How LGBT Activism Changes the Rules of Adultery, Morality and Fairness

In both marriage and sports, LGBT activism makes hash of our commonsense moral intuitions.

By Michael Brown Published on June 7, 2016

Consider this scenario. A married man and father announces that he is leaving his wife and children in order to be “true to himself.” He has found another love, the most genuine love he has ever known, and he has already moved in with his new lover.

How would society react to him? —

“You, sir, are an unfaithful, disloyal adulterer. You should be ashamed of yourself, leaving your wife and kids for another woman.”

He replies, “But it’s not for another woman. It’s for another man. I’m gay and I’ve come to terms with my identity. I won’t go on with the charade any longer, and I’m proud of my decision.”

How does society react now?

“You, sir, are a courageous hero. You have set an example for others to follow, and you should be commended for your boldness and integrity.”

So, if you commit adultery and abandon your family out of heterosexual desires, you are a despicable human being. But if you do it out of homosexual desires, you are a hero and champion. You even become an international celebrity, albeit not without some controversy.

A Sacred Promise is a Sacred Promise, Unless …

Just ask Jim McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey. Newsweek called his book The Confession, in which he recounts his own story, “an astonishingly candid memoir … brave and powerful.”

If Bill Clinton had left Hillary Clinton, finding his true love in Monica Lewinsky and writing a book about it, do you think his story would have been praised with similar words?

I’m quite aware that, in some cases, the wives were deeply sympathetic to their husbands’ struggles, recognizing that their spouses were fighting inner demons and were embarrassed at their inability to satisfy their wives. LGBT activists would also tell us that, had society not forced gays into the closet, these men would never have been under pressure to marry women in the first place.

And I can only imagine the sense of emotional relief they experienced when they finally “came out.”

But none of this changes the fact that: 1) they broke the wedding vows they made; 2) many of them had marriages that were functioning well before they came out; 3) they ultimately put their own needs above those of their spouses and children; 4) they did not (and could not) truly calculate the long-term effects of their decision on their family; 5) in many cases, they were unfaithful while married and it was their relationship to another man that caused them to come out.

How is any of this commendable or praiseworthy? Where is the courage in it, let alone the integrity? Why does homosexuality somehow turn immorality into morality? And why, if you’re a professing Christian, does it land you an interview on The View?

I once read the story of an Orthodox Jewish man who was training to be a rabbi when he realized that, to his dismay, he was not sexually attracted to women. Then, while riding a New York City subway, he found himself intensely attracted to another man, having sex with that stranger the same day.

Yet when he recounts this story, which can only be condemned as immoral by all branches of Orthodox Judaism, he says not a negative word. He utters not a syllable of, “This, of course, was a terribly wrong act, since sex out of wedlock is forbidden, particularly with the same sex.”

No, this was his day of discovery, of recognizing that he was gay. The immoral act of fornication now become part of his positive, self-discovery process. (I’ve read similar stories written by “gay Christian” ministers.)

How to Cheat on the Track, Get Caught, and Still Get a Hero’s Welcome

Today, LGBT activism has added another twist to the story, not only changing the rules of morality but also of fairness.

Consider this scenario: A highly decorated, female high-school athlete is found to be cheating by employing some unfair advantage over her peers — such as blood doping or steroids. How would society view her accomplishments?

“You should be ashamed of yourself, taking an illegal drug or blood transfusion or whatever it is you’re doing. That is so unfair to the other girls, and you should be stripped of your medals.”

She replies, “But I’m transgender. That’s the ‘unfair’ advantage. I’m just being who I really am.”

How does society react now?

“We are so sorry for being critical! The fact that you’re a biological male shouldn’t be held against you when competing with the other girls. And if they have a problem with it, they’re just a bunch of insecure transphobes.”

The tragic irony of this is that the Obama administration is now threatening schools with the loss of government funding if they do not embrace the demands of transgender activism, citing the alleged violation of Title IX.

