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4 Reasons Suicide Is Increasing Among Young Adults

Suicide is back in the news again.

After seven of its students committed suicide, a Colorado school district last month temporarily pulled from its libraries 13 Reasons Why, the young adult fiction book turned Netflix television teen drama that critics say glamorizes suicide.

The book chronicles the suicide of Hannah Baker, a high school junior who leaves behind thirteen cassette tapes explaining her reasons for committing suicide.

Like Hannah Baker, many young adults are turning to suicide as an escape from the pressures of life. From 2000 to 2015, the suicide rate increased 27% among those aged 20 to 35 (the U.S. average suicide rate among all age groups increased by almost 21% during the same time period). Washington State’s suicide rate is 16% higher than the national average.

 

Two Factors That Fail To Explain The Increasing Suicide Rate

Many experts blame increased economic hardship and inadequate mental health services for the recent rise in suicide. However, these easy explanations misrepresent available data and fall short of adequately explaining the troubling trend.

From a material perspective, life on earth has never been better. Thanks to global trade and extraordinary technological advances, Americans today enjoy a higher standard of living, greater economic security, longer life expectancy, less crime, and more leisure than any other people throughout history. Even the poorest among us live far more prosperous lives than our richest grandparents could have imagined. And let us not forget that Americans living in poverty still boast a higher living standard than the average European.

Additionally, the recent increase in suicide cannot be blamed on undersupplied mental health services. Both federal and state governments have progressively increased mental health funding over recent decades (paradoxically, the inefficient and inflexible bureaucracy created to administer mental health programs and treatments may make it more difficult for those struggling with mental health conditions to receive the care they need).

In exclusively focusing on economic circumstances and mental health funding, we ignore profound cultural shifts that better explain rising suicide rates.

 

Four Reasons Suicide Is Increasing Among Young Adults

Here are four factors likely contributing to the significant increase in suicide among young Americans:

Delayed Marriage: More than ever before, young people are choosing to delay marriage or forgo it entirely. In 1960, the median age at first marriage was 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Today, the median age at first marriage has increased to 29.5 for men and 27.4 for women. Almost half of 34-year-olds have never been married.

These unmarried millennials sacrifice the benefits that come with being united to a committed partner in marriage. A survey of scientific literature conducted by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute found that married individuals are healthier, happier, and more financially secure than their unmarried peers. They experience greater emotional and psychological well-being than those who are unmarried. Notably, married individuals are less likely to commit suicide.

Increased Worker Mobility: Americans move for work more often than Europeans. Although greater worker mobility boosts the economy and results in better matching of employees and jobs, it can also cause individuals to become detached from communities that help provide belonging, happiness, and emotional and financial support.

Researchers have discovered a link between residential mobility and suicide. “Indeed, residential mobility can be associated with higher levels of stress, crime, poor health, and what sociologists call ‘social disorganization,’” writes Ryan McMaken for the Mises Institute.

Decreased Religiosity: Young Americans have increasingly disconnected from religious institutions over the last few decades, choosing instead to live according to their own “personalized spirituality” or rejecting religion entirely.

A Pew Research Center study published two years ago found that only 28% of millennials born between 1981 and 1996 attend religious services weekly, significantly less than 51% of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945). Younger millennials are also less likely to believe in God (80%) and consider religion to be an important part of their lives (38%).

Unfortunately, by eschewing involvement in religious communities, millennials sacrifice the kinship and solidarity those communities provide. Religion helps provide meaning to life, and religious communities equip individuals with the relationships and support necessary to withstand life’s treacherous seas.

Unsurprisingly, religiously unaffiliated individuals had “significantly more lifetime suicide attempts” than their religiously affiliated peers, according to a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The study’s authors also concluded that “subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide.”

Postmodernism: Millennials attain higher levels of education than previous generations. This makes them more susceptible to postmodernism, the prevailing worldview taught in higher education.

Postmodernism posits that reality is unknowable and meaningless. In attempting to overthrow traditional values, postmodernism dispenses with objective and transcendent truths that provide individuals with a realistic framework through which to perceive the world. Postmodernists sort everyone into one of two groups: the oppressors and the victims, the latter of which suffer from systemic societal and cultural oppression at the hands of the former.

