Save the Family, Save the Nation

Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924

Vladimir Lenin, 1870-1924

The quote famously attributed to Vladimir Lenin is “Destroy the family, destroy the nation.” Of course he did not say this in the defense of family, but as part of his overall goal of destroying nations en route to a worldwide revolution. Bizarrely, Lenin still has defenders, though they mostly keep shop on the far left of the political spectrum, finding gainful employment mostly at universities, where they are saved from having to suffer the consequences of their own ideas.

Such people sometimes complain that Lenin and other Communist dictators got a bad rap from history. It is true — tens of millions of innocents murdered by state design can dampen enthusiasm for a leader’s legacy. But what does it say about our nation that we refuse to learn from history, and especially how the decline of the family affects society?

Unless one’s head is buried in the sand, it is impossible to miss the parallels in ideas, and in the direction our nation is heading. The United States has turned from God; indeed we are debating whether God’s name can even be mentioned in public. We made “no fault divorce” legal, reasoning that it would not be very common anyway, and would actually strengthen marriage as an institution. Soon after that, we legalized contraception, reasoning that it would also strengthen marriage by giving people the ability to space pregnancies, and that it would make the legalization of abortion unnecessary since there would be fewer unwanted pregnancies. Immediately, demands for the legalization of abortion became common, since it turned out that when people get the notion that sex is more about recreation than procreation, abortion is the next logical step of avoiding unwanted children. Next, making abortion legal (only in certain circumstances, of course) would make unrestricted abortion unnecessary, since… well you get the idea.

Is our nation more united now than we were when we added “In God We Trust” to our currency? Is our economy in better shape, on a better trajectory for growth? Are we more tolerant of one another? Are people more optimistic or more hopeful for the future?

When will we learn? Yet here we are, decades into this retreat from keeping God’s law as the basis for our own, and our Supreme Court is actually charged with deciding how marriage should be defined for the purposes of law in the United States. Next Tuesday, the Court will hear arguments on a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which defined marriage as being between one man and one woman; and the next day will hear a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, a bill passed only 17 years ago which, despite receiving vast majority support in both houses of Congress and both political parties, has now been abandoned by many who signed it—including the president who signed it into law.

family danger 2And it appears that we hear daily about “conservatives” who, for pragmatic or personal reasons, have “evolved” in their view and now see “gay marriage” as something to be embraced. I don’t understand the reasoning given. Because a family member is homosexual, therefore marriage is not necessarily a lifelong union between one man and one woman, that is exclusive and open to life? Or, for the pragmatist, maybe if we give up on the true definition of marriage, the media will treat conservatives more fairly in the next election cycle, or at least will not cast them as enemies of women and the downtrodden?

We have given up our reason not only as individuals, but as a nation. Not only do we not learn from history about the need to defend life, faith and family, but we refuse to learn from the present. Some of us actually think that if we just give up on this next principle — the bedrock institution of the family that is based on marriage between a man and a woman — we’ll finally be able to turn the tide and save our nation from moral and financial ruin.

If we won’t stand for marriage, what will we stand for? Or for those whose only interest is the economy, how do you expect to decrease the size of government while abandoning the only institution known to save the state money by giving it citizens who are healthier and less likely to need the state to survive?

I don’t think our political leaders, or at least most of them, want to follow in the steps of the dictators who targeted the family for destruction. I think most of them are simply foolish. I think their reason has been corrupted, as our nation’s institutions and culture are corrupted, by turning away from God and seeking compromise with a culture that is openly hostile to anything that is genuinely good. I think most of them think compassion requires the redefinition of marriage, the unchecked growth of an unaccountable bureaucratic state, the need to kill unborn children, and so on.

Please stand for genuine compassion, and for true hope and reason, next Tuesday. For most of us who cannot make it to the nation’s capital, pray and fast with our bishops that the Supreme Court not abandon marriage and the family. If you are anywhere near Washington D.C., please make the sacrifice of coming to the March for Marriage. While we have breath, and while we have the Church, there is still hope. Let’s show our love for each other, for our families, for our nation, and even for those who disagree by marching for marriage and by praying and fasting to defend truth in charity.


Originally published for “Spirit and Life,” the e-Column for Human Life International.

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Fr. Shenan J. Boquet is the President of Human Life International.

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