Saturday, July 30, 2005

Topic of the Week - Response to Minnesota Family Council Editorial

The following letter was sent to the Minneapolis Star Tribune today in response to Tom Prichard, President of the Minnesota Family Council, editorial printed in the newspaper regarding his opposition to same sex marriage. This letter could be used as an example and be sent to each national and state government representative in opposition to the many "Family" organizations rooted in prejudice (American Family Research Council and Focus on the Family are prime examples of these type of "Family" organizations). Both the letter and the editorial by Prichard are reprinted below.

Dear Star Tribune,

I would like to respond to Tom Prichard's editorial you printed today, Saturday July 30, 2005. Prichard, President of the Minnesota Family Council, gives a counter-point to the Star Tribune editorial from last Saturday, July 23rd supporting Canada's resolution on Civil Marriage, inclusive of same sex marriage.

First, Prichard immediately exposes his flaw of his stance when he claims the Star Tribune "fails to successfully answer the religious and other objections to same sex marriage." Response: Our Constitution clearly states the need for separation of church and state so Prichard's focus on the religious objection has no relevance in our government policies.

Second, Prichard states that "gay activists aren't seeking equal access to marriage. They can already marry; it just must be to a person of the opposite sex." Response: Prichard clearly exposes his ignorance with this comment and completely negates his comments further in the article when he states that same sex marriage could lead to polygamy. Suggesting a solution for the gay and lesbian community to marry the opposite sex completely portrays a lack of understanding from Prichard on how gays or lesbians cannot just fall in love with the opposite sex - it is counter to their DNA. So is Prichard advocating marriage between two people without a foundation of love? It certainly seems so.

Third, Prichard states that "Marriage has always been rooted in the relationship between a man and a woman -- a relationship that is essential to procreation and to the successful nurturing of children." Response: Recent studies prove that children raised in a same sex household have no less personal development than those in heterosexual households. According to the MECA (Marriage Equality California) who has done more bi-partisan research on this issue than any other organization, Charlotte J. Patterson of the University of Virginia summarizes from seven in-depth research studies comparing heterosexual and same sex marriage parenting. Patterson states "there is no evidence to suggest that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents or that psychosocial development among children of gay men or lesbians is compromised in any respect relative to that among offspring of heterosexual parents. Not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents. Indeed, the evidence to date suggests that home environments provided by gay and lesbian parents are as likely as those provided by heterosexual parents to support and enable children's psychosocial growth." Besides Prichard's biblical belief, can he support any research study that supports his claim that children of heterosexual couples are better off developmentally than same sex couples? No, he cannot.

Fourth, Prichard states consistently that marriage equates to raising children. Response: I, personally, take offense to this. My wife and I have decided currently not to have children - a choice we both made. According to Prichard and other conservative "Family" organizations who are against same sex marriage, they believe procreation is essential to marriage. So literally according to Prichard, our decision to not have children is against the definition of marriage. I think every married couple who choose not to have children would argue they are legally married, would they not?

Fifth, Prichard takes the typical 'persecuted' stance when he states that the church in Canada is being victimized "Catholic and evangelical leaders now face threats of legal sanctions if they speak out against same sex marriage." Response: Yes, public opposition against same sex marriage is prejudice - period. If Prichard and the Church leaders publicly proclaimed that African-Americans, Muslims, Hispanics and other minorities should not be married, this would be correctly defined as bigotry. And legal sanctions could be levied against this bigotry as bigotry is rooted in hate and inciting hate. Just yesterday on July 29th, the Orlando Sentinel reported that hate crimes against the gay community in Florida is at an all time high "The number of such incidents statewide accounted for 20 percent of all hate crimes in 2003, the highest proportion for this category ever recorded in Florida." So this type of preaching publicly, outside their church, against opposition to same sex marriage needs to be monitored so it does not incite hate crimes.

