By Alan on Jun 01 in Blog tagged Americans, Baptist, Billy Graham, Bonheoffer, by Oath, Catholic Online, champion for Christ, christianity, Chuck Colson, Culture matters, David Landes, different faiths, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Dr. Viktor Frankl, graduates, John Paul the Second, Judeo-Christian tradition, Liberty University, marriage, Mitt Romney, Mitt Romney is correct, Mormon, one man and one woman, Presidential elections, protection, purpose-driven life, religious freedom, Rick Santorum, spiritual ideals, standards, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The Family, US Consttution, Welsly, Wilberforce | 1 Comment
Governor Romney did not attempt to argue the compatibility of his own religious faith and that of most of the graduates. I was relieved. He told the graduates and their guests, “People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.” He is right. - Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
. . . . . . . .
LYNCHBURG,VA (Catholic Online) – On Saturday May 12, 2012, Mitt Romney, the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party who will contend with President Barack Obama in one of the most important Presidential elections in the history of the United States, surprised many, including me.
The fact that a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, would be the commencement speaker at the Baptist University founded by Dr Jerry Falwell speaks to the urgency of the hour. Add to this the fact that this Catholic Editor in Chief of Catholic Online would consider the speech important enough to make it the lead article, and the point is made even clearer.
Governor Romney addressed a graduating class of 14,012 and a crowd estimated at over 30,000 people. That made it the largest crowd of the 2012 campaign. His speech was deeply respectful. He affirmed the founder of the University, the late Dr Jerry Falwell:
“The calling Jerry answered was not an easy one. Today we remember him as a courageous and big-hearted minister of the Gospel who never feared an argument, and never hated an adversary. Jerry deserves the tribute he would have treasured most, as a cheerful, confident champion for Christ.I will always remember his cheerful good humor and selflessness”
He affirmed the Liberty graduates noting, “You know what you believe. You know who you are. And you know Whom you will serve. Not all colleges instill that kind of confidence, but it will be among the most prized qualities from your education here. Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.”
“That said, your values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonheoffer, John Paul
the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide.”
Mitt Romney even managed to weave in an affirmation of his former rival, my friend and preferred candidate, former Senator Rick Santorum. In his emphasis on the importance of the culture, he told the graduates, “You enter a world with civilizations and economies
that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian
tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.”
“The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family. The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Sen. Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For
those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.”
Then, in the line quoted most from the speech by the media, Romney stood firmly and squarely for marriage and the family and free society founded upon it noting, “As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between
one man and one woman.”
He was equally firm on the vital issue of religious freedom noting, ”The protection of religious freedom has also become a matter of debate. It strikes me as odd that the free exercise of religious faith is sometimes treated as a problem, something America is stuck with instead of blessed with. Perhaps religious conscience upsets the designs of those who feel that the highest wisdom and authority comes from government.”
“But from the beginning, this nation trusted in God, not man. Religious liberty is the first freedom in our Constitution. And whether the cause is justice for the persecuted, compassion for the needy and the sick, or mercy for the child waiting to be born, there
is no greater force for good in the nation than Christian conscience in action.”
“Religious freedom opens a door for Americans that is closed to too many others around the world. But whether we walk through that door, and what we do with our lives after we do, is up to us. Someone once observed that the great drama of Christianity is not a crowd shot, following the movements of collectives or even nations. The drama is
always personal, individual, unfolding in one’s own life. We’re not alone in sensing this. Men and women of every faith, and good people with none at all, sincerely strive to do right and lead a purpose-driven life.”
This was a well delivered speech filled with excellent content which the Romney campaign should use more frequently in the campaign ahead. The signal was sent to many who, like me, who are deeply concerned that the moral issues not be separated from the economic issues. It appears that the presumptive Republican candidate has listened. Governor Romney did not attempt to argue the compatibility of his own
religious faith and that of most of the graduates. I was relieved. He told the graduates and their guests, “People of different faiths, like yours and mine, sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose, when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the answer is that we can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview. The best case for
this is always the example of Christian men and women working and witnessing to carry God’s love into every life – people like the late Chuck Colson.”
“Not long ago, Chuck recounted a story from his days just after leaving prison. He was assured by people of influence that, even with a prison record, a man with his connections and experience could still live very comfortably. They would make some calls, get Chuck situated, and set him up once again as an important man. His choice
at that crossroads would make him, instead, a great man.”
