Marriage Being Redefined? [v66]

AUGUST 2004

SHOULD TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE BE REDEFINED?—As the Democratic Convention ‘invaded’ Boston last week, there were many important issues that were discussed—and some will ‘invade’ all American cities before this November’s election. One of them will be the notion of “same-sex marriage.”

“Traditional” marriage has been ‘defined’ as the union of one man and one women. Is this definition “outdated,” and should it be redefined?

Five thousand years of recorded history have come and gone, yet every civilization in the history of the world has been built upon the traditional definition of the family. Despite today’s skeptics, who claim that marriage is an outmoded and narrow-minded Christian concoction, the desire of men and women to “leave” and “cleave” has survived and thrived through times of prosperity, peace, famine, wars, epidemics, and every other possible circumstance and condition. It has been the bedrock of culture in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South America, Australia, and even Antarctica. Given this unbroken continuity, one might begin to suspect that something ‘mystical’ within human nature must be drawing the sexes together—not just for purposes of reproduction, as with animals, but to satisfy an irrepressible longing for companionship, intimacy, and spiritual bonding.

Only in the last few years have two countries, the Netherlands and Belgium, actually legalized what is being called “gay marriage,” and given it equal status with traditional male-female unions. The impact of that vast sociological experiment is no longer speculative.

The consequences for traditional families have been devastating. The institution of marriage in those countries is rapidly dying, with most young couples cohabiting or choosing to remain single. In some areas of Norway, 80 percent of firstborn children are conceived out of wedlock, as are 60 percent of subsequent births. It appears that tampering with the ancient ‘plan’ for males and females spells doom for the family and for everything related to it.

If same-sex marriage was to be legalized in America, would it really ‘matter’ to you? Would it ‘affect’ your marriage and/or your children? Would our American society be any different? Would it be any ‘better’ for your community? Would this resolve the ‘plight’ of a people that say they are being discriminated against? Don’t we Americans have the ‘right’ to do as we please with our personal lives?

SOME DEFINITIONS:
So then, what is the definition of marriage? There are only two possibilities: Either marriage and family have a fixed, natural purpose (a natural “teleology”) or they do not. If not, marriage is some kind of social construction, an invention of culture like knickers or bow ties—fashions that change with the times. Marriages defined by convention can be anything culture defines them to be. No particular detail is essential.

But, I believe that is not possible—that marriage is a social ‘construction’—and here’s why: Columnist Dennis Prager observed that, “Every higher civilization has defined marriage as an institution joining members of the opposite sex.”

I don’t think marriage has been ‘defined’ by cultures. Rather, I think it has been ‘described’ by them. The difference in terms is significant. If marriage is defined by culture, then it is merely a construction that culture is free to change when it desires. The definition may have been stable for millennia, yet it is still a convention and therefore subject to alteration. This is, in fact, the argument of those in favor of “gay marriage.”

The truth is, it is not culture that constructs marriages or the families that marriages begin. Rather, it is the other way around: Marriage and family has, in the past, ‘constructed’ culture. As the ‘building blocks’ of civilization, families are logically prior to society as the ‘parts’ of anything are prior to the whole. Bricks aren’t the result of the building because the building is made up of bricks. You must have the ‘first’ of something before you can get the ‘second’.

Marriage begins a family. The purpose of family is to produce the next generation. Therefore, family is ‘designed’ for joining male and female to create children.

Anthropologist Kingsley Davis has said, “The unique trait of what is commonly called marriage is social recognition and approval … of a couple’s engaging in sexual intercourse and bearing and rearing children.” Marriage scholar Maggie Gallagher says that “marriage across societies is a public sexual union that creates kinship obligations and sharing of resources between men, women, and the children their sexual union may produce.”

Canadian scholar Margaret A. Somerville says, “Through marriage our society marks out the relationship of two people who will together transmit human life to the next generation and nurture and protect that life.”

Same-sex marriage is revisionist. It severs family from its roots, eviscerates marriage of any normative content, and takes away children from a mother/father ‘partnership’.

Granted, the mere biological conception and birth of children is not sufficient to ensure the reproduction of a healthy, successful society. Paul Nathanson says that there are at least five functions that marriage serves—things that every culture must do in order to survive and thrive:

– Foster the bonding between men and women
– Foster the birth and rearing of children
– Foster the bonding between men and children
– Foster some form of healthy masculine identity
– Foster the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults

Maggie Gallagher puts it more simply, saying that “children need mothers and fathers” and “marriage is the most practical way to get them for children.”

If the ‘demise’ of families accelerates, I believe it will result in a chaotic society that will ‘destroy’ children emotionally.

