Fighting Modern Slavery

June 12th, 2014

Today, the New York State Senate took action to fight the scourge of modern slavery, by unanimously passing the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act.

This bill is an important way to strengthen the fight against human trafficking in our state.  It is a terrible scandal and crime that thousands of people, particularly women and children, are suffering in our midst, having been brought here to serve as labor or sex slaves.  This is largely driven by the evil sex industry, particularly prostitution and pornography.

The number of victims of trafficking is staggering.  The UN estimates that there are over 1.5 million victims in the United States, Canada and Europe.  The majority (55%) of forced labor victims are women and girls.  And 98 percent of sex trafficking victims are female.  Children make up 26 percent of all victims — over 5.5 million child victims around the world.

And these numbers really do nothing to communicate the raw human suffering that is involved in this evil exploitation of vulnerable people.  It is difficult even to imagine the conditions under which sex slaves are forced to live and work.  The descriptions that I have seen rival the horrors of Dante’s Inferno.  

The Catholic Church around the world, and our own United States Bishops, have long been leaders in the battle against human trafficking.  Our bishops have an energetic anti-trafficking campaign, and Pope Francis has repeatedly denounced it as a “crime against humanity”.

Although New York enacted laws against human trafficking in 2007, our state continues to be a magnet for the modern slave trade.  By passing this bill, the State Senate has taken an important step forwards, and all our Senators are to be commended — particularly Sen. Andrew Lanza of Staten Island, who led the fight.

It is now imperative for the Assembly to take action.  In that house, the human trafficking bill is being held hostage by pro-abortion advocates.   The bill is part of the Governor’s “Women’s Equality Act”, which also has a provision that would expand abortion.  Pro-abortion Assembly representatives, and the leadership, have so far refused to allow the trafficking bill to be considered on its own.

Shame on them.  The victims of human trafficking are calling out for protection.  They can’t wait for Albany politics.  The time to end the modern slave trade is now.

Pain, Loneliness, and Healing

May 30th, 2014

A friend asked my thoughts about the terrible mass shooting in California, and particularly about the reports that the young man was driven by anger because no girl would have casual sex with him.  She wondered what we can do to address the deeper longing that our culture is not addressing.  Here is what I replied:

I think that you’re on to something very important by looking at the issue of sex in this young man’s life. That gives a perspective into something even deeper, something that makes this such a human tragedy, because it touches on a wound within us that we all suffer from — our deep sense of loneliness, isolation and alienation from others, and our desperate search for the right cure.   Look at what we know about this young man’s life, and that’s what jumps out at me — he clearly was seeking some contact with an Other, in order to satisfy the longing and hurt in his own heart and soul.  He and his family tried pretty much everything that our culture has to offer, in an effort to find peace — material stuff (just think of the mother’s comment about buying him a car to help his “self-esteem”), gaming (escape into unreality), psychiatry and medicine (the modern panacea), and entitlement sex (without which he felt even more isolated).  Sometimes those things offer some degree of solace and hope, but this time they failed.

The festering wound of his isolation and loneliness, and the failure of all the remedies our culture approves, led him to be fixated on the sex.  This makes perfect sense, because deep in even the most deluded and anesthetized heart, we cannot fail to know that sex is meant to connect us to an Other.  We Catholics who know our theology of the body, know this very well, because we understand that sex is meant to be an icon of our connection to the Ultimate Other.  This young man’s failure to find even the most pallid reflection of that icon, produced an existential anger — not just against his situation but even against who and what he is.  And so he tried to destroy all that reminded him of the hurt he couldn’t get rid of or make sense of.

What do we do with this?  As with any pathology, we have to recognize the real cause.  It’s all well and good to talk about gun violence, misogyny, casual sex, violent games, and all that.  It’s all true, and there can be all sorts of policy “solutions” proposed.  But it’s all beside the point.  It doesn’t matter.

