Month Archives: March 2013

What about Homosexuals Who Oppose Redefining Marriage?

by Peter Sprigg

March 20, 2013

Many of the people who advocate most vigorously for changing the definition of marriage to one that would include homosexual couples argue that the only possible reason for opposing such a change is “hate” toward homosexuals.

What, then, do they make of homosexuals who themselves oppose redefining marriage?

I met one such person when we both testified against the Maryland bill to redefine marriage last year. Doug Mainwaring is a Tea Party conservative—and identifies himself as gay.

He has become increasingly vocal and visible in defense of marriage as the union of a man and a woman—arguing, correctly, that such a definition is clearly designed to encourage responsible procreation, not to oppress homosexuals.

Check out his latest blog post (“Same-Sex Marriage: We’re Playing Chess, Not Checkers”) at The Public Discourse.

FRC in the News: March 20, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

March 20, 2013

On Being a Radical Evangelical

Rob Schwarzwalder, FRC’s Senior Vice-President, wrote an article featured in Religion Today regarding how young and old Evangelicals can learn from one another and encourages the younger generation to continue with their enthusiasm as long as it is done with humility and sound theology.

Perkins and Blackwell Speaks Out on Senator Rob Portman’s Statement on Marriage

FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, was interviewed on Fox News regarding Senator Rob Portman’s change on the marriage policy. Perkins stated: “Unconditional love is not the same as unconditional support.”

Ken Blackwell, FRC’s Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment, was interviewed on CNN News about his relationship with the Portman family and how public policy on marriage should still be between a man and a woman.

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s Record of Success

Ken Blackwell discusses how the Florida Governor Rick Scott has successfully helped boost the state’s economy in his recent article featured on Breitbart.com. Blackwell highlights how Scott has reformed government, cut taxes, and helped grow personal income for residents. Scott has also helped strengthen the pro-life movement, the Second Amendment, and education.

Defining Marriage: Do Infertile Couples Undermine the “Procreation Argument” One-Man-One-Woman Marriage?

by Peter Sprigg

March 20, 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 the fact that not all opposite-sex couples reproduce undermines the argument that the public purpose of marriage is related to procreation.

Are you saying that married couples who don’t have children (whether by choice, or because of infertility or age) aren’t really married? If we deny marriage to same-sex couples because they can’t reproduce, why not deny it to those couples, too?

A couple that doesn’t want children when they marry might change their minds. Birth control might fail for a couple that uses it. A couple that appears to be infertile may get a surprise and conceive a child. The marital commitment may deter an older man from conceiving children with a younger woman outside of marriage. Even a very elderly couple is of the structural type (i.e., a man and a woman) that could theoretically produce children (or could have in the past). And the sexual union of all such couples is of the same type as that which reproduces the human race, even if it does not have that effect in particular cases.

Admittedly, society’s tangible interest in marriages that do not produce children is less than its interest in marriages that result in the reproduction of the species. However, we still recognize childless marriages because it would be an invasion of a heterosexual couple’s privacy to require that they prove their intent or ability to bear children.

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—ever, 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.

Another way to view the relationship of marriage to reproduction is to turn the question around. Instead of asking whether actual reproduction is essential to marriage, ask this: If marriage never had anything to do with reproduction, would there be any reason for the government to be involved in regulating or rewarding it? Would we even tolerate the government intervening in such an intimate relationship, any more than if government defined the terms of who may be your “best friend?” The answer is undoubtedly “no”—which reinforces the conclusion that reproduction is a central (even if not obligatory) part of the social significance of marriage.

Indeed, the facts that a child cannot reproduce, that close relatives cannot reproduce without risk, and that it only takes one man and one woman to reproduce, are among the reasons why people are barred from marrying a child, a close blood relative, or a person who is already married. Concerns about reproduction are central to those restrictions on one’s choice of marriage partner—just as they are central to the restriction against “marrying” a person of the same sex.