ARE THERE SOCIETAL BENEFITS?:
As a group of 13 leading social scientists reported in 2002, “Marriage is an important social good, associated with an impressively broad array of positive outcomes for children and adults alike.” Put simply, married men and women, and their children, are happier, healthier, and more prosperous than people in other types of households. For example:

– A five-year study released in 1998 found that continuously married husbands and wives experience better emotional health and less depression than people of any other marital status

– A 1990 review of research found that husbands and wives also have better physical health, while the unmarried have significantly higher annual death rates—about 50 percent higher for women and 250 percent higher for men

– Rates of violent abuse by ‘intimate partners’ are four times higher among never-married women, and 12 times higher among divorced and separated women, than they are among married women. In fact, married people are less likely to be the victims of any type of violent crime than are those who have divorced, separated, or never married

– Families headed by married couples also have much higher incomes and greater financial assets

– In addition, husbands and wives who are sexually faithful even experience more physical pleasure and emotional satisfaction in their sexual relations than do any other sexually active people

– Children raised by their married mother and father, meanwhile, experience lower rates of many social problems, including premarital childbearing; illicit drug use; arrest; health, emotional, or behavioral problems; poverty; and school failure or expulsion

When their mothers and fathers don’t get and stay married, bad things happen to more kids more often: more poverty, welfare dependence, child abuse, sexual abuse, substance abuse, physical illness, infant mortality, accidental death, homicide, premature and promiscuous sexuality, early unwed pregnancy, suicide, juvenile delinquency, educational failure, conduct disorders and adult criminality. Children suffer and whole communities pay the cost in crime, social disorder and higher taxes as government steps in to deal with the needs created when families fall apart. Family structure matters and the family ‘form’ that has shown to do the best job for kids, is the child’s maternal and married mother and father.

Even with all this information, many still want to ‘redefine’ traditional marriage. A Missouri man and homosexual “marriage” proponent categorically rejected this definition. Instead, he said the sole criterion for marriage becomes the presence of “love” and “mutual commitment.” But once marriage is no longer confined to a man and a woman, it is impossible to exclude virtually any relationship between two or more partners of either sex—even non-human ‘partners’ (The man wanted to marry his horse).

This re-definition of marriage gives rise to conceptions of family that would include virtually any relationship or social group. In 1990, a San Francisco task force on family policy led by lesbian activist Roberta Achtenberg defined the family as a “unit of interdependent and interacting persons, related together over time by strong social and emotional bonds and/or by ties of marriage, birth, and adoption.”

To describe this concept, a new word has been created. The new concept is termed “polyamorous.” It literally means “many loves, but with the agreement of the primary sexual partner.”

These advocates pay scant attention to the dangers posed to children being raised according to this “frat house with revolving bedroom doors” concept of marriage and the family. Yet, this nebulous, free-for-all model of the family looms ahead for our society if the trends continue to their logical end.

CHANGING DEFINITIONS:
Some have said that the nature of marriage has already changed dramatically in the last few generations, and that in defending “traditional marriage,” aren’t you defending something that no longer exists?

It’s true that American society’s concept of marriage has changed, especially over the last fifty years. But not all change is positive. Consider some of the recent changes to the institution of marriage—and their consequences:

– The divorce revolution has undermined the concept that marriage is a life-long commitment. As a result, there’s been an epidemic of broken homes and broken families—the consequences have been overwhelmingly negative

– The sexual revolution has undermined the concept that sexual relations should be confined to marriage. As a result, there’s been an epidemic of cohabitation, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, and broken hearts—the consequences have been overwhelmingly negative

– The concept that childbearing should be confined to marriage has been undermined. As a result, there’s been an epidemic of out-of-wedlock births, single parenthood, and fatherless children—the consequences have been overwhelmingly negative

– The pornography revolution, particularly with the advent of the Internet, has undermined the concept that a man’s sexual desires should be directed toward his wife. As a result, there’s been an epidemic of broken relationships, abused wives, and sex crimes—the consequences have been overwhelmingly negative

GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY?:
Today, there is social and political pressure to redefine what constitutes marriage itself. What ‘grounds’ does anyone have for thinking that the consequences of this social revolution, unprecedented in human history, would be any more positive than the consequences of the much less sweeping changes already described?

Some scholars claim that this is not a “revolution,” marriage between homosexuals has been commonly practiced and accepted by various peoples throughout history.

Alleged examples from ancient Rome, such as Nero and Elagabalus, only reveal the degree to which homosexuality was held in contempt by Roman society. In referring to Nero’s homosexuality, Tacitus wrote that the emperor “polluted himself by every lawful or lawless indulgence, [and] had not omitted a single abomination which could heighten his depravity.” This hardly constitutes an endorsement of homosexuality in ancient Rome.

The eminent Harvard sociologist, Pitirim Sorokin, analyzed cultures spanning several thousand years on several continents, and found that virtually every society that ceased to regulate sexuality to within marriage, as defined as the union of a man and a woman, did not survive.

Some of the reasons they didn’t survive are described by Dr. Tim Dailey, Senior Fellow for Cultural Studies at the Family Research Council—there are many health and societal risks associated with the homosexual lifestyle. In his recent book, “Dark Obsession,” Dr. Dailey notes:

– Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infects over 90 percent of HIV-positive gay men, and 65 percent of HIV-negative gay men
– Gay men are at increased risk for contracting hepatitis
– Homosexuals acquire syphilis at a rate ten times that of heterosexuals
– Men who have sex with men comprise the single largest exposure category of people with AIDS. Homosexual men with HIV have a 37-fold increase in anal cancer, a 4-fold increase in Hodgkins disease, a 2.7-fold increase in cancer of the testicles, and a 2.5-fold increase in lip cancer
– Thirty-six percent of homosexuals engaging in unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex failed to disclose that they were HIV positive to casual sex partners
– The incidence of anal cancer in homosexuals is 35 times greater than that of the general population
– Lesbians are three times more likely to abuse alcohol
– Homosexual and lesbian relationships are far more violent than traditional married households
– Seventy-five percent of lesbians have pursued psychological counseling of some kind—many for treatment of long-term depression
– Life expectancy for gay and bi-sexual men is 8-20 years less than average
– There is a significantly higher rate of suicide for homosexual men than heterosexual men
– Having a homosexual parent or parents appears to increase the risk of incest with a parent by a factor of about 50

Various other research studies have found that homosexuals also have higher rates of alcohol abuse, drug abuse, nicotine dependence, depression, and suicide.

