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Speak Out With Chuck - Proposition 8 and Defense of Marriage

Let your voice be heard in comments here -


Chuck Colson has again challenged the radio audience to "Speak Out With Chuck" on this blog. He wants to hear YOUR thoughts and ideas on protecting marriage in the wake of the recent ruling which struck down Proposition 8 in California. Also - please share what you may already be doing in your community to make a difference.

As before, Chuck will respond to selected comments here and on the air.

(Go to Speak Out With Chuck main page):

The most recent comments are at the top.

Comments:

Total: 118 << Previous Page     Next Page >>
Marriage
Not sure I understand all the controversy--marriage, according to the One Who 'started' it is between one man and one woman. Says it in Genesis and if you claim to be a Christian (follower of Christ), no further talking about it is necessary. I don't have a problem with gays (the person-- I believe it is wrong and against God's Word) because each of us has to answer to God. I've done things for which I'm sure God isn't happy with me but thank goodness He is forgiving. But to try to change what God's Word says could be detrimental--Revelation tells us 'woe to the one who changes even one little part of God's Word. The Bible I have says God "hates men having relations with men and women with women.
Credibility
I was surprised by recent figures that show that almost a fifth of Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim.

Sadly, I know Christians who fall in this camp/trap.

Christians need to hear a good commentary on this from Chuck. Our credibility on issues like marriage is weakened with Christians making wrong-headed claims like this.
Defense of Marriage
Dear Readers,

As Christians, we should know in our heart of hearts that God could not and will never lose this battle of Adam and Eve. The Lord is giving us (usual sinners) a chance to help non-believers but how can we do that when we can't even help ourselves and there are many examples above of how and where society has failed.

Having said what I've said above, still does not mean that we must stop speaking out non-violently cause two or more wrongs will never make "ONE" Right. Go Figure!

I recall watching a movie years ago about two lesbians students who loved each other very much but did not know "IT" and to make a long story short, by the end of the movie they had won my sympathy. The mother of one of the girls walked in this one room cottage, finding them in bed and sinner vic literally said quietly to himself, to this mother. Leave them alone, can't you see that they are happy now!

What I'm trying to say is that whatever you do, do "IT" with Love and remember that 'Vengeance belongs to The Lord' and for any sinner (s) to believe that he or she can do God's Will should think again and them who don't believe me should ask some of Henry The "8" and His beloved wive's cells before jumping the gun.

sinner vic could go on and on, on fire but I'll close by saying that too many bad cells could destroy somebody but "IT" is still better for a corrupted body to go into Heaven with some parts missing then face Eternal Damnation with those rotten parts in charge! Don't you think?

I hear ya! What are you talking about Victor? :)

God Bless,

Peace
Thank You for the Suggestions
Dear Mr. Colson,

Thank you very much for your latest "Two-Minute Warning." Your ideas and suggestions on how to actively support traditional marriage by being vocal locally and nationally were very helpful and motivating. I plan to email Governor Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Brown immediately.

Thank you for this website and the fine work you do.

All the best,

Jeremiah
Shashi Rosa:

I appreciate your input. However, your posting on the First Amendment is based on two premises that are simply not true.

First, you state that "The government CANNOT pass a law opposing gay marriage based on religious moral values alone. It's a violation of the First Amendment." Actually, the freedom of religion clause in the 1st Amendment (both parts) applies strictly to Congress. Moreover, it was clearly intended by the framers to prohibit the establishment of a national church, while at the same time permitting states to establish state churches (as was the case in at least one of the original 13) and by no means prohibiting morals-based or religion-based laws.

For example, laws prohibiting commercial activities on Sundays were clearly permissible in the view of the founders--yet this clearly "favors" Christianity over, say, Judaism. And the latter example is important because the founders understood that they had built the Constitution squarely on a Biblical worldview, and more pointedly, a "Christian" Biblical worldview. They accepted as a given that the Constitution was subject to the "laws of Nature and of Nature's God" (i.e., the revelation of the Christian Scriptures). Evidence for this can be found throughout the early court decisions, including those of the Supreme Court. So it is incorrect to say that "government--in this case, the people via referendum--cannot pass a law...based on religious moral values alone."

