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Category Archives: Religious Liberty

WATCH LIVE: Values Voter Summit 2014

The Values Voter Summit is just days away! The annual Summit—which provides a forum to inform and mobilize citizens across America to preserve the bedrock values of traditional marriage, religious liberty, sanctity of life and limited government that make our nation strong—will be held from Sept. 26-28 in Washington D.C.

If you're not able to attend, you can watch the live feed all weekend right from your home or office.

Friday, Sept. 26 Live Feed:

Saturday, Sept. 27 Live Feed:

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An Opportunity to Protect Conscience Rights

Last week at National Review, our friend Ryan Anderson presented four major problems with President Obama's new executive order on sexual orientation and gender identity.   The four biggest problems with the executive order, Anderson wrote, are:

1.) It undermines our nation's commitment to reasonable pluralism and reasonable diversity,

2.) It equates conscientious judgments about behavior,

3.) It does not contain a Bona Fide Occupational Qualification exemption, and

4.) It is unnecessary.

Anderson wrote:Ryan Anderson

All Americans should be free to contract with the government without penalty because of their reasonable beliefs about morally contentious issues. The federal government should not use the tax code and government contracting to reshape civil society about controversial moral issues that have nothing to do with the federal contract at stake.

[...]

Sexual orientation and gender identity are unclear, ambiguous terms. They can refer to voluntary behaviors as well as thoughts and inclinations, and it is reasonable for employers to make distinctions based on actions. By contrast, “race” and “sex” clearly refer to traits, and in the overwhelming majority of cases, these traits (unlike voluntary behaviors) do not affect fitness for any job.

A Bona Fide Occupational Qualification (BFOQ) exemption, Anderson wrote, "allow employers to make employment decisions so long as those decisions are honestly related to job qualifications."

For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act contains a BFOQ that allows employers to take sex into account: hiring a female camp counselor at an all-girls sleep-away summer camp, for example, which might otherwise seem to be “sex discrimination.”

This new executive order presents an opportunity for Congress to act to protect conscience rights and religious liberty, Anderson argued:

Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage.  The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting. This is the policy approach proposed by the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act (H.R. 3133, S. 1808).

This is indeed the time for Congress to move to protect conscience rights and religious liberty.  The left is doubling down on their attacks on marriage supporters and religious liberty.  America is healthier and freer when the law tolerates a diverse array of opinions and religious beliefs.

Should Parents or Government Raise Children?

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized." - George Orwell, 1984

Scottish parliament recently passed a bill that requires the state to appoint a "guardian" for every child in the country from birth until the age of 18.  This sinister and disturbing practice would expand the role of the state in an unprecedented way, chipping away at parental rights and opening the door for massive government intrusion into family life.Man-Woman-Child

The right of children to be raised by their parents--and the rights of parents to raise their children according to their values--is a basic human right.  When parents responsibly rear their children, families stay strong, thus limiting the power of the state.  A free society depends in part on strong marriages and families to bring up children in the most ideal setting.

A government "guardian" checking in on every child is tantamount to government surveillance of every family.  These "guardians" will have access to family records and will be required to report on the child's development and welfare.  They will also recommend household changes.

What if a government "guardian" disagrees with parents on how to best raise a child?  Will the government official be able to override the parents' decisions about the child's healthcare, education, and home life?  What if the government worker disagrees with parents' religious or political views, and thinks it's "unfair" or "bigoted" to raise a child in a religious environment?

If this bill and the threatening principles enshrined in it become law--which will happen unless pro-family activists stop it--it would open the door for state-sponsored surveillance on every family.  It would enable the Scottish government to tell parents how to raise their children, place children's best interests and parental rights at odds with the interests of the increasingly powerful state.

Of course, there are occasionally unfit or abusive parents from whom children must be protected.  But sound policy is not based on rare exceptions.  In almost every case, children do best when raised by married parents in a stable relationship, and the government has no right to interfere with this.

Parents, not the government, know what's best for their kids.

Southern Baptist Convention: Executive Order Violates Freedom of Conscience

SBCRussell Moore, president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has joined other faith leaders in raising concerns over the lack of religious liberty protections in President Obama's new executive order.

