The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Archive for May 2009

Support for Marriage INCREASING Nationwide, in West Virginia

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Recently, the head of the ACLU declared that same-sex “marriage” was spreading throughout the land, growing in popularity and increasingly accepted by the nation.  Following the progressive, unaccountable actions of legislators in Maine, Vermont, DC, and New Hampshire, one sensed a growing excitement from those who would redefine marriage.  Could this be the change they had been hoping for?

Then, the California Supreme Court upheld the vote of 7 million voters – the second time voters in California had voted to define marriage as one man and one woman.  Perhaps the opponents of marriage were a bit too hasty in optimism.

In America, we respect the results of fair elections.  Whenever voters get the opportunity to decide the definition of marriage, the traditional definition always wins.  So far, of the 30 states that have voted all have voted in favor of marriage as one man and one woman.  That’s more than 40 million U.S. voters expressing their beliefs at the ballot box.  

And then came this news:

A Gallup poll of 1,015 adults released Wednesday (May 27) shows that Americans oppose legalizing “gay marriage” by a margin of 57-40 percent, the highest opposition has been in the poll since 2005, when a similar survey showed a margin of 59-37 percent against “gay marriage.”

. . . 

Last year, the Gallup poll showed 56 percent opposing “gay marriage,” 40 percent supporting it. In 2007, it was 53-46 percent in opposition.

via News Headlines – Polls: Opposition to ‘gay marriage’ on rise : Townhall.com .

Nationwide, the support for marriage as one man and one woman continues to remain high, growing, if only a little, from year to year.  But that wasn’t the most interesting part of this story.  According to the same article, that same Gallup poll revealed this most incredible finding:

48 percent of Americans believe “that allowing two people of the same sex to marry will change our society for” the worse. 

Whoa!  Nearly half of the representative sample of the United States not only supports marriage as one man and one woman, they believe that to allow same-gender “marriage” would make society worse.  

The findings by Gallup reflect what we have discovered here in West Virginia.  Last Summer (2008), the Family Policy Council of West Virginia commissioned a poll to determine the level of support for marriage in the Mountain State.  That poll revealed that 73% of likely voters supported marriage as one man and one woman.  

Fast-forward to 2009.  After the launch of WV4Marriage.com, a project of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia, another poll was conducted.  Not only did this poll indicate that more than 9 in 10 voters believe they should determine the definition of marriage – not judges or politicians; it also indicated an increase of 13% in support for marriage.  According to our latest numbers, 86% of West Virginians support the definition of marriage.

West Virginians understand that same-sex “marriage” is a closer reality than politicians think.  And they want action.  Further, like the rest of their countrymen, West Virginians understand that to redefine marriage would be to change our society for the worse.  

Forty million have already voted in defense of marriage.  Will our legislators give another 1.8 million the same opportunity?

One man.  One woman.  That’s marriage.

 


Written by Jeremy Dys

May 29, 2009 at 7:26 pm

The Last Obstacle Standing in the Way of Social Liberalism:

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What is at the core of the same-sex marriage movement? Is it the freedom to marry anyone we choose? Nope. Is it equality in society with heterosexuals? Nice thought, but wrong again. At the core of the same-sex movement is universal acceptance for a particular lifestyle among people of all gender, nationality, and most notably, religion; and ultimately the complete repression of religious rights held by persons and organizations that morally object to the lifestyle.

 No doubt there are some homosexuals who simply want the freedom to marry and enjoy the benefits of a socially recognized marriage. But these are few and far between. The reality is that many same-sex proponents, including every liberal lawmaker in the land, sees an opportunity to silence the conservative, religious majority on the way to a new, so-called improved, socialist state.

 But, as Maggie Gallagher pointed out in her spot-on article for National Review,

 “A funny thing happened on the way to defeating Communism. Religion has emerged as the sole institution standing in the way of a powerful neo-statist liberalism, in which equality doctrines are used not as a shield but as a sword — to legitimate state intrusion into once-private realms.” (Read the entire article here)

 You see, the government knows what many proud, conservative, deeply spiritual Americans have known for many years. If you effectively silence the religious institutions there will be no one left to stand in the way of total government control and regulation of every facet of life. Make no mistake about it, the government wants absolute separation of church and state, but only so far as the insertion of church morals and beliefs into government are concerned. On the flip side the government wants no less than to regulate and micro-manage every religious group and organization to make sure nothing is said or done that big brother does not approve of.