We can talk about the real issue here, in terms our culture can understand.  Why do people care about Kim and Kanye?  Because even in a celebrity marriage they see a glimmer of the love that everyone wants and needs.  Why are people drawn to the songs of guys like Eminem and 50 Cent?  Because they hear the pain in their voices and lyrics and know that same agony is in their hearts. Why do people love the U2 song “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For?”  Because, like Bono, we haven’t found it either, and we can’t help keeping on looking for it.  Why do people like romantic comedies?  Because we’re all dying for some kind of happy ending in our own messed up lives. I’m not a country music fan, but even I know that all the songs about lost love are really songs about ourselves, and the pain and longing we feel.

We Christians have to stand up and offer the real remedy here.  We have to talk about loneliness, and hurt, and pain, and brokenness, and isolation, and betrayal, and alienation.  That’s where we all live.  We have to talk about what love really is, and what it’s not — it’s not about me, it’s not about stuff, and it’s not about orgasms.  It’s about people, and giving ourselves to them, and accepting their gift — not stealing the gift, and not using it.  People will hear us, because they already know that’s the truth.

And we Christians have to challenge ourselves and our society with the truth — that we are all lonely and hurt and wounded, just as this young man was, just as his victims are.  None of us will be even close to the path of healing until we encounter the Other who became one of us, so that we wouldn’t have to face our isolation and pain all alone.

So, how do we respond to this kind of tragedy?  Preach the Gospel of love and mercy.  Speak to the pain of our hearts.  Invite people to the One who can heal us.

Hatred at Harvard

May 9th, 2014

News has broken over the last few days that a student group will be holding a Satanic “Black Mass” on campus at Harvard University.   This is so outrageous that it even manages to surpass my already low opinion of what passes for “tolerance” and “diversity” at my alma mater, which is supposedly the flagship of higher education in America.  There has been an uproar among Catholic alumni, and deservedly so.  The Archdiocese of Boston has denounced the event in a strongly-worded statement.

Here is the letter I just sent to the President of Harvard, Dr. Drew Faust:

Dear President Faust:

I am an alumnus of Harvard Law School (Class of 1984), writing to ask you to do whatever you can to stop the offensive and “Black Mass” that is scheduled to take place in Memorial Hall on May 12.

This event is deeply insulting to Catholics — it is a deliberate mockery of the Catholic liturgy, and it purports to desecrate the Holy Eucharist, which is the most sacred sacrament of our faith. This event is designed to be hurtful to Catholics. The so-called “Black Mass” displays deep contempt of Catholics, and this event is being deliberately staged and publicized in order to bring maximum public attention to its hateful message.

This cannot be justified by any appeal to “openness” or “diversity”, or by any notion of deference to the free speech of students. It is incomprehensible to me that the university would allow a student group to publicly mock the religious rites of any other faith or the deeply-held beliefs of any other group. Permitting this event to take place will create a hostile environment at Harvard for Catholics, and will send a clear signal that Catholics can be the targets of hatred and ridicule on campus, with impunity. Is that really the kind of atmosphere that you want at Harvard?

Please do whatever you can to prevent this travesty, and make a clear and strong public statement that there is no place for such hatred at Harvard.

Perhaps other Catholics, particularly Harvard alumni and alumnae, could contact the President and express their opinion about this outrageous act of hatred?  Or, perhaps you could join with the Catholic students in prayer, as they hold a Holy Hour on May 12 at 8 p.m., the same time as this sacrilegious event?

Standards and Double Standards

May 7th, 2014

The Holy See is getting a considerable amount of flak from the United Nations, self-appointed victim advocacy groups, and the media about not having firm world-wide policies requiring all sexual abuse cases to be reported to local law enforcement.  We’ve had such a policy here in the United States for years, and it’s been very effective.   It’s a high standard — it shows how seriously we take sexual abuse cases, and demonstrates our commitment to eradicating it from our midst.

So here’s an interesting question — why aren’t people giving the White House the same kind of flak?