But one of the primary purposes of Title IX was to ensure equal opportunities for female student athletes. After all, on average, males have a biological advantage over females when it comes to athletic competition, because of which Title IX protections make perfect sense — that is, perfect sense unless we’re talking about transgender-identified students, in which case rules of fairness go out the window.

So what if your daughter is now competing for an athletic scholarship with someone else’s son. So what if the girls’ softball team now loses consistently to its archrival because their new star player is a biological male.

One Nation, Under LGBT Feelings

And, as we are now learning, so what if your teenage daughters are terribly upset by the presence of a physical boy in their locker rooms and shower stalls. As the Charlotte Observer infamously counseled, girls will just have to get over the “discomfort” of seeing male genitalia in their locker rooms.

The only issue that apparently matters now is that the transgender-identified student feels safe and affirmed, regardless of how this affects everyone else.

Needless to say, when it comes to marriages affected by transgender issues, normal standards disappear as well. Thus the man who breaks his promise and his wife’s heart after decades of marriage and destroys his relationship with his kids is deemed a courageous hero if he did it, he says, because he could no longer live as a man and had to identify as a woman.

This is all part of a larger societal narrative in which freedoms of speech, religion and conscience are consistently trumped by gay and transgender “rights.”

Should we be surprised that wrong has now become right and unfair has now become fair, all in the name of LGBT activism?

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • john appleseed

    As usual, Dr Brown is right. Too bad only a minority listen to common sense nowadays.

    • Mark Gruben

      And that’s because, nowadays, the majority realize that it’s not common sense.

  • Cowboy

    Fact is the world appears to be upside down !

  • monalisasmile50

    It is written in Isaiah 5:18-20, “18 Woe to those who drag their sins behind them like a bullock on a rope. 19 They even mock the Holy One of Israel and dare the Lord to punish them.“Hurry up and punish us, O Lord,” they say. “We want to see what you can do!” 20 They say that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”
    Lord have mercy on our nation as a whole, and call us, as Christians, to repent for letting this happen. However, fear not, for our Great God will heal us if we turn to Him. God bless you, Michael Brown, for speaking the truth in love.

    • Lrr68

      Amen!

    • 6thinclass

      Proving The Word in the Old Testament is still a prophecy being fulfilled today!

    • Mark Gruben

      It may be “truth” as you interpret it, but it is most certainly not spoke in love. It is spoken in sarcasm, in anger, and in judgment. Love is none of those things.

      • Jericho

        Love is also pointing out moral error. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. Interesting isnt it that Jesus said that the gospel would be offensive to those who are perishing, it is meant to convict mens hearts not molly coddle them

  • mwmog

    Another indicator of Isaiah 5:20 being played out.

  • Patmos

    The LGBT Movement is essentially a push back against all the rejection they’ve taken over the years, gaining fuel from the West’s turning away from God and anything spiritual. Perhaps one day they will finally admit the truth that they were not born that way, and learn that they can overcome their demons with the help of the teachings of Christ, even in the face of this current cultural decay.

    Jesus is the name above all names. If God is for you who can be against you? No demon, no child abuser, no societal delusion can stop the power of God.

    • Mark Gruben

      Patmos, were you born “holier than thou”…..or is this a manifestation of your own personal demons? Fear not; with the help of the teachings of Christ, you too may find humility and compassion.

      • Jericho

        Well then you are calling Jesus “holier than thou” as well. Jesus might have had compassion on sinners but not on their sin. Methinks you have a problem with moral absolutes, your relativism is why the world is swirling down the moral cesspit it finds itself in

  • tekwrite

    Very well said.

  • CJ Severance

    And soon enough, thanks to LGBT activism, adultery will be legalized in the form of polygamy.

    • RevChristopher J Janson

      Polygamy is not condemned in Scripture. A deacon or elder, according to Scripture, ought to be the husband of one wife. But Scripture does not bar others from polygamy.

      • Dean Bruckner

        ‘And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”’

        I’m pretty sure Jesus meant “two” when he said “two.” Not three, not four, not five. The original pattern of creation, which Jesus quotes as God’s pattern for marriage, is one man and one woman for one lifetime.

        He goes on to answer the Pharisees:

        ‘They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?”

