no good-faith belief, can be entertained in defense of the institution of marriage which has existed, as we pointed out in the court earlier today, in every place and in every time in recorded history."
Then Cooper wound up with a swing that could not fail to miss; he batted it way over the fence:
"For the plaintiffs to prevail in this case they have to show not only that all the state and federal appellate courts that have addressed this issue, all of whom, by the way, that have upheld traditional marriage and rejected the arguments advanced today, that all of those judges rendering those decisions were irrational, that the Congress that enacted the DOMA--that all of those people were irrational, that a large majority of the population of this country is irrational and behaving not in good faith, and that Pres. Obama, for that matter, must presumably be irrational."
Cooper paused and then said, "That position, we believe, with all due respect to our opponents, is not sustainable and is not valid."
Thank you for all you do to sustain the work of NOM--and, more importantly, the fight for God's own truth about marriage.
Until next week, please pray for me, and for Chuck Cooper and for everyone who is standing tall against the campaign to brand civilized discourse as hate, to re-brand Christianity as bigotry, and to silence and marginalize millions of Americans with whom they disagree.
As Maggie said in her debate with Andrew Sullivan at Georgetown last week, "In the end truth and love will prevail over lies and hate. Not love without truth. Not truth grounded in hate, but together, I promise, in the end truth and love will prevail."
God bless you and keep you always this Advent season,