The Administration just issued a report on sexual violence on campus.  It garnered a great deal of media attention, and was applauded for showing a deep commitment to fighting  this very serious problem.

But their new guidelines won’t require colleges to report all allegations of sexual assault to local law enforcement.   In fact, not only do they not require it, they justify the practice of not reporting cases, and instead encourage schools to do their own independent investigations and hold their own quasi-judicial proceedings.  (See page 15 of their recent report).  In contrast, we not only report all credible allegations, we defer to law enforcement authorities in the handling of cases, and have strict policies that ensure that we do nothing that would interfere or impede those efforts.

So, the Catholic Church has a stronger policy against sexual violence than the United States Government and American universities.

Does anyone expect that the Church will get any credit for that in the media, or that the US Government will ever be accused of “torture” because of their policies?

There are standards, and double standards.

 

More Anti-Catholic Nonsense from the United Nations

May 5th, 2014

The Holy See has once again been subjected to a public scolding by a United Nations committee for the way that the Church has handled the problem of child sexual abuse.  The last time, it was committee overseeing the rights of children (for my comments on that event, see here).

This time, it was the UN committee tasked with overseeing the implementation of the Convention Against Torture.

Let me put this very bluntly — this latest harassment of the Church is a travesty, a phony show trial, an anti-Catholic “auto da fe”.

Anyone with even the most rudimentary skills in reading comprehension will immediately see that there is no basis whatsoever that any reasonable, fair-minded person could ever consider clerical sexual abuse to be “torture”, just by reading the actual Convention on Torture itself.

The Convention (Article 1)  states:

“For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

Sexual abuse of minors is many, many things — all of them evil — but it is clearly not that.

One would hope that when “international law” is invoked, that we actually pay attention to what the international law really is. When the Holy See signed the Convention, it made clear that it would only apply to the Vatican City State, not to the religious activities of the Catholic Church. Agreeing to a treaty with limitations is common practice (for example, the United States filed a lengthy list of reservations and objections to the Torture Convention). It’s International Law 101 that nations are only bound by international treaties to the extent that they agree to them, and no more. How can anyone take the Committee on the Convention seriously if they don’t understand that basic principle?

The Holy See made clear in its statement to the committee that it is unalterably opposed to torture or degrading treatment of any kind, and that it has taken many significant concrete steps against sexual abuse of minors.  They also warned that the committee’s work should not be hijacked by those with an agenda that is hostile to the Church.

But no corrective steps will ever satisfy the ideological groups that are behind this tragic farce. For once, they actually gave the real agenda away, in the words of the attorney from the Center for Constitutional Rights (the main instigator): “such a finding could open the floodgates to abuse lawsuits dating back decades because there are no statutes of limitations on torture cases.”

Remember that CCR and their allies are radically left-wing organizations that have deep-seated enmity towards the Catholic Church based on our teachings on sexuality and abortion. CCR has been involved deeply in harassing the Holy See in front of international tribunals. They even filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court charging the Holy See with “crimes against humanity” (it was dismissed).  The UN is also filled with nations and with functionaries who share that hostility to the Church and our teachings.

The Holy See has consistently supported international authorities as a way to work for world peace.  But the UN itself undermined that lofty goal, once again.

This kind of hearing is a sham, an injustice, and an act of anti-Catholic bigotry on an international stage, motivated by ideology and money. It is a disgrace.

Unsafe and Uncaring

April 10th, 2014

It has long been suspected that the abortion industry in New York is essentially an unregulated operation.  There are some rules and regulations on the books that require certain minimal health and safety conditions at clinics, and requirements that clinics be licensed.  But up until now, it wasn’t known whether the government ever enforced these rules.

Now we know.  They don’t enforce them.  They obviously don’t care about health and safety inside abortion clinics.  It’s clearly an untouchable industry.

