Culture challenge of the week: Playing the "hate" card
Children know instinctively that "hate" is a bad thing. And they understand that hating a classmate, teacher or neighbor is nothing like "hating" the broccoli on the dinner plate. Real hate is a deliberate choice: it wishes evil and moments dark, angry feelings towards another person.
It's a serious thing, hate is. And America's own tangled history of racial prejudice, fueled by unfamiliarity and ignorance, serves as a cultural memory of the toxic power of hate.
So it was a shocking turn of events last week when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) added more than a dozen new organizations to its list of hate-mongering groups. The new "haters," in this era of sexual license, are those who maintain that marriage has an intrinsic meaning — the union of man and woman — that simply cannot be extended to homosexual couplings.
Crying "hate speech," the SPLC denounced "anti-gay" groups for spreading "falsehoods" that say children do best when raised by a mom and a dad, as opposed to two dads or two moms. "Falsehoods" that support traditional marriage are now "hate speech," thrown into the same filthy bucket as racist views on interracial marriage and segregation.
The view that marriage means one man and one woman and that children flourish when raised by a married mother and father is rooted not only in biblical teachings, but also in common sense. It's a truth proven by science as well as by centuries of lived experience. But children know that "hate" is a bad thing, and no one wants to be labeled a "hater." It's not hard to imagine the pressure tactics that our children soon will face: Keep silent or risk being slapped with the label — "hater" — that will define them socially for years.
The label of "hater" quickly shuts down reasonable discussion or open disagreement. And that's the real point: to intimidate proponents of traditional morality into keeping silent. Put differently, it's to lock traditional morality in the closet so social engineers can be free to redefine marriage as they wish.
How to save your family: Keep hold of the winning hand
Maggie Gallagher, an articulate defender of marriage, warns that by playing the "hate" card, the homosexual lobby wants to "shut down the scientific debate on statements of fact" about homosexuality and to "control what ordinary people can say and think" about marriage, sex and morality.
As your children become old enough to discuss these issues, arm them with facts from scientific and religious perspectives. One helpful website, MercatorNet.com defends morality on the basis of human dignity — religious perspective aside. The Family Research Council, one of the "hate" groups tagged by the SPLC, offers valuable research and statistics on mariage, family and sexuality.
We should also teach our children to boldly proclaim — in love — their own faith.
Tim Rutten, a columnist at the Los Angeles Times, applauds the SPLC action for drawing a line "where the expression of religiously based views on social issues ends and hate speech begins." Mr. Rutten mistakenly argues that "even the most objectionable religious dogma" (like the biblical opposition to homosexual behavior) is protected by the Constitution, but only if that belief "stays under the church roof." (Mr. Rutten misses the fact that plenty of folks who don't attend church support traditional morality.)
Teach your children that folks who advocate silencing religious views in the public square are attacking a key right the First Amendment was designed to protect.
Mrs. Gallagher also cautions that when homosexual activists liken their plight to racial prejudice, they seek to induce "moral shame" in the hearts of good people. Teach your children to hold fast to the truth and refuse the burden of unfair guilt. We know what marriage is. And no amount of lobbying or name-calling can change that truth. Our only shame would be to keep silent in the face of lies.
• Rebecca Hagelin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.