Ned Piedmont

Opinion

No one has the power to redefine marriage

Ned Piedmont
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June 12, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - It is not for federal judges to redefine marriage for us. When they do, it is tantamount to cultural suicide, and we should not be surprised at the cultural and social degradation sure to follow.

William Bennett writes in his book The De-Valuing of Society, “Our common culture … embodies truths that most Americans can recognize and examine for themselves. These truths are passed down from generation to generation, transmitted in the family, in the classroom, and in our churches and synagogues.” But the truths of our culture and the traditional American family are now being attacked and demagogued like never before in our history in the name of “tolerance” and “rights.”

Granting homosexuals a newly created “right” to marry will have unimaginable detrimental effects on society. The fact that the federal courts have no constitutional authority to grant rights is only one aspect of the problem. They positively have no authority to define marriage for us.

It is really no surprise that it has come to this. After all, we have been given many such rulings by the courts in the past: no-fault divorce, abortion “rights,” and nude dancing in public and burning the flag – the latter both defined as “free speech.” This is what happens when the Constitution is understood to be a “living document.”

The fact is that no court, no lawyer and no churchman can redefine marriage or grant new rights based on a new definition of marriage. Their pronouncements to the contrary, marriage is what it is and nothing else; and when these judgments are disconnected from any moral grounding, a just and decent society should not respect or accept them.

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Marriage transcends all nations and societies. It existed thousands of years before the founding of the United States, and will exist beyond any current member of government. The government’s proper role is to recognize it and support it legally for the common good of all.

The marital covenant is far different from any purely contractual relationship. A contract is limited by time, terms and conditions. A contract can be rewritten or changed. A covenant is unconditional and is made to last forever. Once married, the man and woman who have committed themselves to a life-long relationship become something new. They are no longer the same. They are one flesh, and they are able to become co-creators of new life.

Indeed, if marriage isn’t the spiritual and physical lifelong union of one man and one woman for the purpose of mutual love, support and the creation and nurturing of new life, then what exactly is it? Is it simply the union of two consenting adults seeking happiness together? Or sexual pleasure? If it is, then why only two? And what happens when they are no longer so “happy” together?

Hollywood and the media have, through word and deed, told us what they think. They prefer to treat marriage as some kind of temporary arrangement that works so long as it “makes me happy.” We have long been treated to the stories of the “stars” and their celebratory sexual exploits producing out-of-wedlock children who in many cases are treated as the celebrities’ latest accessory. There is never a word about commitment, loyalty, love or sacrifice.

The Hollywood vision of sex and marriage is the logical conclusion when sex is disconnected from marriage and lifelong fidelity tossed out the window.

If Hollywood’s views are right, why aren’t all the stars blissfully happy? Why so many divorces? And how can so many ordinary, average citizens have happy life-long marriages? How can a poor, simple, ordinary American couple like the one I met last week in their neat little home in east Houston be so happily married these 56 years? Apparently they haven’t read many of those slick supermarket magazines glorifying the stars and their play-acting at marriage. They seemed to know the secret; namely, that they entered into a covenant with each other and believed that it was forever. And with all of their health problems and their poverty, they have worked hard, stayed together, sacrificed for each other and raised their children. They are the model for us.

Marc D. Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress, says in his 2006 book Same Sex Marriage and Religious Liberty, “Once the state recognizes us as married, no private group outside of the sanctuary of the church is entitled to treat us otherwise, and various civil rights laws banning discrimination over sexual orientation ought to take priority over religious liberty in every case” (emphasis added). This should serve as a pretty clear indication of what is to come with the redefinition of marriage.

Dr. Martin Luther King, in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” quotes St. Augustine’s declaration that “an unjust law is no law at all.” King goes on to explain, “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God.”

So what are we to do about it? First of all, don’t be intimidated. Don’t automatically accept that every law passed is a just law. Understand well that our inalienable rights come from our Creator, not our government, and if a law violates any of those rights, it may be legal, but it cannot be just. Stand up for what you know to be true. Stand alone if necessary. In the words of Blessed John Paul II, “Be Not Afraid.”

Let your representatives know what you believe. Vote for those whom you believe will appoint judges who know their proper role in American government. Vote for those who understand constitutional limits. And continue to pray for our country and its leaders.

Ned Piedmont is a resident of Houston, Texas and parishioner at Saint Edith Stein Catholic Church in Katy, Texas. This article reprinted with permission from HLIAmerica.org.