        ‘He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”’

        Like divorce, polygamy is occasioned by the hardness of the human heart and by the desires that wage war within the human soul. As such, it is the location of many, many casualties. They are called women and children by lustful men who justify their own sin and selfishness.

        Don’t forget that before Osama bin Ladin became a mass-murdering terrorist, he was the heartbroken son of a lesser wife of a polygamous sheik, with scores of brothers, longing for his father’s affection and attention but never receiving it. The Arab culture, with its dysfunctional polygamous families and the resulting hidden homosexuality, ought to be another severe warning against the destructive “is not condemned” bar-lowerers and false teachers.

        The LORD rebuke you!

        • Mark Gruben

          You quote the Bible very precisely, then define divorce rather broadly. You then offer a generalized portrait of bin Ladin, then conflate it into a broad and unsubstantiated attack on Arab culture in general. And I doubt very much if The LORD acts upon your command in rebuking anyone, particularly on the basis of your narrow-minded worldview.

          • Jericho

            Ah and your point is ? Absolutely nothing

      • CJ Severance

        You are correct sir. Polygamy is not explicitly barred in Scripture but it doesn’t comport with Jesus’ definition of marriage of one man and one woman. And more to my point, polygamy’s illegality in America is being challenged in courts using the arguments of LGBT activists.

        • Mark Gruben

          While the Bible may state that Jesus defined marriage as one-man-one-woman, that does not mean that he actually did so. The Bible has undergone many reinterpretations and translations. Even so, such a definition might have been falsely attributed to Jesus….to comport with whatever point of view a writer/translator may have desired. Furthermore, had Jesus really said this, one might say that it was merely his opinion, based upon cultural standards of that era. All that being said, the right and privilege of marriage should not – and cannot – be denied, simply because some believe it to be sinful. Many things that are viewed as sinful by some, are perfectly legal, commonplace, acceptable, proper……and even desirable.

          • 6thinclass

            Mark Gruben, you are on quite a roll! I will state that just because something is ‘perfectly legal, commonplace, acceptable, proper……and even desirable’ does not make it morally right (it is still a sin in God’s moral law).

      • Well… Let’s see what the Bible says:

        {Genesis 2:24} “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

        {Matthew 19:5} “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”

        {Mark 10:7-9} “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
        {8} And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
        {9} What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

        Yep… “wife” is singular.

    • Mark Gruben

      With all due respect, sir, do you really believe that? If so, why? I do not see how marriage equality (aka “same-sex marriage”) would lead to polygamy, or that polygamy is a logical next step.

      • gscott104

        Because it has nothing to do with “marriage equality,” and everything to do with upsetting societal norms.

        I would disagree that polygamy is next, however. The next perversion to be “normalized” is pedophilia. We’re already seeing it with Salon’s series on ‘not judging the pedophile.’

  • Noneya

    The bible predicted things would eventually flip. We have Israel, morality has reversed, social unrest is out of control, earthquakes are seemingly becoming increasingly erratic, rumors of war, signs in the heavens, and more. The bible doesn’t say how long the birth pangs will last, but with peace treaty ideas for Israel and the invaders pouring out I can’t see none of them being accepted or forced upon Israel.

    The world screams for a savior and it’s my opinion that two are listening, but unfortunately, the one they’ll listen to isn’t truly interested in saving anyone. The one that does want to save them is being rejected and about to grab their attention quite forcibly.

  • sugiekate

    If the marriage didn’t feel right from the beginning then that person should never have married and regardless of the reason for ending it, they did betray and abandon their family, nothing can ever make that right. If they found someone else and have committed adultery with that person, then the family is better off without them, but they deserve condemnation.

  • Hugh

    This was an excellent article and I agree with it. However, Christians, as a whole, can be pretty horrible and nasty towards people that are gay. It’s as if homosexuality is a worse sin than other sins. God describes gossip and plenty of other things as an ‘abomination’. Christians gossip all the time and it’s overlooked. We (Christians) need to quit showing judgement and need to reach out and show love towards the LGBT community. Does that mean we accept that lifestyle? no. But it means that we love them and reach out to them just as Jesus would. They are no different than us. People are saved by the grace of God alone, not of works.

