The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Archive for October 2008

The Redefinition of a Parental Right

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Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

A woman living in Virginia has been held in contempt of court for protecting her child. Yes, you read that correctly. A mother is doing what is in the best interest of her child physically, mentally, and emotionally, and she is now in contempt of court.

In an article on the website Lifesitenews, Matthew Cullinan Hoffman reports that Virginia resident Lisa Miller, a woman who has renounced her former lesbian lifestyle since accepting Christ as her Savior and turning to Christianity, is being held in contempt for denying her former partner Janet Jenkins visitations with her six-year old daughter Isabella.

This may sound cut and dry, but read the articles on this case and it may be an eye opener. And, if movements in California such as Proposition 8 fail, cases such as this one could become common place in our courts. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 30, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for Reading!

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We wanted to share with you a milestone for “Family Voice” that just happened yesterday.  As of yesterday, this blog has surpassed 5,000 visits!

As you can see from the picture below, our blogging really got started in late March/early April of this year, so we are very proud to have such excellent growth in such a short amount of time.  In addition to the more than 5,000 visits here, our website has received more than 16,000 hits (over 3,000 hits in the last month) in just 13 months!

Stay tuned!  Soon, we will be integrating this blog into our website, adding new bloggers, and creating new features that help create an alternate media voice for the family of West Virginia!

Thanks for making this blog so successful!

For a copy of the graph showing our increased readership, please click “Read The Rest of This Entry” Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 28, 2008 at 4:10 pm

Are We Fighting Against God?

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Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

There’s a Bible story that comes to my mind frequently as I read news headlines from day to day. This story, found in the book of Acts (5:29-42) is about Peter and some other disciples being arrested for speaking the truth of Christ. Oddly enough it was the “religious” leaders of the day that had Peter and the others arrested. When they were let out of prison they were told not to speak or teach in the name of Jesus anymore. But Peter replied, “We should obey God rather than men” (5:29). The political and religious leaders were about to arrest them again when a well-known and well-respected leader stood up and spoke out sort of in their behalf. He simply told the people that if Peter, the Gospel, and all this Jesus “stuff” was of man then it would fail miserably and they would be vindicated. However, if it was of God then it would succeed and there was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it; unless of course they wanted to engage in war against God Himself.

Well, as the saying goes, “The rest is history.”  This brings us to the present day. The headlines that come across my computer read like this, “California School Holds ‘Gay Day’ for Kindergartners,” “Conservative Talk Radio Added to the Endangered Species List,” and “Judicial Attacks on Marriage Continue.” (Citizenlink) With such headlines constantly on the front pages of newspapers and internet sites one cannot help but wonder who’s fighting whom?

But is it really me or any other traditional, conservative, value voting person that is being fought, or is it the absolute truth and morality that we derive from Scripture? Why is there an element in this country that wants to redefine marriage so badly when all the studies done show that families are stronger and kids grow up happier and healthier in “traditional” families? What could possibly be the benefit of exposing kindergartners to homosexual behavior? Why, in a land of “free speech” would the liberal side seek to take conservative talk radio off the air? What is to be feared in the public debate of ideas?

I can’t help but think that a better approach for the opposing side to take is the one from the above mentioned story. Let things be as they are, and, if they are right, and proper, and inherently good then all will know in a short matter of time. What is truly True rises to the top.  But, if they are indeed the wrong views then it will be equally obvious to all.

Touching on marriage. If traditional, heterosexual marriage is so outdated, bigoted, and narrow minded as we hear from the liberal side, why is it the only form of marriage and relationship that has produced every living being, and the only form that can produce a human being? Seems like things just fit better in that format than any other.  So why redefine marriage when the current definition is perfect for propagating the species and building strong families?  

I suppose I have just come to the conclusion that if the traditional values and principles this country was founded upon is simply ideas of men then they will crumble in and of themselves and it will be evident to tall. However, if they are inherently right and good with intrinsic value then we need to fight for them and abandon change. Otherwise we may find ourselves one day fighting against God Himself. 

Nathan A. Cherry holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary.  Nathan provides leadership in discipleship, culturally relevant teaching, and outreach as Associate of Ministry at Central Chapel in Hedgesville, West Virginia.

