May 22, 2012

The Gay Divorcees

There are more than you might think.
By Charles C. W. Cooke is an editorial associate for National Review

Announcing the results of his long-term “evolution” on the subject last week, President Obama revived the debate over gay marriage. In the widespread discussion, however, there is one question that’s rarely asked: How interested are gay couples in getting married?

Heretofore at least, the answer seems to be “not really.” Since 1997, when Hawaii became the first state in the union to allow reciprocal-beneficiary registration for same-sex couples, 19 states and the District of Columbia have granted some form of legal recognition to the relationships of same-sex couples. These variants include marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and reciprocal-beneficiary relationships; and the most recent U.S. Census data reveal that, in the last 15 years, only 150,000 same-sex couples have elected to take advantage of them — equivalent to around one in five of the self-identified same-sex couples in the United States. This number does not appear to be low because of the fact that only a few states have allowed full “marriage”; indeed, in the first four years when gay marriage was an option in trailblazing Massachusetts, there were an average of only about 3,000 per year, and that number included many who came from out of state.

This dearth of early adopters is not peculiar to America. Research conducted in 2004 by Gunnar Anderson, a professor of demography at Sweden’s Stockholm University, seems to confirm the trend. Anderson looked at legal partnerships in both Norway and Sweden and found that in Norway, which legalized civil unions in 1993, only 1,300 homosexual couples registered in the first eight years, compared with 190,000 heterosexual marriages; in Sweden, between initial passage in 1995 and a review in 2002, 1,526 legal partnerships were registered, compared with 280,000 heterosexual marriages. In the Netherlands, gay marriage is actually declining in popularity: 2,500 gay couples married in 2001 — the year it was legalized — and that number dropped to 1,800 in 2002, 1,200 in 2004, and 1,100 in 2005. In 2009, the last year for which figures are available, less than 2 percent of marriages in the Netherlands were between same-sex couples.

Controlling for the ratio of homosexuals to heterosexuals does little to explain the enthusiasm gap. For rates to be similar, we would have to pretend that only 0.5 percent of the population of Sweden, 0.7 percent of the population of Norway, and less than 2 percent of the population of Holland is gay. In fact, the numbers tend closer to an average of 4 percent, which suggests that heterosexual couples are up to eight times more interested in registering their relationships than homosexual couples. It is, of course, possible that the estimated number of homosexuals is wrong, but, if anything, gay-rights groups tend to argue that the projected numbers are too low, and statistics show that the numbers of self-identified gay citizens are going up in every Western country.

Enthusiasm for marriage is somewhat lopsided by gender. Divorces, too. According to UCLA’s Williams Institute, two-thirds of legally recognized same-sex couples in the United States are lesbian. (Solely on the “marriage” front, in Massachusetts’s first four years, this statistic was 62 percent.) While data in the United States are clearly limited, Scandinavian countries have been at this a little longer. Denmark was the first country to introduce recognition of same-sex partnerships, coining the term “registered partnership” in 1989. Norway followed suit in 1993, and then Sweden in 1995. Again, Stockholm University’s study seems to confirm the American trend. In Norway, male same-sex marriages are 50 percent more likely to end in divorce than heterosexual marriages, and female same-sex marriages are an astonishing 167 percent more likely to be dissolved. In Sweden, the divorce risk for male-male partnerships is 50 percent higher than for heterosexual marriages, and the divorce risk for female partnerships is nearly double that for men. This should not be surprising: In the United States, women request approximately two-thirds of divorces in all forms of relationships — and have done so since the start of the 19th century — so it reasonably follows that relationships in which both partners are women are more likely to include someone who wishes to exit.

The debate over marriage does not necessarily hinge on its popularity among the eligible, and advocates of gay unions would no doubt assert that “equality” is not a numerical proposition as quickly as their opponents would aver that the very idea is a hopeless category mistake. But it is nonetheless worth noting that there is no particular groundswell — even in states and cities that have both legal gay marriage and significant numbers of homosexuals — and that, when gay couples do decide to get married, they are more likely than their straight equivalents to change their minds later.


May 14, 2012

Cultivating Courage


The First Cardinal Virtue

By: Eric Metaxas

Sometimes it takes courage to do the right thing. But what is courage, and why does the Church need it in spades?

The day before Chuck Colson fell ill at the Break the Spiral of Silence conference, he filmed a series of “Two-Minute Warning” videos on a topic he felt was crucial for the survival of our culture and our nation: The cultivation of virtue.

So starting today and continuing through the next three Wednesdays, you can watch the final four “Two-Minute Warnings” Chuck recorded — all at

Just as there are laws we must follow for physical health, so too there are laws we must follow for the health of the soul. That's what virtues are: laws for a healthy soul. And healthy souls are a prerequisite for a healthy civilization. As John Adams once wrote, “Public virtue cannot exist in a Nation without private Virtue, and public Virtue is the only Foundation of Republics.”

Greek and Roman thinkers placed a high value on cultivating virtue. And four virtues in particular — prudence, justice, courage, and temperance — they ranked as the cardinal virtues, meaning that they are foundational to all the others. For example, courage is a cardinal virtue because doing the right thing — practicing any of the virtues — under pressure takes moral courage.

So what is courage? It’s not the absence of fear. Courage is overcoming a natural fear. Courage means saying yes to right action even at risk of pain or loss, just as Chuck did during Watergate.

