Marriage Debate Gets Heated

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We live in interesting and pivotal times. The latest illustration of this is the U.S. Supreme Court’s addressing of “same-sex marriage” and constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8. The public discussion on “same-sex marriage” has been fascinating in the differences in how the debate has been approached by people on both sides. It has also been infuriating at times. More on this later.

First, and central to the discussion, is this simple question: What is marriage? If we can’t answer that question honestly and openly, then the discussion goes off the rails quickly. Marriage, as has been understood and accepted throughout human history, is the union of a man and a woman. This definition was not established by organized religion but has been accepted and followed by principle world religions from Christianity to Hinduism. As understood for thousands of years, marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of procreation and development of marital and family bonds. These bonds are a bedrock of society. In other words, it’s more than two people merely loving each other. It’s two people loving each other and giving of themselves to both advance and stabilize society through procreative and united acts. It’s giving children the right to have a mother and a father – a proven societal stabilizer.

With these definitions laid out – it’s clear why I believe the term “same-sex marriage” is an oxymoron (and why I place them between quotation marks). Let me make something else perfectly clear: I am not condemning homosexuals nor am I saying they don’t have a right to have relationships with whomever they wish to. I am merely establishing the definition and purpose of MARRIAGE.

Let’s stop here for a second, because it is at this point in the discussion where those who want to change the definition of marriage start to get a little unhinged.

“Half of heterosexual marriages end in divorce!”

“Gays/lesbians have rights, too”

“Two consenting adults should have the ability to say ‘I love you’”

“Not all heterosexual marriages lead to children”

All of the above statements are absolutely correct. But how does redefining marriage change these facts? As I stated above, Americans of all stripes have the right to love whomever they want. No change in the definition of marriage will change that. Today’s high divorce rate is not an indictment of the definition of marriage nor does it demand that it be changed. What it points to is a sad reflection of how we as a society have totally disregarded the definition and true meaning of marriage. Redefining marriage does not guarantee that the spirit and true meaning of marriage will be saved and restored – for the simple reason that it changes what marriage is to begin with.  Lastly, a couple who can’t have children (for whatever reason) doesn’t de-legitimize their marital union. They are still a couple naturally oriented towards procreation because of their biological compatibility. To steal an analogy used by Professor Robert George, a losing baseball team (even the Miami Marlins) doesn’t stop being a team due to the fact that it is oriented towards winning, even if their orientations don’t result in victories.

After these arguments are laid out and addressed, all you have left is the civil rights argument. Now this is where proponents of marriage re-definition start to really lose it.

Cases in point:

- Recent segment on CNN’s Piers Morgan Show in which the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, after respectfully laying down point after solid point, gets talked down to like a little boy by Piers Morgan and Suze Orman. A clear example of what happens when people lose the argument, they attack the person.

- Next is a letter from Broward County (FL) Democratic Party Chairman Mitch Ceasar to his Republican counterpart Tom Truex asking him to join those who support the redefinition of marriage because “it is both a legal and human rights issue. How can we explain to a gay or lesbian veteran of Iraq that they are less than a full citizen”. Ceasar goes on to write: “Tom, you are a loving and decent person. Please join me in this civil rights/human rights cause”.

Oh, brother! Talk about laying down the guilt trip in full, patronizing fashion. I put Mitch Ceasar’s letter through a BS-filter here’s what came out: “Tom, you don’t want to be like those mean, nasty, Republican bigots, do you? People are coming over to my side of this issue. If you still want to be considered as a decent, loving man, you better agree with me”. Sounds like a schoolyard-bully comment, doesn’t it?

In the end, these responses, in addition to being disappointing and contrary to honest, reasonable debate, serve to be anti-climactic in light of the importance of the issue. But, I repeat, this is the response of individuals who have lost the intellectual argument and can only win by playing to people’s emotions by attacking individuals instead of honestly debating their beliefs.

