Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm a Christian, Not a Bigot, Thanks.

I think humans like extreme situations, or at least creating extreme situations in their minds, because this allows us to behave in a way that is otherwise socially unacceptable, sometimes violent in speech and action, and usually not truthful or charitable.

Extreme situations warrant taking the gloves off, and I think we humans secretly like that.

TV shows and movies create these extreme situations all the time because they allow the hero to run around doing dubious things while the audience says to themselves, “Well, the world is ending” or “Well, if he doesn’t do that (insert morally questionable, but entertaining thing) then major city X will be destroyed!” Anyone who was a fan of the show 24 knows what I am talking about.

A perfect example of creating extreme situations is found in the rhetoric in the debate over gay marriage. Gloves are definitely off. Supporters of gay marriage have, perhaps unwittingly, created a scenario in which debate and dialogue is virtually impossible. Opposition to gay marriage has been painted as the equivalent of being a racist. Hence, the situation is serious enough in the minds of many that polite discourse is not necessary. Perhaps this was purposeful, or this is really what people in good faith (and bad logic) think. But, whatever the intention, things are getting nasty. It is turning out to be pretty dangerous for Christians or anyone who comes out and dares to say they are a bit hesitant to redefine marriage, a basic building block of society.

Any unlucky fellow who dares to say he has a contrary opinion to gay marriage as a civil right, based on reason and faith, is immediately sent to the gallows of public opinion. Even in the case of the Chick-fil-A President, Dan Cathy, it has become apparent that any statement in support of the traditional view of marriage without so much as a word about gay rights is automatically labeled hate speech. Gay rights advocates are basically sending the message that to hold widely held Christian beliefs is to be hateful.

Note - There are many reasons to oppose gay unions being defined as marriage. I am not going to outline them in this post. Others have done this and have done a very good job. What I want to refute is simply the faulty logic of those who say that opposition to gay marriage is equivalent to bigotry.

Let's Talk Logic

So, how do we get from Christians vocalizing their beliefs about marriage to calling them bigots? We don’t. The logic simply is not there. Just because a Christian believes that marriage means one thing, does not mean that they hate anyone who wants it redefined. It’s pretty obvious. And yet, very educated, intelligent people espouse this downright erroneous and hateful point of view every day.

Don’t get me wrong, gay rights is an issue of civil rights. Gay people have the right to live a life free of discrimination and hate. As Christians, we believe in the dignity and value of every single human person. This is at the foundation of our faith. But Christian opposition to gay marriage has nothing to do with gay people per se. In other words, our opposition to gay marriage is not inherently bigoted – sound like word play? It’s really not.

It may happen to be true that a Christian is also a bigot and therefore he believes marriage is between a man and a woman because he is bigoted. But this is like a person who hates golfers and therefore thinks they should be barred from the World Series. All people who believe golfers should be barred from the World Series do not, therefore, believe this because they hate golfers. This is a pretty clear logical distinction but it is unfortunately lost on the majority of people who support gay marriage.

Many Christians believe that acting on homosexual inclinations is a sin, which is not an automatically bigoted perspective. But even if you believe it is bigoted to think this, it is not logically related to the Christian view of marriage, (even though Christians and others conflate the two all the time). The only way it is related is to say that the Christian definition of marriage simply doesn’t include other arrangements, not because we hate people who want them, but because our view of marriage, which has been virtually universally accepted since the beginning of time, simply excludes other forms of human relationship. We believe this view of marriage is best for society as a whole, as well as individuals – it is not hateful or shocking to express this point of view, at least it shouldn’t be!

If polygamy were all the rage, we would, and do, speak the truth that polygamous arrangements are not in fact marriage. If people wanted to say that after holding your girlfriend or boyfriend’s hand, you were de facto married, we would oppose that as well. We take issue not with the people who are engaging in what we do not believe to be marriage; we take issue with redefining marriage. All we are saying is, “There are going to be implications to redefining the traditional understanding of marriage, the very nucleus of society, and we oppose it.” Period.

Christians in a State of Fear & Trembling?

Sadly, Christians are shaking in their boots, especially the ones who are just not sure what to make of this whole subject. Many are not even looking into the issue and are simply parroting their support for gay marriage because they don’t want to be accused of being bigots. Pretty understandable. I hesitated in writing this article. I may lose friends. I have never spoken openly about this subject except to those closest to me. But it is time for Christians to speak out.

Even if you are a Christian who supports gay marriage, how can you stand by while other people of faith are smeared based on logic that is faulty? Perhaps you are doing it yourself. Maybe it’s time to stop. Please?

We need the loving voices of Christians who do not hate their gay brothers and sisters to speak the truth of our faith in love and without fear. Because if we allow this erroneous logic to stand, that adhering to our religious beliefs is hate speech, it will become the law of the land, as it has in Canada and other countries. Any Christian preaching about what we believe to be the beauty of marriage will be considered hate language, and people will be sued and jailed. Think that’s extreme conspiracy theory paranoia? It’s already happening in Europe.

