What I Meant to Say: A Case for Same-Sex Marriage

joseph_bottum

 Editor’s Note: A friend passed on this manuscript written by someone named “Foggy Bottom,” which purports to be the notes or an alternative draft of a recent piece, with a similar title, which has received some attention by one “Jody Bottum” in CommonwealWe cannot vouch for its authenticity, but in light of its curious content and approach, we think that our readers will find it of exceedingly great interest.

¤  ¤  ¤

I had a friend named Jim Watson.  We used to play bluegrass music together on street corners in New York City.  When we did, Jim used to shout loudly to people passing by, using very crude and explicit language about his gay sexual practices.  That didn’t bother me.  I liked playing music with him.  (And I’m cool because of that.) But Jim became increasing anti-Catholic over time, showing intense and irrational hatred, first towards the hierarchy, and then towards all Catholics.  That didn’t bother me either; I still wanted to play old-timey Americana tunes with him.

Last time I was in New York, Jim did not return my phone call about playing music together.  I think I have lost him as a friend.  Actually, no one in the arts circles of New York wants to be my friend. The reason is that I am a Catholic and therefore stuck with a Church that annoyingly keeps opposing same-sex marriage.  Frankly, the Church right now is just a big embarrassment to me and a huge rock around my neck.

So, the purpose of this essay is to say that I wish the Church would make life easier for me.  I know that that sounds like special pleading and weakens my case, but hey … if I can re-frame the question, not in terms of what embarrasses me, but rather in terms of what will make the Church more effective, then no one will notice.

I don’t really have any arguments either, but I’m a damn good writer, and I think if this piece gets enough attention then I just might embarrass the Church leadership into agreeing with me, or at least enough Catholics so that no one will connect me anymore with the remaining fools.

Now, on to my non-arguments. I begin with a Bald Assertion: Although all of Western law, foundational decisions of the Supreme Court such as its original polygamy decision, and powerful dissents by Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, are all against court-imposed same-sex marriage—and although I am not a constitutional jurist myself, and haven’t even read those dissenting opinions, or any of the legal briefs—still, I say that THE EQUITIES ARE ALL ON THE SIDE OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE. NO ONE HAS EVER GIVEN A SINGLE COHERENT JURISPRUDENTIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST IT. NO PRINCIPLED LEGAL VIEW CAN RESIST IT.  And if you continue to doubt this, then, superb writer that I am, I will be able to find even other ways of stating the same un-nuanced point, until you finally acquiesce in it.

It’s very important for my purposes that you accept this point, because, you see, as a writer, my goal at the start is to play on the ignorance of my young readers especially and make them feel embarrassed for believing in marriage as solely between a man and a woman.  Ultimately I wish to undermine that conviction, or at least to lead them to accept the courts’ and my distinction between “marriage” and “civil marriage.”  And so, I want them to feel—maybe for the first time—that they are being grossly inequitable, unfair, unprincipled, fundamentally illegal, and basically un-American if they oppose same-sex marriage.

It’s a bold gambit, to be sure, yet it’s very likely to succeed, because after all a young Catholic without much experience of the world—or any poorly catechized layperson, for that matter—will feel that if a former editor of First Things can say these things so boldly, or if they are printed without correction in Commonweal, then they have to be true.  Why would a responsible writer say these things unless they were true?

(And please do not try to embarrass me in turn. Go along with me here by passing over in silence God’s law and the traditional natural law, which I deliberately have chosen not to mention at this point, or, for that matter, refined debates about whether the Founders were Enlightenment figures who wished to found a polity based only on principles of fairness and equality.  These considerations would detract from the simplicity of what I am saying, and the Bald Assertion approach is effective only if what is asserted is extremely simple, or, rather, simplistic.  There is an essential connection between my manner and my message.)

My second non-argument is guilt by association.  The strategy here is to get a Catholic to see himself or herself from the point of view of a Catholic hater.  Take some sheltered Catholic who still thinks that Bing Crosby as Father O’Malley represents how the average American looks at the Church—some simple person who has a native trust and respect for his pastor and bishop, or maybe who has viewed the hierarchy simply in relation to the great Popes we have had in living memory—and rub his face in the fact that because of the priestly scandals, there are lots of people who despise the Church, see it as a font of prurience and hypocrisy, and believe that the Church is exquisitely unsuited, from a PR point of view, from making public pronouncements about sexual morality.  “Oh my gosh, you mean not everyone thinks that Catholics are the good guys?!”—I want to play on a reaction like that.

Naturally I am presuming that this person knows nothing about the hatred and persecution of Catholics in the Reformation, which was similarly in some sense a reaction to widespread, prior immorality in the Church.  I am presuming he knows nothing about the Know Nothing movement or other longstanding sources of anti-Catholicism.  I want him to come to regard the animus against Catholics today as a new thing, for which the hierarchy is largely to blame.

You see, I want to set Catholics against the hierarchy here, because I think the hierarchy is going in a bad direction.  That is why I am representing opposition to same-sex marriage as something that originates with the hierarchy.  You will note that cagily I say nothing about ordinary Catholic mothers and fathers, attempting to found a family, and what kind of culture they want their children to grow up in.  I say nothing about the idea that the primary concern of the Catholic layperson is the correct ordering of the domain of the secular.  It suits my purposes better to focus on politics and policy, and to make the bishops the main movers.  (But of course I know that that many ordinary Catholics oppose same-sex marriage too: that is also why I am writing this piece.)

There might be a remaining doubt among my readers about whether the same-sex marriage movement, or at least hatred of the Church as arising from that movement, has any relationship to historical anti-Catholicism.  But my readers will be too ignorant to form a judgment on this.  So I can just disarm them by saying that, if someone could really show that the movement has that origin, then “to hell with it!”—And then I’ll just leave the point there.  I won’t say that it does have that origin; and I won’t deny it.  I’ll simply say that, if someone can really show that it does, then I can no more support that movement than they can.  And then I’ll subtly move on to my next non-argument.

My third non-argument is refutation through changing the subject.  I am a conservative, and, even though I am publishing in Commonweal, some of my readers may be conservatives as well, at least in the wider blogosphere.  In any case, the Catholic Church is “morally conservative.” So I need to raise the objection that it is actually profoundly anti-conservative for me to favor such a radical program of social re-engineering as same-sex marriage: no culture has ever embraced same-sex marriage; every culture has intuitively sensed the connection between marriage, reproduction, and the survival of civilization; so how can a conservative reasonably support it?  That’s a good objection, and, frankly, I have no answer to it.  I’ll just change the subject, then: My friend Jim Watson was a Democrat.  There are some Republicans who are gay activists.  And CPAC disinvited me from their annual convention. (Boo hoo!)

Now at this point let me pause and tell you how grateful I am that I do not have much of a paper trail of writing against the gay rights movement or same-sex marriage.  This is a relief to me, because I would have no hope of Jim Watson being my friend again, or any of those gracious and magnanimous guys in the New York City arts community, if I did.  Moreover, I can say with complete believability that, judging from my history of publications, there is very little to prevent someone from drawing the conclusion that I always knew that same-sex marriage was American, and that opposition to same-sex marriage profoundly un-American.

But I do need to recant a couple of things.  First, I want to apologize to the world, and especially to the BBC and David Boaz, for once using the word “homosexuals” instead of “gays” in a little piece I published in the Washington Times in 2011 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the BBC miniseries on Brideshead Revisited.  This shows how un-sensitive I was, even only a few years ago.

Second, I kinda sorta want to recant the help I gave Dave Coolidge.  I helped to raise money to support Dave’s work in defense of marriage.   I don’t really want to recant, because Dave was a kind of saint who died of brain cancer at a young age, in 2002, fighting same-sex marriage until the end.  However, back then, I never would have said, as I see so clearly now:  “DAVID, YOU HAVE NEVER GIVEN A SINGLE COHERENT JURISPRUDENTIAL ARGUMENT AGAINST IT. NO PRINCIPLED LEGAL VIEW CAN RESIST IT.”  He certainly thought that he had, and that it could. Poor schmuck; he went to his early death pointlessly fighting a lost cause that did no favors to the Church.  (Yes, I’d probably lose Dave’s friendship now, but what really exercises me is no longer strumming the banjo with Jim Watson.  A person is judged by his enemies, after all.)

I was tricked into helping Dave because in those days I was under the influence of W.H. Auden’s poetics, and, you see, Auden hated organized homosexuality, calling it “the Hominterm.”  (So you can see that I am giving you a true recantation here, not something postured, because I am indeed admitting that back then, like Auden, I was motivated by hatred.  At the same time I’m trying to excuse myself by hiding under Auden’s mantle.)  Yep, that explains it. Also, René Girard made me do it—after all, he taught me to be suspicious of those who try to excuse themselves with false claims of victimhood!

Poor schmuck, that David Coolidge!  But at the time I was one of those who “remain faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid,” as the great Nietzsche said. (Another frank admission of my homophobia, that!)

Thank God, too, that when I was editor of First Things, I was led as if by divine providence to avoid the topic in my editorial choices!  Could you imagine if the journal had taken a clear and strong-minded direction on this kind of thing back then—if it hadn’t been so controlled by my own avoidance tactics, and my dishonesty—what a very different reputation I might have now!  Not a reputation, I assure you, that I could easily overturn by an essay such as this present one!

But really the main thing I need to recant is that I signed the Manhattan Declaration.  I regret doing so very much, because it was so dreadfully written by Robby George. (Not that he cannot write at all: one of his books, published back in 1995, did have real skill.)  Artful writers simply cannot sign declarations which are not written with the artfulness that characterizes their own work (and so we find that generally we cannot sign declarations at all).  Let it be clear that I never wish to be associated again with writing that is turgid, politically clumsy, and strangely disorganized!!!

Conceptually, too, the Declaration was a disaster.  It very crudely compared contemporary America to the decline of Ancient Rome.  Well, one automatically loses the argument if one does that!  (Psst—if you’ve read Bernard Bailyn and know that the Founders were fond of comparing corrupt governments to the decline of Ancient Rome, then would you please keep mum about that?!  Thank you.  So much of the craft of good writing, you know, depends on this kind of artfulness.)  But can you imagine that the Declaration lumped together the pro-life movement with defense of traditional marriage, and then added to these two the issue of religious liberty?!  Those three issues are about as related to one another as a small weed, a giant sequoia, and an umbrella. (In case you did not catch the comparison, the family as the basic cell of society is the small weed.)  Of course, after Obamacare and the HHS Mandate it is even clearer how absurd that all was.

Let’s turn at last to the actual intellectual questions raised by same-sex marriage.  This means turning to a papal encyclical.  Pope Francis writes in Lumen Fidei that the family is the “first setting in which faith enlightens the human city” (section 52). Well, that does not help my argument at all.  I quote it just because that is the sort of thing that a Catholic does.

Oh, so what was I saying?  Oh, yes, I have a Grand Theory of intellectual history which, I am convinced, is so important and so true, that on its basis we should stop opposing same-sex marriage.  (Yes, of course, this implies that I am more convinced of my theory than of the plain truth that the natural family is the basic cell of society.  But that is the nature of Grand Theories.)  My theory is that marriage was enchanted, until the sexual revolution, or maybe only until divorce became legal.  But Francis Bacon denied any enchantment of reality, and Diderot did too, because he wanted to strangle kings with the entrails of priests.  The Supreme Court has recognized the existence of enchantment, but only privately: they have held, and all the equities say, that each person should be permitted to define his own concept of mystery. This notion of mystery from the Supreme Court is so powerful, that it can re-enchant anything whatsoever, no matter how gritty or repugnant it may at first seem.  Catholicism is all about enchantment. Therefore, it follows, Catholics should support same-sex marriage.

