The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Posts Tagged ‘family

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

Mike Johnson: Family breakdown is cause for alarm

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Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund with a stern warning to…..ourselves.  He concludes:

The basic building block of every successful society in history has been the stable, two-parent family. Healthy marriages benefit everyone, and there is simply no replacement for a mom and a dad — because that’s how God designed it. It is no surprise that children blessed to be raised in these households do better in every measureable category of well-being, and usually become happier, more productive citizens.

What shall we do? The answers seem obvious: vigorously defend the institutions of traditional marriage and the family; encourage marriage strengthening initiatives and premarital education; and support innovative faith-based programs, and the often heroic, countercultural efforts of churches and pro-family organizations. Many more of us need to speak the truth in love.

The bottom line is that family stability eventually determines national prosperity and security. If we don’t reverse these current trends, all the government programs in the world will be unable to save our society. We’d better get busy.

via Family breakdown is cause for alarm | ShreveportTimes | The Times.

Written by Jeremy Dys

May 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Posted in Life, Marriage

Tagged with , , ,

Has a Scholarship Competition Turned Political?

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If anyone in West Virginia is interested in the recently concluded Miss USA 2009 contest, it is likely because of Cabell County native Jessi Pierson being crowned, “Miss Photogenic” and “Miss Congeniality.”  

But, the dominating story is not Ms. Pierson, West Virginia, or the value of the Miss USA scholarship.  And, while we admittedly have had little interest in the competition (and wouldn’t have even known it had occurred had it not been for our careful monitoring of the news), our interest was piqued by the answer of Miss California and the antics of Perez Hilton.

For those who got a “D” in Pop Culture 101 and think we may be misspelling the hotel heiress’ name, Perez Hilton is the author of a pop-culture blog of the same name.  He deals mainly in celebrity gossip, Hollywood intrigues, and mostly things West Virginians have very little cause for concern.  Mr. Hilton also lives an openly homosexual lifestyle.  And, more to the point, Mr. Hilton was asked to be a judge for the Miss USA contest.

Now, our “C+” in Pop Culture 101 says that we know enough about the Miss USA contest to know that at some point, the contestants are asked some questions.  Their answers are judged along with their talent and, well, that’s about all we know about the Miss USA competition.  

So, why is the blog of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia bothering to talk about Miss USA and Perez Hilton?  Because of Judge Hilton’s question to Miss California at the end of last night’s competition.  Actually, it was not so much his question as her answer that has received the attention.  Mr. Hilton asked whether Miss California believed in same-sex “marriage.”  Her answer?  According to

When asked by judge Perez Hilton, an openly gay gossip blogger, whether she believed in gay marriage, Miss California, Carrie Prejean, said “We live in a land where you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite. And you know what, I think in my country, in my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.” 

We find this whole episode entirely intriguing.  First, the resulting controversy has been that politics was inserted into a beauty pageant.  Yet, the complaint about politics was lodged against Miss California and not Perez Hilton.  A contestant gives the proper definition of marriage – as settled by the voters of the state she represents and supported by an overwhelming number of Americans – and she is castigated for inserting politics into a pageant.  Hilton is given a pass.  Most pundits credit this answer for the loss of her crown (which is notable in and of itself), but the controversy-inducing Hilton is painted the hero.  Odd.

Second, let’s face it, the stereotype (not that we condone such stereotypes) is that beauty pageant contestants aren’t always . . . how to put it . . . well-read.  But, Miss California gives a simple, convincing answer filled with timeless Truth that speaks volumes about her personal conviction and, in this day and age, personal bravery.  The easy solution for Miss California would have been to toe the politically correct line in front of a watching world, win her crown and scholarship, and move on.  But, this would have compromised her conviction – not to mention upbringing.  For that, she undoubtedly deserves a crown of a different sort.

Third, though Mr. Hilton has lashed out on his blog today and on You Tube calling Miss California “a dumb *****” and explaining that she lost because of the poorly worded answer that dodged the question, Miss California nailed it.  Mr. Hilton’s question asked whether “every state” should follow California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in legalizing same-sex “marriage.”  According to Hilton, he was looking for an answer that would have said it was a state’s rights issue.  To him, her answer missed that.  But, did it?  

Her immediate answer was to say, “I think it’s great that Americans can choose one or the other.  We live in a land where you can choose same-sex “marriage” or opposite.”  This is what we hear:  It’s the people’s right to decide the definition of marriage.  In this, Miss California would likely agree with the 94% of West Virginians that believe voters – not judges or politicians – should decide the definition of marriage in West Virginia.  We find it appalling that Mr. Hilton would deride such a democratic answer.  We don’t find it surprising, however.

