Dear Anyone Who Supports Gay Marriage,
My favorite writer of all-time is Gilbert Keith Chesterton who lived and worked in the first quarter of the last century in England. Old Gilbert - as absolutely no one used to call him - despised a movement called "eugenics" that essentially sought to breed a "superior" race of humans (which also meant breeding-out "inferior" races/classes of people). Chesterton used his influential platform as a very popular journalist and author to incessantly attack the entire idea, from top to bottom. He even wrote a book about it: Eugenics And Other Evils.
One of the loudest proponents of eugenics was a man named George Bernard Shaw. He was a secularist and socialist and stood for nearly everything GKC stood against. The two of them engaged in legendary debates, both in person and in print. They warred over their conflicting ideas with the passion of apostles.
And yet, the two were close friends for decades. They spent time together and wrote each other letters. They shared meals and smoked cigars.
How is this possible? How could they disagree so vehemently on things that were so vital to their core worldview, and then head to the pub for pint after such spirited debates?
Think about that the next time you call someone a bigot, or are called something equally offensive by someone on the other side of the gay marriage issue. Neither side has to compromise what they believe to be the truth for civility and good manners. And please remember that simply disagreeing isn't a bad or mean thing, despite what our culture rams down our throats.
People ask me all the time how I can get along so well with liberals. The answer is easy: I take them as seriously as I would like to be taken. Once you have that respect for their degree of conviction - whether it's accurate or not - it then becomes about the ideas. And when those debates become about actual ideas - about making the case for your side and not simply personal attacks - then when you walk away you can shake hands and laugh about things like people slipping on banana peels or those fake Groucho Marx mustache glasses. (Can you believe people actually used to think those were funny?)
While I can't speak for every single person in this country who call themselves a conservative Christian, I'm willing to play the part of GK Chesterton. But, to be perfectly honest, I'm having a hard time in this whole Chic-fil-a controversy finding a GB Shaw. (Below is a picture of GKC and GBS, with their mutual friend Hillaire Belloc in the middle)
Calling someone a bigot, demanding a litmus test of total agreement or accusations of hatred and intolerance, these things end the discussion and certainly do not win the argument. Where are the voices on the Left who want a serious dialogue because they trust that their opponents are genuine? Who is willing to put aside the ad hominen attacks and debate on the substance of the issue?
I'm ready, willing, and able.
My friend Eric Teetsel is one of the best, sharpest guys I know. We/our eyes met at across the table at an Acton Institute dinner nearly three years ago and I can honestly say, he's really enjoyed knowing me. He's a regular guest on my podcast, and a regular victor in our Words With Friends games.
Eric recently left American Enterprise Institute to take a position as the Executive Director at The Manhattan Declaration. What's the Manhattan Declaration, you ask?
Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.
We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty. Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
This week, Eric started blogging for Relevant Magazine and this is great news for thoughtful, engaged, concerned young religious conservatives everywhere. If, as many liberal Christians insist, failures in messaging and cultural perception were big parts of the overall reason so many have distanced themselves from the values articulated by the "Religious Right", having someone like Mr. Teetsel out there communicating those values in a fun and interesting is a very important thing.
Here's an excerpt of his maiden blog-post:
Economics can be a contentious topic, but nothing like the debates over abortion, marriage, and religion. Would my friends and family would be embarrassed and ashamed of such work? And what would my friends in the LGBT community think?
Ultimately, none of these questions mattered. The decision was made many years earlier when, as a 4-year-old, I gave myself to Jesus. My life is his.
Yet, I still struggle with the doubts and fears. And I haven’t figured out how to love as my faith demands when others find the truth so offensive, but I’m working on it.
I plan to use this space to argue for life, marriage, and religious freedom. I am convinced these are the most important questions for our generation. They are provocative topics, but I hope to engage you all in a substantive, respectful, and generous conversation.
Make sure to check it out! And follow Eric on Twitter at @ericteetsel!
