The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Archive for July 2008

Final Update: Why Not Homosexual “Marriage?”

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And now, the last in our series exploring, Ten Persuasive Answers to the Question: “Why Not Gay ‘Marriage?'”

Question #9: Are the Needs of Kids or Adults More Important?

Question #10: Does Gender Really Matter?

If you have enjoyed this series, you may purchase the DVD and booklet directly from Focus on the Family by clicking here.

We also encourage you to consider contributing to the campaign to defend marriage in California by going to and giving generously.  Pray and stay informed as voters in Arizona ( and Florida ( also work to defend against the redefinition of marriage by politicians and judges.

Finally, check in often at our blog and at our website (  In the coming weeks, we will be unveiling our plans to strengthen marriage in West Virginia.  Your partnership with us is critical.  Please visit our website, sign up for our e-news, and give to support our mission.  Thanks!

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 26, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Marriage

Blog Interview: Jim Spiegel

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It could be said that Jim Spiegel has an interesting way of looking at the world.  As a professor of philosophy, that’s to be expected.  Filled with curiosity and knowledge, Spiegel is among the more interesting persons to talk to.  

So are his kids.

In Gum, Geckos, and God: A Family’s Adventure in Space, Time, and Faith, Spiegel recounts conversations with his children on the questions that most kids ask, but few parents answer with such patience and eloquence.  You know, those easy questions like, “What’s God Like?” and “Why Does God Love Us?”  Though Spiegel carries the heady weight of a professor of philosophy, his newest book answers the questions of these innocents with approachable wisdom – not to mention humor and pathos.  

So, why is a blog, otherwise dedicated to discussing matters of policy, law, and the family taking time out of its regular programming to interview Jim Spiegel?  Well, that’s more of a question for him.

Below, find our first in what we hope will be an ongoing series of blog interviews with with experts on topics that matter to the family.  


Q: Jim, tell us a little about yourself.  Who are you?  What do you do?  Why do you do it? 

A:  I teach philosophy at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.  And I strive to extend my teaching ministry through my publications.  More importantly, I am husband to Amy Spiegel, and together we are raising four wonderful kids, two of whom figure prominently in my latest book, Gum, Geckos, and God.  Amy and I are also colaborers on our new blog:

Q: Why have you written Gum, Geckos, and God? 

A: To provide a primer on Christian worldview which both explains the basic doctrines of the faith and shows why they are so reasonable.  It is a worldview that can be grasped by a small child but can also tantalized the most profound minds.  My book aims to illustrate why this is so.   

Q: While we are engaged in the debate involving the policies our state and nation adopt, our work for life, marriage, and religious freedom really is rooted in a discussion of worldview.  How does Gum, Geckos, and God contribute to the development of our children’s worldview? 

A: The book will inspire parents to be more intentional about training their children to think Christianly about all things, from science to art to sports.  Today, America’s cultural inertia is not on the side of biblical convictions, so parents must engage their kids with this in mind.

Q: From the book, it appears that you and your wife Amy (who makes delicious cookies, if memory serves) appear to have a textbook answer for every question your children pose to you.  What might you say to those without a degree in philosophy?  

I’d say, what are you waiting for?  Go get a PhD!  Seriously, though, any devoted parent can engage his/her child at the level of worldview.  Its simply a matter of seizing the opportunities as they arise.  Even if readers’ kids don’t pose the same questions that our kids have, I expect that readers will still find the anedotes and stories helpful. They should also be humored by some of the ways my wife and I have been completely stumped by our kids!

Q: As we work to encourage our political leaders to make the family the first priority (and not an afterthought), are there thoughts and lessons outlined in your book that we can use to encourage our leaders to stand for life, marriage, and religious freedom? 

A: I would emphasize that the same fact should encourage us in both these political matters and in our work as parents.  This fact is that there is such a thing as absolute truth, and God is its source.  We can formulate public policies about all sorts of things, but unless they are grounded in an ultimate authority, then it is just human opinion and wanton relativism. 

Q: Where can people get a copy of your book? 

A: The book is available at Christian bookstores everywhere, as well as on-line, such as at

Q: Do you have plans for GGG2: A Family’s Journey Through the Teen Years?   