    • mw006

      This Christian’s moral opposition to homosexuals is as follows. They are sinners like the rest of us in need of repentance and forgiveness. I believe an instance of adultery is a greater sin than an act of homosexuality. The difference is this, however. We don’t see adulterers who are proud of their behavior and insisting society morally bless and celebrate their infidelity. We don’t see adulterers aggressively pursuing a totalitarian agenda that reaches down into the elementary schools to indoctrinate and corrupt innocent children with lies and perversion. The individual homosexual is a sinner and one of us in that regard. The LGBT movement is evil and deserving of vociferous condemnation.

  • Andrew Ryan

    ” A married man and father announces that he is leaving his wife and children in order to be “true to himself.” He has found another love, the most genuine love he has ever known, and he has already moved in with his new lover.
    How would society react to him? —”

    If it’s Donald Trump, they’d nominate him to be the next President of the United States.

    Zing!

  • wowww_2000

    Thanks for another insightful article , Mr Brown .

  • Staci Woodruff

    What a great article. Thank you, Michael Brown.

    And, while we (people who identify as Christians and Christ Followers) spend time debating Bible translations and interpretations, the world proceeds with its agendas. I am saddened by the arguing within the Church, but the Bible said this would happen. Divisiveness has always existed, but it’s REALLY thriving these days.

    • gscott104

      You’re right, it is REALLY thriving these days. Makes me think something is afoot, Revelation-wise.

  • 1Myles1

    Homosexual “marriages” are a joke. They cheat constantly. Also, their rates of domestic abuse are sky high.

  • John Bolton

    It seems this arguement to most of you is all about the bible and it’s assumed infalability. Since this ‘infalable’ book has said Jesus will return in their life time, isn’t 2000 years enough to stop you all from looking for signs? What if the bible is not the word of god but about the word of God? There is a far greater book of life and it’s called DNA.
    Why is the meaning of symbols used in the bible ignored when it is obvious that the entire bible is a book of symbolic language. Why do you argue that morality comes from a right understanding of the bible, when you don’t know the meaning of the symbols used?

    • justavenger

      Your entertaining but wrong. God is the greatest scientist in the universe, he invented DNA.
      The funny thing about Korihors like you is that you are all the same, empty and liars.
      The Bible is nice and it is the word of God but that’s not all the proof mankind has. It has evidence, historical record, the testimonies of countless people who lived during the time if Christ. It is carved in stone.
      Oh yeah you’ll at remote to pull out hollow scholastic arguments but they’re empty just like your heart.
      You know the truth and always have but you lead people away because destruction is ‘cool’ to folks like you, good luck with that. Being part of such a tiny minority is empowering I bet.

      • John Bolton

        This is a quote from you.
        “I think it is time to resurrect Sam Houston and Teddy Rosenfeld March into Mexico City and line up and execute every last piece of chit Wet till their streets run with blood.”
        You call me a liar but clearly you fancy yourself as a genocidal executioner, no better than your Spanish Inquisition forebeares

    • minxcomix

      So this is all you pull out of this article? The one word of “religion” in the last paragraph?!
      Do you not have anything substantial to the actual point of the article? Nothing about “freedom of speech”, nothing about conscience? Nothing about people keeping their promises or acting according to the moral structure they publicly claim to ascribe to?

      With respect, Mr Bolton, you’ve made a rather weak comment that does not address the points made in the article.

      • John Bolton

        Well most of the answers below are from Christians who have informed their arguement from their literal interpretation of their bible. America is the most fundamentalist country in the world. Discusion of morality and the Law depends on their understanding of a book they can’t interpret because all language is symbols and their bible is in the language of symbols.
        Taken literaly this bible aparently jusyifies genicide and the atitude of superiority of literal Christians who have much to say about toilet issues and little to say about 14 wars currently being suplied by a ‘Christian ‘ country.