From The Atlantic Monthly:
Surveys show a shockingly high fraction think a quarter of the country is gay or lesbian, when the reality is that it's probably less than 2 percent.
Let that soak in for a moment.
The country thinks that 1/4 of society is gay or lesbian. In reality, less than 2% of the country is comprised of people who are gay or lesbian. How can this be?
First let me say that nothing I ever write about gay marriage or homosexuality in general is meant as a personal attack on gay people. I'm not obsessed with the issue and my goal is not to have gay people locked up or to prevent them from smooching whoever they want in the privacy of their own homes.
This specific story from Atlantic Monthly is interesting because it (at least partially) confirms something that many religious conservatives - like myself - believe and have been saying for years: our media, academia, and entertainment industry are lopsidedly influencing the culture. The culture, in turn, is what influences politics and decisions our government makes. There is an agenda at play, and not some nefarious, "dimly-lit back-room conspiracy" situation that the Left always accuse conservatives like Dick Cheney of being a party to.
As silly as they were, Vice President Biden's recent comments that the television show Will & Grace did more for impacting the way Americans thought about gay people than anything a politician could have said or done is absolutely true. Not just that show, but the overall barrage of "gay" content on television and in movies has without a doubt influenced the way people think.
Such a misunderstanding of the basic demographics of sexual behavior and identity in America has potentially profound implications for the acceptance of the gay-rights agenda. On the one hand, people who overestimate the percent of gay Americans by a factor of 12 seem likely to also wildly overestimate the cultural impact of same-sex marriage. On the other hand, the extraordinary confusion over the percentage of gay people may reflect a triumph of the gay and lesbian movement's decades-long fight against invisibility and the closet.
Notice the word "triumph." One side (the pro-gay movement) is allowed to look at the issue like a battle, and is dead-set on changing the way the culture looks at human sexuality and the institution of marriage in any way they can.
The other side (pro-traditional marriage) is told that they are "obsessed" with the topic of gay marriage. Should proponents of "one-man, one-woman" organize themselves to combat what they (correctly) identify as a coordinated movement from their Left flank, the media mocks and maligns their motivations.
I'm not looking to solve the matter in one short blog-post, but I thought the statistics revealed in this article are pertinent and noteworthy. I can't imagine anyone would deny that an effort exists in a place like Hollywood to re-shape the way young Americans think about this issue.
Oh, and about ten minutes after reading this Atlantic Monthly piece, I saw this one about a new gay superhero:
One of DC Comics oldest heroes is super-coming out.
The original Green Lantern - a DC Comics mainstay for the past 70 years - will be revealed to be a gay man in next week's issue of "Earth 2."
Alan Scott - formerly a married father of two who first appeared in 1940 - tips readers off to his sexuality early on in the comic when he gives his boyfriend a welcome home kiss.
"He's very much the character he was. He's still the pinnacle of bravery and idealism. He's also gay," "Earth 2" writer James Robinson told The Post.
The Emerald Guardian's sexuality was rebooted along with the rest of his fictional universe as part of DC's "New 52" initiative aimed at rejuvenating their characters.
Robinson said he decided to make the change because making the character young again meant erasing Scott's gay superhero son out of existence.
All I want is clarity here: there is a gay movement, it is out to change the way your kids think, and if you care about the institution of marriage, it's time to wake up, get informed, and get involved.
While it clearly shouldn't decide the outcome of this debate, I think letting people know that less than 2% of the population are gay gives it some much-needed context.
By: The Good Friar, Contributor
For those of us who happen to live in the fair city of Chicago, one of our showpieces is Wrigley Field, the venerable baseball stadium built by the chewing gum magnet family back in the 1920’s. Disregard the fact the Cubs have not won a World Series since1908, die-hard Cub fans have learned to console themselves and bravely carry on by repeating the simple manta, “Next Year.”
