Melanie Baker

Opposing same-sex ‘marriage’ in truth and charity

Melanie Baker
By 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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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

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Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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