Brian Chasnoff Can’t Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time

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For Immediate Release
August 1, 2018

On Monday, Mike Knuffke, the chair of Friends of SAFA[1], the political action committee for the San Antonio Family Association answered questions via phone conversation, which were subsequently used to craft an opinion/hit piece on Friends of SAFA and the San Antonio Family Association written by Brian Chasnoff, that was published Tuesday, July 31, 2018 under the title, “SAFA still ‘proud’ of Brehm.”  Given Friends of SAFA’s past experience with some in the media and their penchant to misreport, misrepresent, or misunderstand, our answers and positions; we taped our side of the conversation to provide a correction should it be necessary.

Mr. Chasnoff has lived down to our expectations and created a piece of fiction that at worst fits a predetermined narrative to malign Friends of SAFA and the San Antonio Family Association in an attempt to marginalize our voice in the public square and at best represents a blindness and ignorance to worldviews outside of his own. We can’t ascribe motive to Mr. Chasnoff, but we can point out his failure to objectively report on a conversation and his willful neglect of facts stated within the interview. In our response we are going to assume the best of Mr. Chasnoff, namely that he lacks the ability to understand all the varied topics that were spoken of in relation to one another. The quotes we will provide (and yes we have the audio), demonstrate not only are Mr. Chasnoff’s conclusions faulty, but if he wasn’t intentionally trying to smear Friends of SAFA and the San Antonio Family Association, he demonstrated a lack of competence to follow the simple conversation. In other words, Chasnoff is purposefully lying to promote an agenda or he simply can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

Mike Knuffke, in concluding remarks to Chasnoff and in seeming agreement with Chasnoff, stated in concluding remarks:

Our biggest concern is the protection of the daughter during this period of time [while in the home with Norm Brehm] is one of the biggest questions we have [for Cynthia Brehm] . . . was she put in a situation whereby he, the predator [Norm Brehm] was still able to take advantage. You [Chasnoff] hit it on the head, and that is the biggest concern we have.

In unequivocal terms, Mike Knuffke and Friends of SAFA made it clear that the NUMBER ONE concern in light of the new revelations about Norm Brehm’s past, is whether or not Cynthia Brehm’s daughter was properly protected from a sexual predator. In fact, Knuffke, complimented Chasnoff and agreed with him that this is the biggest concern.

How did Chasnoff report on these comments? He wrote:

Keep it in mind the next time SAFA objects to a Planned Parenthood facility in San Antonio . . . The family, according to SAFA, is “the building block of society,” but the children are expendable.

Mike Knufke states, “Our biggest concern is the protection of the daughter . . .” Chasnoff reports, “ . . . children are expendable [to SAFA]. The disconnect between what was clearly stated and what was reported is glaring. One has to wonder how Chasnoff came to his conclusions.

We are going to assume for the purpose of our response, that Chasnoff didn’t willfully lie, but failed to grasp what we are saying. This is because we acknowledge that our worldview regarding marriage and family is counter-cultural. Thus it may be difficult for someone unfamiliar with our view to initially grasp what we are saying.

Further, the issues surrounding Cynthia Brehm are multiple. In addition to her remaining in her marriage, you have issues of punishing someone for the wrongs committed by another, the issue of overturning the results of an election, the implication that if you support a candidate you support their personal moral failings or the personal moral failings of their spouse, as well as Christian understandings of repentance and forgiveness. The issue is not simply Cynthia Brehm is married to a pedophile and disqualified for office (even as much as Chasnoff and many others would like to paint it to be).

One thing though, that is not an issue (contrary to Chasnoff’s article) is the dedication of Friends of SAFA and the San Antonio Family Association to the protection of children. For those who may have had questions raised about us on this issue, hear this, we condemn sexual abuse in all its forms (rape, incest, child molestation, sexual abuse committed against women or men). We favor legislation which provides legitimate protections against all such abuse, as well as laws which enforce the strictest of penalties against predators.

Our value of children goes far beyond many on the Left (and some on the Right), which is demonstrated by the countless hours, the financial investment, and the personal cost we have spent opposing the expendability of children through the act of abortion. Chasnoff may want to wag his finger and accuse us of inconsistency on this issue as he hypocritically criticizes us for opposing Planned Parenthood, but the truth of the matter is that the San Antonio Family Association consistently values the sanctity of human life and fights to protect children from the womb to the tomb. Mr. Chasnoff cannot say the same if he advocates for a woman’s right to kill her child in the womb.

Concerning marriage, Mike Knuffke told Chasnoff that Friends of SAFA believes in the “indissolubility of marriage.” To help Chasnoff and others understand the position of Friends of SAFA on this issue, perhaps some defining of terms and explanation is necessary. The word, “indissoluble” is defined at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indissoluble.

not dissoluble;  especially  incapable of being annulled, undone, or broken permanent  an indissoluble contract.

Admittedly in our no-fault divorce culture, this view of marriage is rare. People enter into marriages and exist into marriages with great civil and legal ease. But such a view is not consistent with the faith beliefs of Mike Knuffke and the members of SAFA. The assert a biblical and Roman Catholic view of Marriage. The Roman Catholic Catechism in Article 7 states:

In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one’s wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize (https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/life-and-family/marriage/marriage-in-the-catechism-of-the-catholic-church).