Last year, the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a staunch pro-life organization, filed Freedom of Information requests with the New York City and New York State Health Departments, asking them for information about inspections of abortion clinics in New York City.  The City Health Department immediately ducked, claiming that they have never done an inspection because, they claim, only the State has jurisdiction.

The State Health Department dragged their feet, and eventually the Chiaroscuro Foundation had to sue them to get access to the public records.  After much wrangling in court, the State produced some records, and what they contained was truly appalling.  Here’s how Chiaroscuro described it:

The New York State Health Department has failed to inspect the majority of the state’s estimated 225 abortion clinics and several of the clinics that have been inspected were cited for cringeworthy violations, according to Freedom of Information Law documents obtained by the Chiaroscuro Foundation.

Over the course of more than a decade, there were zero inspections of unlicensed clinics offering abortion services and of the state’s 25 licensed clinics, eight of those clinics were not inspected at all. A mere 45 inspections were conducted over that time period and no clinics were inspected on an annual basis.

The 17 clinics that did receive inspections revealed disturbing violations, including an Anesthesiologist cited for relying on a broken monitor to assess the patient’s vital signs, failure to ensure a registered professional nurse is present in the recovery room to monitor post-operative patients and unsanitary practices of reusing suction tubing for aspiration of human contents. The State Health Department has refused to disclose the names of the clinics who committed violations, making it impossible for women to know which clinics are sanitary and safe…

There were 1,145,261 abortions performed in New York City from 2000-2012 a total of 1,515,108 in New York State from 2000-2012.

Click on this link to the description of the actual inspection violations that were found, if you have a strong stomach.

Now think about this for a minute:

No inspections of unlicensed clinics in the last decade.  None.  

No routine annual inspections of any clinics.  None.

And only now, after a decade of neglect of their duties, a year after receiving the FOIL request, but within days of being publicly embarrassed in the New York Post, the State Health Department is finally scrambling to do inspections — but of only the licensed clinics.  The unlicensed places will continue to operate in the shadows with impunity.

And this is the state where the Governor wants to expand access to abortion?  Despite being right next door to the state where late-term abortionist Kermit Gosnell butchered women and children for years in an un-inspected clinic?  Seriously?

The old “pro-choice” mantra was “safe, legal and rare”.  They clearly don’t care about rare, and they clearly don’t care about safe.  But they sure care a lot about doing whatever it takes to make sure it’s “legal” — regardless of the risks to women and children.

Missing the Story, Yet Again

April 2nd, 2014

Once again, the Newspaper of Record has completely failed to get the full story about the Catholic Church’s record on child sexual abuse.

In an online piece published the other day, the Times once again rehashed old allegations about the sins of priests and the failures of bishops.  This story, as with many others like it, irked me to no end.  If a news outlet is going to report a story, it should, in fairness, report the full story.  It shouldn’t just report the bad news.

And so, I wrote a letter to the editor, which they published today:

The church hardly needs another reminder that some priests were abusers and that some bishops were negligent in their leadership. Obviously, sexual abuse of minors is a terrible evil and must be rooted out from every institution.

The real story is the incredible amount of human capital and financial resources that have been expended by the church on prevention of future incidents of child abuse.

We have more than 48,000 people working with children in the Archdiocese of New York, and two million more across the country. The church spends tens of millions of dollars each year in prevention and safety programs.

Our staff members have been screened and trained and are being supervised by dedicated leaders committed to protecting children. We have tight policies to ensure that predators can’t have access to our children, and we react promptly and decisively to root them out and bring them to justice.

Other institutions study and model themselves on us. And we have been open and transparent in allowing outside auditors and scholars to study our efforts.

The Catholic Church in America has done something no other organization in the world has done — we’ve made a huge, across-the-board change in our corporate culture so that now every leader and every worker has child protection as a high item on his agenda. And we’ve been a great success.

That’s the real news: a story about learning from tragic mistakes and then committing to a course of transformation and success.