Finally, that she cites her family upbringing as the source for this conviction is likewise telling.  While it may be “en vogue” to appear as all things to all people, this young woman reflects the care and concern of a family who was willing to teach what is right and what is wrong and how to know the difference.  Moreover, she reflects the boldness the comes from a family that has discussed difficult topics, wrestled with a proper responses to tough issues, and come away with simple wisdom and steely conviction.  It is in the core unit of the family that we learn our worldview so that whenever we arrive at the whatever world-stage is set in front of us, the natural, effortless thing to do is to simply default to what we learned around the kitchen table, on our grandfather’s knee, or during family devotions.   

We applaud Miss Calfornia, Carrie Prejean, for her courageous answer.  And, we note to those elected officials who want desperately to be able to have it both ways (and therefore appease no one) the courage of a beauty queen.  

For how you might be involved in defending marriage in West Virginia, go to, a project of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.

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Written by Jeremy Dys

April 20, 2009 at 7:11 pm

And So It Begins: The fight to repeal DOMA under the Obama administration has begun.

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I came across a story in the AP News detailing one of the first cases challenging the federal DOMA law that was enacted to deny access to federal benefits for same-sex couples.

No doubt that this is only the first of many lawsuits challenging this federal law that was signed into law in 1996 by then President Bill Clinton.

This lawsuit, brought by more than a dozen people from Massachusetts claims that the federal DOMA law discriminates against same-sex couples by denying them access to death benefits, pensions, health care, and tax breaks associated with marriage.

But let’s back up and get the facts straight before thinking that some vast majority of Americans is being discriminated against.

Right now 45 states have laws that define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. So far, every one of the 30 states that have sought to change their state constitutions to define marriage as one man and one woman have done so successfully. And even when activist judges in California tried usurp the will of the people and legislate from their benches, the people spoke and overturned their ruling which allowed same-sex marriage, and then amended their state constitution so that activist judges could not bypass them again.

So it should go without saying that we are talking about a minority group of people who would seek to legalize same-sex marriage and not the majority of Americans. In fact, I would even be so bold as to say that if an amendment to the Constitution of the United States was sought, defining marriage as one man and one woman, it would be easily passed. Which is why many current lawmakers do not want to see such an amendment brought to the people.

And though the current lawsuit in Massachusetts is only seeking to overturn the part of the DOMA law that denies them access to federal programs and benefits, you can be sure that if successful they will not stop there. They will seek to overturn DOMA, and legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states; or in the very least require each state to recognize same-sex marriage whether it is legal or not in that state.

A lawsuit of this kind is a trojan horse just waiting to get inside the walls of marriage and bring every moral fiber this country has stood upon for centuries to the ground. We cannot allow ourselves to be fooled, or duped into believing that this is simply about money. This is about forcing every person to recognize the legitamacy and affirm the inherent goodness of same-sex marriage. And yet for many of us that goes against everything we stand for and believe.

Please continue to contact your state and federal lawmakers and voice your support for DOMA and other pro-family legislation. It is “we the people” that these lawmakers work for, and they need to hear from us.

Further Food for Thought:
Federal lawsuit Threatens West Virginia’s DOMA
Let the People Define Marriage

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Written by Nathan Cherry

March 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Traditional Marriage, Family Still Held Dearly

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Recent poll, study concludes that Americans are better off with traditional marriage and family.  


 A new poll released by the Angus Reid Global Monitor is saying the exact opposite of what the news media and talking heads in Washington are saying on the issue of same-sex marriage.


What we see and hear in the news is lawmakers fiercely pushing for more “equality” and ultimately for legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states; regardless of existing state constitutional laws banning same-sex marriage. And everyone from the news media to Hollywood celebrities would have everyone believe that this is what America wants and if not for the few bigoted, narrow-minded conservatives standing in the way, America would already have legalized same-sex marriage.


But is that what the facts are telling us?


The above mentioned poll tells quite a different story. It says that in June of 2008 53% of Americans did not favor legalized same-sex marriage. And as recent as December of 2008 55% of Americans were not in favor. But I bet you didn’t read that in the Sunday paper. (I wonder if the increase in opposition is due to the outlandish and criminal behavior of homosexuals in California in the wake of the Proposition 8 passage.)


