How Same-Sex Marriage Suffocates Freedom (Part II)

gay-marriage

But the fact that silenced and marginalized church-goers actually constitute a majority only makes the process by which they are denied their full democratic liberties all the more insidious. For those in doubt as to how this process works, California has provided a prime illustration: through a costly and bruising electoral fight, defenders of natural marriage passed a measure (Proposition 8) acknowledging marriage as the union of man and woman—only to have a single unelected federal judge, Vaughan Walker, strike down the voter-approved measure because he, a “now-outed” homosexual, disapproved of the moral and religious impulses of those who championed it! In this fashion, a progressive anti-anti-homosexual elite dramatically diminishes the political liberties of those who wish to affirm an understanding of marriage consistent with reality as affirmed by nature, history, biology, reason, as well as religion. It is this kind of assault on religious liberty that legal scholar Matthew J. Franck has in view when he remarks, “The freedom to participate fully in civic life, to offer oneself to others in civil society, conscientiously on one’s own terms as a religious person professing one’s beliefs, may be jeopardized by this new dispensation.”(11)

It is precisely that liberty-denying process that elite activists are trying to advance through the legal notion of same-sex marriage. For outlaws, enforcement of the law can mean only punishment—usually loss of freedom. That contraction of freedom is exactly what those advocating same-sex marriage seek: they want to lock those who oppose homosexuality into as small a box as possible. Just how terribly small that box can be is illustrated by the case of the fertility specialist in California who in 2001 declined to artificially inseminate a lesbian, though he referred that woman to a colleague who would perform that service for her. When the doctor, who happened to also be a devout Christian, later lost a discrimination suit filed by the offended lesbian woman, he found no relief upon appeal to the California Supreme Court, which found—unanimously—that this doctor’s religious convictions did not afford him even the very, very minimal freedom of declining to perform a medical procedure that violated his convictions!

The same kind of liberty-abridging legal logic worked against the religious convictions of a New Mexico photographer who in 2006 declined to take pictures of a same-sex couple’s “commitment ceremony” because of her religious objections to homosexuality, only to find herself fined $6000 by the state Human Rights Commission for having discriminated against the couple. Predictably enough, this logic now works to constrain the consciences of chaplains in the new gay-friendly military that Obama and his allies have created: credible reports now indicate that military chaplains must embrace the new openly homosexual military, resign from service, or face court-martial for their ‘religious, conscience’ objections.”(12) All these assaults on religious liberty have occurred in jurisdictions without the legal innovation of same-sex marriage. That the enactment of same-sex marriage multiplies such assaults is evident in the way that justices of the peace in Massachusetts have been forced to resign if they decline, on moral or religious grounds, to perform homosexual weddings. Similar legal coercion compelled Catholic Social Services to suspend its handling of adoptions in the Bay State because of its refusal to violate its religious principles by placing children with homosexual couples.

This disturbing pattern of hostility to religious freedom should leave little doubt as to the consequences of broader enactment of homosexual marriage: it can only mean fewer freedoms for men and women of religious conviction. “Both freedom and the desire for freedom,” Nisbet sagely remarks, “are nourished within the realization of spiritual privacy and among privileges of personal decision.”(13) But it is precisely personal decision—in expression and in conduct—which homosexual activists wish to eradicate, whenever such decisions draw inspiration from religious or moral principles at odds with homosexual emancipation. In this context, Franck warns, “We are in danger of telling many millions of our fellow citizens that they may not act as their conscience guides them in exercising the fundamental right of self government.”(14) As the fertility specialist in California, the photographer in New Mexico, the justices of the peace in Massachusetts could all testify, when anti-anti-homosexual principles triumph, Americans asked to engage in acts that would violate their conscience by implying acceptance or endorsement of homosexual acts cannot even respond with that precious shred of self-preserving liberty that Herman Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener claims with the simple words, “I prefer not to.”(15)

Individual freedom seemed to be uppermost in the minds of the High Court justices who struck down Texas’s anti-sodomy law. In justifying their decision, Anthony Kennedy invoked a concern for “the liberty of all,” and then elaborated in elevated language: “Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions.”(16) But Americans may increasingly wonder why this spatial and transcendent liberty and autonomy of self do not extend to those Americans who want to distance themselves from homosexual acts, to stand apart, as it were, from those who engage in such acts. Why is that autonomy of self, that transcendent dimension of liberty, not protected by law or court proceedings?

Dubious Claims of Homosexual Activists
Make no mistake: homosexual activists do, in fact, know that advancing their agenda means reducing the liberty of Americans. They hide that reality behind rhetoric of freedom, just as they hide their exclusion of religious Americans from the public square behind rhetoric of inclusion, and their extirpation of every deviation from the approved attitude toward homosexuality behind the rhetoric of diversity. But at bottom, these activists know that they are denying their fellow Americans a sizable measure of freedom. They justify this denial in two ways, both dubious.

First, advocates of gay rights—including the right to marry—manifest a surprising eagerness to believe a “genetic basis of homosexuality,”(17) despite clear scientific refutation of the very notion of “a gay gene.”(18) Apparently, homosexual activists follow this line of logic: since genes have made homosexuals “what they are,” they are not free to be otherwise. Since homosexuals are not free to be otherwise, the government is justified in denying liberty of those who would discriminate against them. This surrender to genetic determinism is stunning, especially coming from a segment of the political spectrum known for its resistance to genetic determinism in other contexts, such as those involving questions of racial or gender characteristics.(19) Apparently, homosexual activists do not want anyone to notice that all the arguments that their political allies have made against the decidedly illiberal and dehumanizing logic of genetic determinism in other contexts tell against their reliance upon genetic determinism in advocating restrictions on the liberty of those who would criticize homosexual conduct.

The second justification for restricting the freedoms of those who oppose homosexuality is that of asserting that this freedom has no content except that of hatred and bigotry, or that this freedom amounts to nothing but the equivalent of racism. So those who deny this freedom are not denying a freedom that has any real substance anyway. This line of justification will not bear scrutiny. In the first place, surveys reveal that, as a group, African Americans—who should be the very first to recognize a fundamental kinship between racial bias and resistance to homosexuality—are actually more resistant to homosexuality than are whites,(20) while polling data indicate that African Americans support measures such as California’s Proposition 8 significantly more than whites.(21)

But further weaknesses emerge in the argument that opposition to homosexuality amounts to nothing but bigotry and hatred and that therefore denying Americans the freedom to oppose homosexuality does not constitute a serious infringement of their liberty. The long list of those who have expressed opposition to homosexuality has included some intelligent and gifted individuals. With his brilliant poetic masterpiece The Divine Comedy culminating in a vision of “the Love that moves the Sun and the other stars” (33. 146, Ciardi translation), Dante seems like something other than a hate-filled bigot. Yet he opposed homosexuality, placing homosexuals in the Seventh Circle of the Hell he depicts in his Inferno. As one of the architects of quantum physics, Edwin Schrödinger would seem to be more than a dull conformist. Yet he lamented the increasing ubiquity of homosexuality in higher education.(22) As a brilliant opponent of “all the smelly little orthodoxies” of the twentieth century, George Orwell would not normally be classed as an unthinking exponent of bias. Yet he opposed homosexuality, and as a twenty-first-century critic has remarked, “Orwell’s anti-homosexual position (definitely not ‘homophobia,’ which would suggest irrational fear) flowed naturally from beliefs and values about which he was quite forthcoming.”(23)

Surprisingly, even the homosexual poet W. H. Auden—famous both for his insistent honesty and his astonishing prosodic talents—said some very negative things about homosexuality. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s wrong to be queer,” Auden said. “In the first place, all homosexual acts are acts of envy. In the second, the more you’re involved with someone, the more trouble arises, and affection shouldn’t result in that. It shows something’s wrong somewhere.”(24) And then there is Stephen Spender, another great twentieth-century British poet who was homosexual as a young man, but who, after renouncing homosexuality went on to marry two women (not at the same time!). Spender said, “I find the actual sex act with women more satisfactory [than the sex act with men] … To me it is much more of an experience.”(25)

Opposition to homosexuality took a more intriguing form in the life of the great German novelist Thomas Mann, who felt the pull of homoerotic impulses (as any reader of Death in Venice will recognize). For religious reasons, Mann chose not to act on those impulses and to live a life of abstinence. As Mann’s biographer explains, for Mann, “Homosexual courtship … is from the Devil,” while “His chastity is love for the purity of God.”(26)

When Law and Morality Collide
Americans have every reason to ask what is left of an intellectual freedom that does not include the freedom to examine and to affirm the views expressed by great poets and novelists. They may also wonder about the authenticity of an intellectual freedom that does not allow full and frank discussion of research limning a troubling pattern of co-morbidity linking homosexuality to a wide array of both psychological(27) and physical illnesses.(28) Nor would a genuine intellectual freedom prohibit candid public discussion of the remarkable promiscuity that researchers have documented within the homosexual population.(29)

Of course, for most Americans opposed to homosexuality, the freedom that matters most is not the freedom to endorse the views of Dante or Auden, Orwell or Mann. Nor is it the freedom to probe the latest research in homosexual epidemiology or sexual conduct. The freedom that matters most—and the freedom most imperiled by the legal definition of a homosexual liaison as a marriage—is the freedom to affirm a religiously grounded sexual morality. Religiously committed Americans regard this as a very important freedom indeed. As Franck has explained, “For the religious person who holds a traditional view of sexual morality, the holding of that view is not accidentally related to his religious faith. It is inseparable from it.”(30)

Consequently, it can only gall these Americans when homosexual activists use the law—particularly in the radical redefinition of the marital law—to deny them the freedom to express and to act on their convictions about sexual ethics. No doubt, homosexual activists expect everyone to accept the legal redefinition of marriage they are promoting. But they forget how many Americans recognize a divine law transcending and standing above merely human law. As Aquinas observed, “Human laws are either just or unjust. If they are just, they have the power to bind our conscience because of the eternal law from which they are derived.” But, quoting Augustine’s assertion that “an unjust law does not seem to be a law at all,” Aquinas reasons that unjust laws “do not bind the conscience.” In fact, Aquinas goes so far as to assert that if laws are unjust because they are “opposed to the divine good,” then “such laws must never be observed, because ‘one must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29).”(31)

Even Americans who do not draw their legal philosophy from Aquinas should recognize that when the law sets itself in opposition to the moral convictions held by a great many citizens, it puts those citizens in a difficult and painful circumstance. That circumstance is well described by legal theorist Frederick Bastiat: “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.”(32) Disrespect for the law may become particularly intense among parents who see the law using tax revenues to pay for “gay-friendly curricular materials” in public schools increasingly hostile to the sexual ethics they want to instill in their children.(33)

Since survey sociologists have recently established that America’s religiously devout citizens are the nation’s most generous, selfless, honest, civic-minded, and community-spirited,(34) the nation’s cultural and legal elite may want to pause before using homosexual marriage as a legal weapon for limiting the religious freedoms of those citizens. Do they really want to undermine respect for the law among tens of millions of Americans? Do they really want to imbue in Americans who are, by nature, selfless, civic-minded and community-spirited a new feeling of alienation from and resentment toward their government?

Of course, millions of Americans who oppose homosexual acts for religious reasons will not want to simply wait while the elite decide what restrictions to impose on their liberties. They will want to vigorously protest every incursion upon those liberties, and they will want to lend their full support to lawmakers sympathetic to their concerns. Americans with a mature religious faith will understand the need to avoid hateful or spiteful references toward homosexuals. They will indeed recognize that their witness for truth will be most effective when it is expressed with empathy and compassion, including especially a merciful compassion for those who are suffering from AIDS or other diseases often found among homosexuals. But devout Americans can express genuine love for homosexuals without accepting or endorsing their sexual behavior. An authentic faith indeed requires both firm opposition to homosexual acts and unfailing love for those who commit such acts.(35)

Americans motivated by religious faith will be zealous to protect the liberty to express and to act on that faith. That will mean vigorously opposing same-sex marriage whenever possible. Where such opposition appears—at least in the short run—futile (as in Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, and Washington, D.C.), perhaps it is time for sympathetic law-makers to start enacting “conscience clause” protections—comparable to those that protect medical professionals from being compelled to perform abortions—for justices of the peace, fertility doctors, wedding caterers and photographers, and others who will find themselves forced to choose between their careers and their convictions. If they cannot prevent the enactment (often by judicial fiat) of same-sex marriage laws, lawmakers should at least be able to give an opt-out to citizens who object to homosexuality for religious reasons. Bartleby would understand.

This article first appeared in the Spring 2011 issue of The Family in America and is reprinted with permission of the author. The first part of this essay appeared in Crisis Tuesday, January 1.


Notes
11. Matthew J. Franck, “Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage,” First Things (May 2011), p. 51.

12. “Army: Court-Martial Chaplains for ‘Religious, Conscience’ Objection to Homosexuality,” Catholic Citizens of Illinois, March 24, 2011, http://catholiccitizens.org/press/pressview.asp?c=52791.

13. Nisbet, The Quest for Community, p. 220.

14. Francky, “Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage,” p. 50.

15. Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853), American Literature: The Makers and the Making,ed. Cleanth Brooks, R. W. B. Lewis, and Robert Penn Warren (New York: St. Martin’s, 1973), 1:842–59.

16. Anthony Kennedy, with John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer, John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner v. Texas.

17. Cahn and Carbone, Red Families v. Blue Families, pp. 65 and 226, 22n.

18. Cf. Ian Stewart, The Mathematics of Life (New York: Basic, 2011), pp. 118–19.

19. Cf. Leonard A. Cole, review of Not in Our Genes: Biology, Ideology and Human Nature by R. C. Lewontin, Leon J. Kamin, and Steven Rose, Politics and the Life Sciences 4.2 (1986): 200–201.

20. Cf. Gregory B. Lewis, “Black-White Differences in Attitudes toward Homosexuality and Gay Rights,” The Public Opinion Quarterly 67.1 (2003): 59–78.

21. Cf. Patrick J. Egan and Kenneth Sherrill, “California’s Proposition 8 and America’s Racial and Ethnic Divides on Same‐Sex Marriage.” Working Paper, January 2010, http://as.nyu.edu/docs/IO/4819/marriagedivides.pdf.

22. Cf. Jim Baggott, The Quantum Story: A History in 40 Moments (New York: Oxford, 2011), p. 150.

23. David Ramsay Steele, “My Orwell Right or Wrong,” review of Why Orwell Matters, by Christopher Hitchens, Libertarian Alliance, 2003, http://www.la-articles.org.uk/orwell.pdf.

24. Arthur Kirsch, Auden and Christianity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), pp. 172–73.

25. John Sutherland, Stephen Spender: A Literary Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 168.

26. Hermann Kurzke, Thomas Mann: Life as a Work of Art. A Biography (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), pp. 412–14, 486.

27. Theo G. M. Sandfort et al., “Same-Sex Sexual Behavior and Psychiatric Disorders,” Archives of General Psychiatry 58 (2001): 85-91; Michael King et al., “A Systematic Review of Mental Disorder, Suicide, and Deliberate Self-Harm in Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people,” BMC Psychiatry 8 (August 18, 2008): 70.

28. Compared to men who do not, men who have sex with men are more than 46 times more likely to contract syphilis, and more than 44 times more likely to contract HIV. “Gay Men Still More Likely to Contract HIV,” BC Medical Journal 52.4 (May 2010): web.

29. M. A. Bellis et al., “Re-Emerging Syphilis in Gay Men: A Case-Control Study of Behavioural Risk Factors and HIV Status,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 56.3 (2002): 235–36.

30. Franck, “Religion, Reason, and Same-Sex Marriage.”

31. Thomas Aquinas, “Aquinas on Law,” Medieval Source Book, ed. Paul Halsall. Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies, 2006. Web.

32. Frederick Bastiat, The Law (1850; rpt. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2006), p. 11.

33. Cf. Charles J. Russo, “Same-Sex Marriage and Public School Curricula,” What’s the Harm? Does Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Really Harm Individuals, Families, or Society? ed. Lynn D. Wardle (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2008), pp. 355–73.

34. Cf. Robert D. Putnam and David E. Campbell, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2010).

35. Cf. Ron Sider, “Bearing Better Witness,” First Things (December 2010), pp. 47–50.

Bryce J. Christensen

By

Bryce J. Christensen teaches composition and literature at Southern Utah University. He is the author of Divided We Fall: Family Discord and the Fracturing of America (2005) and Utopia Against the Family (1990). He earned his doctorate in English literature at Marquette University in 1984.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

    It is enough to be informed about the mechanics of homosexual sex and about its various “extensions” (S&M, group orgies, fisting, sex slavery, etc., etc.) to see its utter depravity. Normalizing the abnormal in the name of equality and inclusiveness is dangerously moronic.

    • Ray Olson

      Jambe-Everything you call ‘”extensions”‘ of homosexuality–”S&M, group orgies, fisting, sex slavery, etc., etc.”–is practiced by heterosexuals, too, and much more frequently than it is practiced by homosexuals, probably merely because heterosexuals outnumber homosexuals 97-to-3. Perhaps you should just say that human sexuality is depraved. Also, you and others who invoke normality should discriminate (I believe in discrimination, you see!) between what is normal and what is normative, between what is most common and what is most prudent and just.