Moore said:

“While we don’t know the full implications of this executive order, I am disappointed that this administration persistently violates the freedom of conscience for religious organizations that provide necessary relief for the poor and endangered.  The same religious convictions that inspire their social action are the convictions now considered outside the new mainstream of sexual revolutionary fundamentalism. The ones hurt will be the most vulnerable in our society.”

This new executive order could result in Christians and those who belief in marriage as the union of a man and a woman facing reprisal and even punishment simply for expressing their views in the workplace.

Catholic Bishops Slam "Unprecendented and Extreme" Executive Order

The bishop-Chairmen of two USCCB Committees slammed President Obama’s July 21 "gender identity" executive order for its lack of religious freedom protection and "flaws in its core prohibitions."  This new "non-discrimination" executive order, aimed at preventing workplace discrimination against LGBT persons, opens the door to discrimination against Christians and those with deeply-held beliefs about the nature of marriage and human sexuality.

Catholic BishopRe-iterating the Catholic Church's opposition to unjust discrimination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, the bishops outlined how this new executive order "implements discrimination" and why Catholics and people of goodwill should oppose it.

Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Bishop Richard J. Malone of Buffalo, Chairman of the Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth said:

Today’s executive order is unprecedented and extreme and should be opposed.

In the name of forbidding discrimination, this order implements discrimination. With the stroke of a pen, it lends the economic power of the federal government to a deeply flawed understanding of human sexuality, to which faithful Catholics and many other people of faith will not assent. As a result, the order will exclude federal contractors precisely on the basis of their religious beliefs.

ObamaMore specifically, the Church strongly opposes both unjust discrimination against those who experience a homosexual inclination and sexual conduct outside of marriage, which is the union of one man and one woman. But the executive order, as it regards federal government contractors, ignores the inclination/conduct distinction in the undefined term “sexual orientation.” As a result, even contractors that disregard sexual inclination in employment face the possibility of exclusion from federal contracting if their employment policies or practices reflect religious or moral objections to extramarital sexual conduct.

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. This is a problem not only of principle but of practice, as it will jeopardize the privacy and associational rights of both federal contractor employees and federal employees. For example, a biological male employee may be allowed to use the women’s restroom or locker room provided by the employer because the male employee identifies as a female.

 

Cardinal George: "American Liberties" Are "All Being Traded Off in Favor of Freedom of Sexual Expression"

It is becoming more and more apparent that the redefinition of marriage is incompatible with religious freedom. In his recent column, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago reflected on this rising conflict within the United States. Subtly taking to task those who claim marriage supporters are on the "wrong side of history,"  Cardinal George warned that "We should also be concerned that we are on the wrong side of what nature teaches us and therefore at least over the long run, headed for historical failure as a society."

The Cardinal's scholarly and pastoral words embody wisdom we should all heed:

Cardinal GeorgeIn this country, we do not fear being killed for our faith. What, then, are we afraid of? We are afraid that the institutions that perform the works of mercy that have been integral to the church’s mission for centuries will be forced to become, effectively, government institutions, given permission to exist only if they do not act as Catholic. At stake are Catholic hospitals, Catholic universities and Catholic social services, precisely as Catholic. At stake also is a society that once permitted many different voices and faiths to contribute to the common good without compromising their collective conscience.

The issue has clustered around the HHS mandate that insists that any institution serving the public must treat women’s fertility as an enemy to be suppressed for the sake of women’s freedom. In fact, the government has made many exceptions to this rule, but has steadfastly refused to exempt Catholic institutions. The issue is therefore in the courts.

ChristianityThe imposition of a definition of marriage that destroys the natural meaning of marital union is becoming another test case for religious liberty. The law now holds that men and women are interchangeable in marriage, as if children did not need both a mother and a father to be born and raised with some security. These are laws that mark societies in decline, demographically as well as morally.

What has happened to our vaunted American liberties? Except for property rights, they are all being traded off in favor of freedom of sexual expression.That “freedom” has become the trump card in almost every social dispute. While the public conversation plays the game of liberal versus conservative, there is really only one issue: freedom versus tyranny, a tyranny masquerading as compassion and suppressing legally differences that seem to threaten abstract “equality” [emphases added].

Americans are concerned about the economy, and rightly so. We are concerned with the loss of our place in the world, and rightly so. We should also be concerned that we are on the wrong side of what nature teaches us and therefore, at least over the long run, headed for historical failure as a society.

Read the rest here.

