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REPRESENTING EDEN PRAIRIE AND SOUTHERN MINNETONKA

DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE

• 19 states have passed a Defense of Marriage amendment to their state constitutions.
• 7 states - including neighboring Wisconsin - are voting on the amendment in the Fall 2006 elections.
• 70 percent of Minnesotans oppose the DFL effort to redefine marriage.

07/12/2006: Katherine Kersten -- Pay attention to New Yoirk Court on same sex marriage. 11/08/2005: Katherine Kersten -- If you think same-sex marriage won't affect your marriage, look at the mess they're creating in Canada.
03/19/2006: Katherine Kersten -- Expanding the definition of bigotry 06/25/2004: Maggie Gallagher -- How gay marriage is sabotaging Massachusetts families.
03/16/2006: Katherine Kersten -- Is polygamy next? 03/09/2004: Dennis Praqer -- Who Supports Gay Marriage?
03/01/2006: Katherine Kersten -- Why are DFLers scared of voting on the Marriage Amendment? 03/02/2004: Dennis Praqer -- San Francisco and Islamists: Fighting the same enemy.

Reprinted from Star Tribune 07/12/2006
Pay attention to New York Court on Same Sex Marriage
In declining to find New York's marriage law unconstitutional, the court ruled that the power to define marriage belongs to the people, not the courts.
Katherine Kersten
, Star Tribune

The proposed Marriage Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution stayed bottled up in committee during the previous legislative session. A handful of Senate DFLers kept the amendment - which would preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman - off the ballot and out of the people's hands in this fall's election.

Not that Republicans put up much resistance. They seemed more interested in a new Twins stadium.

As a result, the way seems clear for same-sex marriage supporters to challenge Minnesota's marriage law in court as an unreasonable form of discrimination against same-sex couples.

Since the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's decision compelling same-sex marriage in that state in November 2003, supposedly enlightened opinion has generally held that same-sex marriage is the wave of the future. Sure, backwaters like Louisiana will put up initial resistance, the thinking goes. But courts in cosmopolitan states like New York will impose gay marriage, launching a domino effect that will eventually sweep the nation.

Last week, New York's Court of Appeals - the state's highest court - stood poised to add the next advance in this march of progress.

The New York Times, eagerly anticipating the expected result, lauded the court's "long history of trailblazing."

But the Court of Appeals defied expectations, sending a shock wave across the country.

It ruled that New York's law limiting marriage to one man and one woman is constitutional and can serve important social goals by protecting the state's interest in the welfare of children.

• First, said the court, the state can treat heterosexual and homosexual couples differently because they are, in fact, different. "Heterosexual intercourse has a natural tendency to lead to the birth of children," the court pointed out, while "homosexual intercourse does not."

As a result, a legislature "could find that an important function of marriage is to create more stability and permanence in the relationships that cause children to be born," said the court. "It thus could choose to offer an inducement -- in the form of marriage and its attendant benefits -- to opposite-sex couples who make a solemn, long-term commitment to each other."

• Second, a legislature can adopt the "common-sense premise" that children will do best with a mother and father in the home. "Intuition and experience suggest that a child benefits from having before his or her eyes, every day, living models of what both a man and a woman are like," wrote the court.

• Finally, the court rejected the oft-heard claim that laws limiting marriage to male-female couples are akin to racial bigotry. Laws barring interracial marriage were a by-product of historical injustice, it said. Marriage between a man and a woman -- "an accepted truth for almost everyone who has ever lived" -- is not.

The New York Court of Appeals decision may prove to be a watershed in the escalating battle over marriage. Other courts, such as those in New Jersey, Indiana and Arizona, have reached similar conclusions. But the New York court -- as one of the nation's most progressive -- wields a potent nationwide influence.

What will the long-term effect be? Courts in at least six other states, including California and Washington, are currently considering same-sex marriage cases. No one can predict whether they will follow New York's lead.

But the New York decision holds a clear lesson for states such as Minnesota, which have not recently faced a court challenge. In declining to find New York's marriage law unconstitutional, the court ruled that the power to define marriage belongs to the people, not the courts.

