Israeli PM Netanyahu meets Russian President Medvedev at the Kremlin on Monday, February 15th.
ANALYSIS: The Iran issue is heating up this week. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Moscow at 2:45am local time for two days of meetings with senior Russian leaders at the Kremlin. His main focus: trying to persuade President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin to support “crippling economic sanctions” against Iran at the U.N., and to promise not to deliver and install the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system that Russia agreed several years ago to sell to Iran.
In recent days, there have been some indications from the Kremlin that the Russians might go along with sanctions. But no firm decision has yet been announced and the situation is very complicated given the increasingly close alliance Russia and Iran are building together.
Also questionable is whether China would support real sanctions. International pressure on Beijing to do so is building. Vice President Biden is indicating that he believes China will back — or not veto — sanctions in the Security Council. But this remains to be seen. Beijing imports 15% of its oil from Iran and could suffer economically from turning against Iran.
The White House and State Department, to their credit, having been working hard for the past month both to create an international consensus to back new sanctions, and to show renewed solidarity with Israel.
> Vice President Biden is planning to head to Israel within weeks to coordinate on the Iran issue.
> Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was in Israel over the weekend to meet with Israeli defense officials and coordinate on the Iran issue. He also visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial. Mullen warned that an Israeli first strike on Iran could have “unintended consequences.” Still, he pointedly noted that the military option was still very much on the table.
> Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been meeting in recent days with senior officials in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, urging the Arabs to unify against Iran lest the Persians obtain nuclear weapons and promising the U.S. will defend its allies from Iranian threats. ”The United States, Mrs. Clinton said, would protect its allies in the gulf from Iranian aggression — a pledge that echoed the idea of a ’security umbrella” that she advanced last summer in Asia,” reported the International Herald Tribune. “She noted that the United States already supplied defensive weapons to several of these countries, and was prepared to bolster its military assistance if necessary. ‘We will always defend ourselves, and we will always defend our friends and allies, and we will certainly defend countries who are in the Gulf who face the greatest immediate nearby threat from Iran,’ she said. ‘We also are talking at length with a lot of our friends in the Gulf about what they need defensively in the event that Iran pursues its nuclear ambitions.’”
Netanyahu is backing the Obama administration’s efforts to get serious sanctions passed and implemented by the U.N. He is in Moscow pushing the Russians to back crippling sanctions and to at least delay the S-300 system. He is doing so to exhaust every peaceful means possible of stopping Iran from getting the Bomb. This is admirable. But time is running out. Iran is getting dangerously close to having nuclear weapons. Netanyahu knows this better than most world leaders. He recently ordered several Israeli missile boats through the Suez Canal en route to the Persian Gulf region. He is steadily getting Israel ready for potentially the biggest war in its history.
Now is the time to be praying and fasting like never before:
- Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
- Pray for the Prime Minister, that the Lord owuld touch his heart, draw the PM close to Himself, and reveal Himself and His wisdom to the PM in a dramatic and special way.
- Pray that the Lord given wisdom to the PM’s advisors and military leaders.
- Pray that the Lord changes the regime in Tehran, or at least dramatically change their hearts.
- Pray that the Lord would strengthen His Church in Israel, Iran and throughout the epicenter
- Pray that the Lord would awaken His Church around the world to “learn, pray, give and go” to His work in the epicenter.
- Please also pray that the Lord would give our Joshua Fund team wisdom and His grace as we seek to educate and mobilize the Church to show Israel unconditional love and unwavering support; as we seek to provide food, clothing, medical supplies and other relief aid to the poor and needy in the epicenter; and as we seek to stockpile supplies in Israel ahead of the next war.
Lisa Miller of Newsweek begins her article with what would seem to be a statement beyond dispute: “It doesn’t take a degree from Harvard to see that in today’s world, a person needs to know something about religion.” Note that she does not make any specific religious or theological claims, and that her horizon of concern is decidedly this-worldly. She simply makes the common sense observation that a knowledge of religion is important in these times. This would make perfect sense to any journalist, and to just about any other person of intelligence and curiosity.
Nevertheless, that opening sentence about it not taking “a degree from Harvard” to see all this is filled with intentional irony, for Lisa Miller is taking Harvard University to task for its “crisis of faith” — which amounts to a crisis in its curriculum for undergraduates. As Miller explains, “the Harvard faculty cannot cope with religion.”