Particularly striking is the fact that homosexuals have a higher disease rate than heterosexuals. That’s not gay bashing—it’s a fact—demonstrated in study after study. It is estimated by some analysts that an initial threefold increase in health-care premiums can be anticipated if same-sex “marriages” are allowed—and because of this, it may not be profitable for some companies to stay in business.

Much of the reason for high rates of sexually transmitted diseases among homosexuals lies in their higher rates of promiscuous sexual behavior. For example, a 2003 Dutch study found that even homosexual men who had a “steady partner” also had an average of eight “casual” sexual partners per year (those without a “steady partner” had an average of 22 “casual” ones). Lesbians, meanwhile, were found by one study to have twice as many lifetime male sexual partners as women in the heterosexual ‘control’ group.

Social Security will also be severely stressed. Again, with millions of new eligible dependents, what will happen to the Social Security system that is already facing bankruptcy? If it does collapse, what will that mean for elderly people who must now rely totally on that meager support?

Now, I’m not suggesting that we outlaw homosexuality because it presents a threat to the public good. But it seems to me that, minimally, if we have an activity that is dangerous and harmful to the public good—in this case, to the public health—then why should we go out of our way to encourage it? As a country, we may choose not to discourage it, because that might be a violation of tolerance in some people’s minds, but do we have to go out of our way to encourage the behavior?

What will happen sociologically if marriage becomes anything or everything or nothing? The short answer is that the State will lose its compelling interest in marital relationships altogether. After marriage has been redefined, divorces will be obtained instantly, will not involve a court, and will take on the status of a driver’s license or a hunting permit. With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it.

This behavior, with all its societal ‘ramifications’, paints a dismal ‘picture’ of a lifestyle that continues to be portrayed to the public as ‘equivalent’ to the traditional nuclear family.

These are just a few reasons why homosexual marriage is truly revolutionary. Legalizing it will change everything, especially for the institution of the family, and the proper care of children.

AFFECTING THE NEXT GENERATION?:
The implications for children in a world of decaying families are profound. Because homosexuals are rarely monogamous, often having as many as 300 or more partners in a lifetime (some studies say it is typically more than 1,000)—children in those “polyamorous” situations will be caught up in a perpetual coming and going. It is devastating to kids, who by their nature are enormously ‘conservative’ creatures. They like things to stay just the way they are, and they hate change. Some have been known to eat the same brand of peanut butter throughout childhood.

More than 10,000 studies have concluded that kids do best when they are raised by loving and committed mothers and fathers. They are less likely to be on illegal drugs, less likely to be retained in a grade, less likely to drop out of school, less likely to commit suicide, less likely to be in poverty, less likely to become juvenile delinquents—and specifically for the girls, less likely to become teen mothers. They are healthier both emotionally and physically, even thirty years later, than those not so blessed by traditional parents.

Social scientists have been surprisingly consistent in warning about the impact of fractured families. When they were asked to design a ‘system’ for making sure that children’s basic needs were met—they came up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal. Their design, in theory, not only ensured that children had access to the time and money of two adults, but it also would provide a system of checks and balances that promoted quality parenting. In addition to their thoughts, there is the fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child increases the likelihood that they would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child—and, in effect, reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.

Homosexual men, on the other hand, are far more likely to engage in child sexual abuse than are heterosexuals. The evidence for this lies in the findings that, (1) almost all child sexual abuse is committed by men; (2) less than three percent of American men identify themselves as homosexual; and (3) nearly one-third of all cases of child sexual abuse are homosexual in nature (that is, they involve men molesting boys). Additionally the rate of homosexual child abuse is more than 10 times higher than one would expect based on the first two facts only.

For those homosexuals who don’t abuse children, two men might each be a good father, but neither can be a mom. Children are hungry for the love and attention of both their parents—their mom and their dad. Marriage is about giving children the ideal, and no same-sex couple can provide that—and most people think that our next generation has the ‘right’ to the best we can provide for them.

CIVIL RIGHTS:
The debate over whether homosexual couples should be allowed to legally “marry” is not about rights, equality, or discrimination—despite the often heated rhetoric to that effect. Still less is it about the allocation of an entitlement package of legal rights and financial benefits. Instead, this is a question of definition—how do we define the social institution we call marriage? To answer that we must ask, What is the public purpose of marriage?

Please note that I said the “public purpose” of marriage. The private purposes for which people enter into marriage may be as diverse as the people themselves. Homosexual activists sometimes argue that they want to marry for the same reasons heterosexuals do—out of a desire for love and companionship.

But I ask you, are interpersonal love and companionship really the business of government? Would you even tolerate the government issuing licenses and regulating entry and exit into relationships whose only or even principal purpose is emotional attachment? I’ve got to believe that your answer would be no.

