Open Letter to Glenn Beck: Short and Long Term

Hello Glenn:

Congratulations on the success of the Restoring Honor rally. I would have enjoyed the experience of gathering on the mall with you and other patriotic Americans.

However, I am concerned that you are sacrificing critical moral values to build short term gain.  It has been disappointing to learn that you have gone on record saying that "homosexual marriage is not a threat to the country.”

Last June I posted an article entitled "Freedom to Marry?" on this blog. In that article, I attempted to explain to a former professional colleague why I support laws that limit the term "marriage" to the union of one man and one woman.

A brief excerpt:

"Inherent in our existence as human beings all of us possess free will, also called agency, or the ability to act for ourselves and not be acted upon by someone else.   …  As members of a civil society, we accept limitations on how we exercise our agency based on two fundamental principles:

  1. A person may act in ways that do not harm or threaten other people or property.
  2. A person may act in ways that do not undermine the ability of the society to flourish and sustain itself.

"The first principle largely addresses immediate or short term affects; the second encompasses long term consequences.  Restrictions on marriage within our society are primarily based on the second principle."

Glenn, I believe you, like too many others, err in limiting attention to only the first principle, without regard to the second.  The Thomas Jefferson phrase you quote, “If it neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket, what difference is it to me?” certainly is limited to only the first principle.

I believe that we must, as a moral society, accept and defend both principles.  Certainly the Judeo-Christian tradition you claim to espouse encompasses both the short and long term views.

Best regards,

Mark Dixon

Russia’s New Police State

imageI had a quite unpleasant experience with one branch of the US National Police, the Transportation Security Agency, in the Phoenix airport last week, but that pales in comparison to what is happening in Russia.  According to the Newsweek article, “Russia’s New Police State,” the increasingly totalitarian Russian government has enacted two new laws giving Russia’s “spectacularly corrupt, inept, and brutal police” sweeping new powers.

In a nation whose government has apparently moved to restore the brutal excesses of the USSR secret police,

“Public trust in the police has cratered; according to a recent survey by the Moscow-based Levada Center, more than 70 percent of Russians distrust all branches of law enforcement. ‘Russia is now one of those countries where citizens expect more unpleasantness, problems, and even criminality from the police than from actual criminals,’ says independent political analyst Nikolai Zlobin”

The first new law:

“gives the FSB [Federal Security Service] powers to arrest people on suspicion of planning an act ‘contrary to the country’s security’ before they have actually done anything illegal. The law also establishes fines and detentions of up to 15 days for people seen as ‘hindering the work of an FSB employee.’ The new powers given to the secret police under the new law was one of the reasons cited by presidential human-rights adviser Ella Pamfilova for her resignation last month.”

The second law goes even further:

“Despite some clauses included at the behest of the Presidential Human Rights Commission—such as an explicit ban on torture—much of the new law would extend the police’s already extensive authority. They would have almost unlimited power to stop and search people and to detain them for up to an hour just to check their documents, a reversal of the presumption of innocence enshrined in the Russian Constitution. Police can also now enter private homes without a warrant.”

So maybe the TSA, with all their snappy new police uniforms, condescending bravado and increasingly privacy-infringing search methods, aren’t so bad … yet.  But we must always be wary and watchful.  The freedoms we enjoy, those guaranteed by an inspired constitution, must never be subjugated to over reaching police power. Tags: ,,

Imprimis: Tea Parties and the Future of Liberty

If you are not already a regular reader of Imprimis, a monthly publication of Hillsdale College, I strongly encourage you to start. 

image “Imprimis is the free monthly speech digest of Hillsdale College and is dedicated to educating citizens and promoting civil and religious liberty by covering cultural, economic, political and educational issues of enduring significance.  The content of Imprimis is drawn from speeches delivered to Hillsdale College-hosted events, both on-campus and off-campus.  First published in 1972, Imprimis is one of the most widely circulated opinion publications in the nation with over 1.8 million subscribers.”