And finally, I would like to challenge Prichard's implication of Churches right to Tax-Exempt status. I think we should ask ourselves, why are Churches categorized as 501(c) organizations and realize tax benefits inclusive of exemption from state and federal corporate income tax and possible exemptions from local property taxes? Organized religion (churches) are a business - they operate as a business and generate income by soliciting funds from their membership (customers). Because, at times, a part of their profits are given to charitable causes ((by no means a regular practice within all church organizations), does this entitle all realized profits not to be taxed? For example, the profit realized by a church that is reinvested into creating and building a larger building may not be taxed or be taxed at a much lower rate. Why? A majority of businesses in the United States have setup foundations and or causes that give monies to charitable organizations as well - why are their other profits, reinvested into their businesses, taxed at a higher rate? Surely, I would think Republicans and Democrats who are fighting for lower taxes would question this inequality, wouldn't they? It seems clear to me our country should consider taxing these church businesses who take their profit and reinvest into their business at the same rate as other businesses who do the same. With our soaring deficit, this is just one possible solution to increase tax dollars to help alleviate our national and state debt(s) that is both equitable and acceptable. Yes, charitable contributions deserve to be a tax write-off...but not monies that are used for operating expenses, building larger churches and/or increasing salaries of the church hierarchy. Something to think about.

In summary, the bottom line is that Prichard and the Minnesota Family Council are inciting prejudice against gays and lesbians and trying to incorporate their biblical beliefs into our public policies here in Minnesota. Not only does the U.S. Constitution state that separation of church and state is our foundation, but I believe our Minnesota government and Minnesota populace respects this value within our public policies as well.

Comments? Click below on "Post your Comments."


Tom Prichard: Reject Canada's same-sex marriage error
Tom Prichard
July 30, 2005 PRICHARD0730

The Star Tribune's editorial "Canada Leads: Gay equality is the issue" is both a success and a failure. It succeeds in exposing the flawed basis for the editors' support of same-sex marriage (SSM). And it fails to successfully answer the religious and other objections to SSM.

The editorial argues that SSM is an issue of equality: Gays and lesbians need to be treated equally. The reality is that gay activists aren't seeking equal access to marriage. They can already marry; it just must be to a person of the opposite sex. They want a radical redefinition of marriage, and they're attempting to co-opt the term "equality" to get it. People's concepts of equality evolve, they argue.

Advocates of this "evolving" equality have to answer the logical question: If marriage should be redefined to include two people of the same sex, why shouldn't it be broadened to include three women and a man (polygamy)? Why not whole groups of individuals (polyamory) as some now advocate? There simply is no rational basis for limiting this "evolving" equality.
The fact is that true marriage is founded on something more substantial than the latest social theory. It's rooted in who we are as human beings -- in nature and in creation. Our nation's founders referred to it as "the laws of nature and of nature's God."

Marriage has always been rooted in the relationship between a man and a woman -- a relationship that is essential to procreation and to the successful nurturing of children. (Of course, that leads to another question same-sex marriage advocates must answer: Who is the unnecessary person in this nurturing and raising of children -- the mother or the father? By definition one or the other is eliminated from a same-sex household.)

The editorial argues that religious objectors don't really need to be concerned about a legal redefinition of marriage, because what we're talking about is "civil" marriage and not "religious" marriage. But the civil benefits of marriage don't differ from the religious simply because it's civil. The need for a mother and father in a child's life doesn't change once you leave the church, synagogue or mosque. SSM will simply deepen the already devastating problems in our society of children lacking either a father or a mother.

The editorial also forces us to ask: Where, exactly, is Canada leading with regard to religious freedom and SSM? Let's look at the church in Canada. Catholic and evangelical leaders there now face threats of legal sanctions if they speak out against SSM. Bishop Frederick Henry of Calgary was warned by Revenue Canada that his public opposition to SSM might jeopardize his charitable tax status.

In Europe the same pattern exists, with church leaders threatened with criminal sanctions if they speak out against homosexual behavior -- behavior that will be officially affirmed by society if SSM is recognized. It doesn't take much imagination to realize that if SSM becomes the law of the land in the United States, churches opposing it would face the loss of their tax-exempt status, and individuals could find themselves charged under anti-discrimination laws.
Fortunately, the effort of SSM advocates to piggyback off the civil rights movement is being exposed for what it is -- the co-opting of a legitimate equality struggle for the pursuit of lifestyle choices. It's not surprising that many of the most vocal opponents of SSM are members of the African-American community.

No, we don't want to follow Canada, because that nation's path will only lead to the further disintegration of marriage, harm to children and religious persecution.

Thankfully, most Minnesotans realize the folly of following that lead.

Tom Prichard is president of the Minnesota Family Council.

Comments? Post below.

1 Comments:

At 7:08 AM, Blogger PWB said...

Well, you know me. I had to send my email to Tom Prichard, the President of the Minnesota Family Council directly (which I did on Saturday after I sent the letter to to the Star Tribune respective of this week's 'Topic of the Week). Of course, I received no response from Prichard so I decided to prod him a bit earlier this week and ask him to respond. Well, guess what? He responded - below is the email exchange between Tom Prichard and myself.

