The book that Robby and Sherif and I wrote is one of the first, but it certainly shouldn’t be the last. There should be additional books, articles, op-eds, academic papers — all of that. Mark Regnerus’s study was a step in the right direction. There are other studies like that that are in the works. We need to have social sciences, philosophy, theology, law, and ultimately we need more Hollywood culture — pop culture — that tells the truth about marriage. But it’s very hard if you’re a young person who is bombarded with the opposite message to not become persuaded by it.
Is there an effort in elementary and secondary education to indoctrinate children into accepting a redefinition of marriage?
For 30 or 40 years there’s been a well-organized, well financed campaign by the LGBT movement to advance its agenda. It’s not by happenstance that all of this has happened; it’s been well-crafted, well thought out. I think most people who are opposed to it just hoped that it would go away but didn’t want to do the work that was required to counteract it. I don’t think the argument for marriage has been heard and rejected; it simply hasn’t been heard. Over the past year, I spoke on a couple of dozen college campuses, including Harvard, Yale and Princeton, Stanford, Amherst, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Boston College, Columbia, NYU, BYU, and a bunch of other schools. I would say that on every campus, students would come up to me and say, “We never heard a rational argument for marriage. We just never heard a secular case for traditional marriage before. We still disagree with you, but thank you for that presentation. It’s the first time we’ve heard it.”
On the other hand, religious students would say, “Wow, that was great. We’ve always known that this is what the Bible says, what the Church teaches. But we didn’t know how we could articulate this in secular language. We didn’t know how we could explain the law that’s written on our hearts using philosophy and sociology.”
So really, I think it’s that the other side has been very organized in advancing their cause in a way that our side has not.
What are some things Christians might do on a day-to-day, personal level to defend marriage from redefinition? How might Christians pay closer attention to language, for example? Is it wise for us to keep using terms like “gay marriage” or even the word “gay” itself?
The first thing Christians need to do is actually live out the truth. Redefining marriage to include same-sex relationships only makes sense in a world where marriages have already been largely degraded, whether that’s been with divorce or pre-marital sex or extramarital childbearing or pornography and the hookup culture. Everything that has taken place over the past forty years lays the groundwork for a legal redefinition of marriage. Only where you have roughly 40 percent of all children being born outside of wedlock, only where you have roughly 40 percent of all marriages ending in divorce, do you get a legal culture willing to say, “Yeah, the male-female aspect is just arbitrary and irrational.”
The second thing is just making the argument. For so many people, the pro-life argument rolls off their tongues, but they’re not equipped to make the argument for marriage. So if your neighbor or coworker were to ask, “Are you in favor of same-sex marriage? Why or why not?” are you willing and able to make that explanation in a way that is appealing and persuasive in the way that you are on the life issue? And I think that for many people it’s much easier to make the pro-life argument.
How should parents talk to their children about what kids see in the world today — same-sex couples living on the same block, for example, or classmates being picked up after school by two “daddies” or two “mommies.”
I think this is going to be the first generation possibly in human history in which we try to explain why we’re not in favor of redefining marriage, but we’re also not in favor of homophobia. We don’t want to be anti-gay, but being in favor of traditional marriage isn’t an instance of an action that’s anti-gay. We can’t deny that over the course of human history, gays and lesbians have been mistreated. But redefining the central institution of civilization is not one of those. So that’s a narrow pathway we have to walk. How do we show love to our neighbors who have same-sex attraction? Treat them with the dignity they have as children
of God, without celebrating their relationships. And that’s going to be a challenge for this generation in particular.