Month Archives: March 2013

Defining Marriage—When a Loved One is “Gay”

by Peter Sprigg

March 25, 2013

On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, they will consider the constitutionality of the definition as enshrined in the California state constitution by voters in that state when they adopted “Proposition 8” in 2008 (effectively reversing the decision of the California Supreme Court to impose same-sex “marriage” earlier that year). In Windsor v. United States, they will consider the constitutionality of the same definition of marriage being adopted for all purposes under federal law through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In anticipation of those oral arguments, I am running a series of blog posts with questions and answers related to the issue. Today, I look at the suggestion that support for redefining marriage is growing because more people have a loved one—a colleague, friend, or relative—who is openly homosexual. This was recently in the news because of the announcement by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) that he will now support marriage redefinition because his college-age son has said he is gay.

Here, we reprint an op-ed that I wrote last year with Regina Griggs of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays.

How Can I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage When Someone I Love Is Gay?

Regina Griggs and Peter Sprigg

The Christian Post

Monday, November 5, 2012

Voters in 32 out of the 32 states where it has appeared on the ballot have upheld marriage as the union of a woman and a man. Advocates of same-sex marriage are holding out hope that their long losing streak will end on Election Day in Minnesota, Washington, Maryland or Maine.

Increasingly, advocates of same-sex marriage are abandoning legalistic arguments about “equality” and “civil rights,” and appealing to emotion and personal relationships instead. “We (gays and lesbians) are your neighbors, your friends, your co-workers, your classmates and your relatives,” the argument goes. “If you respect and care about us, how can you deny us what we want?” (namely, to have their same-sex relationships affirmed by the state through marriage licenses).

Polls suggest this approach is having an effect. People who know someone who self-identifies as “gay” or “lesbian” are more likely to support the redefinition of marriage than people who do not.

Is this connection a logical one? We argue it is not. How a person feels about their personal relationship with a gay friend, acquaintance, or relative should not dictate their position on the public policy issue of whether to change the definition of marriage.

We are both affiliated with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX), which spreads the truth that it is possible for sexual orientation to change, and defends the civil rights of ex-gays. Note, however, that the title of our organization includes the phrase, “and Gays.” Many of those who look to PFOX for support are parents and/or friends of people who still self-identify as “gay” and engage in homosexual relationships. This is true of us personally as well. One of us (Regina) has an adult child who is openly gay. Peter and his wife have relatives and family friends who are gay as well.

It is a myth that disapproval of homosexual conduct equals “hate” toward homosexuals. If you are a parent, ask yourself – have you ever disagreed with your child? Have you ever disapproved of the behavioral choices she or he has made? The answer is surely “yes.” Those experiences are not inconsistent with sincere love, and can actually be a manifestation of it.

I (Regina) continue to have a warm and loving relationship with my child and gay friends despite the fact that we disagree about whether homosexual relationships should be called “marriages.”

My wife and I (Peter) had guests at our wedding who were divorced and who had children outside of wedlock. I do not approve of those actions any more than I do of homosexual conduct, but that does not interfere with my love for those people.

The myth that disapproval equals rejection stems from the myth that “being gay” is an intrinsic and immutable identity. Yet the decades-long search for a genetic or biological determinant of homosexuality has been a dismal failure.

This is not to say, however, that people “choose to be gay.” Sexual orientation is an umbrella term for a person’s sexual attractions, behavior and self-identification. People do not “choose” to experience homosexual attractions – but they do choose their behavior and self-identification.

Some people with same-sex attractions (SSA) choose to abstain from homosexual sex. Others seek professional help to change their sexual orientation, and many have succeeded. For a loved one to encourage those responses, rather than to affirm homosexual behavior, is just as loving as a parent or friend trying to encourage other choices they believe are in the person’s best interest. Legalization of same-sex marriage would place an official stamp of approval on homosexual relationships, so any person who thinks that such homosexual attractions are changeable and that homosexual behavior is unhealthy will logically oppose this redefinition of marriage – no matter how much they may love a gay person.

