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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State Rep who compared Planned Parenthood with ISIS moves to bar dismemberment abortions

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By Ben Johnson
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State Representative Isaac Latterell, R-Sioux Falls

PIERRE, SD, February 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The state representative who said that Planned Parenthood beheads human beings just like ISIS is calling for the state Senate to ban all forms of dismemberment abortion.

“Planned Parenthood is worse than ISIS,” said State Representative Isaac Latterell, R-Sioux Falls said when introducing H.B. 1230, the Preborn Infant Beheading Ban of 2015. The bill would make it a felony for an abortionist to behead an unborn child as part of an abortion procedure within the state limits.

“There are certain revolting methods of execution, such as beheading, that no state would ever permit, even against murderers who use this method on their victims,” Rep. Latterell said.

The House Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill last week by a 11-2 vote.

But not everyone was happy with the bill and the publicity it drew. (The same committee had killed a dismemberment and decapitation abortion ban last year.)

State Rep. Burt Tulson, R-Lake Norden, amended the beheading law to simply read, “The State of South Dakota recognizes the sanctity of human life.”

The full House passed the amended form of his bill by 65-3 on Thursday, February 19.

Rep. Latterell is now asking the state Senate to revise the bill again – to go beyond beheading and bar all forms of dismemberment of the unborn.

“I knew beheading was an abhorrent technique reserved for the likes of ISIS terrorists, but I did not fully appreciate how much pain the fetal dismemberment that takes place during dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions causes the baby,” Latterell told LifeSiteNews. “I am confident when the Senate committee is finished with its hearing, Planned Parenthood's lies will be exposed. I look forward to banning dismemberment abortion once and for all.”

“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said Daniel Woodard, a Columbus School of Law student who testified for the bill.

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Introducing such a bill would put South Dakota in the mainstream of the national pro-life movement. The National Right to Life Committee has made banning dismemberment abortions a national focus. The same day that the South Dakota House passed Latterell's bill, the Kansas state Senate passed the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.

Other states, including Oklahoma and Missouri, have introduced legislation to end the most common form of second-trimester abortion, as well.

The amended H.B. 1230 had its first reading in the state Senate on Friday.

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Detaching ‘pastoral practice’ from Catholic doctrine is a ‘dangerous schizophrenic pathology’: Vatican cardinal

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By Hilary White

ROME, February 23, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Another highly placed Vatican Cardinal has corrected the “progressivist” proposal to offer Holy Communion to Catholics who have been divorced and remarried or who are in other “irregular” sexual unions. The highly respected Cardinal Robert Sarah, recently appointed to the office overseeing the Church’s liturgical practices, says that attempting to detach Catholic teaching from “pastoral practice” is a form of “heresy.”

“The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice – which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions – is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology,” Cardinal Sarah said.

“The African Church will strongly oppose any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and the Magisterium,” he added.

The Guinean cardinal is the prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments, but until recently was serving as the head of Cor Unum, the office overseeing the Church’s charitable activities. In his former job, given by Pope Benedict XVI, Cardinal Sarah was spearheading efforts at reforming the umbrella organization, Caritas Internationalis, as it brought its policies into line with Catholic moral teaching, particularly on contraception and abortion.

The cardinal made the remarks in a book of interviews to be published this week by the French language press, Fayard. Titled “Dieu ou rien” (God or Nothing), the book is described as “frank personal thoughts” on the cardinal’s life, including on “the ideological neo-colonialism in Africa exercised by the decadent West.”

On the various crises of the African continent, he said, “I want to strongly condemn a desire to impose false values ​​using political and financial arguments.” 

He said that in some African countries, “ministries dedicated to gender theory” have been created in order to legitimize the ideology. “These policies are all the more hideous inasmuch as the majority of the African population is defenseless, thanks to the fanatical Western ideologues,” Cardinal Sarah said. 

In the book the cardinal also addresses euthanasia, calling it “the most acute marker of a society without God,” and “subhuman.” But he adds that he has seen an “awakening of consciences,” particularly among younger people in North America who want to overcome “the culture of death.” 

“God was not asleep, he is really with those who defend life!”

Since the “suggestion” on Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, made at last year’s consistory, and pushed hard at the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in October, by the German Walter Cardinal Kasper and his followers, the Catholic Church is increasingly being shown to be deeply divided at the highest levels and on some of the Church’s most fundamental and definitive issues. While it was frequently commented that the African bishops were on the whole strongly opposed to the Kasper Proposal, the West’s view of the “African Church” as a conservative monolith has been refuted. At least one African bishop has indicated that he outright supports Kasper’s proposal, repeating much of the rhetoric of the Kasper supporters in and out of the Vatican.

Gabriel Palmer Buckle, the archbishop of Accra in Ghana, and one of the bishops chosen to attend the next Synod in October, is quoted by long-time American Vaticanist John Allen saying that he is ready “to vote yes” on allowing divorced and civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion.

John Allen wrote that the Ghanian archbishop “supports allowing local bishops to make those decisions on a case-by-case basis, and also believes that’s the result Pope Francis wants from the October summit.”

“When a person comes to me, I think I should be able to sit with him or her, or with the family, to find out what the situation is and to give solutions to individual cases without making a sweeping statement,” Palmer-Buckle said.