However, after 80 years of allowing only baseball to be played on the field during a baseball game in the “Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field, it is time to recognize the basic inequality that it represents. Namely, the Chicago Bears, Chicago’s proud football franchise, has never been allowed to play football on the same field - at the same time - the Cubs were playing a game during the late summer, early fall, months.
Instead, the Monsters of the Midway have been relegated to Soldier Field, itself a long-existent structure on the shores of Lake Michigan. But, because of the fact that when outsiders think of Chicago they think immediately of Wrigley, the Bears organization may be feeling the nagging tugs of jealousy - a "stadium envy", if you will. (Lord knows that White Sox fans do.)
So here is my modest proposal to correct the fairness gap that exists between how much more recognizable the name Wrigley Field is and nearly any other sports stadium in the Midwest: This summer, starting with the kick-off of pre-season NFL football, the Chicago Bears should be allowed to play full contact, four quarter football, complete with kick-offs, run-backs and Hail Mary passes, at the very same time on the very same field that the Chicago Cubs are playing their full nine innings of baseball.
True, things may get a little confusing at first -- with wide receivers running a down-and-out patterns right across the pitcher’s mound. Or with a curve ball smacking the defensive coordinator right in the chin. But as the idea settles in fans will get used to it. They will appreciate the efforts by those in the commissioner’s office to accommodate everyone who wants to claim Wrigley Field - and the prestigious name-recognition that goes with it - as their own. While they’re at it, they may even wish to allow Chicago’s soccer team, The Fire, to play their games while the Bears and Cubs are on the field as well.
We can't leave anyone out, and we can't divvy up the schedule to allow different sports to play at different time - that might give the impression that Wrigley Field belonged more to one team than another!
Now critics will undoubtedly argue that everyone using the same stadium at the same time will create such confusion and chaos on the field that the very game of baseball will be jeopardized and Wrigley Field will lose its basic integrity as an institution of America's past-time. Listen, if Wrigley Field is all it is cracked up to be by its proponents, it should prove resilient in the face of such challenges, right?.
But Critics may go so far as to say baseball and football are two fundamentally different games. Those Cub fans who cling to the idea that Wrigley Field should allow only baseball teams to play during a baseball game, well it’s time to make their peace with the fact that sports has evolved.
Again, we can rightly anticipate that a line-drive baseball may smack a quarterback or two in the back from time to time, and that a tough scissor-tackle may occasionally take down an unsuspecting short-stop, but the overarching good that inclusiveness will produce at Wrigley will far outweigh any potential negatives.
And so what if 10 years from now the critics are proved right? What if the predicted chaos on the field results in the loss of our fan base and ultimately the closure of Wrigley Field?
Well if that should happen (and it can’t possibly occur because "fairness" is involved, and who doesn't love that stuff), then it only goes to prove that the once-venerated sports stadium, Wrigley Field, never deserved to be open in the first place. It will be time to tear it down and build a brave, new stadium where all sports at all times can compete on the same level playing field.
You’re from Chicago, President Obama, what are your thoughts on the matter?
By: R.J. Moeller
When Perez Hilton is the voice of reason - be worried, America.
In the flamboyant wake of the profanity-laced tirade delivered by sex columnist and gay rights advocate Dan Savage to a group of high school students at a conference on journalism - the perfect place for a sex advice columnist, no? - the gay celebrity blogger Hilton offered this Rodney King-like appeal to all the haters out there:
Savage later called the walk-out "pansy-a**ed" which, from someone who helms an anti-bullying campaign, is obviously a very negative thing to say ….
Can't we just be good and kind to each other? Isn't faith in love and honesty and kindness all any of us really need?
The "walk-out" (who was chewed-out) that Perez is referring to was a young girl who apparently, upon hearing her Christian faith maligned by some angry "journalist," decided she would probably be able to still make a go at a career in journalism without enduring more verbal abuse from a man who convinced President Barack Obama to cut an "anti verbal abuse" commercial for his "It Gets Better" campaign. That young girl was the first of many 15 and 16 year old students who at their very young ages were practicing the very same non-violent, non-abusive protest Dan Savage claims to love so much (and claims is absent among young people today).
