Dear Marriage Supporter,
Coming to a public school near you?
Just when you think it can't get any weirder or more disturbing, an Oakland public school decided to teach grade-school children about multiple genders, under the banner of preventing bullying.
[Correction: The Oakland class in multiple genders was addressed to fourth-graders, not kindergarteners, and this post has been update to correct the error.]
Watch that video. Look at the children's faces. And then look at the activist from a group called "Gender Spectrum" who wants to embed in these children's minds the idea that we all have a right to make up our own gender(s).
"People can be girls, feel like girls, they can feel like boys, they can feel like both, and they can even feel, like I said, kinda like neither," he teaches them.
This is a movement that knows what it is doing.
This has been our busiest and (so far) most successful spring ever! We've seen victories in Rhode Island, Maryland, Minnesota, and next (we hope) New York.
But this week I want to step back from the incredible flow of events to focus on the great, great challenges we are facing ahead.
I mean what we are facing as a nation, as a civilization founded on moral truth, "conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
As our Founders understood it, that equality rested on the self-evident decrees of nature and of nature's God.
Could Christianity, which gave birth to America, become an illegitimate stepchild in our own nation?
The evidence is mounting this week that too many advocates of gay marriage aim at nothing less than a revaluation of all values—to create a new, government-backed sexual morality in which those who adhere to traditional views of sex and marriage are demoted to second-class citizens.
"Marriage equality," in other words, means some people will be more equal than others.
I do not believe that most ordinary gay people, or gay-marriage advocates, intend to do harm. Most ordinary Americans are good people, for whom "live and let live" is good enough.
But the architects of this movement, it is increasingly clear, know exactly what they are doing, and why.
What is the evidence?
In Illinois this week, the Rockford Catholic Charities shut the doors to its adoption and foster care program, because a new civil unions bill with the Orwellian title of the "Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act" failed to explicitly protect religious liberty. The threat of litigation made continuing to help these children too risky—to the rest of the good work Catholic Charities continues to do.
The state legislator who sponsored the bill says that was not his intent, but too bad. He tried to go back and add specific religious liberty protections later, but too late.
He has regrets, but Illinois activists (who understood from the beginning that religious freedom would NOT be protected) are loud and proud about it.
Benjamin Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois who represents juvenile wards of the state as part of a court-monitored consent decree with DCFS, even noted that children would be the losers because of the special difficulties in finding good child-welfare organizations.
"Rockford would not be the place I would've chosen to start these transitions," Wolf said. "I am very sorry that they would give a greater priority to their commitment to continue discriminating than the health and welfare of Illinois children."
In other words, drive Christians and other traditional faith communities out of the public square, and then blame the victims for your own intolerance.
In Rhode Island, GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) has actually and actively opposed language in the House bill designed to protect religious institutions like Catholic Charities.
Karen Loewy, Senior Staff Attorney for GLAD, called the exemption "unprecedented," and designed only to inflict "gratuitous harm on Rhode Island's gay and lesbian families."
What about the gratuitous harm inflicted on children when religious adoption agencies are told they are no longer welcome unless they agree with the government's views on adoption? What about the gratuitous harm inflicted on every member of a traditional faith community in Rhode Island, when they are told their institutions and their beliefs make them second-class citizens?
Surely we can find a way to help same-sex couples make medical decisions for each other in hospitals, and fulfill other similar needs, without doing that much gratuitous harm?
But what if it's not gratuitous to the activists proposing these same-sex union bills? What if inflicting that kind of harm on religious institutions and people is part of the point?
It's not the details of religious liberty protections which bother these folks, it's the idea that there is anything worth protecting in the great faith traditions' views of sex and marriage.
The crisis in Illinois was precipitated by the conscious decision of same-sex couples not to go to the many agencies known to do same-sex foster care and adoptions, but to seek out religious agencies so they could lodge discrimination complaints.
A modus vivendi that finds room for all is not their goal. A new government-backed morality, which punishes and stigmatizes dissent and dissenters, is the goal.
Marriage Equality Rhode Island is actually now insisting that the Rhode Island senate revise its own civil unions bill to strip it of religious liberty protection, which in the eyes of these advocates is just a "loophole." Religious liberty—a loophole?
In Great Britain this week, another huge step down that road was taken. A gay man asked a Christian counselor to help him change his orientation, or at least live in accordance with his alleged religious beliefs. But this gay man was a liar. Excuse me, an "investigative reporter." He did not want her help, he wanted to punish her for being willing to help.
