Affected Justice: SCOTUS & Marriage Arguments

There are a few optimists, but after the hearings on marriage at the Supreme Court most conservatives are having a “Gird your loins,” reaction as we wait for the upcoming decision in late June or early July.

Steve Deace’s evaluation is summarized in his headline: Supreme Court grandstands on marriage by embracing cognitive dissonance, and he begins by pointing out the White Queen logic of SCOTUS if it goes through the looking-glass with marriage:

Supreme CourtTwo years ago, a majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled it was a terrible thing for the federal government to dictate the definition of marriage to all 50 states. Despite the fact it was done lawfully via a bill passed through both houses of Congress, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996.

Two years later, the same five justices who made up that majority are poised to reverse themselves, and say it’s perfectly fine for the federal government to dictate the definition of marriage to all 50 states. Provided it’s done so unlawfully by judicial fiat this time.

As for grandstanding:

Listen, I don’t want to label last week’s Supreme Court hearing on the definition of marriage as nothing but political theater, but there was enough overacting and cheesy dialogue to inspire Michael Bay’s next film.

There’s laying it on thick and then there’s flat-out grandstanding. In this case, the latter was in full effect as the nation’s highest court called upon its fork-tongued spirit animal – who looks conspicuously like Pontius Pilate – for inspiration. The Supreme Court pretended to agonize over an unjust decision that everyone on both sides of the divisive marriage debate knows is coming with metaphysical certitude.

Some have taken remarks by some of the justices at face value, but it’s difficult to believe that the forgotten virtue of humility has suddenly been discovered and embraced. Not only that, but I find it difficult to believe that the justices weren’t aware of the lies and illogical conclusions perpetrated by themselves and by others during the hearings. In Correcting Six Mistakes from the Same-Sex Marriage Oral Arguments Last Week James Phillips points these out:

Error Number One: Massachusetts Marriage Rates Have Stayed the Same…

Error Number Two: Because Some Men Leave Their Wives and Children, Marriage Does Not Help Keep Fathers Around…

Error Number Three: The Purpose of States’ Recognizing and Regulating Marriage is to Bestow Dignity on Couples…

Error Number Four: The Only Harm to Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Making Marriage More Adult-Centered…

Error Number Five: There Is a Parallel between Brown/Loving and Lawrence/Obergefell

Error Number Six: Age Restrictions on Marriage Are Equivalent to the Definitional Element of One Man and One Woman…

Remember, each of these statements is not true. Phillips gives backgrounds and explanations, and I recommend reading his article if you’ve encountered any of this fallacious thinking in conversations.

Robert George gives this solemn warning:

For the Court to strike down laws defining marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife would be to abolish the idea that men and women matter—equally—in the lives of the children they create. And it would be both a judicial usurpation of legislative authority and a federal intrusion into a matter left by the Constitution in the hands of the states.

Despite the solid logic and explanations in the many articles that have been written on natural marriage and its importance to society, it appears that SCOTUS is careening down the path to an egregious decision with devastating consequences. This does not mean, however, that we are not to pray. God is sovereign. Continue to ask for His mercy on our nation. He has had mercy in the past, pray He does again now. In the sidebar I keep several featured posts. If you’ve not read them, I invite you to look back in our nation’s history to other bleak times in “…the acts and choices of ordinary people…” and The American Crisis: November 2012 for the examples set before us by other Americans.

Pray that the Justices will administer true justice according to the Constitution they have sworn to uphold.

Safely Home

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love babies and children. From my first days of babysitting to college and volunteering with autistic children and working part-time in the church nursery, and later taking care of professors’ children on weekdays and weekends, I loved little ones and looking at the world through their exploring eyes of wonder.

MGerber baby

Before I had children of my own, I knew I wanted to stay home with them. Children learn the most from the one who spends the most time with them. That’s an undeniable fact. What children learn of love and trust and relationships, and how they grow in their understanding of the world comes primarily from whomever is there with them. Motherhood can be draining and frustrating, but that is countermanded by its serendipity of delight in “Look, Mommy!” and “Hey, Mom, guess what?” and the dailiness of love, joyful chatter, and hugs. Children are not only a stewardship given to us from God—children are also a gift from God.

My children are grown now, and the weekend before Mother’s Day, we welcomed our first grandchild into the world. Above she is slightly bemused as her mommy photographs her through her crib bars, and here she is with sweet dreams.

MAsleepSmile

When I look at my children and see their character, their love for each other, their kindness and integrity, their accomplishments, and their perseverance in the face of difficulty, I am grateful to God. Now they are grown. My life’s work has been to teach them the course that goes safely home.

“…may you see your children’s children.”