In closing, I want to warn you in advance not to pay attention to other leaders, besides the bishops, who can be expected to oppose me, namely, the philosophers of the “New Natural Law,” such as John Finnis, Germain Grisez, and Robby George.  These august thinkers actually hold that my theory of enchantment is largely nonsense.  But do not listen to them. They try to offer in its stead only clear, rational principles, which they use to undergird legal arguments. But theirs is merely a “thin” theory of natural law, which, besides, has persuaded no one.  Catholics should favor instead a “thick” theory of natural law, especially soupy and obscure versions, like my own.  It does not matter whether anyone would ever find this “thick” kind of theory persuasive, and it does not matter whether my “thick” theory can win back the good opinion of elite culture towards the Church: it is my Grand Theory, and it is true.  Whatever political disputes we as Catholics may have with one another about how to proceed as regards civil marriage, when it comes to the battle over thick and thin versions of natural law, one would never be justified in capitulating!!

So then, stop trying to defend marriage, and stop trying to shore up the natural family in law, public policy, and education!  I hope that you have seen how crystal clear it is that you would be spending your time much better, and making my life a lot easier, if you turned your attention instead to giving large capital gifts to charity, the evangelization of Asia, and facing martyrdom by preaching Christian morality in other countries!  Now there’s a coherent program for you: my vision of Christian discipleship is nothing at all like a weed, a giant sequoia, and an umbrella!

Editor’s note: Pictured above is Joseph Bottum, author of the Commonweal piece on same-sex marriage that inspired Dr. Pakaluk to write this satire.

Foggy Bottom

By

Michael Pakaluk, the author of this satire, is Professor of Philosophy and Chairman at Ave Maria University. He earned his doctorate in philosophy at Harvard University and is the author of six books.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    The kind of sleight of hand in which Mr Bottom engages is central to the case for redefining marriage. It consists in focusing attention on the couple and away from children

    In most countries, the civil code contains no formal definition of marriage, but generations of jurists have found a functional definition in the rule that that a child conceived or born during the marriage has the husband for its father. This rule goes back at least to the Roman jurist Paulus – “is est pater quem nuptiae demonstrant” (marriage point out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1]

    In 2006, this led the Pécresse Commission to declare, “The link between marriage and filiation is so close that the question of making marriage accessible is inseparable from that of making adoption and medically assisted conception accessible. This link was acknowledged by almost all witnesses, whether they were in favor of or opposed to developments in this area.” In this, they were prescient; the recent legislation in France does authorize both SSM and joint adoption by same-sex couples. Indeed, it is a fact that every jurisdiction that has introduced same-sex marriage has also permitted human gametes to be treated as articles of commerce or tolerated a market in babies, bespoke or prêt-à-porter through surrogate gestation, assisted reproduction and joint adoption by same-sex couples.

    We should do nothing and permit nothing that deliberately deprives any child of the right to both a father and a mother. That is what the battle over SSM is really about and the reason why, in France, we have seen Catholic priests, Islamic jurists and secular humanists sharing a common platform in opposition to it.

    • Percy Gryce

      What bothered me most was his claim that “There is no coherent jurisprudential argument against it—no principled legal view that can resist it.” That is, as a matter of simple fact, untrue. Within the last decade the liberal supreme courts of New York, Washington State, and Maryland–all states that later adopted SSM by democratic processes–all upheld traditional marriage on rational-basis grounds as furthering responsible procreation:

      Hernandez v. Robles, 855 N.E.2d 1 (N.Y. 2006).
      Andersen v. King County, 138 P.3d 963 (Wash. 2006).
      Conaway v. Deane, 932 A.2d 571 (Md. 2007).

      That these decisions have gone down the memory hole can be explained only by willful ignorance.

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        The jurisprudential argument is really summed up by the quotation from Paulus that I cited

        (1) Mandatory civil marriage, makes the institution a pillar of the secular Republic, standing clear of the religious sacrament (2) The institution of republican marriage is inconceivable, absent the idea of filiation – the rule that the child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father – enshrined, not in Church dogma, but in the Civil Code (3) The sex difference is central to filiation..

        This led the French courts to conclude that ““specific and non-discriminatory character was the result of the fact that nature had limited potential fertility to couples of different sexes… Clearly, same-sex couples whom nature had not made potentially fertile were consequently not concerned by the institution of marriage. This was differential legal treatment because their situation was not analogous”

        • smokes

          By legislative fiat or judicial dictatorship, the Left WILL destroy the family and replace it with the collective. it starts with murdering the individual in utero and progresses to euthansia. God has to die first, though, replaced by our ruling ninnies.

  • Steven Jonathan

    Well done Dr. Pakaluk!
    Very funny, but Foggy Bottum’s soggy thinking is permeating a certain kind of sort of conservative and we are left with a real problem of dissent within Holy Mother Church on this increasingly convoluted issue of “same-sex-marriage.”
    I am in fear for my children and the kind of filth that will be normalized and even celebrated in their generation. There is indeed a very grave crisis of fatherhood.

    • Newark

      Yes, is it true that certain words will be removed from dictionaries world wide. Words such as Sodomy, pervert, perversion …fill in those I’ve missed.

      • smokes

        Normal?

      • roxwyfe

        Other words that will need to be removed are: deviant, abnormal, disgusting, unnatural, and shameful (can’t have any shame, now can we?). And most importantly the word SIN must be removed from everyday language. No such thing any more, right??? Right??

        • eponymous1

          Yes, exactly right!

        • Bono95

          And Bad, Evil, Pedophile, Disorder, Adultery, Fornication, Man, Woman, Boy, Girl, and all other gender-specific words . . .

          • Bono95

            White, Caucasian, Anglo-Saxon, Religion, Christian, Catholic, Church, Heaven, Hell, Purgatory . . .

      • tim

        Retard. As in every liberal I know is a retard.

  • Pay

    Well done.

  • grzybowskib

    Haha! This is the best satire I’ve read in a while! Love it! :)

  • Jo the Housewife

    Brilliant. There are lots of other things we fight that could be based on these same arguments…and satire seems to make it so much clearer without “offending.” The sad thing is I have heard people on the left actually sound this way, and be sincere! Listen to the Progressive station on Sirius XM… Complete Utopians in Denial…

    • Bono95

      That’s a bit unfair to “real” Utopians. They only had heterosexual marriages, and every household had to have no less than 20 people. If you didn’t have enough, the government would give you more people from households that had more than 20. But yes, such a societical structure (on a much more restrictive level) is what the progressives want. :-/

  • Florin S.

    Aug. 28th…I have read some of Mr. Bottom’s work which I find extremely tedious…he had been promoting his Christmas story over and over so I bought it and read it…and could not believe how utterly banal it was…now he seems to be trying for leftist views perhaps in the hopes that this will gain him some readers…not working!

    • MarkRutledge

      “Changing the subject” has been covered.

  • smokes

    Great satire. Find out who murdered the “natural law” and we’ll know the culprits. They’re covered with blood (other people’s), so they should be easy to finger. The Catholic Church is their only obstacle left, dazed. One more putsch should do it.

    • Bono95

      “The culprits will be covered with other people’s blood.”

      They will indeed. Especially the guy mentioned in the article who wished to strangle kings with the entrails of priests. :-P

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  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    I am reminded of Ronald Mnox’s reflection,

    When suave Politeness, temp’ring bigot Zeal,
    Corrected, “I believe,” to “One does feel.”

  • jjalsevac

    Absolutely brilliant. Pretty much sums up every thought I had while reading Bottum’s peace.

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  • eponymous1

    Many Catholics who want to be compassionate and fair to “gays” appear not to realize the the philosophical underpinning of the “same sex marriage” argument contains two serious errors, both of which fundamentally undercut the basis for human morality, and the reason for the existence of the Catholic Church itself.

    The homosexual lobby has argued that because the desires and attractions that lead them to homosexual behavior are “not chosen” but somehow innate and immutable, the attractions and behaviors are therefore self-justifying. These inclinations and behaviors, then, are not only perfectly acceptable, but any attempt to TRY TO CONTROL those inclinations or curb the behaviors, is injurious and wrong.

    This argument, which could be applied to virtually any desire, inclination or behavior, jettisons the entire framework of human moral behavior, which assumes that we do not choose all our inclinations, that many of them will be directed toward evils or immoral actions, and that we nevertheless must not indulge the behavior.

    The error is compounded and broadened by morphing a group based around inclinations and behaviors into an identity. This second “error” places homosexuality under the rubric of “civil rights,” transforming moral opposition to an intrinsically disordered appetite into an animus against PERSONS, and placing the moral objector into the role of intolerant bigot. Both these errors 1) that our appetites are immutable and self-justifying, and 2) that our sexual inclinations constitute a personal identity, are implicit in the term “gay.”

    Catholics can argue about the most prudent way, politically or personally, to oppose the promotion of homosexuality in our society; we cannot throw in the towel, as Mr. Bottum has, and declare that we can accommodate it. Even less can we endorse the redefinition of marriage, as this effectively redefines the entire Catholic theology of the body, the very idea of human morality, and of sin and salvation.

  • roxwyfe

    I think is a brilliant piece of satire, but, unfortunately, hits far too close to home to the way a lot of people in this country really look at the issue. The homomafia would like nothing better than for this kind of fuzzy thinking to become the norm in society. If they can turn black into white and trees into grass, then getting people to accept their deviant behavior will be simple.

    In the current state of our society, how you “feel” is more important than truth. This is just a continuation of the 13th Commandment coined during the sexual revolution in the 1960s – If it feels good do it, and if it doesn’t feel good, you’re not doing it right.

  • Charles Lewis

    Very good, Michael. You nailed it. I think Joseph Bottum is going to regret taking the stand he did. I won’t be surprised if he revises his thinking. I hope he does. Hate to have a good Catholic voice take the easy way out.

    • Art Deco

      Bottum is a literature maven. He was employed as a contributor to First Things, but his primary employment was with The Weekly Standard, a secular publication owned by Rupert Murdoch.

      The thing is, with the failure of the Catholic colleges and religious orders, the Church just does not have a deep bench anymore. It is impossible to imagine someone with the vigor and intellect of Ralph McInerney emerging in the current environment. Fr. Neuhaus had four deputies over the period running from 1982 to his death in 2009. One retired in 1988, one retired in 2004 (apparently dispirited), one turned out to be a fraud, and the last was Bottum (no chest).

      Bottum may or may not regret this. He is 52 years old and has few excuses for lacking a secure understanding of the way things should be. What he has revealed of himself is that there was less there than met the eye.

      • Cogito22

        Perhaps there never was any there to be had in his case.

  • seanragan

    It all boils down to the 1st Amendment – will it be further marginalized by Gay Marriage as a federal constitutional right? If Gay Marriage is a federal constitutional right then the Church is socially pathological, dangerous, and harmful to civilization – If the Church chooses to teach and promote and advocate exclusivity of traditional marriage.

    If opposition to Gay Marriage (as a federal constitutional right) is the same thing as hate filled bigotry similar to racism and segregation then the 1st Amendment rights to the Church (Free Speech and Religious Liberty) might have to be restricted and marginalized similar to all the restrictions and regulations of the 2nd Amendment…for protecting the culture from further harm by bigoted religion.