A:  Hmm…  Now that’s a great idea.  I’ll keep this in mind for 2018!

Q: Are you available for speaking engagements?  If so, how can people schedule you at their church, civic club, or birthday party?

A: They can contact me directly at

Q: This is probably the most pivotal of all questions: If the Cubs adopted Mac the gecko as their unofficial mascot, do you think they could actually be playing baseball in October?

A: This is unquestionably the case.  Now if we can only persuade the Cubs’ management…


Written by Jeremy Dys

July 25, 2008 at 11:32 am

Posted in Life, Marriage

Why Not Homosexual “Marriage?” – The Next Installment

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Continuing on…..

Question #7: Haven’t the Experts Said Same-Sex Parenting is Fine?

Question #8: How Do We Know What Kind of Families We Need?


Tomorrow, the last in the series, “Ten Persuasive Answers to the Question: Why not Same-Sex ‘Marriage?’ – question #9: Are the Needs of Kids or Adults More Important? and question #10: Does Gender Really Matter?

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 25, 2008 at 11:16 am

Posted in Marriage

Why Not Homosexual “Marriage?” – Part 3

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Continuing on in our series examining the YouTube version of the DVD, “Ten Persuasive Answers to the Question…’Why Not Gay Marriage?'”

Question #5: What Public Good Does Marriage Provide?

Question #6: Is it Healthy to Experiment with Our Children?


Tomorrow, Family Voice will present its very first blog interview and post the next two installments of this series, question 7 (Haven’t Experts Said Same-Sex Parenting is Fine?) and question 8 (How Do We Know What Kind of Families Kids Need?).

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 24, 2008 at 11:12 am

Posted in Marriage

Continued: Why Not Homosexual “Marriage?”

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As we continue to review the DVD-turned-YouTube-series produced by Focus on the Family that seeks to provide ten persuasive answers to the question, “Why not same-sex ‘marriage?'” we do so with a slight modification.  Originally, it had been planned to air one of these videos per day; however, we have made an executive decision and will now post two per day until all questions have been presented.  In addition, this Friday, the Family Voice will host its first blog interview with a special guest, thus interrupting our current series.  

With that in mind, questions 3 and 4 are posted below:

Questions #3: Where Does it Stop?


Question #4: Can’t We Have Religious Marriage and Civil Marriage?


Tomorrow, question 5 (What public good does marriage do?) and question 6 (Is it healthy to experiment with our children?).

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 23, 2008 at 11:17 am

Posted in Marriage

Why Not Homosexual “Marriage?”

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Have you ever been caught around the water cooler with someone who disagrees with your opposition to same-sex “marriage” and you just didn’t know what to say?  Do you feel ambivalent about the homosexual agenda and its attempted redefinition of the family?  Are you unable to articulate a gracious response to this fundamental question: Why not homosexual “marriage?”  

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is here to equip you!

Not long ago, ministry partner Focus on the Family created a DVD called, “Ten Persuasive Answers to the Question: Why Not Gay ‘Marriage?'”  While it was widely distributed, it is amazing how many have yet to see this production.  

Now, thanks to You Tube, its distribution is available worldwide – for free!  Over the next week, Family Voice will be running one episode per day.  Since today is the second day of the week, we bring you FOUR videos to whet your appetite.  

We are compelled to insert a warning at this point:  While YouTube is an fine tool to disperse this needed message, our opponents are actively working to corrupt the distribution of this message.  Clearly, part of their method is to cloud the “Related Videos” linked beside and at the end of each video with questionable and even obscene content.  Unfortunately, we have no control over what YouTube allows to be attached to these videos.  Thankfully, it appears that those negative images are only visible when viewed on and are not visible when viewed below.  

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia does not endorse or condone the policies of YouTube that allow the portrayal of lifestyles destructive to the family to be so widely distributed.  Please use discretion in viewing the videos below.

Without further ado, take about 13 minutes to watch the Introduction, Preface, and Questions 1 and 2:

Introduction by Tom Minnery:


Question #1: How will same-sex “marriage” hurt your marriage?

Question #2: Is same-sex “marriage” like interracial marriage?