Although not every opposite-sex couple reproduces, most do—and those that don’t are still able to provide both a mother and a father to any children they may adopt. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, can never reproduce as a natural result of their sexual intercourse, and deliberately deny either a mother or a father to any child they may raise. These undeniable and immutable differences provide clear, bright lines which easily justify classifying such couples differently under the law.

Defining Marriage: Is Same-Sex “Marriage” Like Interracial Marriage?

by Peter Sprigg

March 19, 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 laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman are comparable to the laws some U.S.states once had which banned interracial marriage.

Isn’t prohibiting homosexual “marriage” just as discriminatory as prohibiting interracial marriage, like some states used to do?

This analogy is superficially appealing, since both such laws involve some restriction on one’s choice of marriage partner. But no one has an unlimited choice of marriage partner, because no one can marry a child, a close blood relative, or a person who is already married. The differences between laws limiting marriage based on race and laws defining marriage based on the complementarity of the sexes are much greater.

Laws against interracial marriage served only the purpose of preserving a social system of racial segregation. This was both an unworthy goal and one utterly irrelevant to the fundamental nature of marriage.

Bridging the divide of the sexes by uniting men and women, on the other hand, is both a worthy goal and a part of the fundamental purpose of marriage, common to all human civilizations.

Ironically, this means that in one key respect, it is the supporters of marriage redefinition who resemble the opponents of interracial marriage. Both merely exploited the institution of marriage to advance a social goal that has nothing to do with the purpose of marriage, which is to promote responsible procreation. Virtually everyone now opposes the goal of one (racial segregation), whereas society remains sharply divided on the other (the forced affirmation of homosexual relationships), but this is ultimately irrelevant. Neither of these goals is related to the public purposes of marriage.

Allowing a black woman to marry a white man does not change the definition of marriage, which requires one man and one woman.  Allowing two men or two women to marry would change that fundamental definition.

Mind-Boggling Abortion Statistics from China

by Chris Gacek

March 18, 2013

The Financial Times has been doing excellent reporting related to Chinese demographics problems.  Of particular interest is China’s aging population which has been brought about in large measure to its zero-growth population policies that have been in place since the 1970s.  The most important aspect of these policies is the “one-child policy” which mandates forced abortions and sterilizations.

In a front-page article in the FT’s weekend edition Simon Rabinovitch, a reporter in the paper’s Beijing bureau, presented population data obtained from the Chinese health ministry:

China’s one-child policy has been the subject of a heated debate about its economic consequences as the population ages. Forced abortions and sterilisations have also been criticised by human rights campaigners such as Chen Guangcheng, the blind legal activist who sought refuge at the US embassy in Beijing last year.

China first introduced measures to limit the size of the population in 1971, encouraging couples to have fewer children. The one-child rule, with exceptions for ethnic minorities and some rural families, was implemented at the end of the decade.

Since 1971, doctors have performed 336m abortions and 196m sterilisations, the data reveal. They have also inserted 403m intrauterine devices, a normal birth control procedure in the west but one that local officials often force on women in China.  (my emphasis).

The magnitude of these figures is staggering.  By comparison, at present there are 315 million people living in the United States.  Rabinovitch does not really tell where the data came from within the Chinese government, but these are pretty specific numbers that make sense.  In short, we are talking about a maximum of 336 million Chinese who would be under the age of 42 – the peak working years.

Defining Marriage: The “Right” to Marry

by Peter Sprigg

March 18, 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 laws defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman deprive some people of the “right” to marry.

Q—Doesn’t defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman deprive homosexuals of a fundamental right?

The fundamental “right to marry” is a right that rests with individuals, not with couples. Although most states do not permit couples of the same sex to marry, homosexual individuals already have exactly the same “right” to marry as anyone else. Marriage license applications do not inquire as to a person’s “sexual orientation.”

