Two weeks ago, just after Maine's successful reversal of the state legislature's decision to sanction same-sex marriage, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer asked me a profound question: "Would Jesus have spent $550,000 to oppose same-sex marriage?"
The question was exactly what many secular parties had been asking in Portland, Maine, where she was speaking to me by satellite. My answer was that Jesus would have given the money to oppose same-sex marriage. My reasoning was simple: Jesus would have upheld his own teaching; refusing to be a loving, permanent enabler of a misguided local government. I mentioned in the interview that Washington, D.C. was struggling with the same question. read more
Last week was a milestone in modern American political history. The election results (New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races) and the battle over healthcare show that the nation’s interest in social issues has not waned. New coalitions are forming around the pivotal legislative concerns of our day. From my vantage point, I am noticing a passion among individual citizens to engage in the political process - whether the topic is the economy, healthcare or gay marriage. The average citizen not only wants to express their opinion, but also has become savvy in engaging the powers that be. The insight of these new activists is shown in their ability to organize and get results. Over 20,000 people came to D.C. last week to voice their concerns about healthcare. read more
For the last few weeks I have been writing about the battle to defend the foundations of marriage in D.C. and beyond. Last week several thousand D.C. residents joined me on Freedom Plaza to protect God's first institution. Although our faith has inspired most of us to take our stand to protect the definition of marriage, our ultimate reason to make our stand has been based on the need for every child to have a father and a mother. While thousands are being mobilized on both sides of the marriage debate, the sad fact is that marriage (on an individual basis) is being woefully mismanaged.
Americans are losing the ability to live out the high promise of love and fidelity in the context of a covenant relationship called marriage. Marriage, on a personal level, is on life support, gasping for breath because of the lack of role models, training and mentoring by qualified survivors of the War of the Roses. Do you remember the dark comedic movie with the same name that stared Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito? The movie was a satiric study of the reasons relationships begin, deteriorate and end. The classic picture ends with the once amorous couple attempting to physically divide the house that was the symbolic center of their union. read more
This past week, D.C. city council member Jack Evans vehemently warned D.C. citizens that if they took their concerns about marriage to Capitol Hill there would be grave consequences. Knowing that he and his colleagues have garnered the votes they need to pass a same-sex marriage law in D.C., he thought that he would flex his political muscles. After repeating his threats in several different ways he summarized the essence of his warning: “Proceed at your own peril.”
Is the fight against same-sex marriage primarily one fought between religious groups and the gay community? Are there any issues that a secular society should consider in this fight? We have found at least eight negative sociological outcomes that could occur if same-sex marriage is legalized.
The first impact would most likely affect the number of marriages in the United States. Fewer people would see marriage as the ultimate covenant between two people. The proof of this lies in the state of Massachusetts where only 43 percent of same-sex couples who cohabitate have utilized the state law which grants them marriage rights. Heterosexual couples in Massachusetts are more likely to marry (91 percent) but the degree to which same-sex couples marry devalues the commitment for all couples and the number is likely to decrease. In the Netherlands, only 12 percent of gay couples have chosen marriage; this low number is consistent with other countries that have legalized same-sex marriages. read more
If Lady Liberty could cry, she would be weeping now. Among her many burdens would be the abuse of democracy and our constitution’s first principles on many fronts. Her most recent wound might be that D.C. residents are being shut out of the decision-making process. This week, the D.C. City Council introduced a same-sex marriage bill that would allow homosexual marriages to be performed in the nation’s capital. The 10 co-sponsors of the bill announced via interviews and media statements that they would not allow the people of the District of Columbia to vote on this landmark decision.
With an issue as controversial as same-sex marriage, one would think that the voice of the people should be heard. The Rev. Henry Gaston, president of the Missionary Baptist Conference of Washington, D.C. made the following statement after the council meeting: “In the name of advancing one group’s civil rights, the city council is abridging my community’s right to vote. Anyone familiar with the historic civil rights movement knows that ‘the right to vote’ not ‘the right to marry’ was the gold standard of civil rights privileges.” read more
The plight of the poor has been a major bone of contention in the health care debate for months now. The morality of various approaches has also been hotly debated from all sides of the political universe. A recent statement I made at the National Press Club regarding abortion and what I called “a form of genocide” within the black community, has sparked a great deal of controversy among clergy. In fact, I have been labeled by some African-Americans as unconcerned about the needs of the poor. read more
On May 15, 2007, I stopped at a well-known soul-food restaurant in Washington D.C. As I waited for my favorite fare, a news flash came over the air stating that Jerry Falwell had died of a heart attack. Suddenly, a black waitress began to dance and celebrate because of Falwell’s passing. She was truly elated. In her mind, a great enemy of civil rights and the black community had just left the battlefield.
Ironically I had just spoken in a conference with Dr. Falwell a month before. In fact, I served on a board with him. He was warm, friendly and had a heart for all people - including African-Americans. In my view, he was a champion of Christian values and faith. read more
Last week, many 9/11 celebrations took place commemorating the heroism and loss of life experienced on that day 8 years ago. The lesson I have treasured the most comes from the story of United Flight 93. Todd Morgan Beamer’s last recorded statement, “Let’s roll” is the kind that epitomizes the American spirit. His statement celebrates individual courage, personal responsibility and our national can-do attitude. Millions of Americans thanked God this past week for the freedom to vote and live in a nation, which promises to give us a government of the people, for the people and by the people. read more
The Van Jones incident boiled to the surface and exploded very suddenly. When I first heard the sound bites and the pundits, I doubted their veracity. I thought to myself, there is no way that this man is a self-confessed communist. I hoped that the brilliant Yale Law School graduate did not really have a racial "chip" on his shoulder. Unfortunately, as I did just a little research on Jones' life and times, I quickly discovered I was wrong.