Tomorrow, Question #3: Where does it stop?

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 22, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Marriage

It’s Great to Wait!

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I (Jeremiah G. Dys, Esq.) just had the opportunity to call in to Hoppy Kerchval’s show, “Talkline” and give a brief comment about the importance of abstinence.  Hoppy was wondering if we as a culture have gone to far in celebrating the poor choices of some of our teenage celebrities.  Chief in the mind of Hoppy was Jamie Lynn Spears who will forever be known for two things: being the sister of Britney Spears and having a famous (or perhaps “infamous”) teenage pregnancy.  

In his commentary (“Hester Prynn v. Jamie Lynn”)earlier this week, Hoppy made some excellent points.  His concluding thought was this:

Somewhere there has to be a happy cultural medium between treating pregnant teens like The Scarlet Letter’s Hester Prynn and celebrating them with magazine covers. 

I wanted to make two points on Hoppy’s show.  First, to affirm his supposition – and your commonsense – that the best environment for raising children is in the home of a married mom and dad.  That’s what our government policies and culture at large ought to work toward with every fiber of their being.  That some environments will not be ideal does not detract from the importance of our society working toward this goal.  If that be the ideal, why would we aim for anything lower?  As maturing adults, our children need the wisdom that comes from the commonsense of mom and grandma (not to mention, dad and grandpa), such wisdom is full of experience and regret – each of which is a lovely learning opportunity for the lives of the next generation.

The point I did not have the opportunity to make is this: while Grace requires that we forego shaming the pregnant teen (and the witting male accomplice), our young adults have lost the ability to blush.  Our world is permeated with sexualization from TV to movies to Walmart and interstate billboards.  It’s nearly impossible to purchase a Coke or Pepsi without having some vivacious model encouraging your patronage to his/her brand.  As a result, our teenage friends approach sexuality with the casualness of drinking a glass of Mountain Dew.  

With the loss of the ability to blush, the next generation has lost the capacity for critical thinking.  Or so it would seem.  I happen to think this next generation has a tremendous capacity, one that will surpass the ability of their parents.  Which is precisely why I choose not to appeal to the lowest common denominator.  To say, “They’re going to do it anyway, let’s teach them to do it ‘safely,'” takes the high ability of our maturing children for granted.  It makes them to be slaves to their biology, rather than the critically thinking beings they have the capacity for being.

Hoppy’s right, there must be some middle ground between shame and permissiveness.  To me it begins with training our children to blush over the things that are beyond their moment, while at the same time working – as a culture and as a part of self-governance – to strengthen the environment of marriage.  

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 18, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Marriage

What’s Going on With Marriage?

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As we continue to work to enhance marriage in West Virginia we keep a watchful eye on the goings-on throughout the rest of the country.  Here are the most recent updates:

1.  The Family Research Council, one of our ministry allies, has commissioned a survey of 800 likely voters on the question, ” Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who supports [the state marriage amendments in CA, AZ, and FL]?”

By a margin of 58% to 29%, likely independent voters said they were “more likely” to vote for a presidential candidate who would defend marriage by supporting these state marriage amendments.  Yes, that’s a 19 percentage point advantage!!  But what is also striking is that across ever demographic – political party and age – these 800 likely voters said they would support a presidential candidate committed to supporting state marriage amendments.  

Only when the question was posed to “soft democrats” and “strong democrats,” did the level of support drop – slightly.  Among “soft democrats,” 56% of these likely voters would support a presidential candidate who defends marriage.  “Strong democrats” lean against such support by only 4% (43%-47%).

The point is this: though our media and cultural dialogs seem to present an overwhelming support for redefining marriage, when pressed, likely voters are “more likely” to vote for presidential candidates (and other political leaders, one infers) who are willing to defend marriage marriage in their state.  And not just by a little bit.  The support for marriage is overwhelming in our nation.

To read this study in its entirety, visit our website,, and click on “Survey on Marriage.”

If you are inclined, we encourage you to visit and contribute to the effort to defend marriage in California.  Remember, what happens in California does not necessarily stay in California!  You might also consider partnering financially with Florida ( and Arizona’s ( efforts as well.