Those who are dubious of such an argument may be operating on the false assumption that homosexuality is and inborn and immutable trait. However, many people who now identify themselves as homosexual have previously been in legal (opposite-sex) marriages. On the other hand, many people who previously had homosexual relationships have now renounced that behavior and married persons of the opposite sex. If we define a “homosexual” as anyone who has ever experienced homosexual attractions, then both of these scenarios represent “homosexual” individuals who have exercised their right to be legally married.

(Indeed, one of the principal plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 court case—a woman named Sandra Stier, who seeks to “marry” her partner, a woman named Kristin Perry—testified at trial that she had been legally married—to a man—for twelve years; and had two biological children with him. Stier testified that she only “learned” she was a lesbian “in my mid-thirties.” Even when pressed further by her own lawyer, at no time did she testify that she is now a lesbian in the sense of having an enduring pattern of sexual attraction to women in general—instead, the only evidence she offered of her current “sexual orientation” was the statement, “I have fallen in love one time and it’s with Kris.”)

Because, in our culture, sexual attraction is generally considered an important factor in one’s choice of marriage partner, there is no question that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman has a “disparate impact” on the ability of a person sexually attracted to the same sex to marry the person of his or her choice. (Legally, the question of “disparate impact” is separate from the issue of “facial discrimination,” which is absent from the marriage laws).

However, while every individual person is free to get married, no person, whether heterosexual or homosexual, has ever had a legal right to marry simply any willing partner. Every person, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is subject to legal restrictions as to whom they may marry. To be specific, every person, regardless of sexual preference, is legally barred from marrying a child, a close blood relative, a person who is already married, or a person of the same sex. 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.

Some people may wish to do away with one or more of these longstanding restrictions upon one’s choice of marital partner. However, the fact that a tiny but vocal minority of Americans desire to have someone of the same sex as a partner does not mean that they have a “right” to do so, any more than the desires of other tiny (but less vocal) minorities of Americans give them a “right” to choose a child, their own brother or sister, or a group of two or more as their marital partners.

Those who choose not to enter into a male-female union—whether because of their sexual orientation, or from any other reason—are not being denied the “right” to marry. They are, like those who choose celibacy, singleness, cohabitation, or polyamory, simply choosing not to marry—that is, choosing not to enter the type of relationship that is rationally defined as a “marriage.” They have every right to choose a non-marital lifestyle, even if it is one (like heterosexual cohabitation) that resembles marriage in some respects. What they do not have is a “right” to change the essential definition of marriage itself.

Matt Salmon: We’ve got to show the American people that we’ve got heart, we’ve got backbone

by FRC Media Office

March 15, 2013

Tony Perkins: Fiscal matters are front and center here in Washington, at least recently. And a few seem to be on the same page. Now last week House Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution, which the Senate is now considering, and Paul Ryan released his budget proposal yesterday, as we talked about just a few moments ago. The White House and its allies in Congress clearly refused to take the fiscal state of the nation seriously. But there is a growing number of conservatives in the House who are saying “enough is enough!” And one of those leaders is Congressman Matt Salmon. Congressman Salmon was elected to represent Arizona’s 5th district in November. But, it isn’t his first time here inWashington. It’s not his first rodeo. He previously served 3 terms and left Congress in 2000, honored a self-imposed term limit. After the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act and the expansion of government regulation during an economic crisis, Congressman Salmon answered the call to serve and we’re grateful that he did because he’s stirring things up and he’s joining me now to talk about that right here on Washington Watch. Congressman, welcome to the program.

Rep. Matt Salmon: Tony, it’s an honor beyond measure to be on your show, thank you.

Tony Perkins: Well, thank you and let me tell you what a breath of fresh air you are and you’ve given your experience, I’ve just seen it as I’ve talked to other freshman and even sophomore members who, you know, kind of kept at bay by not knowing the system. You’ve come in and you’ve provided a little context and experience and I’m beginning to see some stuff gel…

Rep. Matt Salmon: Oh, you will…

Tony Perkins: And I think, I think folks need to hear this because to me it’s encouraging. Tell us what’s happening.