New Study Suggests It's Better to Leave Religion Off Your Résumé

Do you list your involvement with religious organizations on your résumé?  You may want to cease revealing your religious affiliation on your résumé, a new study by the Southern Sociology Society suggests.  The study found that applicants whose résumés included faith affiliations were 26 percent less likely to be contacted by employers.

PapersThe Southern Sociology Society researchers sent out 3,200 fake résumés, one a control group of résumés without any religious affiliations and one group of résumés with various religious affiliations indicated by membership in a religious organization in college.

The study suggested that in order to improve their résumés, applicants refrain from publicly displaying their religious affiliations.

Natalie Wyman at The Family Foundation writes:

What does this say about our society? Citizens are advised to hide their religious beliefs so it will be easier to get a job. Shouldn’t we be advising employers to stop discriminating against applicants just because of their religious beliefs? The First Amendment of the Constitution clearly lays out this fundamental right to freedom of religion: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” So why does the study suggest that Americans need to restrict their free exercise of religion in order to get a job?

Unfortunately, religious discrimination in the workplace has been escalating in recent years. Studies like this one exemplify the need for more protections for religious liberty in our state and in our country. The purpose of religious liberty is not that everyone must hide their faith for fear of offending others; rather, everyone should be allowed to express their faith in public without fear of being punished.

So much for diversity.

Ryan Anderson on the Right to Be Wrong

In the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court ruling that the owners of Hobby Lobby cannot be forced to violate the tenets of their faith to fund abortifacient drugs, many scholars, professors, and activists are writing about the importance of religious freedom.

Ryan AndersonWriting for The Public Discourse, Ryan Anderson has penned yet another eloquent article.  This article, titled The Right to be Wrong, outlines why everyone has the right to religious freedom, not just those with "right" or politically correct beliefs.

Anderson countered the arguments of Hadley Arkes, who recently wrote a series of articles attempting to recast the argument for religious liberty, "not in terms of the sincerity of the religiously held belief and the competing concerns about public order, but in terms of its content, particularly in terms of its truth."

Anderson wrote:

One of the hallmarks of religious liberty protections is that they protect people of all faiths, even if their beliefs seem unfounded, flawed, implausible, or downright silly.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)...was signed into law by President Clinton. RFRA provides a reasonable balance between religious liberty and the requirements of public order. It says that government can substantially burden a sincere religious belief only when it is pursuing a compelling government interest in the least restrictive means available.

Anderson analyzed practical considerations on religious liberty in court, the foundation and scope of the religious liberty right, and the natural law foundation of a right to religious liberty:

The natural law defense of a right to religious liberty is based on the moral truth that sincere religious activity, freely undertaken, is valuable in itself and deserves the space to flourish.

The full article is here.

Robbie George on Religious Freedom

Robert GeorgeOver at First Things, Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and founding chairman of NOM, analyzed the Supreme Court's recent ruling that the government cannot force Hobby Lobby and its Christian owners to provide abortion-inducing drugs or devices for their employees in accordance with regulations enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. George's words about religious freedom stood out:

Just as the for-profit company known as the New York Times enjoys the right to freedom of the press under the First Amendment, so Hobby Lobby enjoys the right to religious freedom protected by RFRA. Protection for religious liberty doesn’t stop where commerce begins. As Neuhaus tirelessly insisted, our religious lives cannot be restricted to what we do in our homes before meals or on our knees at bedtime, or to our prayers and liturgies in churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples. Religious faith motivates, or can motivate, our convictions and actions in the exercise of our rights and responsibilities as citizens, in our philanthropic and charitable activities, and in the conduct of our businesses and professions.

[...]

Friends of religious freedom must respond swiftly and strongly to the claims and political machinations of their adversaries. We must wield the sword of truth against the falsehoods and gross exaggerations that will become the currency of the other side’s attacks. Without resorting to their tactics, we must match their intensity and determination. Key elements of our religious freedom hang in the balance.

Read the rest here.

The Thought Police Have Arrived - An Update

In his recent article, Marriage: Where Do We Go From Here?, Ryan T. Anderson reminded marriage champions that we must take the long view in our defense of marriage and "be ready to bear witness to the truth even if law and culture grow increasingly hostile."  Every day, this becomes more apparent.

