Friday, March 21, 2014 - by David Fowler, president Family Action Council of Tennessee
Last Friday, federal District Judge Aleta Trauger ruled that Tennessee must recognize as valid the same-sex marriage of three couples that moved here after being married in a state that allows same-sex marriage. In so ruling, she noted the “rising tide” of support for same-sex marriage. It is a rising tide, but it is one that will wash away more things than the institution of marriage.
The state, in its brief in support of Tennessee’s definition of marriage as one man and one woman, tried to tell Judge Trauger that to rule against the state was “an affront to its sovereignty” and would make our public policy on marriage “subservient to that of other states.” She apparently didn’t care.
But how, you might ask, does forcing Tennessee to recognize a same-sex marriage from another state “wash away” our state’s sovereignty?
The answer to that question requires an understanding of the issue raised in the case. The issue was whether the U.S. Constitution required Tennessee to accept as valid marriages from other states that would not be valid if performed here. The judge said, “Yes.”
But in saying “yes,” the judge made Tennessee’s policies on marriage subject to whatever form of marriage some other state may legalize. Tennessee will no longer have any control over what marriage will mean in our state. That is an abrogation of our sovereignty.
Consider the fact that a federal judge in Utah has already taken the first step toward validating polygamous marriages. According to Judge Trauger’s rationale, Tennessee may one day have to accept and validate polygamous marriages. There is no other conclusion she can reach. And who knows what California may come up with some day?
To assert that judges, by redefining marriage, are washing away civilization itself seems ludicrous. But the research of Dr. J.D. Unwin, professor of ethnology and social anthropology at Oxford and Cambridge, suggests that one should proceed slowly in rejecting that possibility.
Dr. Unwin studied 80 primitive tribes and six known civilizations through 5,000 years of history and found a positive correlation between the cultural achievement of a people and the sexual restraint they observe. His results were published in 1934 in his book Sex and Culture.
Dr. Unwin wrote: “Any human society is free to choose either to display great energy or to enjoy sexual freedom; the evidence is that it cannot do both for more than one generation.”
In other words, the energy it takes to create and maintain a great civilization does not exist in a society that has chosen to “enjoy sexual freedom.”
His research also showed that societies that rest on sexual freedom never recover their civilizing energy: “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on pre-nuptial and post-nuptial continence.”
Of course, in describing “nuptial,” Dr. Unwin was not considering same-sex nuptials inasmuch as those relationships were (and still are) inherently sterile, incapable of even producing a “next generation.”
Sadly, the polls show millennials overwhelmingly reject a monogamous sexual ethic.
The bottom line is that a civilized society’s days are numbered if it rejects a sexual ethic that values sexual restraint and monogamy.
So, contrary to what Judge Trauger and the proponents of same-sex marriage want us to believe, those who want to redefine marriage to fit their no-boundaries sexual ethic are the ones on the “wrong side of history.”
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No, David, you are wrong. That ruling reinforces what we hold dear- equality for all. You may have religious reasons for objecting to same sex marriage but no good secular argument. And the concept that we don't allow those who believe in a specific religion to set laws for all is something our Founding Fathers held dear. It is you that is on the wrong side of history.
In 20 or so years we will look upon this marriage issue the same way we look at civil rights for all, women voting and freeing slaves, wondering about the people who fought against it. I will be looking forward to what you will have to say then.
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Mr. Fowler - for years I have read and disagreed with pretty much every typewritten word you have posted on the Chattanoogan. This post is no exception.
In my opinion - based on my interpretation of your words - you are the poster-child for intolerance and hate. Maybe I'm wrong - but you seem to discreetly use your literal interpretation of the Bible as your weapon in attempting to insert your belief system into state law. Frankly - you remind me quite a lot of the recently departed Reverend Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church. I put your constant attack on the gay and lesbian lifestyle in the same category of Fred Phelps' rhetoric and therefore, put you in the same business as Fred Phelps. That business being to attack a lifestyle you simply don't agree with and based on that disagreement - you seem to want to impose your religious belief system on the entire state - if not the entire country. We have a separation of church and state for a reason. That reason, as I see it, is to prevent zealots from using their religion as a way to legislate. Our constitution provides for a freedom of religion. I'm no follower of Scientology or L. Ron Hubbard and whatever humanoid spaceman lizard he apparently believed we/humans come from - but I do support the right for anyone else to follow Scientology as much as I support the freedom that allows the Fred Phelps family to spew their brand of religion. I don't like it or believe it - but that's irrelevant.
In this country - everyone is provided within our constitution - the right to follow whatever religion we choose. And I support your freedom to do the same. I don't, however, support anyone, Scientology, Fred Phelps or you using religious beliefs to dictate how anyone should live within the laws of a state and/or country. I suggest you move to Westboro, Mass., or wherever the Westboro Baptist Church is and hang out with the clown festival known as the Phelps Family. Maybe their bile and hatred will remind you of someone.
