Never, Never, Never Give Up

The Defense of Marriage Today

The New York legislature’s decision to allow same-sex couples to marry is a good reason to reassess our defense of marriage. But it’s not a reason to give up.

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Chuck  Colson

Is it time for the “marriage battleground” to shift to religious freedom? That’s the question posed by a recent Christianity Today article in the wake of New York’s approval of same-sex “marriage.”  According to University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, the answer is “Yes.” He says, “Religious conservatives who advocate traditional marriage must shift their focus to fighting for religious freedom.”

That’s because Laycock and, sadly, many others mistakenly believe in the inevitability of  same-sex “marriage.” They think that the best Christians can do now is make sure gay “marriage” laws at least provide a modicum of protection for the freedoms of those of us who believe in traditional marriage.

Yes, same-sex “marriage,” so-called, poses a grave threat to religious freedom. There have already been cases where photographers and others have been sued for refusing to participate in same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. Catholic Charities in several states has been pushed out of the adoption business because they only place children with a married mom and dad. Make no mistake: protecting religious freedom is a major priority.

But this is exactly why abandoning the battle over traditional marriage is foolish and dangerous. My colleague and Princeton professor Robert George sums it up perfectly: “If you ask,” he said, “’What can be done going forward around the country to protect religious liberty?’ the answer is this: Win the fight to preserve the legal definition of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Period.”

Remember: What the state gives, the state can also take away. The religious freedom protection in the New York bill, for example, is poorly drafted and vague. What will it protect? Who will it protect? For how long? We can’t say at this point, and once it gets into the courts — and it will get into the courts — it’s even harder to predict.

Second, shifting the debate to religious freedom takes the spotlight off the importance of marriage. As Tom Messner of the Heritage Foundation told National Review, “The marriage debate is first and foremost a debate about the meaning and public purpose of marriage, not a debate about religious freedom. …[E]ven if same-sex marriage posed no threats to religious freedom at all, the core reasons to support marriage as one man and one woman remain just as compelling and must be addressed.” Exactly.

Third, as Messner points out, same-sex marriage is not inevitable. “Nearly 30 states,” he says, “have protected marriage in their state constitutions. Nearly 40 states have protected marriage in their statutes.” And in Maine, after the legislature passed same-sex “marriage,” the voters struck the law down. And although the media elite don’t want you to know it, according to a recent Alliance Defense Fund poll, the majority of Americans want to reserve marriage to one man and one woman.

To give up the fight for marriage now after a few setbacks is crazy. The debate about marriage in America is not over. Now more than ever, Christians need to be equipped to defend marriage and to live out the truth about marriage, sex, and family in our own lives.

This is no time for defeatism or retreat, but for action.

Further Reading and Information

Should the Marriage Battleground Switch to Religious Freedom?
Bobby Ross, Jr. | Christianity Today | July 1, 2011

Freedom as a Bargining Chip
Interview with Tom Messner | National Review | July 6, 2011


And the free practice of Christianity is a threat to the freedoms of those who oppose Christianity. Shall we outlaw Christianity? It's great to see that this argument - flawed in every possible way - is the best you have. It's based in emotion and on this misguided notion that religious freedom guarantees that the world around you shall be free of anything and everything you don't like. This idea that the rights of a minority must be restricted in order to avoid inconveniencing those who wish to discriminate against that minority is offensive and absurd. In an attempt to validate your bigotry and have it protected by the law, you've blown the concept of the right to worship freely so far out of proportion that it's barely recognizable. This may very well make sense within the context of your twisted world view. Fortunately our judicial system doesn't share that view which is why this argument will never, never succeed in court. But if we're being honest, that's not NOM or Colson's primary concern. This ridiculous argument is being repeated over and over again because others who are anti-gay are also looking for reasons to justify their bigotry and will buy this in spite of it's obvious lack of logic and its conflict with our nation's basic founding principles. And once they buy it they'll be frightened into believing they'll be fired, fine or jailed for saying, writing or thinking negative things about gays and lesbians and will respond to Brian Brown's pleas for cash with a donation of just $10, $50, $100 or $500 - anything they can spare so that NOM can "protect" them against the "threats" to this twisted version of religious liberty. 
We in the Christian community have (as true with Republicans in the debt crisis situation) have ourselves to blame. If we granted gays and lesbians the right to civil unions, I believe that only the most militant--those who march in the Gay Pride parades--would still insist on having marriage asa right.
Next generation
The good news is that the majority of Americans want to reserve marriage to one man and one woman. The bad news is that the next generation of voters are presently being taught sex education in classrooms around the country that normalizes homosexuality. We are one generation away from a shift in demographics. So, our fight for marriage needs to be balanced between legislators/voters of today with legislators/voters of tomorrow. Our kids need to be taught Truth, and how to present Truth in a God-honoring way!