Yesterday, Ryan and Leslie Ford at the Heritage Foundation wrote an excellent summary of what's happening to the Colorado baker whose religious views conflict with same-sex "marriage."  The Colorado Civil Rights Commission ruled unanimously last week that Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop must create cakes for same-sex weddings regardless of his religious beliefs:

It all started in 2012, when a same-sex couple received a marriage license in Massachusetts and asked Phillips to bake a cake for a reception back home in Colorado, a state that in 2006 constitutionally defined marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Phillips declined to create a wedding cake, citing his faith: “I don’t feel like I should participate in their wedding, and when I do a cake, I feel like I am participating in the ceremony or the event or the celebration that the cake is for,” he said. The couple later obtained a wedding cake with rainbow-colored filling (illustrating the expressive nature of event cake-baking) from another bakery.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Masterpiece Cakeshop with the state, alleging violations of Colorado’s public accommodation law. Administrative Law Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled against the bakery on Dec. 6, 2013, concluding that Phillips violated the law by declining service to the couple, “because of their sexual orientation.”2013-01-22 Colorado Flag

Phillips objected to this characterization and responded that he would happily sell the couple his baked goods for any number of occasions, but creating a wedding cake would force him to express something that he does not believe, thereby violating his freedom to run his business in accordance with his faith.

[...]

Indeed, a growing number of incidents demonstrate that the redefinition of marriage and state policies on sexual orientation create a climate of intolerance, intimidation and legal coercion for citizens who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman.

It’s time for state and federal policy to respect Americans’ ability to live and work in accordance with their beliefs. Even in states where marriage has been redefined, government should not coerce individuals and organizations to violate their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman. Although Americans are free to live as they choose, no one should demand that government compel others into celebrating their same-sex relationship.

 

Marriage Debate Has High Stakes

The stakes have never been higher as advocates of redefining marriage continue to push for a radical reordering of the most basic foundation of society.

A recent article out of Oklahoma describes many of the concerns that pro-family advocates have about the push to re-define marriage, particularly as it relates to religious liberty:

 ...for opponents the damage of legalizing gay marriage is more than a paper shortage or legal procedure. Unless lawmakers carve out broad protections for those who oppose same-sex marriage on religious grounds, they see the trend of current court ruling favoring gay marriage as an erosion of freedom of expression and conscience rights.

"If same-sex marriage is established in law, it will be increasingly difficult for anyone who holds to the traditional view of conjugal marriage to maintain a witness to that truth under such a decision," said Matthew Franck, director of the Witherspoon Institute's Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution in Princeton, New Jersey. "Church-run schools, employers, adoption agencies, child-service agencies run by religious organizations — all of these institutions and private concerns will be adversely affected."

The article briefly explores the history of marriage redefinition in the United States:

coalitionavatarOn Nov. 18, 2003, Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court decided in favor of same-sex marriage in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, saying that "barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution."

The justices gave legislators 180 days to change the law, and when the solons didn't, same-sex marriage was permitted. At 12:01 a.m. May 18, 2004, the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the first in the state and the nation, to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples...

"It was a massive mistake and a betrayal when the Supreme Judicial Court foisted same-sex marriage on the people of Massachusetts, and it remains so today," lamented Brian J. Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, which supports the traditional definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The Massachusetts decision "started the same sort of lawlessness that we've seen with judges (elsewhere) saying they have the right to define marriage for a state, subverting the democratic process."

Brown said the "redefinition of marriage has had consequences" beyond what proponents concluded. In Massachusetts, the state has "deconstructed gender" by referring to mothers and fathers solely by the word "parent" in official proceedings, he claimed, and in schools, "kids are now taught their parents are bigots if they support the traditional definition of marriage."

The traditional marriage advocate said when the Massachusetts Senate refused to consider a voter-signed petition calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, it started a trend of elected officials in other states refusing to defend marriage laws and amendments passed by voters and/or legislatures.

In Oregon, state Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum declared three months ago there was "no rational basis" for the 2004 voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to the Oregonian newspaper. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Michael McShane ruled Brown's group "had no (legal) standing" to defend the measure in that state.

Franck noted that the state imposing a false definition of marriage on everyone has alarming consequences:

"Just look at what happened to Catholic Charities, which ceased adoption services in Massachusetts in the aftermath" of the 2003 ruling, he said. The Roman Catholic social-service agency shut down after the state required the agency to place children with same-sex married couples.