2.  The California Supreme Court managed to get it right, for once.  When groups in California who are pressing to redefine marriage filed suit trying to wrest yet more control of a Californian’s self-governance from them, groups like ministry ally the Alliance Defense Fund defended marriage.  Rather than entirely disregard the will of the electorate (like it did in May), the California Supreme Court rejected several frivolous attempts to prevent the issue from being presented to Californians on the November ballot.

More coverage is available on the Alliance Defense Fund’s website and by reading this story.

3.  Not one to quickly allow the spotlight to entirely pass from its stage, the Massachusetts legislature – who was the first in the nation to radically redefine marriage – is working to remove the residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license in the Bay State.  For more than 95 years, Massachusetts has issued marriage licenses only to bona fide Massachusetts residents.  Should this measure pass, citizens from around the country could choose to go to Massachusetts or California to “marry” their same-sex partner.  While this would certainly curtail the consumption of expensive gas products today, it would provide opportunity for yet more legal chaos for those states (including West Virginia) whose affirm marriage as between one man and one woman, but do not have an amendment so stating in their constitution.

Citizenlink, a publication of ministry ally Focus on the Family Action, covers the story here.

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Posted in Marriage

Bits and Pieces

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Just a couple of odds and ends for readers today:

1.  MetroNews reports today that James DeGasperin has been found guilty of 3 counts of murder.  Over a year  ago, Lori Gasteel, her 4-year-old son, and unborn child were found dead outside of DeGasperin’s home, beaten with a baseball bat and shot.  While this may seem to be a run-of-the-mill (though ghastly) murder case, it is significant in that it is among the first cases to be tried under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.  That is, DeGasperin was found guilty of second-degree murder for also killing Casteel’s pre-born child.

2.  Yesterday, the Charleston Gazette published an editorial written by President and General Counsel, Jeremiah G. Dys.  The editorial is worth the read, but so are the many comments left by readers on the Gazette’s website.  While some support the thoughts of the editorial, it is educational (to say the least) to read the arguments by those who would redefine marriage.  We urge your review of them and, if inclined, post comments in support of Dys.

3.  In the last few days of Arizona’s legislative session, Arizona leaders gave the citizens the right to be heard on the question of marriage.  Now joining California and Florida to define marriage as between one man and  one woman will be Arizona.  Should they pass, that will bring the total number of states that have prevented the redefinition of marriage to 30.

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 8, 2008 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Life, Marriage

Mmmm Bop! A Little More Hansen!

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Do forgive the bad, 90’s pop culture reference (especially if you are the learned Dr. Trayce Hansen)!

Following yesterday’s entry, I spent more time reading Dr. Hansen’s website. I was encouraged by her entry, “Love Isn’t Enough: 5 Reasons Why Same-Sex Marriage Will Harm Children.” While I do not want to spoil her brief article, I do want to be sure that those of you without the 2 minutes it takes to click the link above get the gist of what she is saying. Enjoy the selected quotes below:

All else being equal, children do best when raised by a married mother and father. It’s within this environment that children are most likely to be exposed to the emotional and psychological experiences they need in order to thrive.

Men and women bring diversity to parenting; each makes unique contributions to the rearing of children that can’t be replicated by the other. Mothers and fathers simply are not interchangeable. Two women can both be good mothers, but neither can be a good father.

. . . .

Certainly homosexual couples can be just as loving as heterosexual couples, but children require more than love. They need the distinctive qualities and the complementary natures of a male and female parent.

The accumulated wisdom of over 2,000 years has concluded that the ideal marital and parental configuration is composed of one man and one woman. Arrogantly disregarding such time-tested wisdom, and using children as guinea pigs in a radical experiment, is risky at best, and cataclysmic at worst.

Same-sex marriage definitely isn’t in the best interest of children. And although we empathize with those homosexuals who long to be married and parent children, we mustn’t allow our compassion for them to trump our compassion for children. In a contest between the desires of some homosexuals and the needs of all children, we can’t allow the children to lose.

Ok. That’s the beginning and the end. Click here to read the actual 5 reasons she offers to rebut this popular argument.

Written by Jeremy Dys

July 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Posted in Marriage