So what is the public interest in marriage? Why is marriage a public, civil institution, rather than a purely private one? The answer, as I mentioned before, is that marriage is a public institution because it brings together men and women for the purpose of reproducing the human race and keeping a mother and father together to cooperate in raising to maturity the children they produce. The public interest in such behavior is great, because thousands of years of human experience and a vast body of contemporary social science research both demonstrate that married husbands and wives, and the children they conceive and raise, are happier, healthier, and more prosperous than people in any other living situation.

Now, I know exactly what some of you will say. You will argue that reproduction cannot be the purpose of marriage, because opposite-sex couples that are elderly, infertile, or simply don’t plan to have children are still permitted to marry. But in fact, I would suggest that the actual, tangible public interest in childless marriages is not even on the ‘radar screen’, compared  to the public interest in marriages that do produce children.

Although most people marry with the intention of someday starting families, childless married couples still have the potential for becoming mothers and fathers, either biologically or through adoption. But marriage is a societal good even without children. Sociologists tell us that marriage has a powerful “civilizing” affect on young men, deterring them from socially harmful behavior. Marriage also contributes to the health and longevity of both husbands and wives. Additionally, marriage encourages sexual regulation, a characteristic that historically has been the most important factor in creating and preserving healthy and productive cultures. Procreation is an important aspect of society’s high regard for marriage, but it is not the only reason that marriage is protected.

Even with a that being said, to exclude non-reproducing heterosexual couples from marriage would require an invasion of privacy or the drawing of arbitrary and inexact lines. Instead, we simply define the structure of marriage as being open to the entire class of couples that are even theoretically capable of natural reproduction—namely, opposite-sex ones—and we exclude an entire class of couples that are intrinsically infertile, namely, same-sex ones.

Some will also say that homosexuals do ‘reproduce’ (with help, of course), and some homosexual couples do raise children. But let me suggest, as an analogy, another area in which the law places limits on the exercise of a fundamental right—voting. We have a minimum voting age because we presume that adults are wiser and better informed that children. The mere fact that some adults are actually foolish and ill-informed, while some children may be wiser and better informed, does not make the existence of a minimum voting age arbitrary or discriminatory. Distinguishing between opposite-sex couples and same-sex couples with regard to marriage on the basis of general differences is equally logical.

In fact, I would suggest that the argument in favor of same-sex marriage can only be logically sustained if one argues that there is no difference between men and women—that is, if one argues not merely that men and women are equal in value and dignity (a proposition I’m sure we all agree with), but that males are females are ‘identical’, and thus can serve as entirely interchangeable parts in the structure of marriage. This contention is biologically absurd, and, I my opinion, “same-sex marriage” is thus an oxymoron.

So, the real issue is the definition of what “marriage” is—and restricting the definition of marriage is not inappropriate discrimination. As a matter of fact, the word, discrimination, doesn’t even apply because there is no such thing legally, culturally, socially or linguistically as a marriage that is not between a man and a woman.

Defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman would not deny homosexuals the basic civil rights accorded other citizens. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights or in any legislation proceeding from it are homosexuals excluded from the rights enjoyed by all citizens—including the right to marry.

However, no citizen has the unrestricted right to marry whoever they want. A parent cannot marry their child (even if he or she is of age), two or more spouses, or the husband or wife of another person. Such restrictions are based upon the accumulated wisdom not only of Western civilization, but also of societies and cultures around the world for millennia. To put it another way, county clerks will not issue dog licenses to cats—and it is not out of “bigotry” toward cats.

There is no discrimination here, nor does such a policy deny anyone the “equal protection of the laws” (as guaranteed by the Constitution), since these restrictions apply equally to every individual. As Americans, homosexuals should have the very same rights that every other American has, but as homosexuals, they shouldn’t have any special standing by law.

Discrimination occurs when someone is unjustly denied some benefit or opportunity. But it must first be demonstrated that such persons deserve to be treated equally. For example, FAA and airline regulations rightly ‘discriminate’ regarding who is allowed into the cockpit of an airline. Those who are not trained pilots have no rightful claim to “discrimination” because they are not allowed to fly an airplane.

On the other hand, discrimination would occur if properly credentialed pilots are refused hiring simply because of the color of their skin. In this case, such individuals have been denied employment simply because of their race.

When gay activists and their supporters cry “discrimination!” they conveniently avoid the question of whether homosexual relationships merit being granted equality with marriage. Yet this question deserves our close examination, for the danger posed to our society by redefining marriage is no less than permitting unqualified individuals to fly airplanes.

For years blacks and whites were prevented from marrying by anti-miscegenation laws. Later, the courts overturned these laws. Aren’t same-sex couples being similarly discriminated against?

Skin color and sexual behavior are entirely different from each other. Skin color is a benign, inborn characteristic that has no bearing on conduct or character. Sexual behavior, on the other hand, is based on a person’s actions and has to do with character, morality and society’s basic rules of conduct. If special rights are granted to citizens based on behavior, smokers, compulsive gamblers, pedophiles, thieves, etc., could all claim new “rights” to protection against discrimination.

IN THE GENES?:
As was just mentioned, there is a difference between skin color—ethnicity—and behavior. It seems to me this is so self-evident, so obvious, that it should go without saying—but there is much confusion on this point.

When the issue of homosexuality comes up in the public square, it isn’t uncommon to equate the concerns for homosexual liberty with the concern for racial equality. This is a faulty parallel because with homosexuality we’re not talking about something morally benign like skin color or ethnicity. I don’t know of anybody who has made a genuine case for the moral relevance of the pigmentation of someone’s skin or for the moral relevance of his ancestry, per se. Ethnicity has nothing to do with morality—they are morally benign qualities that are innate to one’s birth.