 Hypocritical? In the very least. But more accurately it is communism at its best. The government wants to tell every person exactly what to believe, what is right and wrong from the time they enter pre-school until they collect that last social security check and Dr. Kevorkian pulls the plug on the ventilator. And the only way to accomplish this goal is to silence the religious, conservative majority of Americans by relegating free speech and religious speech to Sunday-only-behind-closed-doors-rhetoric.

 Don’t be fooled by the trickery of the leftist propaganda machine. Just because President Obama claims to be a “Christian,” his words mean very little until he shows evidence of his faith. But so far he has done nothing of the sort. He, in my humble opinion, is merely playing games in order to lull the millions of devout believers asleep before swiping their religious rights. Again referring to Ms. Gallagher’s article,

 “One way is to narrow religious freedom’s scope while claiming to endorse the principle in general. So the Human Rights Campaign believes it supports religious liberty because it does not intend to have the government jail pastors who refuse to perform same-sex unions. Being American liberals, they feel pretty good about themselves for permitting religion to live quietly and impotently behind closed doors.” (Need more evidence? Check out this article relating what is happening in Europe, and soon will happen here).

 Simply put, religious, conservative Americans cannot afford to fall asleep at the wheel at this time. We are seeing freedoms stripped one by one at unprecedented rates; and battles for more freedoms rage each day. This is not the time for the warm fuzzies; this is a time to be steadfast. If we want to continue to enjoy our freedom, we must be willing to defend it.

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Family Voice, the official blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Written by Nathan Cherry

May 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

In Light of CA Supreme Court Decision, Concerns for Protecting Traditional Marriage Still Exist:

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In the last couple of days we have seen a flurry of news articles covering the historical and precedent-setting decision by the California State Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Just take a look at some of the headlines that have hit the airwaves.

 From the Alliance Defense Fund, “California High Court Upholds Proposition 8 Marriage Amendment.”

 From Christianity Today online, “California Supreme Court Upholds Proposition 8.”

 From Citizenlink, a ministry of Focus on the Family, “California Supreme Court upholds Marriage-Protection Amendment.”

 And finally, from World Net Daily, “California Justices Say Marriage is 1-Man, 1-Woman.”

 But despite this victory for traditional values and the morals which helped to shape this great country of ours, is concern. For me the first concern is a long forgotten one that the media has never had much interest in. The fact that Proposition 8 even had to be birthed as a response to the reprehensible judicial activism of the California Supreme Court when they ignored the previously voiced will of the people and trampled over California’s DOMA law to single handedly allow same-sex marriage without so much as asking the voters of California.

 Regardless of your position on this heavily debated topic, it should outrage every voting citizen of the United States to think that a single court would ignore the will of its constituents and legislate from the bench a decision that the majority of voters did not agree with. I would go so far as to say that the California’s Supreme Court did not want to uphold Proposition 8 but did so purely to regain the favor of the people who will be voting for them very soon. It most likely had nothing to do with upholding the state and federal constitution; it was just a tactic to save face.

  Another concern is the susceptibility of every other state with a DOMA law to the judicial whims of activist judges that have forgotten the people they serve. Thinking of my home state of West Virginia, where just a couple of short months ago two lawmakers effectively denied the entire state from voting on a constitutional amendment to define marriage permanently. In a state where well over 70% of residents believe marriage is between one man and one woman, and would like the chance to voice their beliefs for themselves, two lawmakers decided that they would not give the voters that right.

 So what’s next? Do we now begin to see judges across this land overturn the DOMA law’s and make the decision for the people instead of allowing the people to vote for themselves? Why exactly are the lawmakers in West Virginia and other states afraid to let the people vote? Could it be that the outcome we saw last November in California, Arizona and Florida was not a fluke, but an accurate representation of the majority of this country? Could it be that lawmakers know that the majority of this country believes in traditional marriage and they would rather ignore the majority and cater to the minority?

 One thing is for sure, now is not the time to sit idly by and bask in whatever faint glimmer of hope that comes out of this decision. Marriage is still under attack. We must hold our lawmakers accountable for their decisions. We must continue to speak out and let our voices be heard regarding these tough issues.

