Interview with Peter Brandt of Focus on the Family

( [email protected] ) Mar 16, 2004 02:55 PM EST

Christian pro-family groups are not backing down in their fight to preserve the sanctity of marriage even though pro-homosexual activists want homosexual marriages to be legalized. Many pro-family groups have suppported the Federal Marriage Amendment, which will legally define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

One of the Christian pro-family groups leading the fight to protect traditional marriage is Focus on the Family. The Christian Post was able to speak with Director of Issues Response Peter Brandt about the issue of homosexual marriage.

It is stated that Focus on the Family (FOTF) is supportive of the Federal Marriage Amendment but the way President Bush has presented it leaves room for states to determine the issue of civil unions. Some pro-family groups support having the issue regarding the definition of marriage and civil unions addressed separately so that traditional marriage between a man and woman can be preserved while the possibility of any state recognizing civil unions can be rejected. Can you clearly state the viewpoint of FOTF on this?

“That's a great question. We are opposed to both same-sex marriage and same-sex civil unions. The question is a strategic question. How does one take a position of opposition against both? We' re promoting a version of FMA, which in facts does leave the door open to civil unions state by state, but it does not mean in any way we support civil unions but we don't believe right now there is a support in congress to endorse both. We believe it is so important to support marriage that we are willing to endorse a federal marriage that is not as solid as perhaps we would like."

Do you think the fight against homosexual marriage is a state-by-state battle?

“We do.”

Focus on the Family has been "helping coordinate rallies around the country in support of religious liberty" as stated under the Stop Judicial Tyranny web site. What would you say in response to supporters of homosexual marriages who argue it is the right of homosexuals under the first amendment to be able to marry?

“That's a good question. We would just say that gay marriage has never been a constitutional right. The idea that somehow the constitution of the United States grants the right of someone to marry someone of the same sex is ludicrous. It is only to the extent to judges invent these rights. We’ve heard from the number from black pastors who are offended the fact that homosexual activists have compared their plight to that of blacks. The struggle for civil rights has been a hard one for the black community and the fact homosexuals are comparing their plight to that is offensive.

“Even if you read the modular letter of the editor, you will find that Jessie Jackson, a liberal pastor, denounces the idea.”

Is FOTF organizing any communal activities such as rallies to support the FMA specifically, instead of only religious liberty?

“Yes, we are. We have several events that are coming up that are specific to the FMA. A rally of black pastors in Georgia will take place on the twenty-second. There are several rallies in the early planning stages: one in Minnesota and North Carolina. But I'm sure there will be more.”

What kind of dangers lie ahead for the American culture if homosexual marriages are legalized?

“Here's what same sex marriage says to the culture: It says that manhood is unimportant. It says that womanhood is unimportant. It says that fathers are replaceable. We don't need fathers. The mothers can be done away with in the life of children. It can be two, three or more people. The value to the input of the father or mother is lost. What this is, is a battle of the void of concern for children. This is about the rights of adults that are guiding this debate, not about the children. This puts this culture on dangerous grounds when we fight for adults and we forget the children.

“This legally tears down the boundary wall of us moving down the way of polygamy. In the past, there has been given special rights and permission. If it’s ‘I love this other person’, there is nothing legally that prevents us from ‘why not one man and two women?’ ‘Why not 6 women and 4 four men?’ We destroy to institution of marriage itself.”

How does this affect the relationship children will have with each other in schools as they grow up?

“You know, it's tough enough being a kid and then growing up in the culture today. That' is a tough enough process without putting what kind of family background the family is coming from in to the equation. Kids have enough burdens. This is not a burden they need to have. On Family Day, they will bring their 2 daddies and 2 mommies and this is not needed for kids. We do not need to create kindergartens to be laboratory experiments.”

Can you please clarify what you mean by ‘laboratory experiments’?

“What we see in some schools is they have Gay Day and they post rainbow triangles outside and they bring in homosexuals. There are some things we are ready for and some things we are not ready for. We're forcing this social experiment into the schools."

Do you think this is unfair?

“Totally. It will be the children who will be victims of this social experiment.”

Do you think the general Christian public is aware of the depth of impact to which the homosexual marriages or civil unions --if allowed-- will have on the society?

“No, I don't think they are.”

Why do you think they are not aware of this?

“I think there are two reasons and one reason is that one mass majority of the media is biased and in favor of this. The public is getting the spin from the other side. I think that's one reason."

“The other reason is I think the church has not woken up to the real implication of this. That falls to pastors. Pastors has been conned into believing that they should not become engaged in political issues. Pastors need to wake up. The issue has become political and they need to become engaged. Pastors need to understand that: yes, it is a political issue but it is also a moral issue that strikes that the concept of righteousness. This is an issue that pastors need to speak out about."

What kinds of efforts is FOTF making to educate the public about the importance of their voice in fighting the homosexual issue?

“I think we're communicating to our various media the importance of this issue and every chance we get on the radio stations and radio programs. We're communicating the importance of supporting the FMA. We will continue to focus our attention on this. We will deal with radio programs that will deal with this and mailing programs that deal with this.”

Is FOTF providing an atmosphere where civil unions can be addressed?

“That is by state by state and FOTF has associations state by state. It will be public policy. It will be attempting to get good legislation. There are perhaps constitutional amendments done state by state, which will eliminate the possibility of civil unions. We will focus our efforts on the state.”

Citizen Link has suggested citizens to email their senators and mail letters to their local newspaper editors. Other than on an individual basis, what do you think the Christian community needs to do in order to win the fight to preserve traditional marriage?

“You look at the noise the gay community makes and scientist disagree there is somewhere like 2% of population that are politically inactive. 15-20% of US probably is identified as evangelical Christians. There are 10 times as many people who identify with homosexuals. If Christians would mobilize and let their voice be known, there would be a powerful influence. If that would happen, the members of congress could not help this outpouring.

“Christians need to be engaged and speak out and let their voices be heard. That will make a tremendous difference in this debate."

Do you think the churches have the responsibility to mobilize the Christian community?

“They do. I think that's the secret. I think, somehow, the fire has to be lit under the pastors. That's what the 60-million-dollar question is, possibly through publications like your own. Movements tend to originate. There is not going to be a movement just because Focus on the Family speaks out. One organization does not determine that movement. I'm not exactly sure how that takes place but if it takes place that’s something that will drastically change this debate.”

Taken from the FOTF Web site:

Peter Brandt is the Director of the Issue Response Department in the Public Policy Division of Focus on the Family. The department monitors state and federal legislation and formulates the ministry’s response strategies.

Mr. Brandt served for three years as the director of the National Coalition for Abstinence Education (NCAE).

Prior to joining Focus, Mr. Brandt was the CEO of Factor Research and Trading, Inc., an international foreign currency trading firm.