NOM BLOG

Category Archives: Youth

Why Academic Freedom Matters (Now More Than Ever)

On May 19, the Intercollegiate Review published a brilliant essay authored by Robert P. George, NOM's founding Chairman.

The essay is adapted from George's new book, Conscience and Its Enemies: Exposing the Dogmas of Secular Liberalism.  It explores why academic freedom is necessary:

College-StudentPerhaps it is worth pausing to ask why we care—or should care—so much about intellectual freedom in the academy. Why ought we be concerned about the rights of an administrator who is fired for stating her moral views by a university that says it is morally neutral and nonsectarian, or the freedom of an assistant professor who is denied tenure because he would not toe the party line at such a university? Why should we care about students who are punished with a bad grade for having the temerity to state views that are out of line with those of the course instructor? What is it about intellectual or academic freedom that makes it worth worrying about—and worth fighting for?

[...]

I have already mentioned that some partisans of academic freedom misguidedly depict truth as an enemy of freedom. They appeal to, or presuppose, a species of relativism or subjectivism or radical skepticism in defending freedom of inquiry. Now, it is certainly true that one reason for respecting academic freedom is that people can be mistaken about what they regard—even securely regard—as true. Indeed, even unanimity of belief does not guarantee its correctness. But I think that the possibility of error is not the primary or most powerful reason for honoring academic freedom and protecting it even in areas where we are secure in our knowledge of the truth.

The stronger and deeper reason is that freedom is the condition of our fuller appropriation of the truth. I use the term appropriation because knowledge and truth have their value for human beings precisely as fulfillment of capacities for understanding and judgment. The liberal arts liberate the human spirit because knowledge of truth—attained by the exercise of our rational faculties—is intrinsically and not merely instrumentally valuable. “Useful knowledge” is, of course, all to the good. It is wonderful when human knowledge can serve other human goods, such as health, as in the biomedical sciences, or economic efficiency and growth, or the constructing of great buildings and bridges, or any of a million other worthy purposes. But even “useful knowledge” is often more than instrumentally valuable, and a great deal of knowledge that wouldn’t qualify as “useful” in the instrumental sense is intrinsically and profoundly enriching and liberating. This is why we honor—and should honor even more highly than we currently do in our institutions of higher learning—excellence in the humanities and pure science (social and natural).

Knowledge that elevates and enriches—knowledge that liberates the human spirit—cannot be merely notional. It must be appropriated. It is not—it cannot be—a matter of affirming or even believing correct propositions. The knowledge that elevates and liberates is knowledge not only that something is the case but also why and how it is the case. Typically such knowledge does more than settle something in one’s mind; it opens new avenues of exploration. Its payoff includes new sets of questions, new lines of inquiry.

Let us return, then, to the question of why we should respect freedom even where truth is known securely. It is because freedom—freedom to inquire, freedom to assent or withhold assent as one’s best judgment dictates—is a condition of the personal appropriation of the truth by the human subject, the human person for the sake of whom, for the flourishing of whom, for the liberation of whom, knowledge of truth is intrinsically valuable. And it is intrinsically valuable not in some abstract sense but precisely as an aspect of the well-being and fulfillment of human beings—rational creatures whose flourishing consists in part in intellectual inquiry, understanding, and judgment and in the practice of the virtues that make possible excellence in the intellectual question.

The freedom we must defend is freedom for the practice of these virtues. It is freedom for excellence, the freedom that enables us to master ourselves. It is a freedom that, far from being negated by rigorous standards of scholarship, demands them. It is not the freedom of “if it feels good, do it”; it is, rather, the freedom of self-transcendence, the freedom from slavery to self.

Read the rest of Robert George's essay here.

Marriage and Witness at Notre Dame

Michael Bradley, one of the co-founders of the Notre Dame pro-marriage group Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), wrote a piece at Public Discourse on witnessing the truth about marriage at Notre Dame.  He criticized the school's refusal to recognize SCOP's as an official university club, explaining:

NDOn April 30, the university rejected SCOP’s request to become an officially recognized student club, citing a “recommendation” by a group of student government officials who judged that “there was not a need” for SCOP’s presence on campus.

The official reason given for rejecting SCOP’s application is “redundancy,” a transparent reason for rejection that even a momentary glance through the names of some of the more than 500 recognized student clubs punctures. Additionally, when pressed to identify the groups the missions of which allegedly make SCOP’s acceptance redundant, the president of the aforementioned student government group listed several groups that don’t at all claim to advocate for child-oriented public policies.

Notre Dame’s decision to deny SCOP’s application is rooted in either culpable ignorance of SCOP’s mission and purpose or barely veiled hostility toward SCOP’s true mission and purpose.

