Why The Battle To Define ‘Marriage’ Is So Important
Q&A with Dr. Frank Turek
Dr. Frank Turek is founder and president of CrossExamined.org, a non-profit ministry that presents seminars in Christian apologetics on church, college, and high school campuses to reach the three-out-of-four Christian youth who drift from their faith while in college. Turek is author of Correct, Not Politically Correct and co-author of the award-winning I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist and Legislating Morality. He worked with the North Carolina coalition that secured passage of a marriage amendment in that state last year (see story, p. 6).
Why is it so important to legally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman?
Heterosexual relationships are the foundation of society. Procreation, and the nurturing and care of children, are the primary purpose of marriage, because these relationships bring forth and best nurture the next generation. While some heterosexual relationships don’t [produce] children, the only relationships that do are heterosexual—and we have to preserve that, legally and nationally.
If we equate same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships, then we’re saying that marriage has nothing to do with children—it’s just about coupling. And that ultimately leads to people not getting married but still having children … and we all know what a disaster that is.
Same-sex "marriage," wherever it is passed, doesn’t lead to two types of marriage. It leads to genderless marriage. The institution becomes genderless, which means it becomes childless.
What are the challenges for those working to preserve marriage?
The other side has all the great slogans, but all the worst logic. This isn’t a sound bite issue. It takes reasoned conversation, and most people don’t want to take time for reasoned conversation.
The best sound bite I’ve heard on this is: "This isn’t bigotry, this is biology." It is about biology. Same-sex relations and opposite-sex relations are biologically different, and passing a law that says they’re the same won’t change that—it will only teach people that they’re the same, even though they’re really not, which will lead to negative consequences. Whenever you alter the culture’s understanding of the family, you are undermining civilization itself.
Will changing marriage laws—either way—really make much impact on what people believe?
The law is a great teacher. Whatever is legal, people think is moral, and whatever is illegal, people think is immoral. The foundation of this issue is, can we pass a law that promotes [homosexual behavior] – which same-sex "marriage" does – so that it now becomes the legal, moral, social, and cultural equivalent of heterosexual [behavior]? That takes generations to sink in, but when it does, now you have a whole new world.
Laws do change hearts and attitudes. That’s what this is about. This isn’t about marriage. This is about social validation. This is about transforming society so that [those who practice homosexual behavior] feel better about what they are doing.
Why are so many Christians—even Christian leaders—supportive of same-sex "marriage?"
They don’t think through it. They’ve been duped into believing it’s a civil rights issue, when it really isn’t. They don’t want to be called names if they don’t support it. They may have friends and relatives who consider themselves homosexual, and they just want them to be happy.
People don’t understand the implications of same-sex "marriage." They think the government is involved in marriage just because two people love one another. But when you go for a marriage license, they don’t ask you if you love the other person. That’s not the point. The point is that marriage between a man and a woman is the foundation of society, and when our marriages are strong the government has less to do.
"The law is a great teacher. Whatever is legal, people think is moral, and whatever is illegal, people think is immoral."
Everyone—even [those who practice homosexual behavior]—benefits because a man and a woman come together in marriage, stay together, and bring up kids: a safer society, fewer problems, and lower taxes … because the government doesn’t have to be as big to take care of all the problems that result from broken families. Economic problems come from moral problems. Ultimately, all of our problems are moral.
Why is the work of Alliance Defending Freedom so important right now?
Alliance Defending Freedom has always been in the lead in defending marriage in our country, which impacts our religious freedoms directly. If not for Alliance Defending Freedom, religious freedom would be in much worse shape than it is. But these issues would never have come up if Christians had been Christians for the past 100 years. Same-sex "marriage" wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar. [Leftists] are just presenting their side—it’s the church that’s been silent. Instead of fighting back, we decided we’d just "be separate" from the culture. We didn’t engage. If you take the godly people out of the culture, you’re going to get a godless culture.