More on marriage protection

Last week, I wrote about President Bush’s Marriage Protection Week proclamation. I said in the comments that “there’s a difference between supporting the idea of marriage and supporting the practice of marriage. Everyone supports the idea, but a lot of high-profile people oppose the practice through infidelity, separation, and divorce. I think what Bush is doing here is supporting the practice, and I applaud that.”

Predictably, some people didn’t like the proclamation. Homosexual groups saw it as a flagrant attempt to undermine their efforts to get official legal recognition for same-sex unions. Out of the entire 398-word proclamation, they focused on ten words: “Marriage is a union between a man and a woman.” An article posted on the Gay Financial Network web site stated that most activities surrounding Marriage Protection Week did not actually try to strengthen marriage but rather promoted “a systematic plan for stopping gay marriage in the U.S.”

The article makes many points that are inaccurate, exaggerated, and paranoid. But I looked at the web sites for Focus on the Family and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and searched for the phrase “marriage protection.” The results consisted almost entirely of articles about passing a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a one-man, one-woman enterprise, or as one article put it, “to develop a cohesive and workable plan to aid and assist churches in responding to the well-organized and well-funded effort to redefine marriage.” Here are some of the search results from the FOTF site:

Family.org – CitizenLink – FNIF News – Marriage Protection Pledge Catching On

Arizona congressman, Colorado state representative among the first to declare their support for one-man, one-woman marriage.

Family.org – CitizenLink – Extras – Thank President Bush for ‘Marriage Protection’ Proclamation

Homosexual activists are in an uproar because the White House has acknowledged that marriage is a “sacred institution” and a “union between a man and a woman.”

Family.org – CitizenLink – FNIF News – Marriage Protection Campaign Launched

Pro-family organizations hope to reach two million churches with the message that the preservation of marriage must be a priority for every American.

Family.org – CitizenLink – FNIF News – Marriage Protection Week Set for Oct. 12-18

Dozens of pro-family groups banding together to celebrate, defend traditional definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Family.org – CitizenLink – Encourage Your Pastor to Support Marriage

Visit the Family Research Council’s Marriage Protection Week Web site to download a sample sermon on the importance of one-man, one-woman marriage.

This is disappointing. What should have been a time to celebrate marriage, to encourage, to educate, to strengthen the institution, instead became a political attack. Pro-family groups should have offered programs to combat divorce, to grow couples closer together, to help families get along, to teach men to take more responsibility, to teach husbands and wives how to love each other more effectively, live in joyful intimacy, and make marriage last. Instead, two of the most prominent pro-family groups in the country (the ERLC is part of the Southern Baptist Convention) used it as an opportunity for political gain.

For the record, I believe in one-man, one-woman marriage. I wish the definition of marriage wasn’t even an issue. I wish our past leader(s) had been strong enough and principled enough to let the country know by statement or example how the institution of marriage should function. I know that in reality there are people trying to redefine it, and they probably have a lot of support so it has become an ideological fight. But I thought that Marriage Protection Week was going to be an opportunity to advance the knowledge and the practice of marriage. Instead, it turned into a political argument about what marriage is not.

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