Furthermore, the rejection letter came from the same Student Activities official who told SCOP leaders in early April that the SCOP petition was “inaccurate” and suggested that its language would make some members of the Notre Dame community feel “unwelcome.” She further intimated concerns that the petition’s authors were misquoting their sources, and took twice as long as official Student Activities Office policy standards dictate to return a request (which was filed on behalf of a recognized student group) to publicize the petition in Notre Dame’s student center.

As demonstrated by their resilience, the students of SCOP are not going to back down.  They are diligently and tenaciously standing up for marriage on campus, despite the apparent hostility of some of their peers who do not share their pro-family sentiment.  Marriage defenders can look forward to what SCOP will accomplish on campus in future years.

Pro-Marriage Notre Dame Students Remain Resolute

Students for Child-Oriented Policy, a group of pro-marriage Notre Dame students, remains resolute in their endeavor to be recognized as an official university club.  The University of Notre Dame denied them official status as a club on the grounds that other groups at Notre Dame have similar missions.

Fox News reported:

Notre Dame DomeThe group, Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), was rejected in an April 30 letter from the university’s Student Activities Office to Tiernan Kane, the club’s proposed president. The decision was based on a recommendation by the university’s Club Coordination Council, a division of student government, that found the club’s mission “closely mirrored” that of other undergraduate student clubs at the 12,000-student university.

“In evaluating a proposal, approval is based on several things,” read the letter to Kane. “We consider the general purpose of a club, uniqueness to campus, proposed activities, a clear constitution, a strong understanding of budget planning, projected membership, opportunity for membership, among other things.”

Due to the perceived duplicative mission of the group, SCOP’s proposal was rejected, according to the letter, which did not reference other university-recognized groups.

“As such, the Club Coordination Council felt there was not a need for another similar-type club,” the letter continued. “You are encouraged to contact the Club Coordination Council’s Social Service Division to learn about collaborating with the existing clubs working toward your mutual goals.”

SCOP, which was founded in January, is comprised of Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students focused on the debate about marriage in Indiana, where the school is based, according to its Facebook profile, which had 69 members as of Tuesday.

“SCOP's overarching concern is that policymakers are failing to approach their task with a view to how those policies will affect children,” the group’s Facebook page reads. “They seem to conceive of policy only as it will affect the stable, independent adult with resources. We see this approach affecting a number of important political issues, not just the current question about the definition of marriage. Still, marriage is both foundational and at a critical point in this state and country, and therefore, SCOP has decided to focus on the issue in its initial conference.”

The group seeks to unite a network of students across The Hoosier State in favor of “child-oriented policies,” according to its organizers.

“We reject the view that the young have agreed to redefine marriage,” the group’s Facebook page continues. “Rather, we think that they have not explored the meaning and importance of marriage.”

Messages seeking comment from Kane and other SCOP students were not returned early Tuesday.

Kane told The Cardinal Newman Society he believes Notre Dame should take the lead on marriage, much like it did in publicly voicing its support for the Dream Act and other controversial topics.

“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,” he 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.”

Notre Dame Marriage PetitionA petition created by the group calling on Notre Dame to “take up the defense of marriage at this pivotal moment in the national discussion” had 948 signatures as of Tuesday.

“We understand marriage to be that natural institution that unites one man and one woman in a comprehensive sharing of life ‘ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring,’” the petition reads.

Timothy Bradley, another SCOP member, indicated that the group is undergoing an appeal process in hopes of reversing the decision.

The full Fox News article can be found here.  The students told the National Catholic Register that they do not use religious arguments to advocate for marriage:

...Kane, the prospective SCOP president, said CCC mistakenly conflated his group with being a “Catholic” organization.

“SCOP is not a religious group,” Kane said. “Our application clearly conveyed our group’s nonpartisan, nonsectarian focus on public policy as it relates to issues that specially affect children.”

McEntee declined to discuss CCC’s discussion and vote — a two-thirds majority is needed to approve a club application — in greater detail because the process is meant to be confidential. CCC’s student membership is also private.

In its proposed constitution, SCOP describes itself as a group whose purpose is to “educate and energize the public, especially young people,” about a child-oriented approach to public policy. Although its public-policy prescriptions, which Kane said are derived from reason, align with Catholic teaching, he said SCOP is not meant to be “an explicitly Catholic organization.”

...After SCOP was established in January, its first step was to circulate a petition that called upon the university to take a clear public stand in support of the true definition of marriage and to take “serious and sustained action” to improve the public understanding of the natural institution.