      • Kevin McCormick

        Ray–I will admit to being unaware of what the percentages are, but you must at least acknowledge that it is a bit strange for the homosexual community to put these activities on display publicly in their annual “sexual freedom” rallies in San Francisco and elsewhere and then expect the rest of the world not to assume that this is the norm. One would have to conclude that the homosexual community is accepting of such activities and guess that the percentage of those that participate in them are vastly higher than the non-homosexual population.

        • Ray Olson

          Kevin–I’m not up on the percentages in re the sexual behaviors Jambe mentions, either. Nor do I know whether there’s any reason to believe that a higher proportion of gays than of straights indulges in those behaviors. I grant you that, judging from the most spectacular contingents of what you call ‘”sexual freedom” rallies’ but which I think are more often called gay pride parades, anyone might be tempted to presume that gays are utter libertines. Since I’ve known several gay couples of two and three decades’ duration, I have plenty of evidence that argues the reverse and, indeed, further argues that gay marriages may be as ordinary, happy, and responsible as those of heterosexuals. I remain to be persuaded that homosexuality per se is anything more than offensive to the superficial (as opposed to the considered) sensibilities of people who would be as offended by the same kinds of sexual behavior if (I should say “when”) they are flaunted by heterosexuals. Outraged propriety doesn’t strike me as a sound basis for public policy; that is, the fact that someone is offended by homosexuality is no justification for denying legal privileges (hospital visitation, inheritance, common property, tax breaks, etc.) to homosexual couples who abide by the same rules heterosexual couples are expected to observe. I await more compelling arguments against gay rights and homosexuality than have been made in my lifetime (I turn 65 this year). I think the only such that could persuade me will be philosophical–indeed, metaphysical.

          • Chris Landreneau

            Ray. Arguing with Church teaching on active homosexual behavior is arguing with Jesus. No matter how presentable a same sex couple appears or the longevity of their relationship, they are still living in a sinful relationship. Sin is sin, we can philosophize, justify, rationalize all we want, it still remains the fact that God has defined such behavior as grave sin.
            “Why else would Paul call homosexual intercourse “against nature”?(Rom. 1:26-27)….I observed to a homosexual activist with whom I was debating that our bodies have a language of their own, that we say things to each other by what we do with them. What does it mean then , I asked, when a man puts the part of himself which represents the generation of life into the cavity of decay and expulsion? Seeing the answer all too well, he refused to reply. Permit me to spell it out. It means “Life, be swallowed up by death.” “The Revenge of Conscience” J. Budziszewski, p.140

            • thebentangle

              Chris, arguing with Church teaching is arguing with Jesus? My word! That is quite a statement, and it reveals more than a little hubris. I suppose many other Christian denominations would like to make that claim, too, but most exercise restraint, probably out of fear of sounding megalomanaical. You’d have to go to the far end of the evangelical spectrum to find such delusions of grandeur. “Argue with me and you argue with God Himself,” says Thomas à Becket to Henry II, and I suppose you would say it is Henry II who is now roasting in hell.

              I’m not at all convinced that Jesus would want the Church speaking for him, especially when it “supplements” his teachings with its own. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality. He was much too busy healing the sick, feeding the hungry, and clothing the naked to obsess about what other men did with their sexual organs.

              • MarkRutledge

                Yes, bentangle, many Catholics actually believe what the Catholic Church teaches. Call it hubris all you want, but there is a worse term for those who claim to be something they aren’t. Christ had a bit to say about them as well.

                • thebentangle

                  What was that, Mark? Hypocrites?

                  • MarkRutledge

                    The term I would use is “fraud.” At least a hypocrite believes in what he doesn’t live up to. As to Our Lord, he had a few things to say about the lukewarm; woe to them.

                    • thebentangle

                      Mark, we needn’t worry. No one here is lukewarm.

              • catholicmom

                thebentangle: In Matthew 16: 15-19, Jesus installs Peter as a chief steward or prime minister under the King of Kings by giving him the keys to the kingdom and giving him the power to “bind” and “loose.”

                Catholic Answers gives a more detailed explanation regarding the significance of the keys to the kingdom, writing:

                “As can be seen in Isaiah 22:22, kings in the Old Testament appointed a chief steward to serve under them in a position of great authority to rule over the inhabitants of the kingdom. Jesus quotes almost verbatum from this passage in Isaiah, and so it is clear what he has in mind. He is raising Peter up as a father figure to the household of faith (Is. 22:21), to lead them and guide the flock (John 21:15-17). This authority of the prime minister under the king was passed on from one man to another down through the ages by the giving of the keys, which were worn on the shoulder as a sign of authority. Likewise, the authority of Peter has been passed down for 2000 years by means of the papacy.” http://www.catholic.com/tracts/peter-the-rock

                It is clear from Christ’s own words in the Bible that Peter was given the power of Christ—by Christ himself—in his absence. Thus, arguing with the Church (with the Vicar of Christ at its head) is arguing with Jesus, despite the continued protestations of those who are not in communion with Rome.

                • thebentangle

                  Catholicmom, what do you think will be the fate of those who choose to argue with Jesus, aka, the Church? If they do not repent, will they receive a lesser reward in heaven, or will they just go to Purgatory or Hell? So, since I have been arguing with the Church, and I am unrepentant, am I to assume I am going to be punished in some way? Can you be specific?

                  And those “liberal Catholics” over there at The National Catholic Reporter—will they also be punished for criticizing the Magisterium? What about the Nuns on a Bus? Straight to Hell, or do you think Jesus might forgive them at the Day of Judgment?

                  Anyway, I always thought the Church was the “Bride of Christ,” not Christ himself. Please help me here.

                  • catholicmom

                    thebentangle, I am not in a position to judge the eternal fate of any person who is unrepentantly protesting the Church. I do believe it is my job, however, to defend the Church and promote Her true teachings.

                    Now, more specifically to the point: Although it is not my power to judge, I must assume that when a person knowingly rejects God’s truth (and the teaching of the Catholic Church as the fullness of faith) there is some risk there. After all, not only did Christ give Peter the keys to the kingdom, he also gave the Apostles (and their successors) the power to “bind” and “loose.” According to the Catechism, those words have very specific meaning:

                    “The words bind and loose mean: Whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.” (CCC 1445)

                    More information on binding and loosing is here: http://www.catholic.com/quickquestions/what-do-the-words-bind-and-loose-mean-in-matthew-1619

                    As far as your reference to the “Bride of Christ,” I can only relate to my own experience in home life. My husband and I both have authority in our home, but it is no secret that the ultimate authority (and responsibility) rests with him in our relationship. He travels with some regularity, and when he is away, I carry all of his authority (and responsibility—including taking out the trash!). I am his “bride,” but that does not mean that our home is lawless while he is away. There are still consequences for children getting out of line—and I’m the one who decides the rightness, wrongness, and punishment (I “bind and loose”). I assume the Church exercises the full authority of Christ in his absence in the same way that I exercise my husband’s full authority in his absence.

                    • thebentangle

                      Catholicmom: What you write fits the all-too-familiar pattern of “It’s not for me to judge, but … “ (followed by judgment). I always know the judge is coming when I read those words.

                      So, if I knowingly reject God’s truth, which equals the Church’s truth, then you say “there is some risk there.”

                      Risk of what? Being excluded from communion with God? Is that a bad thing? Should I worry about that? And what does that mean in the long run, say a million years from now? Does the scenario play out into the future, or does it just end with God’s displeasure? What ARE the negatives, other than being “excluded?”

                    • misplacedbook

                      What is it you want to hear, Mr. Angle? That you’re going to suffer dreadful torments and burn with an unquenchable fire? Is that what you want to hear? If you knew what the Church teaches, you would know that presuming to know the salvation of anyone is considered sinful. Throwing catholicmom’s charity back in her face and being passive-aggressive does not elevate your argument. The Church teaches about the actions that will lead a person to Hell, and warns against those actions. Whether an individual actually went to Hell after death, that is not for any of us to say….not even the Pope himself. We can all hope for mercy for anyone, even a convicted murderer or a morally depraved individual of any stripe. Just because somebody (or bodies) who claimed they were Catholic acted in an uncharitable way to you, or was unkind doesn’t mean we all are. Nor does it invalidate Church teaching. Just because there are some homosexuals who relish being sexually “in your face” because they want to stick it to “homophobes” doesn’t mean that all homosexuals are act the same. Generalizing in that way doesn’t further the dialogue. I think that the general argument of this article is very valid, and I noticed that you didn’t really address it. There are more than a few (certainly not all) within Homosexual activist circles who view Catholic teaching on the same level as Racial bigotry, and as such think it should be scorned and shunned. In other words, Catholic should be booed and jeered off the public stage and marginalized into oblivion in the public discourse, because we are “hateful bigots.” I want to believe that co-existence is possible and that we can all still be neighbors. I happen to personally think that getting the government completely out of marriage is the only thing that will allow us to go forward.

                      So I ask: Do you think that believing Catholics should be scorned from the table?

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                      Still no answer to this one, Bentangle…

                    • thebentangle

                      Misplacedbook: Catholicmom’s comments to me have hardly been “charitable.” Their tone has been scolding, self-righteous, judgmental, and highly presumptuous. I’m not even a Catholic, but she tells me in her first paragraph that “protesting the Church” is a sin for which repentance is necessary. (Judgment) Protesting is tantamount to “knowingly rejecting God’s truth,” she says, and “there is some risk there” (the veiled threat of eternal damnation). Only through HER church can I be reconciled to God. (arrogance, self-righteousness)

                      Do you have any idea how any of this sounds to a non-Catholic? Imagine a Jehovah’s Witness talking to you in this way.

                      I never “generalize” about Catholics, because I know the Church is in schism and I support those who want reform. However, I have observed rampant generalizing about homosexuals on this site. Just below you will read a comment from “Tony,” who begins a sentence with, “Every single homosexual man in this country…” and in a more recent comment writes, “NO male homosexuals are ‘faithful’ to their partners, period.” If you believe that generalizations impede understanding, why don’t you speak to Tony in this thread? Respond to him. Tell him what you think about generalizations. And then you can also work with “Jambe” and “Kevin” and “Mark,” and some of the others. There’s work to do.

                    • misplacedbook

                      I denounce in the strongest terms belligerent language towards anyone or hasty generalizations. I have no doubt that they are reading our exchange if they have continued to remain on this thread, so this opening paragraph is for them as well.
                      Comment box comments should not be used as wholly representative of anything other than the individual posting, as a person could get a very low view of humanity in general by looking at the comment boxes of say youtube or yahoo.
                      The Catholic Church teaches that it is the Church that was founded by Christ, and as a result is in possession of the Truth. Any truth another religion or ecclesial community possesses is a shard of that inherent Truth which exists fully in the Church. That is what we believe….just as Islam views itself as the one true faith, etc….why are you surprised by this? catholicmom’s points are correct in the context of Church teaching, that opposition to the Truth is a sin. There was no threat of Hellfire, just the simple statement that it is dangerous to take your soul into your own hands. Your eternal destination (as is mine) is a question mark. This is a Catholic website, and we use Catholic jargon and concepts with each other….including all of the unspoken nuances and “yeah, if conditions A, B, and C…” are met. When we talk about Mortal Sin, implicit in that discussion is that the participants understand what constitutes a Mortal Sin. Of course to an outsider all of this insider talk may seem strange or “judgemental” or whatever. You admittedly come to this website to “put a spur” under us, to “challenge us”….well, I would ask that you at least try to understand what we are talking about.
                      I know what a Jehovah’s Witness would say, because I have done bible studies with them. I have not lived in a Catholic echo chamber, and have interacted with many people of all walks of life.
                      Your problem is with Church teaching, and no amount of pleasantries and nicey nice will change the idea that we are hateful bigots for espousing it. The idiotic comments directed at you, aside….the very core of Catholic teaching and doctrine is hateful to you.
                      I don’t know what to tell you….
                      What could I say that would change anything? We aren’t going to reject the Truths that we believe just to make you or anyone else feel better. There are a few dissenters, but that hardly constitutes a schism. You can dialogue with them all you like, but they are on the fringe. Even they will angrily acknowledge this, the back to back pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI ensured their permanent marginalization. I personally don’t see it as cause for gloating, but a cause for sadness and prayer.
                      Nothing that I or anyone else can say or do will shake the perception that the Catholic Church is a “medieval institution”
                      We are not going to change.
                      Neither will you.
                      How to go forward?

                    • dgravers

                      The Church DOES change and HAS changed, albeit SLOWLY.

                      Those interested in meaningful dissent exist (try VOTF.org … btw, they have a contest going now for Superbowl Sunday!) … and meaningful deliberative dissent WILL bring about change, as it has in the past.

                      Traditional, conservative Catholic thought and belief practice is not without its due or merit, it is a fundamental, important core and teaches much. But it is not all: tradition informs, it does not dictate. We are no longer slave holders, we no longer believe women need to be “churched” after the birth of a baby, and we do believe men and women are equal before G_d.

                      The history of the church is _fraught_ with dissent, dispute, and tangled lines of authority, starting with the history of the papacy itself. It is as imperfect an institution as ever was (and taking on the forms of ancient roman government was NOT a good idea, but it was the easiest one at hand), quite a strange bride to be “married” to such a perfect man.

                      The great bell curve of change marches forward, and both fringes, right and left, serve that great middle, to inform and question, all vital.

                    • thebentangle

                      Wow! This is such a contrast to everything else I’ve been reading on this thread. I feel like all the doors and windows were just thrown open and the room was filled with fresh air! Thank you, Voice of the Faithful! I am now following your Web site. Who knows, maybe you’ll even have a new convert on your hands. ;-)

                      You see, guys, you don’t attract flies with vinegar. Read and learn from this wo/man.

                    • misplacedbook

                      Voice of the Faithful is an example of an organization founded for good, having gone wrong. Their agenda goes beyond mere help for clergy abuse victims. Again, on the fringes. And, as I stated before….you find Church teaching itself to be hateful, so the only way a Catholic can appeal to your sensibilities is to cease practicing and embrace a mealy mouthed, cultural Catholicism with a few rituals and no teeth.
                      Is that a meaningful way to practice any faith?

                    • thebentangle

                      Misplacedbook, I’m not so sure who is really on the “fringes.” It turns out that 98% of Catholic women have used contraception, and there are also, from my point of view, some very encouraging figures about American and European Catholic attitudes regarding same-sex marriage.

                      You say that I find “Church teachings to be hateful,” but you are again assuming that you speak for the Church. Maybe you don’t. Maybe DGravers does. If so, then I do not find Church teachings to be hateful at all.

                    • misplacedbook

                      Ah the Guttmacher Institute poll….now assuming you don’t think that they are full of it (being connected to Planned Parenthood and all) and the statistic is bogus, the operative term is HAVE USED. As in, past tense. I’ve used contraception in the past myself, but guess what…didn’t make it right then, and it still is wrong. You seem to be under this mistaken impression that Truth is determined by a majority vote. It’s not.

                      If you want to know what the Church teaches, read the Catechism. THAT is Church teaching, distilled quite nicely and in a readable format. Dgravers doesn’t “speak for the Church”…..neither do I. I am defending what is in the Catechism and that is where you need to look.

                    • misplacedbook

                      The Church does indeed, change….but not in the way that you are envisioning, and certainly not in the way that Voice of the Faithful wants when it comes to Church governance. I’m quite familiar with them, and while much of their mission statement is reasonable enough, I find their talk about “structural change” to be suspicious, and on closer examination realized that their aims are more in line of the National Catholic Reporter than the dynamic orthodoxy (hat tip to John Allen) that is taking shape now.

                      For the record, I am no cranky traditionalist….I support the Ordinary Form and think Pope Paul VI was a good and holy man. Vatican II was fantastic….properly interpreted. Informing and questioning are fine, but remember that Church authority is not subject to debate….the Magisterium is the final arbiter of what is and isn’t Church teaching. You may deride the Papal model, but it isn’t going away and the Pope’s authority still stands.

                    • thebentangle

                      Misplacedbook, you will probably not welcome my intrusion into your conversation with Dgravers, but here it is anyway. (And Dgravers will probably be too kind, so I will temper his/her kindness)

                      “Orthodoxy” seems to be taking on the faint “odeur” of an over-ripe Brie even among the orthodox. But you continue to eat the cheese anyway.

                      Attaching adjectives like “dynamic” to “orthodoxy” does not make it dynamic. “Dynamic” is defined as “characterized by constant change, activity, or progress.”

                      The Catholic Magisterium is in no conceivable way “dynamic,” unless the word has lost all its meaning since I looked it up a few minutes ago. The Magisterium is notoriously resistant to change and progress, and in fact shows very few vital signs.

                      You are no “cranky traditionalist,” you say, but again you reveal some “mauvaise foi”–bad faith–when you praise Vatican II while proceeding to refute everything that it promulgated. You can’t have it both ways. You are either a traditionalist or you are not, and I have seen for myself that you are cranky.

                      “Church authority is not subject to debate?” Well, Voice of the Faithful happens to think that it is. And who is the Church, after all, but its people? The Church is slowly discovering this fact as it looks at its balance sheet.