Survey data indicate a considerable number of millennials have bought into the postmodern worldview propagated by their colleges and universities. Only 40% of those under age 35 believe “right and wrong never change,” and just 4% of millennials hold to a biblical worldview.

Philosopher Richard M. Weaver observed decades ago that “ideas have consequences.” Teaching the next generation that life is meaningless, truth is unknowable, and that tradition and conventional wisdom must be discarded yields predictable results. Such a corrosive worldview will only produce rotting fruit.

 

There Is No Easy Fix

Suicide is increasing because our culture has lost its moorings. We need to acknowledge that the exploding suicide rate among Americans and Washingtonians will not be solved through a growing economy or greater mental health funding. As long as individuals continue to disconnect from the relationships, communities, and truth that provide meaning to life, suicide will continue becoming more prevalent.

There is no easy fix. Reversing the trend depends on effectively confronting the lies accepted by culture and society fueling hopelessness and social disorganization. We must also work to ensure our communities can successfully provide for the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of their members.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Statistics Show Delaying Marriage Hurts Families, Incomes

Not only are married men healthier and happier than their single peers, but statistics show they are also more financially successful.

“Becoming a husband means growing up, making a transition from prolonged semi-adolescence to true male adulthood,” says Robert Rector, Senior Research Fellow in Domestic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation and the author of a study exploring the relationship between marriage and poverty in America.

Holding other variables constant, men earn 0.9 percent higher wages for each year they are married. After being married for ten years, husbands earn 17 to 20 percent more than unmarried peers with the same characteristics.

These statistics reveal an economic phenomenon that economists have termed the marriage premium. Entering into marriage seems to cause men to be more productive and receive higher earnings, after controlling for variables such as the unemployment rate, age, race/ethnicity, education, and mother’s characteristics.

Men who delay or forego marriage lose out on the marriage premium. For each year that a man resists tying the knot, he falls further behind his married peers professionally and financially, sacrificing the significant bump in wages and productivity that he would have received otherwise.

The effect of the marriage premium on a man’s financial condition becomes more pronounced over time. After decades of receiving the 0.9 percent annual increase in wages that is caused by entering into marriage, married men are often making tens of thousands of dollars more per year than their single peers.

Even less-educated men benefit from the marriage premium. The marriage premium among married men with a high school diploma or less is at least $17,000. This helps substantiate conclusions from Brookings Institution researchers that indicate getting married is more effective in preventing and reducing poverty than getting more education.

Many millennials want to wed but are delaying marriage until they have achieved financial security. However, the marriage premium phenomenon seems to indicate that marriage allows for the financial security millennials are seeking.

Marriage also has a strong effect upon poverty. A 2003 study released by the Brookings Institution found that the poverty rate would be reduced from 13 to 9.5 percent if the marriage rate among families had remained unchanged from 1970 to 2001.

Why does the marriage premium exist? Married men are healthier and happier. They tend to live more stable lives, move less often, and demonstrate more responsibility. Their wives provide them with emotional support and professional advice, as well as support around the house. All of these characteristics make for better employees that are more productive at work and highly valued by employers.

The idea that young adults should pursue financial stability before getting married increases the likelihood of poverty and makes it more difficult for men to achieve financial success.  The marriage rate among millennials is significantly lower than previous generations, and fewer young adults are getting married than ever before. As long as this trend continues, men will continue to suffer from missing out on the marriage premium.

Men do better when culture promotes marriage. Families are more resilient when men are healthy, happy, and professionally successful – and marriage is the ideal first step.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington.  He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Progressive Media Now Promoting Polygamy and Pedophilia

 

For years, pro-marriage advocates argued that redefining marriage would be a slippery slope that would lead to the acceptance of other behavioral and societal deviations.  “Bigots! Homophobes! Fearmongers!” their opponents screamed in chorus, dismissing the concerns without so much as a rational conversation.

Today, those concerns seem quasi-prophetic.

