The late Dick Clark, the famous radio and television personality, used to say, “I don’t set trends. I just find out what they are and exploit them.”
Today’s proponents of same-sex “marriage” are exploiting apathy, ignorance and playing politics with it:
1. Republicans get on board the same-sex marriage train
Dr. Al Mohler writes in World Magazine:
If you care to trace this nation’s surrender in the battle to preserve marriage, just look at the span of the last 25 years. Back in 1996, Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act by huge bipartisan margins, limiting marriage as recognized by the federal government to legal unions of a man and a woman—period. The bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and it was the law of the land until the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015.
Fast-forward to yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives, where 47 Republicans joined with all Democrats in voting for the deceptively named “Respect for Marriage Act” that would formally repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and require the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages deemed legal in the state in which they were performed. The bill faces an uncertain future in the U.S. Senate, but the House vote shows us where we stand. America’s political class intends to support same-sex marriage and move along—no turning back.
The signs of the times were apparent even before the Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in the House. Though most Republicans voted against the bill, the big news is that 47 Republicans voted for it. The GOP leader in the House, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, did not “whip” the bill, meaning Republicans were free to vote their minds (and in accord with their political interests). In other words, the Republican leadership in the House did not put Republican loyalty on the line over the definition of marriage.
There are massive lessons to be learned here. The biggest single lesson is the brute fact that the nation has experienced a profound moral transformation on the issue of marriage. This transformation did not start with same-sex marriage—it started with easy divorce. But the emergence of same-sex marriage as a political issue just a single generation ago shows the moral transformation of the nation.
Genuine conservatives understand that getting the definition of marriage right is fundamental to preserving society and the larger moral order. Marriage is an ontological reality expressed as a covenant union that demands legal recognition. It is the union of a man and a woman, which Jesus defined as God’s purpose “from the beginning.” Any society that attempts to redefine marriage—even to include same-sex couples—denies the creation-order basis of marriage and subverts the larger society.
But, at least for now, same-sex marriage looks like good politics for the political class—it is what passes for progressive orthodoxy on the left, and it’s increasingly taken as the path of least resistance among many Republicans. It remains true that 157 Republicans in the House voted against the bill, showing that at least some refuse to surrender. But politicians quickly learn two things or they put their futures at grave risk—they have to learn to count votes and to see which way the political locomotive is charging.
This nation’s political class has decided to vote for same-sex marriage, and 47 House Republicans decided to get aboard the train. The scene will soon shift to the Senate. Will the math—and the momentum—be any different there?
2. House Democrats block resolution condemning violence against churches, pro-life pregnancy centers
From the Christian Post:
Congressional Democrats have blocked a resolution that would have condemned the violence directed at churches and pro-life organizations by pro-abortion activists in recent months.
On Tuesday, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., introduced House Resolution 1233, which would “[express] the sense of the House of Representatives condemning the recent attacks on pro-life facilities, groups, and churches.”
The resolution noted that “since the May 2, 2022 leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, individuals professing anti-life views have targeted, destroyed, or vandalized numerous pro-life facilities, groups, and even churches to further their radical cause.”
Johnson’s resolution would have declared that the House “condemns recent attacks of vandalism, violence, and destruction against pro-life facilities, groups, and churches,” “recognizes the sanctity of life and the important role pro-life facilities, groups, and churches play in supporting pregnant women, infants, and families.”
The resolution urged “the Biden Administration to use all appropriate law enforcement authorities to uphold public safety and to protect the rights of” such organizations.
Appeals court allows Georgia abortion law to take effect
From Yahoo! News:
A federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling and allowed Georgia’s restrictive 2019 abortion law to take effect immediately Wednesday. The decision was expected after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that there is no constitutional right to an abortion.
The law, which had been barred from taking effect, bans most abortions once a “detectable human heartbeat” is present. Cardiac activity can be detected by ultrasound in cells within an embryo that will eventually become the heart as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many pregnancies are detected.
3. Jordan Peterson Gives Important Advice to Christian Churches. Should We Take It?
From the Daily Citizen:
Jordan Peterson is a man clearly in process. We are all in process, but not clearly so. This fact is unmistakably clear for Dr. Peterson. It will certainly be interesting to see where God leads this man.
Even though Peterson has publicly denied his atheism and philosophical materialism, he has not declared kinship with any traditional faith, be it Christian or otherwise. But he has certainly shown an inordinate interest in some of the deepest things Christian and that is certainly worth watching. Professor Peterson has done this very recently with a new video message he intentionally recorded giving advice to the Christian church. You can watch his 10-plus minute offering here.