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Once again, you all miss the real point here. What the courts should be ruling on is the right of government to regulate/license marriage. There is nothing about the union of two individuals that should be regulated. It’s just another source of income, or method of redistributing wealth, that our dear leaders can’t leave alone.
Try fighting the intrusion into our personal lives, and let people join together as they wish.
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With all due respect, Mr. Parker, apparently you are unaware that the late Fred Phelps was a life-long member of the Democratic Party and a civil rights activist who campaigned for and financially supported the campaigns of Al Gore and Bill Clinton.
Of course, his support for Gore and Clinton came when the Democratic Party was quite open in their opposition to gay marriage, which was before it became politically expedient for the party to reverse course and become for gay marriage instead. Always a party man, Fred Phelps ran for office five times on the Democratic Party ticket for governor and for the US senate. He just didn't change his position on the matter the way his own party did.
So, to denigrate David Fowler for holding the same position against gay marriage that was once prevalent and supported by the Democratic Party and openly voiced by Gore, Clinton, and even Obama, seems patently absurd. Further, David Fowler's comments were based on actual studies at prominent universities (which were similar to other studies included in texts in my own sociology/anthropology university courses) and not just based on "feelings."
Although I have never been a fan or supporter of Fred Phelps and remain neutral in this discussion, I thought we should clear up the political and agenda-driven insertion of Fred Phelps into the unwarranted ad hominem attacks against David Fowler.
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With all due respect Ms. Lane, perhaps you didn't notice that Mr. Parker actually never brought politics into his discussion of the recently departed Fred Phelps. You are the one that seems bent on doing that.
I'm more interested in treating everybody equally and affording the same benefits to any two people that decide to be committed to each other in a stable marital relationship. The party that supports that belief right now is the Democratic Party. You say it has become "politically expedient" for them to do so. I say it's because the party knows it's the right thing to do. I've been married for almost 30 years and I will be no less married if two guys or two gals decide to tie the knot in Tennessee or anywhere else. That's a fact. I don't care which party was for what, be it 20 years ago, 40 years ago, or 100 years ago. It's now that matters.
People that spew hate and foster fear have their own issues and I feel a certain amount of empathy in what they must be going through, being consumed by that amount anger. It's sad that it defines their very existence.
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I find it interesting that folks always want to state that someone is trying to interject their "religion" into politics when it's something they disagree with. Basically, religion is what someone believes to be true, and everyone believes something and bases those beliefs on something.
Likewise, laws have to be based upon a belief system, and many of the laws that are a part of this country are based on the Bible or the Ten Commandments. (If you don't believe it, go to Washington DC and check out the engravings on the Supreme Court and other monuments.)
Some people don't like that, but those laws work well. Many of our founding fathers understood and accepted that marriage was instituted by God; that it's a picture of the intimacy and relationship that God has with His people. When people are requesting to get married, they are asking to share in a biblical tradition. That's why people who believe in the Bible defend their position so strongly. They feel that their traditions and beliefs are being changed and attacked and undermined. They also believe that when God tells us to do or not do something, it's for our protection, not to spoil our fun. So, when people step out in rebellion against God, it potentially can affect us all.
In today's culture, people love to say that those who disagree with them are intolerant or hate-filled. I have observed a lot of those same people being intolerant and hateful themselves. No one else is allowed to have an opinion. They don't demonstrate the respect they claim they are not receiving. I believe this is happening to Mr. Fowler. Mr. Fowler and Mr. Phelps have very little in common, so those comparisons are completely unwarranted and offensive.
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The same-sex topic is certainly one that will go down in history as a “hot topic” that changed our country.
Equality should never be split into sides or pieces, if done then the very definition of equal is being bastardized. Do you remember the movie “A Time to Kill” where in the courtroom the small child’s attack was described and then the jury was posed with a comment “now imagine she’s white.” Profound. This can apply to the same-sex argument. What if it’s your child/sibling/parent that one day comes out to you at 16, maybe 25, or later say in their 50’s? Is your love unconditional, whoops it's not equal and you will shun them forever?
I was brought up to believe in myself, be a good person and good example, to know that I could do/achieve anything I wanted to if I put in the hard work, I was equal to everyone else (told to me that we all put our pants on the same way, one foot at a time), that I am no better than anyone else. I think we can all say these are basic mantras we all heard growing up, and yet still today. How does that not apply?