“Once marriage is unhinged from the biological roots that have been there for a millennium, marriage isn’t redefined, it is undefined,” said David Fowler, president of FACT, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage. “Any relationship that people want to have and call a marriage will be entitled to become a marriage.”

Fowler was right — this ‘undefinition’ has given birth to a plethora of calls for tolerance, acceptance, and equality for other groups — even groups whose activity has always been seen as a perversion and danger to society.  And who is leading this charge?  Progressive media.

Marriage, for thousands of years, was defined as a relationship between one man and one woman.  That definition has recently been changed to mean a relationship between two consenting adults, irregardless of gender.  But why stop there?  I mean, if we are really for equality, we can’t leave anyone out.  Let’s at least be consistent in our logic.

The Huffington Post recently wrote about a campaign that has been launched to remove the “stigma” associated with polyamorous relationships, and to normalize those intimate, consenting, marital relationships involving more than two people. In fact, HuffPo has devoted an entire section of their website to the exploration, promotion, and acceptance of polyamory.

But the Huffington Post is right.  If society is really into equality, and if the ‘love is love’ mantra is really the cornerstone of international public policy as it relates to marriage and intimacy, what reason would any court have to block polygamous relationships from becoming the next law-of-the-land?  Why can a woman not marry her cat, or her grandson, or a man marry his computer, or himself?  If they’re in love, and consent is achieved by all parties, what’s wrong with it?

Progressive media is absolutely obsessed with driving societal change, regardless of how damaging it is. Meanwhile, everyone else is too afraid to speak up on issues of sexuality because they don’t want to be put on the eternal bigot blacklist.

Take this article from Salon.com, imploring people not to judge pedophiles too harshly because they can’t control their feelings about wanting to be intimate with children. As if some sort of congratulations are in order for those ‘heroes’ who resist their sexually deviant urges, Salon is now promoting tolerance for individuals who desire to have intercourse with children.  Keep in mind that Salon.com is read by over 322 million people per year.  

Are we so afraid to speak up that we can’t just call out evil when we see it?

The London Times ran this article from an anonymous female ‘academic’ who says that having intercourse with your biological brother shouldn’t be illegal, or even looked down upon.  While essentially calling us to ignore the biological realities of sexual relationships between close family members, the London Times borrows the same talking point that pro-gay rights activists have used for decades now: if it’s love, who are you to judge?

By calling us ignorant and bigoted, the sexual revolutions warriors in the progressive media have almost entirely avoided answering tough questions about the realities they’d prefer not exist.  By definition, they are being both ignorant and bigoted.

In 1975, an overwhelming 75 percent of the U.S. population felt that homosexuality was always wrong, and in 1988, 89 percent of Americans still opposed same-sex marriage.  But it took less than 20 years for Americans to turn 180 degrees and radically change opinions on those issues.

This dramatic and quick change was driven by the premise that it is both improper and illegal to deny people what they desire if their motivation is love.

Perhaps not many people in our society today would openly admit openness to the normalization and legalization of pedophilia, incest, or marriage to inanimate objects.  But advocates for those lifestyles are using the same arguments to make their case that the gay rights movement has made for decades:

a.) You can’t discriminate against me because my sexual preference doesn’t conform to an accepted societal norm;

b.) I was born with this preference, making it therefore unchangeable;

c.) To deny me that which I desire is a violation of my human rights.

People need to stop accepting these as legitimate and valid excuses.  Otherwise, we’ll meet back here in 2035 to have a talk about how it became legal for pedophiles to take children home with them to enjoy some hedonistic pleasure.

The U.S. Supreme Court made a major mistake.  By demonstrating to the public that it retains the authority to change historically significant institutions with the issuance of a legal opinion, it broadcasted to the public that it retains the authority to change that definition again.

Enter, fifty other sexual interest groups wanting their behaviors normalized and accepted.

Through it all, the progressive media is promoting the very deviancies the gay lobby said would never enter the discussion, and they’re doing it openly.  And it all started with the ‘un-defining’ of marriage.

If feelings of love — now the basis for all legitimate relationships — are truly just ingrained biological programs involving no choice or discernment, then marriage no longer exists and we should all move on.

