Although Gessen’s willingness to put the matter in terms of “lying” is startlingly frank, it is no longer uncommon for advocates of redefining marriage to acknowledge that the effect—for them an entirely desirable effect—of redefinition will be the radical transformation of the institution. The objective is not merely to expand the pool of people eligible to participate in it, as was long claimed. In conceding (and celebrating the fact) that redefining marriage will fundamentally alter the institution, transform its social role and meaning, and undermine its structuring norms of monogamy, exclusivity, etc., Gessen is far from out of step with other leading figures in the movement.
As a pastor of a local church, I enjoyed taking congregants to coffee and asking them to talk about the issues about the issues that most concerned them. It is remarkable how quickly folks will open up when they are given the opportunity. Honesty and vulnerability of a most remarkable quality would usually follow. In such situations, my job was simple: listen. Listen for patterns. Listen for underlying causes. Listen for regrets. Listen as through a stethoscope to identify the particular malady to which the good news of Jesus would bring healing.
At issue was a new $100 “annual registration fee” that the city imposed on churches and nonprofits. Most of the fee will go toward building safety and fire inspections, and $25 toward administration costs. But East St. Louis pastors say Mayor Alvin Parks is playing a game of semantics, using the word “fee” where “tax” is more accurate. They say they only learned about the new fee when they began receiving letters from the city, warning that the churches would be turned over to a collection agency if they didn’t pay. Nonpayment, the letter said, “may reflect negatively on your credit record, lien on property and other remedies that the State of Illinois allows.”
The New York Observer noted that some media outlets cropped the photo to spare readers the grisly sight; but a few, the Atlantic among them, posted the image uncensored, sparking a debate about journalistic ethics and standards of confronting viewers with such disturbing material. “We agree that this image is difficult to look at but believe that it is also a true depiction of the terrible nature of this story,” said Atlantic communications director Natalie Raabe. “We were careful to prepare viewers for the graphic content, including a warning that entirely obscures the photo.” The Observer went on to point out that the Daily News blurred the man’s injuries (the Atlantic blurred his face “out of respect for his privacy”) and the New York Timesdeclined to use the photo at all. Standards editor Phil Corbett said, “We clearly would consider the full frame of that photo to be too graphic to publish.” New York Timessenior photographer James Estrin said, “I’m not opposed to showing blood and, on rare occasions, a dismemberment, if it’s integral to telling a story.” But of the photograph in question, he said, “I’m not sure the graphicness advances the story.”
Eric Metaxas talks about the persecution that Christians face around the world in a panel at the Hudson Institute.