Speaking of civil rights: Dennis Prager cogently writes in this well-written and thoughtful article:

To argue that opposition to same-sex marriage is immoral is to argue that every moral thinker, and every religion and social movement in the history of mankind prior to the last 20 years in America and Europe was immoral. About no other issue could this be said. Every moral advance has been rooted in prior moral thinking. The anti-slavery movement was based on the Bible. Martin Luther King, Jr. was first and foremost the “Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.” and he regularly appealed to the moral authority of the scriptures when making his appeals on behalf of racial equality. Same-sex marriage is the only social movement to break entirely with the past, to create a moral ideal never before conceived. It might be right, but it might also be an example of the moral hubris of the present generation, the generation that created the self-esteem movement: After all, you need a lot of self-esteem to hold yourself morally superior to all those who preceded you.

Like I said at the top, these interesting times will only get more and more interesting in the coming weeks and months.

…Is Risen Indeed!

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He IS Risen! A Happy and blessed Easter to all and wishes that the Resurrection of our Lord serves as a new beginning of inspiration and hope amidst the difficulties and struggles we face.

Speaking of new beginnings, it’s been over 4 months since my last post here! Amazing it’s been so long but I hope to stick around and post on a more regular basis. However, I haven’t been in a vacuum the past few months and have kept up with recent events,so I plan to share my thoughts on these in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned!

The Art of the False Choice

A comment left on this Wall Street Journal article pretty much nails the Obama campaign strategy:

“A clear majority” of a group that was 8.8 million voters shy of 2008’s election hardly reflects anything other than a nation divided roughly in two. But the divisions don’t fit as neatly into your simplistic caricature as you so earnestly want to believe. It was critical to the Obama campaign’s success that it demonized people who:

1. Oppose excessive regulation as opposing ALL regulation (redux);
2. Demand cost/benefit accountability as favoring dirty air and dirty water (you forgot to mention their joy in poisoning children);
3. Don’t think that spending tax dollars on providing free contraception as wanting to deny contraceptives to women;
4. Object to the government forcing their church’s medical institutions to provide abortions as wanting to deny health care to women;
5. Object to raising taxes without spending and entitlement reform as wanting to take money from the poor and give it to the rich.

So good for you, doctor. You’ve demonstrated that Obama’s propaganda was effective. The politics of mudslinging and character assassination works — especially when the opposition is politically weak (even though vastly more competent). Anyone can characterize the fringe as the norm, as Obama’s team did so brilliantly. But when the Republicans turn the tables on the Democrats, as they inevitably will some day, just remember than turnabout… is fair play. You’ll have to get used to it.

In many ways, it still amazes that Obama could win by mastering the art of the false choice as outlined in points 1-5 above. But, alas, that’s the world we live in today.

What Marco Rubio Should Have Said About Earth’s Age

Marco Rubio hasn’t even announced his candidacy for president in 2016 and he’s already getting the “gotcha” question from the media (actually, he’s been getting them for a while now, but on a more local scale). In an interview with GQ, Senator Rubio gets asked “out of the blue” how old he thinks the earth is. Pretty inconsequential question in light of the major issues of our day, but that doesn’t stop the media from asking. Consider it a fair warning to Rubio and other conservatives, because you bet that the media will be out to paint Rubio and other young conservatives as neanderthals.

Despite the irrelevance of the question relative to the big issues that affect us daily, it deserves a good answer. I don’t think Rubio gave a bad answer, but not a great one, either. His answer was wishy-washy and non-committal for understandable reasons, but if his intent was to avoid a “mini-controversy”, even a fabricated one, it didn’t work. Let’s face it, Rubio has a big target on his back and it will only get bigger between now and 2016.

The question could have been answered in such a way as to avoid the faux controversy and at the same time stand solidly in line with the teaching of Rubio’s faith (Catholicism) AND science. The New York Times’ Ross Douthat provides that answer for us:

I’m not a scientist, but I respect the scientific consensus that says that the earth is — what, something like a few billions of years old, right? I don’t have any trouble reconciling that consensus with my faith. I don’t think the 7 days in Genesis have to be literal 24-hour days. I don’t have strong opinions about the specifics of how to teach these issues — that’s for school boards to decide, and I’m not running for school board — but I think religion and science can be conversation partners, and I think kids can benefit from that conversation.

