Author archives: Peter Sprigg

Everything Youve Heard About Dont Ask, Dont Tell is Wrong

by Peter Sprigg

February 4, 2010

One thing I have noticed in the debate over homosexuals in the military is that roughly 99.5% of the American public, including 99.5% of long-time Washington political reporters and 99.5% of members of Congress, believe three key things about the issue.

  1. The current policy regarding homosexuals in the military is governed by a law known as Dont Ask, Dont Tell.
  2. Under current law, homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military as long as they are not open about their sexual orientation.
  3. Doing away with Dont Ask, Dont Tell would allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

Each of these three statements is false.

Dont Ask, Dont Tell is not the law of the land. It was a compromise policy announced by the Clinton Administration in July of 1993, after their original proposal to simply open the military to homosexuals was widely rejected.[i]

When Congress adopted legislation on this issue in November of 1993, they did not say that homosexuals were welcome to serve in the military. On the contrary, they declared, The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.[ii]

Doing away with the Dont Ask, Dont Tell policy would only allow more consistent enforcement of the current law against homosexuality in the military, unless Congress were to also repeal the law that they adopted in 1993.

For the record, here are the findings that Congress madeand that President Clinton signed into lawin 1993. This is the current law regarding homosexuality in the military:

Congress makes the following findings:

`(1) Section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States commits exclusively to the Congress the powers to raise and support armies, provide and maintain a Navy, and make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

`(2) There is no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.

`(3) Pursuant to the powers conferred by section 8 of article I of the Constitution of the United States, it lies within the discretion of the Congress to establish qualifications for and conditions of service in the armed forces.

`(4) The primary purpose of the armed forces is to prepare for and to prevail in combat should the need arise.

`(5) The conduct of military operations requires members of the armed forces to make extraordinary sacrifices, including the ultimate sacrifice, in order to provide for the common defense.

`(6) Success in combat requires military units that are characterized by high morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.

`(7) One of the most critical elements in combat capability is unit cohesion, that is, the bonds of trust among individual service members that make the combat effectiveness of a military unit greater than the sum of the combat effectiveness of the individual unit members.

`(8) Military life is fundamentally different from civilian life in that—

`(A) the extraordinary responsibilities of the armed forces, the unique conditions of military service, and the critical role of unit cohesion, require that the military community, while subject to civilian control, exist as a specialized society; and

`(B) the military society is characterized by its own laws, rules, customs, and traditions, including numerous restrictions on personal behavior, that would not be acceptable in civilian society.

`(9) The standards of conduct for members of the armed forces regulate a member’s life for 24 hours each day beginning at the moment the member enters military status and not ending until that person is discharged or otherwise separated from the armed forces.

`(10) Those standards of conduct, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, apply to a member of the armed forces at all times that the member has a military status, whether the member is on base or off base, and whether the member is on duty or off duty.

`(11) The pervasive application of the standards of conduct is necessary because members of the armed forces must be ready at all times for worldwide deployment to a combat environment.

`(12) The worldwide deployment of United States military forces, the international responsibilities of the United States, and the potential for involvement of the armed forces in actual combat routinely make it necessary for members of the armed forces involuntarily to accept living conditions and working conditions that are often spartan, primitive, and characterized by forced intimacy with little or no privacy.

`(13) The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service.

`(14) The armed forces must maintain personnel policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create an unacceptable risk to the armed forces’ high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.

`(15) The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.


[i] Susan Yoachum and Carolyn Lochhead, Clinton Orders New Gay-GI Policy: He concedes few will like compromise, The San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 1993, p. A1.

[ii] National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1994, Public Law 103-160, November 30, 1993, Title V, Subtitle G, Sec. 571, Policy Concerning Homosexuality in the Armed Forces (10 U.S.C. 654); online at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c103:5:./temp/~c103HPMAIr:e399464:

Funerals, Domestic Partners, and the Meaning of Marriage

by Peter Sprigg

January 11, 2010

On January 5, both houses of the Rhode Island legislature overrode (by large margins) Gov. Donald Carcieris veto of a bill that would have given “domestic partners” the authority to make funeral arrangements for one another. Providence Journal columnist Bob Kerr was one who took the governor to task (Carcieris heartless, but not surprising piece of work, November 13, 2009).