Rep. Matt Salmon: Well, what’s happening is for the last couple of years I think that the cadre of new recruits that came into Washington D.C., most of them via the Tea Party, came in ready to change the world and stand up for conservative principles across the board.  And what they quickly found was that many times they would vote by their own Republican leadership on a lot of things but, more particularly on fiscal issues, and I’ve just kind of tried to let them know unequivocally that it doesn’t have to be that way. When I was in Congress before, we were very vocal about fighting for Conservative principles and when our leadership strayed, we did everything that we could to pull them back into the fray and that included sometimes voting against bad rules. Let me explain that, Tony, because what most Americans don’t understand, it becomes very much an inside the insider’s game or inside the beltway dialogue. But I want people to understand that every bill that comes to the U.S. House floor has to first have a rule passed by the Rules Committee when the bill can come to the floor. The rule determines what amendments can be available or allowed, if any. It determines the length of debate, determines the rules of engagement. And what happens all too often is that a rule has passed that basically ensures that the bill is going to stay a certain way and so what members will do because it’s kind of sacrosanct almost that you just don’t vote against Republican rules, that you just don’t do that. And so they vote for the rule and then vote against the bill. Well, why do that? We should, if we have an opportunity to kill the bill by voting against the rule and it’s a bad bill, then let’s use every tool in the tool box to stop bad legislation from happening.  Last week, an example was the Continuing Resolution. There were a lot of good things about the Continuing Resolution, but one of the things we conservatives wanted to offer was an amendment to that Continuing Resolution which would have defunded ObamaCare. And that was disallowed. In fact, the rule that was passed in the Rules Committee basically was a closed rule which disallowed any amendments and so now Ted Cruz on the Senate side is picking up the fight and trying to fight against funding ObamaCare in the Continuing Resolution, but we conservatives in the House never even got an opportunity to vote. Now I’m going to tell you, Tony, had we got a chance to vote for that amendment it would have passed overwhelmingly and we would have sent to the Senate a bill that defunded Obamacare and we would have, I think, advanced the debate that all, pretty much all of our congress believes in and if we’re going to win, you have to be on the offense, you can’t play defense and win a basketball game or a football game or anything. It’s the same in Congress, if you’re not on the offense, you can’t win and we’ve got to show the American people that we’ve got heart, we’ve got backbone, and that we stand for what we believe in.

Tony Perkins: You’re absolutely right and you wrote about that in an op-ed that was published this past Monday in Washington Times. I thought it was great. I thought it was a bold declaration long-overdue to get this out there. Most people don’t, as you said it’s kind of inside baseball. There’s so many instances like that that have occurred. There was previously…well let me stop for a minute. I want to get your take on this because I often say this on this program because many of your colleagues up there have been good friends of mine over the last 10 years and I think we have, in terms of the membership, we have one of the most conservative Congresses…

Rep. Matt Salmon: We do!

Tony Perkins: In our history…

Rep. Matt Salmon: We do. In fact, it’s far more conservative than the Republican House that I served in back in the 90’s and even with that Congress we balanced the budget for the first time in 40 years. We were able to pass meaningful welfare reform that has cut the roles of welfare by over 50 percent. I mean, good things were accomplished, but by and large I think that the Congress now is far more conservative and that’s why it’s so quizzical to me that they’re not willing to fight on some of these rules. Because, we’re going to keep getting bad stuff if we don’t stand up and tell the leadership unequivocally “We are going to stand for limited government. We are going to stand for Republican conservative principles and if you’re not going to adhere to that, then we’re going to take the rules down.” And that’s the op-ed that I penned on Monday with the Washington Times and I’ll tell you, Tony, it’s gone viral. I mean, all these different conservative groups acrossAmerica said, “Finally, you know, we’ve got an idea that we can all get behind.” So, in fact, several groups have said “In our endorsement process, we’re going to ask them: Do you support that concept?” They’re now calling it the “Salmon Rule.” I don’t care what it’s called, but the idea is: “Are you willing to have a backbone and stand up for conservative principles?” Because the American people that got us here, they’re not partial to the elephant over donkey, they are partial to what we stand for and if we don’t stand for that, they’re not going to put us back in office again.

