The Bishops Speak: The Truth About MarriageMay 06, 2014
The Catholic bishops of Virginia filed an amicus curiae with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for the crucial hearing on Virginia's Marriage Amendment, which will take place later this month. A U.S. District Court judge in Norfolk earlier this year ruled that the Marriage Amendment was unconstitutional. Bishops Francis DiLorenzo, of the Diocese of Richmond, and Paul Loverde, of the Diocese of Arlington, speak with the clarity of thought and reason that escape legalese. Truth doesn't reside in legalities, unfortunately. But the Truth is always clear because it isn't manipulated, twisted, bent, molded or otherwise shaped to meet an agenda, which is why so many laws are convoluted to the point it needs battalions of attorneys and courts to decide what the law means. More unfortunately, those decisions often created more confusion (see the Virginia Catholic Conference's From The Tiber To The James Blog).
Bishops DiLorenzo and Loverde lay out the case in Truth for why the natural, traditional, from-the-begninning-of-time definition of marriage is the only definition of marriage:
Virginia’s interest in marriage is based in the Commonwealth’s foresight that changing the legal definition of marriage would unavoidably change the way Virginia’s citizens view marriage and make the Commonwealth’s marriage laws adult-focused rather than child-focused. If the message and function of marriage is changed in concept, the cultural significance attached to marriage will also change.
. . . male-female marriage serve governmental interests that are not just legitimate, but compelling, namely, encouraging the procreation and rearing of children by the very people responsible for begetting them, in the stable environment of the marital family. The simple fact is that moms and dads are different, not interchangeable, and having both a mom and dad is an ideal parenting environment. (Emphasis added.)
Separately, in a statement issued when they filed the brief, Bishops DiLorenzo and Loverde stated:
We affirm the intrinsic dignity of all people. ... We also seek to preserve the one institution that was designed to protect children and the family: marriage, rooted in natural law as the union of one man and one woman. Marriage has an original, unalterable design that existed before any religion or government. No religion, government, or court should re-design it. (Emphasis added.)
Exactly. Our constitution and Declaration of Independence — the founding principles of American freedom — is that our rights (i.e., our freedoms) come from Nature's God, not man. If marriage is designed by nature, and has been defined as between one man and one woman form the beginning of time, no man, court or legislature can redefine it . . . except, of course, through legalisms, not Truth.
Legalisms are designed to muddle, confuse, divide and, to some extent, if inadvertently, create chaos. That is, if man says it, who's to say we can't change it to mean whatever we want. That's when it's necessary to listen to, and understand, nature and its Truth.
The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Courthouse in Richmond.
We've Come Full Circle
We've Come Full Circle
For decades, every pro-life bill introduced to the state Senate was directed by the Senate Clerk to the Senate Education and Health Committee, where the legislation would promptly and painfully die – regardless of which party was in the majority. We called it the burial grounds. Flash forward to January 18, 2018 where that same committee, under the strong leadership of Senator Steve Newman (R-23, Lynchburg), today blocked every radical pro-abortion bill one can envision and topped off their day by defeating a dangerous agenda brought by the LGBT community.
The committee began its 8:00 A.M. meeting with an announcement that Senator Jennifer Wexton (D-33, Leesburg, also running for VA’s 10th Congressional seat in November) had struck her own bill, SB 709. This bill, coined the “abortion industry wish list,” was all-encompassing—an attempt to roll back the hands of time and prop up the abortion industry while simultaneously taking more unborn lives and harming women. The reasons a legislator would introduce and then almost immediately kill a bill are never fully known, but maybe, just maybe, someone in her caucus or on her campaign decided that openly advocating for elective abortion-on-demand up until the point of birth was not a smart place to be. Yes, this bill would have allowed abortion at any point in a pregnancy up until birth, for virtually any reason, in a non-regulated facility, without parental consent, informed consent, ultrasound, or any other concept that would allow women and girls the opportunity to reconsider their decision in a moment of crisis.
Despite the typical line-up of abortion sympathizers and representatives of the billion-dollar abortion industry, the committee handily discarded bills to repeal the entire informed consent for abortion statute and all safety regulations put in place to protect the women who enter these facilities. Wisely, the committee validated that all aspects of our abortion laws are currently working and don’t need to be rolled back. Until this morning, some Senators may not have known that while the McAuliffe-selected Board of Health relaxed the specifics of the abortion safety standards, they did so illegally. We informed the Committee of our litigation, pointing out that the effort to repeal these standards through legislation is merely an attempt to completely erase the abortion safety regulations before a judge can reinstate all of the portions the Board of Health illegally rolled back – a ruling we fully anticipate is only a matter of time.
