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January 14, 2004

Marriage By Any Other Name

Thank the Lord (and the Christian Coalition) for the $1.5 billion “Healthy Marriage” initiative.

On the surface, the goal of this political blessing is to help people–particularly the darker and poorer folks among us–either get hitched up or stay hitched up.

Unfortunately, the extreme right wing has gotten much slicker about the way they spin legislation these days. They’ve moved far beyond the banter of “traditional values” and “compassionate conservatism.” Their strategy is to sound like leftists. To hear it, you would think this huge hunk of dough is earmarked for secular programs to help couples with conflict management. Who among us could possibly oppose teaching problem-solving, negotiation and listening skills to married couples?

However, under this guise of social work and social support lies a political mission, as well as an agenda of religious social engineering:

It’s about using public funds to lobby state and federal lawmakers to legislate marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman. It’s about fighting the legal recognition of civil unions. It’s about capturing federal money to attain institutional control over social services. It’s about folding those services into fundamentalist religious institutions. It’s about leveraging those services to influence the public to abstain from sexual activity before marriage. And it’s about exercising influence over women who are considering abortions.

You’ll know the legislation is doing well if, during the debate, the Congressmen start speaking in tongues.

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