Feint of Heart by Kenneth D. Whitehead

Feint of Heart

Kenneth D. Whitehead on a So-Called Truce in the War Against Marriage

I have never closely followed the work of David Blankenhorn, president and founder of the Institute for American Values (IAV), but I was aware that he was a defender of marriage and the family. About a dozen years ago, I edited a volume entitled Marriage and the Common Good; it consisted of the contributions of the speakers at a conference of the same name held in 1999. David Blankenhorn was one of those speakers and contributed a fine set of "Ten Short Reflections on the Relationships Between Divine and Human Fatherhood." I also knew he was the author of Fatherless America (1996) and co-editor of The Fatherhood Movement (1999), and that as recently as 2010 he was a star witness in the court proceedings over Proposition 8 in California, testifying in support of that initiative.

I was threfore startled—"shocked" would perhaps be a better word—last January to find him at the center of an article in the Washington Times announcing that "Activists Urge Gay-Marriage Truce to Save Institution." How marriage could be "saved" by redefining it to include same-sex relationships was not immediately obvious to me. The newspaper story reported how Blankenhorn's Institute for American Values had issued a statement declaring that the current culture war over so-called same-sex marriage needed to be brought to an end, and that both sides needed to join together to defend marriage generally—whether traditional marriage or what same-sex couples and their fellow travelers say is marriage.

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Kenneth D. Whitehead is the 2004 recipient of the Blessed Frederic Ozanam Award for Catholic Social Action of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS). He writes frequently on Catholic social and moral issues.


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