However, opposition to the redefinition of marriage need not even rest on disapproval of homosexuality itself. The fundamental reason why marriage is treated as a public institution – and the reason it has always been defined as a male-female union – is the recognition that there is a unique role of heterosexual unions in reproducing the human race, and to keep the mother and father who create a child together to raise that child. Men and women are complementary in a way two persons of the same sex can never be. One need not consider homosexual relationships to be inferior in order to recognize that heterosexual ones are unique in their potential for natural procreation and the well-being of a child. While some same-sex couples raise children, such households are – by design – either motherless or fatherless. This is why even some openly gay people, like Maryland political activist Doug Mainwaring, oppose same-sex marriage.

We at PFOX urge everyone to love their gay friends and relatives unconditionally, and never to cut them out of your life just because they are gay. But personal relationships should not dictate the definition of our most fundamental social institution.

An Era Ends: Sheet Music Magazine Publishes Its Last Edition

by Chris Gacek

March 23, 2013

David R. Sands of the Washington Times recently published this article about our changing cultural landscape entitled “Sheet Music’s Last Note.” In it, he informs us that the last issue of America’s only magazine providing its readers with piano sheet music expired last autumn.  In thirty-six years years, Sheet Music Magazine had printed nearly 3,000 songs.  At its height, the magazine had 150,000 subscribers who received a copy every two months. 

What killed the Sheet Music?  Accordingly to the publisher, Ed Shanaphy, his magazine…

…couldn’t survive a perfect storm of factors gathering in recent years, from a bad economy, falling piano sales and the rise of online downloading services for sheet music to the decline of a generation that played piano for fun and the rise of a generation that gets into music through earbuds and prefers its musical scores auto-translated into audio online.

That is quite a combination of technological and social change. 

The article has some fascinating figures on piano sales in the United States.  In 1909, 360,000 pianos were sold in America with a population of 90.5 million.  In 1969 (see diagram), there were 220,000 sold (pop. 220 million).  Finally, in 2007, there 315 million people in the country, but sales totaled only 62,500. 

The 1909 figure is useful because it represents a time when there were no/few recorded music players, no radios, etc.  If you wanted to have musical entertainment, you had to do it yourself or pay someone to play it live.  More instructive is 1969 when we had high quality FM radio and very good stereo recordings for sale.  Since then, piano sales have really plunged.

What does it mean?  Are we watching a decline of cultural literacy.  Perhaps, it just represents a decline of the piano relative to other instruments, but I doubt it.

As a consumer of music, I know that what I listen to – just in terms of the sound quality – seems greatly inferior to my parents’ high fidelity stereo.  People used to spend a fortune on sound equipment.  That doesn’t seem to happen now.  There has been a huge shift to video technology with ever-better formats like blu-ray.  Does an audio analog (ha-ha, no irony intended) of blu-ray exist?  The world seems to be moving in the opposite direction.  MP3 files aren’t even as good as the much-criticized recordings on CDs.  Now I listen to classical music using the speakers on my Kindle.  Sound quality may not matter with rap, but it matters if you want to hear the percussion instruments in Carmen.  True that, but I just paid $1.99 for 13 hours of some composer whose music is play by the Latvian Symphony Orchestra and sits on my cloud.  I can listen any place that has wi-fi.  That enhances my cultural literacy.

I have no great theory, but David Sands’ article will make you think a bit.  How has your appreciation and interaction with quality music changed?  For better, worse?  Do you care?

Defining Marriage—Children of Same-Sex Couples

by Peter Sprigg

March 23, 2013

On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, they will consider the constitutionality of the definition as enshrined in the California state constitution by voters in that state when they adopted “Proposition 8” in 2008 (effectively reversing the decision of the California Supreme Court to impose same-sex “marriage” earlier that year). In Windsor v. United States, they will consider the constitutionality of the same definition of marriage being adopted for all purposes under federal law through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In anticipation of those oral arguments, I am running a series of blog posts with questions and answers related to the issue. Today, we look at the claim that we should redefine marriage to protect the children already being raised by same-sex couples.

Q—How normal is “the new normal” (children being raised by homosexual couples)?

This week there was a flurry of news coverage of a new “Policy Statement” (that’s what it was, by its own labeling—it wasn’t a “study”) from theAmericanAcademy of Pediatrics, which endorsed the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

The impression which advocates for marriage redefinition seek to create in the public’s mind is that children of homosexual parents are essentially in exactly the same position as children of heterosexual parents, and children raised by same-sex couples are in the same position as children raised by married opposite-sex couples, except regarding the gender of the parents.

