Category archives: Human Sexuality

Gallup Poll Shows Few Same-Sex Couples Marry Despite Supreme Court OK

by Peter Sprigg

July 6, 2016

Noting the one-year anniversary of the 2015 Supreme Court decision redefining marriage to include same-sex couples, the Gallup organization recently released poll data on how many Americans self-identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender), and how many of those are now in legally recognized civil marriages.

Marriages after Obergefell

Same-Sex Marriages Up One Year After Supreme Court Verdict” was the headline Gallup used, reporting that “approximately 123,000 same-sex marriages have taken place since the Obergefell v. Hodges decision.” Some news outlet emphasized the growth of such relationships even more strongly, with Time saying they are “Way Up” and The Atlantic referring to “a surge in same-sex marriages in all 50 states.”

One would hardly have expected it to be otherwise, given that the Court had thrown open a door that had been closed by the state constitutions of thirty states. (Due to lower court decisions, however, only 13 states were still denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples by the time the Supreme Court ruled.)

The real news in the Gallup survey—missed by virtually every news outlet that reported on it—is not how many same-sex couples have now obtained civil marriages, but how few.

LGBT Adults Who Are Married

Gallup currently estimates 3.9% of U.S. adults are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” the report says. How many of those are married? “Currently, 9.6% of LGBT adults report being married to a same-sex spouse.”

Wait a minute—after all the hullabaloo over same-sex marriage, all the insistence that marriage was essential to affirm the dignity of lesbian and gay Americans—less than one in ten have even bothered to take advantage of this critical new “right?”

Well,” you may point out, “adults can be as young as 18 years old. They may not feel ready to marry, or they may not have found the right person yet, or they may be between relationships. Not all heterosexual adults are married at any given time, either.”

All this is true—so let’s compare the 9.6% of “LGBT adults” who are in same-sex marriages with the percentage of the general population (the vast majority heterosexual) who are married. That figure has been in decline for decades—partly because people are waiting longer to marry, partly because of an increase in cohabitation outside of marriage, and partly because of an increase in divorce.

In fact, a federal government report issued in 2014 made headlines: “Number of Unmarried Americans Now Over 50 Percent.” According to NewsMax, “the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that the number of Americans over the age of 16 who are unmarried leapt from 37.4 percent in 1974 to 50.2 percent today.” Thus, only 49.8% (roughly five out of ten) were married.

Yet if five out of ten heterosexuals are married, and only one out of ten “LGBT” adults is in a same-sex marriage, this suggests that LGBT Americans are only one-fifth as likely to marry as are heterosexuals.

Same-Sex Couples Who Are Married

Perhaps,” you may respond, “it’s just harder for LGBT people to find partners than for heterosexuals. What about the marriage rates among people who have already found a partner they are living with?”

The Gallup report offered data on that question as well—in fact, it led with it, beginning its report by declaring, “The proportion of same-sex cohabiting couples who are married has increased from 38% to 49% in the year since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.”

However, 49% being married means that 51% of “same-sex cohabiting couples”—an outright majority, although a slim one—are still “living together but not married.”

What about all the arguments that legal civil marriage was absolutely essential to same-sex couples, because it is the only way to provide for inheritance rights, and medical decision-making, and over a thousand other “benefits” attached to marriage under federal law? It looks like most same-sex couples can do without civil marriage after all.

Lots of opposite-sex couples cohabit instead of marrying, too,” you may say, and that is true. According to the Census Bureau, in 2015 there were 8.3 million households with opposite-sex unmarried couples—and 60 million married couples. That means that about 88% of opposite-sex couples living together were married, vs. only 12% that were cohabiting without marriage.

If the percentage of same-sex couples who reject marriage (by cohabiting instead) is 51%, and the percentage of the general public who do the same thing is only 12%, this suggests that those in homosexual relationships are over  four times more likely to reject marriage than those in heterosexual relationships are.