Chasnoff and others may be among the “some who are perplexed” by Friends of SAFA and the San Antonio Family Association’s position on the “indissolubility” of marriage, but their being “perplexed” does not merit the charge that Friends of SAFA finds children to be expendable. Rather it is because Friends of SAFA does not find children expendable that holding such a doctrine is necessary, given that the vast majority of sexual abuse takes place within broken homes being committed by step-fathers and boyfriends[2](indeed this is the case even with Cynthia Brehm’s daughter).

Also, lacking from Chasnoff’s worldview is the idea that it is morally wrong to punish someone for the sins committed by another (unless they volunteer as Christ did for the sins of his people). The initial story provided to Friends of SAFA regarding Cynthia Brehm was that her husband Norm was guilty of exposing himself to her 14 year old daughter, that Cynthia acted immediately to get her daughter to safety and participated in the criminal proceedings against her husband. Further, though she did contemplate divorce and even filed for said divorce, that through a process involving clergy, her husband Norm repented, became a Christian, and reconciled with both his wife and his sole victim of sexual abuse.

Therefore, rather than throw stones at Cynthia for taking the difficult road of forgiveness and reconciliation we firmly celebrated her moral courage and her faithfulness to her vows because not only do we affirm the indissolubility of marriage, but believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, which means that any sinner can find forgiveness and through the Holy Spirit be transformed so as not to walk in their past sins. This is Christianity 101, though it seems like a difficult concept for Chasnoff and others to grasp, especially in our day where an accusation equals a transgression or where past guilt removes the possibility of forgiveness and redemption is a concept all too forgotten.

Friends of SAFA was not only concerned with the calls for resignation being a punishment for Cynthia being faithful to her marriage vows and a denial of the gospel of forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation, but with the fact of overturning an election where the candidate won 70% of the vote. Our resistance to such an overturning is grounded in our constitutional republican understanding of government and our desire that no one’s vote be devalued or dismissed. A majority supported Brehm and it seemed, frankly, un-American and un-Republican to call for her resignation based solely on the acts of her husband and not a personal impropriety of her own.

Further, there is an implication in the article that the support of someone married to a spouse with moral failings is somehow an endorsement of that immorality or a dismissal of it. Chasnoff seems to be asserting because Friends of SAFA is ‘proud’ of Cynthia keeping her marital vows in the light of her husbands immorality that they are endorsing or supporting such immorality. One wonders if Chasnoff believes that all Hillary Clinton supporters in 2016 supported rape, adultery and sexual harassment given that Bill Clinton is an alleged rapist, a confirmed adulterer, and a known sexual harasser? Or did all Trump supporting Republicans likewise support adultery, sleeping with porn stars, and the grabbing of women in private places? If the charge is that supporting a candidate with a spouse who has moral failings or a candidate who has moral failings equals support for those actions is being placed at Friends of SAFA’s feet, then members of both political parties are likewise guilty of what is being alleged. This seems like a ridiculous implication.

Why is it that Friends of SAFA no longer supports Cynthia Brehm? It isn’t because the question is moot,” as asserted by Chasnoff. It is precisely because Friends of SAFA has heard more details on this issue, learned that it allegedly wasn’t an isolated incident, and believes that Cynthia knew or should have known enough to have never placed her daughter in such the situation with her husband Norm. Simply, we have questions about Cynthia’s transparency, her ability to lead, and whether Cynthia exercised proper concern for her daughter’s safety, because as we told Chasnoff on Monday, “our biggest concern is the protection of the daughter.”

Our conversation with Chasnoff covered a lot of topics. He chose to report on one, leaving out crucial and defining remarks. Chasnoff doesn’t hold our worldview on topics such as marriage and family. Maybe this is why he finds it difficult to believe on can contend for the indissolubility of marriage and for the protection of children at the same time (or the fact that the indissolubility of marriage provides the best safety for children in the vast majority of cases). We don’t know if his bias dictated his reporting on the conversation. All we know is that he failed to cover the complexity of the issue and painted it in an unfavorable and flat manner. We wish he had referenced our original press release or that he could have walked and chewed gum, but instead he spit the gum out on the sidewalk hoping we’d step in it.

[1]Since #BrianChasnoff can’t get the organizations straight or possibly purposefully lumped them together to defame both organizations, please note that Friends Of SAFA Texas (www.FriendsOfSAFA.com also known as foSAFA) is a General Political Action Committee (GPAC) that endorses candidates and is the entity releasing this Press Release as well as the one from Friday, July 27, 2018 which prompted Mr. Chasnoff’s calls for interviews but he didn’t even have the decency to mention it in his calumny-filled article on Tuesday, July 31, 2018. The San Antonio Family Association (www.SanAntonioFamilyAssociation.com aka SAFA) that Mr. Chasnoff seems to hate is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that does not endorse anyone but does engage in education and advocacy of issues in the public square that impact the family. Maybe this short explanation will help educate Mr. Chasnoff.

[2]For more information read http://www.nbcnews.com/id/21838575/ns/health-childrens_health/t/children-higher-risk-nontraditional-homes#.W2H6AS2ZPm0

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