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm

From Tolerance to Intolerance: How the Normalization of Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead to the Suppression of Freedom

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Recently popular talk show host and comedian Ellen Degeneres commented upon the position of Sarah Palin’s support of amending the Federal Constitution to define marriage between one man and one woman.  In response to Palin’s comments on Christian Broadcasting Network, Ellen said:

So if you’re wondering…how I fell about this…I don’t like it.  I don’t agree.  Maybe it’s because I’m gay that I think we should all be equal.  But I feel that we’re all equal…I don’t know what people are scared of.  Maybe they think that their children will be influenced…People are gonna be who they’re gonna be…And we need to learn to love them for who they are, and let them love who they want to love (US Magazine.Com)

I do not disagree with Ellen in that all of us have been created in the image of God and there are certain unalienable rights that we possess as human beings.   I also agree with Ellen in that we have the freedom of choice and the freedom to choose whom we give our love and affection to.  However, once our actions move beyond the realm of our own lives to the realm of impacting others health, safety, and/or convenience, then our ability to “freely choose” should be diminished (seeWe Too Are Prochoice). 

From Homosexuality is Not a Civil Right, Daniel Garcia and Robert Regier observed:

When protecting one’s inalienable and civil rights, the government must discern between liberty and license.  This requires that rights attach to persons because of their humanity, not because of their behaviors, and certainly not those behaviors that Western legal and moral tradition has regarded as inimical to the “Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” as stated in the Declaration (bold mine).

A person’s civil rights are not dictated by their behavior, but rather by their humanity, something that is immutable and unchangeable.  However, celebrities such as Ellen are striving to have homosexuality and same-sex marriage receive special legal protection from the government to the detriment and suppression of freedom among individuals, parents, families, church, and community organizations.   

Massachusetts and Connecticut have already succumb to this political battle, while California hangs in the balance.  California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, recently commented upon the affects of same-sex marriage on the states public education curricula:

I’ve seen the spots on the TV, and (legalized gay marriage) just isn’ going to require any kind of teaching of personal relationships or lifestyles…That’s just not an accurate statement or portrayal (AP, Public Schools Become Focus of Gay Marriage Ban).

Not only has Mr. O’Connell level such an affirmation, but Laura Schulkind who serves as the representative lawyer for school districts across California said:

The education code already has a high expectation that school districts are going to create an environment where respect for human dignity and acceptance of differences, including sexual orientation, are promoted…I don’t see how the legalization of gay marriage or the passage of Prop. 8 changes that obligation (ibid.)

Is this the case?  Will the endorsement of same-sex marriage have no bearing upon the curricula of state schools?  What will ensure that school districts of CA, or any state for that matter, will not require their schools to normalize homosexuality or same-sex marriage?  

What we will briefly observe is that the special legal protection of homosexuality and the allowance of same-sex marriage will inevitably lead to it’s normalization in state schools; therefore, directly affecting state school curricula.  Moreover, this normalization of homosexuality and same-sex marriage will lead to the suppression of freedom of individuals, private religious and civic organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

West Virginia Record | THEIR VIEW: Time to defend marriage in W.Va. is now.

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via West Virginia Record | THEIR VIEW: Time to defend marriage in W.Va. is now.

Jeremiah G. Dys, Esq., makes the case for a marriage protection amendment in West Virgnia.  Says the editorial:

West Virginians want to define marriage for themselves. They do not want their government to set a policy — and they especially do not want courts to impose a system — that knowingly deprives children of a mom or a dad.

How do I know? Because we asked 513 registered voters in West Virginia if they would support an amendment to the West Virginia Constitution that defined marriage, and 73 percent said, “Yes.” That same percentage said they would be “more likely” to vote for a candidate who supported such a measure. Frankly, I am not terribly surprised. West Virginians know that children do best in a home with their married mom and dad. Why change it?

But, the response to the last question surprised me. When asked, “Should a court be able to make same-sex marriage legal in West Virginia?,” 80 percent of West Virginians shouted, “NO!”

Outside special interest groups should not decide this issue. We should. Theirs is an agenda of legislative and judicial chaos that undermines the family by cheapening marriage. A marriage amendment, defined by and for West Virginians, keeps marriage as we have always known it to be.

To read the rest of this editorial, visit the West Virginia Record’s website.


Written by Jeremy Dys

October 23, 2008 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Marriage

First Cousins, Then Who…Or What?

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Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

“It’s their business, not mine.” “It doesn’t affect me.” “What they do in private is none of my concern.” These and many more remarks are typical responses when asking people of their thoughts on the same-sex marriage issue. But are they true? A recent story by the Alliance Defense Fund shows exactly how this issue has serious implications for the definition of marriage in more ways than one.

The case in question is Ghassemi v. Ghassemi, two Iranian first cousins whose marriage is now in divorce court in Louisiana. But what at first sounds like backwoods banter or hillbilly humor is in fact no laughing matter.

Louisiana is one of 25 states that prohibit first cousins from marrying, technically. They are legally allowed to “cohabitate, have intimate relations and even produce children,” said the three judge panel of the state 1st Circuit Court of Appeal, as reported in ADF’s October 19th article. Which, on a side note, if you allow people to live together, sleep together, and have kids together, why not allow them to marry? If it looks like a duck, walks like a ducks and quacks…perhaps that’s for another time and place.

