At the end of March 2013, America’s Supreme Court will hear the case if traditional, Christian marriage should be redefined to legalize homosexuality that used to be considered sin—therefore, illegal.
Given that mainstream media is more interested in gun control than gay-marriage, it is certain that without your active participation, the Court will hear—besides technical, legal matters—superficial sermons on tolerance and equality. America will not come to terms with the serious worldview question that will shape the future of Western civilization. That question is: Who invented family, church, and nation?
The answer will determine whether the institutions of marriage, church, and state remain sacred or become profane, cheatable, and ultimately disposable. This essay, therefore, is not a discussion of traditional versus same-sex marriage. It is a call to save America from itself. Sacredness of marriage, church, and nation were key ingredients in America’s DNA. Dismantling sacredness will turn America into a global monster.
Monkeys don’t marry. So, are marriage and family accidental stages in social evolution? If so, why shouldn’t society honor lovers who want stable or even unstable sexual union with someone of their own gender or with multiple lovers at the same time? On the other hand, if marriage is an aspect of the Architect’s original design for humanity, what price will America pay for messing up the blueprint for success?
The Supreme Court has as much right to evolve to same-sex marriage as did President Obama. Following many Christian denominations, Washington National Cathedral has just assigned to itself the right to include same-sex marriage within its definition of family. The Cathedral is defying God’s word because the American church had already become embarrassed about the fact that the biblical family is patriarchal; the husband is the head. Sustained criticism of the Bible has made many think that marriage is a human idea and the Bible’s “oppressive” teachings about headship are cultural constructs, not practical wisdom for fallen humanity.
Who invented the Church and why?
It is doubtful if the Cathedral comprehends the consequences of its decision: If marriage is a human construct, then the Church too is man’s creation. Its sacredness is a myth invented by clever men to deceive simple people like us. If, the Church is merely human association (independent of Christ’s headship, therefore free to alter God’s design for marriage) then on what grounds does the Church claim exemption from the state’s control? The only basis it can have is the very tradition it now despises.
Suppose you enjoy spending your weekends in a church, while I prefer gambling in casinos and visiting strip clubs or theaters. Why should your tithes given to a church be tax-deductible, but not the 10 percent of my income that I spend in clubs and theaters? Shouldn’t Cathedral’s income be taxed like a movie ticket? Or, is it really God’s money?
Why shouldn’t the state control the church as it controls other forms of human entertainment? Why shouldn’t a Church–State nexus (as in Russia) discriminate against “independent” churches that take conscientious Christians away from the “established” church? After all, priests have often served as rulers’ tools for defining social orders convenient to them.
In spite of all the distortions and in spite of all the horrible things that have been done in the name of the church, is it possible that the Church was divinely created to bring healing truth to confused and ailing nations? Could it be that the Church’s independence under Christ’s headship is the rationale and starting point of building civil society with autonomous intermediary institutions between the individual and the state?
Whose idea is “Nation”?
If family and church are merely historical choices by humans, then how can “nation-state” be anything other than an artificial human construct—a brief aberration in our political evolution? Why shouldn’t nations dissolve into unions like the Soviet Union or the European Union? Why should not nations degenerate into fiefdoms? If German banks can decide how Greece should be governed, then why shouldn’t the USA be swallowed up into a Sino-American empire (when the Chinese buy up enough of America)?
Because church and family have been so misused, there are plenty of people who don’t believe in marriage or Church. As nations can also be run by fools who force me to pay for their militia to sustain their corrupt rule over me, what is to stop me believing that the idea of “nation” was a passing historical fantasy that has outlived its utility?
Do we pay taxes because we fear some official militia’s brutality? Or, did the black hole that may have designed the universe accidentally also produce a real “moral code” that requires us to honor authorities and pay taxes? Is morality merely a manipulative myth made up by clever people who want to rule over us?
Why should I pay taxes to one nation if I own a multinational corporation and run it out of a tax-free haven, where (say) revenues from natural resources like petroleum pay for my business-buddy’s government, militia, and harem?