 I know two West Virginia lawmakers that won’t be getting my vote in the next election.

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Marriage Prevails…Again!

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By now you have probably heard that the California Supreme Court, in a 6-1 decision, upheld the vote of over 7 million voters in California, amending their state constitution to uphold the definition of marriage.  

The decision reminds us that in America, we honor the results of fair elections.  The California court arrived at the only correct conclusion: the people have a fundamental right to amend their constitution.  Californians knew what they were voting on – marriage as one man and one woman.

Tuesday’s decision finalizes the second time that Californians have voted to affirm the definition of marriage.  In 2000, California voters defined marriage as one man and one woman in state statute.  After the California Supreme Court found that statute “unconstitutional” last year, voters voted again – this time to define marriage within the state constitution last November.  As in California, when marriage goes before voters, it is always affirmed.  In fact, all 30 states that have allowed the people to vote on the definition of marriage have amended their state constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman.  To date, nearly 40 million voters across America have voted for marriage.

The question remains, will 1.8 million voters in West Virginia get the same opportunity?  Or will politicians continue to pander to the 0.3% of the West Virginia population that is currently living in a same-sex relationship?  

While no constitutional amendment defining marriage within a state constitution has ever been found “unconstitutional,” unaccountable courts and progressive legislators continue to push the radical homosexual agenda on an unwilling public.  In the process, they continue to invalidate defense of marriage acts (DOMA’s), like West Virginia’s, and work to repeal the Federal definition of marriage – each makes same-sex “marriage” a closer reality in West Virginia than many people think.

Legislators are in Charleston for the next couple of weeks.  Now is a good time to call your legislator or email them and remind them to let the people vote.  Take some time to review the resources available at www.wv4marriage.com and then ask your legislator to let you vote on the definition of marriage.

One man.  One woman.  That’s marriage.

– WV4Marriage.com.

Written by Jeremy Dys

May 27, 2009 at 1:48 am

Finally, the Truth about Tax-Exempt Organizations in Politics…from the IRS!

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A recent article on the World Net Daily website should give every pastor and non-profit organization cause to celebrate. There seems to be much confusion concerning proprietary laws regarding the boundaries of tax-exempt organizations in politics. And organizations like Barry Lynn’s Americans United for the Separation of Church and State don’t hesitate to threaten churches and other organizations with IRS investigation if they cross these murky boundaries.

 A similar occurrence in Texas involving the Houston-based Niemoller Foundation and the left leaning Texas Freedom Network has delivered a devastating blow to all those who would seek to silence conservative religious organizations. (Read the article here).

 During the 2006 election cycle the Niemoller Foundation funded several pastors conferences in Texas to educate and encourage pastors on the social and moral issues taking place. These conferences also served to mobilize pastors to hold registration drives and in turn educate and encourage their congregations to vote. It was as a result of these conferences that the Texas Freedom Network called for an investigation into the Niemoller Foundation to see if they violated their tax-exempt status.

 The IRS has recently rendered its verdict in this case with a resounding victory for pastors and churches across the country. It, the IRS, found that the Niemoller Foundation did not violate the political entanglement laws relating to their tax-exempt status by holding pastors conferences meant to educate pastors on current political issues.

 And in a letter reviewing the overall purpose of the conferences, the IRS concluded, “An appeal was made to request attendees to vote and to request their members to register and vote, but in each instance observed they were told to vote their values.”

So what can we learn from this occurrence and the subsequent IRS ruling? The Director of Litigation for the Texas based Liberty Legal Institute, Hiram Sasser, has made the point clear: “The Niemoller Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, just like a church, so by the Niemoller activities being granted as lawful, then any church that engages in the same kind of voter education combined with voter registration drives on the moral issues of the day is perfectly fine with the IRS regulations, according to the IRS itself.”

We would do well to heed the words of Liberty Legal Institutes Kelly Shackelford, “Be careful what you hear from these liberal organizations, they sound very confident and file many complaints, yet none are found valid even by the IRS.”

And Liberty Council (the Virginia based legal group) President Matt Staver has encouraged “From 1954 to the present, no church has ever lost its tax-exempt status for endorsing or opposing political candidates. This history alone should alleviate unfounded fear.” (1954 was the year the IRS Code was amended to strictly forbid 501(c) (3) organizations from political entanglement.)

