Finding the Rhetoric to Express the Reality of Marriage

A panel at the Faith & Freedom Coalition's (FFC) Road to Majority conference on June 14, 2013 at Washington, D.C.'s JW Marriot offered important insights from key scholars seeking to maintain the institution of marriage's integrity against homosexuals and others.  Entitled "Don't Preach to the Choir:  Rhetorical Strategies for the Pro-Family Movement," the panel deserves notice among those around the world suddenly struggling to preserve a time-honored institution.

Noted marriage defender Ryan T. Anderson, author along with his fellow Princeton University alumnus Shirif Gerges and their professor Robert P. George of What is Marriage?:  Man and Woman, a Defense, remarked that with respect to marriage's defenders, often the  "choir is not showing up[,] and when it is, it is singing off key."  Yet Anderson noted that the evidence showed for children that "there is no such thing as parenting ... there is mothering and fathering."  Child outcomes "are better when you do the traditional bourgeois stuff," agreed Ryan's co-panelist, the conservative writer Jonathan V. Last.

Eric Teetsel, Christian conservative director of the Manhattan Declaration in support of life, marriage, and religious freedom, observed that "not facts," but "fads" underlie support for same-sex "marriage" (SSM).  Teetsel noted the apparel and accessories offered by the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) with the HRC's equal sign logo, including a dog bag carrier.  Such a propagandized product line implied to consumers that "we can either be an insider or an outsider," analogous to a Louis Vuitton purchase.  HRC is thereby making "sycophantic appeals to the lowest common denominator."

Yet Teetsel saw in the efforts of HRC and others an effectuation of Aldous Huxley's dystopia, in which societies engage in a "willing surrender of their liberties" for superficial sensual pleasure.  Dystopic as well was Anderson's mention of a New York Magazine story concerning a "throuple" of three homosexual men living together.  As psychologist and bestselling author Diane Medved (wife of conservative columnist and radio show host Michael Medved) said on the panel, "[i]f a man and a woman are interchangeable, then it's no holds barred."  Accordingly, Medved referred to SSM as a "feminist" as well as a "biblical issue" because "women deserve to have credit for being a separate gender."  

Like others, Medved saw the movement for SSM arising within "our divorce culture" that "has made marriage disposable."  Medved discussed a female friend who asked her husband of many years one night whether he wanted to go to a movie, only, shockingly, to receive the answer "No, I want a divorce," whereupon the husband immediately moved out with his packed bags.  Medved noted that each such divorce produces "ruinous ripples," making other couples wonder whether their marriage is the next to dissolve and weakening the institution as a whole.

Unlike the victims of abortion viewed by ultrasound, however, Anderson described children victimized by SSM and other dilutions of marriage as being initially invisible.  Yet, as Teetsel observed, the media is not greatly interested in uncovering any darker side to the homosexual movement.  Teetsel cited Matt Birk, who declined a White House invitation to meet President Barack Obama following the Super Bowl championship of Birk's Baltimore Ravens.  Teetsel noted that the refusal of the pro-life Birk due to Obama's invocation of God before the abortion provider Planned Parenthood received relatively little media coverage, in contrast to the gay coming out of the rather average NBA player Jason Collins.

In the face of a well-organized public relations campaign in favor of homosexuality and SSM, Teetsel advocated "arguing as a lover."  As the panelists indicated, speaking the truth in love about homosexuality will require harnessing hard facts and logic to counter deceptively slick, superficial words.