Advocates behind the push to redefine marriage have disregarded the well-being of children, who benefit from mothers and fathers shaping them in different, important ways, and demonstrate a shocking lack of tolerance for those who understand that marriage is a unique institution worth protecting.  The state's redefinition of marriage violated Massachusetts Catholic Charities' deeply-held beliefs about the nature of marriage, forcing them to close, and subsequently hurt the children who Catholic Charities would have otherwise been able to place in loving homes with mothers and fathers:

And other religiously linked institutions with admission, employment, housing or other policies prohibiting same-sex couples may face challenges, said attorney Nicholas Miller, director of the International Religious Liberty Institute at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

"States may not have as strong a religious rights lobby as there is at the federal level," Miller said. Despite the fact that the Seventh-day Adventist Church does not endorse same-sex marriage, Miller said Adventist- and Catholic-owned hospitals in California are being required to provide employee benefits to same-sex couples.

Greg Scott, a spokesman for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is litigating in several states to support traditional marriage, said the group hopes the U.S. Supreme Court will continue its view that marriage should be defined by the states, as it expressed in its 2013 ruling, U.S. vs. Windsor, which struck down the prohibition against same-sex marriage in federal law.

"We hope the Supreme Court stays consistent," Scott said. "Marriage is worth fighting for and there are a lot of people that do believe that. Perhaps a wrong decision at the Supreme Court will inspire millions of Americans to rebuild a culture of strong marriages and understand again what marriage is about."

...Lawmakers could pass exemptions protecting a quasi-religious social organization such as the Catholic-based Knights of Columbus from having to rent its banquet facilities for a same-sex marriage reception, said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois and an advocate for religious exemptions to same-sex marriage laws.

"To some extent the Knights of Columbus is a religious group (and) if you say we're going to treat every kind of membership hall as a public accommodation, you're putting them at risk (in) that if they won't yield on their religious conviction, they'd have to celebrate something they can't endorse," Wilson said.

She said it should be up the legislatures to determine where to carve out protections for individuals, businesses and faith-based institutions that adhere to religious beliefs that prevent them from recognizing same-sex marriages.

We the PeopleThe final paragraphs of this article are stunning to anyone who believes religious organizations and business owners should be able to freely operate in accordance with their values:

But same-sex marriage proponents vow to fight any exceptions for public facilities or services, whether owned by a religious institution or not.

"There is a problem when organizations want to have it both ways — open to the public for a revenue stream, but asserted to be private (religiously private or otherwise) when it comes to rules that regulate commercial activity," said Jennifer C. Pizer, senior counsel and director of the Law and Policy Project at Lambda Legal in Los Angeles.

That goes for religiously affiliated social service agencies as well.

"Those services are offered pursuant to state licensure and professional ethics rules for protection of the public," she said. "If the state and/or profession includes nondiscrimination rules within the standards for those services, the religious organization has a choice: either offer licensed services to the public for a fee in conformity with the applicable standards, or don’t offer them to the public."

The notion that religious organizations must conform with arbitrary "nondiscrimination" standards seems to be more important to Pizer than the First Amendment and the rights it grants all people.

The core of society and the basic human freedom of religion are at stake as Americans work to protect marriage.  The battle to uphold marriage has never been more essential.

Did This Councilman Really Just Tell Millions of New Yorkers They're Unwelcome There? Yes. Yes He Did.

We've shared with you before this insightful article by Ryan Anderson at Heritage about the recent resignation of Brendan Eich from Mozilla. In it, Ryan remarked:

The debate over the meaning and purpose of marriage will continue. We should conduct it in a civil manner. Bullies may win for a while, but theirs is a scorched-earth policy. They poison democratic discourse and fray the bonds on which democracy itself ultimately depends.

Even those who disagree with each other about morally charged issues of public policy need to be able to live together.

Councilman Daniel DrommBut lest we think that Eich's ouster is an outlier, a rare case, consider this more recent news out of New York City. Via the Huffington Post, a gay city councilman is quoted as protesting the entrance of an unwanted new presence into his city. From his remarks here, who might you guess he's talking about?

"We don’t need bigots coming to New York City," Councilman Daniel Dromm, who is openly gay, told HuffPost. "They are not welcome here unless they can embrace all of New York's diverse community, including the LGBT community."