There you go.

BTW…Rubio isn’t the only recent junior senator to answer a question in a similar fashion. Back in 2008, Illinois’  junior senator at the time answered a similar question in very much the same way.

Sen. Rubio and others, please make a note of this. It’s time to turn the tables on liberals who like to use these topics to beat conservatives over the head with because conservatives lack either the guts or the smarts to properly reconcile science and reason with faith. In the case of Rubio, perhaps he needs a little brushing up on Catholic teaching.

Make no mistake, they can be reconciled and if done so correctly, there’s nothing liberals can do to counter it.

Nancy Giles: Abortion Opponents into Race-Building

It’s funny how even in the most ridiculous statements, there’s a kernel of truth.

Check out this segment on an MSNBC program in which Nancy Giles makes a remark about how whites are against abortion because they want to “build up the race” and purportedly boost the GOP in the process.

At first glance, its stupidity and meanness hits you right in the face. But if you consider recent statistics which show that African-Americans are disproportionately victims of abortion in the United States,  linking race to abortion actually makes sense. Unfortunately for Ms. Giles and for all of us, she was off in the demographic affected most by abortion.

The more these people open their mouths….

Election Post-Mortem

I’ve had a couple of days of much-needed rest to recover from the crazy campaign cycle which has given me time to reflect on the results of Tuesday’s elections without running the risk of over-reacting.

Here goes.

President Obama’s victory on Tuesday night was a stark reminder to Mitt Romney supporters of two things: 1) It’s really tough to defeat an incumbent, and 2) In order to defeat an incumbent, the challenger has to be someone people can rally around and get enthused about. Remember 2004? BDS was in its hey-day and in the end, more people voted for someone they liked than someone they didn’t. It’s amazing the clarity that hindsight can provide.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. Let’s be honest, fellow conservatives: were we motivated more by voting Mitt Romney into office or by voting Barack Obama out of office? With few exceptions, I think the answer is quite obvious. Fewer people thought Obama was deserving of a second term than in 2008, but not enough thought the other guy was more deserving. That’s not to say that those who wanted desperately to dislodge Obama from the presidency didn’t feel good or were ambivalent about Romney. Speaking for myself, I was looking forward to a real leader in the White House and I know many others feel the same way. However, this is where the Obama campaign, in its glorious cynicism, succeeded. All those negative ads portraying Mitt Romney as a money-hungry, heartless capitalist while portraying Obama as someone who “cares about the middle class” worked. They worked not because folks like negative campaigns, but because it planted enough doubt in enough people to make a 2-3% difference. That was the difference in this election.

Lesson for the GOP apparatus: Encourage, promote and nominate candidates people can actually get EXCITED about. Like the Democrats did in 2008 (not in 2004).  Forget about demographic shifts and all that other mind-numbing, stat-crunching mumbo-jumbo. Put someone up who people will be motivated to support. Not just with their vote, but with their time, energy and talent. The rest will take care of itself. For what it’s worth, I think Mitt Romney ran a good campaign. He came close to unseating a popular president. It just wasn’t enough. If there was something the Romney campaign could have done better was in marketing Gov. Romney more in the months leading up to the general election. Romney gained a lot of ground in October, but it ended up being too little, too late.

Beat them at their own game. Here’s something else the GOP can learn from 2012: You can’t run campaigns the good ol’  fashioned way anymore. This means conservatives have to embrace the methods used by the Democratic Party, namely GOTV and a huge, grassroots-based ground game. I know those are dirty words for many conservatives, but let’s face reality. Intellectual arguments and the blogosphere are fine and well, but it’s not enough. A motivated, energized and diverse campaign strategy is what is needed. Again, the right candidate will naturally bring about these strategies, but we have to accept the notion that campaigns in the ’10s aren’t run the same way as in the ’90s or even the ’00s.