Handling Data

I will concede that making precisely accurate comparisons between “LGBT Americans” and non-LGBT persons using such data is sometimes a challenge. First, unless it is explicitly separated out, data for the general public includes LGBT persons (although they are only a small fraction—about one in twenty-five).

The second issue—which Gallup may want to consider in its future reports—is that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons are four different populations, which really ought to be addressed separately. They tend to be lumped together only because they are perceived as having common political interests (in challenging traditional norms for their sex), not because they share sociological characteristics. Gallup distinguished them only in part, by noting, “Males who identify as LGBT are more likely than females who identify as LGBT to report being married to a same-sex spouse (10.5% vs. 8.8%, respectively).”

B” and “T” Americans and Opposite-Sex Marriages

There is no reason to expect that bisexual or transgender persons would necessarily seek marriage to a person of the same sex (although they might). It is just as likely that they would be married to someone of the opposite sex (although even defining who the opposite sex is could be problematic in the case of transgender persons).

This may help explain perhaps the most startling finding in the Gallup report, which none of the media reports even picked up on. It is this: more “LGBT Americans” are married to an opposite-sex spouse than to a same-sex one. Gallup reports that 13.6% of “LGBT Americans” are married to an opposite-sex spouse—a number 42% higher than the 9.6% of “LGBT Americans” now legally married to a same-sex spouse.

To interpret this figure, it would be helpful if Gallup had released more data specifically on those who identify as bisexual (sexually attracted to both males and females)—what percentage of “LGBT Americans” are actually “B,” and what percentage of just the “B’s” are married to or living with a same-sex vs. an opposite-sex partner. A recent federal report based on the National Survey of Family Growth said that self-identified bisexuals may actually outnumber self-identified homosexuals—narrowly among men (2.0% of the population vs. 1.9%) and widely among women (5.5% to 1.3%).

Gallup did report that 5% of LGBT’s are living with an opposite-sex partner outside of marriage. These cohabitors are 27% of the opposite-sex couples in the LGBT population, which means that even “LGBT Americans” in opposite-sex relationships are only about half as likely to reject marriage in favor of cohabitation as those in same-sex relationships.

Perhaps the most intriguing of all would be to learn how many people in the Gallup survey identify as “gay” or “lesbian,” yet are married to someone of the opposite sex. Could it be that some people place fidelity to a vow they have made to a husband or wife ahead of solidarity with their “sexual orientation?” If this number is anything other than zero, it would put the lie to Justice Anthony’s Kennedy’s assumption that one-man-one-woman marriage laws prevent “gay” or “lesbian” persons from marrying at all.

One thing should now be clear—the drive to redefine the institution of marriage was not really about marriage. The data from the Gallup report prove that most people with same-sex sexual attractions do not “need,” and do not even want, to marry. The primary purpose of redefining marriage was not to gain access to the institution of marriage, but to put the official governmental stamp of approval on homosexual relationships by declaring them identical to heterosexual ones, even though they clearly are not.

Harvard law professor: “Don’t Let Mississippi Establish Anti-Gay Religion”

by Travis Weber

June 17, 2016

That’s actually the title of a piece by Harvard law professor Noah Feldman on Bloomberg View yesterday.

Our ability to reason together as a pluralistic nation has been sorely compromised by unashamed advocacy pieces like this. Those who know better like Noah Feldman will one day hopefully come to regret compromising their accuracy to try to achieve their objective. Sadly, much damage will be done in the meantime.

The harm done by his reckless characterizations of Mississippi’s Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act (HB 1523) demands a response.

What has Mississippi done in HB 1523? It has exempted people with certain beliefs from being forced to violate their conscience should the government make them complicit in a same-sex marriage celebration. That doesn’t sound like any “establishment” of religion to me, and it isn’t—under any reasonably understanding of what the Establishment Clause was meant to accomplish. Moreover, it would protect anyone who holds those beliefs—Muslims, Jews, Christians, or others. Establishment Clause law is primarily concerned with making sure the government doesn’t coerce or force people into a belief system with which they don’t agree.