Zachary Freeman is the Director of Communications for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, and is the publisher of TheCollegeConservative.com.  Share your thoughts on Twitter with @ZacharyGFreeman.

Kim Davis and the Rule of Law

Yesterday, a woman named Kim Davis went to jail.

She is a Court Clerk in Rowan County Kentucky where it is her job, among other things, to issue marriage licenses. Recently, the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to marry someone of the same gender, but, as a recent convert (four years she says) to Christianity, Ms. Davis believes same-sex “marriage” is wrong.

Therefore, she refused to issue the licenses.

There have been lots of similar situations.

Businesses who do not wish to participate in a same-sex “marriage” ceremony are sued.

Private sector employees like Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, have been forced out of their jobs for supporting the idea that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman.

Public sector employees like Kelvin Cochran, the former fire chief from Atlanta, have been fired for those same beliefs without any accusation of mistreating employees or discriminating against anyone.

But Kim Davis’ situation is different because she holds elected office. She doesn’t have a boss who can fire her. A court ordered her to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses but she refused. So yesterday, she was sent to jail for contempt of court.

Despite the insistence from the left that the redefinition of marriage would have no impact on religious freedom, many see this story as just further evidence of freedoms being lost.

The left, however, has moved away from pretending to care about freedom of religion. They now express full-blown, outrage at the idea that people shouldn’t lose their freedom if they don’t support same-sex “marriage”. After all, who needs freedom of conscience when you can have tolerance and equality?

In Kim Davis’ case, however, their outrage is a little different. They aren’t simply outraged that she doesn’t like same-sex “marriage”, they are outraged by her shocking disregard for the law.

Shocking, I tell you.

Suddenly, the progressives are organizing lectures to remind the world that our system of government is predicated on our laws being enforced equitably, regardless of the preferences of the individuals. Even Hillary Clinton got into the act this week tweeting that, “Marriage equality is the law of the land. Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law-end of story.”

And you thought Animal Farm was satire.

Of course their point about the importance of the rule of law is a good one. But given the context of the Kim Davis controversy, it seems a brief lesson in the history of same-sex “marriage” is in order.

  • Once President Obama finished his evolution on marriage, the U.S. Department of Justice, whose job it is to defend the laws of the United States in Court, refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.
  • In 2013, D. Bruce Haines, an official in Montgomery County Pennsylvania, started issuing same-sex “marriage” licenses when the law did not permit it.
Apparently the concern with strict adherence to marriage laws is a new passion of progressives.

“We’ve progressed,” they insist. “The law has changed to be good so we care about the rule of law now.”

About that.

Let’s remember how this new “law” was actually changed. Was it lawful?

The states did not come together with Congress in the constitutionally prescribed manner to amend the constitution and change the law for the whole nation. While a few states actually did use the democratic process to redefine marriage, the vast majority (thirty-eight) had a new definition forced upon them by judges who liked the new definition better than the old one.

When the Supreme Court invented a constitutional right to marry someone of the same gender in Obergefell, they overturned their own precedent from Windsor less than two years previously when they said states had the right to define marriage for themselves.

Whatever that is, it’s not the rule of law.

It’s not just about marriage laws either.

Did you know that it’s illegal for teachers to strike in Washington State? Doesn’t seem to stop them.

Or how about sanctuary cities who advertise the fact that they ignore state and federal laws on immigration?

The Supreme Court did what they thought was the right thing to do despite what the law said and Kim Davis is doing the same. Kim Davis is no more lawless than half of Washington DC, she just has less powerful friends.

We may have never fully left the world in which might makes right, but our desire to bear-hug might, because we like what it is doing so much, seems to be a new impulse.

Love or hate the result, but be intellectually honest enough to lose the indignation.

If you punch someone in the face, you may end up winning the fight. But no one is going to take you seriously if you ask, “How could you?” when they try to punch you back.

Christian Ministries: How to Protect Them From Lawsuits

Are you a pastor or ministry leader?  Are you unwilling to compromise your beliefs about marriage, gender, and sexuality but concerned about the legal liabilities that might result?

If that’s you, we want to help.

