Announcing the First Freedom Initiative


Dear Marriage Supporter — I've got some very exciting news: Today we are launching a major new program to focus the American people on the issues we all care deeply about, and direct them toward workable actions to help resolve these issues: the First Freedom Initiative.

Please watch our short video introducing the First Freedom Initiative to Americans all over our incredible country. You can also check out our new website that has a great deal of information on it and gives you the opportunity to sign up to be part of this exciting new initiative.

America was founded on the premise of religious freedom. Those who risked their lives to come to this land did so to pursue this bulwark of freedom. Our nation's founders realized an eternal and extraordinarily important truth, that men and women are endowed with inalienable rights, rights that are not a gift from government or an entitlement from the state. They are an endowment from God, the creator of the universe and the source of what makes America exceptional among all the nations of the earth.

And our founders also realized something else: religious freedom is so central to our existence that it must be fought for and defended against those who would suppress it and ultimately seek to extinguish it.

For generations, Americans have insisted on their inherent right to believe in the God of the universe, to recognize eternal truths and to act on their religious beliefs at work and in their daily lives. Deeply-held religious beliefs are what inform our lives, and our nation. They validate eternal truths written on the human heart, illuminating right from wrong, good from evil. These religious beliefs are what command people to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the destitute, care for the weak and defend the oppressed.

This freedom of religion was at the core of our nation's founding, and the point of the American Revolution. It has animated our history ever since as a good and decent people, an exceptional nation, one enormously blessed by God. Religious freedom is also at the core of our people's willingness to confront grave evil, whether it be deposing tyrants and fascists, or dismantling terrorist organizations that would deny Americans the right to their beliefs in favor of imposing radical Islamic extremism.

Indeed, religious freedom is our first freedom, the single right from which all other rights flow. It's not just some quaint notion of a time long past. It's central to who we are as a people, and must be protected if we are to remain a nation.

For much of our existence as a country, the truth of religious liberty was taken for granted. Not only did we fight a revolutionary war against England over it, but we risked dividing the nation in a civil war to defend the honorable belief that all men are made in God's image and no person should be enslaved by another.

But in recent years, religious liberty has come under increasing attack. Our country's culture has devolved into extreme individualism that denies universal truths. Concepts such as social mores are discarded as outdated and oppressive to individual choice and expression. Religious liberty is said to be bigoted and discriminatory because it may call into question or serve to restrict acceptance of individual assertions. The consequences of this are all around us. A man can be a woman if he asserts a female "identity." A woman can marry another woman if that is her desire. A child is not entitled to a mother and a father, but might have four fathers or four mothers, and woe be to that child who might one day come to complain about the arrangement.

This cultural devolution is not being driven by the grassroots, the average American who pays her taxes, goes to work, attends church and exercises her right to vote. Instead, it's driven by the elite and the powerful, the proverbial "cool kids" who fancy themselves to be above the rest of us, the ones who know best and who are increasingly determined to impose their superior insights on the nation.

It's this elitist imperialism that is at the root of today's cultural absurdities. It's what makes it possible for five unelected judges to impose a view of marriage that runs counter to the known history of marriage in every country, among every people throughout the entire history of civilization. It's what allows a President to decree that a man is a woman if he wants to be, and then demand that the public schools open the most intimate areas of campus (showers, bathrooms, locker rooms, etc.) to the opposite sex. It's what declares that "tolerance" of same-sex 'marriage' is not enough; it must be endorsed and celebrated or no other relationship can be endorsed or celebrated.

The First Freedom Initiative is NOM's vehicle to push back against what is going on. Under this umbrella, we hope to explain to Americans what is at stake, educate them about the issues and provide avenues for them to be part of solutions.

Now I want to make this clear. The First Freedom Initiative is not a new direction for NOM, nor does it represent a change in our mission. Our mission remains unchanged: we exist to defend marriage and the faith communities that sustain it. We are totally and unalterably committed to restoring marriage to our nation's laws. Whether it takes two years or two decades, it is essential that our state and federal laws recognize the truth that marriage is one thing and only one thing: the union of one man and one woman. Anything else that is called marriage is a lie and cannot be sustained.

Restoring marriage might take as little as a few years. Justice Anthony Kennedy is rumored to be on the verge of retirement. If Kennedy, the author of the narrowly-decided Obergefell decision redefining marriage, does retire next year, we will be in the midst of a titanic fight to replace him with someone like Neil Gorsuch who will act in the mold of Antonin Scalia and restore marriage to our laws. But whether it takes two years or two decades, NOM is in the fight for the long term.

But in the meantime, even as we fight day in and day out to restore marriage, it's imperative that we rally the American people to protect people of faith from being forced to be part of the lie of same-sex 'marriage.' The First Freedom Initiative will give us the opportunity to do just that.

We have some really ambitious plans for the First Freedom Initiative. For example:

  • We envision a series of videos, social media campaigns and public education efforts to inform people about the issues;

  • We are working on a grassroots education and engagement curriculum that will give supporters of marriage the ability to become better informed and more engaged;

  • We seek to reinstate an appreciation for religious liberty as out first freedom and encourage teachers in the public schools to reintroduce the subject into our curriculum;

  • We will work with the Trump administration, Congress and state legislatures to take steps to provide legal protections for people of faith to live out their religious beliefs about marriage.

But if we are to be successful and make a real difference in public opinion and engagement, we will need to raise a minimum of one million dollars to advance the new First Freedom Initiative.

Fortunately, we can take an important first step right now thanks to a $250,000 year-end matching campaign that will mean that every dollar we raise is doubled. Your gift of $10 will mean that we have $20 to advance the First Freedom Initiative. A donation of $25 results in us receiving $50. Will you step up at this critical time?

One of the significant attributes of the First Freedom Initiative is that it holds the potential of being able to unite supporters of traditional marriage with those who are accepting of same-sex 'marriage.' The reality is that it's one thing to redefine marriage; it's an entirely different thing to demand that everyone regardless of deeply held beliefs be active participants in celebrating it.

There are plenty of bakers who will gladly bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. Why is it that devout Christian bakers must give up their religious beliefs and be forced to personally design and create a gay wedding cake?

The same can be said of florists, inn keepers, t-shirt makers, and others.

And how is it that a state like Colorado can be allowed to punish a Christian baker who declines to bake a cake for a same-sex 'wedding' but that same state says it's perfectly fine for a lesbian baker to refuse to bake a cake ordered by a Christian?

Of course, the only way that this can happen is when we abandon our foundational principles and succumb to political correctness. Ultimately, that is what the First Freedom Initiative will confront.

I look forward to sharing much more in the future about our thoughts and plans for the First Freedom Initiative. For now, there are three quick things I am asking of you:

  1. Watch our short video explaining the First Freedom Initiative. Then share it with all your friends and contacts.

  2. Check out our new website and sign up to be part of the solution.

  3. Make a generous donation to support the First Freedom Initiative. Remember, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to the $250,000 year-end match opportunity.

The First Freedom Initiative is an exciting element of our plans as we head into the new year. Please check it out and get involved!


Brian S Brown

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