It’s ironic that this is the precise protection HB 1523 ensures people receive. It’s doubly ironic that Noah Feldman would instead have everyone comply with the government’s “religion” of same-sex marriage acceptance. If Mississippi was doing what Feldman claims it’s doing, why the need for HB 1523’s protections from the government? There wouldn’t be any need. If we are going to use his line of thinking about “establishment,” he should see HB 1523 is needed precisely because our government is increasingly moving toward an “establishment” of support for same-sex marriage.

If Noah Feldman and others making his arguments actually believe such exemptions are constitutionally problematic, I’d expect them to argue against laws providing exemptions in a variety of contexts. Notably, their opposition only seems to arise when Christianity seeks protection.

The title to his piece also contains a misrepresentation of Christian belief: that Christianity is merely “anti-gay.” Actually discovering the truth here requires some study of Christianity, however. Christian teaching on sexuality is comprehensive, and contains a number of precepts for human flourishing and well-being in accordance with God’s design. Same-sex conduct is only one of the parameters. There is no such thing as mere “anti-gay” Christianity. Yet the Christian view of sexuality is consistently mischaracterized by this framing—because advocates who use it aren’t seeking the truth, and they know this propaganda works on people who don’t bother to seek it either.

Claiming the mantle of objectivity and reason in order to further an agenda is not new. But it removes the building blocks on which our pluralistic society can exist. It is especially disheartening when done by those who know better and are entrusted to do otherwise.

No “Discrimination” in North Carolina’s Bathroom Protections

by Peter Sprigg

June 1, 2016

Who would have thought 2016 would become the year of the “bathroom wars?” Both sides in this cultural battle have now appealed to the courts, with North Carolina’s Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders suing President Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ), while DOJ is suing North Carolina public officials. DOJ charges that the state’s House Bill 2 (HB 2, enacted in March) violates federal law.

This is a stunning claim. HB 2 codifies (for government buildings only) something that has, until recently, been completely taken for granted — namely, that multiple-user public restrooms, locker rooms, and showers are to be separated on the basis of biological sex.

HB 2 was written in response to an ordinance adopted in Charlotte that would have barred “discrimination” on the basis of “gender identity.” Transgender activists interpret such laws as requiring that biological males who claim to be “women” be allowed to share restrooms, locker rooms, and showers with actual biological females. HB 2 reversed the Charlotte ordinance, leaving private businesses and organizations free to adopt whatever bathroom policy they choose.

Having a biological male in the ladies’ room would create discomfort and anxiety for many women. Furthermore, the impossibility of verifying someone’s “transgender” status would make it easy for sexual predators to exploit such laws to gain access to women and girls.

The Obama administration asserts that the state’s policy violates three federal laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination in employment on the basis of sex (among other things). The DOJ claims that the state is discriminating against transgender state employees by not allowing them to use the restroom that corresponds to their “gender identity.” Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 forbids discrimination on the basis of sex in education. The DOJ claims that the University of North Carolina is violating this law by upholding HB 2 on its campuses.

Neither of these statutes mentions “gender identity.” They address discrimination based on “sex.” Regulations implementing them make clear that it is not sex discrimination to maintain separate sleeping quarters, restrooms, locker rooms, and showers on the basis of sex. It is absurd to think that Congress intended (in 1964 and 1972) to allow some biological males to make use of women’s restrooms, locker rooms, and showers.

The third law, the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) included a “nondiscrimination” provision based on “gender identity.” The principal intent of this was to insure that transgender persons are protected against domestic violence. It seems doubtful that the intent of Congress was to open bathrooms to the opposite biological sex.

Indeed, it would be ironic if a law ostensibly aimed at preventing violence against women ends up enabling stalking or violence by allowing biological males into women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, and showers.

Family Research Council believes that “gender identity” should not be a protected category under “non-discrimination” laws at all, because the behavioral choice to cross-dress (unlike, say, race) is not inborn, involuntary, immutable, innocuous, or in the U. S. Constitution.