To conclude, as I consider this issue, I think about all the strides that we, as a society, have made so that gays will not be discriminated against, made to feel inferior, or worthless. I am glad that the gay rights movement is happening. I am glad that bullying, violence and hate are being combated. I feel shame that people who call themselves Christians have been a part of this discrimination, and still are. Expressions of the Christian point of view on the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage should only be filled with love and concern for those who experience same sex attraction.

I just don't believe the pendulum of this social movement should move in such a way that it advances right for Christians’ heads. In order to gain respect for one group, it is not necessary to disrespect another. This debate can be held in a way that does not demonize either side. Open and compassionate dialogue is possible. Really.

Share this, if you dare.

48 comments:

Nancy Rieser said...

With all due respect, where in the bible does Jesus specifically say that it is a sin to be gay? Where does Jesus suggest if two people of the same gender choose to be in a loving marriage, adopt and raise happy children are a threat to society?

We all know that in the bible one can find all sorts of passages that espouse polygamy, slavery, eye-for-an-eye justice, practices that we as a society we now outlaw, yes?

Jesus was the new way. SO. Where does HE say that gay families are wrong?

If I may put another question out there: where in your Christians vs Gays description of the struggle are the vast numbers of Christians like myself who are NOT gay but strongly support and respect gay marriages?

Sweetie, I can't find myself in the two party, either/or fight that you have outlined in your thoughts.

IMHO the biggest threat to marriage is selfishness, cruelty and infidelity...but not gender choice of others.

So, as for me, as a Christian, I celebrate love in all shapes and sizes, loyalty in good times and bad, learning from mistakes, forgiveness the creation of happy homes and families...AND service to those who are less fortunate and are in need.

I reckon if wake up in the morning and support and/or practice and of the above, then it's a pretty good day.

;o) But that's just me.

DN said...

Nancy, you may be trying to be respectful, but you're not paying close attention to the actual post. Where does what she say have anything to do with the supposed sinfulness of being gay? The one place she addresses that idea, she discards it. It's not a part of what she says.

Neither does she mention parties or that you have to be gay in order to be Christian and pro-gay marriage (at all, very outside).

So maybe give it a re-read and make sure you're really hearing her out first.

enness said...

Nancy, because this question is so frequently asked I would like to try to answer it. Allow me to highlight some excerpts from Matt. 19, and please pay equal attention to what is implied as well as to what he says explicitly:

"He answered, 'Have you not read that the Creator from the beginning made them male and female and that he said: This is why a man leaves his father and mother and becomes attached to his wife, and the two become one flesh?"

..."It was because you were so hard-hearted, that Moses allowed you [to divorce, thereby "changing" marriage from a permanent thing to a temporary thing - enness's note], but it was not like this from the beginning."

..."But he replied, 'It is not everyone who can accept what I have said, but only those to whom it is granted. There are eunuchs born so from their mother's womb, there are eunuchs made so by human agency and there are eunuchs who have made themselves so for the sake of the kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can."


I think it's vague enough to cover many situations, yet specific enough that the "why" is perfectly clear.

Anonymous said...

I’m sorry, but the “we don’t want marriage redefined” argument is semantics by definition and intellectually dishonest.

For the most part, I don’t hear anyone on the other side of this issue clamoring for the right to use the word “marriage”. It’s a civil rights issue for those impacted. It’s about having access to healthcare, insurance & tax benefits, etc.

So, if this is honestly not an issue of bigotry, why can’t those rights be extended to homosexual couples under a “civil union”? Because, regardless of the label you slap on it, it’s an abomination in the eyes of those opposed.

I’ve yet to hear anything other than “moral decline” and spurious slippery slope arguments that have no rational basis when you consider homosexuality has been around for the entirety of recorded history. You simply can’t make the “marriage” definition argument without addressing the very real civil argument at the heart of the matter—it’s a complete copout.

Jeanne d'Arc said...

Anonymous, in Minnesota there is an amendment on the ballot for November 2012 to define marriage as between only one man and one woman, and the gay community is VERY opposed to this amendment, but if you even check wikipedia http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Minnesota_Same-Sex_Marriage_Amendment_(2012) it says that this amendment still leaves the door open for civil unions. So if the gay community only really wants civil unions, why are there "VOTE NO, don't limit the freedom to marry" signs all over my neighborhood?

jeffmathews said...

This may be my favorite blog because the author of this blog is pursued by truth and pursues truth. I believe a real, eternal, loving truth exists, and His name is Jesus (the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life!) The author of this blog is obviously a loving, honest, truth-seeker.

So how do we find the truth? For many Christians, the Bible. Catholics also rely on the teachings of the Magisterium of the Church. So what does the Catholic Church teach? I usually go to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Here are the three main sections dealing with homesexuality:

"2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection."

There is much more about marriage in the Catechism, but the Church defines it as:

1601
"The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament."

So, as the author states, Catholics are not bigots for supporting traditional marriage. They are being faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church that marriage is a Holy Sacrament between one man and one woman. That is ALL they are saying; nothing negative about any person living with same sex attraction. I read other blogs and posts that speak of the hate-filled, bigoted opinions of those who support traditional marriage, but I see no such talk here or elsewhere. In fact, the Catholic Church demands that every man and woman with same sex attraction "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided."