As she looks around the globe, Miller sees religion as a driving force of world events. In her words:
The conflicts between the Israelis and the Palestinians; between Christians, Muslims, and animists in Africa; between religious conservatives and progressives at home over abortion and gay marriage—all these relate, if indirectly, to what rival groups believe about God and scripture. Any resolution of these conflicts will have to come from people who understand how religious belief and practice influence our world: why, in particular, believers see some things as worth fighting and dying for.
But a 2006 proposal to require Harvard undergraduates to take at least one course in religion was flattened by faculty opposition. In that year, Harvard was considering a revised curriculum for undergraduates. Louis Menand, an influential English professor, and Steven Pinker, a well-known evolutionary psychologist, locked horns in a battle that went public, but ended with no religion requirement. Pinker argued that the modern university should be a completely secular space, where reason, and not faith, was the only legitimate concern.
In the end, Menand & Co. backed down, and the matter never made it to a vote. A more brutal fight was put off for another day. But that’s a pity—for Harvard, its students, and the rest of us who need leaders better informed about faith and the motivations of the faithful. Harvard may or may not be the pinnacle of higher learning in the world, but because it is Harvard, it reflects—for better or worse—the priorities of the nation’s intellectual set. To decline to grapple head-on with the role of religion in a liberal-arts education, even as debates over faith and reason rage on blogs, and as publishers churn out books defending and attacking religious belief, is at best timid and at worst self-defeating.
In the midst of that fight, Pinker wrote a column for The Harvard Crimson that roiled the waters at Harvard. In that column he chided Menand and other colleagues for even contemplating a “faith and reason” component of a Harvard undergraduate education. First, he suggested that “faith” is just a code-word for religion. Then, he added:
Second, the juxtaposition of the two words makes it sound like “faith” and “reason” are parallel and equivalent ways of knowing, and we have to help students navigate between them. But universities are about reason, pure and simple. Faith—believing something without good reasons to do so—has no place in anything but a religious institution, and our society has no shortage of these. Imagine if we had a requirement for “Astronomy and Astrology” or “Psychology and Parapsychology.” It may be true that more people are knowledgeable about astrology than about astronomy, and it may be true that astrology deserves study as a significant historical and sociological phenomenon. But it would be a terrible mistake to juxtapose it with astronomy, if only for the false appearance of symmetry.
In other words, even the use of “faith and reason” is illegitimate for Harvard (or for any other university) because faith has no place at all in the secular space of modern academia.
Miller recognizes the awkwardness of this claim, given Harvard’s history. “Harvard’s distaste for engaging with religion as an academic subject is particularly ironic, given that it was founded in 1636 as a training ground for Christian ministers,” Miller notes. “According to the office of the president, Veritas was only officially adopted as its motto in 1843; until then it had been Christo et Ecclesiae (“For Christ and the Church”).”
She also notes that other major universities, including schools such as the University of Texas, Arizona State, and Indiana University, do include religion in the undergraduate curriculum and enroll a considerable number of majors.
Peter Gomes, Harvard’s chaplain, told Miller, “My colleagues fear that taking religion seriously would undermine everything a great university stands for . . . . I think that’s unfounded, but there it is.”
The secularization of the modern university is one of the most significant intellectual developments of the past century. The most elite institutions of high education have, by and large, been the most ardent secularizers. Many of these, like Harvard, were established on explicitly Christian beliefs and for the purpose of educating future ministers. To professors like Steven Pinker, this is an embarrassment.
Pinker’s evolutionary psychology, well documented in his many writings, is one of the most reductionistic models of thought to be found. He reduces the human being and all human experience to the merely physical — everything experienced or imagined by the human being is nothing more than the work ofbiochemicals and physical entities that emerged out of the evolutionary process. Nevertheless, Pinker’s insistence on keeping Harvard free of any noteworthy study of religion at the undergraduate level prevailed.
Lisa Miller is perplexed by the Harvard faculty’s “anxiety about religion.” She is rightly distressed that students “can graduate from Harvard without having to grapple directly with questions about a world in which people define themselves and their histories according to their views of God.” Idolizing reason, the university has become unreasonable.
By now, evangelical Christians are well aware of the secularization of modern academia. Nevertheless, the secular extremism of faculty members like Steven Pinker — who won the battle at Harvard, after all — is unknown to many outside the modern university.