The Tea Party movement exhibits many of these elements, but it needs to be taken to the next level. Conservatives of all stripes need to get involved in every facet of our community, from colleges to minority groups to senior citizens, and everyone in between. This means getting our hands dirty, going to places and doing things we think are “not worth it”.

Conservative ideas are winning ideas, but if they don’t get disseminated in ways people can understand and relate to, then they might as well be totally wrong.

With these thoughts in mind, let’s start working on 2014 and 2016. It’s not too late to change the direction of our country, but “the early bird gets the worm”.

BTW…just heard Marco Rubio is going to Iowa next week.

Too Close to Call

I don’t know about you, but my head is just about ready to explode as we approach the big day tomorrow. As a political junkie of sorts as well as a fan of numbers and statistics, I am naturally drawn to polls. It’s a match made in, well, maybe not heaven, but it’s something I can’t stay away from. For over a year now, I’ve been following polls such as Rasmussen on a daily basis and have learned quite a bit about the whole polling science, although I am far from a pro. If I see another analysis of this year’s D/R/I breakdown and how it compares to past years, I think I’ll go crazy!!

Pundits on both sides, professional and amateur, paid and volunteers, are  making different projections about the polls and tomorrow’s outcome. How can respected, knowledgeable folks on both sides be making such widely diverging predictions in such a confident manner – everything from a Obama landslide to a Romney romp? I am perfectly aware of the partisanship involved and evoked in those sentiments, but it’s nothing like I’ve ever seen before.

Somebody will be seriously wrong.

I would be more than happy to quote you the D/R/I splits from the latest CNN poll, or how much Romney leads on behalf of independents in most polls, or how most polls appear to be using voter turnout models closer to 2008 than 2010 and 2004.

But sometimes you gotta go with your gut along with the numbers.

I think it’s going to be excruciatingly close. The popular vote will be within 3% either way. The electoral vote is more complex, but I don’t see either candidate getting to 300. The barrage of polls showing a tight race nationally and in swing states can’t in the whole be wrong. Also, I don’t assume that all of the 2-3% of undecideds will break for Romney. Most of them probably will, but I never underestimate the pull of an incumbent president with approval ratings right around 50%, despite his failings. I also don’t underestimate Team Obama’s ability to mobilize and do whatever it takes to get their people out to vote.

It will be an almost even party affiliation split this go-round. That means it’s almost inevitable that it will be very close. Some may say, “but independents are leaning towards Romney“. Yes, they are, but even here I see inconsistencies in how polls identify independents. How can a poll such as CNN’s have independents up by 22 and others by only a few % points (Rasmussen’s latest Ohio poll has Obama leading non-affiliated voters by 8%)? Doesn’t quite make sense. Someone is very wrong.

So…a close race, one that might not be over tomorrow. Ohio is the big nail biter, but Pennsylvania and others may be as well. My heart wants a Romney win, any way he can get it. The bigger, the better and I would be happy to accept any “I told you so’s”. My mind and gut however, suggest a very close race, one that may very well end up going for Obama.

My mind has been in knots the past several weeks. No doubt my gut will join in the fun tomorrow night.

Romney Endorsements Continue

And they keep on coming…courtesy of Instapundit:

MITTMENTUM: Four Years After Endorsing Obama, The New York Daily News Endorses Romney. “Four years ago, the Daily News endorsed Obama, seeing a historic figure whose intelligence, political skills and empathy with common folk positioned him to build on the small practical experience he would bring to the world’s toughest job. We valued Obama’s pledge to govern with bold pragmatism and bipartisanship. The hopes of those days went unfulfilled. . . . The regrettable truth is that Obama built a record of miscalculations and missed opportunities.”

Well, I saw this coming.

UPDATE: Also Newsday. “Had Barack Obama done the job of president with the same passion and vision he displayed in seeking it, he would likely deserve another term. He did not. . . . Romney’s potential to put America back to work earns him our endorsement.”

ANOTHER UPDATE: Another Romney endorsement from the Madison Wisconsin State Journal.