Thank you for this blog, where I know I can always go when I am searching for Truth!

Anonymous said...

Jeanne d'Arc, I can't possibly keep up on every single ballot initiative in the country, hence my "For the most part" qualification.

That issue aside, my primary opposition to arguments like the one posited in this article is that it’s simply an attempt to dress up the purely religious morality at its core in the guise of a constitutional or legal context. If you oppose gay unions as an affront to this country’s traditionally Christian-based morality, then state it as such and let the legislative processes go to work in representing the majority rule.

This constant barrage of bogus reasoning and easily disproved “logic” only diminishes a strictly faith-based argument. It’s time to own up to the fact that this viewpoint is in fact bigoted. That bigotry may stem from a value system that’s held sacred and is well intentioned, but not everyone shares those values. It’s the very nature of bigotry that at its core is some nugget of justification, regardless of the object of discrimination. It may even be that this bigotry is well-founded and the afterlife will be a miserable place for some, but that’s not for us to judge.

I simply think it’s disingenuous to continue to make this “definition of marriage” argument when the real issue is a faith based belief that homosexuality is an evil that needs to be cured or eradicated.

tagnes said...

Anonymous,

The "real issue" has nothing to do with homosexuality being seen as a sin. That is the whole point of the post and it is not clear to me how you are refuting it.

Christianity is a faith based on the foundation of reason. Reason that we believe is accessible to all. Therefore, we make arguments about the nature of marriage that are based on logic and reason. This is not disingenuous or a cover-up. This is part of our faith.

Peace to you,

Theresa

jeffmathews said...

One of the greatest aspects of the Catholic Church is that we all know we are sinners - we even proclaim it together at Mass. We are also all in search of the Truth and helping one another find Truth (i.e. Jesus), so we can all get to Heaven (that is our ultimate goal).
Theresa is right that the defense of traditional marriage is not a bigoted stance - it is using reason and logic to defend the nature and meaning of marriage that will most likely lead us to the Truth and Heaven. The dictionary defines "bigoted" as
"utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one's own."
Trust me when I tell you how much Theresa loves everyone of all creeds, beliefs, and opinions. In fact, she is dedicating her life to imitate St. Paul and bring Jesus, the Divine Master, the Way, the Truth, and the Life to all she can. Her goal is not to criticize or demean any of us, but to help us use logic and reason to find the Truth, and to help us one day get to Heaven.
I have to admit that I have been guilty of not liking or agreeing with various teachings and practices of the Church in the past, but I have learned that Truth is more important than my feelings, wishes, or desires. Christ left us His Church to help guide us on our journey toward eternity. Thank God I don't have to figure it out on my own! And when Christ's Church and I don't see eye to eye, I have to be humble enough to realize its my eye that needs adjusting, not God's.
So, Theresa, thank you for bringing up the important Sacrament of Marriage. It can be uncomfortable to discuss and much easier to avoid, but St. Paul would never shy away from a topic that could result in him being arrested or tortured or killed, so you truly are a Daughter of St. Paul!!!

WBurchart said...

@jeffmatthews You hit the nail on the head, "Truth is more important than my feelings, wishes, or desires". The Truth is worth seeking. We live in a society of relativism where Truth is irrelevant and it is very easy to get caught up in what "feels" good or makes us "happy". It is not that God wants us to be unhappy but He believes our character and his Truth are more important than our temporal "happiness". It is not bigotry to believe that marriage be defined as one Man and one Woman or to express that belief; it is bigotry if I am intolerant of others that have a differing opinion and show it in hateful ways. Why is acceptable for companies to publicly support gay marriage, Starbucks, McDonalds, Ben & Jerry's, but it becomes bigotry for a company to not support it? They are not saying you can't have an opinion, they are simply stating theirs. When did our society get so disordered that we are not able to express our personal beliefs unless they go along with what "society" deems acceptable? Being a Christian and expressing your beliefs is no different than anyone else expressing theirs. It is not bigotry, it is principle.

prin·ci·ple/ˈprinsəpəl/
Noun:
1.A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
2.A rule or belief governing one's personal behavior.

Anonymous said...

The conflict arises from the fact that your logic, reason and truth on this particular matter is primarily based on a faith in a book that not everyone subscribes to. What you see as logical truth is only logical when viewed through the lens of your beliefs--without the faith it is an opinion and nothing more. I haven't heard or read a single logical point made in favor of the current definition of marriage that isn't solely based on a biblically defined morality argument—that includes the arguments posited on this page.

Your truth may very well be "The Truth", but as a matter of heritage "The Truth" that we have agreed to live under as a society is The Constitution. I fully support your right to espouse your beliefs in whatever forum you see fit and as loudly as you care to shout, but, more importantly, I support EVERYONE's right to do the same.

You are free to try and influence the spiritual path of the individual, just stop trying to legislate it. When the discussion is done, our Constitution will be the arbiter of society’s earthly concerns, but the individual should be left to determine his or her own Truth.