Toward the end of this article, Kerr says “if you could let me know exactly what traditional marriage is I’d appreciate it.” Perhaps as good a definition as any is that offered by scholar David Blankenhorn in his 2007 book, The Future of Marriage. He writes:

In all or nearly all human societies, marriage is socially approved sexual intercourse between a woman and a man, conceived both as a personal relationship and as an institution, primarily such that any children resulting from that union are—and are understood by the society to be—emotionally, morally, practically, and legally affiliated with both of the parents… . It also reflects one idea that does not change: For every child, a mother and a father.”

Kerr says, “I always thought it [marriage] was a lasting commitment between two people who love each other.” This sentence describes marriage but it does not define it. To say this about marriage, and conclude that same-sex relationships can be marriages too, is somewhat like saying, “An automobile is a wheeled vehicle of transportation—and therefore a bicycle is an automobile, too.”

In the scope of human history, “love” is a fairly recent addition to most people’s concept of marriage. Many cultures have practiced arranged marriages in which “love” is not a prerequisite, yet no anthropologists would suggest that these are not “marriages.” Even “commitment,” while desirable in marriage, is not a requirement for it. Some people who divorce lack commitment, but it does not mean that their marriage never existed.

No, the one essential, irreducible characteristic necessary for marriage is the presence of both a man and a woman. Some cultures have allowed polygamous marriages with more than one man or woman, but never less than one of each.

The reason why the marriage of a man and a woman is privileged over all other human relationships, and treated as a social institution rather than as a purely private liaison, is because it is the only relationship capable of naturally reproducing the human race. This is an essential social function, without which society cannot survive. The male-female union is the one absolutely necessary relationship.

Of course, not every opposite-sex couple has children, or intends to. But it is a mistake to base the definition of marriage on the reasons why individual couples choose to marry. The real issue is why society treats marriage as a public institutionand the answer is because of its role in the procreation and rearing of the next generation.

This legislation was largely prompted by a man named Mark Goldberg and his frustrations following the death of his partner Ron Hanby. These circumstances were sadand almost unique. Few people die without having any living family members (family being defined as people related by blood, marriage, or adoption) to make decisions regarding their remains. It is a cliche in the legal profession that hard cases make bad law. This was a hard caseand made, unfortunately, for a bad piece of legislation. To deal with a situation like Mark Goldbergs by creating an entirely new, quasi-marital, legally recognized domestic relationship (domestic partners) under state law is like swatting a bee with a hammer.

Gov. Carcieri is absolutely right in saying such laws lead to an incremental erosion of marriage. We have seen exactly that process unfold in the states that have moved (either judicially or legislatively) toward redefining marriage in recent years.

Ironically, the explanation for why Bill S 0195 is unnecessary is found in the text of the bill itself. It delegates decision-making authority regarding funeral arrangements to a domestic partner only [t]o the extent that there is no funeral services contract in effect at the time of death for the benefit of the deceased person. In other words, people in same-sex relationships already have the ability to delegate to their partner decision-making regarding their funeral arrangementssimply by preparing a funeral services contract. Such a contract completely does away with any need for a blood relative to make decisions, and indeed overrides any choices that a relative might attempt to make.

If gay rights activists really want to help people like Ron Hanby and Mark Goldberg, they should work at educating people how to complete a funeral services contractnot exploit a tragic situation to create a Trojan horse for the redefinition of marriage.

Persecution for the Brit Hume Witness

by Peter Sprigg

January 6, 2010

The liberal blogosphere has erupted in outrage over comments by Fox News analyst Brit Hume on Fox News Sunday (which he reiterated to Bill OReilly on Monday) suggesting that Tiger Woods life might improve if he were tobrace yourself!become a Christian. Specifically, when asked for 2010 predictions, Hume said:

Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question, and it’s a tragic situation for him. I think he’s lost his family, it’s not clear to me if he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children, but the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of this scandal — the extent to which he can recover — seems to me to depend on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist; I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”

That anyone should be surprisedlet alone shockedwhen a Christian recommends Christianity is itself perhaps an illustration of the depths to which our society, the media (and perhaps American Christianity) have fallen. But shocked they are. Darts of derision should be aimed at Hume, declares the Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales. First off, apologize. You gotta.

Apparently, Humes apologetics require an apology not just because he violated the well-known constitutional principle of the separation of church and television (?), but because he expressed his heretical disbelief in the scientific theory that all religions are equally valuable and effective.

