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Basics The Movement

Talking Points for Taking Back Marriage

When difficult subjects come up at family gatherings about marriage, homosexuality and related subjects, address them by changing the subject in a way that puts the issues into what we call “a more positive frame.” This is called, reframing (See article “If We Want to Restore Marriage, We Have to Learn This Technique“.

I will give you some talking points that will help. In this case, we are contemplating the reality of God’s plan for love and creation so that we can share it with family members and friends.

Talking Point 1 “Do we need an institution that unites children with their mom and dad?”

Talking Point 2 Children have a fundamental human right to grow up in a family with their mom and dad united in marriage.

Talking Point 3 Young people have a fundamental human right to discover the truth about marriage and sexuality.

Talking Point 4 “Am I loving or using?” 

Talking Point 1 – First Imperative – Reintroducing Marriage

Talking Point 1 is the First Imperative of the Movement: It is essential that we reintroduce marriage, starting from the beginning. Why? Because hardly anyone knows what it is or can describe it without using religious language. We know that religious language is not accepted in this secular (non-religious) culture.

Talking Point to repeat:

“Do we need an institution that unites children with their mom and dad?”[1]

Of course, that civil institution is marriage between a man and a woman, but asking this question puts marriage in a new “positive frame” that causes people to think about it in terms of the reality of God’s plan. The fact is, since marriage was redefined, there is no such civil institution for uniting children with their mom and dad.

Marriage, as currently defined as a relationship between two people, would make it a sin against equality to teach the unique value for men and women to marry before having children. Children must now be taught that it is equally good to have families in which children are deprived of their mom and dad united in marriage. Stated in this way, that’s an obvious lie.

Asking the question about the need for such an institution avoids talking about marriage in ways that may sound judgmental of parents in irregular family situations. What is done is done and we must presume every parent is trying to do the best they can. The question focuses on the future,  including the future of our own families, with the goal of promoting  more regular families. That can’t happen without having a civil institution that unites children with their mom and dad.

Repeating the talking point will help reinforce your thinking about what we are for and will help avoid expressing opposition to anything, which would lead to unproductive conflict. Instead bringing up the question, “Do we need an institution that unites children with their mom and dad?” will change the subject and avoid conflict. The question creates an awareness of the reality of marriage in God’s plan.

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Talking Point 2 – Objective 1 – Promote and defend the rights of children.

Talking Point 2 builds on and provides reinforcement to Talking Point 1, “Do we need an institution that unites children with their mom and dad.”

Talking Point to repeat:

Children have a fundamental human right to grow up in a family with their mom and dad united in marriage.

This point actually comes from Catholic teaching (Centesimus Annus, Donum Vitae).

Marriage is so disconnected from children that some Catholic parents report daughters asking, “Why do I need to get married? I don’t need to be married to have children.” Today, irregular family situations are so common that people talk as if not every child has a mother and father, when in fact everyone without exception has a mother and a father.

To take back marriage we must assert the human rights of children and reconnect marriage as the foundation of the regular family.

Notice that we did not say children have a right to a mom and dad. This would be wrong because no one has a right to another person. And, no one has a right to a child. But children DO have a right to grow up in a family with their mom and dad united in marriage!

The human right of the child to grow up in a united family means there is a related responsibility. While procreation is also human right, no one has a right to procreate unless they have first made themselves irreplaceable to each other in marriage. (more)

Repeating the talking point will help reinforce your thinking and enable you to teach others that children do indeed have a fundamental human right to be born and raised in a family with their mother and father united in marriage. This reinforces the need to promote men and women marrying before having children.

Defending and promoting the fundamental human rights to grow up in a united family is Uniting Objective 1

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Talking Point 3 – Objective 2 – Promote and defend the rights of young people to develop good relationships leading to marriage.

Today I am introducing our third talking point to repeat and reflect on to help you change the subject to a “more positive framing” when contentious issues come up related to marriage and family.

Talking Point 3 builds on and provides reinforcement for Talking Point 1, “Do we need an institution that unites children with their mom and dad,” and Talking Point 2, “Children have a fundamental human right to grow up in a family with their mom and dad united in marriage.”

Point to repeat:

Young people have a fundamental human right
to discover the truth about marriage and sexuality.

This talking point also comes from Catholic teaching (Centesimus Annus) where St. John Paul II taught that all persons have a right to “freedom in seeking and knowing the truth.” Given the choice, would you rather be told the truth or a lie?

The desire to know the truth has been stamped into our nature by God. Without the desire for truth, how would we be able to make good choices that lead to our own flourishing, and ultimately lead to God himself?

The truth about marriage and love and its relationship to sex is being corrupted in our children by sex education curricula, school literature and the popular culture of lies. Sex has become a way for showing affection, and love has become a feeling that is subject to change

The problem is so serious that children, seeing no relevance of Church teaching on marriage and sexuality to their own lives, are leaving the Church at an average age of 13. Research shows that the majority of millennials also reject Church teaching on sexual morality.

To take back marriage we must strongly defend the human right for our children and young adults to discover the truth about marriage and sex because the choices they make have a direct bearing on the right of their future children to grow up in regular families.

Repeating the talking point will help reinforce the dire need to organize and build the movement to make sure our children and young adults can discover the truth about marriage, love and love’s relationship to sex.

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Talking Point 4 – Second Imperative – Reintroducing Love

The fourth talking point deals with the imperative of reintroducing love, and then its relationship with sex. Conflicts between Church teaching and cultural values about sex and sexuality are some of the major factors that are undermining the faith of our children, as well as causing doubts among some adults as well.

Talking Point 4 is closely connected with Talking Point 3, “Young people have a fundamental human right to discover the truth about marriage and sexuality.” At the same time, Talking Point 4 is very different, in that it starts the reintroduction of love with a mini-examination of conscience.

Talking Point to repeat:

“Am I loving or using?”

In his book, Love and Responsibility, St. John Paul II taught that a person must always be an end in themselves; a person must never be a means to an end. He concluded that the only proper disposition toward a person must be love.

If a person becomes a means for profit, pleasure or some other end,  that is always contrary to love. Use is the opposite of love. In cases of use, the person becomes an object.

We naturally resist becoming an object, because God has stamped in our nature that we are made for love, and are never to be used. But sometimes through temptation we can develop habits of unconsciously using others, or permitting ourselves to be used for the desires of others.

Contemplating, “Am I using or loving,” can awaken our awareness of whether we are really directed toward the good of others or merely our own wants, making  them objects of use. This is a challenging examination of conscience.

It is easy to see that how the awareness of use can be applied as a new,  practical approach to sexual morality.

Sex can be deceptive because such acts create a feeling of closeness and the illusion of intimacy, but these are false and fleeting. It becomes clear that all sexual acts outside of marriage are actually acts of use, or mutual use. The current misc0nception that sex outside of marriage is a sign of affection or love needs to change to: “If I truly love you, I will never use you.”

Awareness of love or use provides a new perspective on Church teaching, and can contribute to the development of true love and a healthy relationship, preparing a couple for the vocation of marriage.

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Quick Reflections for Witnessing Reality
[1]   A more precise statement of the question would include two additional words. “Do we need a civil institution that specifically unites children with their mom and dad?” The word “civil” clarifies that we are talking about the institution of marriage as it is defined in the law as opposed to marriage recognized by various religions. “Specifically” clarifies that the legal institution of marriage has a public purpose as the foundation of the regular family. It is not necessary to use these words in conversation, but good to have the background in case related points come up.