Although some will argue that homosexuality is constitutional, the evidence is not good that homosexuality is in the genes, that they were born that way. There is no reliable evidence to date that homosexual behavior is determined by a person’s genes.

Seventy years of therapeutic counseling and case studies show a remarkable consistency concerning the origins of the homosexual impulse as an uncompleted gender identity seeking after its own sex to replace what was not fully developed. Homosexuals can choose their behavior, and they can change their orientation, although this process is always difficult, as researchers Masters and Johnson showed in their landmark studies and as numerous examples of personal transformation testify.

To the extent that biological or social factors may contribute to a person’s bent toward homosexual behavior, this does not excuse it. Some people have a strong bent towards stealing or abuse of alcohol, but they still choose to engage or not engage in this behavior—the law rightly holds them accountable.

So, homosexuality is a moral behavior rather than the kind of innate characteristic (like race) that justifies special protections.

SEXUAL FREEDOM
It is most important, however, to understand that the legitimization of homosexual behavior is not the driving issue behind these actions. After all, practicing homosexuals account for perhaps only 2-3 percent of the adult population, which hardly explains why the homosexual rights agenda commands such authority.

The answer is that homosexual rights are just the forerunners of a broader pan-sexual movement pursued by hedonistic elitists who demand total sexual freedom. Their cause is fueled by rogue justices and brazen public officials who have stripped the law of its moral underpinnings and here in America are ruling by fiat—and Canada looks like it is the latest ‘outpost’ to fall in their worldwide struggle for domination of the culture.

On April 26, 2004, the Canadian Senate passed, Private Member’s Bill C-250, which provides institutional protection to the practice of homosexuality and other undefined sexual behaviors. The law provides severe penalties for anyone who openly expresses an opinion that may be construed as “hateful” toward homosexual practice or any other “alternative” sexual orientation. Canadians, therefore, no longer have the moral or legal right to question the virtue of deviant sexual behaviors—it effectively criminalizes speech.

Logically, it is only a short step from applying greater penalties to crimes motivated by “hatred,” to discouraging such incidents by prohibiting certain kinds of “hateful” speech. Canada has now placed these prohibitions into law and it would be naive to believe that this is not the intent of hate crimes legislation in America.

One of our most cherished freedoms is the liberty to think as we see fit, even if our thoughts are ignoble. A person’s inner life has been their own. Conduct was under jurisdiction of the law, not convictions. Thoughts could not be made criminal—and until recently, the law has been completely uninterested in penalizing motive. Whether one was driven to commit a crime by greed, malice, love, or hate was irrelevant. Only the conduct mattered.

Now, motive as well as conduct can be punished. This is a ‘frightening’ step. “At the end of the day,” wrote former ambassador Alan Keyes, “government can govern men’s actions; it cannot govern their hearts. And when it attempts to govern their hearts, that is simply an excuse for the worst kind of tyranny.”

(It makes me wonder how an unfettered debate on same-sex marriage will be able to proceed. Consider this being said by a judge: “All those opposed to same-sex marriage, stand up…Bailiff, put them all under arrest”).

Hate crime legislation will become that kind of tyranny. Is a ‘hit-man’ more noble because he lacks emotional connection to his victim? A person who commits a crime of passion is immoral, granted. But isn’t it more twisted to assault, torment, or murder without any feeling of malice? Such a person is not just immoral, he’s a monster.

But wait— it’s worse than that. Hate crime legislation doesn’t make all hate connected with assault illegal, only certain types of hate. The government is not as concerned with the hateful state of mind as it is with the particular group of people the hate is directed toward.

Just as these laws are used to defend certain classes of people, they can also be used to oppress a certain ‘class’ of people. They can serve as a legal tool to enforce a particular moral and political point of view that goes by the misnomer of “tolerance.”

Many have joined a ‘chorus’ of voices claiming that Christians, through their moralizing, are promoting a climate of hate. The phrase of choice is “less than.” By claiming homosexuality is evil, Christians demote homosexuals to a “less than” status. If a homosexual is “less than,” he is marked in a way that makes him an object of scorn, hatred, and physical abuse.

This is twisted logic. In fact, Los Angeles, KABC talk show host Al Rantel—himself a homosexual—noted that this kind of thinking would make Alcoholics Anonymous responsible every time a drunk gets beat up in an alley. It simply does not follow that moral condemnation of homosexuality encourages gay bashing any more than condemning Christian “intolerance” promotes Christian bashing (Question: Are those who demonize Christians for their views equally guilty of hate-mongering?).

Hate crime legislation is not the answer. It turns the government into thought police, and turns the law into a club to enforce political correctness. Those primarily felled by its ‘blow’ will be Christians and others like them that try to live by a moral ‘code’.

Instead, existing laws should be enforced to give equal protection to all classes of people, punishing the ‘crime’ and not the ‘frame of mind’.

George Orwell once said that sometimes the first duty of a responsible person is to restate the obvious. Note the obvious: Hate crime laws criminalize thought, not conduct. Assault is already punishable under existing statutes. This legislation levies an additional penalty solely for the attitude of heart—a motive called hate.