The prize for the worst bill defeated by the Committee goes to Senator Scott Surovell’s (D-36, Mount Vernon) SB 245 that would ban what has been deemed “conversion therapy.” The gist of the bill is that no counselor can ever be allowed to direct someone under 18 years of age who might be questioning either their sexuality or their gender to resist and even to overcome unwanted same-sex attractions or to embrace their God-given biological sex. It’s a war of ideas and those that disagree with ours have long moved past debating them into attempting to ban them. We are thankful the Committee stood for freedom.
Who's in charge here?
Who's in charge here?
At 11:00 Thursday morning, the State Board of Elections met in Richmond to randomly pick a name out of a bowl, an action that would not only determine the winner of the tied 94th House district race, but also the balance of power in an evenly-split House of Delegates (a result of the November 7th shakeup) – and just days before the start of the 2018 legislative session. We were there to catch an inside glimpse, and boy was it an intense – and unprecedented – moment in all of Virginia electoral history. The room was thick with the sense of watching history in the making.
After winning the original vote count on election night by 11 votes, then losing a recount by one vote, and then ending up in a tie the following day, incumbent Republican Delegate David Yancey won today’s draw over Democrat challenger Shelly Simonds, putting Republicans at a 51-49 advantage in the House. We anticipate Ms. Simonds will ask for an additional recount, to which she is legally entitled, but which is not expected to be completed before the legislative session begins. Costly litigation is also not out of the question in the Democrats desperate zeal to gain power in Richmond.
Effectively, today’s result means that Del. Kirk Cox (R-66, Colonial Heights) is fully expected to become the new Speaker when the members of the House vote to choose one on Jan. 10th, the first day of the 2018 session. The Speaker makes all committee assignments, and the Speaker’s party generally gets a majority of the seats on each committee. We have known and worked with Delegate Cox for many years, and we know Virginia will be blessed to have a man of his caliber and integrity in such a pivotal role. He could use our prayers now more than ever, as well as all those in leadership positions in the Commonwealth.
The retiring Speaker, Bill Howell, could also really use our prayers right now. If you haven’t heard, he underwent emergency heart surgery on Tuesday night, and is recovering in an intensive care unit. Though we don’t know all the details of his condition, it is a timely reminder of the heavy burden our governmental leaders carry, and how much they need our daily prayers.
We are hopeful about what today’s news could mean for our continued fight to protect life, marriage, parental authority, religious liberty, and constitutional government in Virginia. But regardless, we recognize this year comes with new and even greater challenges. We appreciate all your prayers for The Family Foundation as well, as we work with the new leadership in Richmond to defend our shared values.
2018: Dogs > Humans
2018: Dogs > Humans
Things in the Virginia General Assembly continue to get more and more interesting, if not downright ironic. The seeds of secular humanism are now in the process of full bloom in the Old Dominion.
Now just let that one sink in for a moment.
Call us out of touch, but we believe that every human life is sacred, and that human beings are more valuable than cats and dogs - even as much as we all love our pets.
You're in the wrong place.
You're in the wrong place.
Yesterday morning I attended a press conference hosted by the Women’s Equality Coalition. They promoted their legislative agenda – which almost exactly contradicts the legislative agenda of The Family Foundation.
The Women’s Equality Coalition promotes abortion on demand, government funding for all contraceptive methods (including those that cause early abortions), and a host of social justice issues that would have serious consequences for families and religious liberty if they were adopted.
Sitting in the press conference that morning, I was most impacted by the personal testimony that one woman shared.
In her brief comments, she described her financial difficulties in detail. She has to work two jobs without time off. “I can’t take a day off if I’m sick, or to care for a loved one when they become sick,” she said emotionally. “I can’t take vacations like everybody else,” she said, “and that’s not fair.” Her life circumstances are undeniably hard.
No one can deny that women (and men) face difficult times here in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Times are hard. Money is tight. Vacations have to be put on hold – perhaps never to be taken at all.
This is not the responsibility of the civil government. It was difficult for me to sit there quietly as these women called upon the government to take care of them. “The time is long overdue for Virginia to take these common-sense steps,” the President of Virginia NARAL Pro-Choice declared.
“You’re in the wrong place,” I wanted to tell these women, “the Government cannot take care of you.” My urge was to confront the entitlement mentality head on. “You need the support of your family, your church, and your neighbors!” I wanted to say.
Confronting such a mentality must be done with gentleness. The Bible says that “a gentle answer turns away wrath,” and teaches us to answer “with gentleness and respect” so that anyone who slanders us will be put to shame. (Proverbs 15:1; 1 Peter 3:15-16)
Instead of confronting this woman about the poor public policy she is endorsing, I thanked her for sharing her story. Sharing her story was a brave thing to do.