Reprinted from Star Tribune 03/19/2006
Marriage and bigotry
If same-sex marriage becomes a civil right, the belief that one-man, one-woman marriage is best for kids becomes discriminatory, and those who hold it become bigots
Katherine Kersten
, Star Tribune

Opinion polls in 2005 revealed that a majority of Minnesotans support the proposed marriage amendment to the state Constitution, which would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That's why a few Senate DFLers are working overtime to make sure that the full Senate -- and you, the voters -- don't get to vote on it.

Amendment supporters are ordinary Minnesotans: soccer moms, Twins fans, the folks next door. But some advocates of same-sex marriage apparently view them as a sinister and unsavory bunch, even comparing them to racial bigots.

During the 2004 presidential campaign, U.S. Sen. John Kerry likened the push for gay marriage to the civil rights movement. State Rep. Neva Walker agrees. "Discrimination isn't just about race anymore," she told Minnesota Public Radio. "I still am not sure that if I had to depend on this body [the Minnesota House] to have my civil rights, that I would have them." Walker claims that the proposed amendment would put discrimination in the Minnesota Constitution.

OutFront Minnesota, a gay-lesbian advocacy organization, says that "public opinion cannot be allowed to permanently enshrine discrimination into the Constitution."

A recent Star Tribune editorial put it this way: "This question should not be one decided by popular vote. It's easy to whip up sentiment against an unpopular minority. Civil rights was not put to a referendum in the Deep South in the 1960s; neither should this question be put to voters in Minnesota in 2006."

What's the upshot of this view? That, as a group, Minnesotans who support the marriage amendment are foolish, motivated by an irrational animus against homosexuals. If you believe that children need a mother and a father, you are the equivalent of a Southern bigot who demands that blacks and whites use separate bathrooms.

In America today, it's a serious thing to be a bigot. You are shunned in polite company. You can lose your job if you display your bigotry in the workplace.

Supporters of same-sex marriage often insist that "extending marriage rights" to gay people is no big deal. It won't change life for the rest of us, they say. But if same-sex marriage becomes a civil right, the belief that one-man, one-woman marriage is best for kids becomes discriminatory, and those who hold it become bigots.

Last year, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, the wife of movie star Will Smith, got a taste of what this might mean. In a speech at Harvard University in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage is legal, she told the audience, "Women, you can have it all -- a loving man, devoted husband, loving children, a fabulous career.... You can do whatever it is you want."

Harvard's Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters Alliance bristled. "Some of the content was extremely heteronormative, and made BGLTSA members feel uncomfortable," a spokesman complained to the Harvard Crimson. The BGLTSA demanded, and got, an apology.

You better not speak up for traditional marriage in the Boston public schools. In May 2004 the district superintendent sent a memo to all staff members, stressing the "profound impact on our civic life and discourse" of the court decision that imposed same-sex marriage. He emphasized the district's "zero tolerance" for "discrimination" and "hateful speech" on issues of gay marriage and sexual orientation, and stated that students and staff members who breach the policy may be expelled or terminated.

All this suggests the shape of things to come, says Mary Ann Glendon, a professor at Harvard Law School. In the future, she writes, religious organizations that promote one-man, one-woman marriage may risk losing tax-exempt status or academic accreditation. As the law changes to allow same-sex marriages or their equivalent, religious institutions, including schools, charities and ministries, "may be forced to retreat from their practices, or else face enormous legal pressure to change their views."

In this brave new world, it's the "heteronormative" majority that's starting to feel uncomfortable.


Reprinted from Star Tribune 03/16/2006
Is Polygamy Next?
If marriage is couched only in terms of privacy, intimacy, and autonomy, then what non-arbitrary ground is there for denying the benefit to polygamous unions?
Katherine Kersten
, Star Tribune

The Minnesota Legislature is considering proposing a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Many opponents claim that definition is antiquated and discriminatory. A committed relationship should be the only criterion for marriage, they say.