Second, you state that "Homosexuality has yet to be shown as harmful from a religious-neutral angle." Actually, strictly from a medical standpoint, male homosexual practices (especially sodomy, since the rectum is not well-suited to intercourse) are extremely detrimental to the health of the participants. It is one of many reasons that life expectancy for male homosexuals is many years lower than for male heterosexuals. An examination of the impact of a homosexual lifestyle (especially male) on mental health yields the same results. And there's plenty more evidence addressing other aspects which points in the same direction. (I would encourage you to honestly examine all the evidence; I'm certain it will amply demonstrate that a homosexual lifestyle is detrimental to health in comparison to a heterosexual lifestyle. )

Now that may not, in itself, be a sufficient reason for everyone to conclude that it ought to be outlawed or otherwise regulated (for instance, we still permit legal smoking even though it is also clearly detrimental to health), but it is not an unreasonable basis on which to come to such a conclusion (to outlaw or regulate unhealthy behavior). And a good case can indeed be made that the practice of homosexuality can be and sometimes is detrimental to others, such as Chuck Colson argued in his column with respect to children. (By the way, I'm not familiar with the study you referenced, but I'm quite certain that it is the aberration; most studies of what's healthiest for children strongly point to one in which children are raised by both of their own biological parents.)

I share your concern for the 1st Amendment, but it is clearly not endangered by the prohibition of gay marriage.
Saltracer,

First, let me apologise for what was obviously a huge presentation error on my part. The quoted sections in my original comment ('Let’s start with what we already know: an intact two-biological-parent household is the best environment for raising children' and 'Another thing we know is that the kids whose circumstances most resemble those raised in same-sex households, the children of sperm donors, are struggling in ways that were predictable') were not my personal statements, but quotes from a commentary by Chuck Colson, titled 'Who Is Being Irrational?' ( http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/15056 ). Anything afterwards was my argument *against* those statements - both statements which, to a limited degree, i agree with, but they have significant flaws which i wasn't quite willing to completely ignore. I wasn't disagreeing with myself so much as doing a poor job of showing what i believe and what someone else believes. My bad.

As far as adoption goes, i think this is one area in which we technically agree but our presentation makes us appear to disagree. I'm not a parent myself, adoptive or otherwise, so i can't speak from personal experience, but i've done enough research on adoption to fully agree adoption leaves a significant psychological scar - on both the children and the birth mothers who lose their children. Some of the stories i've read regarding adopted children and birth parents are downright horrifying. I think my favourite summary of adoption comes from a woman who adopted a little girl and once described herself and her husband as 'God's plan B' for their daughter, and adoption in general as 'a band-aid placed over a gaping wound' (the 'gaping wound' in question being abuse, poverty, stigma against single parents, etc.)
But those 'gaping wounds' still happen. Kids can't always stay with their birth parents (or their adoptive parents, for that matter, but adoption disruption is a whole other insanely long conversation). And if a child can't be with her biological parents anyway, i find it hard to justify flat-out denying a gay couple the right to adopt her based on their genders rather than their parenting abilities. I'm not going to bother re-linking to all the studies i mentioned in my original comment (one comment with more than three links is enough, i think) but suffice to say there's no evidence homosexual adoptive parents are any worse than heterosexual adoptive parents.

As for the argument marriage no longer being about the children 'is the fundamental problem with society. That the adults are more interested in their own temporal pleasurable pursuits than they are with the immortality found in raising children' - well, i'm not sure i agree it's *the* fundamental problem with society, but i can agree it certainly is a problem. Still, even if we could somehow renovate society to the point where only couples dedicated to raising children were allowed to marry, there would still be situations in which children lose their families. Maybe less, maybe even more, depending on how extramarital society ended up (Less premarital sex? More birth control? More or less stigma against unwed mothers? Too many variables to just guess at the end result). And again, if a child can no longer be with her biological parents anyway, why should the genders of a loving couple dedicated to raising her be a factor?
Totally irrational ruling
Judge Walker's ruling is fundamentally flawed for many reasons. One of the most basic is his statement, in support of his ruling, that "[t]he evidence shows conclusively that moral and religious views form the only basis for a belief that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples."

Judge Walker indicated that this failed the test of a rational basis for the constitutional amendment, which is a necessary requirement for a valid amendment to the California constitution. His logic fails entirely.

1) To argue that "the evidence shows conclusively" that no arguments were advanced (or can be advanced) to support the notion "that same-sex couples are different from opposite-sex couples" other than moral and religious views is simply a gross distortion of the record, in short, Judge Walker lied. In point of fact, many arguments were advanced based on other evidence, but the judge dismissed them as inconsequential or informed only by moral and religious views. In other words, he claimed he can read everyone's mind and thereby determine "conclusively" what the motives were of all who voted for Prop 8.