Several things should be pointed out here. First of all, the depth of Woods Buddhism is questionable. When asked directly in a videotaped interview with Reuters in 2008,

Are you a practicing Buddhist? Woods replied, Umm . . . I practice meditation. Thats something that I dosomething my mom taught me over the years. Referring to his Buddhist mother, he added that we have a thing we do each and every year, we always go to temple together. So to call Tiger Woods a Buddhist is like saying that a person who prays and goes to church once a year is a Christian. I think most practicing Christians (and probably most practicing Buddhists) would have a higher standard.

However, even if we assume that Mr. Woods identifies enough with Buddhism to take offense at Humes commentshould he? Has Brit Hume slandered Buddhists by mischaracterizing their theology? Not really. Barbara OBrien, author of Barbaras Buddhism Blog, admits, Mr. Hume is right, in a sense, that Buddhism doesnt offer redemption and forgiveness in the same way Christianity does. Buddhism has no concept of sin; therefore, redemption and forgiveness in the Christian sense are meaningless in Buddhism.

Buddhism is a religion of works, in contrast to Christianity, which is a religion of faith and of grace. Woods himself showed his understanding of this in the same Reuters interview, saying:

In the Buddhist religion, you have to work for it yourself, internally, in order to achieve anything in lifeand, in Buddhism, set up the next life. But its all about what you do and the internal work. So, thats one thing [my mothers] always preached is you have to work for everything in your life, and you get out of it what you put into it.

The problem is, if Tiger Woods now gets out of this life what hes put into his moral life, hes in a heap of trouble. Buddhism is not tolerant of sexual libertinismeven Barbara the Buddhist Blogger agrees that its fairly plain that Mr. Woodss conduct has been falling short of the Third Precept. If Buddhism is true, not only is there no redemption for him in this life, but because of reincarnation, Woods will be paying a price in the next life as well. According to Eerdmanns’ Handbook to the Worlds Religions, in Buddhism, [G]ood works automatically bring about a good rebirth, bad works a bad one.

Brit Hume was simply, and accurately, pointing out the difference between this Buddhist view and the Christian one. Another book on comparative religions notes that in Christianity, [W]hen the commandments are broken and sin is committed, the believer has recourse by repenting and receiving absolution by the Christ who atoned for sin (1 John 1:9). No such recourse is available to the Buddhist.

So it would appear that Brit Hume was accurate in his description of both Buddhist and Christian theology. But did he still do something wrong in suggesting that Woods should accept Christ? The Posts Shales thinks so, asking indignantly, [I]s it really his job to run around trying to drum up new business? He doesnt have the authority, does he, unless one believes that every Christian by mandate must proselytize?

The word proselytize is usually used pejoratively and sometimes with an implication of coercion. But the dictionary definition is simply, to induce someone to convert to ones faith. By that definitionyes, Mr. Shales, it is his job and he does have the authority. According to the Bible, both (the job and the authority) were given by Jesus to his followers shortly before he ascended into heaven. Christians call it The Great Commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of [i.e., proselytize] all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you … (Matthew 28:19-20a, NASB)

Brit Hume has every right to share his faith on television, and he should be commended for doing so, not condemned for it. Tiger Woods, of course, has an equal right to tell Brit Hume to go jump in a lake. Everyone else should lay off.

But Woods would do better to listen to Humes counsel, and heed it.

Media Matters Nixonian Defense of Kevin JenningsHe Is Not a Crook

by Peter Sprigg

December 16, 2009

Several weeks after radical homosexual activist Kevin Jennings was appointed to head the Office of Safe & Drug Free Schools in the Department of Education, FRC released a detailed paper listing seven reasons why Mr. Jennings is unfit for this post. One of those seven charges was, By his own account, Jennings failed to protect the safety of a homosexual student he once counseled when working as a teachera student who told Jennings (according to Jennings own account) that I met somebody in the bus station bathroom and went home with him.

Even though Jennings himself issued a statement in September admitting, I should have handled the situation differently, the liberal website Media Matters seems determined to keep arguing that Jennings did nothing wrong. In particular, they have focused on the very narrow issue (which has been raised by Jennings own account of the incident) of whether Jennings might have violated mandatory reporting laws, which impose a legal requirement upon teachers to report suspected sexual abuse of minors to the authorities.