But wait. What if a person loves two people, or three or more? If "one man-one woman" is a discriminatory limitation on the choice of a life partner, on what grounds can the state logically restrict marriage to two people? The fact is, once you adopt same-sex marriage -- legally changing the standard for marriage from one-man, one-woman to a "committed relationship" -- there is no principled way to prevent its extension to polygamy or other forms of "plural marriage" or partnership.

Outrageous scare-mongering! say the amendment's opponents. Oh, really?

Did you catch HBO's new prime-time series, "Big Love," which premiered Sunday? It's about a Utah man married to three wives.

The creators of "Big Love" are a gay couple, Mark Olsen and Will Scheffer, who say that the same-sex marriage debate spurred their interest in the topic.

They seek to normalize polygamy by treating it in a "non-judgmental" way.

"It's everything that every family faces, just times three," Olsen told Newsweek. "We'd like them to be America's next great family," Scheffer told the New York Times.

"Big Love" is just a TV show, you say? But cultural expression can pack a powerful wallop - witness the much ballyhooed bid by "Brokeback Mountain" to normalize same-sex attraction. Influential voices are already calling for allowing polygamy. Last week, New York Times libertarian columnist John Tierney endorsed itslegalization in a column titled "Who's afraid of polygamy?"

Acceptance of polygamy might already be on the horizon in Canada, which recently recognized same-sex marriage. In January a Canadian Justice Department report called for the decriminalization and regulation of polygamy, and warned the nation to prepare for a court challenge to two-person marriage. In a 2003 survey, 20 percent of Canadians said they are willing to accept polygamy.

Here in America, professors at elite law schools such as Yale and Columbia are laying the groundwork for legal recognition of committed relationships of three or more. Drawing on concepts borrowed from civil rights law, they say they aim to protect "sexual minorities" from discrimination.

Redefining marriage to include people of the same sex will open a Pandora's box. As a New Jersey appellate court judge wrote recently, if "marriage [is] ... couched only in terms of privacy, intimacy, and autonomy, then what non-arbitrary ground is there for denying the benefit to polygamous ... unions whose members claim the arrangement is necessary for their self-fulfillment?"

What's the likely endpoint? Marriage may be redefined out of existence, and replaced by a flexible, contract-based system of government-registered relationships. So get ready. Today gay marriage supporters' mantra is, "How does my same-sex marriage harm your marriage?" Down the road it may be, "How does my marriage of two men and a woman harm your marriage?" If we don't answer the first question with resolve -- making clear that "one man-one woman" is at the heart of marriage in Minnesota -- we may not have a chance to answer the second.

Katherine Kersten
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Katherine Kersten provides commentary from a conservative point of view for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune


  Reprinted from Star Tribune 03/01/2006
Why are DFLers Scared of Voting on the Marriage Amendment?
People of Minnesota, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and some DFLers are scared to death of you.
Katherine Kersten
, Star Tribune

People of Minnesota, Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson and some DFLers are scared to death of you. They are afraid of what you'll do if they allow you to vote in November on a proposed state constitutional amendment that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The Minnesota House passed the marriage amendment last year, voting to let the people's voice be heard. But the DFL-controlled Senate kept it bottled up in committee. This year, DFL leaders may prevent it from reaching the Senate floor again.

The marriage amendment's opponents have launched a campaign to convince you that the amendment is a bad idea. Their bag of tricks includes soothing words -- "same-sex marriage is only about making marriage available to more people" -- coupled with bruising tactics such as branding you a hate-monger if you oppose it. As the legislative session starts, here are some of the lines you'll hear:

The marriage amendment is unnecessary. Opponents note that Minnesota already has a law limiting marriage to one man and one woman. But in states such as Iowa and Maryland, similar laws are under legal assault. Activist state courts can throw out a Defense of Marriage law like Minnesota's as discriminatory, unless it is backed up by a similar provision in the state constitution.

The marriage amendment is divisive. What delicious irony! Same-sex-marriage supporters themselves created the rancorous dispute they now lament, by relentlessly promoting a radical social experiment that is essentially unique in human history. Besides, when a dispute is over principle -- the Civil War, the struggle for women's suffrage, or the nature of marriage, our most fundamental social institution -- divisiveness is a price worth paying.