    • James Megenhardt

      I know of no culture were it is honorable or noble to lie to someone to get what you want. I know of no culture where it is noble or honorable to make an agreement which benefits you, based on that lie. I know of know culture where it is noble or honorable to break the agreement when if benefits you solely. Accept in America, when a person ‘bravely’ comes out. I do not know if the author; or even yourself; lay claim to Christianity as a religion you subscribe. I do believe the author is correct, I would like for you to please clearly explain why he is not.

      • John Bolton

        America. A country that has rendition for torture, ‘Shock and Awe’ bombing of women and children, massive supplies of weapons to dictators, conducts war in foriegn countries with it’s defence forces, spies on every one and justifies all from the ‘moral high ground’ of Christianity.
        The author should come out against War mongers before cross dressers.

        • James Megenhardt

          Rather than answer my question, you have attempted to deflect the conversation. The fact that you have even posted on this board indicates you do feel some aspect of the author’s article is important. So if the question is important, then it worthy of reflecting on. After reflecting on the arguement that there is a double standard in our society in how we treat those who abandon their commients to family, I ask you again, “How is the author wrong.”

          • John Bolton

            If this mythical man left his wife and children to join the army and bomb Syria’s women and children in ‘defence of America’ I suppose that would be more Christian than to leave them for a man down the road.

          • James Megenhardt

            When a person physically leaves their family for the defense of their family, they have not left their vow to their family. Quit the opposite, it is often for the sake of their family that such men and women are willing to risk their lives. So again I ask; how does your argument which stands on men a women willing to stay committed to their vows connect to the authors discussion of our societies double standard towards those who abandon their vows for selfish purpose

            Tow small points. One, none of my points are Christian. Two, I had a chance to meet and talk with a man from the Middle East Sunday. His first hand account , ISIS is much worse than our media is telling us.

          • John Bolton

            In your mind the marriage vow is superceded by ‘defence of the family’ which is in reality an unprovoked attack on someone elses family in another country.
            Willing to risk their lives, on the side of overwelming military might against families in cities that are now grave yards.
            The biggest risk to their own lives is that they will commit suicide or come home with perminent self inflicted health problems.
            But never mind, this is America where we have liberated the bathrooms and argue the morality of marriage vows while planning to ‘make America stronger’ and bomb some more Muslims.
            As for ISIS, your ignorance is because your media has produced the most self centered ignorant population ever.

          • James Megenhardt

            No, the marriage vow is not superseded by commitment to country. Quit the opposite. A man has a duty to protect his family. A woman has a duty to protect her young. When the enemy is a organization or country, this best done by with other members of your country.

            In this lies the flaw with your argument. First, the person has not abandoned their family, instead out of commitment to their family they have joined with others in defense of their families. Second, no sane person has a selfish desire to leave their family to potentially lose their life; again, they risk their lives for their families. Third, the hypocrisy the author speKs of originates from a selfish desire, not out of a commitment to family.

  • Susan C

    Well said, sir. You are spot on in your assessment of a man leaving his marriage for a homosexual lifestyle. I went through this myself almost 20 years ago, and your “doesn’t change the fact” list of 5 was 100% for us. It has been a very hard road for my 3 daughters, who were very young when this nightmare started. I am very happily remarried, but they don’t get a “do-over” for growing up with a Daddy who is present and putting them first. There is nothing to celebrate in his choices, from beginning to end.

  • justavenger

    Cheating is immoral, deception is worse, sexual sins are the most serious next to taking innocent life. The left has condemned themselves to eternal suffering. Their perversion, murder of innocent children, the rampant drug and alcohol abuse, the treatment of women, and their continued attack on sacred covenants and eternal promises will cost dearly.
    For one I could care less what their opinion of me, and the truth is, they are extremely ill. The only thing that will save them is turning away from evil and embracing what is righteous, wholesome and pure.
    When you know you are right no amount of popularity and shifting views will change those truths.
    This I know Jesus is the Christ and only through his gospell and atonement can we be a saved. This is truth.

    • James Megenhardt

      I am a Christian, but I do not have to be to see the author is correct. Marriage is not a unique Christian concept. While the concept may vary a bit between cultures, it is still a covanent.

