Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

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Pro-family movement: with this strategy, get used to losing

Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
Matthew Cullinan Hoffman
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December 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Advocates of the gay agenda hit a home run against pro-family forces on November 6, winning four out of four statewide referenda permitting homosexual ‘marriage’ or even establishing it.  Now pro-family activists must answer the question: “why?” What we’re hearing from them is not encouraging.

Although questions of tactics are always relevant to the postmortem analysis following an election loss, they ultimately cannot address the essence of the problem these defeats represent: a grave sexual perversion, one rightly denounced by virtually every society that has ever existed, is being converted in the mind of the public from a vice into a public institution, with associated privileges and rights, including access to infants and small children.

In short, the losses experienced in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington State could never have happened in a healthy society that upholds basic standards of sexual morality.  The very fact that they were on the ballot at all, that the subversion of the institution of marriage has become a topic of polite conversation, is an indication of a level of moral confusion and decadence that borders on the apocalyptic.

The question that should be on the minds of pro-family activists should not be “how did we fail in our tactics,” but rather, “how did we arrive at this late stage of social breakdown in the first place?”  The answer, sadly, will be staring us back in the mirror.

Although millions of dollars have been spent on massive campaigns to counteract the homosexual lobby’s well-financed propaganda machine, and numerous dedicated individuals have committed many hours of labor to the cause of defending marriage, pro-family activists have made the catastrophic mistake of accepting many of the false premises upon which homosexual activists base their claims in the hope of appearing moderate and reasonable, while fatally weakening their own position.

Ceding the moral high ground

A public letter written by three eminent Catholics in Washington State prior to to the vote and published as an op-ed in the Seattle Times is a useful if lamentable example of this doomed strategy of moral compromise. Entitled, “We are Catholics and we oppose Referendum 74 to legalize same-sex marriage,” the letter sought to appear gracious and reasonable by speaking positively about the immoral, unnatural relationships that constitute the “gay lifestyle.”

Instead of denouncing sodomy as a socially-harmful vice, the letter appears to treat it with respect, stating that “No one denies the close and intimate bond experienced by same-sex couples. However, it simply is not the same thing as marriage because by its very nature it cannot produce children.”

In reality, homosexual relationships do not represent an authentic intimacy, but rather involve mutual exploitation for the sake of satisfying an unnatural lust.  Such behavior harms bodies and minds, causing physical damage and spreading diseases, and leading often to depression, drug abuse, domestic violence, and even suicide. Numerous studies have documented the destructive consequences of the “gay lifestyle,” although they should be hardly necessary if one merely considers the physical and psychological incompatibility of same-sex relationships, which substitute the natural complementarity of an opposite-sex companion in favor of a narcissistic parody of the same.

Confining one’s objections to homosexual marriage to the fact that gay relationships cannot produce offspring undermines the case for traditional marriage with a reductionist, functionalistic understanding of a relationship that is also profoundly psychological and spiritual.  Many heterosexual couples suffer from sterility and cannot produce children, but this does not deprive their relationships of validity nor the title of marriage.  Moreover, homosexuals have already anticipated this objection by adopting children, or using technology to create their own. If the reproductive element in heterosexual unions is the only basis for rejecting homosexual “marriage,” then we have already lost the battle.

Faulty principles produce long-run defeat

As Brian Camenker of Mass Resistance points out in his incisive post-electoral analysis, such losing strategies characterized virtually the entire effort on the part of pro-family activists, led by groups such as the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), in the four states.

“In sharp contrast to the homosexual lobby’s slick, sophisticated propaganda machine, the pro-family overall approach was largely the same moderate, inoffensive, often logically incoherent approach that they’ve coasted on until now,” writes Camenker, who notes that “most of the pro-family message was some variation of: Every child needs a father and a mother; the word ‘marriage’ is special; marriage is about procreation; marriage is a timeless institution; gays already have all the rights marriage brings; etc.”

However, Camenker adds, “At its root, ‘gay marriage’ is really about the forced acceptance of homosexuality as a normal part of society. But both NOM and the state pro-family groups went to great lengths not to criticize homosexual behavior. They were very fearful of being perceived as ‘anti-gay’ or ‘homophobic’ especially in the liberal press.”  Some smaller groups that did point out the objectionable nature of homosexual behavior were pilloried by the the larger groups, Camenker notes.

Two erroneous principles underlie the losing strategy of many marriage advocates.  The first, and worst, is a concession to a vague indfferentism regarding human sexuality, implying that sexual activity is a morally neutral question of personal preference, and that sexual morality is at most a matter of opinion. The second, which carries into effect the moral subjectivism of the first, is the notion that everyone has a right to control their own bodies, as long as their relationships are consensual. This transforms sodomy from a vice into a “right,” which ironically is the whole essence of the attack on marriage.