Yet some data reported in the AAP’s own Policy Statement tend to undermine that message. Consider this quote:

The US 2010 Census reported that 646,464 households included 2 adults of the same gender. These same-gender couples are raising ~115,000 children aged ≤18 years and are living in essentially all counties of theUnited States. When these children are combined with single gay and lesbian parents who are raising children, almost 2 million children are being raised by gay and lesbian parents in the United States.”

If the estimate of 2 million children with “gay and lesbian parents” is correct, then comparing it with the figure of 115,000 being raised by same-sex couples indicates that only 1 in every 17 children of “gay” parents actually lives with a same-sex couple. Thus, the model of “gay parenting” held up by homosexual activists in the marriage debate—that of children being raised in a stable household by a loving and committed same-sex couple—is extraordinarily rare in the real world, even as a fraction of the already small minority of children who have a homosexual parent.

Last summer, University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus published a groundbreaking study of homosexual parents in the journal, Social Science Research. It showed that children of homosexuals suffered disadvantages in numerous areas—both when compared with children raised in an intact biological family, and when compared with other, less stable (but heterosexual) parenting situations. (I summarized its findings and responded to critiques of it in a series of blog posts.)

One of the chief criticisms of his work (and really, one of the only criticisms of any substance) was that many of the 236 subjects he identified—young adults whose parent had a homosexual relationship while they were growing up—had never actually lived with the parent and the parent’s same-sex partner. Therefore, it was argued, the Regnerus findings could not be considered relevant to debates about children being raised by same-sex couples.

The reason for the paucity of children raised by same-sex couples in the Regnerus study was simple—they could hardly be found in a representative, population-based sample. The data-gathering group hired for Regnerus’ New Family Structures Study screened 15,000 young adults—and found only two who had been raised by a same-sex couple from birth to age 18. In both cases, the couple was a lesbian one—they found no one who had been raised by a homosexual male couple from birth.

In other words, what some liberal activists (and Hollywood) like to refer to as “the new normal”—kids being raised by homosexual couples from birth—is not normal at all, even for kids with a parent who has homosexual relationships.

While the ideal—the “new normal”—of the family revisionists is not normal, what about the “old normal?” Advocates for maintaining the definition of marriage as the union of a woman and a man uphold an ideal also—the married couple household in which a child is raised by a mom and dad (and in particular the natural family, wherein a child is born to and raised by his or her own biological mother and father, who are committed to one another in a lifelong marriage).

Revisionists, however, scoff at this ideal, relegating it to the outdated, “Ozzie and Harriett,” “Father Knows Best” world of 1950’s sitcoms. When you consider the high rates of cohabitation, out-of-wedlock births, and divorce, along with singles adopting and “gay parents,” the old-fashioned nuclear family hardly exists any more—or does it?

The answer to that question can also be found in the AAP Policy Statement, which reports, “In 2010, married adults were raising 65.3% of all children in this country.” Even if the Census Bureau (source of this figure) defied the federal Defense of Marriage Act and chose to include some of the 646,464 same-sex couples in this number, it is still clear that the overwhelming majority of these 48 million married couples are of the opposite-sex.

To summarize, only 1 in every 17 children of “gay” parents is living with a same-sex couple. So the “new normal” isn’t normal.

On the other hand, nearly 2 out of every 3 children of heterosexual parents are living with a married couple. The number of children being raised by a married heterosexual couple is more than 400 (four hundred) times higher than the number being raised by a same-sex couple.

The “old normal” is still the norm.

FRC in the News: March 22, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

March 22, 2013

Tony Perkins in USA Today

FRC’s President Tony Perkins was highlighted in a recent USA Today article that highlights leaders who stand for traditional marriage. Perkins was quoted saying that “there will be collateral damage to other freedoms” if gay ‘marriage’ is legal.

New Report: Women’s Average Age for Child Bearing is Lower than Marriage

Dr. Pat Fagan, Director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) at FRC, was quoted in a recent article in CNS News which discussed a new report that reveals the median age of women having their first child is lower than the age of women who get married. Dr. Fagan stated:

“The prevailing social ethos in today’s culture that ‘anything goes’ results in a disconnect between this kind of data and its moral implications…The social science data reflects the reality…So we have a contrast between the reality and the moral discourse about the reality…We can look at the numbers, but we can’t discuss the principles behind them…Even though they may be glaring at us, we cannot talk about them.’”