Anyone who knows anything about his work, knows he has a deep passion for the males of the human species and the unique struggles they are presently facing from many factions in society. Today’s male faces great pressure to become anything other than what he is. And that is male. The male, with his unique energy, boldness, strength, and his motivating desire to fight good fights, break what needs breaking, and put right what needs putting right, is a pariah to liberal sensibilities. Today’s male is told he is inherently toxic and largely unwelcome.
But Dr. Peterson knows where the male belongs.
Today’s man belongs in Church and this video is a powerful and passionate call for all churches in every community to put out a man-sized welcome mat to each and every one. In fact, Jordan Peterson says every church should put out a billboard (literally) in their community welcoming every man to find a home there.
- Lawmakers Move to Clarify Vice President’s Role in Certifying Presidential Election Results
From the Wall Street Journal:
A bipartisan group of lawmakers proposed an update of the Electoral Count Act to make clear that the vice president has no power to block the certification of the presidential election, after former President Donald Trump pressured Mike Pence to take such steps following the 2020 race.
The legislation was the result of months of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats eager to make changes to the 1887 law to eliminate uncertainty regarding the electoral process. Critics said that ambiguities in that law were exploited by Mr. Trump and his allies when they tried to overturn President Biden’s win.
“From the beginning, our bipartisan group has shared a vision of drafting legislation to fix the flaws of the archaic and ambiguous Electoral Count Act of 1887,” said a group of senators in a joint statement Wednesday. “We urge our colleagues in both parties to support these simple, common-sense reforms.”
The bill would aim to ensure that a state’s governor is responsible for submitting one slate of electors to reflect the results of its presidential vote, foreclosing the prospect of another official submitting a rival slate for Congress to consider. It would also provide for expedited judicial review, including a three-judge panel with direct appeal to the Supreme Court, of certain claims related to a state’s certificate identifying its electors.
5. Why More People Are Dating Without Drinking
From the Wall Street Journal:
More people in the dating game are starting their search with alcohol off the table.
Instead, those daters say they prefer to meet potential partners for coffee, a favorite hobby or a stroll. The pandemic upped daters’ desire for genuine connection, and drinking gets in the way of that connection, some say—in addition to being expensive and less healthy than other activities.
More than a third of people on the dating app Hinge say they are more open to going on a sober date now versus a year ago, according to a June survey. The preference is particularly pronounced among younger users, with 31% of 18- to 24-year-olds on the app saying they don’t consume drinks on an average date.
On Tinder, mentions of “sober” increased 26% from 2020 to 2021 in member bios. It’s already up another 22% this year, according to the company. Mentions of the words “beach” (10%) and “picnic” (23%) are also up from the beginning of the year, suggesting that people are meeting up for more than just drinks, Tinder spokesman Sheldon Bachan says.
Sober dating is part of the larger sober-curious movement, in which people who wouldn’t necessarily label themselves alcoholics are trying to curb or eliminate drinking for health or other reasons.
6. 2 Overlooked Topics in Premarital Care
From the Gospel Coalition:
Pastors know six PMC sessions aren’t sufficient to cover all a couple could possibly need for marriage. Here are two commonly overlooked goals everyone providing premarital care should adopt.
1. Understand the future husband’s and wife’s stories.
Marriage may be a fresh start, but relationships never start from a blank slate. Everyone brings issues into their new relationship. Whether couples realize it or not, their stories—the events and experiences in their lives—shape how they see and understand the world around them, their relationship, and even themselves.
2. Help the couple understand the heart of conflict.
If you’ve done premarital care, you know that most plans and curriculum include a section on communication skills and tips for conflict resolution. These can be helpful. But if you merely emphasize skills and tools when addressing conflict, you’ll overlook the deeper and more significant matters of the heart.
PARENTHOOD IN THE NEWS:
- Where are the Parents?
From City Journal:
Pennsylvania, like many states nationwide, is experiencing a youth-crime crisis. Data from the state’s Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission suggest that a major factor in crime among youth is family structure. More than 80 percent of every juvenile court disposition in 2021 involved a young person who lives in a broken home, without two married parents. Nearly 48 percent live with a single mother, while a mere 15.5 percent live with both parents. Similar trends hold up year after year after year.
“That’s consistent with what I’d expect, but it’s a striking number,” said Brad Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. “The strongest predictor for incarceration is the share of two-parent families in a neighborhood.”
Wilcox pointed to research by Raj Chetty of Harvard University and the IFS that confirms that criminal behavior drops dramatically for youths who live with both parents and in neighborhoods with a high proportion of married adults.
“America’s young man problem is disproportionately concentrated among the millions of males who grew up without the benefit of a present biological father,” a recent IFS brief concluded. “The bottom line: both these men and the nation are paying a heavy price for the breakdown of the family.”
Parents Pile Into Work Conferences to Escape Families
From the Wall Street Journal:
In-person work conferences are returning, and many parents who spent much of the pandemic supervising children are happy for the break. Some confessed to sneaking out of sales presentations or using the hours between conference workshops for fancy meals, sightseeing or precious alone time.