Anonymous said...

Actually, "stop trying to legislate it" was inappropriate of me and far more combative than my intent. It would be more representative of my view to say:

"You are free to try and influence the spiritual path of the individual, even to try and legislate it. But, if you fail to achieve those aims, it is a failure of your argument, not societal oppression of that argument, that led to that failure.”

tagnes said...

@Dr. Mathews - You are right, I definitely have a gift for tackling tough subjects and regretting it later :) No, I feel strongly that I have done the right thing in speaking out about this and I appreciate your encouragement!

@Anonymous - You don't give Christians much credit. Our logic and reason is not primarily based on Scripture. It is a gift of the human mind that has been given to us to make sense of the world we live in. My faith illuminates my reason, but my reason is not therefore inaccessible to others who do not have faith. This is a good read if you are really interested in understanding the Christian perspective on faith and reason: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_15101998_fides-et-ratio_en.html

Anonymous said...

Now, it’s you who are generalizing. I give Christianity credit for much of what is good in this country. I also understand your logic perfectly well and wholeheartedly agree with its application to many, many, morale issues. But in my opinion, and on this particular issue, your reason is absolutely inaccessible without the faith.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of our positions, I want to thank you for hosting a civil discourse bereft of the typical Facebook toxicity. I will certainly continue to weigh everything said here and I definitely consider this an important stop on my path to the Truth.

I hope you can find peace with whatever the outcome of this issue; I will try to do the same.

tagnes said...

@Anonymous - I am not sure what reasons you are referring to as my post was not a defense of the Christian view of marriage. If you are referring to every reason Christians have ever given for their opposition to gay marriage, then you definitely have every right to reject them. But I doubt you have actually considered them and not rejected them offhand because you seemed to suggest before that you believe the basis for our beliefs came solely from Scripture.

tagnes said...

@Anonymous - Thank you for actually engaging with me and being open to dialogue. I wish you the best and am thankful that people are willing to talk about these things with an open mind.

Peace,

Theresa

Nancy Rieser said...

Ennis: If I may respectfully say this: Matthew 19 refers to eunuchs. Gay people are not eunuchs. Apples and oranges, my friend.

Theresa and Dr. Mathews;

Theresa: You say "Our logic and reason is not primarily based on Scripture. It is a gift of the human mind that has been given to us to make sense of the world we live in."

Alrighty. So what you and others are saying is that we should not just rely strictly on what Jesus said and should also rely on our fellow man to kind of....intellectually riff for the rest of us about gayness? Uh-oh. We are in a heap of trouble there.

Dr Mathews: You advise that we should go to the writings of the Magisterium of the Church and look at their definitions as we would find information that could guide our thinking.

You are kidding me, right?

I am a Catholic and an ex-child welfare worker. Why should I or anyone else care about the Magistergterim code book (....the writer takes a huge breath and suspends her fingers over the keyboard, then, sighs, and resumes typing...) if those writings were what the pedophile priests and the bishops who covered for them used as The Beacon of Truth for Catholic Thinking?

Sorry. IMHO, here are a boat load of priests who should be in jail, including some bishops who enjoy the good life at the Vatican.

Again, in my humble opinion, the oppositional belief to gay marriage and gay family adoptions is one of the last "isms" that is socially acceptable among religious conservatives, be they Catholics in Boston or Baptists in the Mississippi.

Look. My mother was a cradle Catholic who married an agnostic who happen to be raised as a Presbyterian. I am old enough to remember when a Protestant marrying a Catholic could not get his/her children baptized in the Catholic church as a union like my parents was considered a "mixed marriage."

My mother and her children were not welcome. In fact, back in the 50s, I remember reading my little cousins' Catechism Sunday School workbooks and was SOOOO surprised to learn that I was going straight to hell because my family was not part of the Catholic church.

And whites marrying blacks and having mixed raced babies? An abomination!

Look inwards, my friends. That "ism" that you find in your hearts shall surely fade away as a "big" issue in 50 years...just like tje opposition to interfaith marriages and mixed race unions became down right silly,

As for me, I will remember the Jews and the Catholics who fought for civil rights in the south in the 1960s, many who even died in that struggle.

I will remember and honor the priests who died preaching liberation theology in South America.

When Catholics get it right, they get it very very right.

And when they get it wrong, they get it very wrong.

You are wrong about gay marriage.

And sweet Theresa, I submit this to you not in anger....not in hate.....but with love and compassion AND continued respect and admiration for your journey that is pursued by truth.

Joe Dirt said...

The Parochial Vicar at my parish, had an interesting point regarding tho whole debate during one of his homilies a few months back.

He took issue with the way marriage certificates read "Holy Matrimony" across the top. He did not beleive the county governement had any right to declare what was or was not "Holy". He also had an issue with civil marriages also being considered "Holy" according the wording of the county's marriage certificate.

Would love to see some further discussion or articles on how this debate could be resolved by removing "Holy" from civil marriage licenses/certificates.

Pax Tecum

Joe Dirt

tagnes said...