Defining Marriage: What Polls Say

by Peter Sprigg

March 22, 2013

On March 26 and 27, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases challenging the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, they will consider the constitutionality of the definition as enshrined in the California state constitution by voters in that state when they adopted “Proposition 8” in 2008 (effectively reversing the decision of the California Supreme Court to impose same-sex “marriage” earlier that year). In Windsor v. United States, they will consider the constitutionality of the same definition of marriage being adopted for all purposes under federal law through the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In anticipation of those oral arguments, I am offering a series of blog posts with questions and answers related to the issue. Today, we look at the question of whether recent polls indicating growth in support for redefining marriage mean that such a redefinition is “inevitable.”

How should we interpret recent polls on redefining marriage to include homosexual couples?

The lead story in the Washington Post on March 19 was headlined “Record support for gay marriage.” It trumpeted that a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 58% of Americans now support redefining marriage to include homosexual couples, including 81% of those between the ages of 18 and 29.

Although I was quoted in the story, a lot of my points did not make it in. Here are some important considerations:

1) The wording of the poll was horribly biased. The first question asked, “Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to get married?”

Americans have enough of a visceral streak of libertarianism that they shy away from making things “illegal,” whether it is Big Gulps or “gay marriage.” The word “illegal” may even conjure up images of criminal sanctions.

The fact is, most of what homosexual couples want in their relationships is already perfectly legal. It is legal for them to have sex; it is legal for them to live together; it is legal for them to raise children in their household; it is legal for them to protect their legal and financial interests using private contractual arrangements, such as a health care proxy, power of attorney, and a will; it is legal for them to celebrate their relationships in a private commitment ceremony; it is legal for places of worship to conduct such ceremonies if they wish to; it is legal for them to purchase and wear wedding rings; etc.

It is also worth noting that in California, whose constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court, same-sex couples have access, through “domestic partnerships,” to every legal benefit available to married couples under state law. The dispute over the California marriage amendment known as Proposition 8 is entirely over the use of the word “marriage” by the state.

Questions which frame the issue as one of equality or rights will tend to generate a sympathetic response, especially from young people. Logically however, there is a question prior to that of “Who has the right to marry”—and that is the question, “What is marriage.” Poll questions asking about the definition of marriage taken in May 2011, July 2011, and in September and November 2012 have shown that anywhere from 57% to 64% of Americans still believe that marriage should be defined as the union of one man and one woman.

The second poll question asked, “Do you think each state should make its own law on whether same-sex marriage is legal or illegal there, or do you think this should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution?”

Sixty-four percent said it “should be decided for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution.” The Post seems to interpret this as support for the Supreme Court redefining marriage for all fifty states in the marriage cases it is now considering. Note, though, that the question did not ask about the Court—it asked about the Constitution.

Americans believe in the Constitution—obviously, states should not be allowed to do things that violate it. But the Constitution clearly includes no explicit “right” to same-sex “marriage,” and whether it includes an implicit one is precisely the issue that is sharply in dispute. Furthermore, opponents of marriage redefinition (such as FRC) have also supported the idea of “deciding this for all states on the basis of the U.S. Constitution”—by amending the Constitution to define marriage nationwide as the union of one man and one woman. A question that allows people on diametrically opposed sides to give the same answer is not very useful.

The third question in the poll was: “Do you think that being homosexual is just something that people choose to be, or do you think it’s just the way they are.” This is a classic “have you stopped beating your wife”question, because it offers no good choice.

The meaning of “being homosexual” is not as clear as it may seem. “Sexual orientation” is actually an umbrella term for three quite separate things—a person’s sexual attractions, their sexual behavior, and their sexual self-identification. We tend to assume all three will be congruent, but research shows that there are many exceptions.

Sexual attractions are largely not something people “choose.” However, people obviously do choose their sexual conduct and choose how they identify themselves. Is a person who experiences same-sex attractions, but does not engage in homosexual conduct and does not self-identify as “gay,” a “homosexual?”