When I look at my little granddaughter I am grateful to God. She is brand new, yet with her birth and the beginning of the next generation, she is a marker in my marathon of being a mother:
“Thus far the LORD has helped me.”

Children are a blessing.

National Day Of Prayer 2015

By federal law the first Thursday in May is the annual observance for the National Day of Prayer. Given the current state of our nation and last week’s hearing by SCOTUS on marriage, this seems almost surreal. The presidential proclamation for today is generalized pablum, so let’s step back to earlier times. Last week I quoted Dr. John S. Uebersax from his article, National Days of Prayer: A Historical Comparison on a glaring omission in our modern Days of Prayer:

Since 1952, the President of the United States has, by law, annually issued a proclamation recommending a National Day of Prayer. This seeks to revive a similar practice that emerged in Revolutionary times, and again in the Civil War. The modern proclamations, however, differ in important ways from the earlier ones. The main difference is evident in the change of titles — from the earlier ‘Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer’ to the modern ‘National Day of Prayer.’ The earlier proclamations emphasized humiliation — understood as including a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.

Via Dr. Uebersax, this was written by Benjamin Franklin Morris in Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. G. W. Childs, 1864. (pp. 526-7).

The fathers of the Republic, in the earliest period of the Revolution, adopted the custom of consecrating, by acts of legislation, days of thanksgiving and prayer for special religious worship; and thus the public mind received a higher religious culture through the civil authorities of the country.

Thomas JeffersonAt the beginning of the great conflict for liberty and an independent nationality and government, Mr. Jefferson, who, whatever were his peculiar views of the Christian system, always acknowledged the government and providence of God in national affairs—recommended in Virginia the appointment and observance of a day of public prayer and humiliation. In June, 1774, when the news of the Boston Port Bill reached Virginia, the Colonial Legislature, then in session, appointed such a fast-day for that colony. Mr. Jefferson’s account of it is as follows:—

We were under the conviction of the necessity of arousing our people from the lethargy into which they had fallen as to passing events, and thought that the appointment of a day of general fasting and prayer would be most likely to call up and alarm their attention. No example of such solemnities had existed since the days of our distresses in the war of ’55,—since which a new generation had grown up. With the help, therefore, of Rushworth, whom we rummaged over for the resolutionary precedents and forms of the Puritans of that day, preserved by him, we made up a resolution, somewhat modernizing their phrases, for appointing the 1st day of June, on which the Port Bill was to commence, for a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, to implore Heaven to avert from us the evils of civil war, to inspire us with firmness in support of our rights, and to turn the hearts of the king and Parliament to moderation and justice.

To give greater emphasis to our proposition, we agreed to wait the next morning on Mr. Nicholas, whose grave and religious character was more in unison with the tone of our resolution, and solicit him to move it. We accordingly went to him in the morning. He moved it the same day. The 1st of June was proposed, and it passed without opposition. The Governor dissolved us. We returned home, and in our several counties invited the clergy to meet the assemblies of the people on the 1st of June, to perform the ceremonies of the day and to address them in discourses suited to the occasion. The people met generally, with anxiety and alarm in their countenances; and the effect of the day through the whole colony was like a shock of electricity, arousing every man and placing him erect and solidly on his centre.

Washington, then a member of the House of Burgesses, sent a special message to his family and constituents to observe this day; and Mason, a distinguished patriot, also a member, “charged his household to keep the day strictly, and to attend church clad in mourning.”

Dr. Uebersax adds:

According to Jared Sparks (The Life of George Washington, 1839, p. 520), on the appointed day, Washington “writes in his diary: ‘Went to church, and fasted all day,’ thus conforming not only to the spirit, but to the strict letter of the order.”

Virginia House of Burgesses

TUESDAY, 24th of May, 14th George III., 1774.

This House, being deeply impressed with apprehension of the great dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the city of Boston, in our sister colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and harbor are on the 1st day of June next to be stopped by an armed force, deem it highly necessary that the said 1st day of June be set apart by the members of this House as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer, devoutly to implore the Divine interposition for averting the heavy calamity which threatens destruction to our civil rights, and the evils of civil war, to give us one heart and one mind firmly to oppose, by all just and proper means, every injury to American rights, and that the minds of his Majesty and his Parliament may be inspired from above with wisdom, moderation, and justice, to remove from the loyal people of America all cause of danger from a continual pursuit of measures pregnant to their ruin.

Ordered, therefore, That the members of this House do attend in their places, at the hour of ten in the forenoon, on the said 1st day of June next, in order to proceed, with the Speaker and mace, to the church in the city, for the purpose aforesaid; and that the Reverend Mr. Price be appointed to read prayers and to preach a sermon suitable to the occasion.

Ordered, that this Order be forthwith printed and published.