Even apart from the 14th amendment, how can we make any thought punishable by the law? Making hate illegal isn’t going to prevent hateful acts. There are already sanctions against assault. Do you think adding a little more punishment for the thought associated with the crime is going to deter a crime motivated by a powerful passion like hate?

The only real result will be to take the ‘Orwellian’ step of criminalizing thought. As far as I’m concerned, I want to continue to cling to my boyhood ideal that America is still a free country—though this notion is becoming increasingly ‘fanciful’.

ISN’T LOVE ENOUGH?:
The converse of hate is, of course, love—which many have written that it’s “all you need.” So, if two people love each other, why not let them marry?

If the definition of marriage is radically altered based on one’s “feelings,” then there is no logical reason for not letting several people marry, or forgetting other requirements, such as minimum age and blood relative status. It is presumptuous and reckless for those who are outside the norm to expect their relationship to be suddenly considered a “marriage.” People do not have the right to force a new definition on everyone to fit their own wishes.

Further, if love were the ‘sine qua non’ of marriage, “for better or for worse” promises would not be needed at the altar. Vows aren’t meant to sustain love; they are meant to sustain the union when love wanes. A pledge keeps a family intact not for love, but for the sake of children. The state doesn’t care if the bride and groom love each other. There are no questions about a couple’s affections when granting a license. No proof of passion is required. Why? Because marriage isn’t about love. Yes, love may be the reason some people get married, but it isn’t the ‘reason’ for marriage. It may be a ‘constituent’ of marriage, but it isn’t the ‘purpose’ of marriage.

If love and companionship were sufficient to define marriage, then there would be no reason to deny “marriage” to unions of a child and an adult, or an adult child and his or her aging parent, or to roommates who have no sexual relationship, or to groups rather than couples. Love and companionship are usually considered integral to marriage in our culture, but they are not sufficient to define it as an institution.

Hollywood has propagated the myth that when it comes to marriage “all you need is love.” This is simply not true. Marriage is not based on emotion any more than any other partnership in life is. Marriage, like many human activities, involves emotion but it is not constituted by the presence of any particular set of emotions. I do not deny that many homosexuals feel deeply for their partners; however, I do assert that no matter how deep the feelings, what they have is not a marriage—it is a beautiful ‘deception’.

Just because an emotion is deep or powerful does not justify acting upon it. Like drugs, like adultery, like the abuse of alcohol or the love of money, or the power rush of human ego trips, there are emotions which are powerful and addictive and ultimately terribly destructive. Same-sex “marriages” must satisfy criteria other than emotion. A marriage is more than a sexual pleasure center. A marriage is a social unit that is interwoven with dozens of other lives.

Also, same-sex marriages do not last. Less than 5 percent of gays have ever had a relationship that lasted more than three years. Sex is not enough. Passion cannot sustain an inherently unstable social unit.

Marriage is a fundamental social institution that does not exist just for the emotional satisfaction of two individuals, but for the greater good of the community. Societies that put emotional fulfillment before right actions and principles will soon give way to a multitude of addictions and deep corruptions—and collapse.

MORAL CONCERNS:
Some people are really sensitive about moral arguments and don’t want you to moralize about things like homosexuality. The fact is, all of our laws and public policy decisions relate to the question the common good, and that is a moral concern applied to the community at large.

The oft-repeated mantra “you can’t legislate morality”—the contention that moral arguments have no place in formulating public policy—is absurd. It is the duty of legislators to evaluate the right legislation needed to correct some wrong or injustice, or promote some positive or good result. Many of the same people who wish to exclude religiously informed moral arguments from the debate about marriage are little troubled by the use of moral and religious arguments when discussing other issues such as racial discrimination, capital punishment, or the war in Iraq.

There are good reasons to think that homosexuality is immoral, too. Even if I’m mistaken on that fact—and I don’t think I am, but even if I were—at least I could say I’m not simply making my position against homosexuality based on some bizarre, irrational, unreasoned prejudice like those who are prejudiced against a skin color. Instead, it’s a principled position and hopefully I have given good reasons for it.

I can anticipate an objection here. Someone may say, “You may think that homosexuality is unnatural and immoral, but you have no right to force your view on us.” Well, whether I have the right to force it on you or not is a debatable question, actually. All laws force someone’s moral view on another (you may just not ‘like’ it). Regardless, that’s not what is happening here.

As I have said before, this is not about equal rights. This isn’t about us forcing our view on someone else. This is about the legitimacy for us to even hold our own point of view—and we’re being faulted for even making a moral distinction here.

Friends, homosexuals have every right any other American has. I don’t have the right to live ‘anywhere’ I want. I don’t have the right to be employed by ‘anyone’ I want. I don’t have the right to marry ‘anyone’ I want. There are laws and rules and moral restrictions that govern all of those things.

This is not about rights—it’s about ‘approval’. This is about a small group of people working to force the majority to approve of behavior that, to the overwhelming majority of Americans, believes is morally objectionable.

LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE:
So, since this country is a democracy—of the people, for the people—why not let them decide what they want?

When queried regarding homosexuality as a behavioral lifestyle—as opposed to a civil rights issue—many Americans continue to register strong negative reactions.

“Marriage” for same-sex couples (or the counterfeit equivalent under pseudonyms such as “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships”) is being promoted as an extension of tolerance, equality and civil rights. But all these devices are really wedges designed to overturn traditional sexual morality and to win official affirmation, celebration, subsidization and solemnization of behavior that is harmful to the people who engage in it and to society—and that is still viewed as morally wrong by a majority of the American public.