Tony Perkins: I agree 100 percent with you. Let me ask you though, what’s been the response on the Hill from your colleagues a, and b, the leadership?

Rep. Matt Salmon: Well, the leadership, predictably, is not too excited about it.

Tony Perkins: (laughing)

Rep. Matt Salmon: You know, [they] don’t like to have to take their medicine. We’re practicing a little bit of “tough love” here. But the rank in file, I’ve gotten extremely positive comments. In fact, on the Continuing Resolution last week with a very minimal effort we were able to get sixteen “no” votes on the rule. One more vote, 17, and we[’d] beat the rule. And so I think this is going to reach a critical mass. I think, Tony, if groups like Family Research Council and other conservative groups out there start telling the members of Congress: “Get behind this idea. We need to change the way things are inWashingtonD.C. We cannot let President Obama keep advancing his agenda. We’ve got to stop it at every turn. You are the last bastion of freedom for this country and we’re counting on you, so use every tool in your toolbox.”

Tony Perkins: Yeah, what I have seen is that the Republicans seem to be too concerned about keeping the majority than using it.

Rep. Matt Salmon: And you know, if that’s where we’re at, then you will lose it. And the Parable of the 10 Talents in the Bible, the one that buried up his talents and was afraid, you know, that he would lose them, you know, lost everything in the end.  And that’s the way we do anything in life. If we’re not willing to be bold and stand on correct principles and do whatever it takes, then we lose. And if we’re not willing to risk… You think about what the founding fathers risked when they started… There are a lot of examples, but the founding fathers, when they went in and signed the Declaration of Independence, they risked everything that they had. They risked their life, their liberty, their families, their possessions, everything that they had for what they believed in. If all that I have to risk is losing an election, that’s nothing compared to what they had to risk. And the last thing that I’d like to say is that you never win when you play “just to not lose.”

Yesterday (Thursday, March 14), Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) joined FRC President Tony Perkins for the Washington Watch with Tony Perkins radio show.  Below is a transcript of the interview.

Tony Perkins: Absolutely, I’ve said that so many times. What I see in Congress right now, going back to what we talked about a few moments ago, about how this is the most conservative Congress, in terms of the membership-House in modern time. It’s like there’s been new wine put into old wineskins, and there needs to be a change and I think what you’re doing is sparking either a course correction from the leadership or possibly a change of leadership. And I just, I think that people are frustrated all across the country and when they hear folks like you, and I can tell you our phone lines are lit up because when they hear folks like you they get encouraged and it gives them a reason to stay engaged and stay involved so I want to send you kudos from all of our folks across the country.

Rep. Matt Salmon: Tony, it’s their prayers and their goodness and their kindness that keep us going here in Congress more than they know and I’ve been approached many times at conferences and speeches and people set in place, and I want them to know that there’s nothing more powerful in the entire universe than the power of prayer and we appreciate it.

Tony Perkins: Let me, speaking of speeches, let me extend to you an invitation to join us in October at the Values Voter Summit here in Washington where we’ll have a few thousand conservatives from across the country gathered here and I think they need to hear your message because I think they will be energized and it will cause them to get more engaged.

Rep. Matt Salmon: I will be honored to do that. You can count on me.

Tony Perkins: Alright. Matt, thank you so much for being with us and, again, thanks for your leadership on Capitol Hill.

Rep. Matt Salmon: Thank you. 

FRC in the News: March 15, 2013

by Nicole Hudgens

March 15, 2013

Anna Higgins and David Prentice Speak Out for the Unborn in Bismarck

FRC’s Anna Higgins and David Prentice spoke at a recent hearing in Bismarck North Dakota in favor of a SB 2368. “The bill bans abortions after 20 fertilization except to prevent the death of the mother or prevent serious medical complications” and “Physicians who perform an abortion after 20 weeks could face a Class C felony and fines,” according to the Bismarck Tribune article.