A subscription to deliver a printed version mailed to your home is free; an electronic copy is at your fingertips on the web.  I always enjoy the insightful commentary from a broad range of speakers, all devoted to the principle of freedom.

image This month’s issue was adapted from a speech by Stephen F. Hayes, Senior Writer, The Weekly Standard.  Entitled “The Tea Parties and the Future of Liberty”, the article highlights the rise of the Tea Party movement and discusses the objectives of participants of the movement.

How did the Tea Party movement begin?

“The accidental founding of the Tea Party movement took place in February 2009, when CNBC commentator Rick Santelli let loose a rant against the stimulus package, and in particular the proposal to subsidize what he called “the losers’ mortgages.” He proposed a ceremonial dump of derivative securities into Lake Michigan, and a few hours later a website popped up calling for a Chicago Tea Party. The video clip raced around the Internet, and it was soon clear that many average Americans were furious about the massive new spending bill and the plan to subsidize bad mortgages.”

Who is involved in the Tea Party movement? In July, 2008, during the last presidential campaign, John McCain participated in a town hall in Belleville, MI.  A provocative question was posted by Rich Keenan, who told McCain he would not be voting for Obama.  But then he said: “What I’m trying to do is get to a situation where I’m excited about voting for you.” 

Hayes explains further:

“I talked with Rich Keenan after the town hall. He described himself as a conservative independent. He said he often votes Republican but does not consider himself one. He added, “I do think that there are millions of Americans out there like me who are fairly conservative, probably more conservative than John McCain, and I think a lot of them are concerned about what’s going to happen if he does get elected.”

So who participates in the movement?

“Keenan was right. There were millions of people out there like him—conservatives, independents, disaffected Republicans, and many of them stayed home on election day. These people form the heart of the Tea Party movement.”

“…The Tea Party movement arose in an environment in which a growing number of Americans believed neither party was voicing its concerns.

“… This dissatisfaction flows directly from the president’s policies and those of his party. It is not simply “anti-incumbent,” as many of my press colleagues would have it. This voter outrage—and it is outrage, not hate—is specific and focused: Americans are fed up with big government and deeply concerned about the long-term economic health of their country.”

Besides the outrage against big government and massive spending, there is a deeper concern:

“For many Tea Partiers, the massive and unconstitutional growth of government is the fundamental issue. But I think there’s something deeper, too. After her husband had won several primaries in a row in the spring of 2008, Michelle Obama proclaimed that for the first time in her life she was proud of her country. It was a stunning statement. It also foreshadowed what was to come: Since Barack Obama took office in January 2009, he has devoted much of his time to criticizing his own country. He apologizes for the policy decisions of his predecessors. He worries aloud that the U.S. has become too powerful. He has explicitly rejected the doctrine of American exceptionalism.”

So, what will become of the Tea Party movement?  Will it have a profound effect in the upcoming election?  Only time will tell.  The proof will be in the pudding, as they say.

Where you stand?  I attended a Tea Party rally once.  I was impressed with many of the speakers, but was disturbed by the hateful fringe.  I asked that my name be taken off the mailing list when a few people on the Tea Party website commenced a hateful diatribe against Congressman Jeff Flake, who, in my mind, is as close to an ideal congressional representative as we have in government today.

The hateful fringe does a disservice to a legitimate grassroots movement fueled by concerns that echo my own: rapid growth of government, overspending and over-taxation, rejection of traditional values and the principles of American exceptionalism.

I do hope the Tea Party movement succeeds, if it serves as a catalyst to encourage disaffected American voters to engage in civil debate and bring about a profound effect this year’s election – a step towards reducing the size of government, reducing spending and taxes, and reversing the trend towards moral decay and apology for the greatest nation in the world. Tags: ,,

Why face recognition isn’t scary — yet

Note: I created this post for my professional blog:  Discovering Identity.  Yet the implications this advancing facial recognition technology has on our personal freedoms made it pertinent to our I Love Freedom theme.  Enjoy!