The latter principle is captured in the NOM’s number one talking point, given in italics on their own website: “Gays and Lesbians have a right to live as they choose, they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.”  Another way of wording this is the following: “We accept that homosexual sodomy is a right. We’re just don’t want to call it ‘marriage.’”

However, if homosexual sodomy is a right, that is, if it is a legitimate expression of human sexuality, it is difficult to understand why it should not be subsumed under the category of marriage. Marriage is, after all, a perpetual union between two people who share a sexual life, which in most but not all cases has the potential of bringing forth offspring.  NOM would (rightly) add that marriage is not just between two people who share a sexual life, but rather between a man and a woman who share a sexual life. However, they have no way to explain why the definition should be exclusive in this way, if homosexual sodomy is a legitimate form of sexual activity, and indeed a “right.”

Illustrating this point is a common argument made by defenders of marriage: that homosexuals can already receive all of the same rights and legal effects of marriage, but under the aegis of a “civil union” or other package of legal benefits. This attitude is also reflected on the NOM website, which concedes a wide range of benefits to homosexual couples that are customarily given to married couples. Homosexual adoption is never explicitly rejected, and NOM only occasionally opposes civil unions as stepping stones to homosexual “marriage.” In other words, the battle over marriage for NOM is almost entirely nominal; it is not about the essence of the institution, which protects a vital type of human relationship, but only the name we attach to it.

Rational arguments or incoherent slogans?

I must respectfully disagree with those pro-family activists who defended their organizations’ losing strategy following the elections.  If the only feasible approach is one that reinforces the foundation of the gay subculture by legitimizing homosexual relationships, and that isolates the defense of marriage from related issues, we have already lost the battle for marriage, both morally and politically. Sacrificing foundational principles may have given a superficial rhetorical advantage and helped to deliver short-run victories, but the ultimate fruits of this flawed approach are now becoming evident.  Poll numbers indicate that Americans are embracing homosexual “marriage” in ever-greater numbers.

The battle over marriage cannot be won by technocrats who think of human beings as Pavlov’s dog, responding to superficial slogans and emotionalistic advertising spots in proportion to the frequency of repetition and modeling votes as a function of dollars spent.  Although sloganeering has its role, in the long run, coherent and principled arguments win the day. Ultimately man is a rational animal, and ideas have consequences.

If we really wish to make the case for marriage, we must take a comprehensive natural-law approach to human sexuality that does not evade the more politically difficult aspects of the question, one that affirms the integral nature of sexual relationships and the corresponding duty of the state to defend sexual morality and repress vice. That is the approach laid out by then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in an instruction issued by the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during his leadership of the same.  While affirming the goodness of natural marriage, Ratzinger also noted that homosexual unions, without qualification, must always be explicitly opposed, and that governments should act to “contain the phenomenon” of homosexuality.

Although such an approach will entail short-run difficulties and will not yield immediate victories, it is the only long-run solution to America’s terrible moral decline, which is not isolated to the definition of marriage, but includes an almost total corruption of the nation’s understanding of human sexuality, reproduction, and the value of human life. It is also the only truly charitable approach towards homosexuals themselves, who are the greatest victims of the “gay lifestyle,” and are in desperate need of the truth. Until and unless pro-family activists adopt a comprehensive and coherent answer to the ideology of the culture of death, we will continue to suffer defeat after defeat, until the institution of marriage is completely destroyed.


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Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." Shutterstock
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‘Sick and twisted’: Down’s advocates, pro-life leaders slam Richard Dawkins’ abortion remarks

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By Dustin Siggins

Advocates on behalf of individuals with Down syndrome, as well as pro-life leaders, are slamming famed atheist Richard Dawkins’ statements made on Twitter earlier today that parents have a moral responsibility to abort babies diagnosed in utero with Down’s.

During a shocking Twitter rant, Dawkins responded to questioners saying that it was "civilised" to abort Down Syndrome babies, and that it would be "immoral" to choose not to abort babies diagnosed with the condition.

He said that his goal is to "reduce suffering wherever you can," indicating that unborn children cannot suffer, and that unborn children don't "have human feelings."

In addition to being scientifically challenged - unborn children can feel both pain and emotions - Dawkins' comments drew criticism for his callousness towards children with disabilities.  

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus"

"It's sick and twisted for anyone to advocate for the killing of children with disabilities," Live Action President Lila Rose told LifeSiteNews. "Dawkins's ignorant comments serve only to further stigmatize people with Down syndrome.

"While many people with Down syndrome, their families, and advocacy groups are fighting discrimination on a daily basis, Dawkins calls for their murder before they are even born," she said. "Those with Down syndrome are human beings, with innate human dignity, and they, along with the whole human family, deserve our respect and protection."

