By Harry R. Jackson, Jr., Guest Columnist
Lost in the never-ending push to redefine marriage are those who suffer most when they are denied the benefit of a traditional marriage. Children need both a mother and a father far more than any adult needs societal approval of a romantic relationship. And although American children may, for the most part, have food, shelter and education, too many are denied this most basic need. According to the most recent US Census, a third of American children live apart from their biological fathers. For African American children, it is nearly two thirds.
I have written a great deal, along with many others, about the terrible consequences of father abandonment for children. Children who grow up without their fathers are more likely to be poor, use drugs, commit crimes, drop out of school and commit suicide. But behind these statistics are millions of individual human stories of intense pain. The marriage debate has become so focused on the desires and demands of various groups of adults that we have forgotten the legitimate needs and terrible suffering of children.
An absent father leaves a deep wound in the heart of his child. Writing in the magazine Essence, singer VaShawn Mitchell spoke for millions when he admitted, “As I approach 35, I still have many unanswered questions about my biological father and the reasons it took me nearly 30 years to realize that I had to forgive him and move forward. I had questions like… What man would have a son and not want to be a part of his life?”
Mitchell’s unanswered question goes to the heart of fatherlessness: the child who grows up feeling constantly rejected by the man who should have been his provider and protector. Critics of the traditional family have long sought to convince us that the gender of a parent is irrelevant: boys can learn to be men even if they are raised by two “mommies,” and girls do not need their biological fathers in their lives to have healthy relationships with men in the future.
Artists and authors have told a different tale for millennia. The longing of the abandoned child for his or her father has been a theme in literature since at least 1200 BC, when Homer told of Telemachus’ ache to know his father Odysseus. More recently, Maya Angelou described the occasional visits from her biological father in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. “Daddy Baily visited occasionally, bringing shopping bags full of fruit. He is shown like a Sun God, benignly warming and brightening his dark subjects.”
Multiple studies confirm that children abandoned by their fathers often report feelings of rage and shame. As adults, they tend to have difficulty trusting others and struggle with fearing abandonment in their relationships. Rapper Lecrae expresses a young boy’s yearning for his father in his song, “Just Like You.” He notes the reason so many fatherless boys fall into making poor life decisions:
So now I’m looking at the media and following what they feed me,
Rap stars, trap stars, whoever wants to lead me
Even though they lie, they still tell me that they love me,
They say I’m good at bad things at least they proud of me
Is it any wonder that young boys turn to lives of crime and violence, when the purveyors of such lifestyles are the only men to show them any real attention? It is about as surprising as a starving child attempting to steal bread. And no social policy that fails to take into account the deep and legitimate need that every child has for both a mother and a father can ever be considered fair or just.
What does the internal aching so many children have for their missing fathers have to do with how marriage is legally defined? Advocates of redefining marriage constantly scoff at the notion that their policy goals could have a negative effect on anyone. “How does the legal union of two homosexual men affect your marriage?” they ask mockingly.
And of course the debate has nothing to do with my marriage or yours. It has to do with how future generations of adults will approach the very idea of marriage and parenthood. We already have nearly two decades of social experimentation in Scandinavia to draw upon. And it tells us that the broader the definition of marriage is the fewer adults bother with it in the first place. Since legalizing registered partnerships and gay marriage in Scandinavia, an overwhelming number of adults have simply stopped bothering to get married in the first place.
As I have pointed out many times before, words that mean everything, mean nothing. The looser we make the definition of marriage, the fewer people will feel bound to its obligations and constraints. And while broken relationships can hurt adults, they can destroy children.
Complete Article HERE!
Pastor Greg Laurie says America is experiencing a “total moral meltdown”
Washington – The Honorary Chairman of next week’s National Day of Prayer has a history of speaking out against LGBT Americans. Pastor Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California and is a part of Harvest Ministries. Laurie will be in Washington DC next week to lead events at the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill as part of the 2013 National Day of Prayer.
Pastor Laurie insists that being gay is a sin. His organization, Harvest Ministries, claims LGBT people are “denying and disobeying God.” A “Statement on Homosexuality” on the Harvest website reads: “A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not!”
“Pastor Laurie’s message is out of step with what the majority of people of faith across this country believe,” said Dr. Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion & Faith Program. “In greater numbers than ever before, people of faith are feeling compelled to speak up and organize for equality – because of their faith.”
Pastor Laurie’s implication that being gay is a choice is not only inaccurate; it’s also a dangerous assertion. The nation’s leading medical organizations are in lockstep agreement that efforts to change one’s sexual orientation can have harmful consequences. Full statements from the medical groups are available on HRC’s website. Earlier this week, a one-time leading advocate of efforts aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation issued an apology and denounced the dangerous practices. John Paulk, who was once associated with the ex-gay group Exodus International, says change efforts are harmful and don’t work. Data indicates that youth exposed to practices aimed at “changing” their sexual orientation are more prone to suicide attempts, depression, and drug use.
Last week, Pastor Laurie appeared on James Dobson’s “Family Talk” program, warning that our nation was experiencing a “complete, total moral meltdown.” James Dobson is the founder and chairman emeritus of the anti-gay group Focus on the Family, an organization that has blasted relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples and attacked the idea of same-sex couples raising children. Dobson’s wife, Shirley, is the Chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
“People of faith are guided by the core tenets of their faith to love their neighbor as yourself and judge not,” added Groves. “Pastor Laurie’s offensive teachings stand in direct contradiction to the core values of many people of faith and an increasing number of religious institutions that have encouraged full inclusion. It is time for him to listen to the religious voices that recognize supporting all LGBT people as a faith value.”
Laurie will be participating in a prayer breakfast at the Pentagon next Thursday morning. Laurie and Dobson will then lead the official observation of the National Day of Prayer from an event on Capitol Hill.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
Complete Article HERE!
By David Zimmerman
For many years those within the lgbt community have read stories in lgbt press regarding the Salvation Army. Most of these stories revolved around the fact that the nation’s largest charity is decidedly anti-gay.
Now, with the explosion of social media, the noise regarding the Salvation Army’s policies is getting louder. Recently America Blog began urging people to print out vouchers (see below) and to place the voucher in the red donation bucket in lieu of cash.
Significant anti-lgbt moments in the Salvation Army’s past include:
In 2002 the charity made waves when it announced a policy that would have offered health insurance for a “legally domiciled adult” living with an employee. Essentially granting health benefits for same-sex partners of employees. This policy was reversed after only 2 weeks
In 2003 the Washington Post reported that the Bush administration was working with the Salvation Army in an effort to issue a regulation making it easier for government-funded religious groups to discriminate against gay people in hiring. According to an internal Salvation Army report the Bush White House gave the charity a “firm commitment” to work to protect them from state and city laws that prevent discrimination against gays in hiring and domestic-partner benefits.
At the time the Salvation Army spent approximately $100,000 to lobby in favor of President Bush’s faith based initiative. (The Bush administration wound up not working with the Salvation Army on the regulation)
In 2004 the charity threatened to leave New York City if Mayor Michael Bloomberg enforces a new ordinance requiring all groups with city contracts to offer benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. Bloomberg was against the ordinance and did not enforce it.
In June of this year the following passage appeared on the official website of the Australian Salvation Army:
“[Homosexual activity is] as rebellion against God’s plan for the created order… Homosexual practice, however, is, in the light of Scripture, clearly unacceptable. Such activity is chosen behaviour and is thus a matter of the will. It is therefore able to be directed or restrained in the same way heterosexual urges are controlled. Homosexual practice would render any person ineligible for full membership (soldiership) in the [Salvation] Army.”
Complete Article HERE!