Thanks to Malisa Vincenti, leader of the LinkedIn Group Security & Technology – Critical Infrastructure Network & Forum, for highlighting the CNN article entitled “Why face recognition isn’t scary – yet.”


Much of the article was dedicated to describing the benefits and deficiencies of facial recognition software used by online services like Facebook, Picasa and iPhoto to make it easier for users to keep track of photographs.  Speaking of such functionality,  Michael Sipe, vice president of product development at Pittsburgh Pattern Recognition, a Carnegie Mellon University split-off company that makes face-recognizing software said these types of photo programs are a response to the hassles of keeping track of growing digital photo collections.

"In general, there’s this tsunami of visual information — images and video — and the tools that people have to make sense of all that information haven’t kept pace with the growth of the production of that information," he said. "What we have is a tool to help extract meaning from that information by using the most important part of that media, which is people."

It is interesting that one of the most distinguishing attribute of a person’s identity – his or her face – is so difficult for computers to recognize.  We humans often say, “I can remember faces much better than names,” yet computers are just the opposite.  It turns out that a person’s smile, which may be one of the most easily-remembered feature of the human face (for us humans, at least), is the most difficult for computers to comprehend:

Anil Jain, a distinguished professor of computer science at Michigan State University, said it’s still not easy, however, for computers to identify faces from photos — mostly because the photos people post to the internet are so diverse.

Computers get confused when a photo is too dark, if it’s taken from a weird angle, if the person is wearing a scarf, beard or glasses or if the person in the photo has aged significantly, he said.

Smiling can even be a problem.

"The face is like a deformable surface," he said. "When you smile, different parts of the face get affected differently. It’s not just like moving some object from one position to another," which would be easier for a computer to read.

So … what will happen when this technology matures and makes the leap from family-friendly Facebook to applications in real live security or survellance applications?

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said the motives behind the technology are what worry him.

Governments and corporations intend to use facial recognition software to track the public and to eliminate privacy, he said, noting that automatically identifying people in public in the U.S., when they are not suspected of a crime, could be a violation of constitutional rights.

When facial recognition comes to surveillance cameras, which are already in place, "you’re no longer racing through iPhoto to figure out how many pictures of Barbara you have," Rotenberg said. "You’re walking around in public and facing cameras that know who you are. And I think that’s a little creepy."

I suppose this is like many other technologies – there are an abundance of positive applications, and the potential for terribly nefarious uses.

For example, if facial recognition can be used to identify  terrorists so they could be detained prior to boarding airplanes, we would generally think that was a good application. 

Similarly, if I could be granted entrance to my corporate office building or be logged onto necessary computer systems just by smiling (or frowning) into a camera, the building and computer systems might be more secure and the present-day use of passwords or ID cards might go the way of the buggy whip.

However, if an abusive husband used facial recognition software to stalk his estranged wife, or if the government successfully tracked every movement its citizens made in the normal course of events, we would generally think of those applications as negative.

I have a crazy habit of smiling and waving at security cameras I see in airports or banks or convenience stores. Who knows what is happening on the other side?  At the present level of today’s technology, I’m probably being recorded and not much more.  In a few years, however, the sophisticated software behind the camera will probably recognize Mark Dixon and report my antics to the NSA.  That will surely make me frown, not smile, when I wave to the ubiquitous cameras.

Dearth of Leadership Take 2, or Leadership by Litigation

image In a recent post, I expressed dismay that we had a terrible lack of genuine leadership at the top in federal government, as evidenced by the poor leadership in the oil spill crisis.

Now, Take 2!

True to form, the administration chose to divide and alienate rather than leverage the power of the “best and brightest” to solve a significant challenge – that of illegal immigration – by suing the State of Arizona over the passage of HB 1070, the illegal immigration enforcement law.

I am not anti-immigration.  I actually have a deep respect for our immigrant brothers and sisters.  However, I am also a passionate supporter of the rule of law within a society of free people.  Our freedom is dependent on the willingness of citizens to obey the law and the willingness of government to enforce the law.