Is paying taxes merely “traditional” and silly? America has respectable credit ratings partly because, when it comes to paying taxes, Americans tend to be more honest than most other people. Just a few years ago, the FBI was investigating Americans who had hidden tax-money in secret Swiss accounts. They estimated the amount concerned to be about $15 billion. The US is one of the richest countries in the world, while India is one of the poorest. How much black money do you think Indians have stashed away in secret foreign accounts? Some respectable economists think that is it more than $1500 billion! The Swiss Bankers Association says that the sum deposited directly from India without (say) intermediaries in Dubai, is only about US$2 billion. Even that is a much greater proportion of India’s GDP than USA’s black money. That tells us that (generally) Americans are more honest, but Indians may be smarter about finding ways to dodge tax.
Americans do fight fiercely over taxation, even if they don’t remember that it was the Bible that gave them the right to fight. The peculiar idea that the state had no authority to take citizens’ money without their consent came from the fact that according to 1 Kings 12, Jeroboam split Israel into two nations when Solomon’s son Rehoboam refused to lighten people’s tax burden.
Americans quarrel over taxation, but when the fight is over, those who lose the debate still pay their taxes. So, why do secular Americans stick with their tradition of honesty? Could they evolve to become smart and cheat their nation as many cheat on their spouses?
Most Americans have forgotten that grandpa paid taxes because he saw it as moral duty, not human tradition. That idea came from the Bible’s teaching that nation-states are divinely instituted:
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. . . Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.” (Romans 13:1, 5, 6)
St. Paul asked Christians to pay taxes even to wicked emperors. His instruction came from his knowledge that God is sovereign. Therefore, a nation’s authority is as sacred as that of a family or church. It is morally right to give not just money but even one’s life for one’s nation. Having given up Paul’s worldview, Americans may have already begun to outgrow the tradition of honest tax-paying that the Bible forged.
While the battle over marriage will be fought in public hearing and resolved in judges’ private chambers, the White House and the House Republicans are engaged in a nastier battle over the debt-ceiling.
- The President has to borrow more in order to spend enough to keep enough people happy to keep his ratings respectable.
- To get re-elected, Tea-Party Republicans feel that they have to fight against increasing debt.
- Ultimately, the President will win the vote to drive the US deeper into debt because America cannot afford to default as yet.
- That vote will teach Americans what Socrates and Plato knew: winning a democratic vote is not the same thing as winning hearts and minds for truth. In any culture that despises truth and the “traditional” character of work, thrift, and honesty, votes will be cast primarily on the basis of vested interest.
- State revenues have to increase to repay national debt but the question remains: why should productive Americans pay taxes to rulers whose authority comes from the masses who covet their wealth and envy their economic success?
When taxes interfere with one’s pursuit of happiness . . . when rulers derive authority only from vested interests . . . when the morality of paying taxes becomes a myth, Americans will hire smart Indians or Italians or Greeks or fellow Americans to save their tax dollars from incompetent rulers. Once the sanctity of the nation is undermined, America will sooner or later default on debt repayment. Might that tempt a President — Democrat or Republican—to initiate war to restructure global economy?
Evolving or Dissolving Morality?
Is same-sex marriage a matter of evolving: delivering oneself from the Bible’s view that God made one Eve for one Adam, for the two of them to
- create a permanent and exclusive union as “one flesh”
- to have children and parent them, giving
- emotional and economic security, so that
- they can accumulate information, skills, and character needed to
- steward and manage the earth?
Legalizing same-sex marriage reinforces the nihilistic philosophy that human life has no intrinsic purpose. If marriage is related not to the Creator’s design but only to our bodily passions then it was never intended to build one’s character—as Protestant nations traditionally believed.
Will making marriage non-sacred “advance” us into a state of civilization never before seen in history? Or, will it “revert” the West to pre-Christian Roman tradition that turned men into irresponsible playboys who forced helpless mothers to kill the babies they couldn’t look after without fathers? The Roman population declined in the same way as the white European population is declining in post-Christian Europe. Ancient Rome then had to populate its army with “barbarians”, making it easier for barbarians to sack the “eternal city.” Dishonoring child-rearing families will set America on Europe’s path of demographic suicide.