The Supreme Court’s First Assault on Marriage 

FRC’s Director of MARRI, Dr. Pat Fagan, wrote an article featured in Charisma News about the decision of Eisenstadt v. Baird, which overturned aMassachusetts state law that permitted sale of contraceptives to married couples only. Dr. Fagan discusses the repercussions of the decision that impacts marriage and children today.

On the Announcement of Pope Francis 

FRC’s Cathy Ruse was interviewed on Larry Kudlow’s show (CNBC) about the recent announcement of the new Catholic Pope Francis.

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

FRC’s Peter Sprigg co-wrote and article in Christian Post about how Christians standing for Biblical marriage is not an act of “hate” toward those who practice homosexuality. As Sprigg states:

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.”

Alcohol Abuse and American Faith

FRC’s Anna Dorminey wrote an insightful article featured in Christian Post that discusses the possible link of weekly worship with decrease of alcohol abuse. Dorminey highlights MARRI’s research on those who worship weekly as well as cites MARRI’s 95 Science Reasons for Religious Worship and Practice. Dorminey states:

“Foundational to the teachings of many religions, and certainly to the Christian religion, is the principle that human beings are deeply valuable and that human life is a thing to be protected and spent with great joy and intentionality. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that the body of a Christian believer is a temple. Perhaps it is the internalization of this belief – that my flesh is home to my soul and the Spirit of God and merits care – that reduces the individual tendency to abuse substances.”

Defining Marriage: What Marriage Is

by Peter Sprigg

March 15, 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 sociological and anthropological definitions of what marriage is, across all times and cultures.

If marriage is not just about the law, or companionship, or a sexual relationship—what is marriage, then?

Some aspects of marriage—particular rituals and traditions surrounding it, and particularly the roles played by the wife and the husband—have been subject to variation and change in different times and places. However, until the political correctness of the last decade or two pushed it underground, there was a virtually universal consensus that a male-female union was not an optional aspect of marriage, but was essential to it. Following are some statements on marriage from key scholars through the years that reinforce this:

Marriage is generally used as a term for a social institution… Marriage always implies the right to sexual intercourse: society holds such intercourse allowable in the case of husband and wife… At the same time, marriage is something more than a regulated sexual relation… It is the husband’s duty…to support his wife and children… That the functions of the husband and father in the family are not merely of the sexual and procreative kind, but involve the duty of protecting the wife and children, is testified by an array of facts… . 

Edward Westermarck, The History of Human Marriage, Vol. I, (New York: The Allerton Book Company, 1922), p. 26, 46, 27.

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The family is a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation, and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more children, own or adopted, of the sexually cohabiting adults. The family is to be distinguished from marriage, which is a complex of customs centering upon the relationship between a sexually associating pair of adults within the family.”

Three distinct types of family organization emerge from our survey of 250 representative human societies. The first and most basic, called herewith the nuclear family, consists typically of a married man and woman and their offspring, although in individual cases one or more additional persons may reside with them.

George Peter Murdock (Yale anthropologist), Social Structure, (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1949), p. 1-2.

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 “The family….is based on marriage, which is defined as a union between a man and a woman such that children borne by the woman are recognized as the legitimate offspring of both partners.”

A Committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Notes and Queries on Anthropology, 6th ed. (London: Routledge & Keegan Paul, 1951) p. 71.

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Thus seen, marriage is a contractual union of a man and a woman and involves sexual privilege, economic cooperation, cohabitation, the production of children, and responsibility for the children’s care, socialization, and education. If the marriage is fruitful, the resulting social unit is a nuclear or elementary family. Marriage is thus the social transaction that establishes a nuclear family. Other definitions of marriage – variously phrased as a union of a man and woman in which they are the jural father and mother of the children born to the woman or in which the woman’s children are regarded as their legitimate offspring imply the same thing: marriage establishes the jural basis for a group consisting of a man, a woman, and their children…”

Ward Hunt Goodenough, Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures at the Universityof Rochester, Description and Comparison in Cultural Anthropology, (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co., 1970), p. 4.