“It’s not a matter of issuing a new law,” he said. “As for the doctrine [on marriage], I don’t think the Church will change. It’s a question of how we help individuals.”

He added also that the “case-by-case” approach is favored by Pope Francis. “The truth of the matter is that the Holy Father is pushing towards that, when he talks about collegiality,” he said.

The archbishop echoed the phrases and jargon – such as the invocation of “gradualism” and “accompaniment” – used by both the Vatican and Kasper’s supporters during and immediately following the 2014 Synod.

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“The Holy Father has made it clear that the Church’s doctrine [that marriage is always indissoluble] remains the perfection point, the point of arrival, but we are all wounded,” Palmer-Buckle said. “That’s why Christ came, for the sick, the wounded, the needy.”

“If we look at our own pastoral challenges, there must be room to listen and to see how we can pastorally accompany whoever wants to belong more and more to Christ.”

He also reiterated Kasper’s own statement that the proposal is not intended to change Church teaching: “It’s not a matter of issuing a new law…As for the doctrine [on marriage], I don’t think the Church will change. It’s a question of how we help individuals.”

Others have strongly refuted this thesis, including high-level cardinals, who have said that a change in the practice would simply make the doctrine irrelevant to most Catholics.

With the next session of the Synod still eight months in the future, the sides in the argument are rapidly forming. A few days ago, US Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin, joined the growing chorus of opposition, saying, “Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral and we cannot carry out something else and call it pastoral, if it doesn’t embody the truth.”

“Certain doctrines are embodied in certain practices and even if you don’t change the doctrine in writing, in a written document, if you change the practice you have changed what the previous practice embodied.”

In January, another Vatican curial official, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, gave a lecture in Germany strongly refuting the underlying theory of the Kasper Proposal. With Cardinal Sarah, Piacenza explained that it is incoherent to suggest that the Church’s “pastoral practice” could possibly be placed in opposition to her doctrine.

Speaking to a group of priests and seminarians, Cardinal Piacenza said, “When in Christianity mercy and truth are presented as antagonistic, or at least as contradictory, it is always the result of a partial perception.”

“It is hardly conceivable that there could be such a strong emphasis on mercy to the detriment of truth. Or, its opposite, a strong emphasis on truth to the detriment of mercy.”

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Eric Metaxas

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What Uncle Sam giveth, he can taketh away: Our rights are from God, not government

Eric Metaxas
By Eric Metaxas

February 23, 2015 (BreakPoint.org) -- During a recent appearance on CNN, Roy Moore, the chief judge of Alabama’s Supreme Court, debated the issue of same-sex marriage with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the son of the late New York governor Mario Cuomo and the brother of New York’s current governor, Andrew Cuomo.

During the discussion, Moore said that “Our rights, contained in the Bill of Rights, do not come from the Constitution. They come from God. That’s clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence.” Cuomo then responded “Our rights do not come from God, your honor, and you know that. They come from man.”

Cuomo added that the idea of God-given rights is “your faith [and] my faith, but that’s not our country. Our laws come from collective agreement and compromise.”

I can’t help but wonder which country Cuomo is referring to. After all, the Declaration of Independence, by way of justifying the enormous steps the Founding Fathers were about to take, states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” And “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men . . .”

These words, which previous generations of American school children were made to memorize, set forth an order that is 180 degrees from that suggested by Cuomo: first comes the Creator, who then endows his creatures with “certain unalienable rights,” and then the creatures form governments to “secure those rights.”

In essence, Cuomo is resorting to a kind of legal positivism, that is, the idea that “law is a matter of what has been posited,” something “ordered, decided, practiced, [or] tolerated,” and is not based on any deeper truth.

But that approach has serious flaws—as our own history bears out. In the run-up to the Civil War, for example, defenders of slavery appealed to the text of the Constitution, which permitted slavery without mentioning it by name. Opponents of slavery, or at least those against its spread into the territories, such as Lincoln, appealed to the Declaration of Independence and its ideas about God-given rights.

Sticking to man-given rights and appealing to “collective agreement and compromise” as Cuomo insists upon doing, would not have ended slavery.

However, if our nation’s leaders agree with Cuomo that the rights we possess are those the government has deined to give us, that would go a long way to explaining the erosion of religious liberty we are witnessing in the U. S. After all, the same government that can create a right to abortion and same-sex marriage can also take away the rights of freedom of religion and freedom of association. This may yield the results folks like Cuomo want, but it undermines the very foundation of human rights that we all claim to hold dear.

And that is really what’s at stake. Years ago on this program, Chuck Colson said that human rights are “based on our most fundamental beliefs about humans being created in the image of God.” Our “rights are not conferred by government, and so they cannot be denied by government.” It was this belief that led Chuck to draft the Manhattan Declaration in defense of human life, marriage, and religious freedom.

More than half a million Americans have signed the Manhattan Declaration. So if you have not, or if you haven’t even read this vitally important defense of our rights and freedom, please come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll link you to it.

Chris Cuomo was right about one thing: God-given rights are what our faith teaches. If that’s no longer true about “our country,” Heaven help us all.

Reprinted with permission from Break Point. 

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