@Nancy - I am engaging with you on FB regarding this and would rather not respond on several fronts. I will allow other commenters to respond if they desire.

@Joe - Taking away the word "holy" is not really relevant. The question is what stake the government has in defining marriage. In my opinion, the government should support and uphold marriage between a man and a woman as the best situation in which a future member of society can be raised. Certainly there are other situations that work, but they are not what works best. For more on this see - http://www.patheos.com/blogs/badcatholic/2011/12/why-gay-marriage-is-a-bad-idea.html So, I would say that it is in the government's best interest to support and promote the traditional family structure.

Anonymous said...

Theresa, thanks for sharing your blog - I find you a sympathetic writer - I am also a young woman from a Catholic background with a strong formation by Dominicans (going on 8 years) and some of your experiences seemed familiar to me. So thanks!

I just want to say you might want to be conscious of the way that you are framing the terms of the debate. When you say "Many Christians believe... etc" be careful that you are not speaking in the names of all Christians, many, or perhaps a majority of whom may have very different ideas on the subject. To say that "our view of marriage, which has been virtually universally accepted since the beginning of time, simply excludes other forms of human relationship" also seems to be a pretty naive picture of the historical institution of marriage, within the Judaic and Christian contexts, to which I assume you are largely confining yourself, and include many practices which the imaginary idealized "traditional" nuclear 20th century North American family would find as strange or stranger than homosexual alliances.

What disturbs me the most about your article, however, is your facile ability to equate active discrimination and lobbying against gay civil rights with public objections and outcries against attempts to limit the freedoms of others. The article you link to about the Scottish archbishop is an exercise in the rhetoric of fear and threat; there is no law that remotely suggests that this bishop will be going to jail but he is promoting a fear-mongering victimaire rhetoric that sadly happens often in the Anglo-Catholic context (I'm from Ontario, and I have recently heard similar inverted rhetorics - it seems to be a popular strategy).
On the other hand, the restrictions against gays' full access to equal rights; active discrimination, bullying, beating, murder, and the pressure on young kids to conform which results in many suicides is actually really happening now - and is not just merely a deluded bid to sound victimaire.

Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely grant that religious liberty is repressed or threatened in some societies today - North America is not one of them (at least when it comes to mainstream Christian religions).

The two cases are not equal. Please watch your rhetoric, because rhetoric is a powerful tool. Anyone who wants to be "pursued by truth" should learn to be discriminating. Thanks!! Peace to you!!

Amy

Anonymous said...

Agnes - great article in my opinion. Great blog overall. And God bless you in your vocational discernment.

Nancy,
"those writings were what the pedophile priests and the bishops who covered for them used as The Beacon of Truth for Catholic Thinking?" - don't stop at paedophile priests and bishops who covered up, but, also, clericalism, castration of boy singers, the moral culpability of the Church in the Inquisition and the Crusades. And so on.

BUT at same time we mustn't confuse these with faith and doctrine of the Church, which are the preserve of the bishops, and in particular, of the Bishop of Rome - a
gift we saw Christ pass on in person to St Peter.
I think it it is (spiritually) dangerous and wrong to undermine the bishops' authority (on matters of aith and doctrine) here in public, i think.

Ed (UK)

Anonymous said...

Amy,

"bullying, beating, murder, and the pressure on young kids to conform which results in many suicides is actually really happening now - and is not just merely a deluded bid to sound victimaire"

- With respect, what do these points, in partcular, have to do with Theresa's article?

"Bullying, beating, murder" are things we can all agree here we hate. So why bring them up?

Ed (UK)

Anonymous said...

Amy,

"also seems to be a pretty naive picture of the historical institution of marriage, within the Judaic and Christian contexts, to which I assume you are largely confining yourself, and include many practices which the imaginary idealized "traditional" nuclear 20th century North American"

- St Augustine clearly (i think) saw marriage as a 1) sacrament and 2) between man and woman.
(http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09707a.htm)

tagnes said...

Amy - I appreciate your comments. I agree with you that there have been exceptions to the universal recognition of marriage throughout time. But I think it is fair to say that they are exceptions when considered on a general level.

I do not pretend to speak for all Christians. This is why I always tried to use qualifiers in my statements. If I did not, it was because I overlooked it or for ease of communication, but I think I made it clear that I understand there are a lot of Christians who are in disagreement with me.

I appreciate your last point. I will actually address it in my followup to this post. But I agree with Ed that it is not related to the Christian view of marriage or the point of this post which is that the Christian view of marriage should not be conflated with the common Christian view of homosexuality behavior as sin. They are separate issues. But I agree Christians as a whole need to put forth a more convincing effort in working for the recognition of the human dignity of persons in the LGBT community.