Lisa Miller is right to call this ideological secularism “unreasonable.” It is more than that, of course. It is a clean and undeniable example of what might best be described as secular fundamentalism.
Guest: Dr. Abner Chou, Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, The Master’s College
The inerrancy of Scripture is a pivotal doctrine. Christian institutions and individuals come down on different sides of this issue and the ramifications are huge.
Is the Bible really without any errors? Can it be trusted to be the perfect Word of God? How does inerrancy relate to infallibility? And why is inerrancy so important?
Abner Chou, the “Teacher of the Year” Read more
It’s not an overstatement to say that your view of God impacts everything — how you think, what you say, and what you do.
What is God like? Is He a loving, forgiving, comforting Father or a wrathful and vengeful Judge? And what does God expect from man? Your answers to questions like these directly determine how you live your life.
One’s view of man is almost as important. Is man inherently good? Read more
This is not the first time in history when the Jewish people have been threatened with annihilation from Persian/Iranian leaders who hated them without cause. The Book of Esther tells the story of how two heroic believers — Mordechai and Esther — prayed and fasted and encouraged others to do the same.
In response to those faithful prayers, the Lord intervened in a dramatic and powerful way. The evil Prime Minister of Iran (Haman) was removed from power and hanged. The heart of the Supreme Leader of Iran (King Ahausuerus) was miraculously changed. The Jews did have to fight. But they were saved from destruction and scores of Iranians converted and became true followers of the God of Israel.
This year, the holiday of “Purim” commemorating these events falls on Sunday, February 28th.
If you are a pastor or Bible teacher, may I ask you to prayerfully consider preaching and teaching on the Book of Esther that Sunday? May I ask you to help followers of Jesus Christ remember how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob saved the Jewish people from Iran once in history, and how He will do so again if His people will pray and fast as never before?
I am not speaking at a church that Sunday. But the Lord has opened a door for me on March 1st to speak at the National Religious Broadcasters conference in Nashville. I have entitled that address, “Israel, The Iran Threat and Lessons From The Book of Esther.”
[UPDATE: Another massive snow storm is currently inbound for the D.C. area. This has led to Cornerstone Chapel in Northern Virginia needing to cancel my evening of Q&A on prophecy and trends in the Middle East on Wed, Feb 10. Instead, I will now be preaching on “Israel, The Iran Threat and Lessons from the Book of Esther” at Cornerstone on Sunday, Feb 28 at their three morning services. it will actually be a three-part message, with each the message in second and third services building on the ones before. If you are in the area, please join us. If not, please watch the archived webcast of each message after they are posted on Cornerstone’s website. Thanks.]
Wouldn’t it be powerful if thousands of pastors all over North America and all over the world would call the Church to prayer and fasting for God to save both Israel and Iran (and our own countries, too)?
The situation is urgent. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this morning called on the U.N. Security Council immediately to impose on Iran “crippling sanctions” of the kind U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has previously suggested. His remarks come as the Iranian regime is significantly ratcheting up its threats against Israel.
“In the last two days the brutal regime in Teheran has made more outrageous statements, including the implicit call for the extermination of my country,” Netanyahu told the envoys at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, reported the Jerusalem Post. “Israel expects all responsible governments, including all those represented here, to forcefully condemn these outrageous statements….But I think what is required is a lot more than words,. Iran is racing forward to produce nuclear weapons in brazen defiance of the international community. And the international community must decide if it is serious about neutralizing this threat to Israel, the region and the entire word. I believe that what is required right now is tough action from the international community. This means not moderate sanctions or watered down sanctions, this means crippling sanctions, and these sanctions must be applied right now.”
Excerpts from the article:
- Iran pressed ahead Monday with plans that will increase its ability to make nuclear weapons as it formally informed the U.N. nuclear agency of its intention to enrich uranium to higher levels….
- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad…announced Sunday that his country would significantly enrich at least some of the country’s stockpile of uranium to 20 percent….
- Although material for the fissile core of a nuclear warhead must be enriched to a level of 90 percent or more, just getting its stockpile to the 20 percent mark would be a major step for Iran’s nuclear program. While enriching to 20 percent would take about one year, using up to 2,000 centrifuges at Tehran’s underground Natanz facility, any next step – moving from 20 to 90 percent – would take only half a year and between 500-1,000 centrifuges.