Media Matters appears to be operating on the assumption that consensual sexual relations between a teenaged boy and a much older adult man can only be considered abuse if they violate statutory rape lawsthat is, if the teen is below the legal age of consent, which in Massachusetts is 16. Media Matters claims to have located the actual boy (now a grown man) involved in the incident, and to have proven that he was 16 years old at the time. This is the very thin reed on which Media Matters is resting its defense of Jenningsan argument, in essence, that the boy was 16 so everythings OK!

Yesterday, they attacked a new video about Jennings that FRC recently released. I would point out that in the narration of the film (as Media Matters even quoted), we said the boy was “believed to be 15 or 16.” But, as was carefully documented in our June paper, the source of the information that the boy was 15 wasKevin Jennings! How do we know he said this? There is a recording of his voice saying that the boy was 15. Jennings has told other versions of the story in which he says the boy was 16, but the fact that his several versions of this story are mutually incompatible proves only one thing with absolute certaintyJennings is a liar (or to put it more generouslyhe has fictionalized the story for dramatic effect). And Jennings has refused to answer questions or clarify the inconsistencies in his accounts of the incident.

As to the mandatory reporting issue—if Jennings believed (even wrongly) that the boy was 15 (as he has been recorded saying he did), then Jennings clearly acted in willful disregard of the mandatory reporting law. The boy that Media Matters claims to have found also says he did not actually have sex with the man he met in the bus station. But Jennings clearly believed he did have sex—otherwise, why would he have told the boy (again, according to his own account), “I hope you knew to use a condom”? And why would the boy himself have responded, Why should I, my life isnt worth saving anyway? (this line is the dramatic highlight in Jennings recounting of the story). Again, the issue here is not what the boy didit is what Jennings believed, what action Jennings took based on those beliefs, how Jennings has described those actions, and what those actions and words reveal about Jennings own ethical standards and commitment to the safety of Americas schoolchildren.

Its also important to note is that the age requirements in the mandatory reporting law do not specifically track the age of consent in the statutory rape law. A teacher is required to report any “abuse” of a child who is under eighteennot just one under sixteen. Now perhaps Jennings believed (and perhaps legal authorities would even agree) that a consensual act by a teen above the age of consent could not be considered “abuse,” but that is a matter of judgment. The mere fact that a child is 16 does not mean that mandatory reporting laws do not apply.

All of what I have said applies even if we accept at face value Media Matters’ claim to have found the actual boy in the incident and his claims regarding his age and what happened. Of course, if this was a legal case, the witness would have to come forward and testify in open court and be cross-examined, not hide behind a cloak of anonymity. Family Research Council, by contrast, has used only publicly available writings, documents, and sources in everything we have said about Jennings.

One final pointMedia Matters quotes one writer who describes psychologist Paul Cameron as founder of the Family Research Council. Camerons organization is called the Family Research Institute, and Dr. Cameron has never been affiliated with Family Research Council.

Its an easy mistake to make, given the similarity in the namesbut its nevertheless a careless one for a column that bears the heading, FactCheck.

What Happens in Vegas…

by Peter Sprigg

December 15, 2009

Prostitution has long been legal and regulated in the state of Nevada, but a technicality in the lawa health code requirement for cervical exams to check for STDshad prevented males from serving as prostitutes. The states board of health has now lifted that barrier (by allowing urethral exams as well), and Bobbi Davis, owner of a brothel called the Shady Lady Ranch, plans to add male prostitutes to her stable of sex workers (in the words of the Las Vegas Sun).

The principal opposition to this step came from an odd sourcethe lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Owners Association, George Flint, whom the Sun describes as a former Assemblies of God minister. Flint went on record despite the fact that, as the Sun reported, the [brothel] industry has previously tried to avoid any controversy.

Flint apparently worries that homosexual male hookers will give the industry a bad name. Weve worked hard for years to make the traditional brothel business in this state socially acceptable [and] something we can be proud of that most Nevadans accept. That struck me as one of the most bizarre quotes of the yearbut apparently there are at least a few hundred people in Las Vegas who agree, since the Suns online poll showed 475 readers (84% of those voting) affirmed that brothels are socially acceptable, while only 85 (15%) disagreed.

Flints specific concern is the risk of transmitting HIV between prostitutes and clientssomething that he claims the traditional brothels have been effective at preventing. Now were getting into an [area] that doesnt enjoy the same track record.

This does not mean that there has never been homosexual prostitution in Nevada. The female prostitutes have long been free to accept either male or female clients, according to the report, and male prostitutes will have the same right.