I completely disagree with your point related to this which is that this is not potentially a very serious issue of religious liberty. Already in Canada it is a crime to teach that homosexual behavior is a sin. In the US, if this debate continues to be framed in civil rights terms, then the law will come down very hard on Christians who speak in support of traditional marriage and teach homosexual behavior as something that separates us from God. Very few people understand or respect the distinction that many Christians make, which is that homosexual behavior is a sin but homosexuals should not be discriminated against. Therefore, the same thing that has happened in Canada can and very well may happen here and to an even greater extent.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this thoughtful article. I think much of the support for redefining marriage comes from a sense of compassion for the rights of others. However, truth matters as well, and the truth is that the sexual union of a man and a woman potentially can produce a child. There is a level of responsibility that exists in this particular type of relationship that is unique because of that. The commitment made by a man and a woman in marriage provides the best situation for raising the children produced by their sexual union in a stable and loving relationship. On the other hand, there are rights that should be available to those in loving and committed relationships, but I would like to suggest that these relationships extend to a broader group than those in sexually active relationships. There are widows who live together after the deaths of their husbands, adult siblings who form a household, divorced mothers who support each other in raising their children together who just as much as same sex couple would benefit from many of the rights given to married couples. That does not mean we should redefine marriage to include all these loving and committed relationships, but perhaps we do need to find a way to extend rights without diminishing the importance of marriage for the stability and future of our children and our society.

Anonymous said...

Can I just say that I've had my oars pulled out of the water and your posts have been VERY helpful. I told my parish priest several years ago that I could see this coming and it scared me. I was afraid that my children would leave the faith and even though I knew I wouldn't, I've never had my faith attacked like this before - especially attacks that make an accusation of a lack of love. I've always been proud to be Catholic - even in the midst of the scandals. And we will be the target (except, of course, for poor Chick Fil A) because we're such a large, heirarchical, unchanging, male-led one. I want to strengthen my mind and heart to ensure I don't waiver. These posts have caused me to put my oars back in the water. Thank you, Theresa. Keep 'em coming.

Rick DeLano said...

I beg that God would grant me more patience for the beautiful, humble, patient, and good hearts I see posting on this subject here from the Christian side of the issue.

I especially refer here to Anonymous @ Aug 7 10:17 pm.

"I think much of the support for redefining marriage comes from a sense of compassion for the rights of others."

>> Exactly. It was framed as a civil rights issue from the beginning, by very smart and committed people who understand how to push the right buttons in an electorate (as well as a Catholic Church) which has a long and proud history of responding to civil rights issues.

Of course, SSM never was a civil rights issue at all. I will prove it in a moment.

A: "However, truth matters as well,"

>> Truth can never be opposed to truth. If it were ever the case that a civil right was being denied SSA individuals, then truth would be on the side of the same sex marriage movement.

Truth has never been on the side of the SSM movement, because there was never a civil rights issue involved in the first place.

I will prove it in a moment.

Rick DeLano said...

A: "and the truth is that the sexual union of a man and a woman potentially can produce a child. There is a level of responsibility that exists in this particular type of relationship that is unique because of that. The commitment made by a man and a woman in marriage provides the best situation for raising the children produced by their sexual union in a stable and loving relationship."

>> Now *that* is the truth. Every syllable.

A: "On the other hand, there are rights that should be available to those in loving and committed relationships, but I would like to suggest that these relationships extend to a broader group than those in sexually active relationships. There are widows who live together after the deaths of their husbands, adult siblings who form a household, divorced mothers who support each other in raising their children together who just as much as same sex couple would benefit from many of the rights given to married couples."

>> Sigh.

There it is.

This is why we now stand at the very precipice of handing the power to rewrite the marriage laws to a movement that is implacably determined to employ those laws as the basis for sophisticated indoctrination of every public school pupil in America in homosexualist anti-values, *values which are profoundly in opposition to both Faith, and reason.*

The SSM movement insists that, somehow, the rights society has always extended to married couples,, *ought to be extended to ____________ (fill in whatever category you are sympathetic to, it doesn't matter which)........once the idea that marriage *rights* ought to be given to *non-married* people, the list will have no end. It cannot possibly have an end, because the foundational assumption of SSM has been implicitly granted, and that point is this:

There is no such thing as marriage!

Marriage is simply another word for Federal Friendship Benefits. Or widow benefits. Or couples benefits. Or any other kind of Federal benefits.

Marriage is simply a word that refers to (for now) two *people* who want to *commit* to each other (until they don't).

*Having bought into this, defeat is utterly certain*.

Rick DeLano said...

The SSM movement *always knew it, it was their strategy from the beginning to manipulate the compassion of people of Faith so they would surrender their religious liberty, and their children as well, before finally waking up to the scam- too late.

Here we get to the point where I can demonstrate the proof I promised earlier, that SSM was *never in any way about civil rights*.

A: "That does not mean we should redefine marriage to include all these loving and committed relationships, but perhaps we do need to find a way to extend rights without diminishing the importance of marriage for the stability and future of our children and our society."

>> God bless you and your Christian heart, Anonymous. You have been duped, effortlessly.

*All of those rights were specifically granted, in the form of civil unions, and the very next morning the lawsuit challenging marriage on 14th Amendment grounds was filed*.

*It was always planned that way*.

Because, you see, if the law limits marriage to gender-complementary couples *for good reason*- the very reasons you outline above!- then there *is no civil rights question involved for same sex couples concerning marriage!