2) Judge Walker made the logical leap that having a moral or religious basis for supporting a constitutional amendment is NOT rational. This is a bald assertion made without ANY supporting evidence. This is the same illogical agrument that one "can't legislate morality" when in fact most legislation does just that--it establishes what in the eyes of the law is "right" and what is "wrong." Indeed, the judge himself effectively appealed to a moral standard to support his ruling--namely that gays and lesbians "should" be afforded equal treatment (as he defined it).

This ruling is so ludicrous on its face that it ought to be dismissed by the appeals court without comment. Unfortunately, we have drifted so far from clear thinking based on a Judeo-Christian worldview (the only worldview that adequately accounts for the reality we see in the world around us) that many people--no doubt including the Ninth Circuit--will accept this ruling as valid.

3) In support of his ruling, Judge Walker appealed to the myth that males and females are entirely interchangeable (wonder how exactly he was born) and their gender totally "irrelevant" to the raising of children. These sort of statements don't even deserve a response, they are so unsupported.

And the irony is that he used this totally irrational argumentation to find that Prop 8 supporters acted without a "rational basis." It boggles the mind...
Jason,

I agree with you we cannot favour irreligion over religion (and the Supreme Court agrees with you, too, for that matter - i just wasn't quite long-winded enough to specify so in my last comment.) And i agree declaring neutrality would be a better option - i'd be happiest if the government ditched its monopoly on marriage all together and only became involved in citizens' marital lives when absolutely required (eg to prevent sex crimes.) But i disagree legalising same-sex marriage would automatically 'favour' it. It's merely giving non-religious (or people whose religion is not opposed to homosexuality - certain branches of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, etc.) same-sex couples the option.

Now, if homosexual couples got better tax breaks or benefits than heterosexual couples, or if the laws were set up so homosexuals had an easier time getting married, finding homes, getting jobs, adopting children, etc. - then yes, homosexuals would be favoured over heterosexuals. I would be firmly opposed to such an idea, and i imagine most people (regardless of religion) would be as well. But that's not what Proposition 8 is about, and overturning it won't lead to excessive rights for same-sex couples.
What Can I Do?
Having grown up in a broken home, I personally understand the importance of children being raised by both a mother and a father, which is why I have become a strong supporter for marriage. And though I am currently residing in a foreign country (born and raised in California), I would like to help and would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

And please let me offer my opinion on the recent decision on Prop. 8. In reviewing the information I have, I believe it is reasonable to infer that Judge Walker has made his decision before opening arguments were made. For example, he stated that defining marriage between a man and a woman "unconstitutionally burden(s) the fundamental right to marry," yet he ignores other "burdens" such as defining marriage as between two people with no close family ties and with an age requirement. His decision is disingenuous because he ignores these other limitations.

On traditional marriage, I believe the government gives special benefits to marriages, and not to any other non-marital relationships, for a good reason. It is not because those relationships do not involve long-term, committed, loving relationships. Many qualify here. It is because marriages do involve children.

Marriage and family construct culture. And as the building blocks of culture, families are logically prior to society as the parts are prior to the whole. So why has civilization always characterized families as a union of men and women? Because men and women are the natural source of the children that allow civilized culture to continue and also provide the optimal environment for the raising of those children.

Marriage should not be a shortcut to group insurance rates or tax relief or other benefits. There is an appreciable difference between children raised in two biological parent married families and children raised in other unions. As members of society, we should support the latter in their needs but not at the cost of eviscerating marriage of its normative content.

There are many forms of marriage that are denies and prohibited by society-polygamous marriages, bigamous marriages, etc.-even those these relationships include children because this is in the best interest of society at large.

Well, this is my view anyway.
Shari Rosa, if one cannot favor religion over lack thereof, what makes you think you can favor lack thereof? Declaring neutrality would be the impartial course. Specifically recognizing gay-marriage, would be favoring gayness, which is either a religion or lack thereof.
Ken Loss: no civilization stands the test of time.
First Amendment
Scott,

Allow me to explain my 'confusing' way of thinking, then. I don't expect you to agree with me but i do put high importance on a well-informed opinion. ('Well-informed', by my definition, means understanding *all*, or at least as many as possible, aspects of a situation. In a situation regarding law and religion, that means understanding both the Bible and secular law.)