I do not believe that North Carolina’s HB 2 violates federal law by “discriminating” based on sex (or even “gender identity”). However, I would go further and argue that the bathroom issue does not fit into a conceptual framework of “discrimination” at all.

Usually (as in the classic case of race) we identify “discrimination” when a class of people is denied a service altogether (as when restaurants refused to serve black patrons) or when services are provided in separate facilities (as when blacks and whites were assigned to different public schools).

In the bathroom debate, however, no one is telling transgender people they can’t go to the bathroom at all. Furthermore, all sides of the debate agree that the separation of male and female restrooms, locker rooms, and showers is reasonable and acceptable, so separate facilities are not the issue.

Instead, the question is: How do we define “male” and “female?”

The conservative view is that these should be defined on the basis of objective biological sex, as identified at birth. The leftist view is that these should be defined on the basis of subjective “gender identity,” based on the individual’s internal self-perception.

This is a clash of philosophy or worldview; but it is not really an issue of “discrimination.” Separating bathrooms and other facilities on the basis of biological sex treats all people of the same biological sex the same. Separating them on the basis of “gender identity” treats all people of the same gender identity in the same way. One must choose one or the other approach — they cannot be reconciled.

The text of the Constitution and federal statutes are silent as to this philosophical choice. Therefore, neither the Justice Department nor federal judges should impose their preference for the “gender identity” paradigm upon states.

Question of the Week - June 1, 2016

by Daniel Hart

June 1, 2016

Question: Where can I find a suggested letter to send to my local school board about my outrage over Obama’s transgender bathroom agenda?

FRC: We are unaware of a suggested letter to send to your school board. However, our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom have legal resources that your school can use to fight this policy. They are also willing to legally represent local school districts for free. Thank you for standing up for children’s safety and religious freedom.

***

Send us your questions about how you can better live out your faith beyond the four walls of your church, or about any specific value that FRC continues to stand for, whether it be life, marriage and family, or religious liberty. Go to frc.org/contact-frc and enter “Question of the Week” in the Subject line. Thank you for standing with us!

Opponents of Freedom Reveal Their True Agenda: Intolerance

by Travis Weber

May 12, 2016

Before same-sex marriage was constitutionally enshrined, we heard about how it would not affect anyone’s religious freedom. It was just about access to the marriage license, we were told.

Anyone who thinks opponents of Christian morality are not interested in forcing everyone to conform to their views need only glance at a motion filed in federal court in Mississippi reacting to a law which provides, of all things, exemptions on conscience grounds.

In their motion, this group of opponents asks the court to make sure that anyone “recusing himself or herself under Section 3(8) of HB 1523” be forced to “desist from issuing any marriage licenses to any other couples, including opposite-sex couples.”

Why make this request if access is the only issue? No access to any licenses has been impeded. But we know it is not about that. These opponents are requesting clerks not issue any licenses because they just can’t stand the idea that someone would not agree with their same-sex marriage.

The opponents proceed to read into motives and offer blanket generalizations:

Thus, although the most recent efforts by the State of Mississippi to disregard the constitutional rights of LGBT Mississippians through HB 1523 may be somewhat more subtle than the “steel-hard, inflexible, undeviating official policy” of the past, see United States v. City of Jackson, Miss., 318 F.2d 1, 5 (5th Cir. 1963) (ordering end of racial segregation in bus and railway terminals), the underlying impulse is exactly the same.” (emphasis mine)

But calling all genuine Christians everywhere complete racists isn’t enough.

They also mischaracterize the law as “exhorting state residents to discriminate against their gay, lesbian and transgender neighbors in a wide variety of circumstances.” Where is this behavior “exhorted?”

They also want the state to be forced to “post all recusal notices to a prominent place” on a government website. Shaming, anyone?

The real motive is obvious. It’s to force those who now disagree to eventually agree. Nothing more (for now), and nothing less.

What’s Next in a Blurry Culture

by Rob Schwarzwalder

April 21, 2016

Ideas have consequences, Richard Weaver reminded us years ago. What someone believes will affect his behavior. What society endorses will consummate in certain results.

