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"Un pere, une mere, c'est elementaire." This is the batte cry of La Manif Pour Tous, the French group that mobilized in opposition to gay marriage in France. Although the Hollande government did legalize gay marriage last spring, La Manif Pour Tous made a name for itself by organizing two mammoth rallies in Paris before the law passed and one after it passed, in which its spokesman Ludovine de la Rochere memorably vowed to keep fighting, invoking the spirit and the words of Charles de Gaulle, "The law is today in effect: so isn't the last word already spoken on this? Shouldn't hope disappear? Isn't your defeat definitive? No!"
Last month, La Manif's defiance paid off as hundreds of thousands of Frenchmen again peacefully marched in defense of the family in both Paris and Lyon, where the march was led by the Archbishop of Lyon, the Primate of the Gauls, Cardinal Phillippe Barbarin. The object of the protest was legislation that would have allowed homosexual couples to use in vitro fertilization or surrogate motherhood to have children. After the demonstrations, the Hollande government withdrew the legislation. Hollande is one of the least popular presidents in the history of the Fifth Republic, and La Manif has positioned itself to demand the repeal of the gay marriage legislation when the French Socialists inevitably lose power. La Manif has shown that it can rally large numbers of Frenchmen to its cause, and, as a result, it will be able to extract a commitment to repeal the gay marriage law from Hollande's opponents.
The contrast between the supposedly defeatist French and America's conservative commentariat could not be more striking. On March 1, Ross Douthat's column in The New York Times argued that not only was the gay marriage battle lost, but that the only question was what terms would be imposed by the victorious gay marriage proponents. Douthat hoped that they would let American Christians hide quietly in catacombs of their own making, but feared that the civil rights laws would be used to go after American Christians. Lots of other conservative commentators jumped on Douthat's bandwagon, eagerly waving the white flags they had, in most cases, long since unfurled.
Of course, none of these commentators argued that it was worth fighting against what they portrayed as the gay marriage juggernaut. After all, defeatism on gay marriage has become the requirement for respectability in Manhattan and DC. Nor did any of these commentators even suggest that, if gay marriage proponents do try to use the power of the state to bully American Christians into recognizing gay marriage in their churches and other institutions, this obvious tyranny could be used to discredit the push for gay marriage.
In doing this, these commentators merely revealed how useless their professed conservatism is. If they won't fight to conserve the foundational unit of all human society, what will they fight to conserve? After all, as the French say, "Un pere, une mere, c'est elementaire."
Amen. The conservative voices on TV and radio seem to care only about ratings! If you reject SIN - you a labelled a hater. It won't be long before Christians, who stand up for their faith, will face economic and social discrimination.
Nicely stated, Tom! You pretty much summed it up. It's amazing: how has the culture changed so dramatically in a decade? It may be the logical conclusion and consequential end of the "Who am I to judge..." sentimental humanitarianism purporting to be serious religious insight...
This is an excellent article!!
Ross Douthat's column in The New York Times argued that not only was the gay marriage battle lost, but that the only question was what terms would be imposed by the victorious gay marriage proponents.
Is it possible America has in store a Gay Reconstruction era? I suppose the Conservative commentators will be the modern day scaliwags?
Mr. Piatak, as an American living in France who recoils in horror at the mere thought of ever moving back to the States, I'd like to throw in a word of defense for my compatriots. Namely, it is easy enough to vocally defend wholesomeness when one moves in a social and familial milieu that is still relatively intact. Indeed, in certain social circles around here, one would actually have a harder time NOT marching in one of the "Manifs pour tous" than to do so.
To be clear, I am not saying this to belittle the character of the many good individuals I have met over here - indeed, my circle of friends is infinitely larger and more satisfying than I could ever have in the States (this is in fact the main reason for not ever wanting to go back - I couldn't give two hoots and a holler about the Louvre or any other rapacious "cultural institution"). Indeed, the still fairly tight community encadrement in which they grew up is absolutely vital to the production of solid character.
But as they say, "to whom much is given, much is expected." Almost everywhere you look these days, the U.S. is these days a cultural and social wasteland. I for one found my last few years there both frightfully and frighteningly lonesome. On at least two occasions, I even behaved cowardly. I have no excuse for that. But the point I want to make is, if it's difficult enough merely to abstain from cowardice, what to say of courage? Acts that previously might have been "courageous" are now little more than simply "suicidally truthful."
Say what you want about the level of Phil Robertson's discourse. His was the first truly courageous statement in America in quite a long time. AND by whatever good fortune or divine intervention it happened not to prove suicidal. I hope all Americans of goodwill recognize just how much we owe him.
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