Also unclear is the meaning of “just the way they are.” If “the way they are” is taken to mean that homosexuality is an innate and immutable trait present from birth, then even the fact that same-sex attractions may not be “chosen” does not necessarily prove that “it’s just the way they are.” If developmental forces in childhood influence the development of homosexual attractions (as considerable evidence suggests), then they would neither be a “choice” nor an inborn identity.

2) Young people are not as unanimous on the issue as is believed. It’s not surprising that younger voters are somewhat more likely to support marriage redefinition than their elders. After all, they have been subjected to a drumbeat of support for it from the news media, entertainment media, and higher education for literally as long as they can remember. Nevertheless, when they have the opportunity to experience a full debate in which both sides are fully aired, even the younger generation is far more sharply divided on the issue than the Post’s 81% figure would suggest. In North Carolina, where a constitutional amendment defending marriage as the union of a man and a woman was adopted last May, a comparison of pre-election polls with the results on Election Day led to the conclusion that while younger voters opposed the amendment, it was only by the narrowest of margins (51%-49%).

3) Ultimately, the only poll that counts is the one taken on Election Day. Although last November, voters in three liberal states (Maine, Maryland, and Washington) voted to redefine marriage, only six months earlier voters in North Carolina overwhelmingly approved the thirtieth state constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. A team losing by a score of 30-3 can hardly be said to be winning the game.

4)  Ironically, these polls may actually reduce, rather than increase, the likelihood that the Supreme Court will decide to redefine marriage. The advocates for marriage redefinition (and the Obama Justic Department) are arguing that the natural definition of marriage is discriminatory on the basis of sexual orientation, and that classifications which disadvantage homosexuals should be subjected to a legal principle known as “strict scrutiny.” One of the usual criteria for applying strict scrutiny, however, is that the group in question suffers from “political powerlessness”—an argument that is becoming harder and harder to make with any credibility.

American Academy of Pediatrics Doesn’t Speak for all Pediatricians in Backing Marriage Redefinition

by Peter Sprigg

March 21, 2013

The media has jumped on a new “Policy Statement” issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which endorses the redefinition of marriage, arguing, “Scientific evidence affirms that children … receive similar parenting whether they are raised by parents of the same or different genders.”

This is a highly misleading claim, especially in light of the research published last year by University of Texas sociologist Mark Regnerus—the most methodologically-sound research on the subject ever done, using a large and representative population-based sample—which showed children whose parents had a homosexual relationship suffered numerous disadvantages compared with children raised by their married, biological mother and father.

In any case, it is unclear whether the “Policy Statement” accurate represents the views of any more pediatricians than the two lead authors and the six members of the AAP’s “Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health.” It is certain that they do not speak for all pediatricians—as indicated by the press release below, issued today by an alternative group, the American College of Pediatricians:

Traditional Marriage Still the Best for Children

American College of Pediatricians

Gainesville, Florida – March 21, 2013 – “The American College of Pediatricians reaffirms that the intact, functional family consisting of a married (female) mother and (male) father provides the best opportunity for children. The College, therefore, disputes the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) claim that supporting same-sex unions promotes the “well-being of children.” In its newly released statement, “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents Are Gay or Lesbian,” the AAP ignores important research on risks to children in favor of the wants of adults.

The College does not support the alteration of this time-honored and proven standard to conform to pressures from “politically correct” groups. No one concerned with the well-being of children can reasonably ignore the evidence for maintaining the current standard, nor can they or we ignore the equally strong evidence that harm to children can result if the current standards are rejected,” says Den Trumbull, MD, President of the American College of Pediatricians. “The AAP ignores generations of evidence of health risks to children in advocating for the legality and legitimacy of same-sex marriage and child-rearing.”

Madonna Still Scouting - for Herself

by Rob Schwarzwalder

March 21, 2013

A woman who has built her career on extravagant self-debasement continues to find ways to demean and coarsen herself.

A few days ago, Madonna appeared at the GLAAD awards dressed in a Cub Scout uniform. With a Scoutmaster’s hat affixed to the back of her head, cowboy-style, she virtually purred with self-satisfaction at yet another few moments on the glistening stage of pop culture.