Matthew Scales said he heard about the famous carousel in Spokane, Wash., during the opening reception of the Public Relations Society of America conference. He decided he needed to ride it.
On his last day of meetings, Mr. Scales, 35, hopped on one of the hand-carved horses of the 1909 Looff Carousel. He was guilty about not taking his 3-year-old son, who was home in Bel Aire, Md. “It felt a little funny being on the carousel with that many kids,” the public-relations executive said.
He also took a run in the park, worked out in the hotel gym, ate a leisurely brunch and rode the city’s gondola—twice. “It’s a vacation without the kids,” he said. Mr. Scales brought home huckleberry-flavored taffy and gummy bear treats for souvenirs.
Parents Speak Out Against Mask Mandates In Schools
From the Daily Wire:
Parents are speaking out against the return of indoor mask mandates for students as a California school district reinstates the rule.
Parents told Fox News Digital their feelings about the mask rule, and a grandmother from Massachusetts said it was a situation of “delirium.”
“This is an insanity, a delirium,” said the grandmother, who asked for anonymity, about the act of making students wear masks. “The loss of education in the last two years, added to the mental stresses of masking — my grandkids who are school-age said they never knew if someone was smiling at them or not — is already unacceptable.”
- The Secondhand Censorship Effect: The Real Impact of Big Tech’s Thought-Policing
Big Tech in recent years has consistently discriminated against conservatives and independent thinkers by censoring them online. This has affected everyone from the former president of the United States to everyday men and women.
When Big Tech companies censor someone, they don’t only block that one person. But they also block all of that person’s followers from new ideas and viewpoints.
This phenomenon is best thought of as “secondhand censorship.” Secondhand censorship is defined as the number of times that users on social media had information kept from them.
MRC Free Speech America tracked the effects of secondhand censorship using our one-of-a-kind CensorTrack database. Across seven Big Tech platforms – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn and Spotify – MRC Free Speech America logged a grand total of 144,301,713 times that users on social media had information kept from them in the first quarter of 2022 alone.
9. The legalization of sports wagering and the increase in problem gambling
From the Deseret News:
Though it’s difficult to measure the full extent to which the industry has grown in states where sports gambling is newly legal (revenue data from the largest sports betting services are not public knowledge), analyzing sports betting tax revenue is one indicator of how robust the industry is becoming. Since legalizing the practice in January of this year, for instance, the state of New York has already collected a whopping $267 million in sports-betting tax revenue alone. If New Yorkers keep that up over the next seven months, annual sports betting tax revenue in the Empire State could rival the $622 million in gaming tax revenue that the entire state of Nevada collected in 2020 — a particularly noteworthy feat considering that Nevada is home to 441 casinos and the gambling capital of the world.
“With the advent of online sports gambling, the reality is the online market has become a much greater opportunity than brick and mortar business,” said Marc Edelman, a professor of law at Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business and a sports and gaming consultant.
Despite the added tax revenue, experts say legalized sports betting has likely caused addiction in new gamblers and led to an increase in problem gambling — gambling that damages or disrupts one’s relationships or vocational pursuits.
“Online betting means that gamblers have a casino in their back pocket at all times now,” says Edelman. Alan Cavaiola, the director of addiction studies at Monmouth University and the author of “A Comprehensive Guide to Addiction Theory and Counseling Techniques,” offered a similar perspective: “There has been an increase in online sports gambling and accessibility plays a major role.”
10. Yesterday’s Hymns Provide Hope for Today’s Insanity and Tomorrow’s Uncertainty
From the Daily Citizen:
Why do we love singing such songs – and hymns, in particular?
I think it’s because historic hymns connect us to our forefathers in the faith – and sometimes subtly, sometimes not, assure us that in the end, everything is going to be okay.
We especially need that assurance today, when almost everything seems to be coming undone.
The first song we sang that night was the Charles Wesley classic, “Rejoice, the Lord is King!”
His kingdom cannot fail, He rules o’er earth and Heav’n. The keys of death and hell are to our Jesus giv’n. Lift up your heart, lift up your voice; Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
Wesley was echoing the apostle Paul’s exhortation (Phil 4:4) – which he wrote from prison. It’s a wonderful and timely word for today, too.
As we sang “It is Well” this particular night, I was sitting next to a friend who has endured a brutal year of physical health challenges, punctuated by a stroke and other unexplained health events. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. And then a smile crossed her face. That’s the confidence of a believer.
Hymns may not be every Christian’s thing, but they can lift our spirits, put wind in our sails and remind us that for the believer, the very worst this world has to offer can be tolerated because the very best of Heaven is coming – and maybe even sooner than we think.