  • MMC

    Catholics were born for combat, per a recent Pope. The toleration of an intrinsic evil is in itself an intrinsic evil. So to give up the fight is giving up our very identity as Catholics. Thankfully the first Catholic Christians did not share the view of Mr Bottum of letting the enemy take ground. The pagans (just like today’s pagans) thought Christians were loony…things haven’t changed and our approach i.e. evangelism should not change either. It worked 2000 years ago and will work again. But it will take us totally surrendering our emo, comfy, socially accepted, lukewarm, go along to get along lives and fighting for Christ with every breath we take. There has always been an argument against “gay marriage” but the “Church of Nice” doesn’t want to speak the truth about the disordered, diseased and perverse homosexual behavior. The Church has and will always have an argument for She is rooted in reality and truth, worshiping the God who created it. Natural Law says it all. And it’s also time we took the offensive with the “gay agenda” and stop being emo wusses when they call us silly names like “bigot” and “homophobe”. If fighting evil makes me a bigot, then I am proud to be one. Thank you for the satire Mr. Pakaluk…may the Lord remove the veil from ALL of our eyes so that we can do our part and step into the fray of the battle for souls. God bless~

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  • hombre111

    Skip the satire and go over to Commonweal and read the real article. No dark angel will swoop. Make some comments there. But be careful, the folks at Commonweal set a pretty high standard for intelligent, respectful discourse.

    • UAWildcatx2

      Commonweal and “intelligent, respectful discourse” together in a sentence is pretty funny. I’ll have to tell my friends.

    • Art Deco

      A little gem from Fr. Neuhaus, 10 years ago:

      • Once again, Commonweal dismisses as simplistic those who
      say that the answer to the infidelities revealed by the Catholic sex
      abuse scandals is fidelity. This time it comes in the form of a very
      long (for Commonweal) article by New Testament scholar Luke
      Timothy Johnson, “Sex, Women & the Church: The Need for Prophetic
      Change.” Johnson describes the intact Catholicism of his childhood fifty
      years ago and recounts the turbulent changes, both in Church and
      culture, that threw everything into confusion. “By the late 1960s, while
      awaiting a decision that many thought could reasonably go only toward
      approval of birth control, American Catholics found themselves caught up
      in a cultural revolution with little moral guidance.” It would be more
      accurate to say that many, supported by an orchestrated campaign of
      dissenting theologians, rejected the clear moral guidance that was
      given. “It was at this moment,” writes Johnson, “that American
      Catholicism began to become, in effect, the largest mainline Protestant
      denomination in the country.” There is nothing notably new in Johnson’s
      description of what has happened, but it prompts a certain puzzlement
      about Commonweal’s persistent support for the Common Ground
      Initiative (CGI). CGI is supposed to nurture mutually respectfully
      dialogue between conservatives and liberals in order to advance the
      Church’s teaching and life. Imagine if, at the highest levels, the
      Church accepted the invitation of CGI. Professor Johnson would like to
      engage the Pope in respectful dialogue about the teaching on
      contraception, which is, Johnson says, “really about keeping women in
      their place and maintaining the aura of papal authority” in order to
      protect the “inconsistency and corruption” in the Church’s leadership.
      Johnson would, with due deference, like to raise a question or two about
      the rule of clerical celibacy, which is, he says, an instance of
      “suicidal self-delusion.” As to the solemnly defined teaching that the
      Church is not authorized to ordain women and therefore cannot do it,
      Prof. Johnson wonders if the Holy Father might not be open to agreeing
      with him that the teaching is “laughable (at best) and blasphemous (at
      worst).” And so it goes on issue after issue. By publishing Johnson’s
      article, Commonweal is clearly saying (at least) that these are
      views deserving of being engaged in dialogue. But how can the Church
      dialogue about whether she is, and has been for centuries, teaching
      falsehoods? Thoughtful Protestants are Protestants because they think
      that what the Catholic Church teaches is not true. Prof. Johnson and
      many others agree, but are determined to remain Catholics, which would
      seem to be possible if, in fact, American Catholicism is “the largest
      mainline Protestant denomination in the country.” “Teaching is real and
      convincing,” Johnson writes, “only to the extent that it is actually
      embraced by believers, embodied in their practices, coherently and
      consistently expressed by the community of faith.” He does not allude to
      the possibility that, even if the Church’s teaching is poorly
      communicated and widely rejected or ignored, it may nonetheless be true.
      It is not that Prof. Johnson has difficulties, as many do, in assenting
      to the Church’s teaching. He has concluded that the teaching is false,
      and risibly so. He does not even credit the good intentions of the
      teachers. They are acting out of corrupt and self-serving motives. With
      such views the Church is to enter into respectful dialogue through the
      Common Ground Initiative? One cannot help but wonder, with all due
      respect, whether these people are entirely serious.

    • Pay

      This is a joke, right?

  • lottasplainin

    To my ears, “gay marriage” is a either term of unintended irony, or satire, one or the other depending upon context.

  • tim

    Let me frame it for you. If you believe gay people and straight people are born with their sexual predispositions, then you also have to believe pedophiles are born with their predisposition. And if gay people are born that way and you are ok with them expressing their preference, you have to be ok with pedophiles expressing their preference. Simple, not complicated like liberals would have you believe.

    • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

      Indeed, the Church rejects fatalism, even genetic fatalism, and teaches that a well-formed conscience steels the will to overcome any obstacle towards Christ and His teachings, including that against homosexual acts.

      • Bono95

        Yeah, and there is absolutely, positively, NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER to support anyone being born with SSA, though there’s been plenty of hasty, mistaken conclusions and hoaxes.

        • Steve Frank

          It’s true there is no scientific evidence that anyone is born with certain sexual predispositions. However, most people (including myself) accept the idea that sexual impulses are not conscious choices (although voluntary sexual acts themselves are always choices by definition). The truth is we really have no idea how sexual impulses develop. It could be partly inborn, but it is also possible that such inclinations are a result of things that happen very early in life…perhaps as a very young child. In any case, regardless of their exact origin, Tim’s point stands. If “lack of choice” over one’s sexual inclinations gives a person some inherent “right” to act on them, then what right does a homosexual activist have to call pedophelia disordered? It’s quite hypocritical to do so.

          The answer of course is the “ick factor”. Homosexuality used to be considered icky. But after a couple of decades of media desensitization, that is no longer the case. But pehophelia still disgusts us. That has not always been the case. Ancient Greece was quite tolerant of pedophelia. And even today we are seeing sympathy for pedophelia creeping into the Hollywood left (look at the sympathy Hollywood had for Roman Polanski).

          The push for lowering the age of consent is one of the next items on the agenda for the sexual revolution. But that won’t happen until same sex marriage has been made legal everywhere. Until then, SSM supporters will continue to express disgust for pedophelia and take umbridge at anyone who would dare bring homosexuality and pedophelia up in the same sentence. But the philisophical arguments that NAMBLA would make to defend pedophelia exactly parallel those made by homosexual activists (it’s not a choice, no real harm is done, society is repressive about sex, no one has a right to force morality on others, blah blah blah).

          • Bono95

            Thanks for the reply, and you are right. Sexual impulses on their own are not conscious choices. They only become conscious once acted upon or held in the mind. And these impulses are not sins unless they are willfully entertained or carried out in an immoral manner and/or are immoral to begin with (the morality or lack thereof of the impulse determines the gravity of the sin if there is any). Anyone can have disturbing and tempting thoughts pop into one’s head, but anyone can (and should) do his best to ignore them. Everyone faces temptation, and temptations toward homosexual adultery are no more an excuse to sin than temptations to pedophilia, heterosexual adultery, lying, stealing, killing, blaspheming, etc.

            I’m no expert here, but I believe that sexual impulses develop like other features of human psychology and physiology. Under good circumstances, they grow properly, healthy, and strong. If negative forces intervene, development is likely to be incomplete or to go wrong. Exact cases vary from person to person, but such seems to be the case for many people with SSA, abuse or lack of love and respect from the parent of the person in question’s sex, rejection by peers of the same sex, insufficient or incorrect knowledge on the nature and purpose of sexual intercourse, etc.

          • TKinTX

            “But pedophelia still disgusts us. That has not always been the case. Ancient Greece was quite tolerant of pedophelia. And even today we are seeing sympathy for pedophelia creeping into the Hollywood left…”
            And now Fifty Shades of Grey, which normalizes and glorifies the ritualized sexual abuse of a little girl (though the author says she a college student–who wears pig tails and has the vocabulary of a child) is being made into a movie.

            • Bono95

              Somehow, I’d expect, or at least would most sincerely hope that a child wouldn’t have words pertaining to ritualized sex abuse in her vocabulary. I think the author just didn’t proofread or learn how to (not to mention WHAT to) write.

        • Theorist

          What is scientific evidence in the end anyways w/o a true philosophy and ideology to properly interpret it? Just imagine someone making an observation though a microscope that defies all scientific canons. Perhaps he has discovered a new thing or perhaps his microscope must be somehow wrong. Which way he decides is based on philosophy ultimately and then it becomes, with the aid of like-minded ideologues, The Authority of Science.

      • Theorist

        However, man is part animal and just as animals are inherently attracted to somethings, man is also inherently attracted to somethings. Genes have at least a 50% affect on political ideology. Of course, animal behavior can sometimes be modified and changed but it can never be that a rottweiler can be as tame as a poodle. It’s likely that bodily influences also influence the environment which then influence the mind. Likewise, we should note that each body requires an equally individual soul so that it would not be too surprising that bodily changes would result in intellectual or spiritual changes.

        I would say that any genetic fatalism should be treated like the sex or childhood fatalism we already espouse: namely that although genes provide a disposition towards something, those dispositions don’t need to become habits (just as manliness and womanliness are already potentially existing in men and women though it is possible for men and women to not live up to their sexual natures and though there are exceptions).

    • Alex Guenser

      Really – so if you believe straight people are born straight, then you have to believe pedophiles are born with their predisposition? If you believe straight people are born that way, and you are okay with straight people expressing their preference, you have to be okay with pedophiles expressing their preference?

      So, the simple thing is if you don’t want pedophiles expressing their preference, you cannot be okay with straight people expressing their preference?

      • TKinTX

        The point isn’t a presupposed, inborn disposition. The point is channeling the inclination and applying discipline. Every person, regardless of their sexual preferences, has the same and equal opportunity to engage in appropriate sexual behaviors.

  • George Albinson

    When the board members of First Things parted with Bottum in 2011, they said it was ” to allow Dr. Bottum to pursue his book-writing and other extensive commitments.” Whatever may have been the real reason, perhaps they saw problems ahead.

  • Deek Cooper

    I love the Catholic Church, but reading this patronizing BS just makes me lose faith in the endurance of my home institution. Dr. Pakaluk, you’re smart, and have a large loving family. Why not write a piece about the comforting home the Church can be for all people, no matter their opinions on American politics? Why instead, do you write a satire that predictably reveals the often-championed anti-same-sex marriage mantra? Surely legions of like-minded people will support this, and pat you on the back, but will it bring anyone to the loving arms of the church? Will it encourage doubting Catholics to stay in their spiritual home? I don’t think so.

    Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, so I don’t condemn you writing this. I’m just disappointed that a Magazine for the “faithful Catholic Laity” would espouse this kind of divisive piece, suggesting that those who agree with Mr. Bottum as anything other than faithful.