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to redefine marriage for the entire country has many pastors and ministries leaders worried about how this will impact their ministry.  And for good reason.  During arguments before the Supreme Court, U.S. Solicitor General said that maintaining tax exempt status is “going to be an issue” for non-profits that hold to the natural and historical understanding of marriage.

While there is risk in a changing world, there are also steps you can take to protect the ministry you care about from lawsuits.

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Alliance Defending Freedom published a small booklet titled Protecting Your Ministry From Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Lawsuits with the sole purpose of equipping pastors, ministry leaders and Christian school faculty with the necessary tools to better protect their churches, ministries, or schools.

The Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) is taking this booklet one step further. FPIW is setting up meetings all over Washington State to help pastors and ministry leaders better protect their ministry from future sexual orientation and gender identity lawsuits. These meetings will be based on ADF’s Protecting Your Ministry booklet, but will also discuss how to be more proactive in the legislative process in Washington State.

 

Topics Include:

  • Statement of Faith
  • Religious Employment Criteria
  • Formal Membership Policy
  • Marriage Policy
  • Facility Use Policies
  • Religious Mission Statement
  • Code of Christian Conduct
  • And Much More

 

These meetings are free! All we ask is that you let us know if you are planning on attending (register here).

Several meetings are scheduled, but more dates and times will be announced in the following cities in the near future.  Click here to see if any meeting will be in an area near you.

If you are interested in hosting a Protect Your Ministry meeting in your community, let us know.  We’d love to work with you!

 

Seven Reasons Not To Privatize Marriage

John Stemberger is an Orlando Attorney who is President of the Florida Family Policy Council.


The libertarian wave gaining momentum in America has brought powerful arguments to reduce the size of government, eliminate the national debt, and lower taxes. All are goals which conservatives would heartily agree with. But while some libertarian ideas have contributed strength to the body politic in America, the movement has also brought some ideas that would have destructive and unintended consequences.

One of those ideas is summarized in the phrase “Get government out of the marriage business”. This saying is consistent with much libertarian thought which argues for an unfettered “liberty” to engage in any consensual sexual activities people choose without government regulation or interference.

The idea of privatizing marriage by reducing the relationship to merely private contracts, maybe on file with the state, seems to have been introduced largely in response to the same-sex marriage controversy. Many politicians appear to be using the idea as a “solution” or a political “way out” of the controversy. While there are some serious minded people advocating for the idea, truth be told, the vast majority of proponents are using it merely as a convenient political shield attempting to deflect criticism taking a stand on the issue.

There are at least seven reasons why “marriage privatization” would be damaging to the future of a civil society.

1) Private “relationship contracts” would immediately legitimize and permit polygamy, group marriages, incest and other aberrant relationships. Harvard-educated anthropologist Stanley Kurtz has written that marriage privatization would be a “disaster”. He argues that government “still has to decide what sort of private unions merit benefits… under this privatization scheme”, and that “we also get the same quarrels over social recognition that we got before privatization.” He commented that the government will have to deal with polygamous, polyamorous, and incestuous relationships also attempting to obtain contracts under the new scheme as well as attempts by heterosexual acquaintances to make “marriages of convenience” to obtain things such as spousal medical insurance. Legitimizing these aberrant relationships would only serve to further dilute the meaning and significance of natural marriage in society as a desired institution.

2) Abolishing marriage laws could increase the sexual exploitation of children through human sex-trafficking. Marriage laws which currently regulate the age at which a person can be married protects children from human sex-slavery or even desperate parents from certain impoverished countries who may seek to exploit or manipulate minor children into “arranged” marriages for financial gain.

3) Relationship contracts would overburden courts with rising litigation disputes and would side-step legal protections for children and abandoned spouses replacing them with court ordered damages, penalties and state-coerced action. If a legislature repealed marriage statutes and did nothing to define or regulate the creation and or dissolution of marriages, then by default, parties would be left with only using legal contracts to address child custody, visitation, alimony, and property rights. If the parties breached these private contracts, litigation would ensue regarding the intent, interpretation, and enforcement of those agreements—many of which would likely be drafted by non-lawyers with vague and confusing terms. Courts would issue penalties, damages and specific performance ordering private parties to enforce contracts often with draconian results. Real-life economic and practical hardships would befall untold thousands of single mothers where men abandon their families – or even take forcible physical custody of small children– where no such contract was in place.