If individuals in our society want to take issue with same-sex marriage that is their prerogative, but you cannot pick and choose one small component of the whole argument as it suits you. If you are strong in your convictions then apply that to your life (in a civil manner) don’t just cry foul on a judge’s ruling, stand strong in your beliefs. Does your state allow or disallow, vote your preference. Does your city allow or disallow, vote your choice. Maybe you need to move if the community around you is in conflict with your strong convictions. Does a company you work for allow or disallow same-sex benefits, if so then you should quit based on your strong convictions. You should also choose to not purchase that companies products or services, remember your strong convictions. If your convictions are strong then you would re-arrange your life to ensure you do not support any of the same-sex issues (regulatory and commercial/retail) and then let’s see if your life is the same today and it will be tomorrow when you stand by your strong conviction and remove all possible conflicts with companies and other institutions that allow same-sex benefits/marriage. In those areas of my life where I have strong convictions I do take the time to work around those convictions, I would never want to have my life to benefit from something I am strongly against, otherwise that seems to be hypocritical! Hum?
I think many of those opposed to same-sex anything, if they truly looked into the world today (beyond lagging regulations that are now changing) they would see the rest of modern society has embraced equality faster and does not make such bigoted and discriminatory differences. I urge you to take the time to investigate, I guarantee you will be surprised, and better yet once you are informed your everyday not thought about stuff does indirectly support same-sex equality and it has not affected you poorly, so what is your argument again?
Change is one of the most challenged and fearful actions that society and individuals are subject to as a part of life. But if we as a society and individuals are not changing we are stagnant and therefore dying. Our world has changed so much in my short lifetime (44 years) I cannot imagine what those older than I have witnessed, feared, lived through and now understand why – but we are all living better for that change. I too am weary of change but I will not oppress individuals nor cast judgment for my opinions and fear, that is not how I was taught to meet the world every day I wake up. I proudly support same-sex anything, I believe we are all equal, I am no different than anyone else.
Leslie A. Ward
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I would argue that with Dr. Unwin's findings that the correlation does not equal causation. It could be better phrased that when a society has reached a certain level of accomplishments, then they start working on progressively higher levels of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
It is also fair to point out that once a civilization or society or tribe accomplishes their higher needs, then they are prone to fail regardless. If you look at why the Greek and Roman empires failed, it didn't have much to do with the two Greek guys that are often iconic on Grecian souvenirs. There were political issues arising.
I think the fact that same-sex marriages are even in the public conversation is an indication of how much freedom we all enjoy. Freedom to choose. Freedom to live alone. Freedom to not have to do what our father's did. Freedom to not have to live where our family does. Freedom to not have to marry in order to make ends meet. The fact that we have the freedoms to choose our sexual exploitations is indicative of our current society.
I believe it's more a symptom of the times and less the disease.
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Laws are founded on values: religious/moral values. U.S. laws are founded on Judeo-Christian values, not those of Islam, Hindu, or such and are the consensus of opinions of right and wrong based on the absolutes in the bible as revealed by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob the God and father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
America's foundation as a nation and government is replete with quotes and statements from the founders' faith for its citizens to seek and subject themselves to God and His Word the Bible for God's blessing on the nation. They believe God's hand is active in the affairs of men and nations. Abraham Lincoln summed up the civil was as judgment on the North for not taking responsibility for freed slaves and as judgment on the South for perpetuating the institution of slavery. Some combined 500,00 casualties later, the South was defeated and didn't recover for some generations later.
In more recent history, Germany, the birthplace of Martin Luther of the Protestant Reformation, a nation of 75 percent Lutheran and 25 percent Catholic, voted in an anti-Christ named Hitler. Why? What happened to the Christian influence? As a consequence, Germany was a defeated, divided, and occupied nation for 44 years. Russia too has a Christian heritage that was suppressed and denied by an oppressive, godless ideology that ruled for 70 years.
America has digressed in rejecting God and the authority of the bible as evidenced in public and private life. From eliminating bible and prayer in the public schools, to the legalization of pornography with its destructive immoral consequences of sex abuse, to legalization of abortion with the murderous slaughter of approaching 50 plus million unborn babies as a bloody form of birth control, to now, the use of judicial fiat to redefine marriage as being same-sex which goes against the law of the land based on God's definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman only, America has gotten progressively worse morally.
Freedom from religion results in evil and perversion. Freedom of religion results in the influence of good and the restraint of evil and perversion. From Genesis to Revelation, the Lord God has declared His judgment on sodomy. The practice of religion is to influence government and those governed for good. The use of the vote in the electoral process is a witness for good or for evil. Unlike England with a state religion (Anglican), no one particular denomination can dominate in America unless voter apathy or complacency rules. So the practice of religion and its influence in the public arena is encouraged for a Godly nation.
Nikita Khrushchev of Communist Russia once said of the U.S. "We will bury you!" His words may well come true should the Lord judge America for our rejection of Him and for legislating Him out of our government and the public arena and this before He returns to establish His earthly kingdom.