An Idea from Justin Taylor at the Gospel Coalition.


A Proposed Compromise on the Same-Sex Marriage Debate

This proposal—a rapprochement of sorts between the revisionists and the traditionalists—was first offered in 2009 by Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis. It is unlikely to happen, but I think it’s an interesting idea to have on the table. An excerpt:

The revisionists would agree to oppose the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), thus ensuring that federal law retains the traditional definition of marriage as the union of husband and wife, and states retain the right to preserve that definition in their law.

In return, traditionalists would agree to support federal civil unions offering most or all marital benefits.

But, as Princeton’s Robert P. George once proposed for New Jersey civil unions, unions recognized by the federal government would be available to any two adults who commit to sharing domestic responsibilities, whether or not their relationship is sexual. Available only to people otherwise ineligible to marry each other (say, because of consanguinity), these unions would neither introduce a rival “marriage-lite” option nor treat same-sex unions as marriages. Their purpose would be to protect adult domestic partners who have pledged themselves to a mutually binding relationship of care. What (if anything) goes on in the bedroom would have nothing to do with these unions’ goals or, thus, eligibility requirements.

This proposal will, no doubt, meet with resistance on both sides of the marriage divide.

Traditionalists will regret any move that appears to capitulate on the distinctiveness of marital relationships by granting same-sex couplings similar status, even if we would make recognition available to presumptively non-sexual relationships to avoid equating gay unions with marriage. (We ourselves do not favor civil-union schemes of any type, but we are prepared to accept them as part of an honorable compromise among reasonable people of goodwill.)

At the same time, revisionists will have to compromise by supporting DOMA, the current Clinton-era federal law that retains a traditional definition of marriage for federal purposes while leaving each state free to define marriage as it sees fit, regardless of what other states do.

But we believe that for both sides, the benefits could outweigh the drawbacks.

First, this approach would avoid the hornet’s nest of church-state issues engaged by the Rauch-Blankenhorn proposal. Since neither the presumption nor the legal possibility of sex would be a condition for recognition, homosexual activity would not be incentivized or institutionally normalized. Thus, traditional religious communities would not have to rule out support for our proposal as an implicit endorsement of homosexual activity. And with renewed support for DOMA, they would be free not to promote or treat same-sex unions as marriages. As a result, no special religious-conscience protections would be necessary.

For traditionalists, though, there is another worry. Two state courts have already used existing state civil-union laws as part of their rationale for insisting that the legislature enact same-sex ‘marriage,’ on the ground that “separate but equal” institutions are unjust. If, under the Rauch-Blankenhorn proposal, we enacted same-sex civil unions identical in their structure and purposes to marriage, courts could again use these as a steppingstone to same-sex ‘marriage.’ The benefit of our proposal is that it avoids this possible breach of the compromise by reaffirming DOMA and establishing civil unions that differ in substance, not only in name, from marriages.

Our proposal would still meet the needs of same-sex partners—based not on sex (which is irrelevant to their relationship’s social value), but on shared domestic responsibilities, which really can ground mutual obligations. It would provide a practical compromise that need not offend either side’s nonnegotiable principles. And it would lower the emotional temperature without chilling debate, which would continue at the state level, perhaps now more fruitfully.

"Not Everyone Who Says, Evangelical, Evangelical Will Enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

Repost from the Gospel Coalition


South Korea Finds Smuggled Capsules Contain Human Baby Flesh

The Story: South Korean customs officials seized thousands of smuggled drug capsulesfilled with powdered human flesh.

The Background: According to the Associated Press report, the capsules were made in northeastern China from dead babies whose bodies were chopped into small pieces and dried on stoves before being turned into powder, a statement from the Korea Customs Service said.

Customs officials refused to disclose where the babies came from or who made the capsules, citing possible diplomatic friction with Beijing. Chinese officials have been cracking down on the production of such capsules since last year.

The grim trade is being run from China, notes the Daily Mail, where corrupt medical staff are said to be tipping off medical companies when babies are aborted or delivered stillborn.

The tiny corpses are then bought, stored in household refrigerators in homes of those involved in the trade before they are removed and taken to clinics where they are placed in medical drying microwaves.