Carol Boys, chief executive of the Down's Syndrome Association, told MailOnline that, contrary to Dawkins’ assertion, "People with Down’s syndrome can and do live full and rewarding lives, they also make a valuable contribution to our society."

A spokesperson for the UK disabilities charity Scope lamented that during the "difficult and confusing time" when parents find out they are expecting a child with disabilities, they often experience "negative attitudes."

"What parents really need at this time is sensitive and thorough advice and information," the spokesperson said.

Charlotte Lozier Institute president Chuck Donovan agreed with Rose’s assessment. "Advocates of abortion for those 'weaker' than others, or of less physical or intellectual dexterity, should remember that each of us is 'lesser' in some or most respects," he said.

According to Donovan, "we deliver a death sentence on all of humanity by such cruel logic."

"A true civilization – a civilization of love – does not engage in such cold and ultimately suicidal calculus" he said.

One family who has a child with Down syndrome said Dawkins was far from the mark when he suggested that aborting babies with Down syndrome is a good way to eliminate suffering.

Jan Lucas, whose son Kevin has Down syndrome, said that far from suffering, Kevin has brought enormous joy to the family, and "is so loving. He just has a million hugs."

She described how Kevin was asked to be an honorary deacon at the church they attend in New Jersey, "because he is so encouraging to everyone. At church, he asks people how their families are, says he'll pray for them, and follows up to let them know that he has been praying for them."

It's not just strangers for whom Kevin prays. "My husband and I were separated for a time, and Kevin kept asking people to pray for his dad," said Jan. "They didn't believe that Kevin's prayers would be answered. Kevin didn't lose hope, and asking people, and our marriage now is better than ever before. We attribute it to Kevin's prayers, and how he drew on the prayers of everyone."

"I don't know what we'd do without him," said Jan.

Speaking with LifeSiteNews, Kevin said that his favorite things to do are "spending time with my family, and keeping God in prayer." He said that he "always knows God," which helps him to "always keep praying for my friends."

"I love my church," said Kevin.

Although it is widely believed that people with Down syndrome are doomed to a life of suffering, in one large survey , 99% of respondents with Down syndrome described themselves as "happy." At the same time, 99% percent of parents said they loved their child with Down syndrome, and 97 percent said they were proud of them.

Only 4 percent of parents who responded said they regretted having their child.

Despite this, it is estimated that in many Western countries the abortion rate of children diagnosed in utero with Down syndrome is 90%, or even higher. The development of new and more accurate tests for the condition has raised concerns among Down syndrome advocates that that number could rise even higher. 


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President George Bush takes the ice bucket challenge in a video released this week.
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What’s wrong with the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’? A lot, say pro-life leaders

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By Dustin Siggins

Pro-life leaders in the U.S. are warning about ethical problems with the viral "Ice Bucket Challenge" that has raised over $15 million for research into Lou Gehrig’s Disease since late July, making its way to the top of American politics, and the entertainment and business worlds in the process.

In recent days, former president George W. Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, TV hosts Oprah Winfrey and Jimmy Fallon, and Microsoft founder Bill Gates have all had ice-cold water dumped on their heads in support of the effort.

They have been joined by many thousands of everyday Americans eager to do their part to raise funds to find a cure for the fatal neurodegenerative disease.

However, pro-life leaders from Patheos blogger Father Michael Duffy to the American Life League (ALL) are all pointing out that the ALS Association, which is behind the wildly popular fundraising effort, funds and otherwise supports embryonic stem cell research.

Instead, they are urging that pro-life people who want to participate in the ice bucket challenge send their donations to other charities that don't have similar ethical issues.

Embryonic stem cell research requires the destruction of an unborn child. This is unlike adult and umbilical cord stem cell research, which are considered ethical.

A spokesperson from the ALS Association admitted to American Life League in an e-mail that while the organization "primarily funds adult stem cell research," they are "funding one study using embryonic stem cells (ESC)..."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"It is noble to combat a deadly disease,” Live Action president Lila Rose said in a statement provided to LifeSiteNews, but added that “it's such a shame that the ALS Association...chooses to support research that thrives from experimenting on and killing tiny, innocent human beings."

"Embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of pre-born people, is inherently unethical and a violation of fundamental human rights, and even materialists must admit that promises of its benefits have failed to deliver," continued Rose. "There is no good reason to condone this practice; in fact, all it does is taint the ALS Association, whom I'd otherwise be happy to support."

In the e-mail to American Life League, ALS Assocation Spokesperson Carrie Munk defended the organization, saying that the embryonic stem cell research is being funded by an outside donor, and "the stem cell line was established many years ago."