If my marriage is simply a matter of my own choice, why can’t I dispense with it when my partner becomes boring or bothersome? Do I really have to love my spouse with Christ’s supernatural, self-sacrificing, and permanent love? Do I have to seek the Holy Spirit to be able to love my wife the way Jesus loves his sinful and foolish bride—the Church? Isn’t it more convenient to welcome immigrants to offer cheap labor and rear children to pay into Social Security so that I may retire early and play golf?
Gays and lesbians are not guilty of undermining the Bible’s cultural authority in the area of marriage. They are building on two centuries of Rationalist folly that attacked Revelation without realizing that after the demise of Greek Rationalism, it was the Bible that revived the West’s confidence in the human mind. There is no reason to trust Reason outside of the Bible’s teaching that our minds are made in God’s rational image. That is why, after giving up the Bible, Western universities had to doubt if the mind could possibly be an instrument of knowing truth if it popped up in the jungles of Africa to cope with the struggle for existence. Once Rationalism self-destructed, the attack on the Bible became mostly moral. Its critics assumed the moral high ground that the Bible teaches patriarchy, promotes human dominion over nature, curtails sexual license, denies right to kill pre-born babies, and breeds intolerance of homosexuality.
This “moral” attack was dubbed “culture war.” The Rationalist attack had already weakened American pulpit, therefore, the culture war pushed the born-again church into a silent soul-winning and culture-losing mode. Most of the American church gave up being the answer to the prayer, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
It is not self-evident that male and female are equal. Equality is a theological idea rooted in the Bible’s teaching that both are made in God’s image and that all believers are priests. That is why St. Paul says that we must submit to each other. Yet, it is true that the Bible’s family is patriarchal. America’s pursuit of sexual pleasure will create mini matriarchal societies. Few celebrities that glamorize single, unwed moms have the foresight to know that it takes only 15 years for a single mom to become a single grandmom. When her daughters do not know the fathers of her grandchildren, then 50-year-old grandmom becomes a matriarch, caring for daughters, grandchildren, and irresponsible playboys who pretend to be their daughters’ and granddaughters’ (temporary) lovers.
Talk Show hosts and magazine editors do not know history because political correctness prevents anthropologists from explaining how (for example) the well-known “Matriarchal Castes” began in Kerala, South India. Unable to afford a dowry, single moms dispensed with their daughters’ marriage in favor of ritualized prostitution(s) known by various names such as Sambandham—culturally approved casual, sexual relationship. The culture of temporary marriages freed the men folk from caring for families, enabling some to excel in trade and military. They became Forward Castes. But their socio-economic development condemned most of the matriarchs into generations of backwardness.
Once the American pulpit had been bullied into silence with regard to marriage, it was easy for nihilistic worldviews, whether “spiritual” or materialistic, to turn American men into boys. Men take responsibility for the women they love and the children they bring into the womb and the world. Boys play with women turning them into Desperate Housewives. (See my lecture, “From Martin Luther’s Vicarage to Hugh Hefner’s Harem: Turning Men into Boys and Women into Desperate Housewives” in the video series,Must the Sun Set On the West? distributed by Vision Video Inc.)
Having been married for 37 years, I know that marriage is tough because all human beings are selfish and sinful. Marriage can be sustained only through repentance and grace. It was the human “Fall” into sin, the Bible teaches, that made it necessary for husbands and fathers to assume responsibility and resultant authority in a family. Husbands can be foolish, just as much as politicians! Should unwise leaders, whether in families or in nations, be honored? The Bible’s morality requires us to submit to sinful human authorities as unto the Lord.
Whether homosexuality is sin is one question; whether homosexuals are sinners, is altogether different question. If we are all sinners, irrespective of our sexual orientation, then understanding what sin is, and dealing with the problem of sin, are of paramount importance. If our sinfulness means that a heterosexual team of two cannot function without a captain, then it is certain that neither will a homosexual team work without a head. Same-sex marriage raises a sobering question:
Could God Abandon America, including America’s “born-again” Church?