The amendment is discriminatory, a product of unfounded fear and hatred of gays. The Muslim faith permits a man to marry four wives. I oppose redefining marriage in America to allow polygamy. This doesn't mean I "hate" or "fear" Muslims, or wish to discriminate against them. It merely means I believe one man-one woman marriage is best for American society and families.

The marriage amendment is a cynical political wedge issue, a distraction from issues that people really care about, like schools and housing. What could be more vital than marriage, a universal social institution that connects fathers and mothers to their children, and thereby perpetuates the social order?

Redefining marriage to include people of the same sex will erode expectations that children need both a mom and a dad, and that the mom and dad should be married. Our inner cities are reeling from the disastrous consequences of abandoning these ideas. The long-term consequences of redefining marriage are unknown and potentially disastrous.

Some amendment opponents portray the marriage dispute as a division between enlightened, beneficent people (themselves) and ignorant, fearful people (the rest of us). The real divide is different.

On the one hand are people who think that fundamental social institutions like marriage can be drastically redefined without harm. On the other are people who believe the social order cannot be tinkered with beyond a certain point without risking serious and unintended consequences.

Katherine Kersten
------------------------------------------------------------
Katherine Kersten provides commentary from a conservative point of view for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune


  Reprinted from Star Tribune 11/08/2005
North of border, gay marriage spurs social revolution
In Canada, where same-sex marriage became legal in June, a social revolution is underway.
Katherine Kersten
, Star Tribune

A proposal to preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman in Minnesota's Constitution is one of the biggest issues our state will face in the next legislative session.

Some people argue that same-sex marriage wouldn't change anybody else's marriage but merely expand the institution to provide equal rights for all.

Canada made same-sex marriage the law of the land in June. What's happened there in recent months suggests a different story.

Bishop Frederick Henry of the Catholic Diocese of Calgary, Alberta, has been at the forefront of Canada's battle over marriage. On Thursday, he will address the Minnesota Pastors Summit -- a ground-breaking interdenominational conference of Catholic and Protestant pastors -- at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.

When I spoke to Henry last week, he said that Canadians, too, were originally told that same-sex marriage was just a small step to promote "inclusiveness."

"But today in Canada a social revolution is underway," he said.

How could a simple law redefining marriage as a union of "two persons" have such a revolutionary effect? There are two reasons.

First, marriage is Western society's most fundamental institution. As such, it is embedded throughout our law, child-rearing practices and culture in general. When marriage is redefined, other social institutions are likewise transformed.

Second, when male-female marriage and same-sex marriage become equal in the eyes of the law, treating them differently becomes discrimination. In Canada, "privileging" male-female marriage in any way is now a violation of human rights. According to Henry, "Canadians who believe in the historic definition of marriage, who believe that children need a mother and father, are now the legal equivalent of racists."

Today, Canada is combing through its laws and institutions to remove evidence of heterosexist discrimination. Terms such as husband and wife are now forbidden across the spectrum of Canadian law and government programs. The legal meaning of parenthood is being transformed, with consequences no one can predict.

Henry says Canadian schools are becoming battlegrounds. "Children will have to be taught about homosexual acts in health class, as they now are about heterosexual acts. Books that promote same-sex marriage are being introduced in some elementary schools. In one action, complainants have demanded 'positive queer role models' across the whole curriculum. If parents complain, they'll be branded as homophobes." Sound farfetched? People who disagree with same-sex marriage risk charges of hate speech. In British Columbia, teacher Chris Kempling has been found guilty -- and disciplined -- for defending male-female marriage in newspaper opinion pieces. Henry himself has been hauled before the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal for promoting traditional marriage in his pastoral letters. "The human rights tribunals have become like thought police," he says. "In Canada, you can now use the coercive powers of the state to silence opposition."

Although the new Canadian federal law claims to exempt people from sanctions for expressing a belief in traditional marriage, Henry says the provision will likely prove meaningless. "The courts and provincial governments, not the federal government, have the competence to decide such matters."