At the same time, I am not a proponent of HB 1070, because I believe it ignores the larger reality that sizable portions of our economy currently depend on currently-illegal immigrants and that comprehensive immigration reform is needed before the overall problem will be solved. 

However, it galls me that the administration would sue Arizona for attempting to enforce the existing immigration laws the federal government has failed (or refused) to enforce already.  By refusing to enforce federal law already on the books, the federal government has imposed huge financial and social burdens on the states. Perhaps we should sue the feds for reimbursement.  Oh, I think Governor Janet Napolitano did that before selling out to the current administration.  Leadership?

In case anyone cares, my comprehensive reform proposal includes the following major points:

  1. Provide a liberal guest worker program, recognizing that immigrants are an integral part of the US economy.  The program will make sure they pay taxes, insurance, medical, education, etc. Over time, if they comply with strict guidelines, they may earn citizenship. 
  2. Provide a way for illegals already in the US to come clean, pay hefty fines, pay taxes, insurance, medical costs, education fees, etc. and work toward citizenship over time if they adhere to strict guidelines. 
  3. Immediately export all illegals who don’t comply with #1 or #2.
  4. Do not make any public services (medical, education, etc.) available to anyone who is not a citizen or can demonstrate compliance with #1 or #2, except in a medical emergency, after which they are immediately exported in line with #3.
  5. Revoke the business license of any employer who hires illegals outside the guest worker program – you, too, Walmart, not just the little guys.
  6. Do not grant citizenship to children born in the US unless at least one of their parents is already a citizen.
  7. Build a high, double, physical wall with electronic surveillance and rigorous countermeasures between the US and Mexico.
  8. Provide national guard troops at the border, equipped with real bullets and orders to use them  to enforce the law.
  9. Enforce national and state immigration law, with the federal government paying the states to enforce the law if the feds choose not to.

While the administration wastes tax payer dollars on fighting HB 1070 in court, and while the supposed “best and brightest” in congress sit on the sidelines and refuse to address immigration reform, I guess we must live with the spirit of Arizona captured in this proposed new Arizona flag:


I applaud the administration of the State of Arizona for choosing to defend HB 1070 vigorously, even though I don’t think the bill gets to the heart of the matter.  Perhaps this action will be a catalyst to encourage the “best and brightest” to intervene and correct the actions of the appalling lack of federal leadership.

Thanks to my friend Stan Ferrin, who sent me the flag photo. Tags: ,,

Are You a Perfect Citizen? I Will Listen and Find Out.

(Note: I published this article first on my professional blog, “Discovering Identity,” but felt the subject matter touched very close to the Security vs. Freedom debate in which we so often find ourselves.)

The Wall Street Journal published an excellent article today entitled, “U.S. Program to Detect Cyber Attacks on Infrastructure” (subscription required),  reviewing a large U.S. government program, named “Perfect Citizen,” with the stated objective to:

“… detect cyber assaults on private U.S. companies and government agencies running critical infrastructure such as the electricity grid and nuclear power plants, according to people familiar with the program.”


We all know that the national infrastructure is vulnerable, as I mentioned recently in my blog about NERC Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Cyber Security Standards. The object of this program appears to be an attempt to discover security holes that may not be CIP compliant, and detect patterns of attack before harm can be done.

U.S. intelligence officials have grown increasingly alarmed about what they believe to be Chinese and Russian surveillance of computer systems that control the electric grid and other U.S. infrastructure. Officials are unable to describe the full scope of the problem, however, because they have had limited ability to pull together all the private data.

How do you tackle this challenge?  Just monitor the network and find “unusual activity” that may suggest a pending cyber attack.

The surveillance by the National Security Agency, the government’s chief eavesdropping agency, would rely on a set of sensors deployed in computer networks for critical infrastructure that would be triggered by unusual activity suggesting an impending cyber attack, though it wouldn’t persistently monitor the whole system.