The Palm Beach Post, the only major South Florida daily left to endorse a presidential candidate, “voted present“. Considering how liberal that paper is, it’s essentially a Romney endorsement.

UPDATE on yard sign count: Romney 56, Obama 32. More Obama signs in the past week but still heavy on the Romney side.

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold

In his “closing speech” in Ohio yesterday, President Obama mentioned that the “best revenge is voting“, in response to boos from the smallish crowd in NE Ohio. Obviously, that statement is getting some comment and criticism. A November surprise?

Revenge, for what? Only Obama knows for sure, but I will say without question that the statement and his unscripted choice of the word “revenge” is a clear reflection of the attitude of a man who hasn’t had too many big tests in his adult, professional life and suddenly feels threatened in the face of a severe challenge. We saw it in the petulance Obama displayed in the October debates. We surely have seen a lot of it in Obama’s governing style over the past 4 years. We see it in a LOT of his most ardent and passionate supporters.

It’s an angry, almost-defiant-but-ultimately-petulant frame of mind from a president who doesn’t have a record to run on.  Perhaps anger and petulance works when you’re community organizing, but not when you’re president of a divided nation. His whole campaign has been that way, from the fabricated war on women to contraception to “binders” to “loins”…it almost seems like a joke except for the fact that at least 47% of the nation is ready to vote him into a second term.

We’re an angry nation, and perhaps that’s why Obama’s revenge comment will resonate positively with many people. This is even more reason to elect Mitt Romney, because for all his imperfections, one thing he has proven in his adult and professional life is an ability to lead positively and bring folks together in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Romney is a leader. Obama is a divider in the purest sense of the word.

The distinction is clear.

The choice is even clearer.

Romney Endorsements Continue

Add the Des Moines Register and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel to the list of newspapers who have a track record of endorsing Democratic Party presidential candidates who have endorsed Gov. Romney. In the case of the Register, it’s been 40 years since they last endorsed a Republican.

The Des Moines Register’s endorsement offers the best explanation, IMO:

Consumers must feel more confident about their own economic futures to begin spending on the products and services that power the economy. A renewed sense of confidence will spark renewed investment by American companies. Industry will return to full production and hiring will begin again.

That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House.

There is not a lot of difference between the two candidates’ short-term economic plans, as both are heavy on a promise of tax cuts for the middle class but short on details. Romney’s plan, however, goes beyond helping the middle class with tax breaks.

Throughout the campaign, he has expressed faith in the private sector to fuel a more robust economic recovery if it has more confidence that the federal government will not be an obstacle. Romney has a strategy for job growth through tax and regulatory relief for small businesses, encouraging all forms of domestic energy production, education that prepares graduates with job skills, expanding foreign trade and reducing the burden of federal deficits.

The Sun-Sentinel:

We believe Romney’s past performance is a predictor of his future behavior. He’s proven himself to be a successful businessman. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. He worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature as governor of Massachusetts to close a $3 billion budget deficit — without borrowing and raising taxes.

The Miami Herald, on the other hand, goes for Barack Obama. To Myriam Marquez and the esteemed editorial board of our fair hometown paper, it’s really NOT about the economy, smarty pants:

He has taken so many contradictory positions on important issues — abortion, immigration, even Obamacare (first he said he would repeal it; then he said he would keep the parts most people like) — that he could take any action he chooses once in office and claim that it fulfills a campaign promise he made at one point or another. He has run on his record, and he has run from his record.

That’s not an issue for the president. Not all Americans like what he stands for, but they know who he is. He has championed the middle class and has a larger, more tolerant notion of America that includes closing the inequality gap and evening the playing field, as exemplified by making an equal-pay-for-women bill the first law he signed. He has fought for the DREAM Act on behalf of the immigrant youths brought here by their parents, and he wants a Supreme Court that will continue to support Roe v. Wade. That’s crucial.

I guess the “tolerance” Mr. Obama supposedly exhibits doesn’t include tolerance for Catholics to exercise their consciences. But I digress…

And there you have it.

Update on the yard sign count: It’s now 30-12 for Romney/Ryan.
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