A Wedding Isn’t Just a Party: Guest Column

Recent debates about whether Christians should go to so-called same-sex “weddings” have revealed a lot, and not just about how normalized homosexuality has become. Some of those who argued Christians should attend asked, “Why turn down an invitation to a wedding when we’re fine eating with, working with, or being friends with people who call themselves gay?”  

But this assumes that weddings are just another social event, a time for people to express their feelings and celebrate their happiness. In a Christian view, they’re much more than that. They’re a public act inseparably joining two lives and creating a family—a God-ordained covenant with a purpose that goes back to creation and symbolism that reaches into New Creation, whether those getting married realize it or not. Those who go don’t merely attend, they participate as witnesses. 

We have a serious failure of catechesis if Christians don’t understand how marriage ceremonies are fundamentally different than a party. For today’s confusion, Christians need to know what marriage is, not just what it isn’t

Copyright 2024 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.

Survey Shows Support for Same-Sex Marriage Declining

Support for same-sex marriage in the U.S. has fallen for the first time in nearly a decade, according to a new survey. The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) published updates to its American Values Atlas on Tuesday, revealing that public support for same-sex marriage dropped from 69% to 67% from 2022 to 2023.

The last time that PRRI recorded a decline in public support for same-sex marriage was almost 10 years ago, when it fell from 54% in 2014 to 53% in 2015. Among Republicans, support for same-sex marriage dropped from 49% in 2022 to 47% in 2023, which is still 12 points higher than it stood in 2014. There was also a similar drop in support among independent voters, from 73% in 2022 to 71% in 2023. Support for same-sex marriage has risen among Democrats from 65% in 2014 to 82% in 2023.

The PRRI survey further reported that support for same-sex marriage has decreased among religious groups. Support for same-sex marriage is and has been highest among religiously unaffiliated, Buddhist, and Jewish Americans, with a majority of mainline Protestants and Catholics also expressing support. Among American Catholics, support dipped from 75% in 2022 to 73% in 2023, but declined most steeply among Hispanic Catholics: from 75% in 2022 to 68% in 2023. Support for same-sex marriage is lowest among Mormons (47% in 2023), Hispanic Protestants (44% in 2023), Muslims (40% in 2023), white evangelicals (37% in 2023), and Jehovah’s Witnesses (18% in 2023).

Additionally, while a majority of Americans support LGBT non-discrimination policies, overall support for these policies has also declined. PRRI found that 80% of Americans supported non-discrimination policies in 2022, but only 76% did in 2023. Support among Republicans dropped from 66% in 2022 to 59% in 2023, while support among Democrats remained steady. The survey also found that 52% of those who identify as LGBT identify as religiously unaffiliated, which PRRI noted is “nearly twice the rate of the general U.S. population (27%).” About a third (35%) of those who identify as LGBT also identify as Christian, but PRRI noted that those who reject “Christian nationalism” are “nearly unanimous (93%) in their support” for both same-sex marriage and non-discrimination policies.

“The growing partisan divide on these issues show the effect of the continuous use of LGBTQ identity and LGBTQ rights as a wedge issue in our nation’s culture wars,” PRRI CEO Melissa Deckman said in a press release.

In comments to The Washington Stand, Family Research Council Senior Fellow Meg Kilgannon said, “It’s interesting to me that this very sophisticated survey funded by pro-LGBT advocacy organizations managed to have a series of questions related to ‘Christian nationalist’ support for/opposition to LGBT rights or protections.” She added, “That’s classic framing by the Left, casting Christians — or simply people who don’t think men can marry other men — as the odious troublemakers. The longer we live with the effects of sexual liberation, the less people will like it.”

PRRI’s report comes in the wake of courts upholding such measures as parental notification school mandates and bans on gender transition procedures for minors — both of which are labeled by LGBT activists as “oppressive” — as well as Democrats backing off LGBT funding programs and the release of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) files. The year which PRRI’s survey centered on, 2023, also saw widespread backlash against corporations such as Bud Light and Target for their LGBT activism, resulting in billions of dollars of losses for those companies.