Then I prayed for her. I prayed that God would hear her in her need, and help her. (The same way he heard Hagar and helped her.) (Genesis 21)
And now I will advocate for public policy that will promote the family, religious freedom, and the community. Instead of promoting a strong government with the power to take care of us, we must have strong families and neighborhoods that can take care of us.
The Family Foundation is working to ensure that strong families, churches, and neighborhoods will be able to help women just like the one who shared her story yesterday.
By Sean Maguire, Grassroots Coordinator at The Family Foundation
An essential basis for human society is the triumph of rational thinking. Rational thought, meanwhile, demands consistency and coherency. Even in our increasingly “relativist” society, this is still something that is widely recognized.
Well…except, apparently, on many college campuses. (The historic bastions of knowledge and social progress.)
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) recently highlighted one of today’s most prevailing points of disconnect in rational thought involving the issue of market participants being forced to provide a service that violates their religious faith. Watch the students at UW-Madison as they are asked a series of questions about this:
The video effectively draws out the inconsistency – indeed, the incoherence – of many of the students’ thinking on the matter. While most of them found it intuitively abhorrent to force a fashion designer to create custom clothing for Melania Trump or to force a Muslim singer to perform at a Christian church’s Easter service, none of the students in the video appeared to want to admit that it would be equally wrong to force a Christian photographer to photograph a same-sex wedding when doing so clearly violated his religious convictions.
When in actuality, the only substantive difference between these examples is that the latter scenario doesn’t fit neatly within the prevailing liberal philosophy in which certain ideas are affirmed at all costs. In that case, throw rationality to the wind. Majority rules. Might equals right.
To be fair, maybe we should cut these students some slack. After all, as demonstrated by their blushing hesitations, their not-yet fully “zombie-fied” brains are clearly trying to overcome the incoherence of an ideological bent that is no doubt being spoon-fed to them by most of their professors on a daily basis. Their pause, frankly, gives me hope. It confirms that even the most tenacious indoctrinations cannot withstand the mind with even the slightest regard for rational thinking when that mind is presented with the opportunity to think.
Defining Our Own Reality
Defining Our Own Reality
The entire "transgender" movement rests on the proposition that a person can define his or her (or "ze") own reality, and that society should recognize and yield to that conception of reality at all times in all places. It appears to be yet another unwieldy extension of the Supreme Court's infamous declaration in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (upholding Roe v. Wade) that "At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life."
Fine then, if those are the rules, two (or more) can play this game.
You can be free to define your reality by feelings, emotions, and personal experiences, as long as I am free to define my reality with biological facts, logical reasoning, and a belief in objective truth, both physical and spiritual.
For the sake of this experiment, I'll concede that your "gender" is something altogether different than your sex, and that you should be entitled to be treated as your preferred gender in every way - in bathrooms, showers, restrooms, the use of preferred pronouns, etc.. I guess if "perception is reality", then self-perception must be the ultimate reality.
Alright, now it's my turn. You have to accept that there are only two sexes - male and female - as evidenced most obviously through biological and anatomical differences, that "gender" is simply another word for biological sex, that humans were created by God as either male or female, that one's sex is immutable, and that in recognizing the profoundly unique differences between the sexes, society should honor their privacy and dignity with separate locker rooms, showers and restrooms. After all, in this game, I have an equally valid right to others' respect and official recognition of my reality.
Sounds fair enough, right?
Oh wait...except for the fact that it doesn't work at all. (Yes, I know that we BOTH innately recognize the objective "law of non-contraction" here.) That's because the realities we've "created" are in direct conflict with one another. Together they present an irreconcilable contradiction such that, no matter how hard we try, there can be no peaceful coexistence. One conception of reality will eventually succumb to the other - you can bet your next group therapy session on it.
I wish this weren't so. I really do. Wouldn't it be nice if we could "all just get along" in a world in which we each define what's real to us and then expect everyone else to live by the rules we create? Sounds pleasantly warm and fuzzy to me. Yet we all know such a place does not exist, nor could it ever. In case you had forgotten, this is precisely why we fight so fiercely over laws and public policies. We know that only one reality can prevail and that we'll have to conform our behavior to it.
The question we must answer then is: Whose reality will prevail? Will we decide that reality is defined by some person's feelings, emotions, or experiences? Will we decide to define reality by what we can see, touch, and perceive through our faculties of logic, reason, and common sense? Will it be some combination of these or some other standard altogether?
I think I know which conception of reality should prevail. But one thing I know for certain: this business of defining one's own personal reality is as nonsensical as it is untenable. We don't get to define reality, but we nevertheless have choices. We can either acknowledge its existence and align our behavior accordingly, or we can ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist until invariably it hits us like a ton of bricks.
