Melanie Baker

Opinion

Opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ in truth and charity

Melanie Baker

June 4, 2012 (HLIAmerica.org) - Last month, President Barack Obama weighed in on the national debate over the redefinition of marriage: “I have to tell you that … 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.” Why? ABC News reports:

The president stressed that this is a personal position, and that he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. But he said he’s confident that more Americans will grow comfortable with gays and lesbians getting married, citing his own daughters’ comfort with the concept. “It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president continued. … You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.

President Barack Obama, meet Gilbert Keith Chesterton: “Merely having an open mind is nothing. The object of opening the mind, as of opening the mouth, is to shut it again on something solid.”

It is quite true that our young people are being taught to be “open-minded” in our school system, both at the elementary and collegiate levels. Anything that in the least bit way smacks of intolerance or disapproval for a lifestyle that is non-traditional is tantamount to bigotry and racism.

To a certain extent, of course, there is some merit in this sort of perspective. There is the undeniable polar opposite: senseless and unjust persecution and mockery, which all violate personal dignity. But I would submit that the two extremes actually have the same root: the lack of contact with the truth.

In a country where same-sex couples already are afforded the same treatment as married couples, where virtually every organization states openly that it does not discriminate on the basis of one’s sexual orientation and where gays and lesbians are openly integrated members of society, why is there such a need for such same-sex couples to be specifically recognized as “married?” And why the insistence that failure to cede such recognition is tantamount to bigotry?

It would seem that the real agenda is not equality, not a legitimate fight for “rights,” but an unreasonable demand that society and the state both declare that the homosexual sexual act is fully equivalent to the heterosexual one. Quite simply, however, it is not.

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A man and a woman can naturally produce a child, a new person. Neither two men nor two women can do this. There is something wholly unique to the relationship between a man and a woman that begets new life, and faithfully nurtures this new life, that is found in no other relationship between two persons. This is one reason why two gays or two lesbians can never be said to be “married,” if the word is to mean anything at all. There is simply something essential lacking to their sexual union that precludes that union from qualifying as a marriage.

This is basic biology. Were I to demand that Congress pass a law stating that a square is also a circle, or that the color red is equally blue or that plastic is the same substance as aluminum, would I be able to, in justice, accuse anyone of bigotry or intolerance if they did not give in to my demands?

Nature and biology are independent of, and larger than, our personal choices and fancies; we are neither bigots nor racists for simply affirming their truth. In fact, barring any traumas or abusive experiences, which can severely distort one’s natural development, living according to the truth of nature is extraordinarily fulfilling. And this is not an accident; God is provident and wishes our happiness. There is divine wisdom and love inscribed in the laws of nature.

And this reality dovetails with the next point, that of the opposite extreme: rejecting others whose choices do not reflect my own. Those who will go to any length to eradicate anyone who is different also fail to abide by the truth, one that is certainly natural but harder to access because of original sin: the truth of the dignity of the person, made in God’s image and likeness. The Golden Rule, as well as the commandment to love one another as Christ has loved us, prohibits us from judging others and, worse, imposing our subjective standards on others as a norm of life. Rather, these two norms make clear that we are to live within the bounds set by love and truth: to respect the other and always do that which will help them flourish. Sometimes this will be uncontroversial – all the countless experiences we have of harmony and friendship with others. At other times it will be arduous – as when we need to firmly yet lovingly call one another to live in the truth, which, ultimately, will make us fulfilled. Charity and truth can never be separated. As Pope Benedict XVI tells us in Caritas in veritate, “Truth without charity is empty, and charity without truth is blind.”

To condone every choice as sacred just for the fact that it is a choice, without any thought to the objective norms which provide the substance, occasion and direction for our choices, is to implode as a human person. It is to attempt to live a blind, indiscriminate acceptance of every choice, irrespective of its tie or lack thereof to nature and reality. This blindness can hardly be called freedom. Freedom requires a platform from which to launch, and this platform is none other than the truth of our nature. A chef is not “free” to cook well without the different seasonings and foods found in nature; a mechanic is not “free” to truly fix anything without learning the parts and functions of the machine in question; a musician is not “free” to be a virtuoso without mastering the technique required to handle his instrument.

Just so, one cannot be free as a person without first acknowledging the truth of his nature. And this truth must be lived in its totality: it must include an acknowledgement of the other as an image of God, deserving of respect and love. Otherwise, this truth will be empty and be perceived as confining.

Our children, youth and young adults deserve to be given the truth in charity. Anything less, far from being “open-minded,” is a deterrent to their true flourishing as persons.

Melanie Baker is a Contributing Writer of HLI America, an educational initiative of Human Life International. She writes for the Truth and Charity Forum.



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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

Lisa Bourne

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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