                      “The Pope’s authority still stands?” No, it doesn’t. His moral authority has been squandered on the child sex abuse scandals, of which he had full knowledge, and on the reassignment of pedophile priests, which he oversaw. The Pope doesn’t have enough authority to bring 60 million U.S. Catholics into line or to enforce his edicts concerning contraception or same-sex marriage.

                      I think Dgravers has more moral authority than the Magisterium.

                    • misplacedbook

                      I suppose we should begin by my asking what you mean when you say that I reject everything that Vatican II promulgated. Have you studied the council? Are you familiar with Blessed John XXIII as a man and as a Pontiff? He certainly was open and kind….but he also remained steadfast to the Truth. Self styled “progressives” wish to claim him as one of their own, but a read of his autobiography Journal of a Soul will show otherwise….he never would have condoned what the National Catholic Reporter are peddling.

                      All practicing Catholics are traditionalists in the general sense. Tradition is one of the pillars of who we are. I suppose to someone who is opposed to Church teaching, a vigorous defense of it would seem “cranky”…..so be it. My statement was in reference to a particular wing of our Church.

                      Voice of the Faithful says a lot of things…..as does womenpriests and a whole host of other heterodox and dissenting organizations and people….that does not make it true, anymore than claiming the Moon Landing didn’t happen. The laity are a huge part of the Church, but they are not only part…we all have a part to play in the Church. The laity has its role, and the hierarchy has theirs.

                      The Pope doesn’t have moral authority? Says who? You? Sorry, no dice. The Pope’s authority doesn’t depend on the popular vote, he is still the successor of St. Peter. Just because a lot of people ignore Church teaching doesn’t change that. Opinion Polls are not a measure of truth. Most Americans thought black people were subhuman 200 years ago….did that make it true? Of course not. Truth exists in a different category.

                      I saw in another post that you are an Atheist….since you deny the very idea of a transcendent and eternal God, Any argument I make is just more metaphysical nonsense and philosophical meanderings…..the musings of medieval and ancient hierarchs who have no relevance in our current age….superstition and totalitarian control….depending on an imaginary being. Did I leave anything out?
                      As I said before, We have two fundamentally different and irreconciliable views on the universe and life in general. You’re right, I don’t tiptoe around things. It has come to this…..where do we go from here?
                      I would like to think that being neighborly is still possible….but we are not going to accept homosexual behavior….we just aren’t. That doesn’t mean we hate people or wish them ill, but we think that homosexual behavior is a violation of God’s intention for mankind as far as sexual matters go. The other side thinks that we are superstitious, ignorant fanatics. Now…can we be cordial and co-exist with our differences, or not…..that is the real question. an uncomfortable one, but vital one.

                    • misplacedbook

                      And the Pope did not “oversee” the transfer of priest abusers….that happens on the Diocesan level. You can certainly criticize the response of Rome to the crisis (and the various Archdioceses), and you can even rightly condemn those responsible, but please familiarize yourself with how the Roman Curia works, and our system in general before you make statements like that. Your posting betrays an ignorance of how the Church bureaucracy (and yes it is a bureaucracy) works.

                    • thebentangle

                      Misplacedbook, much of my information is from The New York Times, which I’m sure you will now tell me is not to be trusted.

                      You know as well as I do that Ratzinger was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for 24 years. All cases of grave sexual offences by clerics had to be reported to his office, under strictest secrecy, and his office was exclusively responsible for dealing with them. In a letter on “grave sexual crimes” addressed to all the bishops in 2001, Ratzinger warned the bishops, under threat of ecclesiastical punishment, to observe “papal secrecy” in such cases.

                      Here’s an excerpt from a NYT article published on March 25, 2010:

                      “Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope and archbishop in Munich at the time, was copied on a memo that informed him that a priest, whom he had approved sending to therapy in 1980 to overcome pedophilia, would be returned to pastoral work within days of beginning psychiatric treatment. The priest was later convicted of molesting boys in another parish.”

                      “An initial statement on the matter issued earlier this month by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising placed full responsibility for the decision to allow the priest to resume his duties on Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber. But the memo, whose existence was confirmed by two church officials, shows that the future pope not only led a meeting on Jan. 15, 1980, approving the transfer of the priest, but was also kept informed about the priest’s reassignment.”

                      This is just a small sample of the evidence pointing to Ratzinger’s role in the transfers and the cover-ups.

                      This is the third time that I’ve been told, in this thread, that I my claims about Catholicism are false and that I am only showing my ignorance. And each time, my claim has been correct. Which one of you told me Purgatory was not a place of punishment? I am beginning to think I may know more about Catholicism than any of you.

                      One thing is clear to me: The Church is constantly engaged in campaigns of disinformation and historical revisionism, and her efforts have been largely successful among Orthodox Catholics, who appear to believe only what the Church tells them to believe.

                    • misplacedbook

                      The New York Times is a mixed bag….I say take what they or anyone else has to say with a grain of salt.

                      The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith was not placed in charge of such matters until 2001, before that it was solely on the Diocesan level, with it sometimes being kicked up stairs with bad cases. Even then, where it ended up depended….it could go to the CDF, OR it could have been sent to the Congregation of the Clergy, Congregation of the Religious, or sometimes to the Religious superiors (in the case of religious orders like the Jesuits) themselves. Not a very unified or effective response, is it? But that hardly implicates the Pope in some conspiracy.

                      As for the letter, you mean this letter? :
                      http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20010518_epistula-graviora-delicta_en.html

                      Have you read the whole thing? I have…..abit wordy, but worth it. That is the thing about context….it can be inconvenient. The letter only addressed the abuse of minors in a few sentences. The main thrust of the letter is addressing grave matters such as violations of the seal of Confession and the Eucharist and things of that nature. The secrecy it speaks of, is no different than a closed door Grand Jury or an internal investigation by any other civil organization or court. There is this thing called “due process” and guess what? We have it in Church Law too. As the Church’s detractors are so fond of pointing out, we have no authority, right? So there is nothing stopping anyone from going to the civil authorities. Again, context is everything.
                      http://www.canonlaw.info/

                      Here is a website if you are interested.

                      As for the NYT article, I read that one too. Nothing but insinuation and accusations. I also believe in innocent until proven guilty. No smoking gun here, but of course if it is in your interest to denigrate the Church, than of course one would be inclined to believe the worst about the Pope or the hierarchy in general. In my mind it is no different than the absurd accusations that are leveled against President Obama, done on flimsy “evidence” and innuendo.

                      You are also perhaps referring to the Murphy Case….another NYT “bombshell.” An article that prompted this rebuke from Michael Sean Winters….a writer for the National Catholic Reporter and a man who could not be accused of being conservative or “right wing.”
                      http://americamagazine.org/node/126125

                      You imply you have more….please, continue. Let’s get it out in the open. You have concerns, I will address them to the best of my ability.

                      You say your claims are “correct” but I have offered a rebuttal and response to each one. You chide someone for saying Purgatory is not punishment, but Purgatory is also called a purification. Being purified is not the same as Hell now is it? “Temporal Punishment” is the term the Catholic Encyclopedia uses. Terms can be muddied in conversation….

                    • misplacedbook

                      And another poster addressed that very ably.

                      Disinformation and revisionism? So the Church is a liar, now?

                      And us Catholics are just dupes who believe whatever we are told?

                      angle, lets just drop all pretenses.

                      What are your intentions? Contrary to what you said before, you are not here to “learn about us.” You presume to lecture us, and denigrate the Church repeatedly. I want to assume good intentions, but posts attacking the Church as you have done make that difficult. Is it to get an attaboy on your own website or elsewhere for “showing us Catholics” how bigoted and stupid we are? What gives?

                    • thebentangle

                      Thank you, Misplacedbook, for your strong statement against belligerent and generalizing language. I’ve waited a very long time to hear that from any of the Catholics on Crisis.

                      And thank you for being totally honest about what the Church teaches. You don’t pussyfoot around. I was aware of those teachings and was not at all surprised by them. What struck me again and again, however, was that even the orthodox Catholics in this conversation seemed embarrassed by certain ones of them.

                      Having said that, I still think you fail to recognize the veiled nature of the threats of eternal punishment. There’s a whole psychology behind that, but we can save that discussion for another time. What matters to me is to state very plainly that I am not intimidated by them.

                      As for your “insider talk” about homosexuality, I am here to listen, to take note, and to be a witness of it. You are exchanging your views on an open Internet site, and you may have forgotten that. Yes, I would like to put a burr under your blanket whenever I read what I know to be malicious slanders of gay people like myself.

                      The fact that these slanders are based on Church teaching is absolutely no excuse for them. You cannot hide behind your religion or use it as a pretext for demeaning others or describing entire classes of people as “disordered” when virtually the entire health and social services community in the Western world is saying otherwise. The fact that these teachings have been around for millennia doesn’t excuse them, either. Dirt has been around for even longer.

                      Your nearly-final comment is telling: “We are not going to change.” I don’t know about you, but I have changed a great deal over the course of my life, and I continue to do so. Resistance to change is resistance to life. The lowest circle of Dante’s Inferno was frozen. Maybe the Church is already there.

                    • misplacedbook

                      I didn’t forget that we are on an open forum, but as I said it is a Catholic website and as such Catholic terms and language will be used. Feel free to partcipate, as it shouldn’t be any other way.

                      I understand what you perceive to be as “veiled threats” but the rejection of God is a serious thing. You are still alive, so repentance may still come. I left the Church for a time, and renounced its teachings. I put my soul in danger, and would have certainly deserved Hell had Our Lord judged it so. Getting mad at the idea of Hell is like getting angry at gravity for jumping off a cliff….actions have consequences. But, I am back….because God never abandons his children, and baptism leaves a permanent mark. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh explores that theme brilliantly in a fictional setting. Repentance may still come for you….and at the end God knows your soul in a way that no one else does and you may still yet go to Heaven before me. That is always the hope.

                      You say it is a “slander”….but are you familiar with Theology of the Body?

                      http://www.theologyofthebody.net/

                      There is a reason why the Church teaches that heterosexual one man, one woman marriage is THE way that God intended. The Church didn’t just decide one day that people with SSA are horrible people and should be stuck in a closet. Check it out….

                      And as for my “We are not going to change.” I should have qualified that statement….change does occur, even in the Church (not of core doctrines or beliefs)….BUT…it isn’t the change that you or others sympathetic to your cause will want. That is what I was trying to say.

                    • Deacon Ed Peitler

                      misplacedbook, I have read many of your comments here and elsewhere on Crisis. I must say that I admire your explication of Church teaching and forthrightness. It is obvious to me that you have great love for Christ and His Church. You’re in my prayers.

                    • misplacedbook

                      Thank you, Deacon….God Bless You.

                    • Bob

                      excellent post.

                    • thebentangle

                      Misplacedbook, I certainly do believe in gravity because I have experienced at every single moment of my life. So I would never walk off a cliff.

                      However, your God is not at all like gravity. I have never experienced him a single moment in my life, so I have no reason to think he exists. Every day, I do things that your God would probably punish me for if he existed, but he doesn’t. Life just gets better and better.

                      You will probably tell me that you have experienced God. Fine, but a lot of us haven’t, and we are not bound to live our lives in accordance with your experience of God or your views about what he requires of us. When one doesn’t believe in Hell, there is no reason to be guided by fear of it.

                    • misplacedbook

                      No….actually what I was going to say was that you have experienced God, you just didn’t realize it or want to realize it. Since God is the center of all, the likelihood of you not experiencing him is zero. But since you don’t believe, what I just said means nothing to you. But if you want to ignore him, that is your choice….we are all beings with free will.

                    • Bob

                      Bentangle, if you are an atheist and do not believe in eternity, that it is essentially “lights out” and nothingness at your death, then why are you spending your remainining hours of existence arguing with Catholics on this website? Aren’t we Catholics a waste of your precious time left? What do you care what we believe? You’re 69 years old and according to your atheistic beliefs your whole existence could be over any day now.

                      Or are you in the winter of your life having doubts about your atheism? Maybe you’re mistaken and there is a God??

                      There is a story of atheist Russian leader Joseph Stalin on his death bed shaking his fist angrily at God moments before he died. The irony is incredible.

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, I’ve made my reasons for being here abundantly clear a number of times. You needn’t make up narratives about me. I’m not a character in a didactic Catholic novel. And BTW, I don’t expect to die anytime soon. My mother is 94 and going strong. Thanks anyway for your smarmy solicitude.

                    • Bob

                      Obviously you have a great misunderstanding of Dante (a devout Catholic) and his Inferno.

                    • thebentangle

                      Excuse me, Bob. I read Dante in the original when I was in graduate school. My MA was in French and Italian, and I had an entire course on Dante.

                    • thebentangle

                      Misplacedbook: You asked me whether I thought “believing” Catholics should be “scorned from the table.” By “believing,” I presume you mean “orthodox,” or “conservative.”

                      This is not such a difficult question to answer. I think the public square is for everyone and that the kinds of conversations we are having here, though acrimonious, are basically healthy and productive in the end. It’s a dialectical process, and there’s never synthesis without thesis and antithesis.

                      What we’re seeing here is that each side of the proposition is trying to shame the other side. Homosexuals were shamed for so many centuries, and now we are successfully pushing back, so don’t be surprised if you feel some of that shame flowing back in your direction. It will, so be prepared for it.

                      An incident last week in a Columbus Ohio coffee shop illustrates what I am talking about. A gay man and his partner were standing in line, holding hands and chatting amicably about what a good time they’d had somewhere the previous day. A man behind them said in a menacing voice, “Would’ya just cut out the gay crap?” What happened then really surprised the gay couple. Virtually everyone in the coffee shop spoke up in their defense. The man persisted, and the proprietors asked him to leave.

                      Many of the comments about homosexuals that I read on Crisis magazine can only be described as sociopathological. I’m talking about extreme derogation, sometimes not even stopping short of profanity (in the case of “John200”). If this is not hatred and bigotry, then there is no hatred or bigotry anywhere in the universe. And it is tolerated by Catholics. The only persons to confront John200’s abusive bullying were myself and a Quaker. Where were your so-called “believing” Catholic Christians?

                      This is all very telling. So my answer to your question is, people who use abusive, threatening, or bullying language should be told to stop. Being an orthodox Catholic is not an excuse for such behavior.

                      People who express bigoted views, like “Tony” on this thread, should be told why their views are bigoted and helped to change their behavior. Again, the fact that Tony is an orthodox Catholic is not an excuse.

                      Orthodox Catholics needn’t develop a persecution complex about this, but it’s best to be realistic. The kind of attitudes that I’ve seen expressed on this site are increasingly not tolerated in social settings or the work environment. As a long-time Seattleite, I can tell you that companies like Microsoft and Starbucks and Boeing do NOT tolerate it. It is not tolerated in the universities, either.

                      You can complain all you want about “intolerance,” but realistically, people in a society always do find certain things objectionable and even intolerable, and they can make that clear. If the Church is going to persist in characterizing gays as “disordered,” then it had better be in for a rough ride, because the majority of people in this country are getting sick of hearing it and the Church is, once again, disgracing itself.

                  • Bob

                    Youre playing the game of “doctrinal dance” bentangle, and you’re fully aware of it. I’ve seen your act before from members of the gay community: you are not here for knowledge of the Truth of the Church, because you know fully well that if you were truly sincere and interested in answers to your questions on Church teaching you can find them yourself. Good loving Catholics will answer your questions with charity and love, but you won’t care what the answers are, you’ll just keep firing away with banality and darkness of heart. You fear the Truth and have no desire for the Truth, because knowledge of the truth of Christ will tell you your lifestyle is sinful and unless you change and repent you are far from God. So stop wasting the time and efforts of good sincere Catholics on this website who love the Truth and go waste your time elsewhere….OK?

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, “doctrinal dance” may be a fitting term for what I’m doing, but it takes two to tango. You and Catholicmom keep avoiding the subject of eternal Hell fire, and I keep bringing it up. I’m not going to allow you to ignore it. One thing I’ve noticed in more than a dozen years of blogging with conservative Catholics is that few or none of them will actually “flesh out” that implied threat. I’m asking you, what does “exclusion” actually mean? Am I not, as an atheist homosexual, already “excluded?” And from what? From Catholicism? (Thanks but no thanks!) From eternal life? (Thanks but no thanks!)

                      Instead of making implied threats, can you be honest and open about the threats that you are implying? What are they? What happens to gay atheists in God’s plan?

                      I am definitely NOT here to acknowledge the Truth of the Church. I am here to learn more about you so that I can understand you better. And while I’m here, I’ll try challenging a few of your cherished assumptions about the world, because they seem to have strayed farther and farther from its reality.

                      You say that unless I repent I will be “far from God.” What does that mean? Does it mean that my life will be unhappy? Does it mean that I will suffer the torments of Hell?

                      I am not “wasting my time.” I just discovered that one of my adversaries in this discussion was gay. The information value of these conversations is immense. What you are revealing about yourselves is, as Poetcomic says, “mind-blowing.”

