Robert R. Reilly

Obama devolves

Robert R. Reilly
By Robert Reilly

May 11, 2012 (Mercatornet.com) - Both Vice-President Joseph Biden and President Barack Obama have said that their positions regarding same-sex marriage have evolved. When you are “evolving,” you should really watch your grammar. Otherwise, people might suspect you are devolving instead.

Take for instance, the hapless Joe Biden’s pronouncement of why he supports same-sex marriage. It’s all a matter of “who do you love.” His statement is both substantively and grammatically incorrect. It should, of course, be “whom do you love”. “You” is the subject and “whom” is the object of the verb “love.” Biden’s grammatical error reveals the problem with same-sex marriage. It has two subjects without an object.

What is the object of marriage? It is for two to become one flesh. Anatomically and morally, only a man and a woman can do this. Only spousal love is properly sexual for only it provides for the protection of that at which the marital act aims both in its unitive and procreative senses.

But what about “love”? Isn’t it a bit mean-spirited not to allow people who love each other to get married, even if they are of the same gender? Love always seeks the well-being of the loved one. This is true in all sorts of love, whether between parents and children, between children themselves, or between friends. Sexualizing the love in these relationships would be profoundly mistaken since none of these loving relationships is or could be spousal in character.

Therefore, sex between parents and children, between siblings, or between unmarried friends, or between friends of the same gender is objectively disordered and will inflict harm on the parties involved no matter how they “feel.” This is the opposite of seeking the loved one’s well-being.

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Biden is now telling the country that this is not so - that if one man loves another man, sexualizing that love in the form of an act of sodomy is not only not harmful, but provides a sound moral basis for marriage. That is why Biden is in favour of sanctifying sodomy.

How does one evolve into this curious position? One undertakes what Nietzsche called the transvaluation of values. In other words, you take Christianity and dump it on its head and turn it into its opposite, while calling it the same thing. Let’s consider how President Obama “evolved” in this way. On September 25, 2004, Obama said:

“I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

Indeed, that is what Christianity teaches. One wonders what in Christianity is inconsistent with his political views. How are his political views formed? Are they consistent with moral philosophy? Is the judgment of moral philosophy, as in a work like Aristotle’s The Ethics or in Socrates’ condemnation of sodomy, inconsistent with Christian teaching on same-sex marriage? Why doesn’t Obama’s moral reasoning lead him in the same direction as his Christian faith?

In his book The Audacity of Hope, Obama gives us a clue. He writes that:

“Implicit in [the Constitution’s] structure, in the very idea of ordered liberty, was a rejection of absolute truth, the infallibility of any idea or ideology or theology or ‘ism,’ and any tyrannical consistency that might block future generations into a single, unalterable course…”

In other words, truth leads to tyranny. Truth does not set you free; it imprisons. Moral relativism sets you free. Then you can do what you want.

But it is absurd for him to say that the Founders of the United States did not believe in absolute truths. Had this been so, there would have been no Declaration of Independence (“we hold these truths…”) and no Constitution. Obama is reading his own moral relativism back into the document and then trying to use it to legitimize the very opposite of what it proclaims.

Here is another example. On January 28, 2010, during a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa, Obama said:

“My belief is that a basic principle in our Constitution is that if you’re obeying the law, if you’re following the rules, that you should be treated the same, regardless of who you are. I think that principle applies to gay and lesbian couples.”

Only a moral relativist would or could read same-sex marriage back into the Constitution. What Obama is really proposing to do is change the rules so that those who are not following them can have their own special set of rules. So, in the name of equality before the law - a sound constitutional principle - he denies equality before the law.

This all leads to Obama’s striking statement on Wednesday, May 9. Here it is with the personal pronouns italicized:

I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbours when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I‘ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

Ten personal pronouns or the word “my” in one sentence. That is an impressive feat of solipsism that undergirds the moral relativism that authorizes what “is important for me” as the standard by which to judge what is right and wrong. Abraham Lincoln said that there is no right to do what is wrong. Obama and Biden are complicit in making a wrong a “right.”

The transvaluation of values requires more than the denial of objective morality. It requires that the negation - the transvaluation - becomes the new religion. It is the sanctification of nihilism, the Church of Nada. It needs to be sacramentalized, as in same-sex marriage. That is why Obama and Biden insist upon it.

Listen to this final, breathtaking part of Obama’s rationalization. Just as he used the Constitution to justify its opposite, he now employs Christianity in the same way. Christianity, which has unambiguously condemned sodomy for more than 2000 years, is enlisted to endorse it:

“The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the golden rule - you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated. And I think that’s what we try to impart to our kids, and that’s what motivates me as president.”

After all, Christ died to make the world safe for sodomy…

In other words, if you would like your moral misbehaviour to be rationalized, you should be willing to rationalize the moral misbehaviour of others. That way, we are all equal. That’s equal opportunity. This is Obama’s new golden rule. The transvaluation of values is complete.

Fear for the Republic. For the truths for which it stands have been taken away by this president.

Robert Reilly has worked in foreign policy, the military, and the arts. His most recent book is The Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created the Modern Islamist Crisis. This article first appeared on Mercatornet.com and is reprinted under a Creative Commons License.

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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received millions in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

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If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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