At that time he was offered a plea bargain: He could plead guilty to something he didn’t do and be charged with a misdemeanor, or he could face years in prison. But Chuck could not swear to a falsehood. Instead, he pled guilty to a different charge, and he and his family paid the price. The story is all in “Born Again.” If you’ve never read it, we have it for you at the Colson Center bookstore online.

Another important aspect of courage is that it is not a momentary, one-time thing. Courage sticks with a challenge, however difficult, until it is finished.

The fact is, friends, we’re facing a challenge in America today that’s going to require a good dose of courageous stick-to-itiveness. That challenge is defending religious liberty. Chuck made it very clear in his final months and days — and I agree with him — religious liberty is under assault in America today like never before.

We have been alerted to the danger, and we must act, regardless of the risks. The Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has just completed a statement on this topic called “Our First, Most Cherished Liberty.”

As Catholic scholar George Weigel points out, the document not only tackles the so-called HHS contraception mandate, it highlights “state laws that impede the Church’s service to immigrants, attempts by state legislatures to turn religious communities into bureaus of state government, discrimination against Christian students on university campuses, and restrictions on the Church’s capacity to draw on public funds in its service to orphans and victims of human trafficking.”

The bishops rightly say, “Restrictions on religious liberty are an attack on civil society and the American genius for voluntary associations.”

Folks, they are right. And even though we will face a lot of opposition, this is a battle worth having. But we will need courage.

Editors Note: This week’s “Two-Minute Warning” is hosted by John Stonestreet and Timothy George. Next week, Chuck Colson’s pre-recorded broadcast on the cardinal virtues starts. In total, we have an eight-part series, four of which Chuck recorded.


May 9, 2012

A Savage Attack

Redefining Bullying By: Eric Metasxas


May 8, 2012

School Bullying Webinar


Bullying Hurts & KGAB Radio have partnered to bring parents and students a free webinar 
Tuesday May 15th. 6:30 – 7: 30 p.m. Mountain Time

The focus of this webinar is to inform parents and equip students how to identify and better deal with bullying incidents in all settings. Many parents don’t know the correct protocol for communicating concerns and details effectively. Take part in this webinar to learn how to successfully communicate in a positive and safe manner to the proper school administrators and/or authorities.

Log onto on Tuesday May 15th at 6:30 p.m. and click on the webinar link.

Send questions to before or during the webinar. For more information call 307/287-6711.


May 2, 2012

1st Pres Colorado Springs votes to leave PC(USA)

April 23, 2012|5:01 pm

The largest Colorado congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to leave the denomination over theological differences.

First Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs voted Sunday morning to leave the Pueblo Presbytery of PC(USA) in large part due to the denomination's decision in 2010 to allow the ordination of non-celibate homosexuals.

Of the 1,769 congregants of the 4,000-strong church present for the vote, 1,689 members voted in favor of dismissal from PC(USA) to join the recently created Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians.

Ronald D. Anderson, executive presbyter for the Pueblo Presbytery, told The Christian Post that he was not surprised by the result of the vote.

"I was not surprised at the overwhelming vote because of the earlier 'straw vote' and the extensive process the church has enacted since to address the questions of people who had unanswered questions," said Anderson.

When asked if he felt that there might be a large percentage of the members who did not vote that would have supported remaining in PC(USA), Anderson stated that he had "no indication that this was the case."

First Presbyterian is one of many PC(USA) congregations across the country that have voted to leave the mainline Protestant denomination due to the decision at the 219th General Assembly of PC(USA) to allow presbyteries to decide to ordain non-celibate homosexuals to church positions.

Amendment 10A, which amended the PC(USA) rules to allow for this, was passed by a vote of the presbyteries with 373 yeas, 323 nays, and 4 abstentions. Pueblo Presbytery voted nay.

In the months that followed, efforts organized by the Fellowship of Presbyterians, a conservative group within PC(USA), led to the creation of a new reformed church body known as the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO).

Last month, as part of the process First Presbyterian was taking for dismissal, leaders at the church asked the congregation to vote on whether or not the church should continue to consider leaving PC(USA).

In that vote, also held on a Sunday, 88 percent of the members approved the continuation of the process for dismissal. In an interview with CP not long after that vote, Alison Murray, leader of staff for First Presbyterian Church, explained that there were many reasons connected to "the decline in the PC(USA)" that prompted members to want to join ECO.

"What we are trying to do is make an adaptive change that would keep us engaged and relevant as a faith community in today's culture," said Murray.

"We don't feel that the PC(USA), the way its structured, is really supporting the local churches in their outreach Kingdom building efforts. So really that is what this is about."

"Under Presbyterian polity only the presbytery can dismiss a congregation," said Anderson, regarding what step in the dismissal process would come next.

"The congregation's request to be dismissed to ECO will come before the presbytery at its next meeting, which is June 16th."


May 1, 2012

By What Standard?

A few years ago, a documentary called Collision was made where Douglas Wilson debated Christopher Hitchens on Is Christianity Good for the World? Hundreds of hours of footage was shot and edited down to 90 minutes of solid debate and conversation. The clip you see above didn't make into that 90 minutes. Consider it deleted scenes. This is the first time it's being released, and we have it here for you to learn what it means and looks like to make a defense for your faith.

Notes from Douglas Wilson


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