The Respect for Marriage Act disrespects marriage and family

Respect for Marriage
Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

At first blush, the Respect for Marriage Act seems reasonable and fair—even needful. After all, its decency is in its name. What’s in a name? In this case, everything. When you read the bill, you’ll realize its name smacks of a marketing trick, a Machiavellian ruse.

In truth, the Respect for Marriage Act will federally force respect, not for marriage, but for the redefinition of marriage, created by the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalizing gay marriage .

In their rush to rush to codify gay marriage federally and force states to recognize same-sex marriages, the bill’s backers fundamentally disrespect the institution. Worse, they further fray the tenuous fabric of the family, which will surely hurt children the most.

The Respect for Marriage Act, known as the RFMA, was named and written to assure quick passage before democrats lose the House of Representatives. Its disingenuously clever nomenclature makes it more difficult to vote against. After all, if one does, isn’t he or she disrespecting marriage?

Apparently, 12 republican senators considered this question and chose to support the bill. To be fair, they may actually think the RFMA is fair and needful legislation and that it respects marriage. Does it?

Is marriage respected when one of its most essential functions is removed?  If one views marriage as simply a way to seek happiness and not necessarily for procreation and family building, a redefinition makes sense logically, but not practically—or morally.

This is not all the Respect for Marriage Act gets wrong—or right—depending on one’s cultural goals.

Targeting traditionalists

The RFMA green lights litigation against virtually anyone who opposes the redefinition of marriage. For example, photographers, cake makers, church leaders, and faith-based nonprofits who refuse to participate in same-sex weddings can be sued despite their conscientious objections.

Concerning nonprofits, those that operate based on traditional marriage values stand to have their tax exempt status revoked for discrimination.

What about states that do not accept any other definition of marriage other than between men and women? When this bill becomes law, they could face federal repercussions because the RFMA requires that all states recognize same-sex marriages regardless of their positions on traditional marriage.

The RFMA also endangers faith-based social-service organizations that work with the federal government. If they challenge provisions of the act in court, the hill to winning their he cases based on religious freedom and free speech will become that much steeper.

Additionally, objections need not be faith-based. A secularist can respect several millennia of precedent for traditional marriage, based on common sense and the complimentary natures of men and women, and consider same-sex marriages far less beneficial to society. Is this disrespect for marriage?

What the RFMA is not

The Respect for Marriage Act is not a codification of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the Supreme Court invented a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage—as they did for the “right” to abortion in Roe v. Wade.

Backers of the bill portray it as such in order to ensure smooth sailing through the house and senate. They hold that the Obergefell decision settled the argument. It did not. Many Americans, as with Roe v. Wade and abortion, are not in favor of same-sex marriage.

Because the constitutionality of same-sex marriage is founded on a phantom, the issue isn’t any more settled than the right to abortion was. If it is indeed settled, why the rush? The RFMA is being whisked through congress out of fear that the Supreme Court could overturn Obergefell.

Who will suffer most?

Children. Eons of human history bear witness to the essential importance of traditional family for the healthy development of children. Science, common sense and millennia of experience unequivocally show that children do best with fathers and mothers.

The family is vital to any healthy society. Is it any wonder that crime, drug use, poverty, and now gender confusion—virtually any and all relatively recent ills of American culture—stem from the denigration of the family?

The undeniable truth is that a man and woman, designed and created with complimentary strengths, give children the best shot to grow and develop into healthy, happy adults. All one need do to affirm this self-evident truth is to honestly contrast and compare the health of society from decade to decade.

Sadly, the Respect for Marriage Act is a further slide down the slippery slope. It’s dishonest and destructive. A more apt and respectful name would be the Redefinition of Marriage Act.

No matter its name, if the RFMA becomes law, its provisions will endanger those who hold traditional marriage values and deeply hurt families and children. It’s is simply a misguided attempt to ensure “fairness” based on yet another redefinition of an institution that underpins all healthy societies.

Climate Change and the Christian: Mutually exclusive?