Once the skin is tinder dry, it is pummeled into powder and then processed into capsules along with herbs to disguise the true ingredients from health investigators and customs officers.

According to customs agents, 35 smuggling attempts have been made since August last year involving more than 17,000 capsules disguised as ‘stamina boosters’.

The San Francisco Times reported that tests carried out on the pills confirmed they were made up of 99.7 per cent human remains.

What It Means: Why exactly should anyone have a problem with eating powdered fetus?

While the question is macabre, the answer is not as obvious as it might appear. Sadly, for too many people—including some Christians—their revulsion is aesthetic rather than moral: they are more disturbed by the consumption than they are in how the human being died. In fact, the Chinese using powered remains of babies for health benefits is considerably more moral than some similar practices supported by Christians in America.

In the case mentioned above, the human beings were already dead when their remains were used to make pharmaceuticals of questionable valuable. We rightly find that disturbing, yet almost a third of evangelicals support a procedure in which a human being is actively killed in order to use their remains for medical research of questionable utility.

Polls taken in the mid-2000s found that almost 40% of evangelicals supported harvesting the cells of embryos for medical research—even though the procedure ended a human life. Fortunately, the debate about embryonic stem cell research has largely subsided since the lies, exaggerations, and wishful thinking proffered by the research’s supporters has been proven to be—as the critics always claimed—nothing more than lies, exaggerations, and wishful thinking.

Similarly, some of the same Christians who recoil in horror at the idea of a dead fetus being microwaved in a clinic in China show no concern for the “spare” embryos they created being left to thaw in an IVF clinic in America.

Our moral intuitions are justified—we should be disgusted by the cannibalistic customs of our pagan neighbors in the East. But we should wonder why our discernment fails us when, in the name of advancing science, curing disease, or alleviating infertility, we turn a blind eye to the Satanic practices supported by our Christian neighbors in the West.

We’re like vegetarian butchers at Moloch’s feast. We think we are somehow morally superior because we draw the line at eating the children we kill. But whether the blood is on our mouths or only on our hands, the stain of the slaughter seeps into our souls.

Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator.

This Man has Integrity

And one of the signs of a failing nation is that those with such integrity are no longer in the race.

Santorum suspends campaign


  • FILE – In this April 3, 2012 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gets a hug from his wife Karen in Cranberry, Pa. Santorum is suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, clearing a path for Mitt Romney to become the nominee. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Tuesday he is suspending his campaign.

He made the announcement at the Gettysburg Hotel in Gettysburg, Pa., talking about his young daughter’s illness and reflecting on the campaign.

His 3-year-old daughter Bella was taken to a Virginia hospital Friday with pneumonia. Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, left the campaign trail until this afternoon. The child has a life-threatening genetic disorder known as Trisomy 18.

“She’s a fighter,” said Santorum, standing beside his wife and children. “She’s doing exceptionally well.”

Santorum also faces an uphill battle against front-runner Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Five states, including Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania, hold primaries April 24.

Romney is spending $2.9 million in TV ads in Pennsylvania. Romney is far ahead of Santorum in the race for delegates to the Republican National Convention and is the party’s likely nominee.

Romney said after Santorum concluded his speech at about 2:45 p.m: “Sen. Santorum is an able and worthy competitor, and I congratulate him on the campaign he ran. He has proven himself to be an important voice in our party and in the nation. We both recognize that what is most important is putting the failures of the last three years behind us and setting America back on the path to prosperity.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is still in the GOP race with Texas Rep. Ron Paul, also praised Santorum for his campaign.

“Rick has waged a remarkable campaign,” he said. ‘His success is a testament to his tenacity and the power of conservative principles.”

Gingrich also reiterated he is commitment to stay in the race to the party’s nominating convention in August in Tampa.

“I humbly ask Sen. Santorum’s supporters to visit to review my conservative record and join us as we bring these values to Tampa,” he added. “We know well that only a conservative can protect life, defend the Constitution, restore jobs and growth and return to a balanced budget.”

Paul campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said: “Congratulations to Sen. Santorum on running such a spirited campaign. Dr. Paul is now the last – and real – conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. We plan to continue running hard, secure delegates, and press the fight for limited, constitutional government in Tampa.”

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