                    • Bob

                      How can I ignore the subject of eternal hell fire bentangle if you’re responding to my first post I didnt even mention hell? As far as “exclusion” is concerned and hell……OK, I’ll play. Let’s take your atheism, as a start. Any belief starts with a well informed, conscious choice. How did you choose to become an atheist? Did you study and reason through all the philosophies and teachings of what it means to be an atheist? Why are you an atheist? And any well reasoned choice means that you have thoroughly studied the other option that there is a supreme being or creator, if you will. I’m going to assume you fully and exhaustively studied and thought through the myriad arguments for a God, did you not, bentangle? So any discussion of hell and exclusion can not start until you tell me of your reasoning behind why you’ve concluded there is no God. So……what is your well thought out, fully studied reasoning why you are an atheist and there is no God or eternity?

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, you wrote that unless I changed and repented, I would be “far from God.” I was interested in knowing what you meant by that. Catholics are always making vague references to something terrible that awaits unrepentant sinners. If you can’t tell me what it is, why should I fear it?

                      But in truth, you and I both know what it is, because we know that you follow the teachings of the Church, which explicitly affirms the existence of Hell and its eternity. Why is it so difficult for you, as a Catholic, to be explicit about this? Are you ashamed of the teaching? Does it trouble your conscience to think that the god you worship might send the Dalai Lama or Ghandi—or me!—to Hell to burn for eternity?

                      You don’t have to discuss this with me. It was only an invitation. My question was prompted by these repeated, veiled allusions to some sort of ghastly fate that awaits me if I do not repent. I already know the Church traffics in metaphysical fear as a method of control, but I enjoy watching Catholics contorting themselves trying to deny it. That’s what theology is for, I guess.

                      I am not going to get side-tracked into a “defense” of my atheism here, as I prefer to stay focussed on the issue at hand.

                    • Bob

                      But the God I worship doesn’t send anyone to Hell. He has given me, you the Dalai Lama, the Pope, Ghandi and seven billion other people on this planet the free will to choose to follow his moral law and His will for me and therefore be close to him or choose to turn from him. Because i believe “God is love” by my free will if I choose to turn away from Him i choose to put myself in what is the opposite of His love, or put myself in “hell.”

                      All humans are subject to intrinsic moral laws of our very nature. Moral laws that are part of our very being that tell us either what is right or what is wrong. As you are aware, we don’t need religion to tell us this. If Ghandi, the Pope, or the Dalai Lama choose to murder their innocent neighbor, intrinsically the moral barometer of their very nature tells them what they did was wrong.

                      You do believe in a moral law governing all humans, Bentangle?

                      So i am someone who believes a creator has given us a reflection of Himself in the moral law. My reasoning can only deduce that this moral code had to come from somewhere. This creator has great love for me, and by following his moral law and doing “the right thing” that keeps me close to his Prescence. If I choose to say “no” to His moral law and do the “wrong thing”, I have chosen to turn my back on His Prescence. I have chosen to not be in His love, but just the opposite, which can be described as hell. The Dalai Lama, Ghandi, or yourself choose through your own free will to say no to this creator you have chosen not His love, but (as the Church puts a greater concreteness to this turning away) hell.

                      “the Church traffics in metaphysical fear as a method of control”??? C’mon, Bentangle………statements like that tell me you have really no knowledge or clue about Catholicism. I now have to look at all Your postings with those lenses of ignorance and prejudice against the Church.

                    • John200

                      “I now have to look at all Your postings with those lenses of ignorance and prejudice against the Church.”

                      Yes, Bob, that’s a good idea that will give you a 20/20 look at BentAngle. He is obsessed with Catholicism, which he does not know. This ignorance makes him superior to you and the rest of the Catholics (don’t ask me why). The basic routine goes like this:

                      1. He makes an insane comment, usually promoting homo”sex”uality.
                      2. You tell him the truth.
                      3. He can’t stand it.
                      4 – n. He tells you that engaging in homo”sex”ual activity is good.

                      This krappe is his regular amusement. Don’t expect sense, it is all just a demented game to him.

                      And I almost forgot, it you would like to pursue, oh who-knows-what, he has a website….

                    • Bob

                      Agreed. I don’t know why now I even answered his posts!

                      Bentangle…….if you sincerely have questions on Catholicism and hell go find a good priest or theologian to ask. But I think you do know the teaching on hell. Deep down you know there is a hell, but you don’t want to give up your sins. And living and wallowing in ones sins doesn’t feel good, and that is a life of self-imposed hell.

                      So why do you spend so much time on a Catholic website? I’ll pray “the Hound of Heaven” is still nipping at your conscience and has led you here, and like the prodigal son I hope you come home to the love of the Father.

                      Yes, Bentangle, there is a hell, and you have an individual choice in this life whether you want to be there or not for eternity.

                      Good luck……

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, somehow I’m just not experiencing–and have never experienced–this so-called “self-imposed hell” you speak of. And don’t tell me I still could. I’m nearly 69. I have to conclude that you have bought into a myth about non-Catholics. It’s the Catholic version of the very similar Muslim myth: “Everyone who does not live as I live and believe as I believe” lives in a “self-imposed hell.” This “othering” of people who are not like yourself leads to precisely the kind of animus and stereotyping that we have seen on this thread. This prejudice–for prejudice it is–seems to be endemic to Catholicism, or at least to its more conservative varieties.

                      Why do I spend so much time on a Catholic website that constantly slanders gays and lesbians? Well, I think you can figure that out all by yourself, but I’ll state it plainly. No one likes being slandered, and I am here to show you why you might want to consider not doing it any longer. Sorry to break up the party, and I know how much fun scapegoating can be. But I have an important stake in the discussion you are having.

                      My records show that I have participated in about 30 of these conversations, and they have all been about homosexuality. If you have a conversation about the theology of St. Thomas or the music of Hildegaard von Bingen, I am really very unlikely to join it. So I do not just enjoy bashing Catholics, as many of you imagine. I support those Catholics who want to reform their church. My comments have been very targeted, though sometimes thickly layered, as in our digression about hell.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                      Hear, hear!

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, I don’t share many of your fundamental premises, and I am not interested in proving to you that your god doesn’t exist. I am interested in your attempts to play down the horrific aspects of the Church’s teachings about Hell. They don’t describe it as “the opposite of His love.” They describe it as a place of eternal punishment. Eternal. No hope of reprieve.

                      Think about that for a moment. I am looking at a detailed map of France that hangs on my wall. Imagine that every grain of sand or dirt in France represents one year. Do you think you could even write that number out? And not even THAT is eternity. You’d have to multiply it by… what? Itself? Add in all the grains of sand in the world’s deserts and square them as well. No, raise them to the power of 100. Are we at eternity yet? Not nearly. Bring in the sand on all the planets of the universe…

                      So you and your Church believe that, because of some “decision” that I made during my time on earth, I deserve eternal punishment in a place that an omnipotent god could abolish in an instant if he wanted to?

                      Why do I not buy this narrative?

                      Why do YOU buy this narrative?

                      The Church’s teaching about Hell stands right alongside its teaching on homosexuality. It is medieval. Worse, it is paleolithic. And you think 6,500 years of history is a badge to wear proudly?

                    • Bob

                      I wasn’t looking for a “defense” of your atheism, but your logic and reasoning of why you choose to deny the existence of a creator. Your thought process on this choice can only help me answer your questions on Church teaching. To deny a premise (there is a God), you must have thoroughly studied extensively 6500 years of Judeo-Christian teaching to conclude that teaching is incorrect and its fallacy? You didn’t just wake up one day and say “I think I’ll be an atheist” on such an important issue without first asking “is there a God?”

                    • dgravers

                      Bob, lots of folks are atheists. They don’t spend a lot of time figuring out why. The concept of G_d doesn’t appeal to them. Bentangle is commenting on the medieval oddities of the Catholic Church … and those oddities DO exist. I _do_ have some vague theological training … back in high school, I was forbidden from asking questions, because I always took the class in a direction the teacher was rarely prepared to go. You are answering with judgement … answer with your heart and your fears. There’s a LOT of fear lurking around in this discussion. Your heart and your fears and your beliefs are as interesting to me as Bentangle’s.

                    • thebentangle

                      Thank you again, Dgravers. Your words are very kind and soothing. You seem like a holy man.

                    • Bob

                      Incorrect. Of what Church oddities do you speak of? Explain and maybe i can clear up any misperceptions you have?What fears do i have?? Explain.

                      I’m not judging bentangles heart, although I am sceptical of his intentions on this web-site. And this is a Catholic website. I am a well catechized, devout Catholic who loves Christ and His Church. Bentangle is criticizing (yes….criticizing) the Church’s teaching on hell, and I’m doing my best to clarify for him the Church’s position. But as with many gay atheist that post on the articles on Crisis Magazine, he is here not for knowledge of Christ and his teachings. He is here to ridicule and attack them.

                      You say you have “vague theological training” and “forbidden from asking questions” back in high school…..explain? What questions? Perhaps I can help you or direct you towards answers.

                      If you are here sincerely open minded to seek knowledge of the Catholic Church Dgravers I’d love to help you as best I can!!!!! I love sharing the gifts, treasures and truths of the Catholic Church!!! If you’re here out of a prejudice and bias against the Church and don’t want to hear The truths of Christ, then please, don’t waste my or your time.

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, as I have probably explained to you before, I do not care what you believe as long as you do not use it to stigmatize, demean, and threaten gays and lesbians. Yes, this is a Catholic website, and it is also a voice for some of the most rabid homophobic rantings anywhere on the Internet. I am certainly not here for knowledge of Christ and his teachings, and I never claimed that I was. I have made my intentions very clear a number of times.

                      I am not the one who brings up Hell. It is either implicit or explicit in nearly everything conservative Catholics have to say about homosexuality. I am here to say that it is cruel to intimidate Catholic homosexuals with that kind of talk, and that you are wasting your breath trying to intimidate me with it.

                      Twice you offered Dgravers help. Why don’t you try asking her for help instead?

                    • Bob

                      Because of your atheistic beliefs bentangle it is impossible to discuss with you the Church’s teaching on Hell because you deny the existence of a creator and eternity. It’s like someone trying to explain to me the ways and practices of Martians when I don’t believe in the existence of aliens to begin with.

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, the short answer is that I deny the existence of all gods, not just yours. The longevity of the Judeo-Christian tradition is not a proof of your god’s existence. Other gods have also had long runs.

                      When I was in High School over fifty years ago, I realized I did not any longer believe what I had been taught about God because I couldn’t see any evidence that it was true. That’s where I’ve been ever since, and I’ve never regretted that “conversion” experience.

                      I am totally unimpressed by threats of hell, but I find it fascinating that anyone is. Even more fascinating is the fact that those threats are made in the first place. Since I do not believe in God, I conclude that those threats are made by people against other people whom they wish to frighten, intimidate, and control.

                    • Bob

                      The God I worship is also your God, Bentangle, whether you want to accept that or not!

                      Question then: what are your thoughts on “Paschal’s wager?” what if you are wrong and when you die you find out there is a God that you’ve turned your back on….what then?

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, there are a number of serious problems with Pascal’s Wager. Here are just a few:

                      1. It assumes that belief in God is alone sufficient for salvation, and it does not take into account different ways of believing. If being a Mormon is just as good as being a Catholic, then why not be a Mormon?

                      2. It assumes that belief is a choice. Studies in neuro-cognition suggest that it is not.

                      3. It assumes that God rewards those who worship Him just to avoid Hell. (This is not very flattering to God.)

                      4. It assumes that the believer cares only about maximizing his own gains.

                      5. It assumes that there are no other gods who will punish you for rejecting them and believing in the Judeo-Christian god.

                      6. It assumes that there is a self-evident reason for rewarding blind faith rather than critical reason. If God gave us reason, would He really punish us for using it?

                      7. It assumes that a god who allows Hell to exist is worthy of worship.

                    • dgravers

                      Simple answer: G_d loves us all, always, in spite of our craziness. G_d must forgive us our sins, as we will never be perfect, washed in the “blood of the Lamb” or not. We are humanity, as created by the Divine, as set in motion somewhere in the back of the beyond. As “children of G_d” we are all siblings, and … siblings are not known for always getting along. We try.

                      So … will you or any of us “go to Hell” or be declared damned? Maybe … but I believe that if we live the kindest life we can live, G_d will tip the scales in our favor. What does Heaven mean? I don’t know that either. But the “leap of faith” is not nothing. I believe most firmly G_d has us all in “his hands” (or her hands … that’s a real gender-bender … if there is no male or female in G_d, a little practice with a female G_d-figure works wonders for mind expansion … we assume the masculine far too often!) … a squirming messy mass of disagreeableness. In our best selves, we are soothing.

                      The docs of Vatican II work hard to include people. THAT is an inspiration to me. You don’t need to defend your a-theism to me … it’s as good a choice as any other, and has nothing to do with whether G_d is choosing you. NONE of us is ever far from G_d.

                      Earth’s crammed with Heaven,
                      and every common bush afire with G_d.
                      Only those who see take off their shoes.
                      The rest sit ’round and pluck blackberries.

                      (paraphrased from Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

                    • thebentangle

                      Dgravers, thank you. That was lovely. Yours seems to be a gentle, kind Catholicism. It was judgment-free. I’m so glad that you acknowledged the inclusiveness of Vatican II. “Inclusiveness” seems to be a dirty word in some Catholic circles.

                      Hugs.

                    • Ray Olson

                      Let me second BentAngle’s thank you to you, dgravers. Allow me, a Quaker, to extend a Quaker compliment: “Thee, Friend (you, dgravers), speaks my mind.”

                    • Bob

                      Seriously…..you’re an atheist Bentangle and your looking for consolation from God’s love??!!

                    • thebentangle

                      Sorry, Bob. You lost me. I am looking for consolation from God’s love? Are you talking about my comment to Dgravers? Help me here.

                    • Bob

                      God does love us all, but He hates our sins. He does forgive our sins, but only when we come to Him with a repentant and contrite heart. He greatly wants and desires us to be with Him throughout eternity. But through our pride and self centered sin we can turn from Him and shut Him out of our lives and make the choice for ourselves that we choose not to be with Him through eternity.

                      Bentangle…….it is out of love and charity that someone calls out another when they are living a life of sin. The best friends I’ve had in my life are those that never justified my sinful lifestyle, but told me point blank I’m committing grave sin and I need to stop sinning and change. These are the friends and family that showed me the greatest love and I’m thankful they pointed out when I was doing wrong. “Love the sinner….hate the sin.” No one judges another’s heart, that is only for God to judge. But one can judge someone’s actions as being right or wrong.

                      Anyone that tells you “your sins or sinful lifestyle is OK, keep living that life, God still loves you.” is not your friend and doing you a great disservice. Yes…..God still loves you, but someone’s unrepentant sinful lifestyle is saying to God “but I don’t love you back, God.”

                      I’m not wielding hell as some kind of fire and brimstone club to threaten you with or scare you with. But as a Catholic who tries to follow all of Christ’s teachings, Jesus spoke far more of hell And damnation for our actions in the New Testament then He did of heaven. So hell is a sobering reality that I need to contemplate and pray on.

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, the model of brotherly caring that you’re describing requires of the “I” and the “thou” certain shared assumptions about the nature of life and the hereafter. When you talk to me about “repenting of my sins,” you are wasting your breath. I am an atheist. I don’t believe in God and sin, though I accept that they are rough metaphors for some things that I do acknowledge as real and meaningful in people’s lives. My way of framing those meaningful realities is very different from yours, however. That’s not to say that we can never share our thoughts about these matters; only that we must find a common language. It is not impossible, and I believe we are already doing so in a way.

                      In your model, I am the sinner and you are the friend trying to guide me away from sin. The only problem is that I have never stepped into your model. I’m not there. I have to glance over my shoulder to see who you are talking to.

                      I am not interested in overturning your model, but some of the things that are happening in it are offensive and damaging to homosexuals like me. And unjustly so.

                      That is all I am here to say. Continue with your model of brotherly caring and Christian piety, but please don’t think that you can use it as a cover for demeaning gays and lesbians. When you or other conservative Catholics are scapegoating homosexuals, we are somehow going to call you to accounts for it. It is one thing to speak the truth about certain homosexuals (e.g., public figures like Dan Savage) or organized groups of homosexuals (e.g., NAMBLA), but it is another to lie about them and to whip up animus against homosexuals as an entire class of people. We’ve been through that before with another entire class of people, so let’s not do it again.

                  • thebentangle

                    Catholicmom: A friend of mine who read your comment wrote this to me in an e-mail: “If Jesus gave the Keys of the Kingdom to the stupidest and most readily disloyal of his disciples (that would be Peter, in case there’s any doubt) would he not also be inclined to tell the Catholic church, of which Peter is the earthly representative, to “get thee behind me” when it acts like Satan? Or does that only apply to the man, and not to the religion?”

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    “If they do not repent, will they receive a lesser reward in heaven, or will they just go to Purgatory or Hell?” Do you really think that Purgatory is a place of punishment? Your ignorance is astounding. How could you have been arguing with the Church when you clearly have no clue about the teachings of the Church?

                    • thebentangle

                      Jambe, I didn’t say that Purgatory was punishment. But the Catholic Encyclopedia does. Here it is:

                      Purgatory (Lat., “purgare”, to make clean, to purify) in accordance with Catholic teaching is a placeor condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God’s grace, are, not entirely free from venial faults, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.

                      So, which one of us has no clue about the teachings of the Church?