WATCH: Eric Metaxes Inspires at 2017 Family Foundation Gala
WATCH: Eric Metaxes Inspires at 2017 Family Foundation Gala
As promised, I wanted you to get the video LINK to The Family Foundation’s 2017 Gala program. If you weren’t there, bestselling author and radio commentator Eric Metaxes kept the attendees of the packed convention room hanging on his every word, and I wanted to make sure you had the chance to see it for yourself. And if you were with us that evening, you’re probably interested in watching it again. Either way, please SHARE THIS with your friends and family.
You can watch it at your convenience HERE on our YouTube page. (Note: My speech begins at 29:48, and Eric’s speech begins at 1:03:02) Also check out our 3-minute promotional video first aired at the Gala, featuring the stories of three incredible Virginians.
Metaxes released his latest book, Martin Luther, the same week as the Gala, so he gave us an inspiring message about the true story of one man who, by his bold courage and faith in God, changed the world forever. Eric Metaxes is the author of several other best-selling books, including Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, If You Can Keep It, and Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery just to name a few.
You will definitely be encouraged by his timely and insightful message to people of faith in an ever-darkening culture.
I also want you to have the chance to hear from me as well, as I spoke about the value and importance of ordinary people “stepping up” in often small but hugely impactful ways. I also share my vision and sense of renewed purpose for The Family Foundation in the challenging years ahead.
If you weren’t able to join us, you will definitely want to watch it now. I hope you will be enlightened, encouraged, and inspired by what you see and hear.
Note to ACLU: Join Us!
Note to ACLU: Join Us!
It’s good when organizations that often find themselves on opposite sides can work together. At The Family Foundation, we’ve sought opportunities to join coalitions of diverse groups on important issues that shouldn’t be partisan. That’s why we’ve worked with groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and others on ending the shackling of pregnant prison inmates, and with similar coalitions on financial reparations for victims of eugenics, foster and kinship care issues and others.
So we were thrilled the other day when we saw that the ACLU agrees with The Family Foundation when it comes to following laws regarding the creation and removal of regulations. You see, the federal government has to follow the federal Administrative Procedure Act and Virginia government has to follow the state Administrative Process Act. These laws, as boring and cumbersome as they are, ensure that presidents and governors – or the entities tasked with regulations – cannot act unfettered. It’s a rule of law thing.
Recently we learned that the ACLU is suing President Trump for his decision to undo a requirement that religious entities pay for their employees’ birth control under the ACA. One of the arguments they are making is that the Trump administration violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because they allege the interim rules were released without complying with the APA’s notice and public comment requirements.
Coincidentally, that is exactly the argument being made by plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the McAuliffe administration, partially funded by The Family Foundation, after McAuliffe’s Board of Health failed to comply with the state’s APA on not just public comment requirements, but multiple other provisions as well, as it watered down health and safety standards for abortion centers. You see, following the law kinda matters, or at least it should.
Yet, to this point, the ACLU of Virginia has been strangely silent on the McAuliffe administration’s blatant violation of the law, while the ACLU national headquarters has already filed suit against Trump – though whether or not the Trump administration actually did violate APA is a matter of great question.
I’ll go on record now to say if President Trump violated the federal APA, his policy decision should be reversed and put through the proper legal channels. You see, it shouldn’t matter who the executive is or if you agree or disagree with the ultimate policy in question. The law should be followed to get to the desired end. Given the ACLU’s history of, well, let’s just say less than accurate legal arguments, I’m not super confident that their case against the President has merit, but time will tell.
I can tell you that there is no question the McAuliffe administration violated the law, numerous times. So, it would seem, if the rule of law matters to the ACLU as much as they claim, they should be joining our lawsuit any day now.
We’ll keep you posted.
Here's What You Missed!
Here's What You Missed!
On Saturday we launched a brand new grassroots initiative with the unveiling of our Regional Engagement Teams! Our goal is to have a Regional Engagement Team, or RET, in all of the major regions throughout Virginia, and we need your help. If you signed up for a position on Saturday, we cannot thank you enough for volunteering your time and effort to fight for our principles. If you did not get the chance to join a RET, don’t worry! All the information about our RETs and the various positions available can be found online at www.familyfoundation.org/grassroots/.
Thank you so much to everyone involved with Saturday’s Grassroots Activism Project! We had such a great turnout, and we loved seeing each and every one of you. For those of you who were unable to attend, we missed you, but there is still time to get involved!
Not only did we launch our new Regional Engagement Teams but we also spread the news about our weekly Team Timothy prayer meetings. This is an open opportunity to join us at our office in Richmond every Tuesday for intercessory prayer! We hope to see you or have you join in via conference call. Please email us here for more information!
Everyone has something to contribute to the cause of defending the family in Virginia, and we hope you find your place with us.
Now is the time for engagement, and this is your chance. It is so encouraging to witness everyone’s passion for our principles, and we cannot wait to see the amazing things all of you are going to do within your communities.