When SCOP drafted its petition, the Indiana Legislature was debating a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Both chambers of the legislature approved the amendment, which required approval in another legislative session before it could be presented to Indiana’s voters.

Tim Bradley, a Notre Dame student and the prospective treasurer of the group, said SCOP pushed the petition because the group believed Notre Dame’s administration had been “totally silent” on the issue.

“The way we see it, Notre Dame has a responsibility to witness to the truth of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” Tim Bradley said.

It's clear that SCOP will not back down when it comes to defending marriage on campus.  They are boldly defying the liberal myth that young people think marriage should be redefined.  Hats off to these courageous students who continue to stand up for marriage!

"Privacy for All Students" Campaign Submits Record Number of Signatures

From the Christian Post:

Privacy for All StudentsPrivacy For All Students (PFAS), a grassroots organization founded in 2011, announced Sunday that they hit the 620,000 signature mark, which is well above the minimum needed for an initiative to get on the ballot.

Karen England, member of the PFAS coalition's executive committee, said in a statement that she believed the number might be the largest amount of signatories garnered for any California ballot initiative.

"As far as we are aware, this is the largest number of volunteer signatures ever submitted in a California referendum campaign," said England.

You can read more of the article here.

Or, to find out more about the Privacy for All Students campaign, visit their website.

"Privacy for All Students" Effort Continues to Gain Steam

PFAS

We've been keeping our readers informed about the ongoing efforts in California to overturn AB 1266, the "Co-ed Bathroom Law" - efforts which have brought together a broad coalition effort in the Privacy for All Students campaign, including NOM California and NOM's political consultant Frank Schubert.

In case you missed it, Frank was interviewed last Friday for National Review Online and explained to Alec Torres why he is optimistic about the initiative underway there:

Once people become aware of [the law], then they oppose it.... We’ve done a survey and what we’ve found is that only 35 percent of voters support this law, and 51 percent oppose it. When you [talk with individuals and] go through the pro and con arguments, we end up at over 60 percent opposition to the law.

A victorious repeal of the law is almost certain if the matter can be put on the ballot. That's what the Privacy for All Students coalition is busy working to do, gathering petition signatures to meet a November 8th deadline.

To find out how you can help, visit the coalition's website today.

Standing for Marriage on the College Campus

To hear mainstream media tell it, every 20-something in the United States agrees with same-sex ‘marriage.’  Evidently Christine Guttery did not get the memo.  The 20-year old English major from Louisiana State University recently penned a post for the school’s paper thoughtfully and winsomely defending the traditional definition of marriage.  She writes:

College StudentsI am against same-sex marriage, not because I hate the LGBT community — I don’t. Everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect and kindness, regardless of their sexual orientation. I am against same-sex marriage because same-sex relationships do not adhere to the definition of marriage, and there is no logical reason to redefine it.

The most common argument I hear is that everyone deserves to be happy with the one they love, and government should not deny anyone that right. But opponents of same-sex marriage are not proposing that same-sex couples be banned by law from choosing to have a relationship, but rather that such a union cannot be defined as marriage, because the nature of the union contradicts that of marriage.

College CampusAs the definition of marriage broadens to mean different things and accepts different kinds of relationships, it loses its distinct identity and meaning. In this case, there is no point in recognizing marriage at all.

I am not against homosexuals having rights, but granting same-sex couples the right to marry is erroneous. Redefining marriage will deconstruct its original value. Louisiana should continue to defend the institution of marriage as outlined in the state constitution. (Read More)

It’s great to hear young people, especially on the college campus, carrying the banner for true marriage.

Millennials Will Save Marriage

Here's a fantastic piece from Chris Marlink over at Marriage Generation. Millennials, he argues, the same generation poised to throw it all away, will ultimately be the ones to redeem and restore marriage:

FriendsMillennials, those approximately 18 to about 31, are the generation most supportive of redefining marriage. They’re increasingly likely to delay or forgo marriage altogether (just 26% of adults aged 20 to 29 were married in 2008, compared to nearly 70% in 1960), and they’re the most convinced that marriage is becoming obsolete.

But here’s my counterintuitive thesis: Millennials, that same generation poised to throw it all away, will save marriage. They’ll do it the way sailors have made progress in strong headwinds for thousands of years. They’ll tack.