This raises serious questions about gender equity, however. If a Christian psychologist or a fertility doctor is not free to turn away a homosexual client for fear of discrimination charges, how can a homosexual male prostitute be allowed to turn away a female client? Isnt that discrimination, too? On the other hand, if you require them to take all clients, then maybe that would effectively mean that only bisexuals can work as prostitutes in Nevada. Wouldnt that be discrimination, too?

Such are thickets in which the sexual revolution and political correctness entrap us. In the meantime, if you want to know how to get to Las Vegasjust climb in a handbasket and travel toward the heat as far as you can go.

Las Vegas Sun: New era: Health authorities open brothels to male prostitutes [with poll]

Does the Slippery Slope Lead to Stepford?

by Peter Sprigg

December 11, 2009

Advocates of same-sex marriage assert that the fundamental right of homosexual individuals to marry is infringed if they are not free to marry the person of their choice (and they often cite the elimination of laws which once banned interracial marriage as precedent for this principle). However, everyone still faces restrictions upon whom they may marry. No one is permitted to marry a child, a close blood relative, a person who is already married, or (in most states and countries) a person of the same sex.

However, if the restriction against marrying someone of the same sex is lifted, based on the assertion of a right to marry whomever you wish, what principled reason will there be to maintain the other restrictions upon ones choice of marriage partner? This is the slippery slope argumentthat legalization of homosexual marriage would make it more difficult to maintain laws against pedophile, incestuous, and (especially) polygamous marriages, as well.

Yet there are people who would willingly slide even further down the slippery slope. In my book Outrage: How Gay Activists and Liberal Judges Are Trashing Democracy to Redefine Marriage, I noted news stories about an Indian girl who was married to a dog, a French woman who married a dead man, and a Canadian professor, Stephen Bertman, who foresees the possibility of marriage between humans and their household pets or even inanimate objects such as a beloved car or computer.

Now this week, the Washington Times ran an article that began, Humans will be marrying robots within fifty years, according to David Levy, winner of the 2009 Loebner Prize for artificial intelligence.

The article, by Paul Christensen, ran online under the title, Are artificial wives on the horizon?

But the print edition was more bluntit bore the headline, Artificial wivesor sex machines?

And indeed, the article quotes Levy as saying, Robots will be programmed to be sensitive sex therapists and help them to get over their sexual problems.

Christensen declares that [t]he obsession with creating artificial human companions goes back to ancient times. However, I was surprised that his article on sexy robotic wives included no reference to the greatest example of the concept in pop culturethe 1975 film The Stepford Wives, which was remade in 2004 with Nicole Kidman in the lead role. Its the story of a couple who move from New York to the too-perfect suburb of Stepford, Connecticut. The wife comes to learn that the reason all the housewives of Stepford also seem to be too-perfect servants of their husbands whims is that the real wives have been replaced by robots.

When the film was made, it was considered a sort of feminist satire on traditional domestic roles for women. Who could have guessed that the radicals of the sexual revolution would be the ones to move us closer to making Stepford a reality?

Fighting for EqualityOr Obsessed with Sex?

by Peter Sprigg

October 14, 2009

It seems that homosexual activist groups cant even raise money without using sexual innuendo.

I happen to be on the email list for Equality Maryland, the state homosexual activist organization (its always good to know what the opposition is doing). They are planning to raise money with a Jazz Brunch and Silent Auction on Sunday, October 18 in Baltimore.

But I was startled by the poor taste (and the poor proofreading) of the subject line for an email invitation to this event that I received on September 28. It read: Care to engage is [sic] some Four Play? (The gimmick was that you would get a discount when purchasing four tickets.)

I wondered if they would be embarrassed or get any negative reactionbut apparently not. On October 7, I received a follow-up email with this subject line: Forget Four Play … how about a Threesome? Offering a discount for the purchase of only three tickets this time, the message came complete with a publicity photo from the old Threes Company TV show.

When homosexuals promote their political agenda in the public square, they argue that its not about sex. Its about love, families, equality, justice, etc., etc. They dont want people thinking about two men or two women having sex. (This is why they prefer the term gay rather than homosexual.)

But when talking to each other, the agenda becomes more clear.

Its about sex.