By the House of Burgesses,

GEORGE WYTHE, C. H. B.

The National Day of Prayer Task Force emphasizes, “person repentance and righteousness in the culture.” Without neglecting that, I think we need prayers of national acknowledgement of sin and repentance. I suggest we read and model our prayers on Daniel’s prayer, who as a godly man yet identified with the sins of his people, and cried out, “O Lord, hear, O Lord, forgive!
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Reconstructed Chamber of the Virginia House of Burgesses in the Capitol at Williamsburg, Virginia.

Voices For Children: COGs Go To Court

copy-toddler-hopscotch.jpgBless the Beasts and the Children
For in this world they have no voice;
They have no choice.

Bless the Beasts and the Children was the poignant hit song done by The Carpenters in the early 70s. There’s heartbreak in the lyrics over children who are at the mercy of the whims of adults.

For several years now Robert Lopez has been a fierce and constant voice for children. I’ve linked to many of his posts written for English Manif. As one of the self-styled COGs, Children of Gays, he has written on the impact on children who grow up in a same-sex household. Last fall he took many of them down to prepare for the publication of Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family Equality, a collection of fifty essays from numerous people describing the fallout on children, on women, on society, on the globe, and on gays. As I read the book, I can tell you it’s raw and tragic reality.

Last fall Lopez was joined by three other COGs in writing amicus briefs for the Fifth Circuit Court in support of natural marriage—marriage between one man and one woman. In the article Adults Raised by Gay Couples Speak Out Against Gay ‘Marriage’ in Federal Court you’ll find quotes from each, but these briefs are must reads because they make such a compelling case on the importance of marriage for children.

The first two briefs are difficult to read because of the horrific abuse and circumstances described by B. N. Klein and Dawn Stefanowicz. Klein grew up with her biological mother and her mother’s various lesbian partners. She co-edited Jephthah’s Daughters, and has written about intimidation and harassment by LGBT activists in Ruthless Misogyny: Janna Darnelle’s Story and Extreme LGBT Activism and This Lesbian’s Daughter Has Had Enough.

Dawn Stefanowicz grew up with her biological father and his various male partners. I heard her describe her life years ago on Focus On The Family. She has written her story in her book, Out From Under: The Impact of Homosexual Parenting. She was born in Canada, and in her brief discusses the consequences to parents and children in Canada when marriage was redefined there. Last week Public Discourse published her article A Warning from Canada: Same-Sex Marriage Erodes Fundamental Rights. Her website is: http://dawnstefanowicz.org/

Katy Faust and Robert Lopez were not abused and were reared in stable homes. Their briefs focus on the impact of growing up in the absence of a parent of the opposite sex. Lopez grew up with his biological mother and her lesbian partner. I’ve already mentioned some of his writing and his co-editing of Jephthah’s Daughters. You can also find articles by him at numerous places, including American Thinker and at Public Discourse. Lopez has also been active in speaking both in France and within the U.S.

Katy Faust grew up with her biological mother and her mom’s lesbian partner. In her brief she speaks as to why government is involved in marriage in the first place, the rights of children and the impact of redefining marriage on children. She has written Dear Justice Kennedy: An Open Letter from the Child of a Loving Gay Parent and PS, Justice Kennedy: Same-Sex Marriage Isn’t Good for Kids at Public Discourse. She blogs at http://www.askthebigot.com/

All four are active in the International Children’s Rights Institute. Lopez is President and serves on the Academic Council. Edelman and Faust are also on the Academic Council, and all four are on the Testimonial Council.

For the cases heard at SCOTUS this week they were joined by two more COGs, Denise Shick and Heather Barwick to co-author new briefs.

Denise Shick’s father was a homosexual who cross-dressed. She is the author of My Daddy’s Secret, and is also on the Testimonial Council of the ICRI. Her website is: http://help4families.com/ Heather Barwick grew up with her biological mom and her mom’s lesbian partner and was an advocate for same-sex marriage until time, marriage and seeing the interactions between her husband and their children changed her mind on the importance of natural marriage. She recently wrote Dear Gay Community: Your Kids Are Hurting for The Federalist.

In Katy Faust’s first brief she puts these questions and their inexorable anwers to the court:

As you deliberate on whether or not to redefine marriage into a genderless institution, the primary question is: What is society’s interest in marriage? Is it to validate the emotional bonds of adults? Is it to stabilize partnerships? Is it an instrument with which to give a stamp of equality to our gay brothers and sisters?

…But the reality is that society’s interest in marriage is not an adult-centric one after all. Government’s interest in marriage is children.

…Two rights that every child, EVERY child, shares when they arrive in this world. First, the right to live. Second, the right to have a relationship with his/her father and mother.