What radical group could provoke such a fiery response and merit being slurred as "bigots", you ask? Well, unbelievable as it may seem... Chick-fil-A. And yet the company hardly seems like it should be so unwelcome to a sane observer.

Of course, the reason for Dromm's intolerance of the company is that its CEO personally values biblical beliefs about marriage as solely being the union of one man and one woman.

Chick-fil-A, NYC

But what's most horrifying in Dromm's remarks is his final say on the matter. You would think that maybe his first statement of unwelcomeness was a knee-jerk and misinformed reaction. What if he were told that Chick-fil-A's CEO has repeatedly said that he has no intention of bringing the company into the political debate surrounding the issue of marriage?

From HuffPost [emphasis added]:

... Dromm, the city councilman, said there was no place for Chick-fil-A in New York, even if it remains out of the political fray.

“We don’t need bigoted people even keeping their opinions to themselves,” he said. “They need to wake up and see reality.”

Not only is the sleight of "bigot," directed toward those who hold marriage to be the union of a man and a woman, completely unfair, mean-spirited, and wide of the mark. More than that: here we have the most compelling proof one could want of Ryan Anderson's assertion that the gay rights community is engaged in a "scorched earth" policy of bigotry and intolerance.

It is a "thought policy" regime in the making, and if anyone thinks a lesson was learned with the Mozilla controversy, he or she needs only consider this later story to realize that Eich's treatment was only a template for the radical homosexual lobby's plans for the future. For now, it's chilling enough to know that an elected city councilman in New York has just told millions of his fellow residents that they are unwelcome there simply on account of their pro-marriage values.

Pope: "The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman."

From CNSNews:

Pope FrancisDuring his General Audience speech at St. Peter’s Square on Apr. 2, before a crowd estimated at 45,000, Pope Francis first cited Genesis, saying, "God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them. … Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh."

"The image of God is the married couple: the man and the woman; not only the man, not only the woman, but both of them together," said the Pope. "God’s covenant with us is represented in that covenant between man and woman. And this is very beautiful."

"When a man and a woman celebrate the Sacrament of Matrimony, God as it were 'is mirrored' in them; He impresses in them his own features and the indelible character of his love," said Pope Francis. "Marriage is the icon of God's love for us."

Read more here.

"Notre Dame, you have a voice..."

A group of plucky students at Notre Dame made news this week with a petition to the University officials "to take up the defense of marriage at this pivotal moment in the national discussion surrounding this foundational institution."

Notre DameThe Cardinal Newman Society provides more details:

The petition was created by members of the newly formed Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), made up of undergraduate and graduate students at the University...

[...]

A co-founder of the group, Tiernan Kane, told The Cardinal Newman Society that he believes the university should take the lead on marriage.

"The Catholic Church's teaching on marriage, which is universally intelligible to human reason, is informed by a tradition of philosophical reflection that reaches back at least as far as Plato," [Kane] said. "As the nation's premier Catholic university, Notre Dame has the ability, and thus the responsibility, to contribute to--indeed, to lead--public discourse about marriage."

[...]

Senior Michael Bradley, a co-founder of the group, told The Cardinal Newman Society that the administration has been "entirely mute on marriage" while publicly supporting the Dream Act and other contested political issues.  [Bradley] said, "Notre Dame, you have a voice, and it would mean a lot in defense of Church teaching."

Bravo to these brave young men and women!

Gay British Critics on Redefining Marriage: "A Disastrous Miscalculation"

The Christian Institute reports:

London, UKSame-sex marriage"fundamentally changes" the definition of the institution and only a few homosexual "protesters" even wanted the change, two gay commentators have said.

Art critic Brian Sewell and newspaper columnist Andrew Pierce made their comments as the first same-sex weddings in the UK took place on Saturday.

The article continues:

[Sewell] commented that British society is “rooted” in Christianity, and that most homosexuals "are happy to respect the deeply held belief of sincere, thoughtful and informed Christians" who support marriage between one man and one woman.

[...]

Pierce said... the introduction of same-sex marriage was "politically, a disastrous miscalculation".

He commented that politicians "offended millions of people by arrogantly redefining the meaning of the relationship between a man and a woman that has been the bedrock of society for thousands of years.

"They also placed the Church in an invidious position by suggesting it had a moral duty to perform gay marriage ceremonies when vast numbers of clergy and ordinary church-goers are opposed to them."

Read the full article.