*But*- and please admire the true sophistication and ferocious intelligence behind this ploy- *but* as soon as the principle has been established, in law, of the entitlement of same sex couples to the *rights and privileges previously extended by society only to married couples*.........

Now there *IS* a civil rights issue!

Rick DeLano said...

If they are entitled to the same rights and privileges, *there can be no basis at law to deny them the title MARRAIGE, since marriage has been defined out of existence in the very act of extending its benefits to non-married couples!

Of course these lawsuits succeeded.

It was always intended to dupe softhearted and compassionate and decent Catholics (and others) like you, Anonymous- into proposing the very solution which would doom marriage altogether.

It is my sad duty to have to tell you this.

It is my even sadder duty to tell you that in a better age, Catholic Bishops- REAL CATHOLIC BISHOPS- would have seen this coming ten miles off (that is what a Shepherd does- he sees the wolf before the flock does).......

Instead our bishops were completely blind.

As blind as you.

But it is not your fault.

It is, however, their fault.

May God, through the merciful intercession of His angels and saints, sealed with the irresistible plea of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God, protect us now.

Anonymous said...

Ok, fine, so the church doesn't want to recognize gay marriage. It doesn't need to...gays just want to have the same legal rights marriage-wise as heterosexual couples. Boom- problem solved.

Rick DeLano said...

No, problem created.

It is a large one.

From the instant gay marriage is written into law, every schoolchild in America will ben indoctrinated in homosexualist values, and it will be illegal for either parents or children to object- after all, it is the law!

If you consider it "no problem" that innocent children will be indoctrinated, before they are old enough to know better, in the following forms of mental illness:

1. Moms are either male or female.
2. Dads are either male or female.

May I say that you don;t really believe what you say.

Once it happens, you will be horrified.

But then it will be too late.

Anonymous said...

"From the instant gay marriage is written into law, every schoolchild in America will ben indoctrinated in homosexualist values, and it will be illegal for either parents or children to object- after all, it is the law!"

- how far do you go in trying to get everything in the secular world to fall in with religious belief).

I'm against gay marriage in Church, but if two people want to get married outside Church in the secular world, what business is it of me or others to prevent that?

The only real effect religious people have on opposing secular gay marriage, i think (might be very wrong) is that we lose valuable kudos to do things such as evangelize.

Ed (UK)

Rick DeLano said...

Ed, your argument is unclear to me.

Do you mean to suggest that just as long as we surrender our children to homosexual indoctrination in the lie that Moms can be male and Dads can be female, we shall be free to evangelize?

If so, may I say that you are insane.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

"Do you mean to suggest that just as long as we surrender our children to homosexual indoctrination in the lie that Moms can be male and Dads can be female, we shall be free to evangelize?"

- No. I am not saying that.
I am saying that gay adults in the secular world should be allowed to marry in the secular world without the interference of religious people. That's their choice.
Regarding indocrination of children, i don't follow your argument.
The world is full of evil and evil ideas and ideologies. But we don't make the world a better place or protect ourselves more by imposing our beliefs on others. Rather we pray harder, and we try and influence society, positively, through evangelization.
That's my view anyway, i might be wrong.
Ed (UK)



If so, may I say that you are insane.

Anonymous said...

"If so, may I say that you are insane"

- sorry, i copied + pasted that as part of larger quote from yours - meant to have deleted the above.

Ed (UK)

Anonymous said...

Rick,
Ignore my comment. I don't know, i might well be wrong.
Best, Ed (UK)

Rick DeLano said...

Ed, please consider that if the law requires that Moms are not necessarily male, and Dads re not necessarily female, that children will be required to learn and affirm this, as a matter of basic education.

Since these two assertions are a form of mental millines, I would suggest that anyone truly concerned for the welfare of children will fight to prevent such a nightmare fascist world from coming into existence.

Children must be protected against the nightmare world of the gay fascist movement.

enness said...

Nancy,

Not in the literal sense, no, they are not castrati. But the literal sense would be nearly incomprehensible in the context of the passage. I didn't post the entire thing because I figured if you want to fill in the gaps, you know where to find it.

This is from the Wiki on eunuchs:
"Less commonly, in translations of ancient texts, "eunuch" may refer to a man who is not castrated but who is impotent, celibate or otherwise not inclined to marry and procreate."

Now, if you approach that in the same way you approached the passage from Matthew, I expect you to tell me that because the Wiki only specifically refers to men, that Matt. 19 has no application to women! :) I cannot force a point on anyone who insists upon missing it. I do hope that clears things up a bit, though.

enness said...

I would also add, why should you care about the Magisterium? Because they are the legitimate teaching authority of the Catholic Church, that's why (and though I think you are well-intentioned, you need to know that your rebellion is putting you in danger).

I will say that one of the harder things about Christianity is to realize that I am really just as much a sinner as any other man. That's easier said than done. Just because my sins were less visible, or had less sympathetic victims, or whatnot...