- Achieving the 20-percent level “would be going most of the rest of the way to weapon-grade uranium,” said David Albright, whose Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security tracks suspected proliferators.
Now is the time for the Church to get on our faces and seek the Lord’s grace and mercy for Israel, Iran and the people of the epicenter.
This summer, we will be gathering in Philadelphia for the 2010 Epicenter Conference. I hope you will join us for the latest geopolitical updates from the Middle East, in-depth Bible teaching and very practical training on how to help mobilize a global movement to “learn, pray, give and go” to the Lord’s work in the epicenter. Among my guests will be Kay Arthur, the internationally renowned Bible teacher; Lt.-General (ret.) Jerry Boykin, fmr. commander of Delta Force and fmr. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence; Greg Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in California who has preached the good news of Jesus Christ to more than 3.8 million people around the world; Janet Parshall, the nationally syndicated radio talk show host; and other wonderful guests we will announce as we get closer to the event.
The conference will be held in Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Performing Arts in Philly. All tickets can be purchased by calling Ticket Philadelphia at 215-893-1999, on line at www.kimmelcenter.org, or in person at the Kimmel Center Box Office. Please keep your ticket as it must be presented at both events on 6.25 & 6.26 to gain entry into Verizon Hall. (One single ticket will be issued for admission to both days.)
Tickets can also be purchased through our new website, www.epicenterconference.com. This site has all the conference details. It will also have regular updates over the next few months (including specifics coming soon on how your congregation can sign up for a live webcast). Please note that the facility only holds 2,000 people, so please sign up today to reserve a seat for you and your family.
Thanks so much — we look forward to having you join us at this critical hour in the history of the epicenter.
A visit to your local college or university campus is likely to reveal that a revolution has taken place. On many campuses, young women now outnumber young men, and a gender gap of momentous importance is staring us in the face.
This gender gap has been growing for some time now, as successive generations of young women have entered the world of higher education. Yet, no one seemed to see a gap of this magnitude coming — until it had already happened.
The disparity of enrollment by gender varies by institution, but it is now estimated that almost 60% of all undergraduate students enrolled in American colleges and universities are women. This represents something altogether new in human experience since the rise of the university model as the dominant learning environment for young adults. For the first time, a generation of young women will be markedly more educated than their male generational cohort.
Is this a bad thing . . . a negative development? Yes — and profoundly so. The problem is not the larger enrollment of young women in colleges and universities. The problem is the phenomenon of missing young men, whose absence spells big trouble for the future.
The numbers point to the problem, but do not explain it. Explanations for the phenomenon of missing young men point to the fact that girls out-perform boys at every grade level in grades K-12, and are thus more ready for the college experience than the boys. Other factors include economic and cultural patterns. Among some ethnic groups, the disparity between men and women entering college is far greater than 60% to 40%. Many young men consider the educational environment to be frustrating, constricting, and overly feminized. Others have lost confidence that an undergraduate education will lead to a job with adequate income and stability. Whatever the reason, their absence makes a big difference on the college campus today — and will make an even bigger difference in the larger society in years ahead.
The New York Times offered an unusually candid portrait of this gender disparity in “The New Math on Campus,” published in its February 5, 2010 edition. Reporter Alex Williams described a radically transformed social scene on some of today’s largest and most historic state universities.
The University of North Carolina, for example:
North Carolina, with a student body that is nearly 60 percent female, is just one of many large universities that at times feel eerily like women’s colleges. Women have represented about 57 percent of enrollments at American colleges since at least 2000, according to a recent report by the American Council on Education. Researchers there cite several reasons: women tend to have higher grades; men tend to drop out in disproportionate numbers; and female enrollment skews higher among older students, low-income students, and black and Hispanic students.
Williams described a campus filled with young women who socialize with each other out of necessity — there are just not enough young men on campus. As Williams notes, this makes some college campuses resemble retirement communities, where women also generally outnumber men.
On the secular university campus, the gender imbalance has forced adjustments in the “hooking up” culture of sexual negotiation. As Williams reports:
“If a guy is not getting what he wants, he can quickly and abruptly go to the next one, because there are so many of us,” said Katie Deray, a senior at the University of Georgia, who said that it is common to see six provocatively clad women hovering around one or two guys at a party or a bar.
