You’ve Been Framed: A New Primer for the Marriage Debate
Applying Insights from Brain Science and Narrative Theory to Sharpen Marriage Advocacy
This primer is for anyone committed to pro-marriage advocacy: non-profits, pastors, churches, and academics.
This is your problem: you’ve been framed.
Only seniors and aging baby boomers strongly support preserving the historic meaning of marriage. In 20 years, they will be gone. Younger Americans—particularly “Millennials” under age 35—have shifted decidedly in favor of abolishing marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. This generation will shape America to 2050 and beyond.
For this generation, the arguments of marriage revisionists have not been countered. Better arguments from natural law, while necessary and helpful, are unlikely to turn the tide of opinion because many people are not convinced rationally in the first place: television, songs, friends, and their own experiences shape their understanding of love and marriage. In short, we are shaped by unconscious influences, social and personal narratives, and emotion.
This paper explores findings from a growing body of research from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, and narrative theory to inform how to take a more sophisticated approach to communicating in the marriage debate. It offers new opportunities for understanding, developing, and using persuasion informed by cognitive science and narrative theory to advance traditional marriage and counter marriage revisionism.
The point of this primer is simple: communication is key to reframing the debate, and key to a healthy marriage culture.
Marriage Counter-Messaging: An Action Plan
This action plan for marriage advocates and professional communicators applies findings from You’ve Been Framed: A New Primer for the Marriage Debate. Talking points and tactics presented here will sharpen your ability to strategically communicate pro-marriage arguments. This plan highlights new opportunities for persuasion informed by cognitive science and narrative theory to counter marriage revisionism.
The John Jay Institute is committed to forming a network of principled public leaders who can provide the statesmanship American politics so desperately needs. Will you join us?
About the Author
Nathan Hitchen works in Washington D.C. and is a John Jay Institute alumnus. Mr. Hitchen has a M.A. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and prior experience as a consultant and researcher in a number of domestic and foreign policy think tanks. All statements and opinions presented herein are his own.
With a background in political science and nonprofit management, Narrator principal and John Jay Institute alumnus Brian Brown has spent 10 years observing changes in the way people share information, approach social issues, and get involved. Brian founded Narrator in 2011 with other marketing and policy professionals to provide a communications consultancy that helps organizations take advantage of these changes. Narrator works as an extension of the client’s in-house resources, using advanced social network analysis and digital media to build powerful support communities around a cause, thereby increasing exponentially the client’s ability to tell its story. More Information: www.narratoronline.com.
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