This accumulation and analysis of vast amounts of data from numerous sensors is a fascinating topic.  Last September, I blogged about work led by Jeff Jonas to analyze large data sets to detect the types of anomalies the NSA are seeking – all to catch threats to the Las Vegas gaming industry.  It would be interesting to know if the NSA is building upon his work to find terrorists before they strike.

Of course, any surveillance program led by the NSA is bound to be controversial, and this is no exception:

Some industry and government officials familiar with the program see Perfect Citizen as an intrusion by the NSA into domestic affairs, while others say it is an important program to combat an emerging security threat that only the NSA is equipped to provide.

Who knows … perhaps some day the NSA wizards might think my blogging efforts are a threat to national security and plant sensors to detect my email, blogging and social networking communications activity to see if something fishy is going on.   After all, I am not a “Perfect Citizen,” whatever that means.  No one is.

"The overall purpose of the [program] is our Government…feel[s] that they need to insure the Public Sector is doing all they can to secure Infrastructure critical to our National Security," said one internal Raytheon email, the text of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal. "Perfect Citizen is Big Brother."

It will be fascinating, in an apprehensive way, to see how this all comes together:

Because the program is still in the early stages, much remains to be worked out, such as which computer control systems will be monitored and how the data will be collected. NSA would likely start with the systems that have the most important security implications if attacked, such as electric, nuclear, and air-traffic-control systems, they said.

I doubt that covert surveillance of US citizens is the initial intent of this program, but unintended consequences are what trouble me.  For some diabolical reason, increasing the amount of power vested in any one person or group of people tends to lead to oppression of others.  And it sounds like this program will put vast informational power in the hands of a few.

A Dearth of Leadership

Dearth: “an inadequate supply; scarcity; lack”

When I grew up on a small southern Idaho farm, we didn’t have television in our home.  But I remember the time in 1962,  when, as an anxious nine year old, I huddled with my family around a cream-colored tube-type radio listening to news about the Cuban Missile Crisis.  I remember distinctly asking my Dad if he thought we were going to have a nuclear war.

He responded gravely but confidently, “If President Kennedy sticks to his guns, we’ll be ok.”


My Dad had not voted for Kennedy and never would, as far I I know, vote for a Democrat presidential candidate.  Around our house mere mention of the initials “FDR” was like cussing.

However, at the point in time when the chips were down and the future of our nation hung in the balance, my Dad expressed confidence in the office of the President and those who were assisting him in preserving the fragile peace.  President Kennedy marshaled the “best and brightest” of people from many backgrounds and political persuasions to assist him in decisions that were of great importance to our country. Then, he acted decisively and stuck to his guns.  That is called leadership.

Please fast forward with me nearly 48 years to our current time and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill crisis.  Ironically, the geographical focal points then and now are not too far apart. The potential end game is not nuclear war or fragile peace, but the livelihood of millions, the future of the environment and our economic stability do hang in the proverbial balance.

Now, in contrast to listening to the small family radio in 1962, we are bombarded with newscasts about this event.  It was soon clear to me that the BP executives were living in denial or just hoping the fairy godmother would come down and clean the whole mess up.

And then, when President Obama declared crudely that he was going to find out whose a** to kick, I told my family that “There is certainly a dearth of leadership in this mess.”  Leadership is all about consulting the best and brightest, having the courage to exert intellectual honesty, and finding solutions, not laying blame.  I just didn’t see that happening anywhere.


A few weeks later, I was pleased to hear that I was not alone in my thinking.

On June 10th, I read an op-ed piece in the USA Today, where Mitt Romney came to precisely the same conclusion.

Has it come to this again? The president is meeting with his oil spill experts, he crudely tells us, so that he knows “whose ass to kick.” We have become accustomed to his management style — target a scapegoat, assign blame and go on the attack. To win health care legislation, he vilified insurance executives; to escape bankruptcy law for General Motors, he demonized senior lenders; to take the focus from the excesses of government, he castigated business meetings in Las Vegas; and to deflect responsibility for the deepening and lengthening downturn, he blames Wall Street and George W. Bush. But what may make good politics does not make good leadership. And when a crisis is upon us, America wants a leader, not a politician.

