Young America’s Foundation: We aim to expand dialogue

As Matt Ingoglia freely admits in his March 29 column, he did not attend our celebration of traditional marriage in Kogan Plaza last week, nor did he attend the protest of our event held by members of a so-called student group, “Students for Marriage Equality.”

Perhaps this is why Ingoglia makes many untrue assumptions concerning the event, our motives or GWYAF in general. Through casting accusations, Ingoglia demonstrates the wider problems of liberalism at GW: an unwillingness to acknowledge ideas other than its own, and when confronted with these ideas, a tendency to try and shout them down.

As far as the traditional marriage event is concerned, we did not set out to force an opinion down anyone’s throat, as Ingoglia claims. Conservatives, for the most part, do not view marriage as an institution of the state, but rather as an institution of religion. As far as the state has converted marriage into an institution, we believe that the long-standing tradition of marriage as the foundation of the family should not be disrupted. A child should not be denied the right to be raised by both a mother and a father.

Our basic premise is this: Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose. They don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us. If medical proxies aren’t working, let’s fix that problem. If people need health care, let’s get them health care. Don’t mess with marriage. This is what we attempted to articulate with the event, and it is to the detriment of expanding dialogue on this campus that we were confronted by a mob instead of engaged in conversation.

Furthermore, Ingoglia accuses us of being “unnecessarily confrontational” with our pro-life Cemetery of Innocents event held earlier in the semester, as well as with other initiatives GWYAF organizes. We neither attempt to confront nor stoke controversy for its own sake. Rather, our goal is to expand dialogue on issues confronting our generation, and we will never apologize to students who are offended by our mere presence on campus. We do not preach an ideology and require everyone to conform to it. Our mission has always been to engage through ideas and not enforce prejudices.

Whether it is a field of flags or crosses, or hosting speakers or a demonstration, our goal is never to provoke controversy, but rather to begin a discussion. When we came out in opposition to the first lady’s service initiative, we wanted the community to question the proper role of community service, as we felt it is something that should be done for the benefit of the community alone and not a quid pro quo for a GW Commencement speaker. When we place flags or crosses in memory of the victims of terrorism or abortion, we want the community to begin to think about policy as it affects human beings, instead of as an imaginary freedom of choice or your anti-war stance. We have never set out to immediately change someone’s mind or simply demonstrate that we exist. We want to begin a conversation in the pages of this paper, or in classrooms, or with a friend. We want to discuss the state society will be left in if we continue to abort children, make the family into a civil rights crusade, or become indiligent in the face of Islamic extremism.

What deeply disturbs us is the willingness of individuals such as Ingoglia and others like him to admonish us as poisonous and cast us aside as bigots, refusing to discuss seriously the issues we raise, turning to the comfort of closed minds in lieu of a critical reevaluation of belief.

The writers, Travis Korson and Joe Naron, are GWYAF’s president and director of press, respectively.

Readers can visit the Forum to comment on this op-ed.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.