Now, here is the glorious thing: that truth does not actually depend upon an individual's character! If it did, we'd all be in very big trouble. Glorious thing also that it exists apart from the trying times in which we find ourselves. This particular teaching is not something that was recently made up by a handful of individuals with clear alterior motives, or I'd say you would have good reason to consider it suspect; and the Church's teachings themselves are the indictment of those who preach but do not practice. Believe that if they somehow manage to escape justice in this world, they will certainly not be able to escape it in the next.

Anonymous said...

Romans chapter 1 verse 26

askthebigot said...

"We need the loving voices of Christians who do not hate their gay brothers and sisters to speak the truth of our faith in love and without fear."

Here's my shot at it:

http://askthebigot.wordpress.com/what-is-the-purpose-of-this-blog/

gentlemind said...

Thank you for a calm, generous article on a subject that often brings out the worst in people. You are right to differentiate between an understanding of the purpose of marriage and a moral evaluation of homosexuality. The one should not impinge on the other. Keep loving with a strong gentle heart, speaking with a strong gentle voice, and thinking with a strong

gentlemind

Akhurnu said...

I don't support gay marriage, but I don't exactly oppose it, either. Marriage today no longer means what it used to mean, what it should mean. Even to a lot of Christians. It seems like most people don't follow the marriage guidelines that God set in order to ensure a loving, sanctified, equal marriage. My husband and I do, and I know that our marriage is blessed by God. God gave us free will. A gay person should have the right to marry whom they choose. It doesn't mean that God will bless or recognize that marriage, though I am not the one who judges that. That is not to say that I don't believe he will bless the person. I don't believe that at all. Unfortunately, though, church and state have separated. If it is through the state, let them marry. I just don't think any church should bless it unless they can somehow prove that God did not intend marriage to be between a man and a woman. But on a further note, I'm really not so sure the church should bless any marriage unless the couple to be married believes in the biblical guidelines of marriage and resolves to make their marriage a covenant, adhering to those biblical guidelines. Therefore, if a man truly believes his future wife should be a doormat, the marriage should not be blessed. If a woman believes that she should be the head of household, again, it should not be blessed, but also if a man does not believe he needs to consult his wife and value her opinion and put her needs above his own ... not blessed. It may make people hate Christians in general even more, but it would help teach God's wishes for marriage and might actually put to rest many of the misconceptions about a "woman's place". God told us to expect persecution and hatred, so I know I have to accept being called a bigot, but when I decided to follow Christ, I laid down my own rights in favor of His will. His will WILL be done. He had ultimate control. We can't expect to not offend people. Let's just remember that, when we are speaking of Christ, that He offended people all the time, and he did not apologize. Every single apostle offended people. That is why they were exiled (like John) or martyred (the rest of them). It is hard though, to be thought of as a bigot. I think my biggest issue with gay marriage is that I'm just not convinced that being gay is really unavoidable, simply because I know of Christians who were once gay and turned from that lifestyle and are happily married to women. I know of others who simply had to have injections of testosterone or estrogen and then ended up swinging the other way, and then another who was raised by gay parents and said it had no influence on her own choices. When she was asked if she was gay, she said, "Yes." It caused an uproar, but she was adamant that their lifestyle did not influence her. I don't agree with that, so the gay lifestyle is quite confusing to me, but then, I am no expert, so what do I really know other than those things I study extensively, like the science and evidence for God.

There are a lot of people, not just some Christians, against gay marriage, though, so it would be nice if the focus wouldn't be just on Christians.

There are many gay people that want the power of the word marriage, and they want the federal protection of a legally recognized civil marriage vs just the state protection of a civil union. This kind of reminds me of what Christ said when he said, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." Let the fight go away from the church and be between homosexuals and the government.

K Cischke said...

To Akhurnu I would say, of course what happens between two persons is just that. What you are missing is the most important part- children. Do we really believe children don't deserve a father and mother? arguments are constantly being made that many children grow up In single parent home, but of course everyone would prefer both sexes be represented. There is an inherent knowledge that is recognized, that growing up in a healthy household with a father and mother is the most healthy approach for a young child's development.

will the homosexual be satisfied with civil union marriages or do they want churches marriages.

K Cischke said...

To Akhurnu I would say, of course what happens between two persons is just that. What you are missing is the most important part- children. Do we really believe children don't deserve a father and mother? arguments are constantly being made that many children grow up In single parent home, but of course everyone would prefer both sexes be represented. There is an inherent knowledge that is recognized, that growing up in a healthy household with a father and mother is the most healthy approach for a young child's development.

will the homosexual be satisfied with civil union marriages or do they want churches marriages.

Ford1968 said...

I agree with you. The language and meaning in this debate is a knotted ball of string.

I've been giving a lot of thought what, exactly, anti-gay bigotry is and what it isn't. Opposing gay marriage is not bigotry per se.

The Church, however, vocally opposes legal recognition of gay relationships as an expression of moral disapproval. That is religion-based intolerance that can rightly be described as bigotry (even if the description is not helpful in the conversation).

Gay couples exist, and the conservative church seeks to withhold the legal protections and financial benefits because those particular covenant relationships meet with the church's disapproval.

To follow your analogy, that's like saying "I want golfers permanently banned from professional sports because they wish to play in the world series."