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Pro-life group asks: Pray for abortionists who sell baby body parts

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February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - This Lent, a pro-life group would like you to pray for an abortionist - specifically, an abortionist who facilitates the sale of unborn babies' body parts.

The Pro-Life Action League is asking for people to pray for three people in particular throughout the 40 days of Lent. All three were caught on video by the Center for Medical Progress.

Dr. Deborah Nucatola appeared in the first video released last July, sipping red wine and stabbing her salad as she discussed the dismemberment of aborted children, including where to “crush” their bodies for a "less crunchy" technique.

The second is Dr. Mary Gatter, who appeared in the second undercover video, haggling over the prices Planned Parenthood expected to receive for the aborted children's organs and tissue. At one point, she joked that she wants the revenue to pay for “a Lamborghini.”

And the third is Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards, who was also caught in the first video praising Dr. Nucatola.

Despite the shocking evidence uncovered by CMP, Richards has insisted her organization did not receive any profit for what she dubs its "fetal tissue donation program." She apologized only for Dr. Nucatola's "tone." She has since said that Planned Parenthood will not receive any remuneration for babies' body parts.

"These three architects of Planned Parenthood’s baby parts scheme have devoted their lives to the destruction and exploitation of human life in the name of ‘choice,’" said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. "If we won’t pray for them, who will?”

He asked Christians to pray for these three abortion industry profiteers - and for Richards, who is a post-abortive woman - in order to fulfill Jesus Christ's commandment in the Bible, “Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you” (St. Matthew 5:44).

“In God’s eyes, what abortion has done to these three women may be worse than what they’ve done to unborn children, who now rest in our Lord’s loving arms," Scheidler said.

For most Catholics, Lent began yesterday on Ash Wednesday, and lasts 40 days.



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Texas AG faces ethics probe for defending conscience rights of natural marriage supporters

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AUSTIN, Texas, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The attorney general of the state of Texas is facing an ethics investigation for having affirmed the constitutional religious freedom of state workers to decline to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it goes against their religious beliefs.

Attorney General Ken Paxton took steps to address the issue of conscience protection in his state before and after last June's Supreme Court's Obergefell decision imposing same-sex "marriage" on all 50 states, first issuing a statement the day prior clarifying that Texas law recognizes the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman and recommending that state officials wait for direction from his office should the High Court move to redefine marriage.

Paxton then issued a statement two days after the ruling, his office allowing county clerks and their employees to retain religious freedoms that may allow accommodation of their religious objections to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and said as well that justices of the peace and judges would similarly retain religious freedoms.

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A month later, a group of some 200 attorneys filed a complaint asserting that Paxton's position encouraged officials to violate the U.S. Constitution and break their oaths of office, according to ABC News.

The complaint was dismissed at first by the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel of the State Bar of Texas, but it was reinstated February 2 by a state Supreme Court-appointed appeals board, which contended that the complaint alleges a "possible violation" of professional conduct rules.

The appeals board decision to reinstate the case does not mean Paxton violated professional ethics, according to the ABC report, but does require him to respond to the complaint in conjunction with the investigation.

"The complaint has always lacked merit," said Paxton spokeswoman Cynthia Meyer, "and we are confident the legal process for resolving these complaints will bear that out."

Paxton was among several state officials across the U.S. who moved to ensure conscience protection in the immediate aftermath the Obergefell ruling, at times garnering the ire of homosexual activists.

Last July, South Dakota's attorney general granted permission to county clerks with conscientious objections to opt out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as long as another clerk in the office would issue the license. 

Rowan County, KY clerk Kim Davis was jailed last fall for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because it violated her religious values.

In a highly contentious case, Davis had asked for a religious accommodation allowing her office to issue altered licenses to homosexuals without her name on them, which was eventually granted by Kentucky's Governor Matt Bevin. However, the ACLU sued, seeking to force Davis to issue the old forms with her full name on them. A federal judge rejected the suit earlier this week.

Last year, homosexual activists sent harassing messages, including threats of violence, to Oklahoma State Senator Joseph Silk and his family after the Republican legislator sponsored a bill that would have given the state's business owners the freedom to follow their religious convictions in regard to homosexual "marriage."

Paxton faces penalties varying between a reprimand and disbarment resulting from the ethics complaint. The Texas attorney general is also facing securities fraud charges.