Mr. Romney went on to give several examples of excellent leadership – across the spectrum of political persuasion:

We saw leadership on Sept. 11, 2001. Then as now, black billows seemed to come from the center of the earth. Lives had been lost. The environmental impact was immeasurable. The looming economic impact from lost tourism was incalculable. Into the crisis walked Rudy Giuliani. While that was an incomparable human tragedy, how the mayor led New York City to recover is a useful model for the president. …

In a crisis, the leader must gather the experts — federal, state, local, public and private — not to discover who is to blame but to secure their active and continuous involvement until the crisis is resolved. There is extraordinary power inherent in an assembly of brilliant people guided by an able leader. In virtually every historic national crisis, our most effective leaders gathered the best minds they could find — consider the Founders in Philadelphia, Lincoln with his “Team of Rivals,” Roosevelt with scientists and generals seeking to end World War II, Kennedy with the “Best and Brightest” confronting the Cuban missile crisis.

There are certainly a lot of smart people available – from industry, academia, government and the general public.  There is no dearth of ideas, but there is a real dearth of leadership at the helm.

But even a gathering of experts won’t accomplish much unless a skilled leader uses their perspective to guide the recovery. So far, it has been the CEO of BP who has been managing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The president surely can’t rely on BP — its track record is suspect at best: Its management of this crisis has been characterized by obfuscation and lack of preparation. And BP’s responsibilities to its shareholders conflict with the greater responsibility to the nation and to the planet.

Battling the oil crisis might not be the “change” that was high on the President’s agenda, but Murphy’s Law still reigns, bad things do happen, and we need leadership to lead us out of this big black hole.

The president must personally lead the effort to solve the crisis. He cannot delegate this quintessential responsibility of his presidency in the way he delegated the stimulus bill, the cap-and-trade bill and the health care bill. It may be an instance of learning on the job, but it is a job only he can do.

Kennedy was a young man; many of those he gathered around him were young, but youth didn’t stand in the way of purposeful action.  In times of crises, we don’t need excuses; we need results.

The president can learn a good deal from the crisis leadership of men and women in government and in business. Giuliani is a notable example, but so too are Washington, Adams, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Reagan and Kennedy. In a time of national crisis, we look to our president to acknowledge, as Harry Truman did, that it is at his desk where the buck stops.

This is not just a political issue.  It is an issue of capability, credibility, motivation and decisive action. It is not about placing blame.  There is plenty of that to spread around when the time comes.  Genuine leaders rise above faults they and others always have, and learn, like Kennedy, to marshal the best and brightest, listen to what they have to say, act decisively, and stick to their guns.  Then, and only then, will we be ok. Tags: ,,,

Word of the Day: Tricorn

Every day, an email message from Visual Thesaurus drops in my email box with an interesting Word of the Day.  Today’s word was tricorn, in honor of Independence Day:


“The children’s song that begins ‘My hat it has three corners . . .’ might seem to be an etymological friend of this word, but in fact the -corn part is from Latin cornu, "horn" (from which, by the way, corner is also derived). We salute the three cornered hat today for its association with the American revolutionary period whose culmination was the Declaration of Independence: signed on this day in Philadelphia in 1776.

Thanks, Visual Thesaurus, for teaching us about tricorn hats today.  You might be interested to note that you can purchase a hat like the handsome gentleman above is wearing for $165 from Jas Townsend & Son.  Enjoy!


By the way, tomorrow’s Visual Thesaurus’ word of the day, malleable, meaning “able to be shaped or bent”, just appeared in my email box.  I am grateful that our Founding Fathers and patriots who fought in the revolutionary war weren’t overly malleable. It took amazing courage and resolve to stand firm against what many thought were insurmountable odds to win our freedom from tyranny.  Thank you, noble tricorn wearing, rock solid souls!