No one fought Savage. No one stuffed him in a locker. No swirlies were administered. But not even peaceful, non-violent advocacy floats in the ocean of rage swelling inside a man like Dan Savage should said peaceful, non-violent advocacy happen to contradict his rigorously dogmatic worldview.
Here's the clip in question:
Before I respond to some of Mr. Savage's impassioned claims, let me give you one other sampling of the kind of rhetoric old Danny Boy (an Irish "Catholic" from Chicago) employs in his public appearances:
(Warning! Not meant for children...or really for any humans of any age, for that matter)
Classy, no? Sure am glad that we searched high-and-low to find the most qualified adult in the country to head-up an anti-bullying campaign! Or was this one of those jobs that straight Americans simply will not do, President Obama?
Either way, I'd bet the free-range farm that the Dan Savage I know will have junior high bullies hammering their victims into plowshares before you can say, "I wish all Republicans were F-ing dead!"
As a quick aside, the obvious absurdity of the entire "anti-bullying" agenda is that no one is "pro-bullying."
Well...except that one guy named - let's just call him D.S. - who recently found a group of malleable, self-conscious high schoolers and unleashed all the pent-up aggression he has harbored toward his religious, conservative parents on them. That's one guy who seems to love bullying. The rest of us are still normal people who would love to have open and honest debate about our values (and our votes on things like state-wide propositions meant to decide the legal definition of marriage being upheld).
But I digress.
"People often point out that they can't help it, they can't help the anti-gay bullying because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in timothy, it says right there in Romans...that being gay is wrong."
Hmmm. You know, I think Mr. Savage is on to something here. I don't know what your public school experience was like, but if I had a nickel for every time one of my utterly non-religious teenage classmates cited Mosaic Law directly after calling another classmate "fag" or "queer", I'd be able to afford a copy of this other, presumably limited-release, version of the Bible that Dan Savage has read in which it tells God's people to "go forth and humiliate all the nations of homos you will encounter."
If I paused here and used the stuff (common sense) I don't have any longer because the media, Hollywood, and my public school teachers taught me this other totally hip stuff (nonsense), I might be inclined to think that the whole "anti-bullying" campaign is really just cultural cover for a more insidious indoctrination (which in turn is masking the massive payback middle-aged gay men want against their own tormentors back in junior high and high school).
Naahhh, that can't be it. Someone with a heart of gold (and the purified tongue of Isaiah) like Dan Savage is definitely just looking out for the kids!
"We can learn to ignore the bull-sh%$ in the Bible about gay people. The same way...the same way we have learned to ignore the bull-sh%$ about shellfish, about slavery, about dinner, about farming, about menstruation, about virginity, about masturbation...we ignore bull-sh%$ in the Bible about all sorts of things."
You would need a team of writers, working round-the-clock for a year, to fully explain all the ways in which what Dan Savage said here is poppycock. So let me just point out a few things our generation's Ghandi didn't quite put in their proper context. (Note: "context" is a word we religious, free market conservatives use as code when we want to be racist or homophobic and talk about intolerant things such as facts.)
First off, there are plenty of people who still adhere to OT law regarding things like shellfish consumption. You can direct further questions about why they do, what they do, to the Jews who do. But Savage was raised Catholic and saves his most vile public hatred for Christians. That is who he is really talking to here.
So what's a practicing evangelical or Catholic to do when faced with such seemingly insurmountable verbal assaults? How can we ever hope to climb out from the mountain of Leftist, secular logic we're apparently buried under?
I suppose reading the Bible - the entire Bible - would be my first suggestion.
Christians don't adhere to the strict OT laws because they were handed down for a specific group of people, living at a specific time, and living on a specific piece of land. The new covenant in Christ frees all Believers from being "slaves to the law." This, like many of the best and most interesting things in life, has a counter-balance: Christ's reminder that he didn't come to remove the law, but to fulfill it. God still has something to say about morality and human interactions on this earth. But now we worship our Creator and Savior in spirit and in truth, not through top-down cultural and societal guidelines or the sacrifices of animals for a sin atonement.