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This pro-abortion billionaire may run for president

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NEW YORK, February 11, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - He's an upwardly mobile, socially liberal billionaire whose political affiliation has changed numerous times over the years. He's teased numerous presidential campaigns in the past, but this time he's talking like he's serious. And no, he's not who you think he is.

Michael Bloomberg, who served three terms as mayor of New York City, has confirmed to media sources that he is considering running for president as an independent in 2016.

Bloomberg told told the Financial Times this week that he finds American political "discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters," and that he's “looking at all the options."

The 73-year-old tycoon was a registered Democrat before switching parties to run in the less contested Republican primary in 2001. He became a registered independent in 2007.

As mayor, Bloomberg governed as a social liberal who strongly supported abortion and the LGBT political agenda.

In 2011, Bloomberg signed a controversial gag order directed at crisis pregnancy centers. A year later, he endorsed Barack Obama's re-election, saying that abortion-on-demand is part of "the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there."

After leaving office, he received Planned Parenthood's Global Citizen Award at its annual gala on March 27, 2014.

That's the same year Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million undertaking to expand "reproductive health," including a major partnership with Planned Parenthood-Global to overturn pro-life laws in four nations: Nicaragua, Sengal, Uganda, and Burkina Faso.

Jeb Bush sat on the board of the philanthropy, which also strongly supports Common Core educational standards, at the time.

Mayor Bloomberg played a pivotal role redefining marriage in New York state, giving the four Republican state senators who voted for New York’s same-sex “marriage” bill the maximum campaign contribution allowed by law. One retired and a second lost his primary fight.

His strong emphasis on health regulations, such as attempting to ban soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, did little to enhance his popularity and were deftly parodied by Sarah Palin. (A state court struck down the proposed regulation.)

His $50 million gun control crusade dissipated after his cause failed in state after state.

The financial heft he could bring into the race, as well as his quirky politics, has tempted Bloomberg to enter presidential politics in the past. He considered a presidential run in 2008 and thought more strongly about a third party bid in 2012, after hosting the inaugural convention of the “No Labels” movement in New York City in 2010, but he backed off each time after not seeing a viable path to victory.

With an estimated fortune of $39 billion, he has said he would be willing to spend more than $1 billion on his campaign in 2016 - but he would only enter the race if the Republican Party nominates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, and the Democratic Party nominates Bernie Sanders.

He called Jeb and Hillary Clinton "two quality” candidates and "the only two who know how to make the trains run." Jeb reciprocated last month, telling CNN that Bloomberg is "a good person, and he’s a patriot and wants the best for the country.”

At least one of his competitors is eager to see Mike run. "I hope he gets into the race," Donald Trump told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News Wednesday night. "I'd love to compete against him...I would love to see Michael in the race."

That is likely because polling shows Bloomberg would draw most of his support from the Democratic candidate. "Although he is characterized as the New York counterpunch to Trump, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is more the nemesis of Bernie than he is of Donald," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Bernie Sanders would defeat both Trump and Cruz in a head-to-head match, according to Quinnipiac. But if Bloomberg entered the race, he would win 15 percent of the vote largely from Sanders, giving Trump a one-point victory in the popular vote (and narrowing Cruz's loss to one point).

However, he could throw a major wrench in the Democrats' electoral college total, according to columnist Pat Buchanan.

"Not only would Bloomberg lose the Big Apple, his statewide vote would come mostly from the Democratic nominee, giving Republicans the best opportunity to carry the Empire State since Ronald Reagan coasted to re-election in 1984," wrote Buchanan, who served as White House communications director during Reagan's second term.

“It’s not beyond imagining that he could get in and have an effect on the race,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, told The Hill.

Perhaps sensing this, numerous Democrats - including Senators Claire McCaskill and Jeanne Shaheen - have thrown cold water on a Bloomberg presidential run.

Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, said this week that an independent Bloomberg candidacy "won't be necessary" - because the Democrats already represent social liberals.

"I really think when he takes a good hard look, he will conclude that the issues that are important to him...[have] a natural home among our Democratic candidates," she said. "And so, I think Michael Bloomberg's agenda is well cared-for and advanced among our Democratic candidates, and his candidacy, I think he will find, won't be necessary.""

His entrance into the race would be a true injection of "New York values" - making him the third or fourth New Yorker in the race - alongside fellow billionaire Trump from Queens, the Brooklyn-born Sanders, and onetime New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

Annie Linskey, a reporter for the Boston Globe who once worked for Bloomberg, told Fox News on Monday that there is "about a four" percent chance that Bloomberg will run.



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