Tolerating sin is one thing; it is quite another to reject the very idea of sin by institutionalizing it in Washington’s Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and legalizing it in the Supreme Court.
The Cathedral was built to honor St. Paul because over the centuries he transformed Pagan Rome into what became modern Western civilization. Paul saw that the freedom to pervert sexuality destroys family—the primary school of character. Therefore, he wrote that homosexuality is not merely a sin that people choose: it is a consequence of God abandoning a people to their own depravity:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them . . . so that people are without excuse . . . their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools . . . Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator . . . Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, soGod gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. [Because they destroyed the School of Character] They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:18–32)
What Made America a Great Nation?
British colonies became nations because the Bible teaches that God prefers nations over empires. In Genesis 11 & 10, God broke up a human attempt to turn Babel into an imperial city and dispersed Noah’s descendants to establish “nations,” composed of (i) people, (ii) territories, and (iii) distinct languages. (Genesis 10:5, 20, 31). In ancient times, an imperial city of 10,000 people could not feed or clothe itself. What it had was surplus man-power that can be used to loot and tax-without-their-consent isolated, defenseless communities. Against this, the increasing influence of the Bible was the reason why colonies in North America and India revolted against British imperialism. Prior to the Bible’s arrival, most nations lived as tribes in fiefdoms or empires without the modern, biblical notion of nation or of marriage as monogamy.
It is God who made nations, and the Bible says that He wants them to be great nations. Genesis 12 tells us that God called Abraham so that through him He might make a “great nation” (v. 2)—that is, a righteous nation, flowing with milk and honey. Becoming a great nation required Abraham’s children and his ethnically unrelated but legally connected “household” to walk in God’s righteousness (Genesis 18:18). Israel’s obedience to God’s requirements was intended to make it a light to all the nations. . . to enable all nations to find God’s blessing, justice, healing, hope or salvation (Isaiah 51:3–5; 60:3 etc.).
Harnessing sexual energy to build great nations was one of the important functions of God’s law. In Abraham’s day, Canaan (later called Palestine) and Egypt, were cultures where marrying a beautiful wife was to court death. They did not believe that it was sin to covet your neighbor’s wife, commit adultery with her, or to kill her husband if he refused to share her with you. Abraham sent Sarah into the harems of Pharaoh and Abimelech to save his own life. He knew that a people who can lay hands on your wife or male guests (Genesis 19) will also covet and grab the wells you dig (Genesis 21). Without secure property rights that come from the commands against coveting and stealing, the land cannot possibly flow with milk and honey.
Conforming to the sexual culture of his day made it possible for Abraham to take concubines for himself. God had to intervene in his private, domestic affairs and ask him to sleep with his old wife and to send his concubines away (Genesis 25: 6 etc.). Abraham knew, as Jacob and David discovered later, that polygamy and wealth do not mix well. The cocktail tempts sons to kill their half-brothers, if not also fathers. For true happiness, for building great nations, the institution of family is more important than sexual pleasure.
God’s promise to make Abraham a great nation did not imply favoritism for the Jews. His promise regarding Ishmael clarified that God was calling Abraham to bring healing to all nations that have wounded themselves and each other: “As for Ishmael . . . I will make him into a great nation (Genesis 17:20).” “I will make the son of the maidservant into a nation . . . I will make him into a great nation” (Genesis 21:13 & 18).
God’s promise to bless all nations began to be fulfilled when Abraham’s great-grandson, Joseph, began re-organizing Egypt to make it a great nation—a blessing to the whole world. In Isaiah 19: 19–25 we read that the early blessing Joseph brought to Egypt will yet have a glorious completion.