Let’s be clear.  Any incident of sexual abuse is a horrific tragedy, and there’s no doubt that some Church officials didn’t do enough to protect children.  It’s also undeniable that mistakes are still made — we are all far too human to be perfect. And there’s always room for improvement in how we help victims to heal.

But it is just fundamentally unfair, and bad journalism too, for the Times to continue to ignore the herculean efforts of thousands of pastors, principals, directors of religious education, Church administrative staff — and yes, bishops too — for the protection of children.

If you’re going to report the story, tell the full story.

 

Truth and the Governor’s Abortion Expansion Plan

March 21st, 2014

Catholics from around New York State made the trek to Albany on March 19, to join in the “Catholics at the Capital Day”.   One of the major that we went there to discuss was Governor Cuomo’s abortion expansion plan, which is part of a bill with the name, “Women’s Equality Act”.

Many of the participants in the day, when speaking with their “pro-choice” legislators, were accused of lying about the contents of the WEA.  Unsurprisingly, these ill-informed solons were just repeating the propaganda talking points put forward by the pro-abortion lobbying groups.

So it’s worth taking a few minutes to review the truthfulness of the two essential arguments that we are making about this bill:

The WEA would expand abortion

It is true that the expressed purpose of the abortion provisions in the “Women’s Equality Act” is to “protect a woman’s right to obtain an abortion…  as established in Roe v. Wade”.  But this bald statement is used by pro-abortion advocates to claim that the bill does nothing more than to “codify existing law”.

In fact, the Governor’s proposal is much more radical, and would expand abortion rights far beyond current federal and state law.

The fundamental reason for this is that Roe v. Wade is no longer the controlling federal constitutional standard on abortion.  The legal standard established in Roe was very liberal, and courts used it to strike down virtually every abortion regulation passed by state legislatures.  But as time went along, the Supreme Court backed away from the extremism of Roe, and eventually adopted a standard that permitted more leeway for states to regulate abortion.  This led to the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which purported to retain the “central holding” of Roe, but which actually transformed the applicable legal standard in a way that made it somewhat more possible for states to regulate abortion successfully.

So if the goal is really to “codify” current federal constitutional law on abortion, a reference to Roe is completely misplaced.  This proposal would actually codify the high-water mark of liberal abortion law, and ignore the subsequent legal developments that have pared that standard back.  It would lock in place an abortion law that is extremely permissive and hostile to any attempt to regulate or restrict the practice in any way.

In addition, the proposal not only ignores the current constitutional standard, it also ignores other important developments that have already been codified in federal  law — like the Hyde Amendment (restrictions on public funding), the partial birth abortion ban, the criminalization of violence against unborn children (Lacy and Conner’s Law), and more robust conscience protections (like the Church Amendment and the Hyde-Weldon Amendment).

In fact, by appealing to the very liberal legal standard of Roe, the legislation sends a signal to the courts that they should strike down any reasonable regulation of abortion — like restrictions on public funding, a partial birth abortion ban, the criminalization of violence against unborn children, and robust conscience protections for medical practitioners who don’t want to participate in abortion.  It would make it difficult, if not impossible, to enact bills that enjoy wide public support in our state and across the nation — like restrictions on late-term abortions, health and safety regulations on abortion clinic , parental notification requirements and full informed consent provisions.

So this proposal cherry-picks existing federal law, selecting only the liberalized pro-abortion elements that the advocates want, and rejecting the reasonable pro-life elements that they consistently oppose whenever they appear.

By any standard, that’s an expansion of abortion.

The WEA permits non-doctors to do late-term abortions

A second major argument that we offer is that the bill would allow non-doctors to do surgical abortions, even up until the moment of birth.

The bill accomplishes this by repealing the current requirement that only doctors can perform abortions (a provision found in the Penal Law).  Instead, it would grant the Health Department broad authority permit anyone — even non-health professionals — to do abortions.  It would immunize any non-doctor abortionist from any criminal prosecution, for practicing medicine without a license, or any kind of professional misconduct action.