Originally published by The Washington Stand

Guest Column: Lessons From the Soviets about Sexual Morality

The Soviet Union was well known for rejecting so-called “bourgeois” morality in ways that led to rejecting reality. Economically this meant squashing human self-interest in favor of state control.  So, basic modern commodities like cars and plumbing could take years for the average Russian to secure. Marxist-inspired agricultural science rejected “Western” science and led to the deaths of millions as crops were planted in the dead of winter, too close together, and without pesticides in the mistaken belief that they could be “educated” to take on more beneficial traits.   

In the 1920s, Revolutionary Russia rejected “bourgeois” sexual morality by attacking the institution of marriage and the nuclear family. 

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels believed the nuclear family was, like religion, just another means of keeping the working class oppressed. According to the Marxist dialectic version of history, prehistoric humanity lived in a state of free love, and the nuclear family only emerged to protect the property rights of the rich through inheritance, keep workers content with less, and enslave women to the home.   

Engels, who spent a lot of time in Manchester’s red-light district, was more specific than Marx in his condemnations of the family.  

He wrote, “[W]ith every great revolutionary movement the question of ‘free love’ comes to the foreground.” Together, Marx and Engels attacked “bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child.” In their view, family was a social construct that stood in the way of revolutionary progress.   

When Lenin and the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, they put these anti-family theories into practice. In 1918, the Soviets issued decrees “on the abolition of marriage” and “on civil partnership, children and ownership.” Marriage could be declared without the involvement of the state, and divorce could be obtained just as easily. As one Russian journalist summarized, “Divorce was a matter of choice. Abortions were legalized. All of that implied a total liberation of family and sexual relations.”   

Madame Smidovich, a leading Communist propagandist, put it this way: “To clear the family out of the accumulated dust of the ages we had to give it a good shakeup, and we did.”  Almost immediately, however, this experiment began to spiral the nation downward.   

Men across the country divorced their wives and sought new sexual encounters. The number of illegitimate children swelled by hundreds of thousands. Women with children were abandoned, while the more enterprising among them blackmailed multiple men for child support. Despite the State’s decree that fathers must pay alimony to their children regardless of marital status, thousands of children were kicked to the curb because they could not—or would not—be cared for. From there, an ungovernable criminal element developed in Russia’s largest cities. Given Russia’s dismal economic situation, the idea that the state would care for these children proved laughable.   

A Russian writer of that time observed, “It was not an unusual occurrence for a boy of twenty to have had three or four wives, or for a girl of the same age to have had three or four abortions.”  

The status of women devolved as well. As Madame Smidovich described in Pravda, the Communist newspaper: “If a man lusts after a young girl, whether she is a student, a worker, or even a school-age girl, then the girl must obey his lust; otherwise, she will be considered a bourgeois daughter, unworthy to be called a true communist.”    

As the 1920s wore on, however, Russia’s Soviet leaders were forced by reality to change course and desperately attempted to stem the tide of fatherlessness, crime, legal confusion, and economic disaster.  

In many ways, the Russian family never recovered. Even today, Russia’s birth rate continues to plummet. As late as the 1990s, and despite decades of government propaganda encouraging population growth, one study found that in some parts of Russia, there were 770 abortions per 100 births—“by far the highest rate anywhere in the world.”  

In 1920, on the other side of the world, G.K. Chesterton prophetically wrote that “[t]his triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilisations which disregard it.”    

History is full of examples of societies that tamper with God’s design for marriage, sex, and the family. It’s no coincidence that en vogue progressive ideas today, ideas with distinct roots in cultural Marxism, also decry marriage and the family as oppressive institutions that should be reimagined and sexual morality as outdated and even harmful.  

These things are not mere “social constructs,” however. They are laws of reality, like gravity. As Dallas Willard once observed, “We can’t choose to step off the roof and then choose to not hit the ground.” That’s true for individuals and societies alike. 

This Breakpoint was co-authored by Kasey Leander. For more resources to live like a Christian in this cultural moment, go to breakpoint.org.

Copyright 2023 by the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. Reprinted from BreakPoint.org with permission.