Hopefully, St. Paul’s Cathedral knows that it was the Apostle Paul who explained why nations exist:
From one man he (God) made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” (Acts 17:26)
Paul’s summary of Old Testament’s teaching on nations helped dismantle empires such as Roman, English, Mogul, Spanish, and Soviet. You see St. Paul’s Cathedral everywhere because his teachings set many nations on a path to greatness. A nation is a moral entity because, in an empire, a human being is a subject; in a nation, he is a citizen, with dignity and duties, rights and responsibilities, opportunities and support to become God’s creative and holy image. Nation as a moral entity can function only if morality goes beyond law to be a matter of the heart. That was the essence of Paul’s battle against the external religiosity of outward, physical circumcision. The twentieth century pioneered formally atheist states. That required reducing morality to man-made laws. Results were so disastrous that the Soviet Union collapsed. The Church was created to equip people to practice and preach God’s word in order to bring healing to the nations. That is what Jesus meant when he said to his disciples that they were the light of the world in darkness.
Pursuit of Happiness or Pleasure?
When tamed by family, sex becomes one of the energies that build great nations. In The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization (Thomas Nelson, 2011) I have explained that America became greater than Europe because American women became stronger than European women. This did not happen because of genetic mutation but because American culture allowed the Bible to channel sex to build family.
Christ’s parable of the Prodigal Son taught American Founders that pursuing materialistic pleasure and physical passions was a path to unhappiness. The real Pursuit of happiness was for the Prodigal to return home to family. A biblical analogy that summarized “happiness” for George Washington, for example, was a man sitting under his own fig tree, offering hospitality, with no one to make him afraid (Isaiah 36:15, Micah 4:4, Zechariah 3:10, etc.). In his public communications, President Washington used this imagery at least four dozen times to express his vision for the kind of nation he was seeking to build.
America’s liberator and first President knew that happiness is a moral state—a fruit of right relationships with God, human beings, and nature. If harnessing sexual energy under truth’s sacred authority made American women, children, men and economy great, then why is Christianity now losing America?
America will be lost because far too many unthinking Americans now assume that the Bible’s revelation is a story, not truth. They are not sure if God really made one Eve for an Adam, for two of them to start a family. They are not sure if our original parentsactually sinned. If, in order to make a family of foolish sinners functional and redemptive, God really made husband the head of his wife. If narratives teaching these are stories, then why should anyone pay a price to live by them? A story can have no binding authority as Truth does. No wonder now American Christians divorce as often as non-Christians. Those who do not fight for their own marriage have less reason to fight for the divine design for marriage. A consequence is predictable: Those willing to sacrifice their own families will ditch their church and their nation much more readily.
Can Courts Reform America?
American courts were being “progressive” when they turned adultery into consensual sex. They may not have realized it, but they were following Sharia (Islamic law) when they legalized easy divorce. In any case, what social advances have followed in the wake of such steps? Today, 40 percent of American children live without their fathers. In some localities, the figure is said to be as high as 80 percent. Some insist that the family’s decline proves that America is becoming smarter. American culture can no longer “judge” the morality of a young man fathering six kids from six different women. If he is smart, he does not have to provide for his children. His nation can borrow money from foreigners to take care of his poor children.
The failure of post-Christian family demonstrates that America’s traditional ideas regarding marriage were not natural and commonsense ideas. Hugh Hefner’s view of marriage is natural and Islamic view of marriage is religious. The Bible’s marriage-morality is spiritual, supernatural. It cannot be lived out without supernatural grace. American Christians are “fallen” human beings; no better than anyone else in the world. Christian marriage cannot be sustained without the gift of the Holy Spirit that God promised through the prophets and gave through Jesus Christ.
What are we to do?
The Supreme Court might replace the right to pursue moral happiness with a new right to materialistic pleasure. Homosexuality and polygamy won’t make America tolerant. What Americans need is grace to be able to live by their unique ideals. What the Court does is up to itself, the question is what must we do?
- A mass spiritual awakening could influence the Court’s decision . . . especially if it is not a Conservative campaign against Liberals, but repentance for our personal and corporate failure. Any revival is a genuine turning to God, not a matter of partisan politics.
