After the 2008 election, in which the nation chose the most pro-abortion president, Catholics need to remember where to find “Hope for America.”
Last week we looked at the pro-life initiatives that went down in flames in three states on Nov. 4 and saw hope in America’s pro-life majority, which polls say is still there. This week we turn to marriage, which won big on Nov. 4 — and we want to strike a note of caution.
Why a note of caution?
After all, marriage won everywhere. It won at the presidential level, where both candidates felt the need to support it, and it won in every state where it was on the ballot. Arizona, Florida and California voters all amended their state constitutions to ban same-sex “marriage.” Arkansas voters approved Initiative 1, banning the adoption of children by unmarried couples, including homosexuals.
Furthermore, in California, Proposition 8 was passed with the help of the very African-American voters who came to the polls to support the president-elect. They voted to defend marriage in overwhelming numbers.
But caution is needed because there are two attitudes that kill political movements. Though they look very different, they are actually closely related.
One is wishful thinking. The other is discouragement.
It’s wishful thinking to believe, for instance, that both Barack Obama and John McCain are truly pro-marriage. They are both politicians who took the politically expedient position. Their true positions are in their records. When the federal marriage amendment came to the Senate, both of them voted to kill it without allowing it so much as a debate, let alone a vote. At best, their support for marriage is tepid.
It’s also wishful thinking to believe that the current pro-marriage majorities will last.
Last week we wrote about the emerging pro-life majority. Trends say more and more people are telling pollsters that they believe abortion is wrong. Furthermore, they understand why they oppose it, and their reasons are based on their embrace of the truth.
What about the pro-marriage majority? Is it based on an understanding of marriage? Or is it based on the vague feeling that homosexuality is icky? Can 2008’s pro-marriage voters defend the institution, or can they only fall back on arguments that are reducible simply to prejudice against homosexuals?
If opposition to same-sex “marriage” is based on prejudice, it is destined to fail. We have already seen a decades-long cultural project designed to change people’s attitudes toward same-sex couples. Many TV shows and movies consciously include homosexual couples as minor or major characters so that we can all learn to accept homosexual couples as “normal.” It’s working.
The younger generation, for instance, is solidly in favor of homosexual marriage. Homosexual activists figure they need only bide their time. As more voters who have been taught moral relativism throughout their lives reach voting age, the tide will turn more inexorably in favor of homosexual “marriage.” We even saw in the last election that marriage only barely won among Latino voters — and there are far more of those in our future, too.
It’s simply wishful thinking to believe that the homosexual marriage battle is won. But the other danger is discouragement, which follows swiftly whenever wishful thinking’s bubble is burst. That’s because when our optimism is based on unreality, reality comes as an unwelcome intrusion. And there’s nothing scarier than the thought that reality is against you.
Reality is on the side of marriage. Marriage is the life-giving union of man and woman. It is the basic unit of society on which the whole social structure is built. Marriage accomplishes so much. Parenthood is the glue that bonds each generation to the one that follows it. Men become responsible, restrain their sexual appetites and settle down for their wives. Women lose much when they lose marriage. Divorce is the leading cause of poverty in America, and unwed mothers make up the fastest growing class of poor.
We especially have to guard against discouragement, because the fight for marriage is absolutely crucial to our nation’s future.
Marriage is the everyday responsibility of family life; redefine it to be the romantic rights of sexual partners, and it is only a matter of time before it disappears altogether. Polygamists are asking for marriage worldwide. An incestuous pair in Germany is asking for marriage. Group sex practitioners in America have been featured in national magazines asking for marriage.
If marriage doesn’t mean one man and one woman, it will soon mean anything — and nothing.
Rather than wishful thinking on the one hand or discouragement on the other, our faith gives us hope. Real hope. Just as the truth about abortion is the cause of the pro-life majority, we know that the marriage majority we already have can be deepened and secured by the truth.
The most effective way to introduce people to the truth is to show them what our issues mean in real life. Stories of people who have seen firsthand the considerable dark side of the homosexual lifestyle are powerful antidotes to the make-believe stories of Hollywood.
To address both the right to life and marriage, the Register is launching our “Project Clip and Share” campaign. In each issue, we will provide powerful personal stories that testify to the truth of the pro-family position.
We have also made arrangements for these stories to be translated into Spanish and offered to Latino readers on our own website and in the Spanish-language media. We hope other Church organizations will join us in reaching out to this largely Catholic group of souls — and voters — now.
It is providential that Pope Benedict XVI called his apostolic visit to the United States “Christ Our Hope.” Christ is our hope. And when Christ is your hope, what need you fear?