President Obama now commands center stage following his formal announcement that, yes, he supports same-sex marriage.
But for perspective on how we got to this point, we should shift our sights to three days before the president’s announcement. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appeared on MSNBC where he responded “yes, I do” when asked if he supports same-sex marriage.
Duncan at best raised a few eyebrows by stating his support for same-sex marriage. If he had said that homosexuality is immoral there would have been demands for his ouster.
How have we gone from a nation where our first president, George Washington, admonished that religion and morality are “indispensable” to ‘political prosperity” to one, today, in which our president says “same-sex couples should be able to get married”?
On the marriage issue, the national transformation has been breathtaking. A new Gallup poll shows the nation evenly divided – 50 percent saying same-sex marriage should be valid and 48 percent saying it should not be. When Gallup asked the same question in 1996, 68 percent opposed legalization of same-sex marriage against 27 percent in favor.
In just 16 years the gap between those opposed and in support of same-sex marriage has gone from a 41-point difference to practically zero.
Our public schools are controlled locally, but the influence of the federal government is substantial. The Department of Education, per its website, “administers a budget of 68.1 billion dollars in discretionary appropriations …” serving “… nearly 16,000 school districts and approximately 49 million students.”
It’s not trivial that Duncan, the man who oversees this massive enterprise molding the minds of our nation’s youth, publicly rejects the traditional definition of marriage in favor of one saying it just takes two (so far) warm bodies of any gender combination.
The president brandishes one of his favorite words in explaining his support for same-sex marriage: “Fairness.”
Actually, this is about unfairness.
We have bought into a grand illusion that we can make our public spaces value neutral. But this is impossible.
The struggle in our public spaces is about competing worldviews. Not neutrality.
As one court ruling after another has purged religious expression from our public spaces, we have unfairly suppressed traditional values in favor of promoting alternative secular views.
As we have sanitized our public schools from prayer, from displays of the Ten Commandments, from any teaching that can be associated with biblical sources, we’ve put government monopoly power behind moral relativism.
California, for instance, has a new law mandating teaching gay history in public schools. A similar mandate to teach Christian history would be challenged constitutionally.
Recent resolutions of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, include support of same-sex marriage and sex education programs that appreciate “diversity of … sexual orientation and gender identification.”
Randi Weingarten, president of the nation’s second-largest teacher’s union, American Federation of Teachers, lives in an open lesbian relationship.
It should come as no surprise when President Obama says he sees much of the growth in support for same-sex marriage as “generational,” with strong support coming from our youth.
Attitudes reflect education. We have created a world in which it is illegal to teach youth in our public schools traditional religious values, but it is not illegal to teach them competing values of nihilism, materialism and relativism. And these competing values are actively promoted.
As elsewhere, the main victims are poor, minority kids, often from broken families, held hostage in these public schools and prohibited from being taught the very values that could save their lives.
Is there a way out? I only see one. Universal school choice. Liberate parents and kids from government and union-controlled schools. In a free America, parents who don’t share Arne Duncan’s values shouldn’t have them forced on them.