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                      “Temporary punishment”, temporary. Also read St. Catherine of Genoa on the subject. The Catholic Encyclopedia is not infallible.

                    • thebentangle

                      Jambe, just read what I wrote. I never even said that Purgatory was punishment, much less that it was “eternal.”

                      So are you tell me the Catholic Encyclopedia is not to be trusted on the definition of Purgatory? But St. Catherine of Genoa is? You seem to be grasping at straws, Jambe. Where do YOU go to find a working definition of Purgatory?

              • Paul Tran

                Jesus did not say anything about homosexuality but he did say on numerous occasions to “obey thy God”. In the book of Revelation there’s plenty about sexual immorality.

                • thebentangle

                  Paul, are you obeying God? Probably not the God of the Old Testament, I take it, or you would not eat shellfish and you would worship on the Sabbath. Didn’t Jesus say that you should sell all that you have and give the proceeds to the poor? Have you done that? If not, why are you so busy judging homosexuals?

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    “A fool can spout more nonsense in a minute than a wise man can answer in a year” (an old saying).

                    • thebentangle

                      Which one of us is the fool?

                    • Guest

                      Just see how long it took you to type your latest reply.

                  • Tony

                    That is silly and sophomoric. If you want to get into a discussion of the New Testament’s fulfillment of the old Mosaic Law, by transcending it, we can do that. But it will not do to pretend that Jesus, who said that a man commits adultery in his heart even when he looks at a woman with lust, would shrug and smile at sodomy. That is absurd; it contradicts his trenchant reasoning against divorce, which goes behind and before the Mosaic Law, to the beginning, when God created us male and female.

                • dgravers

                  Revelations is a rather twisted book to use as source for anything … there was great dispute as to whether it should have been included … and also WHICH “revelations” as there were a bunch floating around in those days (when Constantine wanted a book … the bible was a bit fluid up to that point).

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                “Jesus said nothing about homosexuality.” Another stupid cliche. Jesus said nothing about necrophiles, zoophiles or fetishists, either, does that mean that they are righteous in His eyes? Seriously, Bentangle, you need to get yourself a new set of arguments because the one you’re using has been mercilessly debunked a very long time ago.

                • thebentangle

                  Jambe, why are you always quoting Jesus, then? And if he didn’t say anything about necrophilia but you know that it is wrong anyway, doesn’t that suggest that morality is independent of scripture and prior to God?

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    I don’t think I have quoted Jesus even once in this exchange so take a deep breath and stop your hysterics about “always”. Your second statement is partly absurd – how can morality be “prior to God” who is eternal by definition? But I agree with its being to some extent independent of Scripture. God’s moral message most likely predated the invention of writing.

                    • thebentangle

                      Jambe, I am asking how you know that something is morally wrong if the Bible doesn’t mention it? You mentioned necrophilia and the Bible doesn’t. How does God get his moral message out except through the Bible? How do you know that necrophilia is morally wrong?

                    • Joan

                      BentAngle, scripture also says that God’s law is written on our hearts, meaning that we are created with this knowledge of what is right and wrong, even if we are not aware of it or try to suppress it. That is how God gives us His “moral message”.

              • dgravers

                I quite agree. Jesus said we should love and care for each other, and we should avoid sins which damage our relationships (e.g., the woman and man caught in adultery, of which we only see the woman), and we should encourage discourse (the woman at the well, the unnamed man casting out devils in Jesus’ name, Mary’s and Martha’s behaviors).

                The Hebrew Scriptures (with which Paul was certainly familiar) express the same vituperative attitude found in most anti-homosexual rhetoric.

                I say, keep it simple, keep your personal prejudices to yourself, and your guns locked in your gun closet. So what that X doesn’t like it. Fine. No problem, leave X to his own devices so long as X isn’t exploiting anyone else. You prefer females, fine, same rules apply: no exploitation. Better still for either X or Y: marry your partner so we can keep tabs on you and any children. Treat each other kindly.

                • thebentangle

                  Hoorah! Give it a Power “Yes!”

          • Paul Tran

            Since you don’t find homosexual marriage offensive, I guess you do not object to bi-sexual marriage either ? Does this mean you do not object to multiple-partners in marriage ? Moreover, is there any rhyme or reason to object to incest, pedophilia, sex with animals etc … for any argument used to legitimize homosexuality the same can be used to justify other sexual deviancy.

            • thebentangle

              Well, Paul, since you believe in heterosexual marriage, I suppose you also believe in domestic violence, divorce, and child abuse. Sometimes heterosexual men like to have multiple wives. I suppose you agree with that as well, since you are heterosexual? And did you know that heterosexual marriage can lead to sex with animals? Sure it can. Look at it this way. Homosexual marriage must come from somewhere or be modeled on something. Well, that something is heterosexual marriage. Therefore, heterosexual marriage leads to gay marriage, which, in your view, leads almost immediately to sex with animals. So heterosexual marriage is a slippery slope to bestiality. Straight shot.

            • Ray Olson

              Paul–The red herrings you insist on airing are very, very, very spoiled. Don’t you have a garbage disposal? Furthermore, what in anything that I have written leads you to your assumptions other than sheer mean-spiritedness on your part? I am asking that you point out specific words and phrases and sentences in what I have written that justify your disingenuous, dishonest, malicious, and disrespectful response. (BTW, what does “bi-sexual marriage” mean? If you mean marriages of persons each of whom is attracted to persons of either sex, then in the cases in which the spouses are a man and a woman, what’s wrong with such a marriage? Or do you just mean marriages in which the spouses are of two sexes, i.e., a man and a woman, making the marriage two- or bi- sexual? Oh, wait, I see . . . you hate marriage, period!)

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                “Don’t you have a garbage disposal? Furthermore, what in anything that I
                have written leads you to your assumptions other than sheer
                mean-spiritedness on your part?” Such hysterics show that you have no real answer, Ray. You’re not convincing anybody.

                • thebentangle

                  Jambe, Oh yes he is. Ray is convincing me.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    Not surprising – you’re part of the choir he’s preaching to.

                • Ray Olson

                  Jambe–You’re not the first respondent at the site with whom one needs to be absolutely direct. For the record, then: I don’t know what Mr. Tran means by “bi-sexual marriage”, so I really can’t object or assent to it. My answer to his second question is no. My answer to his third question, which trails off in elision–” is there any rhyme or reason to object to incest, pedophilia, sex with animals etc “–is yes. If with his closing statement–”for any argument used to legitimize homosexuality the same can be used to justify other sexual deviancy”–he meant to ask whether I thought that “any argument used to legitimize homosexuality can be used to justify other sexual deviancy”, my answer is no.

          • Tony

            Now this is sheer willful ignorance. Every single homosexual man in this country knows plenty of others who have engaged in public nudity, sadomasochism, group orgies, and so on — not to mention that use of pornography is universal in this group. Come on, the numbers don’t lie — you cannot have had AIDS spread so rapidly among such a small population unless there were constant contacts. Even gay rights proponent Andrew Sullivan says we have to adjust our sense of “monogamy” to accommodate the universal “infidelity” of male homosexuals. If you stop to think about the biological meaning of male-female sex, you’ll see that male-male sex is a perversion not of that, but of male friendship — and that will go a long way toward explaining the lax attitude towards sex on the side.
            Our objection is not metaphysical. It is wholly physical and biological and anthropological.

            • Ray Olson

              Tony–Are you telling me that my experience of my gay friends of long acquaintance is delusional? If so, how does your line of argument differ from that of the Communists who tell me that my “consciousness” (their term) is “false”? My experience tells me that most gay men haven’t “engaged in public nudity, sadomasochism, group orgies, and so on”; that far fewer gay men are promiscuous than, I admit, I had at first thought; and that the preponderance of gay men have not even been exposed to AIDS, let alone contracted it. I believe that the physical and biological and anthropological evidence overwhelmingly refutes the exaggerations of the antigay megalobby, and I believe that in metaphysical reasoning lies the only hope of condemning homosexuality and gay marriage, though I admit that I doubt whether such reasoning can lead to such condemnation.

            • thebentangle

              Tony, when you begin a sentence with a totalizing, negative generalization about a entire class of people, you can fairly be described as a bigot’s bigot. There is no better example of bigotry than statements like “Every single homosexual man in this country knows plenty of others who have engaged in public nudity, sadomasochism, group orgies, and so on.” In another comment further below, you write, “NO male homosexuals are ‘faithful’ to their partners, period.” This is just way off the charts for defamatory stereotyping.

              Many people view pornography. In the early days of the Internet, about 80% of the use was for viewing porn. Now it’s at around 17%, which is still extremely high. You’re not going to convince anyone that 3% of the population accounts for between 17% and 80% of Internet porn viewing. In one year not long ago, Provo, Utah had the highest rate of porn use in the country. Yes, that’s a Mormon stronghold, and I would imagine the gay population is lower than average there, considering the way Mormons treat gays.

              Public nudity. Do you mean naturism? Nudist colonies? Are you suggesting that only gay men frequent nudist colonies? Or are you talking about exhibitionism? Again, just gay men? Or mostly gay men? Where are you getting this information? Or are you just making it up?

              And BTW, Andrew Sullivan does not speak for the gay community any more than Michael Jackson spoke for the African-American community or Rush Limbaugh speaks for straight white males.

              You can gussy up your bigotry with high-falutin words like “metaphysical” and “anthropological,” but all I can find in it is full-blown sociopathology.

            • dgravers

              Tony, others have answered various homosexual items … I will only add that infidelity is not owned by any gender, but by a relationship. LOTS of men cheat on their partners. MEN are more likely to cheat than women are (and Women do cheat too). The Pornography Industry _funds_ the internet. “Gay Porn” is an extremely small component of it. Do I agree with any of that industry? I throw up my hands. Statistically, crime goes down _slightly_ when new releases occur (in those few times / places this could be measured) … so does that mean “porn” is good?? I don’t know. Just that men have violent tendencies and the need to control others, and those needs require handling in some fashion for a safe, civil society. G_d MUST have had a reason, tho’ it defies my poor brain.

        • thebentangle

          Kevin, there were approximately 128 contingents in last year’s Seattle Pride Parade. Most of them were just people walking together and carrying banners of support. Here are some of the names you’ll recognize or can figure out:

          Boeing Employees Credit Union, Esurance, Group Health, Microsoft, Verizon WIreless, Expedia, Macy’s, Amazon, YMCA, Wells Fargo, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Orbitz, Alaska Airlines, PCC Natural Markets, Starbucks, Cupcake Royal, Best Buy, Seattle Men’s Chorus, Hands of Kali Bellydance, Tom Douglas Restaurants, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Port of Seattle, Wallingford United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist Churches of Greater Puget Sound, Seafair, City of Seattle, Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, Teatro Zinzanni, Washington Federation of State Employes, Bellevue Colleges, [regional community colleges], King County Metro (transportation), King County Library System, Seattle First Baptist Church, Metropolitan Community Churches, United Churches of Christ, Lakeridge Lutheran Church, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

          Many of these, like Microsoft, Starbucks, and Amazon, are probaby companies that you patronize.

          As usual at our parade, there were also elaborate floats with near-naked bodies gyrating to deafening rock music, and there were drag queens and Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, etc. And there were the Dykes on Bikes. Big deal.

          On a different summer weekend in Seattle we have another huge parade, the Fremont Parade, which mostly represents the “default” sexual orientation. Now, in THAT parade you will see A LOT of totally naked bodies. There are the famous nude bicyclists–probably over a hundred of them. There are also floats with near-naked bodies gyrating to deafening rock music.

          You want to see for yourself? Just Google “Fremont Parade photos” and get a look.

          Then come back and tell me that the heterosexual community is NOT accepting of exhibitionism, voyeurism, and public displays of lewd and lascivious behavior. Haven’t you ever been to Mardi Gras?

          What you wrote just confirms the old adage that “we see what we expect to see.”

          • thebentangle

            Here, Kevin–I put up two contrasting photos for you. http://thebentangle.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/marriage-equality-opponent-shocked-by-gay-pride-parades/

            Having looked through dozens of photos of each of the two parades (Seattle Pride and Fremont Summer Solstice), I have to conclude that there was FAR more public nudity at the latter. In fact, I saw none at all at the Pride parade. What do you make of that? Should heterosexuals lose the right to marry?

            • thebentangle

              Wow! I’ve had 10 visits to the page where I posted these two photos earlier today. You guys must really be interested! (No body else knew about them.) Come on. Fess up. You can’t fool me!

              • thebentangle

                Just to keep you posted, the number of visits to my two photos (one showing nude cyclists) has climbed to 25. That is an exceptionally strong showing, and the visitors are most likely drawn there by this site. Anybody care to draw conclusions from this?

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                  This only proves that moral decay is rampant in our time. No kidding, Sherlock! Once again, if a thing is objectively immoral (like, for example, public indecency), it does not matter who commits it – it is still and always immoral. Your “argument” well-they-do-it-too is a glaring fallacy.

                  • thebentangle

                    Yes! Yes! Moral decay is everywhere, even in the Vatican!! As for me, however, I would much prefer public indecency to the private, covert, and festering indecency of the Curia.

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                      I completely agree with your first sentence and completely disagree with the second. Indecency is indecency, whether public or private. That’s what you don’t seem to be able to comprehend throughout this “discussion”.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

        “Everything you call ‘”extensions”‘ of homosexuality–”S&M, group orgies, fisting, sex slavery, etc., etc.”–is practiced by heterosexuals, too…” This is an extremely silly “argument” and I am surprised that some seemingly intelligent people still resort to it. A morally repugnant thing remains morally repugnant no matter who does it. Child sex abuse is committed by heterosexuals and homosexuals, men and women, blacks and whites – does this ubiquity make it less abhorrent? Also, heterosexuals usually engage in the natural form of sexual intercourse while homosexuals NEVER do.

        • thebentangle

          Jambe, I think Ray’s point goes back to what Jesus said about judging others for sins that you yourself are guilty of. Ray is not saying that sex slavery or group orgies are good, but just that they are not the exclusive domain of either homosexuals or heterosexuals. Neither are what you call the “unnatural” sexual practices. So this HUGE difference that you see between homosexuals and heterosexuals—a difference that, happily for you, brings out all the worst in the former while making the latter look like haloed saints—is nothing more or less than crass scapegoating. This is because there really is no difference that matters. We’re all human beings. Some of us “do it” with the opposite sex, while others “do it” with the same sex, but the practices are for all intents and purposes the same. From our point of view, your practices are revolting and unthinkable, and from your point of view, ours are not only revolting and unthinkable but “morally wrong.” At least we have the good grace not to judge you for yours, which, by the way, are not all “missionary-style” procreative sex.

          And if you really want to magnify the differences that you find, then I think that is more a problem of yours, not ours. It reveals an unhealthy fixation of a sexual nature. There is nothing “normal” about such obsessions. Nor is it every healthy to “reduce” people to sex acts and body parts. We are much more than that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

            It is really impossible for me to decide where to start untangling your illogical mess of pseudo-truths, red herrings and deliberate misunderstandings so I’ll just concentrate on one revealing statement of yours: “here really is no difference that matters”. You think so because you follow your physical and mental urges – what some less charitable people would call “thinking with one’s genitals”. I follow what’s decent and moral. I also know that these terms have no meaning for you.

            • Ray Olson

              Dear Jambe and Chris–I commend to you and all who share your perspective a book forthcoming in February from Eerdmans, “Bible, Gender, Sexuality”, by James V. Brownson. It is a synthesis and analysis of recent exegetical work on the biblical passages (OT and NT) usually used to argue the sinfulness of all same-sex relationships. It seems to me the argument that you and your side MUST answer and vanquish for you to retain any credibility. It seems to leave you with nothing to stand upon–surely not Scripture–except the Magisterium in its current avatar, which I believe history shows offers no assurance of perdurable permanence (correct me if I’m mistaken, though you’ll have to do some explaining when you do, because I’m not Catholic, though I am profoundly respectful, though not worshipful, of the Catholic Church).

              I am a Quaker and as such I give great weight to lived experience. My experience tells me that the preponderance of homosexual persons are good-enough people, just as the preponderance of heterosexuals, or Catholics whom I know are good-enough. I say “good-enough” because I know they’re all sinners. Moreover, because they’re all sinners, I presume their relationships are sinful, too, though I admit that sounds awfully stereotypically Calvinist. Why any of them should not enjoy the same civil privileges the others do in a non-Catholic polity is beyond me. I know the Catholic Church would like the U.S. and the states that comprise it to be Catholic polities, and I don’t expect or want the church to give up its efforts to achieve such goals, but it has a lot of converting to do before they will be accomplished. The cause is not advanced by refusing to acknowledge common language (“natural”), citing phony science, flinging mud, and trying to elevate personal distaste to the status of moral principle. I am willing to be convinced (Quaker-speak for converted), but so far no one is willing to try convincing me.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                Thank you for the tip but I don’t need Mr. Brownson – or even the Bible – to convince me about the rights or wrongs of homosexuality. I use common sense – and my common sense tells me that one man’s desire to insert his penis into another man’s anus is not to be wholeheartedly approved of.

                • thebentangle

                  Jambe, you are so common-sensical! You deserve a great BIG pat on the back. Let me know where you mail your gold star.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    How banal.