She added that "under very strict guidelines, The Association may fund embryonic stem cell research in the future," and that currently "donors may stipulate that their funds not be invested in this study or any stem cell project."

At least one Catholic archdiocese has spoken up about the problematic relationship between ALS Assocation and unethical research.

"We appreciate the compassion that has caused so many people to engage in” the ice bucket challenge,” said a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. “But it's a well established moral principle that a good end is not enough. The means to that ends must be morally licit."

Both Fr. Duffy and the archdiocese have recommended money be sent to the John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa City, Iowa. It is an organization that exclusively researches with adult stem cells. 

One D.C.-area Catholic, Robert Vega, wrote on Facebook that "in light of the absolute dignity of human life and necessity to defend it...I have taken down my Ice Bucket video, untagged myself from my nomination video, and encourage anyone to whom I may have spread the Challenge to do the same."

Embryonic stem cell research, which was a major controversy throughout the presidency of George W. Bush, has quietly, although decidedly, become less popular after many of the exalted promises of its proponents failed to materialize. As LifeSiteNews reported, in 2012 California and Maryland funded a fraction of the embryonic stem cell research projects that they did in 2007. Likewise, Maryland funded nearly twice as many stem cell research projects in 2012 as it had in the prior year -- but only one of the grants was done for an embryonic research project.


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Catholic couple fined $13,000 for refusing to host same-sex ‘wedding’ at their farm

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By Kirsten Anderson
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Robert and Cynthia Gifford

The New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) has ruled that the Roman Catholic owners of an Albany-area farm violated the civil rights of a lesbian couple when they declined to host the couple’s same-sex “marriage” ceremony in 2012.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who own and operate Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, were ordered by DHR Judge Migdalia Pares and Commissioner Helen Diane Foster to pay $10,000 in fines to the state and an additional $3,000 in damages to the lesbian couple, Jennie McCarthy and Melissa Erwin for “mental pain and suffering.” 

Additionally, the Giffords must provide sensitivity training to their staff, and prominently display a poster highlighting state anti-discrimination laws.

The Giffords’ attorney, Jim Trainor, told LifeSiteNews that the two-year-legal drama and resulting fines all stemmed from a single brief phone call in 2012 that caught his clients off guard.

“The entire interaction between the Complainants and the Giffords transpired during a two to three minute telephone conversation which, unknown to Mrs. Gifford, was being tape recorded,” Trainor said.

“After communicating the fact that they chose not to hold same-sex marriage ceremonies at the farm because to do so would violate the Giffords’ sincerely held beliefs (that God intended marriage to be between a man a woman only), Mrs. Gifford invited the couple to visit the farm to discuss handling their wedding reception, which the couple refused.” 

The Giffords draw a line, Trainor explained, between a ceremony that solemnizes a homosexual relationship and a reception that celebrates the union after the fact.  To participate in the former, they argue, would be a violation of their own religious beliefs, especially because marriage ceremonies on the farm typically take place in and around the couple’s home, where they live full-time and are raising their two children. 

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But the Giffords are willing to serve gay couples in other ways – for example, they allowed another lesbian couple to throw a birthday party for their adopted child on the farm.

Trainor said he believes the decision by DHR goes too far in that it seeks to regulate what the Giffords can or cannot do in their own private home, even though state law only requires “places of public accommodation” to adhere to anti-discrimination laws.

“They consider the farm their home,” Trainor said. “They live there, they work there, they raise their kids there.”

Trainor also said that the Judge and Commissioner should have taken into account the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling, which came down weeks before the DHR notified the Giffords of their decision.

“We're disappointed that neither the Administrative Law Judge nor the Commissioner considered the Gifford's Constitutional (1st Amendment) rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a ‘marriage’ ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor said. 

Trainor said he and the Giffords are evaluating their options for further legal action.

The Giffords could simply ask the DHR to reconsider their decision, but Trainor said he doubts that approach would be successful. In order to formally appeal the ruling the couple would have to go to the New York State Supreme Court. 

But there is another option: The Giffords could file a fresh lawsuit in either state or federal court challenging the constitutionality of the DHR ruling.

While religious liberty has been a hot topic in federal court lately, Trainor said New York’s state constitution “actually offers a lot” of protection when it comes to religious freedom. “Many people view it as more expansive than the U.S. Constitution in terms of religious freedoms.”

However, Trainor emphasized that the Giffords have not yet decided which avenue, if any, they are planning to take in terms of pursuing further legal action.

In the meantime, the Giffords will continue hosting wedding ceremonies and receptions at the farm, Trainor said. However, they are considering hiring a dedicated employee to handle the ceremonies in order to avoid having to directly participate in any future same-sex “weddings.”


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