We are living in a time when blurry is the new normal. As Christian rocker Randy Stonehill wrote years ago:

    Right is wrong and wrong is right
    White is black and black is white
    I think I just lost my appetite
    Stop the world I wanna get off

Well, his last plea cannot be fulfilled (and where would we go if it could?), but his larger point—moral confusion is one of the gods of the age—is more valid by the day. Here are some scenarios that are wholly possible at a time when gender is seen as “fluid,” petulant insistencies are seen as “rights,” and petty (and often fabricated) emotional duress is seen as “micro-aggressive.”

Transgender use of restrooms and showers: A man, clothed in attire traditionally identified as masculine and short, crisply-parted hair, walks into a women’s locker room at a gym. The women there are upset and demand he leave. His response: “I am a transgendered man who prefers wearing men’s clothing and cutting my hair in a manner consistent with accepted norms for professional male hairstyles. But I identify as a woman and have every right to be here.”

Marriage: Three men and two women insist upon the right to marry. They argue that the definition of marriage as the union of only two people is arbitrary and culturally-based. They assert that their affection for and commitment to one another, and their free volitional choice to unite in matrimony, entitle them to legal marriage. They cite Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s statement in his Obergefell opinion that “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.” If two people become something greater than once they were, how much greater will five? Who is anyone to say that the five of them don’t mutually fill one another’s needs uniquely?

Legal accountability: “A Connecticut judge declined on (April 14) to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the maker of the assault-style rifle that a gunman used in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School to fatally shoot 26 people before killing himself,” reported the New York Times earlier this month.

How about this: A woman is hit by a drunk driver and experiences physical trauma. She sues the manufacturer of the vehicle’s tires for enabling the guy behind the wheel to automate his car and, in his drunken state, hit her.

Hate speech and coercive silence: Is it hateful to quote a Bible verse, express a controversial opinion, or hold an unpopular view? Fascism was supposed to have been America’s enemy in the Second World War; is it now our accepted modus vivendi?

The University of California, Los Angeles Graduate Student Association approved a resolution Wednesday calling those who do not support a pro-Palestine agenda ‘Islamophobic’,” according to reporter Peter Fricke. This is but one example of hundreds, even thousands, of how the Left is seeking to compel uniform cultural allegiance to its agenda and the silencing of those who resist it.

Chai Feldblum, a Georgetown Law Center professor and an Obama appointee to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, makes it very clear that religious liberty is subordinate to the special privileges of people who identify as lesbian or gay:

For all my sympathy for the evangelical Christian couple who may wish to run a bed-and-breakfast from which they can exclude unmarried, straight couples and all gay couples, this is a point where I believe the “zero-sum” nature of the game inevitably comes into play. And, in making that decision in this zero-sum game, I am convinced society should come down on the side of protecting the liberty of LGBT people.

What’s next? How about these:

  • Teaching the eternal destruction of those who refuse to trust in Christ as their Savior and Lord is made illegal as it is “hateful.”
  • Telling one’s daughter she must dress as a girl is deemed “oppressive” and “genderist.”
  • Preventing people from eating certain foods because they are deemed inherently unhealthy, or in some way tracking the eating habits of ordinary citizens so as to restrict their intake of various kinds of foods.
  • The Supreme Court voiding all laws against full legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriages.

Oh, wait…

Decriminalization of Prostitution: Anything but Empowering to Women

by Natasha Tax

January 5, 2016

Amnesty International recently made a declaration to support the full decriminalization of prostitution. This should concern everyone who believes in human dignity and the rights of women.

Amnesty International’s support for the “decriminalization of all aspects of sex work” comes with the intention to “advocate for the human rights of sex workers.” [1] While they have claimed that this movement is in the best interest of prostitutes, decriminalizing prostitution is not only a bad solution to the “sex work” industry, it would lead to more violence, abuse, and ill-health for the vulnerable women who fall into this dangerous industry.