The interesting thing about Louisiana is that it will recognize any marriage that is valid in the place where it is contracted as long as it does not violate strong public policy. This means that first cousins can go to one of the other 25 states in the U.S., get married, then move back to Louisiana and be legally recognized as married; amidst all the other first cousins just living together.

Here’s where this jumps from the sphere of slightly creepy to morally repugnant. With the law as stated in Louisiana, how long will it take for same-sex couples to marry in states such as Massachusetts and California, then move to Louisiana and demand to be recognized because of the current laws as stated? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 23, 2008 at 2:04 pm

It’s About Conviction, Not Convenience

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Guest blog commentary by Nathan A. Cherry.

It was just a matter of time. I honestly thought it would take less time than this, but the reports have started already. Last month the Alliance Defense Fund held “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” for the purpose of challenging the 1954 law that was unconstitutionally passed in order to keep tax-exempt corporations from lobbying for or against any certain political candidate. Many anti-Christian organizations such as the Washington based Americans United for the Separation of Church and State act as self-imposed watchdogs for the IRS law in order to keep a strangle-hold over pastor’s and their pulpits. But the hold is loosening and the grip of fear once held over pastors is slipping away as religious rights groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Council, Family Research Council, and Family Policy Councils across America educate pastors and citizens of their constitutional right to speak up and out about candidates.

On Pulpit Freedom Sunday, over 30 pastors in 20 states purposely preached sermons endorsing their choice for president in the upcoming election. The point was to dare the IRS to come and take away the church’s tax-exempt status; and subsequently to challenge the IRS law in order to see it taken to the Supreme Court and reversed. And recently, the American Center for Law and Justice ( and Newsmax ( have reported that one pastor may have gotten the IRS’ attention.

Bishop Robert Smith, pastor of the Word of Outreach Christian Center in Little Rock told his congregation that he “will be voting for John McCain and Sarah Palin” on November 4th. He even told his congregation of the possibility of an IRS investigation and that he planned to send a recording of his message to the IRS. And quite frankly, we need more pastors like Bishop Smith in America.

There are two aspects to this story that are worth noting. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 21, 2008 at 12:59 pm

So, What’s Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate?

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This past week on Dr. Albert Mohler’s blog, he began a new series entitled, “So, What’s Really at Stake in the Gay Marriage Debate?”  From one of the weekly e-mails that I (Jesse Wisnewski) recieve via subscription, we read the following introductory remarks:

Human society is a complex reality, but certain constants have framed that reality for human beings. One of those constants has been the institution of marriage. The respected status of the heterosexual pairing, set apart for exclusive rights and respected for its functions for the society, is among the most important of those constants. Even where deviations from this pattern occur, they are of interest merely for the fact that they are deviations from this norm.


The legalization and normalization of same-sex marriage undermine that constant. What had been a clear picture now becomes confusing. Marriage had been universally understood to be heterosexual.  Now, it is something else. The picture is further confused by alienating the heterosexual breeding and parenting function from marriage.


In his latest blog, Dr. Albert Mohler says not only does marriage appear now to be what it never was before, the essential functions of marriage are up for grabs.

If you wouldl like to read the remainder of his first installment of the series then click here. For my own personal comments on the importance of the institution of marriage see Marriage: Its Foundational Importance.


Written by Jeremy Dys

October 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Pastors Deliver Open Letter to Gov. Manchin

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This morning, a dozen pastors delivered an open letter to Gov. Manchin on behalf of a growing list of pastors and religious leaders from throughout West Virginia.  In the open letter, which can be downloaded at, the pastors express their support for a marriage amendment defending and defining marriage in West Virginia.

When the letter was delivered, 59 pastors had signed the letter.  Ever since, several pastors continue to send emails to pastors(at) to have their names added to the letter as well.  

What follows is the press release announcing the brave action of the pastors. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Marriage Amendment Poll: News Coverage

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Follow up media coverage from yesterday’s announcement about a poll the Family Policy Council of West Virginia released yesterday showing strong support for a marriage amendment in WV.

MetroNews: What is Marriage?

Hoppy’s Commentary – 10/1/08

Associated Press: Group Give Manchin “Ultimatum.”

The Alliance Alert

To download the entire poll and supporting memos, visit our website,


No Better Time Than Now – Pastors send open letter to Gov. Manchin.

Family News In Focus – National broadcast interviews Jeremy Dys on marriage amendment.

Written by Jeremy Dys

October 16, 2008 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Marriage

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