The creation of plural marriage and group marriage contracts would add further to the uncertainty of this new “wild-wild-West” of legal results. These “prenuptial-like” marriage contracts would also further undermine the idea of marriage as a lasting, life-long covenant, serving to further weaken and destabilize society. Instead of keeping government out of the marriage business, this move would do just the opposite. The great irony of marriage privatization is that it would only increase the state’s involvement in the lives of her citizens.

4) This solution is by adults, for adults, and ignores what’s best for children. Arguments to privatize marriage, whether made by scholars or politicians, are never discussed in terms of what is best for children. Jennifer Roback Morse, a libertarian author and scholar with the Witherspoon Institute, is a critic of marriage privatization and argues that the logic of marriage privatization “at the expense of children, is a concept developed by adults that will benefit only adults.”

In the common law, whenever children are involved in divorce, custody disputes, adoption or dependency proceedings, the legal standard has always been “what is in the best interest of children?” As in the same sex marriage debate, when personal autonomy meets the best interests of children, courts routinely allow “adult desires” to trump what’s best for children. Deregulating marriage law would have the same effect. When men divorce the mothers of their children without these private agreements, single mothers would be left with no laws to protect or support their children.

5) The consequences could further sink our society into new depths of social maladies, broken families, and human suffering. Throughout history, marriage has been always been regulated. When societies were cohesive or small, marriage has been regulated by strong social mores, by religious institutions, or by cohesive cultural norms. In more diverse and modern societies, marriage has been regulated through law and public policy. This is part of what separates civil societies from more primitive ones. For this reason, completely deregulating marriage could be a sociological disaster.

Today’s inner cities are “Exhibit A” to the poverty, crime, fatherlessness, and devastation that emerges when marriage and family structures are weak, fragmented, or nonexistent. This measured collapse in inner cities would move even faster into every area of communities if marriage is legally abolished and reduced to private contracts.

6) The taxpayer’s costs resulting from family fragmentation and unwed childbearing would sky rocket under marriage privatization. National Review Columnist Maggie Gallagher has called marriage privatization a “fantasy” since “[t]here is scarcely a dollar that state and federal government spends on social programs that is not driven in large part by family fragmentation: crime, poverty, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, school failure, mental and physical health problems.” A study by the Institute for American Values concluded that the cost to U.S. taxpayers from family fragmentation as a result of divorce and unwed childbearing was $112 billion annually.

Sadly, the political left in America feeds on divorce, broken families, and unwed childbearing. Strong marriages and families help break the grip of an ever-growing socialist-leaning state, freeing her citizens from poverty to reach their fullest economic potential as creators of wealth rather than being chronic recipients of distributed wealth.

7) A free society with minimal government interference depends on legal norms for marriage, family structure, and child bearing. Government has a compelling interest in defining, regulating, and promoting marriage because of the self-governance it creates when children are socialized in this environment. At the most basic level, marriages—and the families they create—produce social order in homes, neighborhoods, states, and nations. Marriage channels masculine energy in socially productive ways, protects women, and increases almost every category of human flourishing. Research is clear that a married biological mother and father is objectively the optimal context for rearing children. Marriage benefits not just those in the relationships, but the businesses, economies, and communities around them. Marriages, and the families that flow from them, tend to produce more productive citizens who create wealth and contribute to society.

The failure of marriages and families has caused the rapid expansion of the welfare state, dramatic tax increases, and has contributed to increasing the national debt. Roback Morse argues “[i]t is simply not possible to have a minimum government and a society with no social or legal norms about family structure, sexual behavior, and childrearing. The state will have to provide support for people with loose or nonexistent ties to their families. The state will have to sanction truly destructive behavior, as always. The destructive behavior will be more common because the culture of impartiality destroys the informal system of enforcing social norms… A free society needs marriage.”