Ironically, says Henry, it appears that only a small fraction of gay Canadians have taken advantage of their new right. He gives a local example: "A church in Calgary offered a marriage-preparation course for same-sex couples but had to cancel it because only one couple showed up."

If someone tells you same-sex marriage won't affect your marriage, tell them to look north. The evidence is building.

------------------------------------------------------------
Katherine Kersten provides commentary from a conservative point of view for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune


Reprinted from National Review Online 06/25/2004
In Defense of the Family
The Massachusetts governor stands up for marriage
Maggie Gallagher
, National Review

Mitt Romney is a brave man.

While the GOP glitterocracy attended the first gay wedding of one of their own, Gov. Romney was in Washington, D.C., making the single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician.

"Like me, the great majority of Americans wish both to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and to oppose bias and intolerance directed towards gays and lesbians," Romney began by way of preface.

Then he asked the question we should all be asking: "Given the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. . . Should we abandon marriage as we know it and as it was known by the framers of our Constitution? Has America been wrong about marriage for 200 plus years? Were generations that spanned thousands of years from all the civilizations of the world wrong about marriage? Are the philosophies and teachings of all the world's major religions simply wrong? Or is it more likely that four people among the seven that sat in a court in Massachusetts have erred? I believe that is the case."

Then Mitt Romney put his finger on where the error comes from: the limited perspectives of lawyers and judges. "They viewed marriage as an institution principally designed for adults. Adults are who they saw. Adults stood before them in the courtroom. And so they thought of adult rights, equal rights for adults. If heterosexual adults can marry, then homosexual adults must also marry to have equal rights."

But, he went on, marriage is not solely for adults. "Marriage is also for children. In fact, marriage is principally for the nurturing and development of children. The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother."

The advocates tell us the skies have not fallen in Massachusetts; nothing has changed, they assure us. Romney points out that small things have already begun to change, foretelling the bigger, sadder changes to come. First, the marriage licenses change so they no longer read husband and wife but "Party A" and "Party B." The Department of Health insists that birth certificates also change. The line for mother and father becomes "Parent A" and "Parent B."

So far the governor has resisted, but ultimately the same court that could see no reason why marriage involves a husband and wife other than "animus" will decide whether or not we still think the language of mothers and fathers is appropriate. And the Massachusetts supreme court has already laid down a marker in this case: In Goodridge the court ruled that something called the "presumption of parentage" is one of the rights of marriage. Until that ruling, there was nothing called the presumption of parentage in the law. The traditional marriage idea was the "presumption of paternity" — that is, the husband is presumed by law to be the father of any baby his wife has.

But how can same-sex marriages really be viewed as the equivalent of husband-and-wife unions if we cling to such outmoded, biologically rooted notions of parenthood?

The transformation of mother and father into "Parent A" and "Parent B" is the model of the paradigm shift now underway in Massachusetts. The distinctive features of the union of male and female are going to have to be removed from our notions of marriage and family. The experience of same-sex couples will become the new norm for family life, because the "unisex" idea that gender has no public significance is the only model that can be construed as "inclusive" of both opposite-sex and same-sex unions. The result is not neutrality but the active promotion of a new unisex ideal, in which the distinctive features of opposite-sex relations will be submerged, marginalized, cast to one side, and redefined as discrimination in order to protect the new court-ordered public moral standard of the equality of same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

Here's Gov. Romney's estimate of the future: "[C]hanging the definition of marriage to include same-sex unions will lead to further far-reaching changes that also would influence the development of our children. For example, school textbooks and classroom instruction may be required to assert absolute societal indifference between traditional marriage and same-sex practice."

The gap between civil and religious marriage will widen to a chasm, just at the time the state more than ever needs the help of faith communities in strengthening marriage. "Among the structures that would be affected would be religious and certain charitable institutions. Those with scriptural or other immutable founding principles will be castigated. Ultimately, some may founder. We need more from these institutions, not less, and particularly so to support and strengthen those in greatest need."

The change has begun: The needs and desires of a tiny fraction of adults in alternative families are becoming the basis of a new moral norm. Anyone who departs from it risks thundering denunciation from self-righteous elites who are no longer satisfied with tolerance and civility — living with our deepest differences — but wish to impose their vision of morality on the majority.