In other words, the Governor’s law would permit abortion with impunity for anyone who has the approval of the Health Department — whose highest officials are, naturally, appointed by this ardently “pro-choice” Governor.

It actually gets worse.  The bill would permit abortion of any child who is not “viable” for any reason, at any time in the pregnancy.  But this key term is completely undefined in the bill — it would be left entirely in the discretion of the abortionist to determine if a child is “viable” or not, with no legal standard to go by and no requirement that any other person (much less a trained doctor) concur with that determination.

Think about that for a second.  This bill would allow non-doctors, people with far less training and experience than physicians, to make their own decisions about whether a baby could survive outside the womb, and then to perform surgery to kill that child — even up to the moment of birth.

By the way, this is not just us making this claim.  Pro-abortion supporters  conceded on the floor of the Legislature last June that the bill would allow non-doctors to do abortions, and at least one influential legislator is writing to constituents that it is a major goal of the bill.

So what’s the truth about the WEA?

We already have over 100,000 abortions in New York State.  The great majority of them are performed on women who have had at least one previous abortion.  More African-American babies in New York are aborted than are allowed to be born.   37% of pregnancies in New York City end in abortion.

That’s the truth.  That’s the tragedy of abortion in New York.  And we need more truth, less tragedy.

Thanks to My Patron Saints

March 8th, 2014

(Yesterday was my birthday, so I thought I would re-post a blog that I wrote several years ago, for the same occasion)

If you’re like me, you have lots of favorite saints, and lots of saints who you think are looking out for you and helping you.  That’s one of the best things about being Catholic — a regular, daily awareness of the communion of saints. And also, if you’re like me, you had the good fortune to be born on a day on which the Church honors the memory of particular saints.

I’m old enough to have been born when the old Roman Calendar was still in effect.  As a result, I was born on the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.  I have received many graces through his intercession, including a keen interest in theology and my middle name.  Thomas led a fascinating life, and he wrote so beautifully and deeply on all aspects of the faith that he has been a great gift to my faith.  I am particularly mindful of one of his final thoughts, after having some kind of mystical experience.  He ceased work on a project, and upon being asked by his secretary why he didn’t finish the work, replied “all that I have written seems like straw to me.”  That’s a good reminder that nothing that we could do in this life could ever stand comparison to the glory of God.  As St. Paul said, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” (Phil 3:7-8)

When they reformed the Roman Calendar in the Sixties, they decided to move Thomas’ feast to January 28.  Oddly enough, they chose the day that they “translated his relics” — that is, the day they dug up his body and moved it from one resting place to another.

Although I still have some hard feelings about them taking Thomas from me, I have to say that I lucked out again when the Church restored the ancient feast day of Saints Perpetua and Felicity to their proper day.

If you aren’t familiar with Saints Perpetua and Felicity, you should immediately drop all that you are doing and correct this.  Perpetua, a Roman noblewoman, and her slave Felicity, were martyred in 203 A.D., in Carthage.  Perpetua was nursing her baby when arrested, and Felicity was pregnant. Perpetua’s child was taken from her by her family, but Felicity gave birth while imprisoned and the child was adopted by a Christian family.  Perpetua wrote an account of their ordeals in prison with other Christians — one of the earliest written records by a Christian woman.  The story of their witness to Christ is vivid and moving, and should be required reading for all Christians who want a glimpse into the heroism of our ancestors in faith.

The night before their martyrdom, after having celebrated a “love feast” (the ancient name for the Mass) with her fellow prisoners, Perpetua had a dream about being led to the arena by one of the men who had already been martyred, who beckoned her to come and join them.  In the arena, she was beset by a mighty enemy, but she vanquished him and was called to enter the Gate of Life.  Realizing the significance of this dream, she wrote, “I understood that I should fight, not with beasts but against the devil; but I knew that mine was the victory”.