In conclusion, it is important to realize that marriage is not merely a private, religious institution; it is also a public institution deserving of public protection. It is remarkable how many educated people believe that defining and regulating marriage cannot be justified in any other way than citing to the Bible or some religious authority. Many young people view efforts to legally define marriage as illegitimately advancing a purely theological doctrine. Therefore marriage is commonly misunderstood as an exclusively Christian belief rather than a necessary and universal human institution. Marriage serves not only people of faith but also the common good of society. Princeton professor Robbie George states, “Family is built on marriage, and government—the state—has a profound interest in the integrity and well-being of marriage, and to write it off as if it were purely a religiously significant action and not an institution and action that has a profound public significance, would be a terrible mistake”.

Removing the protection and regulation of marriage by law could be more destructive to the institution than anything we have seen to date. Reducing marriage to legal contracts would harm the future of marriage in culture and society. It could produce profoundly negative changes leading not just to the further damaging of this vital public institution, but also destructive to maintaining a civil society itself.

 

This article was originally published on The Stream on July 5, 2015

 

Support the First Amendment Defense Act

Even before the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to re-define marriage in all 50 states, conservative lawmakers have been actively working to build support for the First Amendment Defense Act, S1598 and HR2802, a bill that ensures protection for those who make decisions based upon their religious beliefs and convictions.

If passed, this legislation would protect those who support natural marriage, marriage between a man and a woman, from facing retaliation from the government. This legislation says that those who live according to the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman should be protected from losing grants, contracts, the ability to do business with federal government and it protects employers from potential federal discrimination.

Senator (R-Utah) Mike Lee, one of the members who introduced the legislation stated, “Regardless of where you come down on the issue of same-sex marriage, we shouldn’t allow the federal government to punish religious institutions for their beliefs about marriage.”

If passed, this Act would work to ensure that faith-based organizations such as churches, schools, businesses, non-profits, and adoption agencies are protected from discrimination and future attacks on their organization based on their sincerely held beliefs.

Though this legislation would not change the definition of marriage, this Act would protect those who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. This Act recognizes that those who believe in natural marriage should be allowed to practice their conviction in the public sphere without punishment or fear of retribution.

Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) urges Washingtonians to immediately contact their Congress members, encouraging them to fully support the First Amendment Defense Act, filed under S1598 and

HR2802. For reference, you can check to see who has co-sponsored the Act in the Senate here and in the House here.

After reviewing, contact your Congress members and ask them to co-sponsor the Act or thank for co-sponsoring the Act. Congress members should be challenged to make the vote on this bill a priority. First Amendment Defense Act, also referred to as FADA, is one that will guard the land’s bedrock of freedom, religious freedom.

Three Reasons It Isn’t Over

The Supreme Court has spoken.

It wasn’t a surprise, but it was disappointing. In a 5-4 decision, the Court created an oven-fresh, new right to marry someone of the same gender.  The Court provided no limiting principle that would prevent their logic from extending to other kinds of relationships whose profession of love is not currently acknowledged with a marriage license.

The decision was a setback for the rule of law.

The Constitution says as much about marriage as it does about the Seahawks.  When the Constitution is silent on an issue, then that issue should be resolved by the legislative branch of government.  The states (or Congress) should have been allowed to continue wrestling with this issue and reaching a resolution based on the input of the people through their elected representatives.

But as it turns out, the voices of 51 million people from thirty-one states who voted for laws defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman were overruled by five, unelected lawyers in Washington, DC.

For a number of people, the response to the Court’s decision was relief.  Sentiments like, “At least it’s over!!” and “Can we please stop talking about gay marriage now?”

Unfortunately, the conflict between the sexual revolution and the nation’s faith-based people and institutions may only intensify in the coming months and years.  Here’s why.

1. The LGBT political leadership doesn’t want to coexist:  An entire industry was built to accomplish what happened on Friday.  That industry is not going to suddenly declare itself obsolete. You don’t raise money by declaring victory. Now that “full equality under the law” has been accomplished, there will be another crisis requiring their attention, and another, and another…

2. Some people are still free to disagree: The goal of the LGBT political movement has always been to eradicate the belief that homosexuality and heterosexuality are different.  That is why they promote policies that allow someone to decline to decorate a cake critical of same-sex “marriage,” but not decline to decorate a cake supportive of it.  The goal is to create a government that punishes beliefs about homosexuality they disagree with. Therefore, as long as you have the freedom to run your business, non-profit, university, school, or church according to your beliefs, their job is not done.