It is important to understand why Amnesty International is supporting this radical proposition in the first place. Often, law enforcement punishes women who engage in prostitution, instead of the pimps and those who pay for sex. However, decriminalizing prostitution will make it even more difficult to enable women to break away from the deadly cycle of reliance upon and abuse by the men who use them.

 Human trafficking is already an international epidemic; annually, there are almost 21 million victims worldwide.[2] We already know that developed countries with legalized prostitution, like Germany and Australia, have seen an increase in human trafficking, as the demand for prostitutes and sex slaves—including children—has increased.[3] Common sense and social science tell us that decriminalizing prostitution would only exacerbate this problem.

Much of the dialogue in this debate is about empowering women, a specious, even absurd claim. Some feminist voices claim that women have a “right to prostitution[4].” The author of one article even claims that a woman’s right to prostitution should be the legal equivalent to her right to work in a factory.[5] While working in a factory has the potential to be harmful, the act of providing sex for payment is inherently harmful, as well as intrinsically dehumanizing. The truth is that “safe” prostitution is impossible. The very act of indiscriminate sex based on financial transaction is the blatant and dangerous commodification of women. According to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, “80% of women in street prostitution had been threatened with a weapon at least once,” and “more than 50% of the women reported experiencing violence from sexual buyers.” [6] Any other industry whose workers had a 50% chance of being abused at any given time would be considered a disaster, not a necessary evil that just has to be accepted.

While Amnesty International claims that its goal is to make the nearly $100 billion sex trade industry[7] “safer” for women, decriminalizing it is certainly not the solution. Amnesty International’s proposal is inherently defeatist. Decriminalizing prostitution would be the systemic acknowledgement that many women have no recourse for supporting themselves but to sell their own bodies; this is a toxic pessimism that no civilized society should accept. The only safe sex industry is one that punishes pimps and sex buyers, and provides resources for its victims to recover. Amnesty International’s proposition to decriminalize sex work is boldly anti-woman. The pro-woman approach is to protect them from an industry that seeks to use and abuse them.  Women deserve better than prostitution.

 

Natasha Tax is currently attending Temple University and was a former Family Research Council intern.



[1]  Murphy, Catherine. “Amnesty International.” Sex Workers’ Rights Are Human Rights. Amnesty International, 14 Aug. 2015. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.

[2] “New ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour: 20.9 Million Victims.” New ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour: 20.9 Million Victims. International Labor Organization, 1 June 2012. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

[3]O’Brian, Cheryl. “An Analysis on Global Sex Trafficking.” Indiana Journal of Political Science. Purdue University, 2009. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

[4] Fisanick, Christina. “Women Have the Right to Be Prostitutes.” Opposing Viewpoints. Greenhaven Press, 2008. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

[5] Bell, Kelly. “A Feminist Article on How Sex Work Can Benefit Women.” Student Pulse. Pulse, 2009. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

[6]  Thompson, Lisa. “Prostitution “The Zone” of Raw Male Physical and Sexual Violence.” National Center on Sexual Exploitation. National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

[7] “Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labor—International Labor Organization, 2014.” U.S. Department of State. U.S. Department of State, 20 June 2014. Web. 2 Nov. 2015.

 

The Cost of President Obama’s Cultural Imperialism

by Rob Schwarzwalder

December 21, 2015

The Obama administration has made a huge investment in advancing gay rights as part of its foreign policy. According to today’s New York Times:

In late 2011, the Obama administration made the promotion of gay rights an integral part of American foreign policy. Since then, it has pushed for the decriminalization of homosexuality overseas, working with the United Nations and private groups. Since 2012, U.S.A.I.D. has spent more than $700 million on the effort globally, starting new programs related to gay rights and incorporating the promotion of such rights into existing ones, according to American officials. Agency officials declined to release details of the programs in Africa, citing security concerns.”

President Obama and his allies see this as an effort to defend homosexuals from persecution. This is, in itself, a noble goal; no one should be brutalized or dehumanized in law or practice.