My response to a New York Times December 21, 2021, article about Christian and scientist Katharine Hayhoe in the form of questions for Dr. Hayhoe:

Is it possible that many who identify as Christian aren’t followers of Christ? Could it be that they simply check a box that includes choices like Muslim, Hindu, atheist, agnostic (and others)—and evangelical?  If so, why expect God to work through them? Why expect them to manifest the kinds of love by which you judge them?

Is it fair to offer only two distinctions when it comes to Christians and climate change—“climate-change skeptic” and “climate-change denier?”

Both buckets imply that a Christian who doesn’t embrace climate change—as popularly defined—is either skeptical that it exists at all or is skeptical that human activity is to blame for it.

Healthy hypotheses:

What if a Christian wonders if climate change is intrinsically natural and allows for the possibility that we may be contributing to it to a lesser degree than “climate explainers” claim?

What if a Christian doesn’t think about climate change in terms of his differences with others? What if tribalism plays little or no part in his thinking when it comes to the issue?

What if a Christian ponders the enormity of time and posits that the amount of time with which scientists are studying climate change is a tiny sliver compared to the vastness of time itself?

What if a Christian embraces the notion that to study science is to do so skeptically and that to be a scientist is to be a natural skeptic?

What if a Christian has an aptitude for critical thinking and is technically minded and prefers proving hypotheses (or reading the findings of scientists who do so) rather than simply accepting the words of climate explainers who work closely with politicians and activists?

What if a Christian trusts that God will ultimately redeem his creation and embraces her role as steward of the creation? What if she’s confident that the creation is much more resilient than climate explainers say it is? What if she wonders whether an inflated belief in our ability to irreparably damage the earth is a form of arrogance?

Science or dogma?

Should we, as critically thinking Christians, take pains to interpret scripture with contextual accuracy? As a scientist and Christian, Dr. Hayhoe, shouldn’t you be more careful about interpreting Jesus’ words to his disciples? His command for them (and for us) to love others—neighbors and enemies—is given in other conversations, not in the one you referenced (John 13:35).

What if a Christian doesn’t consider the use of fossil fuels or nuclear power an affront to God and his creation? What if he wants to transition to electric vehicles and other forms of viable alternate energy sources, but sees a rush to green energy happening before viability?

What if a Christian wonders if resistance to truth is also on the side of those who claim to understand climate change? What if climate change is cyclical and mostly naturally caused? Is the question of human causation not open to discussion?

What if a Christian sees arrogance and ignorance on both sides of the argument? What if she’s concerned for the silenced scientific voices who dare not question the explainers and powerful people who back them?

Our fallen world.

Do Christians who do not fit snugly in climate-change denier or climate-change skeptic buckets deserve a seat at the table? Do they deserve denigration as Facebook churchgoers, Fox News watchers and head-in-the-sanders?

Does science allow for honest disagreement and the possibility that so-called climate-change explainers, though intelligent and well-meaning, are simply seeking rather than dispensing truth?

As Christians and non-Christians, shouldn’t we resist labelling others and being swayed by politics while grappling with climate change?

As Christians, why would we doubt God when we see people treating others in less than loving ways? Did Jesus not tell us this would happen? Do we not live in a broken and fallen world? Is there not an adversary prowling like a lion seeking to devour us and others with deception and hatred?

Shouldn’t we as Christians view God by what he says about himself? Shouldn’t we trust him by how he works in our lives? Shouldn’t we love him because he first loved us through his son, Jesus? How can we expect Christians or those who identify as such to be barometers of God’s efficacy or trustworthiness?

How can we claim to embrace scientific truth without embracing the essence of science—healthy skepticism and the humility to admit that we simply don’t yet know enough about climate change—or our broken world?

Beyond the lies and talking points, abortion is nothing more than a sexual safety valve

My body, my choice. A woman’s right to choose. Planned Parenthood. Reproductive health. Family planning. Pro-choice. Safe, legal and rare. Bans off our bodies.