A “Public Perspectives” survey found that 69 percent of those surveyed report being “very much” or “somewhat” bothered by seeing a person “kissing someone of the same sex in public.” This hesitancy is not limited to those holding to traditional morality. The very liberal icon Glamour magazine reported the results of a readership poll in which 59 percent of the respondents were “put off” by a lesbian kiss shown on network television.

Requiring citizens to sanction or subsidize homosexual relationships violates the freedom of conscience of millions of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and even people of no religious ‘persuasion’ that believe marriage is the union of the two sexes. Civil marriage is a public act. Homosexuals are free to have a “union” ceremony with each other privately, but they are not free to demand that such a relationship be solemnized and subsidized under the law.

Surprisingly, there are a few homosexuals that understand how primarily religious people feel about this. I was very gratified, that, in a recent Time Magazine article, to see a quote by Camille Paglia, the author of “Sexual Persona: Vamps and Tramps.” She’s a self-proclaimed lesbian, but she makes a very even-handed and fair remark. My respect for her as an individual went way up when I read her first statement.

Here’s what she said: “The objections of conservative Christian ministers who believe in the Bible are well-founded.” This coming, remember, from an author who is an open lesbian. In other words, what she’s saying is that when Christians object from the Bible, they’re objecting on the basis of principle, not bigotry. In fact, she goes on to clarify, “People on the left have got to accept that it is not simply bigotry that causes believing Christians to object to this kind of element in popular culture.”

This is a very fair statement. Finally, someone is speaking equitably to what turns out to be, I think, the majority view of the Christian objection to homosexuality. It isn’t because of bigotry. It isn’t because of hatred. It’s because of ‘principle’.

If you have been reading these monthly “thoughts” for a least the last few ‘editions’, you probably can ‘surmise’ where I stand on this issue. I think that homosexuality is perverse—a moral perversion and a natural perversion—speaking ‘matter-of-factly’ here. But, I’m not speaking hatefully or spitefully. I’m simply saying that I think homosexuality is immoral. I think a ‘violation’ of what is natural. You may disagree, and that’s okay. I draw my position from the Scriptures—and hopefully am presenting it in a loving and respectful manner.

Embarrassingly, there are some people who use the Bible in an acrimonious, mean-spirited way. I was a bit embarrassed when I heard that Jerry Falwell referred to Ellen Degeneres as “Ellen Degenerate.” I share the view that homosexuality is degenerate—that’s my moral assessment. But it’s mean-spirited and counter-productive to call people names who are homosexuals. That’s just nasty and bad-mannered.

However, I think for the most part that Christians who object to homosexuality are doing so in a principled fashion. They’re objecting because they think it’s immoral. It may not be that they hate homosexuals. Most Christians I know don’t hate homosexuals. I don’t hate homosexuals. I’m not even deeply offended by homosexuals. They don’t make me uncomfortable. I just would like to help them break the ‘bonds that bind’ them.

So, I commend Camille Paglia, for her observation. I think this is fair-minded, and I wish more of those who defend homosexuality, and those who are homosexuals, would at least understand the objections Christians are offering instead of lashing out with empty rhetoric that those who disagree with them are simply spreading hate. It’s just not the case.

SUMMARY:
I my and many others’ view, to put it succinctly, the institution of marriage represents the very foundation of human social order. Everything of value sits on that base. Institutions, governments, religious fervor, and the welfare of children are all dependent on its stability. When it is weakened or undermined, the entire superstructure begins to ‘wobble’. That is exactly what has happened during the last thirty-five years, as ‘radical’ feminists, liberal lawmakers, and ‘profiteers’ in the entertainment industry have taken their toll on the stability of marriage. I believe that many of our pressing social problems can be traced back to this origin.

Hopefully I have shown that marriage, when it functions as intended, is good for everyone—for men, for women, for children, for the community, for the nation, and for the world. Marriage is the means by which the human race is propagated, and the means by which spiritual teaching is passed down through the generations. Research consistently shows that heterosexual married adults do better in virtually every measure of emotional and physical health than people who are divorced or never married. They live longer and have happier lives. They recover from illness more quickly, earn and save more money, are more reliable employees, suffer less stress, and are less likely to become victims of any kind of violence. They find the job of parenting more enjoyable, and they have more satisfying and fulfilling sex lives.

There is no reason, though, to extend “marriage” to same-sex couples, which are of a structural type (two men or two women) that is incapable—under any circumstances, regardless of age, health, or intent—of producing babies ‘naturally’. In fact, they are incapable of even engaging in the type of sexual act that results in natural reproduction—and it takes no invasion of privacy or drawing of arbitrary upper age boundaries to determine that.

Since homosexual behavior is directly associated with higher rates of promiscuity, physical disease, mental illness, substance abuse, child sexual abuse, and domestic violence, there is no reason to reward such behavior by granting it society’s ultimate affirmation—the status of civil marriage—or any of the benefits of marriage.

“Gay marriage” supporters argue that most family tragedies occur because of broken heterosexual marriages—including those of many Christians. They are right. We ought to accept our share of the blame and clean up our own ‘house’. But the fact that we have badly served the institution of marriage is not a reflection on the institution itself—it is a reflection on us (fallible humans).