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All known human societies recognize the existence of the sexual pair-bond and give it formal sanction in the form of marriage. With only a handful of exceptions presently to be examined, married pairs are not only expected to copulate with each other, but to cooperate in the raising of offspring and to extend to each other material help. …[M]arriage is nevertheless the cultural codification of a biological program. Marriage is the socially sanctioned pair-bond for the avowed social purpose of procreation.”

Pierre L. van den Berghe, Human Family Systems: An Evolutionary View, (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1979, 1990) pp. 45, 46.

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Marriage is a relationship within which a group socially approves and encourages sexual intercourse and the birth of children… Marriage is not usually a transaction confined to the bride and groom. It extends beyond them, to include members of their own families or kin group.”

 

Suzanne G. Frayser, Varieties of Sexual Experience: An Anthropological Perspective on Human Sexuality, (New Haven, Conn: Human Relations Area Files Press, 1985), p. 248, 269.

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The universality of kinship terminologies provides a further case of cultural reflection or recognition of cultural fact. A kinship terminology is that linguistic domain (discrete set of terms) found among every people, in which domain most or all terms are translatable by the terms required for sexual reproduction, or combinations of them: father, mother, son, daughter…Marriage – which is distinct from procreation, per se – so regularly impinges on kinship terminologies that it is usually counted as one of the two fundamental building blocks of kinship. Accordingly, the father and mother of an individual are normally husband and wife.”

Donald Brown, anthropologist, Human Universals, (Boston: McGraw Hill, 1991), p. 93.

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In an overwhelming majority of human societies, marriage is the mechanism which provides for the legitimation of children and defines their status in relationship to the conjugal family and the wider kin group.”

Alan Barnard, “Rules and Prohibitions: The Form and Content of Human Kinship,” in Companion Encyclopedia of Anthropology, ed. Tim Ingold (London: Routledge, 1994),

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Because heterosexuality is directly related to both reproduction and survival, and because it involves much more than copulation, every human society has had to promote it actively (although some have also allowed homosexuality in specific circumstances). And marriage is the major way of doing so. It has always required a massive cultural effort involving myths or theologies, rituals, rewards, privileges, and so on. Heterosexuality is always fostered as a cultural norm, in other words, not merely allowed as one “lifestyle choice” among many. Some norms vary greatly from one society to another, to be sure, but others—-along with the very existence of norms—-are universal. So deeply embedded in consciousness are these that few people are actually aware of them. The result, in any case, is a “privileged” status for heterosexuality. Postmodernists are not wrong in identifying it as such, but they are wrong in assuming that any society can do without it. Not surprisingly, comparative research reveals a pattern: Marriage has universal or nearly universal features and variable ones.

Its universal features include the fact that marriage (a) encourages procreation under specific conditions; (b) recognizes the interdependence of men and women; (c) defines eligible partners; (d) is supported by authority and incentives; (e) has a public dimension; and (f) provides mutual support not only between men and women but also between them and children. Its nearly universal features are (a) an emphasis on durable relationships between biological parents; (b) mutual affection and companionship; (c) family (or political) alliances; and (d) an intergenerational cycle (reciprocity between young and old). These features assume the distinctive contributions of both sexes, transmit knowledge from one generation to another, and create not only “vertical” links between the generations but also “horizontal” ones between allied families or communities.

 . . .

We conclude that every society needs a public heterosexual culture, specifically marriage, to foster five things: (a) the birth and rearing of children (at least to the extent necessary for demographic continuity) in culturally approved ways; (b) the bonding between men and women in order to provide an appropriate setting for maturing children and to ensure the cooperation of men and women for the common good; (c) the bonding between men and children so that men are likely to become active participants in family life; (d) some healthy form of masculine identity—-that is, an identity based on at least one distinctive, necessary, and publicly valued contribution to society (responsible fatherhood being one obvious example); and (e) the transformation of adolescents into sexually responsible adults.”