With the redefinition of marriage, we are not simply allowing people to form relationships of their choosing….When we institutionalize same-sex marriage however, we move from permitting citizens the freedom to live as they choose, to promoting same-sex headed households. In doing so, we ignore the true nature of the outcropping of marriage. Now we are normalizing a family structure where a child will always be deprived daily of one gender influence and the relationship with at least one natural parent. Our cultural narrative becomes one that, in essence, tells children that they have no right to the natural family structure or their biological parents, but that children simply exist for the satisfaction of adult desires.

If society’s interest in marriage is children, then why are we promoting a family structure where a child would have to be denied a relationship with their mother or father so the adults can have the “family” they desire?…

Or will you possibly recognize that you cannot have it both ways? Truth is, you cannot redefine marriage AND recognize that fathers and mothers are both critical to a child’s rights and children’s flourishing….

…You can either believe that fathers and mothers are valuable and children have a right to both, or, you can redefine marriage to promote a family structure where a father or mother will never be present. Period. When gay couples have “equal access” to the institution of marriage it means that children will not have “equal access” to parents influencing and raising them the way nature intended.

You must either side with adult desires or side with children’s rights. You cannot do both.

These adult children of gays have come forward and made their stories public at great personal cost. They have been hunted and vilified, and are seen as traitors by the LGBT community. They have done so because they want to be a voice for children. I urge you to read what they have to say.

Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
Proverbs 31:8–9

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Little boy and girl playing hopscotch together: Ilya Haykinson. CC BY-SA 2.0.

A City Upon A Hill

As I thought about praying for today’s hearing on marriage, I remembered William Bradford’s words of gratitude for the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts.

May not and ought not the children of these fathers rightly say:

Mayflower in Plymouth HarborOur faithers were Englishmen which come over this great ocean, and were ready to perish in this willdernes; but they cried unto the Lord, and he heard their voyce, and looked on their adversitie, etc. Let them therfore praise the Lord, because he is good, and his mercies endure for ever. Yea, let them which have been redeemed of the Lord, shew how he hath delivered them from the hand of the oppressour. When they wandered in the deserte willdernes out of the way, and found no citie to dwell in, both hungrie, and thirstie, their sowle was overwhelmed in them. Let them confes before the Lord his loving kindnes, and his wonderfull works before the sons of men.

William Bradford, Of plimouth plantation, 1620

Our nation has a long history of crying out to God in our distress and recognition of His providential hand of blessing, yet recent national calls for prayer have changed. Several years ago I came across an article by Dr. John S. Uebersax, National Days of Prayer: A Historical Comparison, in which he made this significant observation:

Since 1952, the President of the United States has, by law, annually issued a proclamation recommending a National Day of Prayer. This seeks to revive a similar practice that emerged in Revolutionary times, and again in the Civil War. The modern proclamations, however, differ in important ways from the earlier ones. The main difference is evident in the change of titles — from the earlier ‘Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer’ to the modern ‘National Day of Prayer.’ The earlier proclamations emphasized humiliation — understood as including a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.

The first thanksgiving of the Pilgrim Fathers followed a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer. Both days were appointed and set, not by the church, but by their governor. How much more than they, do we as a nation need to turn to God in humiliation and petition. We have grievously sinned against Him.

Look at the Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day signed by Abraham Lincoln on March 30, 1863:

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

This morning I also remembered John Winthrop’s vision for our country and his warning.

…For we must Consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world…

I shall shut up this discourse with that exhortation of Moses, that faithful servant of the Lord, in his last farewell to Israel, Deut. 30. Beloved there is now set before us life and good, Death and evil, in that wee are commanded this day to love the Lord our God, and to love one another, to walk in his ways and to keep his Commandments and his Ordinance and his laws, and the articles of our Covenant with him, that we may live and be multiplied, and that the Lord our God may bless us in the land whither we go to possess it. But if our hearts shall turn away, so that wee will not obey, but shall be seduced, and worship and serve other Gods, our pleasure and profits, and serve them; it is propounded unto us this day, wee shall surely perish out of the good land whither we passe over this vast sea to possess it;

Therefore let us choose life
that wee, and our seed
may live, by obeying His
voice and cleaving to Him,
for He is our life and
our prosperity.
John Winthrop, A Model of Christian Charity, 1630

The monument at the grave of William Bradford has one inscription in Hebrew:

Jehovah is our help

Another in Latin:

What our fathers with so much difficulty secured,
do not basely relinquish

The streets of our City darken. As we pray today for marriage, may we pray in humiliation—with “a deep conviction of God’s Providential sovereignty in all things, recognition that calamities may express God’s chastisements, expression of guilt, sorrow for sins, and earnest pledge for reformation.”
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Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor, William Halsall: PD-US.