All of this is wordplay. All are marketing phrases. Every single one is cynical, illogical and useless in a serious conversation about abortion.

Why even have the conversation? Because Roe V. Wade and its natural result of abortion on demand is built on lies and talking points. Isn’t it past time for honesty about a “right” that isn’t, yet was created to enable sexual freedom without consequences?

The lie

In 1973, proponents assured us that abortion would be “safe, legal and rare.” Rare as in a million abortions per year, plus or minus a few hundred thousand? Rare as in 62,502,904 abortions since 1973? These numbers are not from a pro-life source; they’re from the Guttmacher Institute—and the CDC.

What about rape and incest victims?

According to a 2004 Guttmacher Institute study, the percentage of women who said they were seeking an abortion after being raped was one percent. Those seeking abortion as a result of incest was .05 percent. The study also found that these numbers haven’t changed appreciably between 1987-2004.

The reason

Why do most women get abortions? They don’t do it for their health. They do it for their freedom. When asked why they wanted an abortion by the Guttmacher Institute, the number one reason was that, “Having a baby would dramatically change my life.”

Why do women use Planned Parenthood? According to Planned Parenthood’s own 2019-2020 Annual Report, 96.9 percent of pregnant women use their services to get an abortion. 0.7 percent seek adoption referrals, and 2.4 percent go for prenatal care of any kind.

The sad truth is that most women who abort their pregnancies do so not for family planning, not for their reproductive health, and not to show the world that they are in control of their bodies and their choices.

Most women use abortion as safety valves for their sexual freedom.

Before Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court’s legal gymnastics and creation of the aforementioned nonexistent right out of thin air, American men and women had children because they would change their lives.

Children were built-in to the marriage arrangement. And if a couple decided not to have children, there was effective birth control. Pregnancies were prevented, so babies wouldn’t be aborted.

The revolution

Prior to the sexual revolution, pregnancy and children were seen as normal and genuine family planning. Yet as in any revolution, norms were discarded, so that so-called freedoms could be enjoyed without consequences.

My body, my choice is a legitimate right. Legally and constitutionally, we choose with whom we have sexual relations. Rare instances of rape and incest aside, once we choose, we’re responsible for the consequences of our sexual choices.

Our control over our bodies does not include control over others’ bodies. Morally, we have no right to kill our unborn. Their bodies are their own.

If and when conception occurs, a new life begins, and another human being’s body becomes part of a new equation. He or she too has a right to life. Sadly, thanks to Roe v. Wade, this right has been stripped away to make room for sexual freedom.

Here’s the dilemma: Sexual freedom is incompatible with the sanctity of human life. As Americans, we are free to choose sexual activity with any other adult—how are we free to end life that’s born from our freedom?

The war

AG Merrick Garland held a press conference to announce his Justice Department’s lawsuit against Texas and its heartbeat law. He said the law makes it too risky for abortion clinics to operate.

He said nothing about it helping to make life less risky for a virtually unprotected people group. Garland bases his lawsuit on the assertion that it violates a nonexistent constitutional “right.”

To explain, this phantom right to abort one’s pregnancy was created by the Supreme Court for their majority ruling on Roe v. Wade. The court based their decision on a contortion, alteration and expansion of the rights to privacy in the Constitution.

This creation of a woman’s right to abort her pregnancy in the name of privacy is actually a pivot point at which sexual freedom goes beyond choice to dehumanize human life.

In truth, Texas did what other states should do. They enacted commonsense legislation that provides unborn babies some level of protection. Their heartbeat law protects an unprotected people group against those who believe the lie that a fetus isn’t a person and that their freedom is more important than someone else’s life.

The Texas law also provides a check on an industry that values profit over people. The president and his party’s outrage against legislation that values life and seeks to protect it is proof positive of the efficacy of nearly fifty years of lies and talking points.

It’s high time we as a nation of rights and freedoms extend those rights and freedoms to those who, when unwanted, have neither.