One need not agree with reparative therapy to see that this tactic represents a deeply troubling attempt to prevent anyone else from getting a kind of help that you don't want for yourself.
And it worked. This week a disciplinary panel found Mrs. Lesley Pilkington guilty of "professional malpractice," according to the Telegraph: "The ruling stated that her accreditation to the organisation will be suspended and she will be ordered to complete training. If she fails to comply she will be struck off the register."
In his newspaper article, Mr. Strudwick said: "I am an out, happily gay man. I was undercover, investigating therapists who practise this so-called conversion therapy (also known as reparative therapy)—who try to 'pray away the gay'.'I asked her to make me straight. Her attempts to do so flout the advice of every major mental-health body in Britain.'"
Folks like Mr. Strudwick are loud and proud and utterly convinced that "live and let live" is a one-way street that ends with his power to punish and hurt those with whom he disagrees. And in Great Britain he can!
Here in the States, for the first time in recent memory a major newspaper has begun to cover the kind of open, ugly hatred that is directed against anyone who dares to stand for marriage as the union of husband and wife.
[Sen. Diaz's effort to protect marriage] has also drawn the Pentecostal minister into venomous, online clashes and spawned death threats called into his office. Now a Brooklyn gay bar will host a "F--- Ruben Diaz Festival."
"I have never preached hate," Diaz told the Daily News. "They're showing that they're the ones that are doing the hateful things."
Diaz said he and his family have received death threats due to his vocal stance on keeping gay marriage unlawful in New York State. They were reported to the FBI and Albany police, he said.
"We are in America; we are supposed to agree to disagree and respect each other's positions," the senator said.
On May 10, tweets by opponents of Diaz's May 15 rally included one in which the sender expressed the desire to sexually assault Diaz's daughter.
(Yes, that's me there standing proudly by Sen. Rev. Díaz's side at his rally in May.)
"Be not afraid," I tell you, as the Lord told us. In every crisis there is opportunity, and out of this civilizational crisis, if we come together and stand with courage and love, will come something great.
Let me close by pointing you to a column Maggie published in Patheos, in response to a young Catholic writer who said our fight for marriage is doomed.
Maggie called it "Why Life is Winning," and she pointed out, "Some say that no one will oppose gay marriage a few decades from now. They used to say the same about abortion":
When I was, well, a few years younger than Tim Muldoon is today, the message of despair now directed at marriage was directed at the pro-life movement. All the powerful elites favored abortion. Media coverage of anyone who was pro-life was dreadful. All the wives of Republican power-brokers favored abortion rights. If you said you opposed abortion, people would shout, "You are calling my sister a murderer!" They informed me that by the time I turned 50, the pro-life movement would be dead because young people were so pro-choice.
I'm 50 now, and yet the pro-life sentiment is surging as today's young people are more pro-life than their elders.
How did that happen?
There are many ways to answer that question, and what I offer here is more of a missing piece—the role of politics in cultural change—than a comprehensive theory. ...
By the 1990s, both sides agreed (at least publicly) that pro-life values should be respected, even if they continued to disagree on the specific legislative strategies for reducing abortion.
That political accommodation created a new cultural space for pro-lifers. The pro-life position became "respected" by both sides in the public square, rather than relentlessly de-legitimized by elite organs of culture.
Politics and culture are not separate activities. Sometimes culture determines politics. But sometimes politics, by raising the costs of demonizing pro-life positions, and raising the profile of the issue in the public square, serves cultural change as well.
Speaking of politics changing culture, we just helped form a new ballot initiative committee, Minnesotans for Marriage.
In 2012, we hope, pray and expect that the people of Minnesota, after a dignified and civil debate, will join 31 other states in voting to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
They will give a visible rebuke to those who claim that the majority of Americans support gay marriage, and rebuking the voices of despair who claim that the fight for marriage cannot be won.
Thank you for all you make possible. At NOM we want no less than to be your voice for your values—and for the truth about the human person: We are born male and female, called to come together in love so that the future can happen.
God bless you; and please pray for Sen. Rev. Díaz, and for everyone on the front lines of this great battle for God's truth about marriage.
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
P.S. For the sake of the next generation, marriage must be defended and the truth about marriage must be proclaimed in the public square. But for us to get that message out, we need your help. Please consider what you can give, whether it's $15 or $150. We will do everything in our power to make your voice heard, to win more victories for marriage.