  • Pingback: First Links — 8.29.13 » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog

  • Peter Freeman

    Is there some kind of Screwtape Award for “Thinking like the Enemy” that we can offer Prof. Pakaluk?

  • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com PolishBear

    DEAR FOGGY:

    Let me point out that, for Straight couples, there is absolutely nothing about marriage that needs defending. Nothing is changing or being redefined. Most people are Straight, and they will continue to date, get engaged, marry, and build lives and families together as they always have. Your life will continue on, unchanged in any way, whether the Gay couple down the street decides to tie the knot.

    And I hope you didn’t think that the marriage equality movement was some sinister effort to make homosexuality compulsory for everyone. Trust me, it doesn’t work that way.

    • UAWildcatx2

      You say that now, but how do you respond to the waves of lawsuits from homosexual couples against business who won’t affirm their lifestyle? And what of the lawsuit in the UK where a “couple” is suing the CofE for a guaranteed church “wedding?” Trust me, my friend, the day is coming soon when that same kind of lawsuit will come against the Catholic Church. Cardinal George saw the trials that await our Church when he said “I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his
      successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will
      pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild
      civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
      We’ll see who’s right.

      • Alex Guenser

        The same way that we respond to the waves of lawsuits from interracial couples against business who won’t affirm their lifestyle. Discrimination is discrimination. Masking discrimination as “not affirming their lifestyle” doesn’t make it any less discrimination.

        Trust me, the day is coming when an interracial couple will sue some church. So what? Are we saying that interracial couples shouldn’t be allowed to civilly marry because some lawsuits might happen? That we should deny all gay people their equal rights, to prevent even ironing out the legalities of what that means?

        • Art Deco

          1. The principle you are asserting trashes freedom of contract and association; and

          2. The notion that a photography studio is a ‘public accommodation’ is tommyrot.

          3. The people who bring these suits are straw plaintiffs and divas. It would take little time or inconvenience to seek out another vendor. These are meant to be coercive. No decent person would bring such a suit, or act as an advocate for it in a court of law or any other forum.

          • Alex Guenser

            1. Non-discrimination trashes freedom of association? So we should repeal the 1954 civil rights act and allow businesses to refuse to serve or hire blacks and women and Jews, because of freedom of association?

            2. This response mentions things not brought up in my post.

            3. Are Mildred and Richard Loving straw plaintiffs and divas? When an interracial couple sues for discrimination, are they too? When a black person gets refused service at a lunch counter, should they just take the time to go somewhere else and let the “whites only” businesses stand?

            Or do decent people not put up with injustice anywhere?

            • UAWildcatx2

              2. One of the cases against a private business is a photography studio. It’s inherent in your argument, and was in what I brought up.

              3. To equate homosexual “marriage” and interracial marriage is a straw man, and you know it. They have absolutely nothing to do with each other. You can try to make it a civil rights case all day long, but it simply isn’t. Relying on Loving V. Virginia isn’t the way to go to make your case. In Hernandez V. Robles, the court stating that “the historical background of Loving is different from the history underlying this case.” Loving V. Virginia was about racism, which is unjust and hateful in any form. This is different, in that it is demanding that we affirm a lifestyle that is contrary to natural law (remember, you’re on a Catholic website.). With Loving V. Virginia, one person was born a different race. They didn’t chose that. Now, I understand that you might say the same about homosexuals, but because something was not chosen does not mean it was inborn.

              • Alex Guenser

                2. A private business open to the public? Like a private restaurant open to the public? Like a private grocery store open to the public? Could they all discriminate against an interracial couple with their services? No, they cannot. Did you know that? And they can’t discriminate against a same sex couple either. So, like I said – we respond to lawsuits the same way we would if it were an interracial couple.

                3. To compare same sex marriage and interracial marriage is a comparison. And I know it, which is why I said it is a comparison. The comparison is not superficial. They have much to do with each other – one discrimination was on the spouse’s race, another on their gender.

                If interracial marriage is a human rights case, same sex marriage is a human rights case. You can’t deny it just because you want to. The comparisons are vast. Loving v. Virginia set precedent that marriage is a civil right, and to deny it on such an unsupportable basis as “racial classifications” is to deny freedom – and the precedent is that “gender classifications” in marriage laws are also unsupportable.

                Loving v. Virginia was about racism, just as this is about sexism – the belief that races and sexes have their own places.

                Allowing gay couples to marry and not be discriminated against is only demanding affirmation as much as allowing interracial couples to marry and not to be discriminated against is demanding affirmation. Would you say interracial couples demand you affirm their relationships? Many don’t. But, they are still protected legally from discrimination. The same should be true for same sex couples.

                With Loving v. Virginia, Mildred was born black. She didn’t choose that. With same sex marriage, my fiance was born male. He didn’t choose that either.

                And what does inborn matter? Can we discriminate based on religion, since it is not inborn?

                • UAWildcatx2

                  One thing is crystal clear when you say “With same sex marriage, my fiance was born male. He didn’t choose that either:” I will never convince you, and you will never convince me. There is no point to continue this “conversation” any further. You’re making your comments on a traditional Catholic website. There’s no doubt in my mind you’re doing it to stir the pot. You aren’t going to convince anyone here that you’re choices are ok and that we should celebrate them. We’ll treat you as with the respect and dignity due to a fellow human being, one of God’s creations, but I will say one last thing: I am sick and tired of being called bigoted, intolerant, and hateful because I don’t accept your lifestyle and choices, and won’t affirm them. There is a dark wave coming, where what the Church teaches will be classified as hate speech. It’s starting already. But the Roman Catholic Church will prevail, as it has for over 2,000 years.

                  • Alex Guenser

                    I will never convince you my fiance was born male? You think he chose that?

                    Well, you’re right that there is no point to continue – if you reject that, then you are quite the lunatic.

                    Did I call you bigoted?
                    Did I call you intolerant?
                    Did I call you hateful?

                    And didn’t you call people opposed to interraical marriage “racist?” Is that okay for you to do?

                    You can not accept an interracial couple’s lifestyle and choices all you want, you don’t have to affirm them.

                    • UAWildcatx2

                      Context is lost on you, isn’t it? It’s because you have a male “fiancee” that I won’t convince you and vice versa. You’re practicing that lifestyle.

                      As for this:
                      Did I call you bigoted?
                      Did I call you intolerant?
                      Did I call you hateful?
                      You didn’t have to use the words. It’s implied by your arguments.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      “Context is lost on you, isn’t it?”

                      No, I just figured you were smarter, and were making a logical argument. Not something like “Oh, you’re black, you won’t understand” or “Oh, you’re a woman, you won’t understand,” and then go on to talk about blacks and women.

                      Context – you are straight, right? Then contextually, I have more knowledge about being in a same sex couple, just like interracial couples have more knowledge about being in an interracial couple. And just as a same race couple would have less to speak to regarding interracial marriage, a straight couple would have less to speak to regarding same sex marriage.

                      So if me calling you “bigoted,” “intolerant,” and “hateful” is implied by my arguments (which arguments, by the way) – don’t your arguments logically imply you are bigoted, intolerant, and hateful? Don’t you think some of your arguments imply that?

                • Purists aren’t really purists

                  Alex, what IS marraige? Give me your definition please. We can’t discuss these things if when you say “tree” you mean a large animal with four legs, and I mean a think with bark that’s stuck in the ground.

                  • Alex Guenser

                    My definition – marriage is the union of two people in a committed relationship together

                    The dictionary definition is more like the state of being united to a person in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. I don’t think it needs to be recognized by law, though, as it hasn’t been throughout history (obviously)

                    What is your definition, please?

                    • Purists aren’t really purists

                      I’ll give my definition (and I’ll answer any other questions), but since you mentioned legal recognition, why, if you don’t deem it necessary, should the state recognize two people in a committed relationship? What good does that bring to the public at large?

                    • Alex Guenser

                      It brings stability to the couple, increasing health, wellbeing, financial stability, by offering legal protections and benefits to encourage this stable forming. While that benefits the couple themselves, it also benefits society by decreasing reliance on society and increasing contributions to society.

                    • Pay

                      Two friends living together can benefit society in those general items you mention. Creating a legal fiction only brings more societal problems. It denies children proper parents. It promotes vice. It redefines the basic cell if society in a new and deviant way. Those are just for starters.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      You’re right – two friends, like a guy and a girl who are friends, living together can benefit that way too. But, of course, I am just asking Purists – you’re free to believe there is no point to marriage.

                      Marriage isn’t a legal fiction, it actually can be found in the law books.

                      Marriage doesn’t deny children proper parents.

                      Marriage does not promote vice.

                      Marriage does not redefine the basic cell of society.

                    • Pay

                      The State abuses its authority in many ways. Unjust laws do not make marriage real. It is a fiction. Like the State claiming square circles exist because they pass a law that says so.

                      The other things you listed are true if you correctly define marriage. If you mis-define marriage then they are false.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Just laws make marriage real. Marriage is real, there are certificates out there to prove it for straight and gay couples.

                      You may WANT them to not be real, and that’s your true issue. You want a square to not be considered a shape, you only want circles. And that’s your prejudice.

                      And you’re absolutely right about the correct definition, that of being between two people, meaning those things are accurate. Which is why we find all those facts are true for marriages between two people, regardless of sex.

                    • Pay

                      Certificates do not prove marriage is real. They are pieces of paper where the State makes things up. Just as if they issued a certificate of a square circle. The certificate has to affirm something that actually is authentic or else it is fiction.

                      If you mis-define marriage as between any two people then we have a real lack of clarity. A father and son can be “married”. Another fiction and one that will be forced on us by the State. A fiction nonetheless.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Marriage certificates do prove marriage is a legal fact, not a legal fiction. Unless you are talking about someone forging them.

                      And the state makes up all laws, and when they do, that’s what makes them real, and legal fact. The certificate affirms that the two entered into a marriage – and that is authentic, not a square being a circle.

                      It’s not mis-defining marriage to note it’s between two people. I didn’t say any two people. as you should be well aware. Can a father and daughter be “married?” No, and neither can a father and son. And no, father child marriages are not fictions forced on anyone by the state. Real legal marriages are not a fiction.

                      Have any argument other than what you want to be true? You can keep arguing fantasy, but reality is all around us. You’re still complaining that you don’t want a square to be considered a shape, you only want circles.

                    • Pay

                      It is a fact the certificates exist. It is a form of unjust law. Like issuing a paper that a slave is only partly human. It is a fiction that the State has done and is an abuse. The man is not really only partly a man it is a legal fiction created by the State. It does not describe reality. It is a lie.

                      A square can never be a circle. Two men can never be married. A slave is fully human.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      It is a fact that the certificates exist, that the marriages exist, that the laws protecting them exist.

                      Nothing about marriage is unjust law. It’s not unjust for gays, or for straights.

                      This is like issuing a piece of paper that a slave is not a slave, but a full equal citizen.

                      It is a reality that the state has done, just like they do for straight couples, and there is nothing abusive about it.

                      Marriage is reality, it is no lie.

                      A square can be a square, and you trying to pretend that a square is not a shape, and that two men can’t be married, or two women can’t be, is absurd. Two men can be fully human, and fully married, just as slaves are now fully human and fully free.

                    • Pay

                      The unjust laws exist. They need to be corrected. It is a terrible abuse.

                      The law must reflect reality. Simply making things up to appease people who have unfulfilled desires is not a rational way to make laws or promote the common good. Deviant behavior should not be encouraged nor codified by unjust laws.

