Ben Johnson

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Same-sex ‘marriage’: A welfare program, not a right

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

Despite all the Sturm und Drang about equal rights, ending prejudice, and transcending the final frontier of the civil rights movement, the homosexual “marriage” movement is essentially just a pitch for another welfare program. Yes, insecure LGBT activists want the government to formally legitimize their sexual behavior as “equal” to the nuclear family norm. But when one pierces through their pseudo-moral arguments and high-sounding rhetoric, one encounters an unremarked reality: it’s all about the Benjamins

Reading their complaints more closely shows, like all revolutionaries, they have a set of demands: They want government benefits, mandatory health insurance coverage, and tax shelters – an unearned wealth transfer from taxpayers or employers to themselves.

One homosexual told CNN it was “unfair” and “un-American” that he could not receive $2,000 a month in Social Security survivor’s benefits from U.S. taxpayers after his “partner” died. In a more costly move, the “husband” of late U.S. Congressman Gerry Studds is now suing the government, because he cannot receive the federal benefits other spouses collect when a congressman dies.

Marriage redefinition advocates also complain that, while most large corporations provide health care benefits for same-sex partners, they must pay more than married couples. One such partner called the extra $15 a month he must pay to enjoy insurance from someone else’s employer “simply unjust.” A lesbian activist lamented that the University of Michigan requires same-sex couples to prove their commitment by living together for six months before receiving university health benefits.

They also demand tax shelters heterosexual couples enjoy. “Queer advocate” Erik Lappman writes, “It is essential that progressives across the United States highlight” the fact that same-sex couples pay “on average at least $1,069 more than identical heterosexual, married couples in taxes.” 

There’s a bumper sticker: “Same-sex ‘marriage’: ‘Cause it’s not love if I don’t get a tax break.”

Same-sex couples must pay estate taxes if they inherit more than $5 million. Karen Mateer, a California tax attorney, claimed, “It may mean selling a home or business to raise cash to pay death taxes.” I’m opposed to estate taxes in principle, but as an example of “discrimination”? Cry me a river. 

Even same-sex divorce is about cash. Christel de Cries, a Dutch immigrant, grouses that she cannot deduct the alimony she pays her ex-“wife” from her taxes.

But why precisely has society arranged itself to provide health benefits and other temporal goods to support the natural family?

In the hoary long ago, we extended health benefits to employees’ spouses, because they were usually stay-at-home moms raising children. The government, which has an interest in well-rounded children from healthy homes, blessed and financially encouraged the decision.

Beginning with the Revenue Act of 1948, the government extended tax credits to offset the economic costs families face when raising children. This bill was passed in an era before widespread contraception, when abortion was illegal and children were still considered God’s blessings upon a healthy marriage. 

Social Security survivor’s benefits were designed to help women who spent their whole lives raising a family in lieu of earning a company pension. 

Although most Americans now work outside the home – often more by necessity than choice – most women still take time off to raise their children. Working women, in the workforce or at at home, focus more on their loved ones than slavishly climbing the corporate ladder. Thus, they have lower lifetime earnings than men and may, for a few years, have no income at all.

Homosexual couples, who can neither get married nor have children, need no such help from society.

Put bluntly, they could and should go get a job to provide for their own insurance and retirement. Society does not have the same interest in supporting their shacking up as it does in facilitating a married heterosexual family raising children.

Call me heartless, but I’d just as soon the private sector take the money it would have used to provide insurance benefits to workers’ paramours and use it to create more jobs. In a work-starved society, where more Americans are filing for disability payments than filling new jobs, this should be a top priority.

And I’d just as soon Social Security save the money it would spend to extend benefits to the survivors of homosexuals and use it to stave off the day of its rapidly approaching bankruptcy.

The logical position of the lifestyle Left is that Americans have to pay for benefits to allow homosexual partners to stay home and raise children they can’t have. Then, to rectify nature’s oversight, we must honor their associated “right” to have children – by adoption or surrogacy, a process that exploits vulnerable women in nations like India, Cyprus, and Ukraine. After all, this will allow gay couples to qualify for more child tax credits. 

Florida attorney Chuck Rubin noted federal government calculations about the health of Social Security, and federal tax revenues, were calculated under existing law. Changing the rules “does affect the budget deficit,” altering how much “the government is spending on benefits and receiving in taxes. It’s definitely going to increase budgetary pressures.”

In an era of trillion-dollar-plus deficits, is that what we need? And since when were liberals interested in giving anyone a tax break, anyway?

In effect, the Obama administration and LGBT advocates are saying we should go further in debt to China to provide benefits for those who could have worked but did not.

Their proposal will cost an already bankrupt nation money it doesn’t have to distort every facet of natural design in opposition to the will of the people.

Make no mistake: this is an economic debate, one that deserves a rational analysis of whether these costs are worth the “benefit” society would receive. And the burden of proof is on those who want to overturn thousands of years of tradition to put their hands in our wallets. 

It’s not just about money; it’s about other people’s money, our money. The greatest PR triumph of the socialist-progressive axis to date is to claim that if those who pay those tax dollars dare to object about the use of our money, it is an act of mindless bigotry. 

We reject the redefinition of marriage for many reasons, one of which is its proponents’ monumental selfishness and sense of entitlement. 

This article originally appeared on TheRightsWriter.com and is reprinted with permission.

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

You can also donate by phone or mail. We would love to hear from you!

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