However, countries have every right to affirm that certain types of sexual acts are or are not commensurate with the moral values they regard as absolute and that historically have been affirmed by the Western powers under whose auspices Christian faith (and its teachings concerning the immorality of all non-marital, heterosexual forms of sexual intimacy) came to them.

Instead, the administration is now in the business of lecturing other countries—almost invariably, nations in the developing world—about their laws concerning homosexual conduct. As the eminent constitutional scholar and Supreme Court attorney John Eastman said during a lecture here at FRC earlier this year, “This agenda is now substituting for any other goal at the U.S. Agency for International Development.” Eastman and others have characterized the Obama approach to foreign policy as little more than “cultural imperialism.”

Writing in National Review, Josh Craddock summarizes it this way: “The Obama administration has made abortion and LGBT ‘rights’ cornerstones of America’s foreign policy, to the delight of the U.N.’s development agencies and the chagrin of the developing world. Despite a lack of domestic consensus on issues such as abortion, gay marriage, and ‘gender identity,’ the sexual revolution is now America’s biggest export.”

All this is being undertaken at a time when religious persecution is underway and increasing in so many regions, and when impoverished people in Sub-Saharan Africa could well use the $700 million devoted to the Administration’s international homosexual agenda.

Mr. Obama’s cultural arrogance is embarrassing to our country. He has been rebuked publically by the leaders of Nigeria, Kenya, and Senegal. And as the title of the New York Times story cited earlier says, “U.S. Support of Gay Rights in Africa May Have Done More Harm Than Good.” Specifically, the article says that “Fierce opposition has come from African governments and private organizations, which accuse the United States of cultural imperialism. Pressing gay rights on an unwilling continent, they say, is the latest attempt by Western nations to impose their values on Africa.”

Let us be on guard against colonization by new ideologies,” Pope Francis said earlier this year.  Those are wise words for Mr. Obama to consider as he thinks about U.S. diplomatic priorities. Let us pray that he will.

Courts Begin to Tell Christian Schools If What They Believe Matters

by Travis Weber

December 18, 2015

A Massachusetts state court has held that a Catholic school cannot decide whom to hire or fire based on the school’s religious beliefs regarding homosexual conduct and court-created same-sex marriage. While courts have for some time issued decisions which infringe more and more on private religious institutions’ autonomy, we are now seeing the rising tide of infringement of religious beliefs regarding same-sex conduct. Prepare for the deluge.

Predictably, the court flatly rejected the school’s claim to be able to hire based on its core religious beliefs. The Massachusetts employment statute at issue did contain a religious exemption, but the court read it narrowly, and held that Fontbonne Academy did not fall under the exemption. Thus, the school was bound by the statute’s provisions prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which the court easily found to have been violated.

One portion of the opinion is particularly revealing. The court observed that the school did not require prospective employees to hold to Catholic beliefs except for some positions — the position at issue here not included. Yet the court acknowledged that the school asked the employee here if he could “buy into” being a “minister of the mission” of the school — which included promoting the school’s religious beliefs, as required of all employees. He said he could!

Aside from brushing past this misrepresentation (the employee could not “buy into” a mission when his own life contradicted some of its core moral tenets), the court misses the point that the mission the employee was asked to promote, which includes the Christian teaching on marriage, and the understanding that homosexual conduct is wrong — is required of Catholic and other traditions within Christianity (and, indeed, other religions entirely). The court jumps through hoops to construe the statute in a way that avoids recognizing this is the exact type of religious mission that religious employment exemptions are meant to protect. The court similarly engaged in logical and legal contortions to dismiss the school’s other claims.

This decision is very problematic for religious liberty. Hopefully the school will appeal.

A Common-Sense Strategy in the Battle Against Pornography

by Daniel Hart

November 19, 2015

NOTE: Those who are grappling with a serious pornography addiction will most likely need help beyond the advice given here. Being part of a support group, having accountability partners and cultivating a robust prayer life anchored in God’s Word are all crucial to overcoming an addiction to pornography. Click here for more resources on combatting addiction.