                      Unequals must be treated unequally. It is unjust to compare same sex persons pretending to be married with authentic marriage. Marriage only includes persons of opposite sex. The tyranny of the State will never change that. The State cannot redefine reality. All it can do is abuse its authority which is oppressive and immoral.

                      A square can never be a circle. Just calling it a shape does not have any value to the discussion. It is a particular shape and cannot exist as a circle at the same time.

                      Two men cannot be married unless we redefine marriage which is a grave injustice and frankly absurd. Any innocent child knows two men can never be married and cannot be a mother and a father.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Nothing’s unjust about marriage equality in the law. What is? What about it is an abuse and needs to be corrected? The abuse is treating couples of different genders inequally, like treating couples of different races inequally is abuse and unjust.

                      The law must reflect reality – that two people regardless of race or gender is marriage, and that people regardless of race or gender are human and deserving of equal respect under the law.

                      Nothing about marriage law is to appease people with unfulfilled desires.

                      You’re free to think that interracial couples or same sex couples are deviant and that they shouldn’t be encouraged by law, but marriage should be encouraged by laws, and laws that are just. Treat those who some see as deviant inequally would be unjust.

                      Humans must be treated equally under the law. Blacks and whites, though unequal, must be treated equally. Men and women, though unequal, must be treated equally. It is just to compare authentic marriages to authentic marriages. It is unjust to say that same sex couples only pretend to be married, or interracial couples only pretend to be married.

                      Marriage does not only include persons of the opposite sex, just as it does not only include persons of the same race. Tyranny of the state banning such marriages will not change that, because the state cannot redefine reality, and neither can you. It is oppressive and immoral and an abuse to treat interracial couples and same sex couples inequally.

                      A square can never be a circle, but both are shapes, despite the fact that you don’t want them to be. All marriages are marriages, just like all shapes are shapes. Calling a square a shape has the same value that calling an interracial marriage a marriage does. Squares and circles can both exist as shapes just while interracial marriages and same sex marriages and opposite sex marriages and same race marriages can and do both exist.

                      Two men, two women, man and women, black and white, two blacks, two whites – all can be married regardless of race and gender, and doesn’t need any redefinition of marriage, doesn’t bring grave injustice at all, and isn’t at all absurd.

                      Any innocent child knows that two men can marry, two women can marry, a male and female can marry, a black and white can marry, two blacks can marry, and two whites can marry.

                      Parenthood is not marriage, Marriage is marriage. Don’t go calling a square a circle now!

                    • Steve Frank

                      Why can’t a father and son be “married” if they are both consenting adults? One of the chief arguments against incest has always been the danger of birth defects in the event of pregnancy. But now that people of the same gender can marry, that argument collapses, at least in the case of a father and a son or mother and a daughter.

                      You said in another post that “parenthood is not marriage”, without offering any reasoned argument as to why a person can’t be both a parent and a spouse to the same person. Moreover, once we are talking about 2 adults, the issue of parenthood is moot, since adult children are no longer being “parented” by their mother or father. The fact is that SSM supporters can’t offer one reasoned argument against same sex incest that doesn’t sound EXACTLY like the arguments traditionalists have made against them (it’s deviant, it’s disgusting, etc.).

                    • Alex Guenser

                      For the same reason that a mother and son or grandmother and son cannot be married. Regardless of fertility, menopause, hysterectomy, etc.

                      You’re free to argue that a mother and son should be able to marry, so long as they don’t have children.

                      The fact is, if people’s only reason incest should be prohibited is birth defects, then they would have no objection to incestuous couples with no potential of kids. I rather think the reason it’s opposed is not because of birth defects, but because the familial relationship and the spousal relationship are two different types of love, and when confused, they have the potential to confuse other relationships

                      As far as deviant and disgusting, that was the argument against interracial marriage, too – remember!

                    • Steve Frank

                      Sorry, but all you’re doing is foisting your personal opinion on what a “familial relationship” should look like onto other people, which is exactly what you won’t allow traditionalists to do when it comes to homosexual marriage. If two consenting adults want a “familial relationship” that includes incestuous sex, what business is that of yours (if your premise is true that religion and tradition do not dictate sexual norms)? I mean, how would other people’s “confusing” familial relationships affect you? Isn’t that what gays keep saying to traditionalists, “how is our same sex marriage hurting you”? Also, is “possible confusion” really where you want to set the bar when it comes to defining legitimate sexual relationships? Do you think it’s possible that a 5 yr old girl with “two daddies” might also get a little “confused” when she looks around and sees that all her peers have a Mommy but she does not? Of course, even if you do want to make “confusion” the bar, you still have to explain how other people’s incestuous relationships affect you, since gays are the one’s who have decided that people have no right to protest other people’s sexual relationships unless they can demonstrate what damage such relationships do to them.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      You asked my opinion, and when I gave you an answer, you attack me as “foisting my personal opinion on other people.” I don’t think you want honest answers about me and my family, and I don’t think you want to have a kind discussion. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, though.

                      I don’t think there is a legitimate interest in preventing interracial marriages or same sex marriage. Not the name of tradition or religion – just as tradition or religion aren’t reason for segregation to continue either. Now if you want to compare incest to interracial marriage and same sex marriage, you can do that too – it doesn’t affect me, or you, and those couples are free to fight for their rights. If you want to say there is no more reason to fight against incest than interracial marriage and same sex marriage, so be it.

                      I don’t think any 5 year old girl with either “two daddies,” “two mommies,” or “mom and dad” gets confused when their family is different than others, just as children of single parents or being raised by grandparents don’t. Children are pretty quick to figure that out – at least all the children I’ve known.

                    • Steve Frank

                      All I am doing is pointing out is that once there is no objective definition of what constitutes normal sexuality and marriage (such as biology and anatomy), then it’s all subjective. It all then comes down to each person or couple demanding that society recognize their particular sexual arrangement whatever it may be. People like me who bring up things like pedophelia and incest are simply carrying the very arguments that SSM activists have made to their logical conclusion. You’re correct that incestuous couples (or any other non-traditional groups such as those who practice polygamy or group marriage) are free to fight for their own rights. But if any of them win their rights, it will only be because gay activists paved the way for them by destroying the longstanding objective definition of marriage. That is why traditionalists are alarmed about SSM, because we believe that ultimately it’s about far more than that. (p.s.I don’t deny for a moment that heterosexuals haven’t done their own damage to marriage by discarding the permanence of marriage via divorce but that’s another discussion).

                      As far you thinking a child with 2 daddies won’t suffer any adverse affects, evidently you don’t know too many children without a mother. I have 2 nephews without a mother. They always dreaded “bring your Mom to school day” that happened each spring at their school. They had to find an aunt or grandmother to attend in Mom’s place but believe me it bothered them. Do you think my nephews were some anomaly? Two daddies can’t even give an infant what is best for it’s health at birth, a mother’s breast milk. So right from birth, a child is being brought into an inferior familial arrangement. I’m not saying a gay couple is incapable of loving a child or that any child brought up by a gay couple is going to turn into some psychological basket case. And I’m not saying a child is better off an orphan than adopted by a gay couple. But I refuse to participate in this charade that says “it’s all the same”. You simply can’t tell me that generally speaking, a child is not better off with a biological mother and father than with two men, at least one of whom is not the biological parent. My goodness, even a thoroughly secular and sexually liberal country like France is starting to get this.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      So the only reason you asked me my opinion, is so that you could shove it in my face and say you need to prevent me from marrying my fiance and my children from having the legal protections of a marriage because you need something arbitrary and objective to look at. Well, being arbitrary and objective doesn’t make it right – and if all you are arguing is that it’s objective, fine. You can argue that it may be wrong, but you will deny people equality just because you can’t think of anything better.

                      “As far you thinking a child with 2 daddies won’t suffer any adverse affects, evidently you don’t know too many children without a mother.”

                      Oh, I definitely think there are adverse affects to how society treats children that don’t have their ideal mother and father. Like how society expects if they have a “bring your Mom to school day” that children of single parents or two dads will be left out. I know it can bother some children to ask why there is no day for their family, why all the days are around those families that are supposedly perfect. Nobody should make your nephews feel ashamed to love their dad, just like nobody should make children of gay dads ashamed to love their dads. But some people do that to my step-son. He shouldn’t be ashamed of any of the people he loves.

                      And while some people blame single parents, and some blame gay parents, we should be commending all parents for the good they do. We should stand up for your nephews, and ask “Why only mothers? Why not have the child bring who they love to school?” Instead of telling them who it should be they show appreciation to, and instill in them that they and their family are dysfunctional.

                    • Steve Frank

                      Alex, you are trying to hold mutually exclusive ideas about gender. I get that, because you have swallowed LGBT propaganda which contains contradictory beliefs about gender. In order to defend transgenderism, LGBT thinking must insist that gender is a big deal. Females and males have different brains we are told, so it’s critical that people be allowed to “switch” genders if they realize they have a brain whose gender doesn’t match their body parts. But when it comes to homosexuality, LGBT apologists do a 180 and tell us that there’s really no big difference between a male and female aside from a few body parts. Two dads are no different than a Mom and a Dad we’re told, there is nothing unique about each gender that gives the child something unique. You want it both ways, but it’s a total contradiction. Males and females are either interchangeable or they are not. If there is something inherently unique about each gender, then a child is being deprived of something if they lack a parent of a certain gender (studies have demonstrated that of course…at least when it comes to children without a male parent). Pointing out examples of “single parents” in the heterosexuality community does not help your case since everyone would concede those arrangements are not ideal and that such families are just making the best of a less than ideal situation.

                      Also, what’s with all this talk of having my views “shoved in your face”? You know that this is is a Catholic forum that defends traditional marriage. No one is shoving anything in your face…you’ve voluntarily come here as a guest knowing full well that your personal views at odds with the beliefs of Crisis Magazine. So please spare us the pity party. If you can’t tolerate hearing criticism of your lifestyle and beliefs, you are perfectly free to go find a pro-gay forum where you can have all your opinions validated.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I get that you are somewhat trying to understand me, and I thank you for that. It means a lot when people actually do listen to the other side to try to understand rather than just to try to find holes.

                      I don’t agree that my views about gender are mutually exclusive because they are complex, like reality. Gender is a part of identity of the person – so to anyone, it is a big deal. Similar to how racial identity can be a big deal for many people. But gender being meaningful to the individual does not mean that it changes what people are capable of, which is what you seem to be mistaking when you say advocates for equality say gender isn’t a big deal.

                      It’s all about context – there is no universal truth that gender is important in all ways, or that gender is important in no way at all. Is gender important in what jobs people go to in the workforce? Yes, it seems so. Is gender important into IQ and intellectual capacity? No, it doesn’t seem so.

                      So, when we look at children parented by same sex couples and opposite sex couples, when we research and compare, what do we see? We don’t see unique things that children of one have that children of the other have that can be attributed to gender. We don’t see children raised by dads and children raised by mom and dad having something that children raised by moms don’t. We don’t see children raised by moms and children raised by mom and dad having something that children raised by dads don’t. We do see generally the same typical family and the same outcome. Some show slightly better outcome for children raised by two moms!

                      Gender is either significant in parenting, or it is not. So how do we figure that out? By studying gender in parenting. And have we found if there is something indeed inherently unique about each gender to parenting, that children are deprived of? No, we have not. We’ve only found that single parents (and divorced parents) lack of stability affects them.