Thought you may be interested.

PWB


From: PWB Minneapolis@yahoo.com[mailto:tom.rickert@rickertmedia.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 3:40 PM
To: 'mail@mfc.org'
Subject: RE: Tom Prichard's Editorial in Star Tribune Today


Tom,

In response to your email below, opposing ideas are fine in public forum on a whole, but not in public policy when our Constitution clearly defines separation of church and state and your definition of marriage is clearly a biblical interpretation. Your organization has every right to voice their opinion on how you define marriage, and your definition of marriage can be supported as such in your church(es). But based on our constitutional principle of separation of church and state, you and your group should not try and legislate your biblical definition of marriage. It is not supporting this country's foundation. I think you realize this, don't you?

Also, please do not pull pieces of my verbiage from my actual entire context relative to prejudice and hate when you ask below "Why does simply believing and advocating that marriage is between one man and one woman constitute hate and prejudice?" As I state below in my email to you - "So this type of preaching publicly, outside their church, against opposition to same sex marriage needs to be monitored so it does not incite hate crimes." I state needs to be monitored...so it does not incite hate crimes - I state evidence below in Florida showing hate crimes against the gay community was at an all time high. I hope you can one day see that public opposition to our civil liberties can possibly incite hate or violence.

You go on to say in your email below "In your view then the two thirds of the public that oppose same sex marriage are all prejudiced, hatemongers?" Again, please don't put sensational words into my mouth. I know there are very loving, accepting people who believe that the definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. But those loving, accepting people also accept that marriage should be interpreted differently within our governmental public policies because they know their definition of marriage stems from their religious belief. In addition, they know that separation of church and state is our country's foundation - and they respect this principle. You and the Minnesota Family Council do not respect our country's principle foundation and are trying to use your religious belief and incorporate it into our public policies. If you respected our country, you would respect our principles.

And I ask you - in the 1950's and 1960's when the African American community was protesting for their civil liberties, over 2/3's of the southern United States populace opposed allowing for many of their civil liberties. Was this right? Was this just? Thankfully, our government and our courts ruled in favor of civil liberties for African Americans eventually...and finally after much violence, hate crimes and bigotry. I hope you can see the correlation between the civil liberties between African Americans and the civil liberties of the gay and lesbian communities. Let me ask you a question -- if the bible stated that marriage should only be between a white man and a white woman, would you follow this belief system? I hope not. Think about this, Tom.

Finally, why did you not comment on my other challenges to your editorial? Specific to your statement on gays and lesbians can marry opposite sex partners implying you do not believe marriage should have a foundation of love?. Why the Minnesota Family Council on their web site and in public statements always equate marriage to having children - does this mean my wife and I are not truly married in the Minnesota Family Council's eyes? And the MECA research study on how the psychological developmental of children parented by a same sex couple is no less than those children parented by a heterosexual couple - can you show me one study which supports your statement that children from a heterosexual couple are higher in psychological development than those children parented by same sex couples? I don't think you can, Tom.

Regardless, I appreciate you taking the time to email me back. I do ask you to reflect on the fact that you, the Minnesota Family Council, are trying to incorporate your religious beliefs into our public policies. Tom, in no way does civil marriage, between heterosexual and/or same sex couples, infringe on your individual religious freedoms. However, your political agenda in trying to legislate marriage as only between a man and a woman does infringe on the civil liberties of the gay and lesbian community as well as all Americans. And, as a Christian organization, I hope you want to support civil liberties for all people, regardless of their race, sex or sexual orientation. I know Jesus Christ would support this, wouldn't he?

Thanks for considering my comments.

PWBMinneapolis

From: mail@mfc.org [mailto:mail@mfc.org]
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 2:57 PM
To: PWBMinneapolis@yahoo.com
Subject: FW: Tom Prichard's Editorial in Star Tribune Today


Tom,

I appreciate your willingness to respond to my editorial.

I find your comments only further make my case -- that many advocates of same sex marriage would like nothing better than to silence opposing views on same sex marriage. Why does simply believing and advocating that marriage is between one man and one woman constitute hate and prejudice? In your view then the two thirds of the public that oppose same sex marriage are all prejudiced, hatemongers?

Where is the tolerance for opposing ideas?

Tom Prichard

 

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