National White Ribbon Against Pornography (WRAP) Week has come and gone, but the battle for hearts and minds must continue. Important, common-sense strategies in the fight against pornography consumption often seem overlooked in regard to addressing the porn epidemic in our society. Therefore, this post will focus on the simple reality that natural sexual desires and energy can be redirected, and that this is something that is healthy and necessary for human beings to flourish. If more people applied this practice in their daily lives, it would stem the demand for porn that is fueling its production and dissemination.

First, it’s important to remember that even in today’s hyper-sexualized culture, most people still think that watching porn is morally wrong. And yet, studies show that two-thirds of men and over one-third of women in the United States use porn on a monthly basis, and half of all Internet traffic is related to sex. Clearly, there is a disconnect between what people know in their hearts to be true, and what they actually do despite what their conscience tells them.

How does this happen? Justifying immoral behavior to oneself is easy, especially when our culture literally encourages it. In a society where contraception, premarital sex, and one-click-away Internet porn are the norm, satisfying sexual urges is seen as akin to eating or sleeping, as if it must be done in order to function normally. Implicit in this assumption is the belief that we are merely animals who must masturbate or copulate on impulse like baboons. The problem with this view is that it does not reflect the actual experience of those who attempt to placate these urges through porn consumption and masturbation—instead of feeling satisfied, the overwhelming feeling is one of guilt, disgust, and shame (even cursory searches of online discussion forums about pornography reveal this).

At the heart of this problem is the reality of sexual desire, which is something intrinsically good in nature, but is also uniquely powerful and instinctual, which means it is highly susceptible to being warped and abused. Here at FRC, we strongly believe in the inherent goodness of sex as expressed in the marital bonds of one man and one woman. Having said that, any honest discussion of sexual desire cannot stop there for the simple reason that every one of us, whether young or old, single or married, must deal with our natural desires and urges on a daily basis. Certain demographics, particularly teenagers (and men in general) experience keener surges in sexual energy. In a world of instant gratification where one can carry around the entire Internet in one’s pocket, is it any wonder why the web is saturated with pornography? Technology has put society in an unprecedented position: Even the slightest sexual urge can be indulged instantly, with one or two typed words and a couple of clicks in Google—without the trouble of having any real human interaction.

This is why it is so critical to deal with this problem at its root: What is one to do with the energy that is felt in a sexual urge or desire? As touched upon earlier, it must be made clear that there is a crucial difference between perceived sexual “needs” and the need for food or sleep. One can’t redirect their hunger or tiredness toward something else—these needs will only become worse until they are satisfied. This is simply not the case with a sexual urge. With effort, one’s sexual thoughts can be redirected toward something else, and the urge will often simply pass. The key to succeeding in this is through forming the habit of not extending a sexual thought into a prolonged fantasy, which a well-formed conscience will react to with shame. Once one recognizes the nature of the temptation at its onset, it can more easily be purified.

This is easier said than done, of course. When a stronger sexual energy does come, as it inevitably will from time to time, experience tells us that it can be redirected toward a creative activity such as playing music or dancing, or it could simply be a physical activity like going for a run, playing sports, building a bookshelf, working in your garden, landscaping, cleaning, etc. These activities combine our physical and creative capacities and provide a therapeutic outlet for our energy, whether it be sexual or otherwise.

The law of supply and demand makes it clear that as long as pornography is in demand, there will always be a supply. Through self-discipline and redirecting our sexual energy, the temptation to consume pornography can be avoided, and thus the possibility of an addiction can be stopped before it starts. This will in turn decrease the demand for porn, and eventually lead to a decrease in its production and dissemination. Some may say that this is an idealistic pipe dream, but if more people in the majority of those who believe that pornography is wrong stopped using it, the tide could begin to turn.

This mission can only be fulfilled if we not only commit to undertaking it ourselves, but also commit to instilling it in our children. Make no mistake, this is an extremely difficult battle to fight, because it must be fought not only with the prevailing culture, but also with ourselves. Nevertheless, it is a noble battle for the human heart, and therefore worth fighting for with all our might.

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