First, i don't know exactly where you're from, but seeing as this conversation focuses on Proposition 8, in California, USA, i'll use American law.

1) The First Amendment of the American Constitution states the government CANNOT pass laws preferring one religion over another, or religion over lack thereof. The exact wording is 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.' This has been interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean neither the federal nor state (e.g. California) governments can pass laws limiting or promoting religion.

2) The two biggest reasons for opposing gay marriage are a) 'God says it's wrong' and b) 'It's harmful to others.'
2a) See point 1. The government CANNOT pass a law opposing gay marriage based on religious moral values alone. It's a violation of the First Amendment.
2b) No one has yet shown gay marriage to be harmful to anyone, outside of the 'wrath of God' angle. Pedophilia? Harmful to children. Spousal abuse? Harmful to the spouse. Rape? Harmful to the victim. There are laws against all these crimes, not because the Bible or any specific religion says they are wrong, but because they are known to cause physical and/or psychological damage. Homosexuality? Has not been shown to hurt the homosexuals in question, their children, or anyone else in their community.

This is the main point i was trying to make earlier: Homosexuality has yet to be shown as harmful from a religious-neutral angle; therefore, the government cannot criminalise it. Not without undoing the First Amendment. You may have noticed this is the same amendment which allows us the freedom to follow our religion as we please and to actively argue over whether a law is a good one or not. I'd rather like to keep the First around a bit longer.
dont lift the ban on same sex marriage
colossians 2:8 see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. we are all sinners, some of us repent and love our Lord and some of us do neither. if there were no gay(and still practicing their recreational activities, not procreational activities) priests, and no gay marriages in our churches, i wouldnt be so grossed out. please, i wont ask, you dont tell. unless you want to be led to the Lord . whats next, seriously? rights for the pedifiles, the plural marriages, you people are out of your minds.
in response to shashi rosa and mr carter
you two should get married. both of you confuse me very much with your way of thinking. its obvious you have not been reading Gods word, you have only been leaning on your own understanding. read proverbs 3:5-7 please read also 2timothy3:12 im sorry your marriages didnt work out mr carter. and your wives found someone else. that must bother you a lot. just remember we all fall short of the glory of God. doesnt mean we have lost credibility. read also leviticus 20:13, romans 1:26-32 and let us not forget sodom and gommorah
Marriage Blog
We have been involved in marriage counseling within our local church, and as a result began a blog in 2008. The purpose is to encourage marriages to grow strong before they're in desperate need of counseling.

We provide date night ideas, resources, questions to promote meaningful and purposeful conversation, and to learn how to grow marriages strong for the glory of God.

You asked what we're doing, and this has become our passion, and the positive response from our readers nationwide encourages us to continue.

Thank you, Chuck, for reminding all of us the seriousness of the marriage covenant. Here's a link to our blog:
http://theromanticvineyard.com
Prop 8
Unless we discuss the essence or core of this issue we will spend countless words and arguments in favor of or opposing making same-sex marriage equal to hetrosexual marriage. We can, do and will make our opinions known, but the inevitable question will beg to be answered,"Whose opinion is best and why?" If we seek strictly among ourselves, fellow human beings, for that authoritative answer, simply the loudest, best funded, best connected, or most organized will eatablish the law.
At the very heart of this debate is the issue of original design. The Creator of mankind created the genders, male and female. The two sexes are full complements to each other. After God made the woman He brought her to the man to initiate the first wedding ceremony on earth and established the universal precedent for familial unions.
God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Without Eve Adam could not, and by herself Eve could not. If God had left Adam without Eve he would have remained, for all time, the sole human being on earth.
Yes, people of both genders, whether married or not can and do adopt children, but to produce those adoptable children requires a sperm cell (male) and an egg cell (female) every time. That is how the Creator designed procreation.
If the two sexes in our country had no further sexual intercourse with each other, and there was no sharing of sperm or eggs, within about 120 years, I think that's about how long it would take, the last American would die. There would be nothing more to debate.
This is but one argument, in the overall marriage issue, in favor of setting heterosexual marriage as the universal standard.
Prop 8
What is of essence here is design. The Creator created them male and female, full complements of one another. After creating the first woman God brought her to the man. (Until that point in history there wasn't a suitable mate for the man among all of God's creatures.) God created a female for the male. The first marriage on earth was heterosexual. This set the standard for all marriages ever after.
Prop 8 and Gay Parenting
I'd like to bring up an article I read recently on Beliefnet, 'Interfaith, same sex, and every other kind of marriage is holy to someone' ( http://blog.beliefnet.com/homeshuling/2010/08/interfaith-same-sex-and-every-other-kind-of-marriage-is-holy-to-someone.html ). Regardless of your views on same-sex marriage, the article makes an argument many Christians would approve: let the government 'get out of the marriage business entirely'. There is no reason a covenant before God (the original definition of traditional marriage, if I remember my Bible classes correctly) should also require the approval of the government.
Yes, technically such an arrangement would 'legalise' gay marriage, in the sense a church could choose to have gay weddings. However, it would also encourage marriage to stop being a government-arranged right, and all the fretting about ministers being 'forced' to hold gay weddings could be laid aside.