How Long Has Marriage Been the Union of a Man and a Woman? Scientists Say4.4 Million Years

by Peter Sprigg

October 7, 2009

Some people believe that religious dogma is the only reason why anyone opposes same-sex marriage. Those who believe the human race began with Adam and Eve, and that their relationship was Gods model for marriage, believe marriage should be between a man and a woman. But those who dont believe in the Bible, who think Adam and Eve are a myth, and who dont accept a Christian view of the human person, have no reason to believe marriage is an opposite-sex union. Right?

Wrong. They should take a look at a front-page article in the Washington Post about the newest claim by evolutionary scientists. The scientists believe that a primate skeleton found in Ethiopia is that of a human ancestorone that lived 4.4 million years ago. Almost at the end of this long piece, the article describes what C. Owen Lovejoy, an anthropologist at Kent State University, says about the social organization of this species:

The males, he argues, pair-bonded with females. Lovejoy sees male parental investment in the survival of offspring as a hallmark of the human lineage.

So, how long has marriage (i.e., pair-bonding) been a male-female union? About four million, four hundred thousand years, if this secular scientist is to be believed. And what was its purpose? To insure male parental investment in the survival of offspringsomething which the advocates of same-sex marriage contend is now no longer necessary.

And what will we be discarding, if we change the definition of marriage from being a union of a man and a woman? Only a hallmark of the human lineage.

Marriage is not merely a religious institution, nor merely a civil institution. It is, rather, a natural institution, whose definition as the union of male and female is rooted in the order of nature itself. And it doesnt take a Bible to prove it. In this case, evolutionary theory points to the exact same conclusion.

Washington Post:

Ardi’ May Rewrite the Story of Humans: 4.4 Million-Year-Old Primate Helps Bridge Evolutionary Gap (see third-to-last paragraph)

Amsterdam Becomes Green-Light District for Pro-Family Activists

by Peter Sprigg

September 9, 2009

When the World Congress of Families gathered in Amsterdam in the Netherlands last month, it was not considered friendly territory for the conservative, pro-family principles espoused by most of the international delegates. The city has museums devoted to sex and drugs, and its red-light district is treated as a major tourist attraction. Radical feminist groups decried the event, and the offices of one Dutch organization involved in planning for the WCF were even vandalized, with obscenities and anti-Christian slogans being painted on the walls. The Dutch media sought to stir up controversy over the participation in the Congress by several members of the Dutch parliament and one cabinet minister (who sent a video message the opening day). Five scheduled Dutch participants withdrew from the Congress shortly before it began over concerns that anti-gay messages would be promoted.

In the end, protests against the Congress mostly fizzled, and the delegates focused on issues such as the problem of depopulation in the countries of Europe. The Congress featured the European premiere of The Demographic Bomb (a sequel to the film Demographic Winter), which had its world premiere at Family Research Council on June 17.

Peter Sprigg and Pat Fagan represented Family Research Council at the event, with Dr. Fagan making two presentationsone at a breakout session on day care, and one major address on Family Diversity and Political Freedom. He spoke of how the culture of the traditional family, based on lifelong monogamy, is now being challenged by a competing culture rooted in a sexual ideal that is in some sense polyamorous, in that it is built on the expectation of multiple sexual partners through the life course. Dr. Fagan explained some of the political implications of these competing cultures, and offered a suggestion as to how they might be able to co-exist in a free society by insuring that all parents, of any viewpoint, have greater control over the education and upbringing of their own children.

Although liberals claim to place a high value on dialogue, one of the few who actually came to the Congress to engage in it was a Dutch judge and U.N. official, Jaap Doek, who defended the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) and expressed dismay that the U.S. has failed to ratify it. Pro-family activists are concerned that the rights of children established by the treaty would undermine parental authority in the home, but Doek contended that it only imposes limits and obligations on the state, not upon parents.

Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, or C-FAM (and the husband of FRCs Cathy Cleaver Ruse) offered a darker vision of the impact of the U.N. and international agreements. He delivered an address describing how radical elites have attempted to establish a right to abortion in international law. The soft law strategy involves inserting code words for abortion (such as reproductive health) in international documents and then asserting (falsely) that it is a matter of customary international law. The hard law strategy involves United Nations committees charged with monitoring compliance with actual international treaties and conventions. Although no right to abortion has ever been established in the text of such treaties, these committees will often tell member countries that they must protect such a right to be in compliance (for example, with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW). Ruse declared bluntly that such new norms are being forced upon nations undemocratically through treachery, lies, deceit and raw power.