...using the word “marriage” to solemnize same-sex relationships wouldn’t be a redefinition so much as a natural conclusion. In the public mind, marriage has already been redefined—that is, separated from its true and full meaning. Consider this paragraph from Molly Ball at the Atlantic, writing on the fallout of the Prop 8 electoral victory:

In survey after survey, researchers would ask people what marriage meant to them -- not gay marriage, but the concept of marriage itself. And the answers were always the same: Marriage meant love and commitment. Even people who'd been divorced three times would say the same thing. Then the researchers would ask, "Why do you think gay people want to get married?" and the answers would change: They want rights and benefits. They're trying to make a political point. They don't understand what marriage is really about. Most commonly, respondents said they simply didn't know. [emphasis mine]

Millennials who hold orthodox convictions on marriage are not in a race to stop marriage from being redefined. Supposing most Americans understand marriage as “love and commitment,” then let us acknowledge that this exclusively personal understanding of marriage, sundered from any of the societal implications of the union, already represents a redefinition. Same-sex “marriage” is a near unassailable eventuality if marriage means solely “love and commitment.” Our task then, is not to stop a redefinition of marriage: it is to correct a redefinition. It is to redeem and restore marriage in the hearts and minds of our neighbors. If we do that, the law will follow.

The truth about marriage can't be changed, and the millennial generation will be the ones to recognize that truth! Finish reading Chris Marlink's article here and let us know your thoughts below.

When Our Laws Start Losing Sight of Children

Alex Saitta writes a thought-provoking letter to the editor of the Easley Patch this week, pointing out what happens when our laws start catering only to adults and ignore the best interests of children's when it comes to their growth and development.

GirlThe arguments for gay-marriage and abortion are fundamentally flawed because both put the rights of the adults ahead of those of the children. Adults create our laws and naturally have written them to benefit adults and the point of view of the child has been given too little weight. That’s wrong! This would be like the captain of the Titanic saying adults off first; leave the children behind. Children need to be thought of first.

You can see this clearly with the abortion issue. The abortion debate has devolved into what is best for the mother or “father”. Birth is not about the adults, but the life of a new child. In the case of abortion the mother and father walk out; the child is killed. If children made the laws, it is safe to say abortion would be illegal.

Looking at the same-sex marriage issue, we don’t have to look far to see what happens when society gets careless about the togetherness of parents and their raising of children. Just look at the divorce craze that began in the 1970’s. So called sociological experts of the “me” generation said if you aren’t happily married, leave your spouse, and all will be better off. As the trend unfolded, marriage was further trivialized with the onset of terms like the “starter marriage”.

Today what we see in the wake of the divorce craze are millions of broken families, millions more children and their offspring suffering from emotional and psychological issues that prevent them from reaching their potential in school, their careers and even their personal relationships. That’s what happens when marriage focuses on the adults and loses sight of the children.

Likewise, those advocating gay-marriage, it is all about them – the adults. The children are secondary. Just look at the recent Supreme Court case. It dealt with gay couples having a claim to their partner’s federal benefits. When the focus of marriage turns to the adults and adult issues, and it is no longer about the children, the children suffer.

CBN Video: "Traditional Marriage Movement Gaining Steam"

Check out this great video and article from CBN News on young marriage defenders!

"...a traditional marriage movement whose leaders represent a new generation has entered the game, and it is gaining steam.

"The other side has been preparing the seeds for this debate for 20 or 30 years and they've been well-prepared, well-organized and the response is just in its infancy," Ryan Anderson, with the Heritage Foundation, told CBN News.

... The New York Times recently recognized Anderson and other movement leaders like Caitlin Seery, who directs the Love and Fidelity Network on college campuses.

"We are trying to help students prepare themselves for healthy marriages so they will then raise healthy families because healthy families are the foundation of our society," Seery told CBN News.

What Seery, Anderson, and other supporters of traditional marriage have in common is a willingness to face fierce opposition and think outside the box about what is possible."

Refusing to Stay Silent: A Millennial Case for Marriage

citizenRyan Anderson and Andrew Walker of the Heritage Foundation are featured this month on the front page of Citizen, the Focus on the Family magazine.

One of the great lines from their article: "There’s no such thing as being on the “right” or “wrong” side of history. There’s only being on the right or wrong side of truth."

Amen!

Here's how their article begins:

Two of the younger conservative voices in the nation explain why marriage needs to be preserved for the next generation—their own.

The media claim we don’t exist. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. But after all, we’re Millennials, born during the Reagan administration. We’re supposed to be of the generation that is embracing same-sex marriage in droves.

Instead, we’re standing strong on upholding the truth about what marriage is.

We’ve been asked—repeatedly—whether the position we’re promoting is pointless. Are we willing to endure cultural scorn for holding to a position as supposedly outmoded as natural marriage?

Politicos and pundits offer hyperbolic missives on how conservatives are losing young Americans, who are likely to be more libertarian on social issues. The preferred talking point is to assert the demise of the opposition; Same-sex marriage is “inevitable.”