And not so coincidentally this poll stands in agreement with a newly released study from The Journal of Communication and Religion. This study confirms what most Americans in general have always believed:


“Relationships with both parents are great for kids and put them on a path to success. In other words, girls need their dad and boys need their mom.”


Now,  let’s recap what we have learned here. A majority of Americans do not agree with legalizing same-sex marriage and to coincide with that belief is the fact that kids growing up with both parents lead a more well-rounded life leading toward success.


 So if this is what the polls and studies are saying, why is it that we are still seeing a push away from the traditional definition of marriage and family? Why would the media feed us biased political rhetoric seemingly seeking to indoctrinate the masses?


One possible answer is that, there is a liberal movement toward total and complete relativism. The proponents of this movement want truth to be something decided by each individual, with no absolutes existing beyond a persons own opinion. So, in light of such a school of thought, to say that same-sex marriage is wrong, or that households with both parents is best for children is the very definition of an absolute. And, in the eyes of the “free thinking” movement toward relativism absolutes are the enemy.



Further Food for Thought:

Civil Unrest Continues in California


Maybe She’s Born With It



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Sears Wants to Make a Difference

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Marriage is under attack in more ways than one. When we think of marriage being under attack we generally think of same-sex marriage and the fight to protect the traditional family and definition of marriage. But that is not the only fight going on.


For example, it has been reported by Citizenlink that nearly 750,000 Georgians get divorced each year. This costs the taxpayers nearly 1.5 billion dollars per year.


The fight for marriage extends to every state, town, and home in America. But this is a fight that some refuse to give up fighting.


“Accepting divorce and unmarried childbearing as inevitable means giving up on many of our children,” said Georgia Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. “We can make a difference for this generation.”


And to help in the fight, Justice Sears and a local Commission she helped to start and currently chairs, has begun a billboard ad campaign. The billboards, about a dozen throughout the state, advertise the message “Get Married, Stay Married,” in big bold letters with appropriate pictures.


Justice Sears has gained attention for recent remarks concerning her experience as a judge. She told several news outlets, “I have witnessed firsthand what happens to children who do not grow up in healthy, intact families.”


Justice Sears went on to elaborate on what she has ‘seen’ in her time as a Georgia state judge in an interview with Citizenlink.


“Whether caused by divorce, or couples who have children out of wedlock, then drift apart, or even deliberate single parenthood, more and more children are growing up without their fathers. This is a tragedy because growing up without a father can be a major disadvantage for a child. More children raised in single-mother households are poor, for example. And many suffer from poor academic achievement, low self-esteem, psychological distress, substance abuse, sexual precociousness, adult criminal offending and depression.” (Click here for the full interview.)


More support for the affects of single-parent homes on children has been found by The Heritage Foundation, where senior researcher Robert Rector recently concluded after a study that,


“Young people who are raise by married, biological mother and father do better in life, from delaying sexual activity to being more likely to have successful marriages themselves, avoiding crime, graduating from college.” (Click here for the full article.)


And founder and co-director of Florida-based Project SOS (Strengthening Our Students, Empowering Parents), Pam Mullarkey, agrees, “We have done nothing but make fun of dads in the media…we’ve done a tremendous disservice to our children, especially our males.”


We hear constantly about protecting our children, giving our children the best, doing everything we can in the interest of the children, the child’s well-being. Yet many have overlooked the one fundamental aspect to a child’s development that could divert so many problems later in life: a mom and dad who love them.


I know it’s not politically correct to state that a child needs both a mom and dad who love them in their life, with all the feminists and homosexuals who are certain they can do the job just as well. But if we are honest and realistic we would see that history has shown us the opposite to be true.


Children need to see the example of a loving father and mother in order to learn how to properly relate to the opposite sex, and to learn how to be in a loving, committed relationship. And with as much compassion and humility as I can convey, I believe that the absolute best environment and example to develop these skills is found in a home with a biological mother and father.


I can’t help but agree with Justice Sears when she said, “Marriage is the most pro-child institution we have.”


Food for Further Thought:


Georgia Supreme Court Message Loud and Clear: “Get Married, Stay Married” 



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Written by Nathan Cherry

December 9, 2008 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Marriage

Tagged with , , , ,

An Interview on Family and Marriage

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An Interview on Family and Marriage: Some thoughts from the Focus on the Family Camp.

By Nathan A. Cherry


                Recently I had a chance to chat by phone with Jenny Tyree, the Marriage Analyst at Focus on the Family. We specifically discussed same-sex marriage as this is the “hot button” issue in media and society at this moment.