Which makes Mitt Romney a very brave man, indeed.

------------------------------------------------------
Maggie Gallagher is president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, which sponsors www.marriagedebate.com.


Reprinted from Townhall 03/09/2004
Who Supports Same Sex Marriage?
Dennis Prager
, Townhall

In my previous column, I wrote that the unique Judeo-Christian value system that forms the moral basis of American society is under attack by two forces -- the Islamists and the Left. As a prime example of the latter, I offered the movement to redefine marriage to include people of the same sex.

Two leading voices of gay rights, the national gay newspaper The Advocate and the prominent writer Andrew Sullivan, headlined that I equated Islamic terrorists with supporters of same-sex marriage.

I am used to being caricatured -- "Far-Right Columnist Compares Same-Sex Marriage Advocates to Islamic Terrorists" -- rather than have my arguments against redefining marriage responded to. So these reactions did not shock me -- though Andrew Sullivan disappointed me, since we have a long and mutually respectful relationship: He published my writing in his book on same-sex marriage, and I have given him extensive time on my radio show.

So, for the record, I consider the great majority of supporters of same-sex marriage to be thoroughly decent people, and the great majority of supporters of Islamic terror to be loathsome.

But the fact that most supporters of same-sex marriage are thoroughly decent people with loving intentions, as opposed to supporters of Islamic terror who are filled with hate and love death, in no way denies my premise that both are waging war against Judeo-Christian civilization. And that was the subject of my article.

Any further insinuation that I morally equate the people who support same-sex marriage with those who engage in or support Muslim terror is either deliberate distortion or an indication of an inability to think critically.

In my view, proponents of same-sex marriage fall into three categories.

One is the secular Left -- people who seek to end the dominance of Judeo-Christian values in American life. These individuals tend to be the leaders and among the most active supporters of same-sex marriage.

They are animated by their fear and loathing of Bible-based Christians (and Jews) whom they regard as religious fanatics. Destroying the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage is one part of the secular Left's assault. Every vestige of Judeo-Christian America is targeted: public celebrations of Christmas, the mention of God in public schools, "In God We Trust" on our money, the use of the Bible at inaugurations, and much more.

But the end of Judeo-Christian marriage would be by far the Left's biggest success in remaking America in its image.

A second group consists of many well-meaning Americans who are not leftists and who do not yearn for the end of Judeo-Christian values. They simply believe that same-sex marriage is either the right thing to do or, even if wrong, not a big deal.

You can get almost any policy approved by vast numbers of Americans by appealing to their goodness -- which is what the cause of same-sex marriage does. When the average American hears the word "intolerance," he jumps through hoops to avoid being associated with such an awful thing. Moreover, it takes a great deal of thought to understand why tolerance has nothing to do with whether we should change the definition of marriage and family. One can tolerate gay couples, move next door to them, invite them over for a barbecue, love them as fellow family members or just as fellow human beings, and still fight for the preservation of marriage as every civilization has known it.

The third group of supporters of same-sex marriage is the religious Left. Their social values are generally identical to those of the secular Left, but they think of those values as religious. These Jews and Christians say they support same-sex marriage not despite their religious identity, but because of it.

Of the three groups, these individuals, whose sincerity I do not question, are the most confused. Those who wish to overthrow Judeo-Christian values are clear. Those who don't want to overthrow Judeo-Christian values but just want to be tolerant and open-minded are less clear. But those who claim that Christianity or Judaism demand redefining marriage and family are the least clear.

There is nothing in mainstream Christianity or Judaism that supports same-sex marriage. There is nothing biblically supportive -- and there is much biblically opposed -- and there was not one major religious leader or thinker in Jewish or Christian history prior to the present generation who argued for same-sex marriage.

Religious supporters of same-sex marriage have either substituted their own feelings for God, for the Bible, and for religious law or they have simply attached a cross or a yarmulke to their leftist politics.