3. Now it’s easier to call you a racist, legally speaking:  The 14th Amendment was written to stop the government from treating people differently because of their race. Now that the Supreme Court has discovered a new right to marry someone of the same gender in the 14th amendment, it’s easier to argue that those who don’t celebrate homosexuality are the same as racists. As a result, the ability to remove tax-exempt status, cut off federal funding to religious universities, and otherwise marginalize people who believe in natural marriage became easier.

Marriage has been redefined most recently, but it may not be the last word to be redefined.

Soon, “religious freedom” may mean only the freedom to believe what you want in your head and maybe talk about it at church or at home. You may need a license though. In the same way, “civil rights” may soon be redefined so that a person can be forced to celebrate an event they disagree with but not free to say something “offensive”.  After all, that’s “hate speech.”

The world is changing quickly, but the truth about marriage remains.

And the need for courage only grows.

So you stayed out of the debate about marriage because you didn’t feel like telling someone else how to live their life.  Great.

But what will you do when they start telling you how to live yours?

Will you surrender all your freedom in an effort to avoid being misunderstood? Let’s hope not.

But we’re going to find out, because, despite what we all wish, this is far from over.

A Response to Today’s Marriage Ruling

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled that all fifty states must redefine marriage directly, forcing all states to provide same-sex licensure and mandating all states to recognize same-sex marriage from other states. This new order results in a definition of marriage that weakens the institution by making it about the desires of adults rather than the good of children.

Today’s decision serves as a reminder that societal change does not start with massive laws being passed, but that change begins with mass conversion. In preparation for an upcoming trip to the Holy Land, I have been reading through the Gospels. How fitting that today, the day that the Supreme Court of the United States would rule to make same sex unions legal across the nation, I would read the last chapter of the Gospel of Luke — the chapter about the risen Lord…“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is NOT here, He is RISEN.” What a reminder that our hope is not in any man, in any policy, or any institution! Our Hope is in the Person of Jesus Christ, Who alone is risen Lord and reigning King. While the earth and its desires may be passing away, Jesus is redeeming hearts and lives by the power of His Holy Spirit.

So today, may the people of God rejoice in our risen Lord and may the people of God be reminded that we will triumph over the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony.

The word of our testimony is a powerful influencer on culture. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “Silence in the face of evil is evil itself. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Washingtonians, now is the time to speak. It is a time to share about marriage as God designed it, a union between a man and a woman for life. While by their judicial proclamation the Court may be able to declare same-sex marriage legal, they will never be able to declare it morally right. The Court does not have the power to overturn Natural Law. Now is the time to advocate for strong marriage policies and to work to ensure that the government never penalizes one who believes that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. If the risen Lord is for us, who can be against us?

PRESS RELEASE: SCOTUS Takes Power from the People — Redefines Marriage

OLYMPIA, WA – Today, under the case filed Obergefell vs. Hodges, the Supreme Court of the United States imposed its will on the people when they mandated that all states re-define marriage directly and make their own marriage ruling.

Family Policy Institute of Washington (FPIW) Executive Director Joseph Backholm made the following comments about the decision: 

“The freedom to democratically address the most pressing social issues of the day is the heart of liberty. Today, the Court stripped the people of that freedom. Government should not impose their beliefs on the people.

“Democracy matters and the vote of the people matters. The Court overrode the will of tens of millions of Americans in 31 states who successfully voted to preserve the millennia-old definition of marriage.”

Backholm also expressed concern about how this issue will affect religious liberty in America:

“People of faith should be able to live out their beliefs in the public square without being silenced to the four walls of their homes and churches. This decision poses a tremendous threat to religious liberties and will have future ramifications on schools, churches, non-profits, and private businesses.

“Today’s decision offers an opportunity to work together to advocate for strong marriage policy in the states and to ensure that the Government never penalizes a citizen or an institution who believes that marriage is the union between one man and one woman” concluded Backholm.