A justly revered conservative columnist, George F. Will, has said twice on ABC’s “This Week” that opposition to same-sex marriage is a dying trait. “Quite literally,” he said, “the opposition to gay marriage is dying. It’s old people.”

Tweet to Mr. Will: Reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated. #NotDeadYet

Read the rest here.

Baptist Press: "They Exist"

The Baptist Press reports on the youthful contingent of next-gen pro-marriage leaders represented, in part, by some of the speakers at the historic "March for Marriage" last month:

Young Christians still will face growing temptations to conform to the world's understanding that marriage is primarily about emotional fulfillment. The scorn they endure may one day include discrimination in the workplace. Anderson, for example, faces uncertain job prospects in secular academia as an author of a book defending traditional marriage. But Christian millennials were among those taking a stand on the stage, among the crowd, in the march, on television, and inside the courtroom on the day that marriage went on trial.

Read the whole thing here.

Thousands of French Youth Protest French Government "Fast-Tracking" SSM

New photos are coming in from France showing dozens of spontaneous pro-marriage rallies that have been erupting all over the country. LifeSiteNews reports:

Since last Friday, public demonstrations against same-sex “marriage” and adoption in France have been escalating, not only in Paris but also in remote provincial towns and even abroad among French expatriates. The Senate’s approval of the gay marriage bill (known as the “loi Taubira,” after the Justice Minister that proposed the text to the legislature) has sparked off a wave of anger, and groups of determined young people all over the country have decided to make their presence felt."

Check out the photos:

 

Photos from Le Salon Beige

Photo: French NextGen for Marriage

Organized via La Manif Pour Tous (the umbrella group organizing resistance protests to SSM):

Shame on Piers Morgan and Suze Orman -- I Stand With Ryan!

Earlier this week Piers Morgan and Suze Orman conduct one of the most rude, condescending "debates" I've ever seen. I've seen dozens of debates on marriage where rudeness and incivility were directed towards those with pro-marriage views but this takes the cake.

Ryan Anderson, a fellow at Heritage and co-author of "What is Marriage?" patiently gave lucid answers to their questions, even as Piers peppered him with questions without giving him time to respond.

It wasn't a conversation, it was a trial.

They didn't even allow Ryan to sit at the same table as them. Orman went so far as to call Anderson "uneducated" on the question of marriage and insultingly called him "sweetheart".

On the "uneducated" remark, consider what Denny Burk points out:

"Ryan Anderson graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from Princeton University and he’s a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Notre Dame. He just co-authored a book that is probably the definitive case for traditional marriage. He’s a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an all-around brilliant guy. "

At the 12 minute mark, Orman loses control and lashes out at Anderson, pointing her finger at him, etc.

Piers did nothing to intervene or stop her, even as he continually interrupted Anderson.

Then, as if that was not enough, she called on the audience to express their disapproval of Anderson personally by booing, etc.

This is a travesty and Piers Morgan and Orman owe Anderson and pro-marriage Americans an apology.

That's why I'm proudly proclaiming I STAND WITH RYAN on Twitter and Facebook.

Watch the video and see for yourself:

New York Times Profiles Young Marriage Activists!

The New York Times covers an often ignored story -- the young men and women who are active in the fight to protect and promote marriage in politics and culture! Ryan Anderson, co-author of "What is Marriage?" and our Communications Director Thomas Peters were interviewed for this article, as were many inspiring young pro-marriage voices:

"...opponents of same-sex marriage say they must argue in favor of traditional marriage, not against gay people or gay rights. “It’s really a broader defense of marriage and a stronger marriage culture,” said Will Haun, 26, a lawyer and member of the Federalist Society.

In the highest-profile effort, the National Organization for Marriage is gearing up for a march on the National Mall on Tuesday, the day the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on California’s 2008 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Last week, the Heritage Foundation released a report by Ryan T. Anderson, 31, in defense of traditional marriage,"Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It.” Mr. Anderson, a Heritage Foundation fellow, has also held briefings for members of Congress, their staff and others to explain his arguments against same-sex marriage, and he and two co-authors released a book last year laying out their case in depth.

...“If you take the longer view of history — I’m not talking just 15 years, I’m talking 40 years or even 100 years — I can’t help but think that the uniqueness of man-woman marriage will be adjudicated over time,” said Andrew Walker, 27, a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

Either way, they are not planning on giving up any time soon.

“Even if we are doomed, and I’m totally naïve, I think it’s important that I do this work anyway,” Mr. Teetsel, of the Manhattan Declaration, said. “If what I believe is true is true, then I’ve got a responsibility to be on its side for as long as I can be.”