                • Ray Olson

                  Jambe–OK, just as long as you know you seem to be rejecting the call to love the Lord with all your mind.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    Care to explain?

                    • Ray Olson

                      Matthew 22:37. How can one serve the Lord with all one’s mind if one closes down even one avenue to greater knowledge? (Let alone the Scriptures, for goodness’ sake!)

                    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                      You are perverting my words (no big surprise there). I do not reject the Bible; I only say that the evil of homosexuality is so obvious that even the Bible does not have to tell me so. But why do I waste my time explaining my position to a crude manipulator like you?

                    • Ray Olson

                      Jambe–You wrote, “. . . I don’t need Mr. Brownson – or even the Bible – to convince me . . .” Instead of insulting me yet again, I think you should do penance, at least, for openly and unambiguously rejecting Scripture. And with that, I bid you peace.

                    • thebentangle

                      I don’t know, Jambe, why do you?

            • thebentangle

              Jambe, the fact that “untangling” what I wrote is such a challenge for you does not mean that it is illogical. But I’m happy to hear that you are following the path of decency and morality so that great writers like Dickens and Molière will always have models for characters like Uriah Heep, Seth Pecksniff, and Tartuffe.

              • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                OK, I’ll bite and give you one example of your pathetically illogical way of – well, for the lack of a better term, let’s call it “thinking”. You wrote: “I think Ray’s point goes back to what Jesus said about judging others
                for sins that you yourself are guilty of. Ray is not saying that sex
                slavery or group orgies are good, but just that they are not the
                exclusive domain of either homosexuals or heterosexuals.” This statement contains at least two idiocies: first, that Christianity approves of group responsibility for sins (since obviously you have no way of knowing if I practice anal sex, the “you” in your first sentence – and despite the following “yourself” – must be in the plural); second, that because some Christians engage in immoral behavior, other Christians are prevented by the words of Jesus from judging them. I have heard and read many utterly imbecilic interpretations of Matthew 7:1 but this one gets the cake for its unabashed stupidity. It seems that the works of Dickens and Moliere are wasted on you. Stick to thinking with your genitals.

                • thebentangle

                  Sorry, Jambe, I cannot untangle that.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

                    I’m not surprised.

          • Paul Tran

            “Some of us ‘do it’ with the opposite sex, while others ‘do it’ with the same sex,but the practices are for all intents and purposes the same ” ??? What intents & purposes are you suggesting ? Surely, not love !?!? If so those who commit incest , pedophilia etc can also claim the same – is that right ?

            • thebentangle

              Paul, if you do not know that homosexuals can love each other very deeply, then you are hopelessly out of touch with reality. Maybe it’s time to put down the Catholic publications and open your eyes to the world around you. I am to be married to my partner of 13 years in July, and I can assure you that we love each other very much.

    • poetcomic1

      Most homosexual sex is not that extreme. Actually, it is rather sad and is really just mutual masturbation in which each partner becomes the neurotic object of the other’s fantasy life. I’ve known loving homosexual men who have been together for many years and grown old together. They are each other’s bulwark against loneliness and the ’2 income no kids’ situation allows them to pay for young men as masseurs, escorts etc. to continue satisfying the fantasy. This is the NORM. The two biggest misconceptions: 1) These old partners are sexually active with each other 2) They do not love each other. George Tooker, the great artist and his life long partner became celibate and Catholic.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jambe-dArgent/100003865893919 Jambe d’Argent

        “George Tooker, the great artist and his life long partner became celibate and Catholic.” And this is perfectly in accord with the Magisterium. Homosexuality is not sinful per se (although it is certainly an aberration of the natural law), only homosexual practice.

      • thebentangle

        Poetcomic, you seem to know a lot about homosexual sex, especially that it’s “sad,” “lonely,” and “neurotic,”—nothing like heterosexual sex, which is joyous, normal, and invigorating. Older homosexual men—unlike heterosexual ones—pay for erotic massages and escorts!! And unlike “normal” men, they have to “satisfy their fantasies!!” Most sadly of all, they are not sexually active with their partners after a certain age. Heterosexual men are, as everyone knows, sexually active with their partners until the very end, even though they and their partners usually cannot procreate. Great little primer on homosexuality, Poetcomic!

        • poetcomic1

          I spent half my long life with men sexually and emotionally. One thing I never did was pretend to myself that fierce, passionate anonymous sex was a figment of the straight imagination. Oh, man, it was DEFINITELY not a figment of my imagination it was, to be frank, ‘mind-blowing’. I never did mistake it for bourgeois ‘wedded bliss’. I’m not even stupid enough to mistake heterosexual bourgeois ‘wedded bliss’ for ‘wedded bliss’ either. If you start talking about how gay promiscuity is a myth you have totally blown your street cred with me and everyone else here.

          • Thebentangle

            Well, this just gets more and more interesting. You had “mind-blowing,” “fierce, passionate, anonymous sex” with men? And you think every gay man does? Or, no, wait, let me get this right: You think that I think that no homosexual man does. But did I say that? No, of course not. I couldn’t have.

            Let me put you straight. This is what I think and know: Some men are promiscuous, and others are not. Some of these men are gay and others are not. It’s as simple as that. Maybe, in fact, more gay than straight men are promiscuous; this would not be surprising, considering the difficulty of getting married and the social stigmatization that often comes with openly living with another man. Also consider that men tend to be more promiscuous than women anyway, so you put two gay men together and voilà!

            On the other hand, put two lesbians together and voilà! On average, they are more monogamous than straight couples.

            But these are all generalizations, and generalizations are the major stumbling-block in discussions like these. Even if not all HETEROsexuals can master the art of bourgeois wedded bliss, some of them can, and they shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to try it. Same for homosexuals. Some are called but few are chosen, perhaps, or maybe many are called and many of those are chosen. The point is that an “averaged” behavior for a class of people should not be used to deny them rights and opportunities. Otherwise, Norwegians might not be allowed to marry or adopt children. Get it?

            Excuse me for lapsing into flippancy. My own religious up-bringing conditioned me for self-loathing. It took me about half a century to get fed up with it. So I do feel your pain, but I think you may have taken a wrong turn. Don’t panic. And I KNOW you don’t need more guilt heaped upon you. But I really think you did not get the memo.

            The memo? Yes, the one that announced an end to guilt about your sexual orientation; the one that said you have a community of people who will support you in whatever path of authenticity is appropriate for you. I was temperamentally disposed to crave … monogamy (!) from the very beginning, but some men aren’t, and, though I personally think promiscuity is a burden and that it’s profoundly unsatisfying, I don’t rule out that some men can opt for it in good faith. I don’t exactly understand it, but far be it from me to judge.

            Anyway, what you wrote was a great advertisement for gay sex. “Mind-blowing,” you wrote. We don’t hear that much from straight men. True. It can be. But be careful, you’re going to get some of these Catholic bloggers MUCH TOO EXCITED. I have already seen how they’ve flocked to my blog page to see the naked bicyclists photos I posted.

      • Paul Tran

        I presently know a number of gay men and for the majority they are NOT in stable relationships. Most lead a promiscuous lifestyle and, sadly, some have ended up being HIV+ and others with full-blown AIDS. Yet this fact does not seem to deter them.

        • thebentangle

          Strange. I know a number of gay men as well, and the majority ARE in stable relationships. Most lead a monogamous lifestyle, but sadly, all have been the victims of slanders, especially the claim that “homosexual = promiscuous.” Fortunately, this does not deter them from trying to live their lives in truth and love.

          • Tony

            It is from homosexuals themselves that we learn about the staggering promiscuity. My sister is an infectious disease doctor, and knows a great deal about how many contacts you have to run down when a homosexual man shows up …

            • thebentangle

              Tony, what do you think the solution for all that promiscuity might be? If your sister is an epidemiologist, she probably works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is probably aware that the CDC has listed “homophobia, stigma, and discrimination” as one of three “prevention challenges” for HIV in this country. Why not talk to her about this. Get her opinion.

              Also, consider this: When a young straight man in your social circle is known to be promiscuous and at-risk, what sort of life-style change do you and your friends usually urge him to make?

              Ka-Ching! Your advice to him is probably that he should get married and be faithful to his spouse. (No?)

              And when you know that gay men are at much greater risk of HIV than straight ones (which they are), then why, instead of judging them, don’t you support marriage equality laws? The idea of marriage has certainly caught on among gay men in states that have legalized SSM. This has had very positive effects on their lives. Why would you oppose it?

              • Mark

                “The idea of marriage has certainly caught on among gay men in states
                that have legalized SSM. This has had very positive effects on their
                lives..”

                For what.. the last two weeks? We’ll need 20-30 years before any real and credible information will be available. Drug users are happy in the initial stages of their disordered lifestyles also and like homosexuals, over time, the “happiness” leads to diseases and early death.

                • thebentangle

                  Mark, when you write that the homosexual lifestyle leads to disease and death, you are apparently unaware that I am gay, that I am nearly 69, and that my partner and I are both in excellent health. We are not HIV-positive, we have normal blood pressure, low cholesterol, both of us are thin. No sign of diabetes or heart disease. We’ve never smoked. We also still have our hair, so eat your heart out. AND, we know how to cook, keep house, decorate our home, and dress. I’d say we are in much better shape–and style–than the vast majority of men our age. So what can you conclude from that? –That only gay men should have the right to marry?

                  Why do you say we’ll need 20-30 years before we’ll know the effects of SSM? We already have 13 years, and no signs of trouble yet. In fact, more people are married, and divorce rates have fallen in states where SSM has been legalized. Many gay and lesbian couples have been in monogamous relationships for decades and are in their 80s. Comparing them to drug users is really mean-spirited. Where’s your Christian charity?

                  And I expect you’ll keep moving the goal post forward. Thirty years from now, you’ll be saying we need yet another thirty years. Right! What does it take to dislodge your prejudices? They’ve become impacted!

                  • Mark

                    “Mark, when you write that the homosexual lifestyle leads to disease and
                    death, you are apparently unaware that I am gay, that I am nearly 69″

                    Unaware and couldn’t care less. This is a large issue and not about you. Why are homosexual men so self-absorbed?

                    “Where’s your Christian charity”

                    Here it is … charity is love and love is desiring the highest and best for another. The highest and best for another is God’s will. Therefore, out of charity for you and all (including myself), I pray that we die to our pride, rise in humility, turn away from our sins and allow God’s will to be done through us. You are not better than the rest of us — you need to repent too.

                    “And I expect you’ll keep moving the goal post forward..”

                    No, your agenda has a monopoly on that one — back in the 70′s, we were told that homosexuality was no longer to be considered a form of mental illness with no evidence apart from political pressure (hint, they never found that gay gene, did they?) Then in the 80′s we received self-righteous lectures about “tolerance” The 90′s brought the request of acceptance and today we have bullies like Dan Savage demanding America’s embrace of all things gay or he will publicly mock God, the Bible and Christians personally.

                    Goal post moving, indeed.

                    • thebentangle

                      Mark, I realize you do not care about embodied realities, only about disembodied ideas. My allusions to my own life are meant to remind you that when you talk about gays and lesbians, you are talking about real people who probably do not even remotely resemble your disembodied notions of them. If I were to try refuting your generalizations by describing a gay friend of mine, you would probably claim that I don’t really know him well enough. So I’ll tell you about myself, because my claims about myself are impossible for you to credibly refute or dismiss.

                      Okay, you’ve told me what charity is, but you still haven’t explained why it is “charitable” to compare an aging homosexual couple who have been together for decades to drug users and to describe their lives as “disordered?” I maintain that that is very uncharitable of you. It is also sanctimonious, mean-spirited, small-minded, and cruel.

                      And you still haven’t pointed to any sign of the problems that you say will manifest themselves within 20 or 30 years after SSM is legalized. What’s your theory? Do you have any data to support it? Or is it just a hunch? A gut feeling?

                      The evidence is pointing in the other direction, Mark.

                    • Mark

                      “Mark, I realize you do not care about embodied realities, only about disembodied ideas.”

                      You have no idea what I do and don’t care about.. stop being so arrogant and judgmental.

                      “I were to try refuting your generalizations by describing a gay friend of mine”

                      The exception proves the rule it doesn’t make the rule.

                      “I maintain that that is very uncharitable of you”

                      Life on earth is short and life to come eternal. You don’t want charity, you want me to enable you with your mistaken idea that “love” gives you a license to sin.

                      I think you need to stop acting like an adolescent victim and start acting like a man. We all have our crosses to bear and people of character suffer in silence.

                      Now, I’ll be a gentleman and allow you the last word because I know that emotionally damaged / unstable people need to feel as though they are always in control… even in their relationship with God.

                    • thebentangle

                      Mark, your expression, “the exception proves the rule” doesn’t mean quite what you think it means. Here’s a link that explains it: http://www.snopes.com/language/notthink/exception.asp
                      (“The existence of white bears, for instance, does not elevate to truth the statement ‘All bears are brown or black.’”)

                      After telling me I have no idea what you do or don’t care about, you repeatedly tell me what I do and do not care about and what I need: “You don’t want charity, you want me to enable you…” “I think you need to …”

                      And there’s that veiled threat of eternal damnation again. (“Life on earth is short and life to come eternal.”) Sorry, Mark, but it has zero effect on me, though it may give you some consolation to imagine my eternal suffering.

                      “We all have our crosses to bear and people of character suffer in silence,” you write. So, real men suffer in silence, do they? What about women? Can they at least scream when they are being raped?

                      Thanks for letting me have the last word. Very gentlemanly of you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tish-Morgna/100000098075242 Tish Morgna

    ” Do they really want to undermine respect for the law among tens of millions of Americans? Do they really want to imbue in Americans who are, by nature, selfless, civic-minded and community-spirited a new feeling of alienation from and resentment toward their government?”
    If the government in question is hostile enough to said citizens (christians) they would want that hostility so that they could claim to be the victim and demonize those citizens to the point of bloodshed. Evil always tries to take the easy way to victory and make no mistake, many of these evil people would like nothing more than to see christians rounded up in cattle cars and gassed.

  • Pingback: How same-sex "marriage" suffocates freedom, Part II - Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, Third Parties, Left-Wing, Right-Wing, Congress, President - City-Data Forum

  • Tony

    To Ray, below: Yes, I do. I think you are covering your eyes with both hands and pressing hard. People who have studied these things have concluded that NO male homosexuals are “faithful” to their partners, period. The use of porn in that community is universal. What your friends tell you and what they actually do may be two different things, eh? Beware of the Potemkin Village. Men who come out of that lifestyle have plenty to say about it, and I trust their word. I also note that, though the overwhelming majority of male adults are heterosexual, there are at least as many boys who are victims of molestation as there are girls — I am not talking about incest here, but about strangers or people outside the family who seduce your child. Put the two probabilities together. If two percent of the popuation is responsible for half the molestations, that means that a given homosexual man is 50 x 98 / 2 x 50 = 49 times as likely to molest your son as the given heterosexual man is likely to molest your daughter. I’ve recently read a survey, conducted before the current controversy, in which more than a quarter of homosexual men expressed their PREFERENCE for boys as sexual partners; which would suggest that quite a few more than that had had sexual liaisons with boys.
    But beyond all this: it is not right to say that we Catholics believe that a man SHOULD not marry another man. We believe a man CAN not marry another man. It is a physical and biological absurdity.
    Another question: what in the name of all that’s rational does “chastity” before marriage look like, for the homosexual man who wants to “marry”? No rest stops? Come on, now. We might propose a trade for you. We will pretend that pseudogamous relationships are marital, if that is what you want. You for your part will help us revoke no-fault divorce laws; will revive social condemnations of fornication; will revive social condemnations of pornography, lewdness on television, and nudity in movies; will campaign against abortion; will preach not abstinence but purity in the public schools — and so on. It won’t happen, because you are just as committed to several of those breaches of the sixth commandment, or to all of them, as you are to the elevation of sodomy to the level of a sacrament.

    • Ray Olson

      Tony–I’ll ignore your opening insult.

      1) I believe that if you look further into research on child molestation, you will find that repeat offenders, such as Fr. Oliver O’Grady, molest children of both sexes. Moreover, those who study such offenders say that their sexuality is not fully developed or mature, neither heterosexually or homosexually grown-up or adult; hence, to call them either heterosexual or homosexual is erroneous. Therefore, your calculation “that a given homosexual man is 50 x 98 / 2 x 50 = 49 times as likely to molest your son as the given heterosexual man is likely to molest your daughter” is what Huck Finn called a stretcher–of, I will add, gargantuan proportions.

      2) Of course, a man can marry another man or a woman another woman, with or without a religious ceremony. What the current contretemps is about is the civil rights and benefits involved in marriage, not whether a particular church does or does not countenance same-sex marriage–we all know that some churches do and some don’t. Given that we live in a secular polity, religious arguments against or for gay marriage–though I am interested in them myself–should not be decisive.