- Given that the marriage debate is not merely about law but more about which view of the world is true, the issue calls for a national debate:
- As a responsible citizen you should discuss these matters in your home, church, campus, community and workplace. Invite people who disagree with you and listen to them patiently and respectfully.
- Send the conclusions of your discussion group, including minority opinions to the Court, the media, the White House, and Members of Congress.
- Even if you disagree with me, send my article to your favorite radio or TV show asking them to invite for a debate someone who represents your point of view.
- Given that ideas in this short essay need to be explained to those who don’t think beyond “Oh, my neighbor is gay, but he is good,” please pray that a number of people will come forward to communicate this message through FB, blogs, YouTube, TV discussions, newspaper columns, books, public lectures etc.
- You can email me your questions and suggestions c/oVolunteer1@RevelationMovement.com
- Prepare yourself to take up your cross, because legalized same-sex marriage will lead to umpteen conflicts between Christian conscience and sinful law.Conscience is a unique aspect of Christian metaphysics. It does not fit into atheist view of reality as material. The New Testament idea of Conscience became an essential part of Western political philosophy through The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646). As that biblical worldview is rejected, your “Fear of God” will be punished as homophobia.
- The only way to reform America is for the church to obey the command to disciple the nation. Much of the American church is silent, because it is already marginalized. But remember that marginalized victims of European intolerance came to North America to build a “city on a hill.” Later, the continent’s opportunities attracted others, including losers, drunkards, and criminals. In spite of welcoming such people, America became the greatest nation in history primarily because, for the first three hundred years, the church discipled America’s leadership in every sphere. During the 20th century, sadly, the church handed over to the world the task of educating citizens. Evangelicalism reduced the Bible to simple formulas for “getting saved.” Consequently, evangelists won tons of “souls” and lost the nation. Now, America cannot be reformed by winning the Presidency or a particular legal battle. The need is for the Church to retake education and restore sacredness to what is God’s.
Imagine your church appoints a trained and credentialed Academic Pastor (Youth Pastor Ver. 2.0). He mentors 10–15 students who come to church five days a week to earn an accredited BA in nation-building. The curriculum comes online from a consortium of universities. Testing, certificates, and degrees come from a specific university in which a student enrolls. Academic Pastor (Home Schooling Mom 2.0) mobilizes locally available intellectual resources for face-to-face seminars. He/she enlists socially responsible entrepreneurs and professionals to provide internship opportunities to help students develop professional skills. Students meet with professors online and go to universities for short, intensive courses to learn what cannot be taught online.
Those students who cannot live in their own home are housed with deacons. Nonformal, but intentional aspects of their education includes life-skills from budgeting, shopping, gardening, cooking, and hospitality to honoring parents, dating, dancing, and marrying in the context of a Christian community. For 6 to 8 hours every week, students are required to serve the community to learn what it means to love neighbors.
A curriculum created by scholars with a passion for Truth, can turn coming generations to the worldview that made marriage, church, and state, sacred institutions. One hundred thousand churches discipling 15 students will mean (100,000 x 15 =) 1.5 million students in Year-One. In a four-year program, 100,000 churches could disciple 4–6 million young people. Some of these graduates could be trained to start micro-schools for grades K-12. If most of the school curriculum also came online, the need for teachers will be minimized. Micro-schools with 20–50 students will become viable institutions, effective for forging character, grounded in Truth.
Please check out <www.cacheglobal.net> to understand this proposal. CaCHE, incidentally, stands for Church-based and Community-centered Higher Education.
The American church has made plenty of mistakes, yet it has the capacity and the obligation to disciple America. No other institution can heal the nation.
- Would you stand by and see God abandon America to a depraved mind and dishonorable passions (Romans 1: 24–26)?
- Will you watch God remove the lampstand of a church unwilling to give light to a nation lost in such darkness that it no longer knows what marriage is? Is it okay for God to spit out your lukewarm church unwilling to take up its cross (Revelation 2:5; 3:15, etc.)?
You can galvanize your church to bring healing to your nation by rebuilding the cultural basis for an intellectually, morally, legally, and socially great nation.