RIP John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Thanks to my good friend Arnie Kuenn for reminding Twitterdom today that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day 184 years ago today – July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

These two great leaders, who participated in the founding of our nation, became bitter political rivals, but reconciled and became best of friends in their later years.  Once can only imagine that this friendship survived their mortal passing and continued as then stepped forward together into eternity. 

image image

Thank you John and Thomas for your separate and joint roles in founding and leading our great nation.

Freedom to Marry?

image A former professional colleague posted an interesting question on this site earlier today:

"How does the freedom to marry fare here? Living in Canada, I can marry as I choose but in the US gay, lesbian and bisexual people are NOT given that freedom."

This question is certainly controversial, but as one who deeply treasures freedom, I have pondered extensively on this subject and am pleased to share my thoughts with you.

First, I will address this as a matter of logical thought …

Inherent in our existence as human beings all of us possess free will, also called agency, or the ability to act for ourselves and not be acted upon by someone else.  

If that statement is taken with no other context, it would seem that you could  exercise your agency by choosing to kill me, steal my wife, ravish my daughters and haul away my possessions.   While certainly you could do that, I am grateful that you won’t, because  the civil society in which we live has placed both moral and legal limits on such actions. I am grateful that such actions are both culturally abhorrent and legally forbidden.

As members of a civil society, we accept limitations on how we exercise our agency based on two fundamental principles:

  1. A person may act in ways that do not harm or threaten other people or property.
  2. A person may in ways that do not undermine the ability of the society to flourish and sustain itself.

The first principle largely addresses immediate or short term affects; the second encompasses long term consequences.

Restrictions on marriage within our society are primarily based on the second principle.  For millennia, the fundamental unit of our society has been and continues to be the nuclear family, led by a husband and wife who are bound together both by legal and moral covenants.  Marriage is the foundation relationship which serves to sustain both husband and wife and provide the environment for children to brought into the world, raised to be productive citizens and nurtured in the moral standards that form the basis of our society.  There is no more important relationship in our society. Without the family as currently defined, the principles which sustain this society will progressively decay and undermine the very existence of the society we enjoy.

Efforts to change the definition of marriage to include relationships between two men or two women strikes at the very heart of our society.  Such relationships are not marriage; they lack the fundamental capacity to have husband and wife procreate and nurture the children they have brought into the world. To change the definition of marriage would undermine the ability of the society to flourish and sustain itself.

Those who choose to enter relationships other than traditional marriage can certainly do so, but such relationships do not constitute marriage.    Perhaps another term can be defined to encompass appropriate legal privileges afforded to participants of such relationships, but these relationships cannot and must not be called marriage without endangering the long term sustainability of our society.

I firmly support the proposition generally accepted by the majority of the citizens of the USA and legally ratified by recent referendums in states such as Arizona and California, that maintaining the current definition of marriage is critical to the preservation of our society, and therefore worthy of the legal and moral restrictions placed upon how we exercise our free will.

Second, and most importantly, I address this subject as a matter of the heart and faith in a living and loving God …

Mental logic alone falls far short of articulating how I feel about this subject.  My absolute acceptance that a loving God governs this universe and that my life and family will survive and flourish for eternity beyond this mortal life, provides the foundation for my perception of marriage.  The best explanation of the moral principles governing this subject come from “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” published in 1995 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, written by men I accept as apostles and prophets of the living God.

The entire proclamation is included here:

We, the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.

All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

The first commandment that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.

We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.

Husband and wife have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.

We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

© 1995, 2008 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

We are not just mortal beings who happen to reside here on earth because of some fortuitous accident of nature.  We are an integral part of an eternal plan that was put in place before time began and will exist long after this earth dies away.

Marriage and family are absolutely basic to this eternal existence.  Therefore, I will always stand in support of traditional marriage, for both reasons of faith and logic. 

By the way, the photo at the top of this post shows my dear wife Claudia and myself on the day of our marriage for time and eternity in 1976.   As young kids with stars in our eyes, we scarcely had an inkling of what lay before us, but now, 34 years, seven children and nine grandchildren later, we’d do it all over again.