                      I know this is a Catholic forum now, but as a Christian forum, I had expected better treatment than someone to ask my opinion only to shove it back in my face. That’s what “all this talk” was about. You did in fact shove my opinion back in my face after asking for it. I wasn’t talking about “your personal views,” so please don’t twist it that way – and reread my statement if you can’t figure that out. I came here because someone directed me to it, and I also had read some of Jody Bottum’s article. I am sorry you misunderstood and thought this was about me not being able to take criticism of my supposed lifestyle and beliefs.

                    • Steve Frank

                      Alex, you are evidently being very selective of the “research” you are looking at if you believe the evidence is in that same sex parented children do as well or better than children raised by moms and dads. I could point to studies that have shown the opposite. The truth of the matter is that most studies are crap right now give the political climate.

                      When no fault divorce came along in the late 1960s and early
                      1970s the same thing happened. “Studies”
                      were pointed to that showed children of divorce as being just as healthy and
                      well adjusted as other children. But now
                      a few decades later, almost all experts will concede that quite frequently
                      divorce does indeed have a substantial negative affect on children. The problem with the studies of the 1960s
                      & 1970s was that you couldn’t get an unbiased study on the affects of
                      divorce because 1) the number of divorces wasn’t large enough yet for a proper
                      sample size, and 2) emotions about the issue were so strong at the time that it
                      was impossible to find anyone who could interpret any study results without
                      bias. It was only several decades later,
                      after millions of divorces had taken place and no fault divorce had become a
                      “settled issue”, that it was finally possible to have any honest study done on
                      the matter. The same thing is true when
                      it comes to same sex couple families. It
                      will be decades before any fair and unbiased studies can be done to determine
                      the affects of this on children.

                      It doesn’t take someone with a PhD to see there are things only a woman can give a child. I gave the obvious example of breastfeeding which you breezed right past and ignored (which you must do since you can’t refute biology and anatomy). That issue alone puts “two dads” into the status of being an inferior familial arrangement. If God thought “two dads” would be just as good as a mom and a dad, why didn’t he give men breasts?

                      Also, I see no reason to let things get personal. We are here to discuss ideas, not each other as individuals. What you interpret as “shoving things back in your face” is simply me trying to get you to see the logical end of some of the arguments you make. If your arguments are valid and sound, they should be able to withstand vigorous cross examination. You are either taking being too sensitive, or else you are trying to deflect the conversation because your arguments can not withstand that cross examination.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I don’t believe I am being very selective – but let me ask, are you? You say the truth of the matter is that most studies are crap, and blame politics – so what have you done to reach your conclusion and make sure you aren’t being selective or being misguided by what you want to be true, rather than what is? I’m sure you could point to studies that have shown same sex parents are bad, and you could point to studies that have shown that same sex parents are good – but what have you done to find out which is the truth?

                      In any case, I am not trying to be selective, I am going with the body of research and it’s impression on the professional community, that there is no specific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to sexual orientation, and that children of parents of couples regardless of orientation can and do flourish.

                      http://www.apa.org/news/press/response/gay-parents.aspx

                      If you are complaining that there is nothing unbiased out there, then you can’t be biased in your own way at the same time.

                      “It doesn’t take someone with a PhD to see there are things only a woman can give a child.” What about parent effectiveness? Is that something only a woman can give a child? An environment where they flourish? Or did you bring up breastfeeding because you are biased and want to find something that means a child needs a mother, and that all children of single dads, widowed dads, and two dads, and parents who bottle feed are failing because of lack of breastfeeding? Does the research on breastfeeding showing that children who are breastfed compared to those who are not show a strong discrepancy? Or does this actually show that breastmilk is important, not gender – because you were trying to point out that gender was important, not a food source.

                      You’re free to your religious beliefs, but those are not relevant as to whether children of same sex parents flourish.

                      It’s not a logical end that if we stop discriminating on the basis of gender in marriage, like we have done on the basis of race – that incest couples must happen. You can try to get me to see that, but that’s not logical. I welcome vigorous cross examination. But I don’t appreciate your attitude, and you are making this personal when you attack me as turning my back on Jesus’s words, accused me of “foisting my personal opinion” on others, of swallowing propaganda because you don’t like what I say, of throwing a pity party because I pointed out that you asked me my opinion and attacked me for it, or saying I only want all my opinions validated. If you’d rather not let things get personal, I believe you already failed.

                    • Steve Frank

                      http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2012/september/mark-regnerus-cleared-of-misconduct-in-research-involving.html

                      Studies have also been done that show the exact opposite. Of course, I know it won’t be hard for you to comb the Internet for other “experts” who will discredit studies like this. Because the groupthink among most experts now is that gay parenting is cool. But I’m afraid “majority” opinion amongst “experts” means nothing. The majority of experts and elitists were cool with eugenics back in the 1920s, and we all know where that got us. In any case, I don’t need a study or an expert’s opinion to look at the human body and figure out how God meant human body parts to be used. I can look at an anus and see that it’s the sewer pipe of the human body, meant to eliminate matter, not receive another man’s reproductive organ in a sexual act. I can look at a woman’s breasts and see that God intended mothers to nurture a baby in a way that a father was not meant to.

                      So yes, we can both quote “experts” to each other but that’s
                      not really going to get us anywhere. Here’s the key point though….the burden of proof should be on you to prove gay
                      parenting has no detrimental effects, not me. I’m not advocating for change, you are. Gays are the ones who have come along and decided to re-engineer the family and use children as guinea pigs in this experiment. And up to now, every other practice and idea spawned by the sexual revolution has been disastrous, so I don’t hold out much hope for the this latest step toward “progress” (ie. gay marriage). The much-maligned 1950s are still the butt of jokes for it’s supposed “sexual repression”. But if you look at statistics regarding almost every social ill (poverty, crime, STDs, broken families, unwanted pregnancy”, single parent families, teen suicide, etc.), you’ll that these ills exploded after the 1950s, in direct correlation to the liberalizing of sexuality within our society. But liberals ignore these statistics because facts don’t matter. It’s about feelings and making sure everyone’s sexual choices are “validated”.

                      As far as breastfeeding, again I don’t need an expert to
                      tell me what should be obvious by looking at God’s design of the human body. But since “expert opinion” evidently
                      means a lot to you, maybe you should look into this:

                      http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20110120/surgeon-general-urges-support-for-breastfeeding

                      Not too long ago someone sent me a link to an ad for a new
                      device for “daddy” breastfeeding. It’s basically fake breasts that can be filled with formula to mimic natural breastfeeding. At first, I thought it was a joke. But then I realized that if fits right in to the bigger picture… that the whole gay sex/gay parenting thing must fight against biology and anatomy every step of the way. Artificiality must be introduced at every point. It starts right with the sex act. With gay sex, artificial lubricants must be introduced because the anus was not designed to naturally lubricate like the vagina, nor does it have the same elasticity. If a biological child is desired by a gay dad, an outside party’s womb needs to be “rented”, because God didn’t give men wombs. Then in order to create the illusion of breastfeeding, imitation breasts have to be created which in the end still can’t give the baby what is best for it and that is breastmilk. The whole thing is a charade. It’s a complete denial of biological reality or any design in nature. If you were an atheist, I could understand your point of view. If life is just the chance collision of atoms, then the whole discussion of normal vs abnormal, right vs wrong is meaningless. But if life as we know it was designed by God, how can you not look at the created order…the complementary body parts between male and female, the fact that only women have breasts, the fact that anuses don’t lubricate themselves, and not see anything about the Creator’s intent by looking at how all the parts were made to function??

                      As far me saying you turned your back on Jesus words, I’m sorry that is so offensive to you. All I am doing is asking you to explain why Jesus’ words contradict what you are saying to me. That’s the problem…you don’t answer my questions head on. You just keep recycling the same psychobabble. I asked you why you think Jesus left gays out of his definition of marriage. You didn’t answer directly. You said you studied the issue carefully, so you must have an opinion don’t you? I asked you why God didn’t give men breasts. Maybe your answer to some of these questions is I don’t know. If it is, you that should at least give you pause as to whether everything you believe is correct.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      So, again, I ask – what have you done to reach your conclusion and make sure you aren’t being selective or being misguided by what you want to be true, rather than what is? You can grab those studies that show the opposite, but you are doing so because it’s what you want to be true, right? It’s crap and it’s political too, right? And done by the same “experts” who discredit the other studies? So how do you get to the truth, if you can’t even trust the ones who look at the facts?

                      In any case, this wasn’t about how human body parts are used. That wasn’t what we were talking about. We were talking about raising children. I see now how misguided you are when you have to divert attention away from the topic and bring up sex between male homosexuals. Why do you think that’s going to get you anywhere?

                      I see you also think that somehow I am advocating for change. But, in reality, I haven’t. I’ve advocated for no change here – you instead brought up incest, and then brought up parentage, and then attacked same sex families. I don’t need to advocate for change, because families of parents of the same sex exist, like mine. I have a step-son, and I plan on having more children. And I don’t need to advocate for change for that to happen. So you can attack my parenting ability all you want based on my gender, but I’m not re-engineering anyone’s family, or using children as guinea pigs. I’m being a PARENT.

                      And this is not a discussion on the sexual revolution. I understand why you need to divert attention away from the talk of parents or marriage, though.

                      The hypocrisy is astounding “liberals ignore these statistics because facts don’t matter.” Coming from the one who denies science and studies and experts.

                      Thanks for showing how biased you are by referring to your religious beliefs when talking about how breastfeeding is your supposed evidence that genders bring something unique to parenting. You’re free to believe whatever you want, but that doesn’t make it fact.

                      And thanks for sharing – I will seek to have my children breastfed so that they might be less likely to develop asthma, something my fiance and step-son both have.

                      You show over and over again that you are not to be trusted as anyone who is seeking the truth or interested in an intellectual discussion, that you are more about attacking gay people and their families. I will let you know that I will fight to protect and defend my son and future children from the likes of you, and you may hate it, and you may hate me, but my family will survive.

                      Jesus’s words don’t contradict what I’m saying. And if that is what you meant, that is what you should have said. Perhaps if you worded things as a question instead of an attack, then you would get the answers you are seeking. But, as I said before, Jesus’s words don’t contradict what I’m saying anymore than they contradict the existence of intersex people. Jesus left intersex people out and gays out because the majority are straight couples – and that’s the general example he used.

                      And who cares why God didn’t give men breasts? Just like who cares why God didn’t give women an Adam’s apple? I don’t know – and we will never know all there is to know. And not knowing, and seeking answers, is a good thing. I’m sorry you’re not interested in that.

                    • Steve Frank

                      Jesus was not giving an example of marriage. He was DEFINING it for the Pharisees who had perverted it’s true meaning. They were treating marriage very lightly by divorcing wives for frivolous reasons. Jesus responded to them by pointing out that marriage was not a frivolous thing….and his proof of that was that it was part of God’s intent back in Creation when he chose to create humans as two genders to be joined together. You are trying to make it sound like Jesus was making some incidental remark about marriage to the Pharisees. He wasn’t just making a comment. He was tying the reason for marriage back to the created order of male and female. But I realize your mind is made up and nothing I point to in Scripture is going to convince you otherwise. With the Internet, it is now quite easy for SSM advocates to find favorable interpretations by pseudo-scholars who will tell them what they want to hear…that all Christians and bible scholars have been wrong for 2,000 years and the Bible really is pro-SSM, we just never knew that until now! These “scholars” are like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s day who chanted “peace peace” when there was no peace.