This is a portrait of demographic disaster, and the imbalance is not limited to secular campuses or students. Even as women now outnumber men in baccalaureate programs, they also indicate a desire to marry a man with equal or greater educational attainments. As the numbers now make clear, many of these young women will be disappointed.
Christian parents and all concerned with the coming generation should look closely at this phenomenon and ask the hard question — why is it that so many young men are falling behind in educational attainment? What are we doing that allows or encourages boys to exit formal education at their earliest opportunity? Why do we accept at face value the fact that boys fall behind girls of the same age in maturity and educational level? Why is college now an aspiration for far more young women than young men?
These are hard questions, but the answers will be even harder. We have allowed the development of an elongated boyhood and delayed adulthood. We frustrate them in school and then wonder why they bolt at the first exit from the classroom. We allow boys and young men to forfeit their futures.
All this might be different if the missing young men on our college and university campuses were missing for some good reason — such as military service or similar deployment. But, even as young men are more likely to join the military, the numbers do not explain the differential on campus.
Biblical manhood requires that a young man grow up, assume adult responsibilities, and prepare for leadership and service in the home, in the church, and in the larger society.
This much is clear — if this trend is not reversed, the college campus will not be the only place these young men are found missing.
Guest: Dr. Mike Adams, professor, University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Higher education in America today almost exclusively adheres to a radically humanistic worldview. The “tenured radicals” who teach your sons and daughters in college want nothing more than to undermine the Christian faith you’ve taught them.
In Hour 1 of The Christian Worldview this weekend, we’re going to get an inside perspective from a tenured professor at a major university, Read more
Guest: Dr. Robert Carter, scientist and researcher, Creation Ministries International
A couple hundred years ago, most people in America believed the universe was created by God. That changed when an Englishman named Charles Darwin took a boat ride to the Galapagos Islands off South America in the 1830’s.
With the printing of Darwin’s book, “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” (yes, that is the full original title), the educated elite and then the regular folks began to believe “the lie”. Read more
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Italian cabinet for a series of joint meetings with the Israeli cabinet. He also hosted a gala dinner for the Italian delegation at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. Netanyahu described the leader from Rome as “one of Israel’s greatest friends, a courageous leader who is a great champion of freedom and a great supporter of peace.” Netanyahu said this despite the fact that the Associated Press reports Italy is the leading trading partner with Iran in the E.U.
Berlusconi was one of only three leaders in Western Europe who voted against the anti-Israel U.N. resolution last fall regarding the Goldstone Commission Report (the other two were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende). Rome was Netanyahu’s first stop on his first trip to Europe upon becoming Prime Minister in 2009, specifically to see Berlusconi. Likewise, Avigdor Lieberman headed straight to Rome to see Berlusconi as his first trip as Israeli Foreign Minister.
“I can think of very few nations who have made such a contribution to Western culture as our two nations. In Rome and Jerusalem, the foundations for Western culture were laid,” Netanyahu said Monday night.
Berlusconi, who brought eight senior members of his government, returned the compliment saying that Rome considers Jerusalem one of its closest allies and considers Israel a part of Europe. “As long as I am one of the shapers of politics,” the Roman leader stated, “my greatest dream is to include Israel among the European Union countries.” He invited Netanyahu to come to Italy for another round of meetings.
The meetings were described by some in the media as “historic.” They also had echoes of Bible prophecy. The Hebrew Prophet Daniel indicates that in the “last days” Israel will sign a peace treaty with her many neighbors that appears to be brokered or negotiated or confirmed in some way by a leader from Rome (see Daniel chapter nine). It’s too soon to say definitively that yesterday’s events were in any way part of those prophecies, but they were certainly intriguing to those tracking geopolitical events in light of End Times prophecies. Developing….
The central argument in favor of same-sex marriage or overturning “Don’t ask don’t tell” contains a fatal flaw. In fact, this is the flaw at the heart of the entire gay rights movement.
Joint Chief Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen dutifully proclaimed the flaw as truth the other day when speaking in favor of ending the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. He said, “I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”
Lie about who they are?
Sorry Admiral, but as a former ROTC instructor and legal officer in the United States Navy, I helped deny entrance to potential recruits and prosecuted existing service people for all sorts of behaviors that were incompatible with unit cohesion and military readiness. As you know, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice prohibits numerous behaviors that are not criminal offenses in civilian life (including adultery, fraternization and gambling with a subordinate), yet I never once saw anyone excused for their behavior by claiming that’s who they are.