      • justavenger

        So what is your point?

  • Bonnie Kaye

    Dr. Brown, thank you for having the courage to state the reality of the situation for straight wives finding themselves in this nightmare. No one could have said it better!!

  • Richie Tucker

    Religion is not a factor in every marriage, and for those kinds of marriages, what the Bible has to say about it isn’t relevant. Not everybody takes a vow in a church, or before God; many marriages take place in the county courthouse. So let’s leave religion out of it; it only applies to religion-based marriages.

    So what does Dr. Brown suggest is the alternative for the person who realizes they are in a mis-marriage, whether straight, gay or lesbian? Should the straight, gay or lesbian spouse just stay in this kind of marriage, grin and bear it? Should the intimacy continue to decline? Should the children be forced to continue living in a loveless home? Should the spouses become strangers to each other, just for the sake of keeping a vow?

    This is the kind of straw-man argument put forth by homophobic and intolerant persons; it equates infidelity with coming out. Mr. Brown, can you produce evidence of any person, by name and date and place, who applauds and cheers for marital infidelity, whether it is gay, straight, bisexual, or anything else? If you can, then why don’t you offer that example to demonstrate your point? To suggest that the LGBT community applauds infidelity is a homophobic lie. What is encouraged and welcomed is the act of coming out, facing down and rejecting the cultural homophobia and naming it for what it is – and of which your article is a perfect example.

    Infidelity is wrong and is rightfully discouraged. Coming out is brave, honest and should be encouraged in order to prevent the infidelity you describe. But equating the two is a false argument that leads to the very outcome you say you want to avoid. You, Mr. Brown, are part of the problem, not the solution. It’s possible to discourage bad behavior while encouraging good behavior, but you will only be able to do that if you can discern which is which, and realize that they are not the same thing.

    In an ideal world, no gay, lesbian or bisexual person would encounter the prejudice exemplified by this article, which hides its homophobia behind a feigned moral and religious indignation, and which itself leads those persons into a closet which they themselves did not create. This article, and articles like it, are what create the closet; unfortunately, the closet makers aren’t able to see that this is what they are doing. They build the closet, drive people into it, and then complain and punish the ones who take longer than others to find their way out of it. And so they do what they’re told, and they get married. Later they realize they made a mistake, and that someone else was inadvertently trapped inside that closet with them. Neither of them saw it coming or intended this to happen, but now, here they are. The only question is what can they do about it?

    One op-ed writer says she thinks it would be wonderful if gay or lesbian children could realize it when they were 5 years old, that they were gay, lesbian and different, and that way “they wouldn’t have to struggle with it” for so long. She doesn’t get it anymore than you do, Mr. Brown. She sees the struggle as the gay person’s inability to accept him or herself, when the struggle is actually that the outside world doesn’t accept the gay or lesbian child. She places the struggle inside the child’s head, when the real struggle for the child is how to survive in a culture that despises him, and tells him he has a problem inside his head. That this writer can’t understand that, that she puts it all back on the child, shows that she herself contributes to the child’s confusion. This particular writer wants to be able to sue gay or lesbian people who don’t figure it out in time, and doesn’t see how that is going to encourage them to stay in the closet, even after getting into a mistaken marriage. She’s going to make the problem worse. Like their closeted homoesexual counterparts who can’t admit the truth of their sexuality, most homophobic persons don’t see how their homophobia creates its own bad outcomes.

    Mr. Brown, you won’t or can’t admit to seeing how you, and articles like this one, help set the stage for them to make that mistake. It’s hard to see it, and you don’t have the moral backbone, integrity or self-awareness to see the hypocrisy in your argument. I get that. You grew up in the same culture that favored heterosexuality and denounced homosexuality, just as I did, just as my wife did. We all grew up in that culture. But what do you propose is the solution; what would you have the LGBT person do at the point they realize they made a mistake based on the lies they were told while they were growing up?

Inspiration
How Do I Handle My Regrets?
Joe Dallas
More from The Stream
Connect with Us