- The Washington Times - Friday, May 26, 2000

The bottom line

"I first met the Cardinal [John O'Connor] shortly after he became archbishop in 1984… . In time, we became friends not that we didn't have arguments. Of course, with the Catholic Church, they all centered around sex. He fought my administration on condoms in schools and on abortion.

"A month after I became mayor, I issued an executive order to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in government, housing and education. Later, we resolved that no one doing business with the city would be allowed to discriminate, either. The cardinal said to me, 'You can't issue an order that is binding on the Church. We're exempt.' I said, 'No, Cardinal, you're not exempt.' And he said, 'We're gonna sue you.'

"It was the first of many lawsuits. We disagreed intensely on homosexuality, on abortion, on other things. The bottom line was, for him, these were sins. I disagree, but how could I persuade someone who believes it's a sin?"

former New York Mayor Ed Koch, writing on "Gotham, Cardinal Virtues" in the May 15 issue of New York magazine

Broken covenant

"Americans have always imagined that they enjoyed a covenant with God. They have sought to live up to God's laws to make 'a shining city on the hill' and God smiled on their efforts… .

"I don't think we can say today that we have kept our side of the covenant. Since 1973, we have killed 36 million children in the womb (and, incidentally, thereby decimated the cohort whose labor had been counted on to keep Social Security sound). This is one reason why so many religious people no longer have confidence in America's future… .

"America's religious communities Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism (both mainline and evangelical) appear to have lost their certainty, will, and moral vitality… . American religious bodies seem unable to defend themselves against the onslaught of the aggressively anti-biblical practices, ideas, and rationalizations of secular America. In fact, official church activists typically become fanatical partisans of the latest secular assault upon traditional religion.

"The American family, too, is only a shadow of its former self. Sexual life has been all but freed from marital purposes. In Washington, D.C., nearly half of all pregnancies end in abortion. Nonetheless, of those pregnancies that do end in birth, 65 percent are to single mothers, no husband present. One can only imagine the rage of young men born of such unions, groaning for a firm hand, advice, and connection of a father. What did they do to deserve a father who has abandoned them?"

Michael Novak, writing on "The Moral Ecology of the 21st Century," in the spring issue of American Outlook

Freedom vs. family

"In the controversy over the fate of Cuban boat boy Elian Gonzales, the familiar sparring between anti-Communists and anti-anti-Communists and the complicated debates about freedom versus family have coexisted with another theme: sexism against fathers.

"In a Time essay titled 'The Second-Class Parent,' Lance Morrow wrote that politics has been allowed to trump family in Elian's case because 'Americans have grown stupid and confused about the meaning of fatherhood' and fathers are seen as 'secondary and essentially dispensable.' …

"Perhaps it's revealing that, of all the people I know who have fled Communist or ex-Communist countries, I found one who leaned in favor of sending Elian back a father going through a nasty divorce… .

"While the battle over Elian may not be primarily a fathers' rights issue, those who want to turn it into one are raising the right questions for the wrong reasons."

Cathy Young, writing on "The Sadness of the American Father," in the June issue of the American Spectator

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