                      Sorry Alex but I’m afraid it’s impossible to engage in a thoughtful dialogue with you. I bring up facts and if you can’t address them you just dismiss them by telling me I’m being mean or that I’m “diverting” the discussion. Everything I have brought up is related to my overall point: that the evidence of Scripture as well as the created order speaks loud and clear that gay sex/gay parenting was not part of the Creator’s intention. But since neither Scripture nor biology is any friend of the pro-SSM side of the argument, you need to keep steering the discussion back to your own subjective feelings about yourself and your family. We are obviously talking past each other so I see no need to continue this discussion.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      You’re free to that opinion, but again, that is just your opinion. I don’t think he was defining marriage to say that intersex individuals cannot get married, or that same sex couples cannot get married. The Pharisees were already marrying man to woman, so Jesus pointing out that the men were supposed to marry women wouldn’t really have significant meaning to those already doing that. Jesus left out gays because these Pharisees weren’t gays, and that would do nothing for his point. Just like he left out intersex people.

                      You can point to Scripture and try to convince me of your point, and so could I point to Scripture and try to convince you of my point. It’s quite easy for SSM opponents to find favorable interpretations by pseudo-scholars too! But of course we can be wrong, and have been wrong – just as many believe we were wrong about slavery being in the Bible. Or maybe you believe in the Bible it’s still okay, but we have more a sense of morality than the Bible. That’s fine, you can have whatever opinion or interpretation of the Bible you want, just like all denominations can.

                      But still, your religious beliefs are not relevant to the facts surrounding gay couples and family and marriage, and religious beliefs do not and should not set the law.

                      It’s quite possible to engage in a thoughtful dialogue with me, but maybe not possible for you to do so.

                      What facts did you bring up that I either could not address, or dismissed them? Any comments about intersex people – because you have ignored those completely… so does that mean it’s not possible to have a thoughtful discussion with you? If it is, why have you ignored those comments?

                      Again, you are free to your religious beliefs, but your religious beliefs have no bearing on fact, and whether it was or not part of the creators intent (like intersex people), it exists and is a wonderful thing now.

                      Biology is no enemy to the same sex marriage side of the discussion, it’s just not relevant to how gay couples are being great parents.

                      And you’re damn right my family is important to me, and I hope to God it’s important to you.

                    • Steve Frank

                      You are obfuscating the words of Jesus. He was not just talking about the marriages of the Pharisees (by the way how would you know whether none of them were gay?). Otherwise it would have made no sense to refer back to CREATION. If God is talking about the creation, the context is ALL HUMANS not just the Pharisees. God’s design for ALL HUMANS was male and female.

                      Also, you are making it sound like there has always been controversy about interpreting the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality, as if there have always been numerous legitimate interpretations sitting side by side. That is NOT the case by a long shot. Comb through all the literature of church history up until late last century and you will find not one saint, martyr, apostle, biblical scholar or theologian who ever offered the twisted interpretations the pro-gay pseudo-scholars are peddling today. Does it not seem a tad suspicious to you that for 2,000 yrs NOBODY could understand these biblical anti-homosexuality passages, and then presto as soon as the sexual revolution gets into full swing and cultural pressure mounts to liberalize Christian views of sexuality, then suddenly some “scholars” start seeing the light (even today of course, the number of such revisionists scholars is a tiny fraction, despite of the intense pressure to “progress”). Also, there is no comparison between that and slavery. The problem with slavery in the Bible is that the Bible seems to send mixed messages about it (although I think upon closer examination the messages are not as mixed as they seem). In any case, you can find numerous passages in the Bible and within writings of Church fathers that disparage slavery. So the most you can argue is that slavery has been controversial through much of history, Yes some Christians distorted some passages to try and defend slavery, and it took until a century or two ago before there was a broad concensus that slavery was wrong. But there is no paralled between that and homosexuality. The Bible does not send mixed messages about homosexuality. There is not a single verse that talks about homosexuality positively. There has never been controversy in the Church about it until now. No church fathers wrote anything sympathetic about homosexuality. In other words, there has never been any ambiguity whatsoever in the church when it comes to understanding homosexuality. That’s not true of slavery so comparing the two is apples to oranges. It’s sad that many Christians did support slavery, but God always raised up voices in the Church to speak out against it. But where were those voices for 2,000 years when it comes to homosexuality? Why didn’t God raise up one reformer or prophet to “see the light” about your “progressive” view of homosexuality?

                      Also, you are in utter denial when you say biology is your friend. Surviving to reproduce is the engine of biological evolution. If 100% of the population were heterosexual, the human race would continue on without a blip. However, if 100% of the population were homosexuals, that would be the end of the human race since thanks to the laws of biology. Sure, you’re going to tell me that 100% of the population will never be homosexual so no harm. But that’s not the point. What it means is that the only reason we can pretend that homosexuality is “healthy and normal” is because so few people are afflicted by it (<4%). If it homosexuality were ever to become more widespread for some bizarre and unknown reason, it would then have to be considered unhealthy and a serious disorder that needed a desperate cure, since the survival of the human race would be at stake. It doesn't say much about a supposed "normal" condition that the only reason it can be considered normal is that so few people actually have it.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I don’t believe I am obfuscating the words of Jesus – rather I believe you are. Which you are of course free to your religious beliefs, and to your opinion. You asked why Jesus mentioned men and women, and I answered. I don’t think there is any reason to believe the Pharisees were marrying women to women and men to men – you yourself said the issue of the Pharisees was divorce. Not marrying gay couples or marrying to intersex people. But then again, you yourself said he was defining it for the Pharisees, now you are saying it wasn’t about Pharisees. Again, I believe it was an example that not only applies to straight men and women, but to intersex individuals, and to same sex couples.

                      You could also bring up Romans 1, but that does not actually seal the deal when the context was about idolaters in the Roman empire.

                      I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned the history of interpretation of homosexuality, so I don’t know what’s making you say that. We do know that the history of understanding and attitudes for homosexuality outside of simply religious grounds have changed significantly – so of course it’s good to take what we know now over simply what was thought to be true in the past.

                      It does not seem suspicious to me that we learn more about Scripture as we go. Just as it does not seem suspicious that people take the Bible to be more mixed on slavery now than it has been. I don’t think the Bible used to be considered mixed on slavery at all. And you now, of course are stating “I think upon closer examination the messages are not as mixed as they seem.” That’s exactly what I mean on homosexuality. There’s definitely parallels.

                      You are also still trying to say that controversy must be wrong because you believe it wasn’t always so. But that’s not logically true. That doesn’t actually have any worth, it’s a logical fallacy, appeal to tradition. If they had no controversy, we shouldn’t. When in slavery, there was no controversy about slavery being okay, then there was controversy, now there’s no question about it being wrong.

                      I’m also not in denial when I say biology is my friend. I know about reproduction just as much as infertile people do, with whom biology is also their friend in their struggles for equality and dignity. And the 100% comment is ridiculous. If 100% of people were infertile, we wouldn’t exist. if 100% of people were Catholic priests, we wouldn’t exist. Nothing is 100%, so stick with reality rather than fiction to make a point. Are Catholic priests “unhealthy and abnormal” because they are <4%? What about Native Americans? Percentage is a failed argument, it means nothing about nature or health. If Catholic priests became 70% of the population, would that be considered unhealthy and a serious disorder? In need of a desperate cure? Since the survival of the human race would be at stake? No.

                      And definitely not so with gays, either, since we are reproducing with surrogacy and IVF just fine – just like straight couples can and do.

                      Why do you even care what's normal? Are you attacking others for being not normal? You keep bringing it up. And unhealthy. You claim it's not normal, as if that means something. What does it supposedly mean? Or is this all circular reasoning?

                    • Steve Frank

                      Biology is a “friend” to interfile heterosexuals? You have to be kidding me! Tell that to the millions of heartbroken infertile heterosexuals who are unable to conceive a child even as they desperately seek a CURE for their infertility. Biology is no friend to them. Infertility is considered a MEDICAL DISORDER….look it up in a medical encyclopedia…. If absent contraception, a heterosexual couple maintain normal sexual relations for a year without pregnancy occurring, they are considered infertile, a medical disorder for which a treatment and a cure is normally sought. And you want to parallel infertile heterosexual relationships to homosexual relationships? Be my guest…if the two are truly parallel then I guess you have to admit homosexuality is also a disorder since it involves a sexual relationship where it is IMPOSSIBLE for conception to occur, just like infertile heterosexuals. Catholic priests don’t have sexual relationships in the first place so there is no ORGANIC disorder. There is no entry in the medical encyclopedia for celibacy. But there is an entry for infertility…the inability of a healthy, of age sexually active couple to conceive a child.

                      As far as IVF, that is something that is only an option for a tiny fraction of gays in the wealthy West. Half the world doesn’t have access to basic medical care, let alone the ability to do IVF. So I guess gays in the third world are left in the state that God and nature left them…without any ability to conceive their own biological children if they live their lives out as homosexuals. Do you think that might also tell us something about the Creator’s intent when it comes to sexuality and family?

                      “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due”. (Rom 1:26-27)

                      I alluded to this passage before, but it clinches the deal when it comes to God’s view of homosexuality. And let me save you a few keystrokes by pre-emptively answering your objections (I’m sure you are well acquainted with the revisionist interpretations).

                      1) it’s not talking about pedophelia (man/boy sex) and ritual prostitution exclusively. While those things may be included in the context, if we look at his EXACT WORDS, Paul’s ultimate complaint is not that adults left the natural use of other adults for children (although I’m sure he would have been opposed to that too). His complaint is not that men abandoned monogamy for prostitution (again, I’m sure he would have been opposed to that also). His complaint is that men left the natural use of WOMEN and engaged in sexual acts with each other.

                      2) it’s not talking about straight men who commit homosexual acts. That’s obvious because it says these men burned with lust for one another. Any man who burns with lust for another man IS a homosexual. Perhaps a heterosexual man is capable of being a passive partner in a homosexual act, but that is not what’s being described. It’s talking about two men burning with lust for each other….the lust goes both ways. If someone burns with lust for the same gender then they have same sex attraction BY DEFINITION. It’s simply ludicrous to argue this is talking about straight men who act gay. The passage doesn’t say anything about “sexual orientation” as we know it. It’s saying that sexual ACTIVITY between people of the same gender is shameful.

                      Also, here’s a challenge for you. Can you point to one place in Scripture that speaks positively about homosexuality? Just one. I can point to plenty that speak against slavery. It seems all the revisionists can do is “explain away” every troublesome passages for them. If the Bible is really pro-gay, it seems we should be able to find something in it that speaks approvingly of homosexuality. Where is it?

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Yes – the study of biology is a friend, and not an enemy, to anyone. Infertile heterosexuals who study biology actually learn what their options are to make a baby. If we didn’t have the study of biology, there would be no fertility treatments or IVF or surrogacy.

                      If they are desperately seeking a CURE for their infertility, then I suggest BIOLOGY. IT IS YOUR FRIEND.

                      And homosexuality is no more a disorder than a fertile male marrying an infertile female. The fertile male isn’t disordered, is he? Is his attraction to the infertile woman disordered? Then why would homosexuality be?

                      “Organic” disorder? Whatever you define as “organic” isn’t relevant. But I guess we can agree that your 100% argument is ridiculous, since you accept that 100% of people going for celibacy doesn’t mean that celibacy is a disorder.