At times it was striking how much people from different countries had in common. For example, at one session, an American state senator from Georgia, Nancy Schaefer, and a lawyer from Sweden, Ruby Harrold-Claesson, both decried the abuses sometimes engaged in by child protective services.

However, there was one notable difference evident in the way American conservatives and Europeans see pro-family policy. Most Americans take a more libertarian approach, believing that the best thing government can do for families is to stay out of their way. Yet it was evident that pro-family politicians from Europe and other countries see government intervention on behalf of the family as the best pro-family policy. For instance, Andre Rouveot, the Dutch cabinet minister who addressed the Congress by video, touted the creation of his Ministry for Youth and Families as a great step forward. Yet most American conservatives do not see the creation of a federal Department of Education as something that improved American education. Australian Member of Parliament Kevin Andrews discussed efforts by some countries to provide child care and family leave as pro-family because they make it easier for working women to become mothers; whereas many Americans would argue what is needed is to make it easier for mothers to stay home.

The Congress ended with the adoption of the Amsterdam Declaration, which cited as its touchstone the statement in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society, and is entitled to protection by society and the State. Several countries are already in contention for the honor of hosting the next World Congress of Families, which has clearly established itself as the premier international gathering of pro-family scholars and activists.

Obituary: The Episcopal Church in the United States (1789-2009) Cause of Death: Suicide

by Peter Sprigg

July 24, 2009

The Episcopal Church in the United States took another major step toward ensuring its own demise last week, by adopting a resolution endorsing the ordination of homosexuals as clergy and bishops.

The resolution, adopted at the denominations General Convention, said that gay and lesbian persons … have responded to Gods call and have exercised various ministries, and declared that God has called and may call such individuals, to any ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

The resolution was widely interpreted as abandoning a moratorium on the ordination of homosexual bishops that was adopted after the furor surrounding the appointment of Gene Robinson, a homosexual man, as the Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Several branches of the worldwide Anglican Communion, particularly the more conservative churches in Africa, rejected the decision to elevate Robinson. In the U.S., a number of Episcopal parishes and dioceses have already left the Episcopal Church altogether, and they recently organized as the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

The Episcopal General Convention three years ago adopted a resolution urging restraint regarding the elevation of any bishops whose manner of life presents a challenge to the wider church. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the highest ranking official in the worldwide Anglican Communion, had told the convention, I hope and pray that there wont be decisions in the coming days that will push us further apart.

Sponsors of this years resolution denied that it constituted a repeal of the earlier statement, but Pamela Reamer Williams of Integrity USA, a pro-homosexual advocacy group, declared that this years action supersedes the effective moratorium.

Most observers believe that this years resolution may be the last straw that results in a complete rupture of relationships between the Episcopal Church and most other worldwide Anglicans. Jeff Walton of the Institute for Religion and Democracy noted, In the Anglican Communion, 22 out of 37 other provinces are already in a state of either impaired or broken communion with the Episcopal Church. [Source]

The liberal Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katherine Jefferts Schori, warned against recognition of the new ACNA by declaring that schism is not a Christian act. But British theologian (and Bishop of Durham) Tom Wright pointed out in the Times of London that it is the Episcopal Church which is formalizing the schism they initiated six years ago by consecrating Robinson as bishop. This marks a clear break with the rest of the Anglican Communion, said Wright.

One aspect of the resolution that has not attracted much media attention is that it appears to use money as a weapon to discourage any action against the Episcopal Church by the Anglican Communion. The resolution reaffirm[s] its financial commitment to the Anglican Communion, and the accompanying explanation notes that in 2007 the Episcopal Church contributed $661,000 to the Inter-Anglican budgetmore than a third of the total of $1,864,000. Presumably the resolution was hinting that this funding would be in jeopardy if the Anglican Communion were to break with the Episcopal Church.

In addition to a break with worldwide Anglicans, the Episcopal Church action is likely to lead to further erosion here in the United States as well. News about the release of the American Religious Identification Survey earlier this year focused on the 10% drop since 1990 in the percentage of Americans who identify as Christians (from 86% to 76%), without noting that almost all of the decline occurred in the 1990s. But they also failed to highlight that the biggest drop in Christian self-identification has come among the more liberal mainline Protestant bodiessuch as the Episcopal Church, which dropped from 3.5 million adherents in 2001 to only 2.4 million in 2008.

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