Now that he is gone, the average person may think that the controversy should be over. Not so. The ideological bias he brought to his job - not simply Jones' past problems - are a part of my ongoing concerns. His official title was Special Adviser for Green Jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality. Jones' unofficial, personal mission seemed to be to recast the "extreme green" movement as a "people's revolution" instead of the elitist movement that it is. In his book, The Green Collar Economy, he admits that it is not yet "fashionable" to be concerned about social justice and equity in the radical green movement. Nonetheless, seeks to cast a vision that mixes Marxism with green consciousness. As he preaches a new green gospel, he distorts his movement's elitist roots by attempting to shroud his agenda in civil rights imagery. read more
Recently President Barack Obama's administration filed court papers claiming a federal marriage law, called The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), discriminates against gays. This was surprising because at the same time government lawyers have been instructed to defend it. In fact the Department of Justice lawyers are seeking to dismiss a suit brought by a gay California couple challenging the 1996 act. The administration's legal strategy so angered gay activists that they claimed the president is backtracking on campaign promises. read more
Last week the administration showed just how desperate it is to pass its health care plan. Despite President Barack Obama ignoring the National Day of Prayer and failing to join a church in D.C., he mustered enough faith to call on the faith community to participate in a national conference call. Although 140,000 people logged in, this is a paltry number when one considers that evangelical voters number in excess of 65 million people and nearly 80 percent of Americans claim to be Christians.
Another sign of the administration's desperation was the tone that the president's handlers encouraged him to take. He seemed to depart from his typical magnanimous spirit. In fact the call included divisive name-calling by the president, accusing his opponents of "bearing false witness" - religious speak for lying. read more
This week I was shocked by the news that a long list of "progressive" ministers came out in support of the administration's plan. They claim that universal health care is a moral issue. Their belief is based on a very superficial social, moral and economic analysis. Contrary to their assertion, the church has never historically viewed health care as the government's responsibility.
The Encyclopedia Britannica tells us that: The modern concept of a hospital dates from A.D. 331 when Constantine, having been converted to Christianity, abolished all pagan hospitals and thus created the opportunity for a new start. Until that time disease had isolated the sufferer from the community. The Christian tradition emphasized the close relationship of the sufferer to his fellow man, upon who rested the obligation for care. Illness thus became a matter for the Christian church. read more
Last week I shared a very personal story of my struggle with both cancer and the insurance companies. My doctors informed me that I had two near-death experiences along with a mini-stroke that temporarily caused the right side of my body including my face, arm and leg to be paralyzed. Although I am fine now, that was a scary season in my life.
During my health challenges I met scores of foreigners at Johns Hopkins, hoping the American doctors could save them. Middle Easterners, South Americans and Europeans were among those that frequented various Hopkins departments. Surprisingly the day I met with my surgeon to lay out the plan for my 7.5-hour surgery, an aging man all the way from Hong Kong sat with several family members waiting to see my internationally known doctor. read more
On August 20, 2005 my wife and I sat in the office of a world famous surgeon from Johns Hopkins hospital. The Saturday appointment struck us as an unusual time to meet with such a prestigious doctor. The hospital was like a ghost town - darkened hallways, empty offices and a skeletal staff poised at the main entrances for security. To our surprise, there were several families going in and out of the doctor's office. He appeared without the traditional entourage of receptionists and assistants. Chipper and buoyant, the doctor greeted us with a glow and a smile. read more
It is amazing that the biggest news story for the last few weeks has been the arrest of a Harvard professor for disorderly conduct at his home in Cambridge, Mass. Overshadowing the health care debate, national security and every other national concern -- the story simply will not go away. It’s got all the elements of a good television drama, except there’s no sex or violence. read more
Last week, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, made comments that should have won him an award for the most racially insensitive remarks of the year. His statements were made in a committee markup. An audio recording of the heated exchange between Durbin, and Sen. Brownback, R-KS, revealed the unfortunate bias of the senator from Illinois. Durbin justified the fact that 41 percent of pregnancies in Washington D.C. are terminated by abortion by essentially saying it was a black thing. His exact words are listed below: read more
Hundreds of thousands of Christians from numerous denominations and independent churches spent at least 3 minutes in their worship services yesterday falling on their knees before God praying for America. This prayer event, dubbed a Call 2 Fall, was the brainchild of the Family Research Council (FRC), the nation's largest Christian policy organization. Skeptics from the press believed that Sunday's event was a public relations ploy to draw attention to key issues of interest to the FRC. Another secular reporter remarked that the religious right had become so discouraged that key leaders of this movement were using prayer as a remedy for its discouragement.
Last Friday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the charge in passing a landmark climate bill. For many people concerned about the environment this legislation seems like a major step forward. Unfortunately in life and politics, a supposedly good thing done a wrong way can leave us worse off than if we had done nothing at all. Our first step toward cleaner energy could have begun with increasing our nuclear energy sources or several other strategic beginnings. read more