I'm not ignoring Scripture's command to avoid shrimp, but I will continue to ignore biblically illiterate "journalists" who use such infantile arguments only because they know enough to know that millions of self-described Christian sadly do not know what I just explained. (That one's on us, fellow Believers!)
"The Bible is a radically pro-slavery document. Slave owners waved Bibles over their heads during the Civil War, and justified it."
Other people who "waved Bibles over their heads" (leading up to) and during the Civil War: Christians in the North - you know, that more than half of the country that didn't allow slavery - who pioneered the abolitionist movement and even did nefarious things like start their own political party when the Whigs wouldn't take a strong enough stand against slavery.
Christianity has a standard to point people to, to hold itself to. We can call each other to account, even when some are using the name of Christ to do wicked and terrible things.
Secular-progressive ideology has Vanity Fair columns, New York Times editorials, the agenda of teachers unions, lawyers who believe South Africa has a better Bill of Rights, and Al Gore power-point presentations to guide them through the murky waters of human existence.
In Dan Savage's world, how do we know when something is wrong? Or evil? How do we know bullying is wrong? What can we use for a moral standard? Whatever Barack Obama reads from his teleprompter? Whatever Congress - the collection of people who currently have a lower approval rating than Hugo Chavez among American voters - enacts into law?
Should we rest our hops on whichever Public Service Announcement on YouTube gets the most amount of views? Or whichever hate speech campaign advertisement gets the most amount of popular actors or NBA players to read off a cue card in it?
Or how about this: If we're all here by accident, if a book like the Bible and a Creator like the God described in its pages are nothing more than the ramblings of Michelle Bachmann's close-mined ideological ancestors, then where do we turn for a source of moral standards?
Natural selection? Christians are always mocked for disagreeing that "Nothing x No One = Everything" when it comes to the universe's existence, but let's take the Darwinist at his word and assume natural selection and survival of the fittest. How does the promotion of homosexual activity square itself with creatures who are in desperate need to procreate and advance the species if it hopes to avoid extinction? How does one explain patently obvious facts like that evolution saw fit to make sure that male and female body parts "match up"?
These are fair questions to ask, in my opinion. If I'm a sucker, bigot, and moron for believing what I believe about God, Scripture, and the proper relations between the sexes, Dan Savage has a few things I'd like cleared up about his "moral (but don't ask me where I got it) high-ground" position on the subjects he raised in his diatribe.
"The Bible got slavery wrong."
To paraphrase the great G.K. Chesterton: The problem was never, will never, be Scripture - we are the problem. I am the problem. Sin is the problem. Divorce wasn't "God getting it wrong" as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 19. Such things are finite "solutions" (or realities) to a deeper, eternal problem inherent in all of us.
God is sinless, His Word is flawless, and we are fallen. It is precisely because people like Dan Savage (and myself before coming to faith in Christ) refuse to acknowledge and confess such immutable, undeniable facts that they are so desperate to defend their way of life and attack ours.
And it's not all about homosexuality with us conservative Christians. Honest, it's not! Sin is sin is sin. Sure, the "gay issue" gets a lot of play in the press, but so much of that (if you'll care to notice) is coming from the angry pro-gay side who seems to have a chip on their collective shoulder because - in my opinion - they resent someone, anyone, out there not signing-off on their lifestyle. They are hoppin' mad that we aren't applauding them for their advocacy efforts to indoctrinate future generations with what we consider to be radical views on human sexuality and relationships.
