Our media colleague Chris Matthews just got a thrill up his other leg. He announced on MSNBC that he’s figured out what the black community needs: same-sex marriage. He’s wrong on religious liberty, and he’s wrong on the economics both of marriage and of the black community.
Chris had a June 28 segment on Hardball discussing New York’s law redefining marriage to henceforth include two persons of the same sex. One of your authors (Blackwell) was opposite a New York same-sex activist, and Chris acknowledged that he supports same-sex marriage.
An Ohio state constitutional amendment to protect natural marriage passed in 2004, affirming that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. I (Blackwell) was the lead spokesman for this amendment, which ensures that Ohio will continue recognizing marriage as it has been defined throughout history.
During the interview, Chris criticized the fact that African-American pastors in Cleveland, Ohio have encouraged their flocks to support natural marriage. He cried, “they created a lot of rumble and excitement about the evils of same-sex marriage in communities that are very much in need of more marriages — obviously, because they’re unstable in many ways — some of the families.”
Chris thus bought into a line of thinking of the left, one that is paternalistic. Liberals often lecture the black community. In this instance, liberals lecture black pastors for encouraging their church members to vote in accordance with biblical teaching on marriage. Despite the fact that the religious faith of these pastors teaches natural marriage is a sacred union, Chris tells them all that they are foolishly working against the best interests of the black community by supporting what the Bible teaches.
Natural marriage is also a sacrament of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II was a strong advocate of the sanctity and paramount importance of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Chris (who is Catholic) claims to revere Pope John Paul II, but evidently the late pontiff was as benighted and ignorant as these black pastors, failing to grasp the profound wisdom of the left that 2,000 years of Christian belief and at least 5,000 years of global human history somehow missed.
The thrill of having discovered the transcendent wisdom of the ages that what the black community needs is same-sex marriage is understandable. After all, how often does one have the chance to promulgate a doctrine of Hardball infallibility to trump the doctrine of papal infallibility?
But before we FedEx a white mitre and collar to Matthews’s studio, the Apostle of MSNBC needs to be reminded of something: The data contradicts his televised encyclical.
Children thrive best in a household with a father and a mother. Not just two individuals who call themselves “parents” — and if both adults are of the same gender, it is biologically impossible for them to both be the natural parents — but a father and a mother.
Men and women are equal, but not interchangeable. The research — as exemplified by our colleague Dr. Pat Fagan in his new report — show that the economics are compelling: While there are exceptions to every social norm, men and women tend to bring different strengths to raising children. Firmness and gentleness. Physical security and emotional security. Challenges and comfort. Discipline and nurturing.
Many families do not have the benefit of both parents. Often the reasons behind this reality rightly tug on our heartstrings. And millions of single parents deserve lavish praise for their magnificent work at raising wonderful children, with inspiring personal success stories.
But the ideal remains. Two parents — one man and one woman — raising their children in a loving and supportive marriage gives children the best chance to become happy and successful.
Those pushing same-sex marriage often smear those who disagree with them as ignorant bigots, blindly following Christian teaching. They then demonize that teaching, which again leaves us puzzled how those like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who signed this law redefining marriage, and journalists like Chris, can continue recognizing the authority of religious leaders whom they consider dead-wrong on matters of religious truth.
But this too is contradicted by the facts. There are non-Christian civilizations that accepted or even embraced homosexuality. The ancients Greeks, for example.
Yet none of them ever presumed to redefine marriage. Marriage as the union of men and women is the rule in every nation on earth in every century. The first same-sex unions anywhere on earth appeared less than a decade ago.
This is a perfect fusion of social and economic conservatism. Stable traditional marriages provide the most effective and efficient units of economic production, consumption and investment our country has seen. Not just the union of any two individuals, but the union of one man and one woman. Strong families and faithful houses of worship foster economic prosperity.
This is the product not just of revealed truth, but also of millennia of human experience. Supporting and encouraging natural marriage is beneficial to every community, regardless of skin color or income.
Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski are senior fellows at the Family Research Council and on faculty at Liberty University, and the bestselling authors of Resurgent: How Constitutional Conservatism Can Save America.