It should be clear that she was wearing a Cub Scout, not a Boy Scout, uniform. The former is worn by little boys who, by the way, wear caps, not broad-rimmed tan hats. Am I the only person troubled that a woman whose entire career has been premised on the continuous, ever-more graphic sexualization of herself would wear a child’s outfit to make a point about homosexuality? To objectify oneself is certainly an option in our society, however dehumanizing it might be. But is it really necessary to bring children into such an endeavor?

The uniform was, of course, secondary to the singer’s “look at me!” purpose. That she peppered her comments with obscenity and, in her remarks, reduced Scouting to such things as pitching a tent and building a fire says a great deal. Although these and many other practical skills are important to Scouting, building character is the chief goal of the BSA. Sadly, this is an objective concerning which Madonna seems both ignorant and unconcerned.

Rather than anger, Christians should feel pity for an entertainer desperately seeking public affirmation, but avoiding discovery of what it means to live as a person made in the image and likeness of God.

FRC in the News: March 21, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

March 21, 2013

Conservatives Don’t Just Oppose Gay ‘Marriage,’ They Strongly Oppose It

FRC’s President Tony Perkins wrote an article recently featured on CNSNews.com about how the RNC should care about all Americans, but they should not compromise their principles, specifically on the issue of marriage. Perkins states:

“Values issues are not just the backbone of social conservatism, but the gateway to minority outreach. If the GOP wants to improve its relationship with Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans, it had better start by emphasizing the family issues they care about - instead of dividing the Republican family it already has.”

Boykin: America’s New Pollyanna War Tactics

FRC’s Executive Vice President, Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (Ret.-USA), discusses how America’s missile defense system is vital to the protection of its citizens in an recent article in The Washington Times. According to the article, North Korea “just detonated its third and largest nuclear bomb and proudly acknowledges it is ‘targeted at the United States.’” Boykin shows how sequestration could weaken our defense systems and the severe threat that North Korea poses on the United States. Assuming that North Korea will disarm simply because we do is a serious mistake. Boykin points out that for now,

“All we need to do is modernize our nuclear deterrent and slowly improve our missile defenses — affordable, achievable goals if they are not sabotaged by a Pollyanna-style foreign policy or partisan budget gridlock.”

Homeschooling and the Attack on Religious Freedom

by Family Research Council

March 21, 2013

There is a case that has caught the attention of homeschool advocates on an international level. The Romeike family of Germany was granted asylum by a U.S. judge due to the persecution they had experienced for homeschooling their children in Germany. This persecution included police intervention well beyond simple fines or reprimands. The family believes that the school system in Germany does not teach what they as Christians believe should be taught to their children, so they wish to teach their children in an environment where their convictions are honored – their home.

This is not merely a question of the freedom to homeschool but a question of who determines what children are taught. In other words it is a question of religious freedom. Religious faith is often passed on through the teaching that parents give to their children. The Scripture clearly states in Deut. 6:6-7 “And these words which I command thee this day, [the Law of God to Israel] shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (KJV)

Many who homeschool wish to teach their children that God is engaged in everyday life. For them, the school is an extension of the home. Schools should serve parents in the education of children. However, when state-run schools begin to serve a wholly secular agenda and deny parents the ability to train their children, they begin to do what the First Amendment says the state must never do: Establish religion.

In the landmark case Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Supreme Court asserted that children are not mere creatures of the state and that the state could not dictate where they went to school. German law is essentially asserting that the state knows more about children’s needs than parents. This is a dangerous threat to religious freedom and the Romeike family was right in seeking to teach their children the things that they believed to be true. The U.S. should be a place where those threatened because of their beliefs can come for refuge. It is sad when the ICE division of our Federal government ignores the importance of education as an expression of religious belief and works against granting families like the Romeikes asylum.

Cases like this have become more common in the current administration. The current administration sees a “freedom to worship” that is confined to the church and ends when you exit its doors. They do not recognize James’ teaching in the New Testament when he stated that a faith without works is dead. Freedom of religion has everything to do with practice. It is time our government recognized that.

I am glad my mother exercised her freedom of religion and chose to homeschool me all the way through high school. She and my father wanted me to be taught reading, writing and, arithmetic, all of which I could have received at a public school. But with those they also taught me the old fashioned, life changing, sin cleansing, grace receiving, others loving, Bible believing version of the wonderful gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And the freedom to teach those wonderful truths is priceless. If freedom of religion does not include a freedom to practice then freedom of religion is dead.

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