Incidentally, you know that on-going (and painfully tiresome) "joke" that smug liberal commentators on everything from Saturday Night Live to CNN regurgitate that presumes any religious American openly against gay marriage must harbor and suppress wild homosexual urges? Yeah, so if never shutting up in your condemnations of something you disagree with means you really like that other thing, does this mean people like Dan Savage and Rachel Maddow secretly long to meet a member of the opposite sex on a vacation to Jamaica, whereupon they impulsively wed that member of the opposite sex and end up like Frank Lambert and Carol Foster in the acclaimed 90's television series Step by Step?
(Cue the snickering laughter that will never come from the SNL crowd after Seth Myers never tells a joke like that on "Weekend Update.")
Alright, so I could go on for hours critiquing what Dan Savage spewed on stage at this "journalism" convention, but here feels like a good place to call it quits (for now). Let me say that I don't hate this man. I don't care who he decides to smooch behind the doors of his eco-friendly abode. But he and his loud-mouthed ilk have brought the discussion to our doorsteps and involved things like tax dollars, public policy, and the education of our young people. He's the one who compared evangelicals' stance on gay marriage to Sharia Law. He's the one who misrepresented and maligned the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
You can't spit in my soup and tell me I have to eat it too. Especially not when your openly stated goal is to teach my kids to spit in my soup as well.
If Dan is serious about engaging in a meaningful and productive dialogue on these theological and historical issues he raised, I would encourage him to set up a series of public conversations with thoughtful men on "my side" like Pastor John Piper or Pastor Mark Driscoll. If he genuinely wants a spirited debate, go talk to adults who have studied the text and religion in question for a lifetime.
But calling little kids who had the guts to quietly stand up (and walk out) for their beliefs "pansies" - a term inferring that they were acting in an effeminate manner - is beyond cowardly.
However, and I close with this, I fear that Mr. Savage's views, and the unwavering way in which he presented them in this video clip above, are representative of a moral and cultural tide that has already swept over American society and even infiltrated the Church. If Christians can't defend what we claim to believe, if we lack the conviction and courage to do and proclaim what is right regardless of what is popular, then Dan Savage will be seen decades from now as a prophet.
Jeremiah. Isaiah. Nehemiah. Boys, on behalf of my generation, I apologize in advance.
In the New Hampshire Primary Debate Saturday night, the moderators were looking to ruffle some feathers by pressing the dual issue of gay marriage and gay adoption. Newt Gingrich - regardless your personal feelings about the man - delivered a brief but exhilarating response. I'll let the former Speaker of the House take it from here:
Context and perspective are things that modern liberals seem to care very little for. Why? Because they are cumbersome. They slow down the emotional excitement one feels about a social issue they care about. But the gay marriage and gay adoption debates are serious matters with serious implications for our society. They should not be taken lightly and it does no good to pretend as if there isn't a discussion to be had. What Newt said was a breath of fresh air breathed into an argument that has grown stale.
I doubt the Speaker will be our nominee in 2012, but I thank him for the being an articulate advocate for an entirely reasonable (and I believe correct) position.
These aren't the only topics that matter this year, but they do, in fact, matter.
Here is a video of Madame Secretary Clinton saying some very silly things about "gay rights":
Every sin is an affront to God, even the "small" ones I've committed today (i.e. cursing under my breath at the Old Bag driving slow in front of me on the way home from church). But some sins are unique. Some sins enable and facilitate other sins. Christ had something to say about that (see: Matthew 18:6, for example).
My "religious objection" is not against gay people choosing to live a certain way. It is against progressive politicians and activists who seek to normalize it and put it on the same level as traditional marriage (also known as "the building block of human society since the dawn of time" and "the only relationship that can produce human life").
The cultural battle over the definition of marriage is not going away, so socially conservative people everywhere need to mentally prepare for a long ideological and legal war. Those who believe that marriage should be re-defined are not content to simply make their case to the public and work to win ballot initiatives. Now of course individuals on both sides of this issue can be rightly charged with inappropriate rhetoric, but the pro-gay marriage cartel is one of the most vicious and un-apologetically offensive social movements in our country's history.
I am a conservative, and some things are worth conserving. Marriage is one of them.