      3) The tradeoff you propose–”We will pretend that pseudogamous relationships are marital . . . You . . . will help us revoke no-fault divorce laws; will revive social condemnations of fornication; will revive social condemnations of pornography, lewdness on television, and nudity in movies; will campaign against abortion; will preach not abstinence but purity in the public schools — and so on”–is very, very tempting to me, since I am NOT “committed” to ANY of the breaches of the sixth commandment involved in divorce, fornication, pornography, abortion, public lewdness, and abstinence education. (Hey, if it were up to me, I would shut down ALL TV stations, ban ALL other commercial broadcasting, ban ALL but retailer advertising, bulldoze Hollywood into the Pacific, close the public schools, and make disturbing the peace a capital offense–for starters! I have to be content with not patronizing any of the institutions I abominate, which is probably a good thing.) But I think it’s a tradeoff I should not and must not make as long as we live under a secular polity, even if in the meantime I become convinced by religious arguments against gay marriage.

  • Tony

    Ben is lying. That’s that.
    One thing at a time. I said that every homosexual man in this country knows plenty of homosexual men who engage in the behaviors I mentioned. I assume that any reasonable reader would know what type of statement that is — a statement of such broad generality as to be, for all practical purposes, universal. You may find somebody in Podunk, Idaho, who does not (yet?) fit the description, but that is neither here nor there.
    A close friend of mine, a homosexual man, once confessed to me that all homosexual men use pornography. I understand what a plague porn use is, and I know too well that heterosexual men are great users of it, too. But the one kind of compulsion seems to feed on the other. I know plenty of heterosexual men who would ban pornography tomorrow if they could, and who do not use it, and would never use it.
    You will notice that Ben turns what I said about public nudity into a “slide” on naturism and nudist colonies. Do I believe that you have to be something of a pervert to belong to such a thing? Yes, I do. We’re not talking here about showers after a football game, but about seeking to see and show, and being compulsively drawn to it.
    Ben insists that the gay community is not filled chock full of the things I’ve mentioned. That is simply a lie. It isn’t true that every gay man has had hundreds of partners. It is true that many have had, and that those who haven’t, have still had many more than most heterosexuals can even imagine. It is also true that gay men engage in behaviors that most normal men and women would see as destructive and degrading. Perhaps we should tell teenagers in high school of the high incidence of all kinds of strange infections among gay men, so much so that there are physicians who specialize in just those diseases — and I am not talking about AIDS.
    Anyway, here is the thing. A man CANNOT marry another man; it is not physically possible. If we pretend that it is, there is no way we can undo the horrible damage that the sexual revolution has already done. We desperately need to retrace our steps, all of us. We have all a great deal of repenting to do. Not one of us has been unharmed by it. In that sense, what SSA men are doing is low on our list of concerns — very low, except that they are pressing the issue, and they will cost us both our liberties, as the article demonstrates, and any chance we have of returning to sanity before everything about us collapses. If Ben wants to fight against the sexual revolution, fine. If, however, he will admit that he finds nothing wrong with fornication, out of wedlock births, divorce, porn, and all the other miseries, then surely there’s no need to take his arguments seriously here.

    • Tony

      And another thing — why do gay travel agencies specialize in travel to places like Thailand? What’s up with that? The standard line is, “Buddhists are broadminded!” The reality is that there are boy prostitutes everywhere. Businessmen from Korea go to Thailand for the females — and if you find the latter disgusting, you must find the former disgusting too.

      • thebentangle

        Tony, it’s clear that you cannot “see” or even “imagine” the amount of heterosexual prostitution that goes on in Thailand, and that is because you are scapegoating homosexuals. You acknowledge that Korean businessmen go there for the females, but can you ignore that thousands upon thousands of men from the Middle East to Australia also go there for females? Why, instead of blaming homosexuals for the problem, can’t you advocate for measures that will address prostitution? Why single out homosexuals? Well, I already know the answer. It is scapegoating.

        You do not seem to be familiar with the concept of scapegoating, but I would suggest you read up on it, because it is very apparent that you are engaged in it. You are obsessively focused on homosexuality as the incarnation of every imaginable evil and perversion. A psychologist would have a field day with you. You’d best look into this before you embarass yourself big-time.

  • Tony

    And the CDC, like the APA, is not above political pressure. The idea that “homophobia” causes promiscuity among homosexual men is absurd — just go to those places where homosexuals have it all their way, like Seattle and San Francisco. As the behavior has been more and more condoned, it has grown more and more extreme and destructive.
    No, I would not encourage a promiscuous young man to get married. I would encourage him to learn self-control and chastity. Promiscuous young people are not fit yet to be married; they are sick. Again I say, I have not the slightest idea what purity would even mean, for a homosexual man who is acting on those attractions.
    Male homosexuality is NOT very much like what men and women feel for one another (and this is not something that the male homosexual can judge, because it’s out of his line; but it is something that the male heterosexual can judge, because all men feel the need for masculine affirmation). It is not a version of it; it is not even a perversion of it. This is something that most heterosexual women find hard to understand, because it is not a part of their experience. It is a perversion of male friendship, male bonding. If we keep THAT in mind, then the lax attitude toward multiple partners becomes understandable — and also the instability of the relationships, as they are forced to mimic what they are not.

    • thebentangle

      Tony, do you think that the CDC and the World Health Organization and every major social and welfare association in this country in Europe may have succumbed to political pressure coming from 3% of the population? That seems pretty far-fetched to me, but so do most of your notions about homosexuality. Anyway, I’ll leave that to you and the CDC to work out. If you truly want to understand why promiscuity among gay men can be addressed by confronting homophobia, I would suggest you check out the CDC’s site.

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  • dch

    SSM is not going away in the eight states an DC. That is simply the way it will remain unless some great harm materializes as a result that also out weighs the rights of same sex couples to equal treatment under the law. Thus far, in the state of MA with ten years of actual experience with marriage equality no such harms to the civil order. To think otherwise is to ignore reality.

    • misplacedbook

      Define “great harm.”

      • misplacedbook

        Don’t think I am being belligerent with that question….it is an important one, because the goalposts are constantly shifting in this debate, as it has for decades. There will be great harm to the civil order, but not what many people may think. I am thinking in the long term, the future of our Republic. We have two very different visions for America, and people with very different ideas of the world. Can we live together as a nation anymore? That is the question on my mind as far as all of this goes….

        • thebentangle

          Misplacebook, “great harm to the civil order [and to] the future of our Republic” is about as specific as “the End of Civilization as We Know It.” Could you be a little more descriptive? What is going to happen after 20 years of SSM? And why? And how do you know? Do you see any trend lines, any data on divorces, adultery, etc.? Vague predictions of doom are just vague predictions of doom. We just went through the Mayan Calendar thing; can you tell us why this one is any different? Try to be concrete.

      • thebentangle

        Misplacedbook, since “great harm” is something that you, not DCH, expects to result from SSM, so why don’t you tell US what YOU think it is. And while you’re at it, maybe you could offer some concrete examples. I’m sure that if there were any, you would have brought them forward long ago. Or someone on this thread would have done so. And don’t tell me that some lunch counter in Massachusetts was forced by anti-discrimination laws to serve married same-sex couples.

        • misplacedbook

          I don’t know if you noticed, but our country is divided….quite divided. Angrily divided. Approaching 1861 divided. Our legislature and the past 3-4 presidential elections testify to this increasing chasm. Do I think it will graduate to gunfire as it did in the past? I don’t know, I would hope not. I don’t view Same Sex “marriage” as the centerpiece of some sudden collapse of morals…that is nonsense. I view it as another symptom of a process that has been on going for decades, and cannot be blamed on any one person, or thing. We have two very different visions for America….and the “culture wars” are just one front in that battle of ideas. Our Republic was founded with this dualism….Federalist and Anti-Federalist….and from 1789 to the 1840s an uneasy balancing act kept our country together….of course you know the Civil War and all of that happened. That dualism never went away, and we still have it today. The names and ideas change, but the underlying philosophies have not. This isn’t alarmism, this is how it is. Our politics merely reflect what is going on. We are coming apart, as a nation. We may be unified geographically, and send representatives to Congress….but we are no longer unified in any other meaningful way. We don’t agree on what it means to be American, we don’t agree on public morality, we don’t agree on how we should move forward. A House divided, cannot stand. Can we continue together?

          Forcing SSM will not ease the crisis or solve the culture war, it will deepen it and escalate it.

          I have asked this question several times in other posts to you:

          How do we move forward?

          Can we?

          You find our teachings bigoted….so what should be done? We won’t stop professing them….are we to be shunned? relegated to a cultural ghetto, disinvited from the cocktail parties and marginalized?
          Is that a recipe for unity?

          • thebentangle

            Misplacedbook, I am optimistic about the outcome of these cultural quarrels that we’re having, and, though they are painful at times, I believe there will be healing, both in the short term and the long term. True, the Shias and the Sunnis are still fighting over something that happened more than a thousand years ago, the Irish Republicans are still steamed about Cromwell, and there are Southerners who still haven’t gotten over their defeat in the Civil War. On the bright side, however, the Berlin Wall fell almost overnight and, in this country, racial segregation is a thing of the past. In my state and in much of this country, gays and lesbians no longer have to hide themselves and live in fear. These are ways that the world has improved just since I was born.

            I don’t agree with you that same-sex marriage will deepen the cultural divide–at least not over the long run. It will bring us together just as it brings couples together. Over time, those who fear it will realize there is nothing to fear, and it will become normalized, just as racial integration did.

            The Church’s position on homosexuality cannot be sustained without an unacceptable level of damage to its credibility and moral authority. Its staunchest allies on this issue are in countries where ignorance is rife, and medical science has totally repudiated its premise that homosexuality is disordered.

            You ask what will happen to Catholics who continue to channel these teachings? They will continue for a while to find support in their own ranks, and then even that will dwindle, as we are already beginning to see. Voice for the Faithful, The National Catholic Reporter, Hans Küng, and the LCWR are at the gates of the fortress and are running Ethernet cables under the walls.

            The Internet has the highly salutary effect of aerating sites like this one–or in fact any site that attempts to promulgate only one point of view. You’ve noticed what happened here. Hard-line Catholics like yourself kept asking why I was here, as if this were a closed meeting in the basement of the parish church. Hello, it’s the Internet. You’re in the public square.

            But to focus more sharply on your question about being relegated to a cultural ghetto: I don’t think that will happen to you if you are savvy. It needn’t. You will do what my father did, starting in the seventies–he stopped talking like Archie Bunker. He gradually stopped disparaging African-Americans at every opportunity. He wasn’t getting positive feedback for his remarks. I didn’t like them, my brother didn’t like them, our neighbors didn’t like them. He wised up. I think he was racist until the day he died, but he learned to keep the lid on it.

            • misplacedbook

              I never said you were not welcome to join the discussion. What I did do, was ask what your intentions really are….because you previously stated that you want to to “learn about us” but your posts say otherwise. If I were to go onto a website that catered to homosexual couples and started quoting the catechism, that would certainly cause some consternation, wouldn’t it? What would be my intentions in doing that?

              You think it is a question of “fear”….it isn’t. It is opposition to what we believe is offensive to God and his intention for marriage. Profound disagreement is not in the same category as fear….that would be like accusing a Boston Red Sox fan of being “afraid” of the Yankees because they vehemently disagree that they are the better team.

              You say it won’t further divide us, but you seem to be ignoring the seige mentality that has long been setting in….on both sides. It is something that I hate to see….but there it is. We are not Europe…and you assume that peace will set in because people will just accept things…..The Pro-Life movement has never accepted Abortion, and it has been almost 50 years. We have continued to agitate and protest. Do you really think that we will accept SSM either? You seriously underestimate our resolve if you think that.
              You also overestimate the support that those dissenting heterodox groups have….look at their numbers, look at the ages and demographics. Hardly a blueprint for a takeover. No, that ship sailed….we already have a roadmap for a vibrant future….the New Evangelization is under way. No, we won’t get the numbers we got in 1950….but we will go on, because God will never abandon his Church.

              So let me understand what you are saying…..for us to “get along” we should just “shut up” right? That is in essence saying that Church Teaching has no place in the public discourse.

              Let me ask this: Is the Catholic Church a hate group?

              • thebentangle

                Misplacedbook, I’ll try to answer some of your questions:

                I did say that I want to learn more about you, and that is true. You apparently took that to mean that I want to become like you or that I am interested in becoming a Catholic. I do not and I am not. I want to understand better how you think so that I can become more experienced as an activist, which I obviously am. Practice makes perfect, and knowledge of the adversary is essential in any contest of ideas.

                If you were to go to a gay couples website and started quoting the catechism, you’d probably get an earful. But you can be assured that it would not be boring. There’s nothing “wrong” with doing it. Get your point of view out there. Mix it up a bit. It’s healthy.

                And no, I am not saying you “have to” shut up. My father didn’t “have to” shut up about African-Americans, but the world changed around him and people stopped listening to his racist slurs. They were conversation stoppers. He didn’t have to shut up, but he did, because people started to treat him like a bigoted old fool.

                Regarding fear: I have sensed a lot of fear in these conversations. You yourself asked, “Are we to be shunned, relegated to a cultural ghetto, disinvited from the cocktail parties, and marginalized?” This is fear of social death, which, according to psychologists like Ernest Becker, can be worse than the fear of actual death.

                Maggie Gallagher, of NOM fame, has made no secret of this fear of marginalization.

                There’s some other fear as well–and maybe a whole complex of them. Fear of pollution, of uncontrolled sexuality, of being “wrong” about something you always firmly believed, fear of change… The more I talk to you and the others on this site, the better I understand what those fears are. That’s why I said I was here to learn about you.

                You asked if I thought the Catholic Church was a hate group? Well, obviously, Voice of the Faithful is not spreading hate, so I guess the answer would be no.

                The Southern Poverty Law Center defined “hate group” many years ago and have identified groups that fit the definition. Recently, they had no choice but to list the Family Research Council as a hate group because it satisfied the criteria. The FBI also has a working list and a definition of its own.

                It’s probably a good idea to be aware of what those definitions are. Here is what I found on Wikipedia:

                According to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hate groups’ “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the members of the organization.”[1] The Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) definition of a “hate group” includes those having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

            • thebentangle

              Misplacedbook, I have to make a slight revision in what I just wrote you.

              You wrote, “You find our teachings bigoted. So what should be done? We won’t stop professing them. Are we to be shunned, relegated to a cultural ghetto, disinvited from the cocktail parties, and marginalized? Is that a recipe for unity?”

              I responded: “In my state and in much of this country, gays and lesbians no longer have to hide themselves and live in fear.”

              I should have responded: “In my state and in much of this country, gays and lesbians are no longer shunned, relegated to a cultural ghetto, disinvited from the cocktail parties, and marginalized.”

              Just make the change in your copy and we’re set.

              • misplacedbook

                I never implied that I expected you to be like us in the slightest. Your tone was not one of “learning” but of lecturing….you presume to “educate us” on how ignorant we are. That is not a stance of learning, that is a stance of belligerence. You freely admit you are an “activist” and as such are only looking for ammunition to fuel your anti-Catholic bias….you claim to want to uderstand our “fears” only to patronizingly scold us for them. Again, lets drop all pretenses, shall we?
                “It would not be boring?” Why in the world would I go poke a hornet’s nest for fun? I use these forums for actual dialogue, not trolling other people’s websites attempting to fillibuster them with stuff they are only going to curse me for. Time wasting does not serve the Gospel. You tell me, would it bear any fruit at all? Your reply essentially said it wouldn’t.
                For the record, I don’t “fear” marginalization….I expect it. You throw out some psychobabble and talk as if we are just sad, paranoid tinfoil hat wearers. You don’t address any of my points, except to dismiss them as delusional. Again, lets just put it all out on the table and don’t insult our intelligence.
                My conversation with you has been educational for me, in that now I know that for you and others on your side, the only way co-existence will be possible will be for us to stop being who we are…..the very thing that homosexuals wish to break free from themselves. You think forcing us “into the closet” will somehow balance the scales of justice? That we will be able to live together as a people that way? You are saying that social pressure will compel us to silence….because we are medieval and ignorant. Us being cowed into silence is your solution to the conflict….that we surrender, because our views are hateful and wrong, yes?
                You conveniently side stepped my question about the Church being a hate group by mentioning Voice of the Faithful….They are not the institutional Church, ok? You know full well what I am talking about. I think you deflected that question because you didn’t want to answer it. I think because you feel that the Vatican and the hierarchy are no different from Fred Phelps and the Westboro people, right? All anti-gay, homophobic hatemongers, yes?
                You then bring up the Southern Poverty Center and quote their “criteria” which can be stretched like a rubber band to encompass all sorts of groups. Do you not see the problem?
                If viewing us as paranoid, religious fanatics is what it is coming down to, than I guess there is nothing more for me to say in this particular thread of discussion. I have addressed every single point and concern you have raised, take it how you will. On my end, I was looking to see a way for both our sides to move forward together…..neither side being forced to cow or bend to some social pressure. Maybe finding a happy medium, implementing the Libertarian solution to the marriage question and others so that we both can live as we feel we are called to. I would certainly like to see some kind of peaceable arrangement. You can have the last word and I wish you no ill.
                Forcing homosexuals to be quiet and hide who they are made for a miserable existence for you…..remember that feeling the next time you suggest that the same should be done to us.

                • thebentangle

                  Well, there’s nothing like a good row to clear the air.