The military is essential to our survival as a nation. It’s not a social experiment and serving in it is not a right. People have to qualify and then make sacrifices. Military people must subordinate many of their individual rights to advance the national interest. Recruits must agree to give up some of the freedoms that civilians enjoy, including certain sexual freedoms and even the freedom of speech! So even if homosexual behavior is permitted in society, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be permitted in the military.
Having served, I believe that the military needs as few sexual distractions as possible, be they from men and women serving together in combat or open homosexuality. The job is too difficult and critical to be complicating matters sexually.
More could be said, but I want to zero in on the fatal flaw in most gay-rights causes, and the one the Admiral repeated. It is the failure to distinguish between desires and behavior. Having certain sexual desires—whether you were “born” with them or acquired them sometime in life—does not mean that you are being discriminated against if the law doesn’t allow the behavior you desire.
Take marriage as an example. Despite complaints by homosexual activists, every person in America already has equal marriage rights. We’re all playing by the same rules—we all have the same right to marry any non-related adult of the opposite sex. Those rules do not deny anyone “equal protection of the laws” because the qualifications to enter a marriage apply equally to everyone—every adult person has the same right to marry.
“But what about homosexuals?” you ask. The question would better be stated “what about people with homosexual desires?” Put that way, you can see the flaw. If sexual desires alone are the criteria by which we change our marriage (or military) laws to give people “equal rights,” then why not change them to include polygamy? After all, most men seem born with a desire for many women. How about those who desire their relatives? By the gay rights logic, such people don’t have “equal rights” because our marriage laws have no provision for incest. And bisexuals don’t have “equal rights” because existing marriage laws don’t allow them to marry a man and a woman.
If desires alone guarantee someone special rights, why are there no special rights for pedophiles and gay bashers? The answer is obvious—because desires, even if you were “born” with them, do not justify behavior, do not make anyone a special class, and should have no impact on our laws. (See Born Gay or a Gay Basher: No Excuse.)
Laws encourage good behavior or prevent bad behavior. Desires are irrelevant. We enact all kinds of laws in the country and military that conflict with people’s desires. In fact, that’s why we need them! We wouldn’t need any laws if people always desired to do good, which is why James Madison wrote, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
In other words, there should be no legal class of “gay” or “straight,” just a legal class called “person.” And it doesn’t matter whether persons desire sex with the same or opposite sex, or whether they desire sex with children, parents, or farm animals. What matters is whether the behavior desired is something the country or military should prohibit, permit or promote. Those are the only three choices we have when it comes to making law.
The standard comparisons to race and interracial marriage don’t work either. Sexual behavior is always a choice, race never is. You’ll find many former homosexuals, but you’ll never find a former African American. And your race has no effect on your military readiness, but your sexual behavior often can. Likewise, race is irrelevant to marriage while gender is essential to it. Interracial couples can procreate and nurture the next generation (the overriding societal purpose of marriage), but homosexual couples cannot.
The truth is that our marriage and military laws do not discriminate against persons for “who they are”—they discriminate against the behaviors in which they engage. But so what? That’s what most laws do. For example, the Thirteenth Amendment discriminates against the behavior of some businessmen who might like to improve their profits through slavery, but it does not discriminate against those businessmen as persons. And the First Amendment’s freedom-of-religion protections discriminate against the behavior of some Muslims who want to impose Islamic law on the entire nation, but it does not discriminate against those Muslims as persons. Likewise, our marriage and military laws discriminate against the desired behaviors of homosexuals, polygamists, bigamists, and the incestuous, but they do not discriminate against them as persons.
Now some may object to my comparison of homosexuality to polygamy, incest or pedophilia. I agree that the behaviors are not the same, but the point here is that the logic used to justify homosexuality is the same. “I was born with these desires” could also be used to justify polygamy, incest, pedophilia, and even gay bashing—“Don’t blame me. I just have the anti-gay gene!”
That’s the logic reduced to the absurd. And that’s why people who want to make a case for same-sex marriage or homosexual practice in the military should use different arguments. Claiming you “are” your sexual desires, is a case of don’t ask don’t think.
(If you’d like to think more about this admittedly complicated and sensitive issue, get the compact book from which this article is adapted: Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same-Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone.)