As we debate the wisdom of legalizing “gay marriage,” we must remember that, like it or not, there is a natural moral order for the family. History and tradition—and the teachings of Jews, Muslims, and Christians—support the overwhelming empirical evidence: The family, led by a married mother and father, is the best available structure for both child-rearing and cultural health.

This is why, although some people will always pair off in unorthodox ways, society as a whole must never legitimize any form of marriage other than that of one man and one woman, united with intention of permanency and the nurturing of children.

Marriage is not a private institution designed solely for the individual gratification of its participants. It is for the well-being of children and of society. We must not allow the creation of a government-imposed counterfeit of “marriage”—by any name. Marriage is civilization’s primary institution, and we tamper with it at our own ‘peril’.

I’ll tell you, quite honestly, things are getting a little ‘frightening’. I don’t want to say that I am frightened, like I’m panicking, but I believe I am sober-minded about this—and I want you to be as well. I’m not the kind of person that is a “Chicken Little” person, running around screaming, “The sky is falling!” I am not an alarmist. I’m not a “lions, and tigers, and bears, oh, my” kind of Christian, seeing the devil around every corner in the form of homosexuals, humanists, and pro-abortionists.

No, that is not my view. I am an optimist. But I think we are obliged to be wise, careful, and properly ascertain the spirit of the age and the signs of the times so that we may not get caught by surprise—and that we have developed an informed decision on this matter. Hopefully, I have helped you with this.

One of my concerns, however, are those who are opposed to the Christian view of the world and Christian morality that have been very effective at depicting us as evil.

I am also opposed to hate, and opposed to inappropriate treatment of any person—since I believe they were made in the ‘image’ of God.

The traditional family and marriage, as defined from the dawn of time, are among the few institutions that have, in fact, stood the test of time. If we now choose to stand idly by while these institutions are overthrown, the family as it has been known for millennia will be gone. And, in my opinion, with its demise will come chaos such as the world has never seen before.

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, it teaches that God instituted and designed marriage between a man and a woman [Genesis 2:18-25]. There are a number of reasons why He did so:

– The complementary structure of the male and female anatomy is obviously designed for the normal husband-wife relationships. Clearly, design in human biology supports heterosexuality and contradicts homosexuality.

– The combination of male and female enables man (and the animals) to produce and nurture offspring (“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth). But procreation is not the only reason God made humans as sexual beings. Even many ‘secular’ studies affirm that sexual intimacy between husband and wife, when practiced as God intended it, is very good for bonding and pleasure—in addition to procreation.

– God gave man and woman complementary roles in order to strengthen the family unit. Woman was to be the helper that man needed [Genesis 2:18]. However, the woman’s role as the helpmate is certainly not an inferior one (The enterprising God-fearing woman in Proverbs 31:10-31 is an inspiring role model).

So I say…behold, the institution of marriage! It is one of the Creator’s most marvelous and enduring gifts to humankind. This divine plan was revealed to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and then described succinctly in Genesis 2:24, where we read, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” With those words, God ‘defined’ and ordinated the family, long before He established the two other great human institutions, the church and civil government.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul, writing an ‘instructional’ letter to ‘pastor’ Timothy said, “Knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,” [1 Timothy 1:9-10].

However, there is hope for the homosexual (as well as all other “sinners”—you and me). God forgives and cleanses a person who repents and turns from their sin [1 Corinthians 6:11]. In addition to forgiveness, God’s grace brings with it the power to live a life that will be ‘pleasing’ to you as well as God [Romans 6:6-7]. If repentance and reform are genuine, prior homosexual actions can and will be ‘reformed’—just as all Christians are reformed sinners.

Let me encourage any of you, or anyone you know, that have been ‘overcome’ by homosexuality (or any other sin) and you would like help for it—ask God. He wants so much to ‘deliver’ all of us from our ‘lusts’ of the heart—and become the person He created us to be. The Bible says that anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be shown mercy and compassion—and WILL BE DELIVERED!

[Excerpts from: James Dobson; Gregory Koukl; Family Research Council; Alan E. Sears; Chuck Colson; Maggie Gallagher; Stanley Kurtz; Robert H. Knight]

Blessings…Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v66) for AUGUST 2004
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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RESOURCES:

http://www.exodus-international.org/

http://www.lovewonout.com/

http://www.narth.com/

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WEDDING SONG (There Is Love)
He is now to be among you
at the calling of your hearts
Rest assured this troubadour
is acting on His part.
The union of your spirits, here,
has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you
are gathered in His name
There is Love, there is Love.

A man shall leave his mother
and a woman leave her home
And they shall travel on to where
the two shall be as one.
As it was in the beginning
is now and til the end
Woman draws her life from man
and gives it back again.
And there is Love, there is Love.

Well then what’s to be the reason
for becoming man and wife?
Is it love that brings you here
or love that brings you life?
And if loving is the answer,
then who’s the giving for?
Do you believe in something
that you’ve never seen before?
Oh there is Love, there is Love.

Oh the marriage of your spirits here
has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you
are gathered in His name
There is Love, there is Love.
[Paul Stookey]

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DEEP THOUGHT:
Today, we speak about values and how it is important to “have them” as if they were beads on a string or marbles in a pouch. But morality and virtues are not something to be possessed, but are the central part of human nature, not as something to have, but as something to be, the most important thing to be.
[Bill Bennett]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” [1 Corinthians 6:9-10].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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