I will attend Chuck’s memorial service this week. He had a great influence on my own life when I was a younger man. I was moved that the Governor included him in the commencement address. Chuck deserved the honor and, frankly, I think he would have approved. What I discovered in this speech and the venue was the importance of our
exercise of faithful citizenship at this critical moment in our history as a free people – a Nation conceived in liberty.
The Governor concluded with these remarks: “The call to service is one of the fundamental elements of our national character. It has motivated every great movement of conscience that this hopeful, fair-minded country of ours has ever seen. Sometimes, as Dr. Viktor Frankl observed in a book for the ages, it is not a matter of what we are asking of life, but rather what life is asking of us. How often the answer to our own troubles is to help others with theirs.
“In all of these things – faith, family, work, and service -the choices we make as Americans are, in other places, not choices at all. For so many on this earth, life is filled with orders, not options, right down to where they live, the work they do, and how many children the state will permit them to have. All the more reason to be grateful, this and every day, that we live in America, where the talents God gave us may be used in freedom.”
The Romney candidacy raises a certain irony. Here we had a Mormon candidate who went to Liberty University and addressed a crowd which has major disagreement with his religious faith. However, it was this candidate who affirmed the fundamental moral values which inform the foundations of the American experiment in ordered liberty. He did so in a way which even made this Catholic Editor look twice at his candidacy.
I contend that I have more in common theologically with Liberty’s Baptists as a Catholic Christian – though I am sure some present in Lynchburg on Saturday would disagree. However, Mitt Romney hit a home run in Lynchburg, Virginia on Saturday. That commencement address was not only a great speech, it also inspired me at an important moment. Article VI, Paragraph 3 of the US Constitution includes these words, ”The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”
This Mormon candidate who spoke at that Baptist Liberty University is looking better and better to this Catholic citizen as the fall Presidential race approaches. The future of the American experiment in ordered liberty is at risk. We do indeed share common values which are essential for our future as a free people. Mitt Romney is correct, “we
can meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.”
Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Note: Dr. Jerry Falwell was a previous recipient of The Family Award, “for standing up and speaking out to the world with his strongest voice …a message to defend and maintain family values.”
By Alan on May 28 in Blog tagged marriage, Minnesota, one man and one woman, The Family, theFamily | Comments Off
Marriage is ordained of God.
To All Marriage Supporters,
The people in Minnesota will now have the chance to decide the future of marriage in their own state, thanks to the brave bipartisan group of legislators who voted to put a marriage amendment on the ballot in 2012.
The marriage amendment in Minnesota is simple and clear: “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.”
It takes the future of marriage out of the hands of activist judges, like those in neighboring Iowa who imposed same-sex marriage against the will of the people, and gives it to Minnesotans generally.
Already the angry campaign to label the good people of Minnesota who believe marriage is the union of husband and wife as haters, bigots, and worse has begun—and let me promise you that it will backfire.
Gov. Mark Dayton symbolically tried to “veto” the bill, slamming millions of Minnesotans by calling it a “mean-spirited, divisive, un-Minnesotan and un-American amendment.”
Legislators who voted for the marriage amendment were slammed with thousands of emails generated by the Human Rights Campaign, calling them bigots and other hateful insults because, as Rep. Tony Cornish said, “From the start, right after my vote, I received e-mails calling me a ‘bigot’ and much much worse, describing in detail horrific things that I should do to my own body, and people talking about my ‘obituary.’ It wore on me, so about the 300th letter I got like that, I replied, ‘Give it a rest!’”
Millions of good, loving and law-abiding Americans have voted to protect marriage as one man and one woman, including in nearby midwestern states like Wisconsin and Michigan, and in deep blue states like California and Maine. Just this spring, Democratic states like Rhode Island and Maryland have rejected same-sex marriage. Protecting marriage is not un-Minnesotan or un-American and no amount of name-calling or insults is going to change that reality. In fact, name-calling and insults will not be a pathway to victory in Minnesota, or anywhere else.
By Alan on May 01 in Blog tagged endures, England, marriage, one man and one woman, royal wedding, The Family, theFamily, values, vows, William and Kate | 1 Comment
As many as two billion people — about a third of the world — watched the British royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The global euphoria highlights the enduring ideal of marriage. For all the extravagance and fanfare of a future monarch’s wedding, we recognize in it some of our deepest human aspirations and the shared nobility of the institution of marriage.