Katherine K. Young and Paul Nathanson [note: Nathanson is himself openly homosexual], Marriage a la mode: Answering the Advocates of Gay Marriage, 2003

[Note: Most of the quotations here are drawn from a compilation by Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family:

Glenn T. Stanton, Differing Definitions of Marriage and Family: Comparing and Contrasting Those Offered by Emerging Same-Sex Marriage Advocates and Classic Anthropologists, Focus on the Family,March 10, 2008]

Awesome

by Robert Morrison

March 15, 2013

Since coming to faith, I’ve tried to reserve the word awesome for God and for those things that are of God. It just seems to me the praise song, Our God is an Awesome God, got it right:

Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love
Our God is an awesome God
And when the sky was starless
In the void of the night
(Our God is an awesome God)
He spoke into the darkness
And created the light
(Our God is an awesome God)

At a recent funeral for a retired captain at the Naval Academy Chapel, the bulletin included an email he sent his wife several years ago. The captain was writing from a ship in Antarctica. “I wish all the atheists in America could be here right now. It’s dawn and we are surrounded by icebergs.” He went on to describe the ineffable beauty of a sunrise over one of the most inaccessible points on earth. The icebergs were painted pink by the sun’s rays. That was awesome.

I resisted saying I wish the captain’s wish had been granted. I don’t really wish all the atheists in America were in Antarctica!

This video is awesome. Dr. Alexander Tsiaris is a professor of medicine at Yale. Can anything good come from Yale? Yes! This video was featured on the TED Weekend series and featured on the HuffingtonPost website.

Dr. Tsiaris observation of the phenomenon known as collagen is awesome. When talking about how collagen is found throughout the body and is always a cloudy substance, except in the eye, Dr. Tsiaris says with becoming humility: “It’s hard not to attribute divinity to it.” I just hope Dr. Tsiaris has tenure.

Watching Dr. Tsiaris’s video brought me back some to my own college biology class. Dr. Howard Hamilton was a beloved professor at University of Virginia. He always lectured wearing his white lab coat and he used multi-colored chalk to illustrate his points. He spoke to packed sections of some four hundred undergraduates. At that time, only men were admitted to UVA as undergraduates. So, it was highly amusing when Dr. Hamilton showed us a film of a live birth. One of our biggest and brawniest football players passed out. It was that awesome.

Awesome is what we experience when we see an ultra-sound of our own children, or our grandchildren. To see this new life developing within the mother’s womb is a miracle.

The French phrase en ventre sa mere came into our language as a legal principle. It means “in his mother’s womb.” The term is used to explain that a child in the mother’s womb can inherit property if the father dies before he or she is born. It also means that after birth, the child can sue for injuries inflicted while in the womb.

Dr. Tsiaris’s amazing lecture doesn’t say a word about abortion. He doesn’t have to.

When you see the incredibly delicate formation of the child’s limbs and organs you gain an enhanced appreciation of our relationship with the unborn child. It does not matter if he calls it an embryo or fetus. He is showing even unbelievers how God knits us together in our mother’s womb.

The truth is so palpable, so unavoidable, that even some very liberal folks get it. TIME magazine’s Joe Klein wrote a surprisingly appreciative column giving credit to former Sen. Rick Santorum last year. In that column, Klein explained the surge in support for the pro-life position, noting science’s increasing ability to show us the world within:

…as sonograms have made it impossible to deny that from a very early stage, that thing in the womb is a human life.”

This is most welcome, especially coming from Joe Klein and TIME magazine. The danger, however, is that everyone will acknowledge the child in the womb is a human life and say: “So what? We don’t care if the killing continues.” If our hearts were to become so hardened and the voice of conscience within us so stifled, we would lose our own humanity.

In the meantime, there is a law written on our hearts. That law tells us to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. And that still small voice that speaks to us is powerfully amplified by such films as Dr. Tiaris has made.

There is only one word for it: Awesome.

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