That said, I'd like to argue against a few points in one of recent commentaries ('Who Is Being Irrational?'):

"Let’s start with what we already know: an intact two-biological-parent household is the best environment for raising children." (Quick grammar/logic quirk: you can't call something 'best' until you've tested all the alternatives. We have come nowhere *near* testing every potential child-rearing alternative.)
Logic failure aside, there HAVE been studies showing gay families have a better environment; for example "after following the children of lesbian moms for their first 17 years, researchers Nanette Gartrell and Henny Bos determined that compared to other teens, these kids were more likely to succeed academically, and were less likely to have social problems, break rules or exhibit aggressive behavior." ( http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/147565/ - see also http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a921700644 , http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/peds.2009-3153v1.pdf , http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123248173/HTMLSTART )
Now, it can be argued - probably quite accurately - the gay parents in question only seem 'better' because they must try so much harder to get children; I have yet to hear of a lesbian couple accidentally conceiving due to failed birth control, and even straight couples need to jump through quite a few hoops to prove they are qualified parents before being allowed to adopt. HOWEVER, the point is made that the gender mix of the parents is *not* the most important factor in raising successful children.

"Another thing we know is that the kids whose circumstances most resemble those raised in same-sex households, the children of sperm donors, are struggling in ways that were predictable."
I won't argue the truth of sperm donor children being more likely to have certain issues, but… well, gay parents adopt, too. And straight parents with fertility issues adopt and have children through sperm donors. And single parents, regardless of sexual orientation, adopt and have donor children. The gender of the parents has nothing to do with the struggles of donor children.
Further, I don't think any studies on sperm donor children thus far have differentiated between gay and straight parents; as the gay parenting studies I linked above mention, gay parents are more likely to make lifestyle changes for their children and to improve their relationships with extended family, which may have a significant effect on common donor-child issues such as depression and substance abuse. Granted, that's just a random hypothesis of mine, but I think it's worth waiting for a few more studies to be done before criminalising gay parents who choose to have children through sperm donors.

One final point: Marriage is not, nor has it been for quite some time, entirely about the children. Plenty of married couples do not have and do not plan to have children. Plenty of stable couples with children firmly believe the government and church have no right to keep tabs on their personal love lives, and have chosen not to 'officially' marry despite being fully devoted to each other.
Christians Lacking Credibility
Until Christians turn the tide and stay married themselves, we have no credibility in telling the unbelieving world about the purpose or sanctity of marriage. We lost that high ground a long time ago. As for me, I credit two unwanted divorces. My ex's are happily living their Christian lives with nary a thought that divorce is not OK with God.

We have no credibility telling others that they can not WE do not stay married. I know that you would rather fight this tooth and nail all the while ignoring the emptiness of your argument because Christians do not live what they teach. Marriage is not sacred anymore to us so why should we think the rest of the world will look at it any differently? They should have the right to divorce just like us.
Gay marriage
It bothers me that people say gays don't have the right to marry. They have the same right to marry that you or I have-a woman can marry a man, the same as me; or a man can marry a woman, same as other men. We can't marry some one of the same sex, whether we are "gay" or not. Why should they have that right? They might say that they can't marry the person they love, but neither can I just marry any one I decide I want to-they have to agree and there are other laws which must be considered -it isn't only about gender. It has to do with age, present marital status, and many other issues. If marriage is for any one who thinks they love someone, more changes than the one gays are advocating would be needed.
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