Clergy and laypeople who stand the Bible on its head, no matter how well-intentioned they may be, are thoroughly distorting Judaism and Christianity. Intellectual honesty demands that they either support same-sex marriage solely from a secular standpoint or create a new religion from which to do so. If Judaism and Christianity do not stand for man-woman marriage and the father-mother family, they stand for nothing.
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Dennis Prager is a radio talk show host, author, and contributing columnist for Townhall.com


Reprinted from Townhall 03/02/2004
San Francisco and Islamists: Fighting the same enemy
Dennis Prager
, Townhall

America is engaged in two wars for the survival of its civilization. The war over same-sex marriage and the war against Islamic totalitarianism are actually two fronts in the same war -- a war for the preservation of the unique American creation known as Judeo-Christian civilization.

One enemy is religious extremism. The other is secular extremism.

One enemy is led from abroad. The other is directed from home.

The first war is against the Islamic attempt to crush whoever stands in the way of the spread of violent Islamic theocracies, such as al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Iranian mullahs and Hamas. The other war is against the secular nihilism that manifests itself in much of Western Europe, in parts of America such as San Francisco and in many of our universities.

America leads the battle against both religious and secular nihilism and is hated by both because it rejects both equally. American values preclude embracing either religious extremism or radical secularism. As Alexis de Tocqueville, probably the greatest observer of our society, wrote almost 200 years ago, America is a unique combination of secular government and religious (Judeo-Christian) society.

Not only has this combination been unique, it has been uniquely successful. America, therefore, poses as mortal a threat to radical secularism as it does to Islamic totalitarianism. Each understands that America's success means its demise.

This is a major reason why the Left so opposes anti-Islamism (just as it opposed anti-communism). In theory, the Left should be at least as opposed to the Islamists as is the Right. But the Left is preoccupied first with destroying America's distinctive values -- a Judeo-Christian society (as opposed to a secular one), capitalism (as opposed to socialism), liberty (as opposed to equality) and exceptionalism (as opposed to universalism, multiculturalism and multilateralism). So, if the Islamists are fellow anti-Americans, the Left figures it can worry about them later.

All this explains why the passions are so intense regarding same-sex marriage. Most of the activists in the movement to redefine marriage wish to overthrow the predominance of Judeo-Christian values in American life. Those who oppose same-sex marriage understand that redefining the central human institution marks the beginning of the end of Judeo-Christian civilization.

Let us understand this redefinition as clearly as possible:

With same-sex marriage, our society declares by law that mothers are unnecessary, since two men are equally ideal as mothers and as the creators of a family; and that fathers are unnecessary, since two women are equally ideal as parents and as the creators of a family.

With same-sex marriage, our society declares that there is nothing special or even necessarily desirable about a man and a woman bonding. What is sacred to the proponents of same-sex marriage is the number of people marrying (two, for the time being), not that a man and woman bond.

With same-sex marriage, when taught in school about sex, marriage and family, children will have to be taught that male-male and female-female sex, love and marriage are identical to male-female sex, love and marriage. And when asked, "Who do you think you will marry when you grow up?" thanks to the ubiquitous images of media, far more children will consider members of the same sex.

With same-sex marriage, no adoption agency will ever be able to prefer a married man and woman as prospective parents. Aside from the tragedy of denying untold numbers of children a mother and a father, this will lead to a drastic diminution in women placing children for adoption, since most of these women will prefer something that will then be illegal -- that agencies place her child with a man and woman, not with two men or two women.

With same-sex marriage, any media -- films, advertisements, greeting cards -- that only depict married couples as a woman and a man will be considered discriminatory and probably be sued.

With same-sex marriage, those religious groups that only marry men and women will be deemed beyond the pale, marginalized and ostracized.

There have been many Christian countries, and they are no longer. They have been replaced by secular countries, and they are weakening. Only American civilization remains strong, and it does so because of its unique amalgam of values rooted in Judeo-Christian morality.

This civilization is now fighting for its life -- as much here as abroad. Join the fight, or it will be gone as fast as you can say "Democrat."

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Dennis Prager is a radio talk show host, author, and contributing columnist for Townhall.com

 

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