The next day, March 7, Perpetua, Felicity and their companions were taken to the arena, whipped, attacked by wild beasts and slain by gladiators.  They have been honored ever since.  As Tertullian said, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians”.

I certainly do not consider myself to be in the intellectual ballpark of Thomas, or anywhere near as courageous as Perpetua and Felicity.  But I feel very close to them, as if they were my friends, but just separated from me for a short time.  Perhaps one day, if their prayers for me are heard, I will meet them, and I can thank them for their help and friendship.

Resistance to the Dictatorship of Relativism

March 5th, 2014

Pope Benedict famously warned about the impending dangers of a “dictatorship of relativism” — a state where truth is denied, morality is defined by subjective desires, authentic tolerance is extinguished, and political power is used to force compliance with the whims of the day.

Well, we certainly have enough relativism in our culture, and the slide to dictatorship seems to be accelerating.

Just in the past few weeks we’ve seen more and more Black-Robed Platonic Guardian Rulers on the Courts, er, I mean federal judges, overruling the democratic decisions of legislatures and the people, and redefining marriage.  We’ve seen elected officials foreswearing their oaths of office to uphold the laws, and refusing to defend the authentic definition of marriage.  We’ve seen hysterical and mendacious accounts of proposed religious liberty legislation, even to the point where defenders of the free exercise of religion are compared to Jim Crow racists.  Intolerance from the forces of “tolerance” is becoming the language of the day.

We need to be clear about what is at the heart of this situation, and what our response must be.  There are several fundamental truths that are being denied by our current culture:

  • Being male and female is an inherent aspect of the human person, they are not arbitrary and irrational concepts.
  • Marriage is ordained by God and by nature to unite a man and woman in a life-long bond that benefits them as persons, and that is the proper context for sexual relations and the procreation and raising of children.
  • A homosexual inclination is contrary to the true meaning and purpose of human sexuality as created by God and enshrined in human nature.
  • Homosexual conduct is always contrary to the will of God and the nature of the human person.
  • Persons with a  homosexual inclination must be treated with full human dignity and cannot be treated with unjust discrimination;  however, their unions cannot be recognized as equivalent to marriage, and their sexual activity cannot be approved.
  • Every human person has the right and obligation to follow their conscience, even when it disagrees with human laws.
  • The budding “dictatorship of relativism” is becoming more and more intolerant of these truths, and will gradually subject those who hold them to criticism, ostracism, and legal penalties.

    In the face of this, we must be ready to resist.

    The starting place for resistance is to recall several key points, most eloquently explained in Henry David Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience, and Vaclav Havel’s The Power of the Powerless:

  • Resistance is a duty of all citizens when faced by injustice.  It is not an “extra-credit” activity.
  • It must be always be grounded in the truth.  It makes no compromise with lies, and always seeks to expose them.
  • It must always be pursued with love and respect.  It is not an excuse for violence and lawlessness.
  • The goal is conversion of heart on the part of those who support injustice, not overbearing their will with power.  It’s message always is “come, join us”, and never “we will force you to agree”.
  • The most important tactic is our willingness to testify to the truth by our words and our actions, and our refusal to cooperate with injustice and lies.
  • Underlying this duty of resistance is an important understanding of the freedom of conscience, and my duty of obedience to the truth rather than to mere human laws.  The government may attempt to coerce my external cooperation with injustice by imposing penalties, fines, and so on.  But no government, and no law, can force me to accept a lie as the truth.

    We cannot have any illusions.  Many, if not most of our family and friends will conform, and will consider us to be strange.  We may be estranged from loved ones.  It will be painful.

    Yes, we will be persecuted — indeed, it has already begun.  It will be a soft persecution, nothing like the hardship  suffered by our brethren in countries like Syria.  Nonetheless,  we will feel the steel fist under the velvet glove.

    Resist.  The power of truth and love cannot be extinguished.