Dear Marriage Supporter,
This week, our nation commemorated the 150th anniversary of one of the most poignant political utterances in American history: what has come to be known as "The Gettysburg Address" — the dedication speech offered by President Lincoln on the occasion of establishing a national cemetery at the famous battlefield site.
Nine months prior to that occasion, Lincoln had signed a legal enactment which shaped American history much more significantly and fundamentally than his words at Gettysburg: that is, the Emancipation Proclamation.
But with that document having been signed, throughout 1863 the "other cause" of the Civil War took on more and more prominence: namely, the task of preserving the Union. And it was with that new focus in mind that Lincoln delivered his stirring speech in November at Gettysburg. It was a speech which he imagined "the world [would] little note, nor long remember" — which just goes to show how even the best and brightest can sometimes be wrong when it comes to predicting the future!
I've been reflecting on Lincoln's words this week. It is striking how he recognized that the Civil War (still raging at the time he delivered his remarks) was a "test" for America, "testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure."
And from that moment of testing, Lincoln recognized a "great task remaining" for Americans — a task to which he "dedicated" the nation with "increased devotion." The task he recognized rings in the memorable and often quoted final words of the speech: "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
"A New Birth of Freedom"
They say that too often people don't value something until it's in danger of being taken away. But the flip-side of this is the blessing of renewed appreciation for the things we hold dear when we face the task of defending them from attack.
While it is a sad and worrisome thing to witness how the definition of marriage has come under attack for over a decade now, this has also made more people reflect on the meaning of this ancient institution that we always took for granted.
One recent remarkable reflection of this sort comes from a gay journalist in Ireland who wrote a very strong piece about why he opposes same-sex marriage:
Same Sex Marriage [sic] is not some warm fluffy equality bunny, it's a bare-faced state power grab. The state gets to entirely remake marriage, not as the man/woman/child model we've inherited from 10,000 years of history and across all cultures but as an anything-goes irrelevant partnership agreement between adults.
Only a man and a woman have children despite every fantasy the gender-busters want us to believe. Every child has a right to that natural life. Same sex marriage asks us to ignore reality and children's rights to a mother and father. Marriage will be made irrelevant because this re-make says that, for the first time, children and parenthood has no natural place in marriage. If you have children, the kindly, benevolent state will set your relationship with them.
If you don't want a gay marriage don't get one? Everyone gets one because, in the eyes of the state, marriage will be about adults, not about a man and a woman committing to making and raising children.
Another call for renewed value of our freedoms has come in the wake of the recent cancellation of a pro-family symposium by Illinois Senator Mark Kirk in response to pressure from bullying by the extremist gay activist organization, Human Rights Campaign. (The symposium was graciously hosted instead by House Speaker John Boehner.)
Managing Director Larry Jacob of the World Congress of Families (which was organizing the symposium) responded with this powerful appeal in an interview with Christian Newswire [emphases added]:
It is shocking that a United States Senator would bow to pressure from these militants and refuse to facilitate the discussion of vital issues affecting children, family, life, and the economy. Groups like HRC have set themselves up as arbiters of what may or may not be discussed at public forums. Instead of meeting us in the marketplace of ideas, they take the low road of smears and intimidation, seeking to foreclose the healthy debate that's vital to a democracy.
The Congress is part of the United States government, and — as such — should be open to all points of view. What other groups would HRC like to keep from exercising their First Amendment rights in this regard — the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention, most African-American churches, all of which disagree with the sexual radicals on one or more family issues?
Let's face it. Rationality has never been one of HRC's strong suits. And it's debatable whether they care much about the constitution — or other laws, like (oh, I don't know) laws protecting taxpayer confidentiality.
The World Congress of Families and others (including NOM) are encouraging folks to call Senator Kirk's offices and let him know how outrageous it is that he would shut his door to groups based on libelous smears from HRC. Click here to find information on how to contact Senator Kirk.
Yes, these attacks on marriage and on the First Amendment are very sad to witness. But perhaps for us it is a continuation of the "remaining task" noted by Lincoln 150 years ago. Maybe we're part of "a new birth of freedom" as many of us learn for the first time the full value and worth of many freedoms and values that we've long taken for granted. I imagine that you, like me, can at least consider yourself blessed for the opportunity to stand and fight in defense of marriage and our religious freedoms like many noble members of generations past in "this nation, under God."
"Of the People, by the People, for the People..."
The other part of the "remaining task" highlighted by Lincoln seems as pertinent as ever today, as well. It isn't hyperbole to say that we've witnessed a scandalous undermining of our very system of government in some of the ways that same-sex marriage has been foisted on the people of states around the nation.
Whether it be activist judges ruling imperially from the bench, or bought-and-paid for legislators selling out their constituents, or ballot initiatives tainted by multi-million dollar misinformation campaigns or obfuscation in the wording of a measure (such as claims that a redefinition of marriage will somehow strengthen religious liberty when the opposite is true), we've seen anything but "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" in the ways marriage redefinition has been achieved.
Will government of THE PEOPLE and the ideal of democracy "perish from the earth"? Well, not if we can help it!
In 2014, NOM will be gearing up for state battles where finally we're back on a level playing field — well, at least as far as politics are concerned. You see, the same-sex marriage movement has now picked all of the low-hanging fruit after targeting states like Illinois and Hawaii where both the legislature and governorship were already at the Left's beck and call.
Now, the battleground will be shifting to states like Indiana and Ohio. And these are states we can win.
How? We can win by "government of the people, by the people, for the people" — by letting the people decide on marriage!
But as I said above, a lesson that same-sex 'marriage' teaches us all is that we can't take things for granted. And even though until 2012 every state that had allowed the people to vote on marriage always swung in our favor, we suffered losses at the ballot box in that year for the first time. And why? Because we simply couldn't compete with our opponents' media machines due to a huge funding deficit.
I remember hearing that people in Minnesota, after the legislature there redefined marriage, were shocked that it had happened — even though some of these same people voted just months prior against an amendment to protect marriage! The campaign in support of the proposed Marriage Amendment that NOM supported with our allies in Minnesota warned voters that without the amendment, marriage could be redefined by politicians and judges at the first opportunity. And if it was redefined, there would be real consequences to Minnesotans. But our messages were overrun by our opponents who outspent us by $7 million. Months later, marriage was redefined just as we predicted it would be.
They'd bought the other side's lies that defeating the amendment was about preserving the status quo and not "writing discrimination into the constitution." By a slim majority, voters decided to not enact the amendment, believing they were voting to maintain the status quo that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Now that marriage has been redefined, they realize that it's they — the majority of voters who believe in marriage as one man and one woman — who are the victims of discrimination.
So today I'm asking you to help us with the "remaining task before us." Help us win in 2014 by donating to NOM today so that we can fight — and win — for marriage. Help us educate the people of these states on the importance of marriage, and then let them decide the matter wisely and well.
Thank you for all you do in defense of marriage and the other values and freedoms we all hold so dear. We're on the right side of history, and history remembers worthy words and actions even when their value isn't recognized in their own time. Stay strong, and may God continue to bless our cause and to bless our great nation.
Brian S. Brown
P.S. My good friend, Rick Santorum recently emailed me with some interesting news. You may know that (among other activities), he is working with EchoLight Studios to promote good, family friendly movies. They are releasing a new Christmas movie, The Christmas Candle, tomorrow, November 22 in theaters nationwide.
One of the most enjoyable ways we can fight for God's truth is by supporting products that enforce and share our values. If you want to go see an uplifting Christmas film the whole family can enjoy, please click here to see where The Christmas Candle is playing in your area.