What we can learn is that we have been spoon fed a liberal left portion of incorrect and biased information in hopes that Christians and pastors and everyone with traditional and conservative values will be silenced. The threat of IRS investigation has been a favorite tactic of anyone seeking to shut the mouth of truth-speaking conservatives, when, in reality it is a big puff of hot air.  

Further Food for Thought:
Pastors, Churches and Politics, by Matt Staver.

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No, Mr. President!

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Have you ever wondered what a “prophetic voice” sounds like?  John Piper provides a very clear example – balanced well between grace and truth:

Written by Jeremy Dys

May 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Another Case of Foot IN Mouth

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Harry Knox, President Obama’s tap for head of the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, renamed the “President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Parnterships” by the Obama Administration, has not been known for his silver tongue.  Let’s just say he’s been quite critical of the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexual behavior and birth control.

It seems Mr. Knox is at it again – this time in a discussion on how best to spend your taxpayer dollars.

In an interview with PBS taped at the Human Rights Campaign, Knox talked of fatherhood:

“Responsible fatherhood offers us an immense opportunity to speak to a real need in the country,” said Knox, director of the faith and religion program at the Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual rights group, during the PBS interview broadcast on its Religion & Ethics Newsweekly show.  

That’s fair.  Weird venue for doing so, but nothing wrong with talking about the importance of fatherhood.  This is one of those areas we applaud President Obama’s rhetoric.  He has long been vocal about the need to strengthen the role of Dad in the home.  We are concerned that the actions don’t always meet the rhetoric, but, still, happy to have the conversation.

But, Knox took a quick, progressive left turn:

“It’ll be challenging to do that for instance in ways that are not dismissive of the tremendous gifts of single mothers; not to sort of hold a heteronormative view of fatherhood up as the only model,” said Knox.

Ok, I added the italics, but……HUH?!?!  It’s a challenge to promote responsible fatherhood when the “heteronormative view of fatherhood” is the “only model?”  What is precisely wrong with the “heteronormative view of fatherhood?”  Is “fatherhood” really “fatherhood” in some other type of model of parenting?

Nope.  He didn’t stop there: 

“For instance, 25 percent of gay male couples in the country are raising children – their own and other people’s,” Knox, a member of the United Church of Christ and the Interdenominational Conference of Liberation Congregations and Ministries, told PBS.

“So the challenge will be for all of us getting to know what fatherhood means for us, and how to talk about it in a way that is as inclusive as possible and empowering as possible,” he said.

He added that mentoring programs for homosexual fathers should be reviewed by the council.

“One of the things I am suggesting on the council is that they look at mentoring processes that gay dads have developed to help each other be good fathers around the country,” Knox said.

via CNSNews.com – Obama’s Faith-Based Adviser Urges Challenge to ‘Heteronormative’ Fatherhood .

Essentially, Knox is saying that because we have redefined what is meant in terms of “marriage” and “family,” we now have to get “to know what fatherhood means for us, and how to talk about it in a way that is as inclusive as possible and empowering as possible.”

Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Just as marriage ceases to be definitionally “marriage” when persons of the same-sex enter a similar union, so to does “fatherhood” cease to be “fatherhood” when a person of the female gender attempts to mimic the role. 

It gets more confusing when we begin discussing the impact of 2 dads and 0 moms in a home.  Children are entitled to a Mom and a Dad.  Social science tells us that is the best venue in which to raise a child.  Gov’t should not knowingly deprive children of that chance, nor fund – in the name of “responsible fatherhood initiatives” – projects to widen that gap.

I recognize that life circumstances sometimes leave children in a lurch, necessarily without one or the other parents.  But if the goal is strengthening the role of fathers, we should consider the ideal.

Let’s save “the council” some time: two moms have the potential to make great moms, but they will never make one mediocre dad.  

Mr. Knox, President Obama, if you want to strengthen the role of fatherhood, strengthen the institution of marriage.  Hold Dad’s accountable for the children they father.  Break the cycle of divorce by promoting healthy marriages in which Dad’s live committed to the mother of their children and demonstrate to the next generation what it means to be a man.  And father.

Stop tinkering with definitions.

Written by Jeremy Dys

May 18, 2009 at 6:40 pm