That same chord was struck 30 years ago, as the world watched another royal wedding on July 29, 1981. As ABC’s Ted Koppel commented that evening: “Today’s marriage between Charles and Diana was … a hugely magnified version of what most of us hope for, the idealized beginning of what is meant to ripen into the perfect partnership of a man and a woman.”
Koppel’s ABC colleague, Bob Green, added: “The royal aspect almost was secondary … [T]here was something universal about the ceremony of life that was taking place. The message was the same one that comes through at a wedding in a church recreation room in New Hampshire or a justice of the peace’s office in Ohio.”
When the royal couple said, “I will,” the roar of the crowd outside St. Paul’s Cathedral “was almost as if the world was cheering for itself,” Green reported.
And indeed we do cheer for ourselves when we rejoice in wedding vows.
Marriage is a promise. Not just between one man and one woman but to the community at large, to generations past and to those yet to be born. Wedding vows set apart this lifelong, life-giving relationship from all others.
As Heritage senior research fellow Chuck Donovan writes:
The simplicity of this truth accounts for the nearly universal history and expression of marriage across cultures. Despite the enormity of the pressures marriage and family face today, the vast majority of people in American society express the desire to marry, experience a lifelong faithful relationship, have children, and raise those children into adulthood where they are able to establish families of their own.
Even in 1981, however, ABC’s Green noted that “marriage and the family have fallen on hard times.” How much more so in the 30 years since: The bitter, postmodern ending to Princess Diana’s own fairy tale during that time is an apt metaphor for the troubled state of marriage today.
Still, the institution of marriage endures, even when a particular marriage falls apart. Our failure to attain it doesn’t change the ideal–nor should current challenges.
Today, the route to marriage isn’t nearly as clear as in generations past, and once entered, its endurance less sure. Americans are marrying at half the annual rate they did four decades ago, data posted at FamilyFacts.org show.
Last year, The Marriage Index, published by the Institute for American Values and the National Center on African American Marriage and Parenting, rated the strength of marriage in America at 60.3 out of a possible 100, based on a set of five indicators. In 1970, the score would have been 76.2.
The erosion of marriage and family bode ill for the strength and stability of American society. Scholar Michael Novak famously referred to the family as the “original Department of Health, Education and Welfare” because of its role in providing for the needs of all its members, and particularly the next generation.
That’s why one of the most important ways that government can promote the general welfare is by upholding the institution of marriage. As Donovan recently stated in testimony on behalf of the Defense of Marriage Act:
All of the governmental interests embodied in the Defense of Marriage Act ultimately serve one overarching purpose: to create and foster conditions of public policy that reinforce the binding of men and women to one another and to the children they co-create. Study after study of the impact of marriage and the sustained presence of mothers and fathers in the home, striving together and nurturing their children, demonstrate the advantages of a married mother and father over every other family form that has been exhaustively studied to date.
Yet, in the shadow of the royal wedding, a worrisome class divide on marriage is emerging that threatens to make marriage more of a fairy tale than a shared ideal. Writing about a 2010 report, “When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America,“ author W. Bradford Wilcox and Heritage’s Donovan observe:
Marriage is in trouble in Middle America. High rates of divorce, nonmarital childbearing and single parenthood were once problems primarily concentrated in poor communities. Now, the American retreat from marriage is moving into the heart of the social order: the middle class…
What is happening today is a widening gulf between the middle class, where a sharp decline in marriage is at work, and the most educated and affluent Americans, where marriage indicators are either stable or improving.
An understanding of the central importance of marriage and realistic expectations about it will go a long way toward making the institution more durable and pervasive across socio-economic levels.
“The writers of fairy tales most commonly ended their stories about princes and princesses at the altar,” Koppel intoned 30 years ago. “These writers knew what marriage was meant to be. They were also wise enough to know that it rarely turns out that way.”
Fairy tales, however, often leave out the wedding vows that dispel the easy illusion of happily ever after, set appropriate expectations for a lifetime of commitment and connect couples to the communities of support around them. The vows begin where the ceremony ends.
With good reason, the world once again roared with joy at the universal promise embodied in William and Kate’s vows today.
For The Family