Dear Marriage Supporter,
I want to begin today by sharing with you the video of the panel I participated in last week at the Values Voter Summit on The Future of Marriage with the wonderful Ryan Anderson and Jennifer Marshall from The Heritage Foundation.
The Future of Marriage Begins With YOU
Here's what I had to say about the future of marriage:
This, I believe, is the future of marriage: that if those of us who know the truth about marriage are willing to speak lovingly but boldly the truth that we know in our hearts — that we know through reason, that we know through faith — then ultimately others who in their hearts know this truth... will come back to this truth.
This is written on the human heart — that there's something different about moms and dads, that kids deserve both mothers and fathers — this is written on our hearts. And what we need are people who are willing to stand up — regardless of the names they're called, regardless of the threats that come, regardless of whether supporters of redefining marriage take their 990s and post their names on the internet or whatever else.
What little are we being asked to do! — if we look back at those before us who stood up for the truth, Christians and others through the Civil Rights Movement before! All we're being asked to do is to stand up for the truth... what we know is true in our hearts.... And some of us are never, ever going to be ashamed of that or refuse to stand up to defend it.
This notion was a theme of sorts at the Values Voter Summit: that what we need is for ordinary citizens, individuals like you and I, to stand up bravely and speak the truth without fear or shame.
Jennifer Marshall developed upon the same theme in her response to a question from Tony Perkins. She was asked what she would offer to inspire people to have that courage needed to continue standing up in defense of marriage.
Jennifer drew attention to a joint publication from NOM, The Heritage Foundation, FRC, Focus on the Family, and Alliance Defending Freedom, the booklet What You Need to Know about Marriage:
This is just one example of the kinds of ways that we have been really honing our message and trying to make it accessible for everybody. We did this booklet so that you could take it, digest it, and have these conversations, over the water cooler at work, with your family... we need to really be talking about the case for marriage, and we all need to be equipped with it.
You can get a link to download your own copy of this important resource by visiting this website.
The same theme of citizen activism came up during a Congressional Town Hall at the Summit, when Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Tx.) gave this stirring advice:
What can you do? Listen, folks: if you haven't written a letter to the editor of your local newspaper at least once every six months (and I'd recommend once a month!) then you're not helping like you could. If you're not calling into the newspaper and complaining about leftist articles they've done, and especially opinions they do; if you haven't called your television stations and complained about things, you're not doing what you can do. And when you let your voice be heard, Congress always follows. [...]
The truism has always been consistent, that democracy ensures that people are governed no better than they deserve.... We need to be about deserving better leaders.
Great advice! And I'd encourage everyone to follow it, especially those of you in those states where marriage is currently under attack.
Where Your Voice Needs to be Heard
An article in Crisis Magazine last week by Stephen Beale highlighted just some of the threats to marriage that we're seeing around the nation, and you should really check it out. You might be surprised to find attacks to religious liberty happening right in your backyard in your home state, and think of ways that you might be able to help.
Beale details "at least 11 instances of wedding vendors and venues facing some form of recrimination — threats, boycotts, protests, and the intervention of state or judicial authorities — because they denied services for gay nuptials because of their faith."
He explains clearly how these are linked to the push to redefine marriage:
Such fundamental clashes are linked to the spreading legalization of same-sex marriage. Of the 11 total cases cited above, three occurred within two years of their state legalizing same-sex marriage. A fourth came four years afterwards. Four others were in states that did not have same-sex marriage but had granted some legal recognition to same-sex unions, such as domestic partnerships or civil unions. "When you start recognizing same-sex marriage, these cases are going to start coming up," said Jim Campbell, an Alliance for Defense attorney [sic].
But Beale ends with his own reflection on the future that gives the same spirit of advice we saw coming up time and again at the Values Voter Summit. The advice comes from a Catholic Bishop to his diocese; but it's food for thought for all supporters of marriage in our nation who won't willingly be silenced:
As Christians in the United State wonder on what these cases might mean for them, they would do well to reflect on a letter that a bishop recently issued to his diocese, after losing that state's battle over marriage. The letter is addressed by Bishop Thomas Tobin to Rhode Island Catholics, but his words speak to Christians across the country: "Without a doubt this is a time of challenge, even disappointment for many of us, but it is also an opportunity to be steadfast and courageous, and to renew our commitment to Christ and His Church. As our Lord Jesus Christ told us, ‘In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world' (Jn 16:33)."
We can welcome this "opportunity to be steadfast and courageous" in various ways, but it starts with being willing to stand up and to defend the truth about marriage without counting the cost.
The Future of Marriage is Bright
It's also good to be reminded that the victory has already been won in the end, because sometimes we see only glimmers of hope and victory for long periods of time when we're in the trenches of these cultural battles. One such glimmer did come this week, though, out of Illinois.
The Illinois Review reports that the proposed bill to redefine marriage in the Land of Lincoln continues to face an uphill battle, and this time because of fundraising shortcomings from those pushing the radical legislation:
Equality Illinois vowed to raise $500,000 to renew the fight this fall. Half of the money was to be earmarked for a "re-education campaign" while the other $250,000 was to fund re-election challenges to lawmakers who would have voted "no" on gay marriage, and to protect those that were planning to vote "yes".
But as David Ormsby reports, despite all the "rhetorical swagger" and "political chest thumping," the organization has fallen far short of its political fundraising goal — raising only $25,421 in the third quarter.
The fact is that the people of Illinois simply do not want marriage redefined and undermined — least of all when the legislature there has so many better things to do with the people's time and resources. It's good to see this fact bearing consequences for the disastrous bill that a noisy minority are still trying to ram through the legislature.
Let's take encouragement where we can, and continue together to stand up bravely for the value of marriage and for the liberties we hold so dear, like freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
The future of marriage is ours to make: what will you do today to ensure that future is bright?
Brian S. Brown