                  Regarding whether the Church is or is not a hate group: A year or so ago (I don’t remember the details), the Pope issued a letter calling for compassion and respect for homosexuals. So I think the institutional Church has probably covered itself on that score. However, the world is still watching the Vatican on the issue of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, which may come up for a vote early this year. The Pope recently “blessed” the legislator who has been most active in promoting that bill, and he has never explicitly condemned the bill, even when he had a golden opportunity to do so during a meeting with the Ugandan bishops who were also supporting it. Silence can be just as incriminating as words.

                • John200

                  You, misplacedbook, have spoken well. You wasted it on your recent interlocutor, but not on others who may read the thread, if they can get through all the trolling, trolling, trolling. One commenter produced about 40% of the comments in the thread, most of it insane; I’ll leave the record to speak for itself.

                  You spoke the truth about homo”sex”ual activity; the homo”sex”ual troll cannot stand it. So you became the problem, because the homo”sex”ual troll needs to make the truth go away.

                  This is a pattern; your troll has done this before. The first time, it is unbelievable that anyone would twist himself in such knots — at least, it was for me. The second time, it is easy to see. We are under orders to stay simple, and that’s a good thing. When your second time comes, you will see it just the way I do. He recently told me I am obsessed with homo”sex”uals. I reckon he’ll tell you the same soon enough.

                  This is just a game to Bentangle. It is all about himself.

                  Troll on, Mr. Tangle. I know you are still there.

    • Katy

      DCH:
      ”Thus far, in the state of MA with ten years of actual experience with
      marriage equality no such harms to the civil order. To think otherwise is to ignore reality.”

      In fact, SSM in Massachusetts started in May, 2004. The marriage licenses were changed from husband and wife to “Partner A” and “Partner B” then. It is not a good omen for your movement that SSM was imposed on the electorate there. Chief Justice Margaret Marshall was the architect of the Goodridge v.
      Department of Public Health decision (4-3) in 2003. A native of South Africa and married to the former New York Times columnist, Anthony Lewis, her court subverted the will of the people. She decided at an opportune time to step in while a
      “Protection of Marriage Amendment” was prevented from going to voters by the
      legislature. The legislature also prevented any ballot to stop the redefinition of marriage from going to voters afterwards. Marshall was the keynote speaker
      at a state Lesbian & Gay Bar Association fundraising event in 1999 and
      should have recused herself from the Goodridge case.

      In the 2002 election, Massachusetts ranked 49 in states that are lacking in competitive elections, followed only by South Carolina. The last three
      Speakers of the House In Massachusetts have been convicted of felonies. It is
      very difficult to hold lawmakers and unelected, life-tenured judiciary accountable in MA.

      Parents cannot pull their children from class in Massachusetts when issues of homosexuality, sexual orientation or same-sex marriage are to be
      discussed because it could send the message that gays, lesbians, and the
      children of same-sex parents are inferior and, therefore, have a damaging
      effect on those students. The normalizing of transgenderism (including cross-dressing and sex changes) is underway. People are choosing not to put their children in public schools. The bottom line is: Whose schools are they?

      The SSM ideology has spread through propaganda, disinformation, intimidation and lots and lots of money and is about putting the legal stamp of approval on homosexuality and imposing it with force throughout the various social and political institutions of a society that would never accept it otherwise.

      The traditional idea of the family—father, mother, and children, faithful
      and committed to each other for life—came from human nature and the God who
      designed it. Anything that attacks it is “civil disorder.”

      • thebentangle

        Katy, was there some sort of coup d’état in MA? I thought same-sex marriage legalization was done in an orderly way there.

        Your first complaint is that marriage licenses said “Partner A and Partner B” instead of “husband” and “wife.” Well, what would you expect when SSM is legalized? You can’t very well expect that nothing will change. Furthermore, what you see as “harm” I see as just and equitable. And in fact no one was “harmed,” only contraried.

        Your second complaint is about the way in which SSM was legalized. So that’s some kind of procedural issue for you, but at this point it’s largely irrelevant. And again, you have not described a “harm” that resulted from SSM.

        Your third complaint is about efforts of the public schools to protect children from stigmatization. That’s a harm? I don’t think so. I think the harm was done by the stigmatization.

        Your final two paragraphs are simply a rant and do not describe any “harm” resulting from SSM in Massachusetts. In fact, nowhere in your comment did you successfully rebut DCH’s claim.

        Anyone else care to try? Step right up to the mike.

        • Katy

          TheBentAngle:
          My posting sets out facts about when and how same-sex
          marriage came to Massachusetts. Not sure why you think that these are complaints.

          It is important that people understand that our democracy is seriously threatened when four unelected judges in one state can overturn over 200 years of civil law without a vote by the people. As I mentioned earlier, it is very difficult to hold lawmakers and unelected, life-tenured judiciary accountable in MA.

          Blessed John Paul II, in Centesimus Annus, wrote:
          “The Church “values the democratic system inasmuch as it ensures the
          participation of citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the
          governed the possibility both of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate.”

          Gays in our country have the same rights and protections from discrimination as any citizen, plus in some places, added protections under anti-hate crimes legislation.

          The Archdiocese of Boston lists below reasons to protect marriage:

          *Why Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Is Not Discrimination*

          Human rights: Gays in our country have the same rights and protections as any citizen, plus added protections under recently passed anti-hate crimes legislation. Because two people are of one sex and by
          definition cannot be married is recognition of a physical reality, not a loss
          of personal freedom.

          Social justice: Gay marriage is depicted by its proponents as a matter of social justice. It is not necessary to change the institution of marriage to deal with any inequities under the law.

          Political process: Our system of democracy is seriously threatened when four unelected judges in one state can overturn over 200 years of civil law without a vote by the people. This type of governance makes our country no different than the Clergy-led tribunals in Iran today or dictatorships throughout the world.

          Societal good: Our government exists to take care of the welfare of the overall society with the rights of the individual subordinated to the societal good. Traditional marriage is a societal building block, because it supports the procreation and raising of children which benefits our society socially and economically as well as sustains it. Support
          for traditional marriage by our government is no different than our government requiring that all taxpayers support public education; because it is for the societal good.

          Personal freedoms: Much progress has been made in protecting gays from overt discrimination and acts of violence, however, every
          citizen of this commonwealth does not have to accept homosexuality as simply a life choice and the moral equivalent of heterosexuality. This is what acceptance of gay marriage implies and when it is enforced by hate crimes legislation, no one will have the right to say that gay marriage is wrong. As such, the current gay marriage law is an attack on people’s rights of thought and expression.

          200 years of civil law and 2000 years of moral law existed for important reasons.

  • Katy

    Article: “The second justification for restricting the freedoms of those who oppose homosexuality is that of asserting that this freedom has no content except that of hatred and bigotry, or that this freedom amounts to nothing but the equivalent of racism.”

    If Christians do not want to go along with being depicted as “bigots,” “rednecks,” “totalatarian-minded,” “prudes,” and “ignorant” in the U.S., as if they are the straight characters on a burlesque stage, then they might want to get involved in defending marriage.

    Burlesque (ludicrous parody or grotesque caricature of subjects) is synonymous with gay culture. The message of SSM movement like burlesque is “it is useless to resist the temptations of decadence and flesh.”

    Catholics are now being routinely stigmatized by gays. A show toured last year named, “Christmas with the Calamari Sisters.” It was advertised as a “cool yule Christmas show” with holiday tunes about Italian sisters preparing a Christmas menu on a network TV show. Network TV cooking shows are usually clean, right? Instead, what was dished up was a bawdy burlesque comedy ridiculing Christmas and Catholics.

    The so-called Catholic characters, Delphine and Carmela Calamari, are two men in
    drag. We’ll call Delphine, “Naughty Delphine,” because in her “catechism” it is
    a mortal sin not to flirt or have sexual relations with any man that she
    encounters. One of the show’s jokes is that she is actually phobic of the word
    “abstain.” She often reverently blesses herself and then in the bat of
    false eyelashes, irreverently shimmy shakes and scintillates with burlesque
    moves. Naughty Delphine, more focused on her sex addiction than recipes,
    reveals that she wants to be a Playboy bunny. But that is not all she exposes. She has been moonlighting as a burlesque dancer on the side and decides to leave the pots and pans behind for the poles and pasties of burlesque. She performs a striptease act complete with tassled pasties on her giant bosom. Add a portrait of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as part of the scenery and (a certain appendage) jokes galore and you get the idea what this fare is like. During the second half the Nativity scene was rolled out and jokes were made about the Madonna’s virginity

    There is something wrong when gays are allowed to stigmatize other groups but feel
    that their sexual practices should be off limits.

    • thebentangle

      Katy, I’ll take your comment paragraph by paragraph.

      In P1, what is the “article” from? It’s hard to know what to think about it unless you cite the source or put it in context for us.

      In P2, you’ve assumed that all Christians oppose marriage equality. (“Christians” = “defending marriage.”) This is not true.

      In P3, you say that burlesque is synonymous with gay culture. It is not and never has been. Go to Wikipedia and read about the history of burlesque. Didn’t you ever see “Some Like it Hot,” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon? I suppose you sat in the audience with your arms crossed, looking like Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) in The Wizard of Oz.

      However, gays happen to be exceptionally talented at burlesque. That is one of our gifts.

      In P4, you write that Catholics are now being routinely stigmatized by gays. I think “lampooned” might be a more fitting word. “Stigmatizing” is what you do to us.

      In P5, you assume that the two actors who play Delphine and Carmela are gay men in drag. Are they? In the movies and on TV, drag queens rarely play themselves. It’s not a rule. It’s just that not many Hollywood actors are “out,” and so studios use straight talent. The movie “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,” the three drag queens were played by Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo. None of them is gay.

      So what you saw may not have been gay burlesque at all, but just a lampoon written and performed by straight men.

      Why would anyone make fun of Catholics? Because they’re very serious and often very sanctimonious. Read about the history of Mardi Gras and the history of popular theater (street theater) in Europe. The people lampooning the Church were themselves Catholics.

      In your final paragraph, you suggest there is a double standard and that it would be off limits for Catholics to make fun of gays. My guess is that if a Catholic wrote a really clever lampoon of gays, we’d probably laugh at it. We’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves. Gays lampoon each other all the time.

      • Katy

        TheBentAngle:
        “In P1, what is the “article” from? It’s hard to know what to think about it
        unless you cite the source or put it in context for us.”

        See the excerpt in the article above.

        “In P2, you’ve assumed that all Christians oppose marriage equality. (“Christians”= “defending marriage.”) This is not true.”
        My statement suggests that if Christians don’t support and approve of homosexuality/SSM, that they will be ostracized and ridiculed – a strategy that has already been used as noted in the article above. This is also a technique to cause division among Christians.

        “In P3, you say that burlesque is synonymous with gay culture. It is not and
        never has been. Go to Wikipedia and read about the history of burlesque. Didn’t you ever see “Some Like it Hot,” with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon? I suppose you sat in the audience with your arms crossed, looking like Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) in The Wizard of Oz.”
        Burlesque is synonymous with gay culture to me because I lived in San
        Francisco but you are right, the genre is not exclusive to any one group or place.

        “Some Like it Hot” is a screwball comedy that features the mistaken identities element–men cross dressing. The men are hiding from the Mafia. This genre is closely associated with romantic comedy and slap stick.

        Burlesque is something different. In fact, it is not romantic but sexualizes its content and characters and is inherently objectifying. The genre aims to turn social norms (repression of sexuality) on their head. Sexual ethics are a defining characteristic for Catholics. Important Catholic religious symbols/people were incorporated into scenes and as a backdrop in the Calamari Sisters show. The advertising falsely portrayed it as a Christmas comedy and ignored the major conflict of the show—that one of the sisters wants to be a stripper. It took the concept of Catholic Italian culture, family, food and Christmas and turned it into the whore sister’s “liberating” quest to be a pole dancer.

        I remind you of the curmudgeon, Ms. Gulch character in the Wizard of Oz? You do have to admit that she made a big impression in her roles during the short time that she was onscreen! However, I would have to say that I’m more like Toto—it is he who escapes from the Wicked Witch’s lair to fetch the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion who eventually free Dorothy. Toto also reveals the Wizard’s (your part if you want it) dark secret, and brings the film to its happy conclusion.

        “In P4, you write that Catholics are now being routinely stigmatized by gays.
        I think “lampooned” might be a more fitting word. “Stigmatizing” is what you do
        to us.”
        There is a distinction between the sinner and the sin. Every person has
        dignity. Jesus did not throw stones nor should we. He also did not condone sin but asked for a turning away from sin.

        “In P5, you assume that the two actors who play Delphine and Carmela are gay men in drag. Are they?”

        Yes, the actors Jay Falzone and Stephen Smith are gay.

        “Why would anyone make fun of Catholics? Because they’re very serious and
        often very sanctimonious. Read about the history of Mardi Gras and the history of popular theater (street theater) in Europe. The people lampooning the Church were themselves Catholics.”

        The original intent of Mardi Gras has always been to indulge, within the
        context of Catholic morality and reason, the last day before the start of the
        Lenten season. Your generalized statement about the Catholic community being very serious is quite inaccurate. Bob Hope, Jay Leno, Alec Baldwin, Mel Gibson, Bing Crosby are just a few Catholics that defy this stereotyping. Oscar Wilde reconciled with the church on his death bed. This is not an unusual occurrence. Many artists have lampooned the church but with
        different intentions. You seem to have been put off by some of the humor/lampooning on these blogs yourself? When Catholics are raunchy and use wit you don’t like it and then you turn around and call them “very sanctimonious”—which is it?

        “In your final paragraph, you suggest there is a double standard and that it
        would be off limits for Catholics to make fun of gays. My guess is that if a
        Catholic wrote a really clever lampoon of gays, we’d probably laugh at it.
        We’re pretty good at laughing at ourselves. Gays lampoon each other all the
        time.”

        It would have to be “really clever” for you to laugh at it if it
        came from outside the gay community? You might consider lowering the bar a little there. It is good to be able to laugh at oneself. Erma Bombeck, a Catholic: “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

        • thebentangle

          Katy, you’re quite right about one thing at least: I did fall into the trap of generalizing about Catholics’ senses of humor, or lacks thereof. Apologies. And thanks for reminding me about all the famous Catholic comedians.

          I am trying to think of a lampoon directed towards gays, and the only ones that come to mind are done by gays themselves. There are lots of those, and they sell well in the gay community. You mentioned some lampoons in this blog thread? Can you remember which ones they were?

          There is of course a huge difference between lampooning people and seriously suggesting that they are by nature sinister or sick. American and British movies were full of such stereotypes until the 80s. Remember “The Children’s Hour” with Shirley McLaine and Katherine Hepburn?
          What do you think of films that are very critical of the Catholic Church? Or do you judge them on their merits? HBO is about to release one called “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God.” Here’s the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSstCtWl54w

          • Katy

            TheBentAngle:

            Catholics thank you for the apology.

            The Children’s Hour is a dark story and the troublemaker girl, a little
            devil. Disturbing situation in the Mea Maxima Culpa film. “And if anyone
            causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better
            for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck.” (Mark 9:42)

            I stay away from conspiracy books/films like the Da Vinci Code. Looking forward to seeing Les Miserables.

  • Susan Rosenthal

    I wonder if the writer believes that people who think heterosexual relations are abnormal and objectionable should have the right to deny services to heterosexuals.

    • Augustus

      If most people shared the view that heterosexual relations were
      objectionable the result would be the extinction of the human race. Only
      a society with a death wish would take this psychologically disturbed
      view seriously. What is being denied is the claim of gay activists that civil unions are marriages. This isn’t about rights. It’s about the demand for social approval of homosexual behavior. “Gay marriage” activists who claim otherwise are being disingenuous.

    • Katy

      Susan:
      Gays in our country have the same rights and protections as any citizen, plus in some places, added protections under anti-hate crimes legislation.
      The Archdiocese of Boston listed reasons to protect marriage:

      *Why Opposing Same-Sex Marriage Is Not Discrimination*

      Human rights: Gays in our country have the same rights and protections as any citizen, plus added protections under recently passed anti-hate crimes legislation. Because two people are of one sex and by definition cannot be married is recognition of a physical reality, not a loss of personal freedom.

      Social justice: Gay marriage is depicted by its proponents as a matter of social justice. It is not necessary to change the institution of marriage to deal with any inequities under the law.

      Political process: Our system of democracy is seriously threatened when four unelected judges in one state can overturn over 200 years of civil law without a vote by the people. This type of governance makes our country no different than the Clergy-led tribunals in Iran today or dictatorships throughout the world.

      Societal good: Our government exists to take care of the welfare of the overall society with the rights of the individual subordinated to the societal good. Traditional marriage is a societal building block, because it supports the procreation and raising of children which benefits our society socially and economically as well as sustains it. Support for traditional marriage by our government is no different that our government requiring that all taxpayers support public education; because it is for the societal good.

      Personal freedoms: Much progress has been made in protecting gays from overt discrimination and acts of violence, however, every citizen of this commonwealth does not have to accept homosexuality as simply a life choice and the moral equivalent of heterosexuality. This is what acceptance of gay marriage implies and when it is enforced by hate crimes legislation, no one will have the right to say that gay marriage is wrong. As such, the current gay marriage law is an attack on people’s rights of thought and expression.

  • anon

    The “gays” can rationalize all they want. What is wrong will always be wrong.

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