                Focus on the Family, and more specifically James Dobson, have been center stage in the media recently as the FCC announced it will induct Dr. Dobson into the radio hall of fame. Outrage from the gay and lesbian community poured due to Dr. Dobson’s strong stance against homosexuality and same-sex marriage.


                To read articles and blogs posted in opposition to Dr. Dobson’s induction into the radio hall of fame please click here, or here.


                We hear so much in the media that seems, in my opinion biased (anyone surprised?) regarding the issue. I wanted to hear from Ms. Tyree what her research and studies on the issue had produced. So the first question I asked was what, according to her research is the main goal of the Gay and Lesbian community, specifically in regards to marriage.


Answer: “Ultimately they are seeking social approval. They talk about rights and benefits, but the status that is given to heterosexual couples and the social approval they receive is what they are seeking.”


                As we discussed this further she explained that “they won’t get that social approval from many people because the gay and lesbian community is going about it the wrong way.” By this she is referring to going to activist judges and seeking the overturning of laws by side-stepping the will of the people. And the vandalizing of property, intimidation at the work place, firing of people for their views, all the things we are seeing out in California at this time.


Read this article or this article for news out of California regarding the vandalizing of churches that helped support and pass Proposition 8.


                But Ms. Tyree also acknowledged that we can all empathize with same-sex couples who are seeking this social approval because in reality “we all want approval.” Certainly from the time we are kids we seek approval at the various stages in our lives. One of the most profound events which culminate that approval is our wedding.

                Next I asked Ms. Tyree what the broad implications for Christian, or an even just traditional family was if same-sex marriage were to be legalized.


Answer: “The first is children. If marriage is redefined there will be kids deprived of a mother and a father and biological parents. And the second is religious liberty. The 1st Amendment right of freedom of religion will be brought to a head with legislation giving special rights to homosexuals. This is where even liberal scholars believe that in the direct conflict of homosexual “marriage” and the expression of a religious view that opposes gay “marriage,” that religious liberties will lose. That’s when it becomes illegal to give your opinion or to share your religious views.”


                I have to be honest; through medical advances such as sperm donation and artificial insemination we could presumably see an entire generation where a child’s uncle is actually his or her father. What could information like that do to a child’s psychological development?

                Next I wanted to know what Focus on the Family was doing to combat media bias and cultural stigma in the gay and lesbian community that Christians are all ‘homophobic,’ or ‘gay-bashers.’ How are they reaching out and embracing homosexuals?


Answer: “The Biggest thing we do is our Love Won Out ministry, which seeks to inform friends and family as to what could have led a person to this lifestyle.”


A brief description of Love Won Out from the Focus on the Family Website:

Focus on the Family is promoting the truth that change is possible for those who experience same-sex attractions — a message routinely silenced today. We want people to know that individuals don’t have to be gay and that a homosexual identity is something that can be overcome. That’s why we’ve developed a one-day conference for those seeking answers on this often confusing and divisive issue. Whether you have a gay friend or family member, are an educator, pastor or concerned citizen — or even self-identify as gay — Love Won Out will inform, inspire and offer you hope. For more information: click here. Or, go to


                Ms. Tyree and Focus on the Family, as so many others, believe that homosexuality is not genetic, or something you are simply born with. Citing God as the Creator of all human beings, and homosexuality as a sinful behavior, along with the fact that there exists testimony from so many “ex-homosexuals,” Focus on the Family seeks to help those struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions and their family members and friends by providing a biblical understanding of the issue and helping to connect them with local support ministries through Focus’ relationship with Exodus International.


                As well, she said, that Focus on the Family tries to point out the “inadequacy of the other sides arguments.” She mentions the fact that “Dr. Dobson has never said that he hated a gay or lesbian person. The more people dig and find out what we say the more they will see how much we love people.”  

                In talking with Ms. Tyree I gained a sense that she truly cares for people, all people, regardless of any social or religious differences. And no doubt Focus on the Family embraces the same kind of love towards people.

                We can see in the Bible where Jesus did not agree with every person He ran into. But He loved them all. He even asked for forgiveness for those who placed Him on the cross.

                That kind of love has the ability to transcend any barrier and break down the walls that exist between people of opposing viewpoints. Jenny Tyree and the folks at Focus on the Family are trying very hard to break down those walls and reach out to people of all walks of life, with many and varied needs, with love.

                My thanks to Ms. Tyree and the good people at Focus on the Family for their work and many years of service to thousands throughout the United States and the world.





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