                      And what does IVF being an option to a small amount matter? Does that mean God kills pregnant mothers who don’t have access to basic medical care, as he has done throughout history without medicine? That’s a silly point to bring up. Maybe the Creator’s intent is for babies to kill their mothers?

                      “…For this reason…” What reason is that? Why leave out Romans 1:22-25 which talks about idolatry, and worshiping animal idols? This passage clinches the deal when it comes to God’s view of idolatry. Not homosexual marriage.

                      But thanks for showing you pick and choose what you want from the Bible out of context to make your point – just as you pick and choose what you want out of studies and science. You can’t be taken seriously at all.

                      “Also, here’s a challenge for you. Can you point to one place in Scripture that speaks positively about homosexuality? Just one. I can point to plenty that speak against slavery.”

                      Against slavery itself? Or against certain acts within slavery, like mistreating a slave? I can point to plenty of places in Scripture that speak against heterosexuality – or more accurately against certain acts within heterosexuality. Does that mean that heterosexuality itself is wrong too, just like slavery? Let me save you the keystrokes. Admonishing improper slave owning is not the same as admonishing slavery. Admonishing improper heterosexual relationships is not the same as admonishing heterosexuality. And admonishing improper same sex relationships is not the same as admonishing homosexuality.

                      I realize that you have ignored over and over and over again my references to intersex people too – can you point out just one place in Scripture that speaks positively about intersex people?

                    • Steve Frank

                      If Romans 1 is only about idol worship, why can’t you explain
                      how the clause “left the natural use of women” fits in? Why can’t you explain why Paul doesn’t condemn heterosexual ritual prostitution since most ritual prostitution certainly was heterosexual. You conveniently ignore these obvious questions. Your explanation makes no sense if Paul is talking ONLY about idol worship. Paul is condemning BOTH idol worship and homosexuality. For you to argue that he’s only disapproving of homosexuality if practiced in the context of idol worship is as ridiculous as arguing the opposite… that Paul only disapproves of idol worship if it includes homosexual activity. Would you say that? Of course you would not. But following your illogical interpretive method, there’s no reason you couldn’t argue it both ways. The fact is that both idol worship and homosexuality are being condemned in and of themselves, not just if they are practiced together.

                      The context of Romans 1 is far wider than some idol worship
                      that was taking place in temples. In that chapter, Paul is talking about the human condition in general. Because of original sin, man (apart from grace) is estranged from God. Paul describes this as an EXCHANGE that has taken place where mankind has exchanged God for something else. He then proceeds to offer examples of this exchange, the most obvious being idol worship itself. Men exchange the true God for images made by hand. Then he proceeds to discuss other sins where he sees the same type of EXCHANGE principle taking place. First he brings up homosexuality because it’s such an obvious example of man’s desire to exchange God and His design for something that is an imitation. Homosexuality clearly involves the EXCHANGE of what is natural for what is unnatural. So the reason Paul’s argument flows to easily from idol worship into homosexuality is NOT that he only regards homosexuality to be wrong if it’s practiced in the context of idol worship. His point is that there is a parallel that exists between idol worship and homosexuality in that both of them involve the exchange of what is natural for what is unnatural. The reason we can know that for sure is because Paul’s argument doesn’t stop with homosexuality. In verse 28, he proceeds to discuss additional examples of mankind’s exchange of righteousness for evil…..things like murder, envy, deceit, etc. So to be consistent with your interpretation of the passage, then murder, envy and deceit are only sinful when they occur in an idol’s temple! Would you seriously argue that? It’s obvious that the revisionist attempt to argue that the context of Romans 1 is the very narrow scope of what takes place in an idol’s temple is utterly bogus. Paul is talking about something far broader….mankind’s EXCHANGE of truth for a lie. Idol worship is just an example of how that works out. So is homosexuality. And so is a list of many other sins listed in this chapter…

                      And why are you asking me to show you verses that speak
                      positively of intersex people. I am not claiming the Bible has anything to say at all about it. You are the one saying the Bible approves of homosexuality. I’m asking you for one
                      example of where. I can show you hundreds of passages that speak approvingly of heterosexuality, the passage I mentioned in Matt 19 being one of them. Why can’t you do the same?

                      You seem to believe that being gay is part of God’s wonderful creation, but you still can’t point to one piece of evidence in the human anatomy or in Scripture that argues positively for homosexuality.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Romans honored Gods, many in the images of animals. Many gods and goddesses represented fertility, primarily Venus for females and Liber for males. These gods also had Greek equivalents of Aphrodite and Dionysus. As part of worship, they had temple prostitution and had indiscriminate sex in honor of the gods, in which gender didn’t matter for their worship. Romans 1 condemns all of that shrine prostitution – and does not only disapprove of the homosexual shrine prostitution. He states that God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another, and gave them over to shameful lusts – well before mentioning homosexuality. Then he says the even had homosexual intercourse, because they were so fueled simply by lust.

                      I don’t ignore those questions- that’s the first time you asked.

                      My explanation makes sense because Paul is talking about what goes on with those cultures who commit idolatry, and what he saw in their temples.

                      He’s not condemning both idol worship and homosexuality, anymore than he is condemning both idol worship and heterosexuality. He is condemning idol worship and the lust it creates. Lust, heterosexual or homosexual. Not proper relationships. Idolatry is the context, and lust is what is condemned over and over.

                      You are right that he shows examples of what happens when people exchange God for idols, like the Roman Gods or Greek Gods. And he says BECAUSE OF THIS idolatry, God gave them over to shameful lusts and a depraved mind.

                      And importantly, he points out that these idolaters had no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. That’s true of lust and people of depraved minds, but not of committed couples heterosexual and homosexual as we acknowledge exist today. He is not condemning love and fidelity and understanding at all, he is condemning the lack of them that idolaters have.

                      So again, we have nothing clinching that this is against homosexual marriage, fidelity and love. We have plenty clinching that this is against idolatry and lust. Lust.

                      I’m asking you to show versus that speak positively of intersex people because your logic indicates that intersex people could not marry. You are the one claiming the Bible doesn’t approve of homosexual marriage. I’m saying I disagree, just as I disagree if someone says the Bible doesn’t approve of intersex marriage. I can’t show where the Bible speaks approvingly of homosexual marriage anymore than intersex marriage. But that doesn’t make them wrong, that would be an illogical jump to conclusions.

                      And you are right – I believe that intersex people and gay people being themselves is part of God’s wonderful creation, but I can’t point to human anatomy or Scripture to argue for or against that in the way that you want.

                    • Steve Frank

                      You once again ignored my specific questions….I asked you to explain why Paul says “left the natural use of women” if what he really meant to say (according to you) is “left God for idols”. Or why he didn’t mention heterosexual prostitution since that was also going on in idol temples, even more than homosexuality. Why does Paul only mention homosexual sex if his real concern is sex acts committed during idol worship? Nor can you explain why we shouldn’t add murder, envy and deceit to the list of offenses that are only sins if they are committed in the context of idol worship, since Paul goes right from homosexuality to those other sins as part of his same overall argument. The fact is that you can’t explain these things because the revisionist pseudo-scholars you have read can’t answer them either. These pseudo-scholars confuse their readers with a lot of mumbo jumbo about Greek words and complex historical contexts, hoping their dull thinking audience won’t catch the fact that they breezed right past Paul’s specific words without explaining how they could possibly fit into the artificial argument they have constructed.

                      You say that my logic indicates intersex people have no way to marry. That’s ridiculous. They are as free as everyone else to marry someone of the opposite gender. And please don’t tell me they can’t. Aren’t we always hearing about men who came out of the closet after having a wife and a few kids? The gay community congratulations them for their “bravery”. I keep hearing gays say how awful it used to be for gay men when they had to conform to society and “live a lie” by getting married, having kids, living life just like a heterosexual. What I want to know is were all the children from these marriages immaculately conceived? I don’t think so. These gay men obviously had the ability to engage in a sexual relationship with the opposite gender. I don’t doubt that they probably preferred men. But it’s not “brave” to leave one preference for another. Some heterosexual men are only attracted to thin women. So if such a man marries a thin woman and then she puts on a lot of weight and becomes overweight (and his attraction for her subsides), would anyone call him “brave” for leaving her for another thin woman? Of course not. But somehow it’s “brave” for a man to leave a woman because he decides he really likes men more?No. There’s nothing “brave” about seeking out the partner that most satisfies one’s sexual urges. And if someone is “so gay” that they can not perform sexually with a woman, even after therapy (if they can find it), then I would say the same thing to them I would say to a pedophile…you need to stay celibate.

                      Also please answer this question…did God create pedophiles?…I don’t mean did he create them as human beings, I mean did he give them a sexual orientation toward children rather than adults?

                    • Alex Guenser

                      “You once again ignored my specific questions….I asked you to explain why Paul says ‘left the natural use of women…’ ”

                      I will repeat, As part of worship, they had temple prostitution and had indiscriminate sex in honor of the gods, in which gender didn’t matter for their worship. Paul is talking about what goes on with those cultures who commit idolatry, and what he saw in their temples.

                      “Or why he didn’t mention heterosexual prostitution since that was also going on in idol temples, even more than homosexuality. ”

                      He does, I repeat, Romans 1 condemns all of that shrine prostitution – and does not only disapprove of the homosexual shrine prostitution. He states that God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another, and gave them over to shameful lusts – well before mentioning homosexuality.

                      “Why does Paul only mention homosexual sex if his real concern is sex acts committed during idol worship?”

                      Because there is no need to say “heterosexual” when you are talking about sex – that’s assumed in that time. He doesn’t need to write “God also gave them up to uncleanness through the heterosexual lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own heterosexual bodies between themselves.” It’s assumed.

                      If I were to say “People had so much sex. They even had gay sex,” you wouldn’t assume it was all gay sex.

                      “Nor can you explain why we shouldn’t add murder, envy and deceit”

                      We should add murder, envy and deceit to lust and to the other things to which God gave the idolaters over to. Along with strife, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, proud, violent, disobedient to parents.

                      And I never said that lust and murder and envy and disobeying your parents and whispering is only bad if it’s done in shrines, or only bad if it’s in the context of idol worship. We know from elsewhere that murder and envy are bad. Paul’s argument is simply about idolatry.

                      I am explaining these things, and I understand you don’t like it and don’t want to listen and would rather just say the fact is that I can’t explain it. Fine, go ahead, claim that. You’re only attacking that and scholars and Greek language because it’s what you want to be true.

                      “You say that my logic indicates intersex people have no way to marry. That’s ridiculous. They are as free as everyone else to marry someone of the opposite gender.”

                      They are intersex. That means between male and female. Is the opposite gender another intersex person? And the Bible doesn’t say “marriage is between a person and another of the opposite gender,” as you said, it’s between man and woman, not intersexed.

                      I’m not sure what your statements about being “closeted” means with regards to intersex people. Could you explain what the closet means with regards to people who are intersexed?

                      “What I want to know is were all the children from these marriages immaculately conceived? I don’t think so.”

                      Of course not, and nobody said otherwise.

                      “These gay men obviously had the ability to engage in a sexual relationship with the opposite gender.”

                      And people in adult films often have the ability to engage in a sexual relationship with the same gender. So? What does this have to do with intersexed people?

                      “But it’s not ‘brave’ to leave one preference for another.”

                      Nobody is saying it is. Nobody is saying bisexuals are brave for switching. You don’t even care what people are saying is brave do you? And this didn’t have anything to do with intersex people, you just wanted to change the subject?

                      If someone is so gay that they cannot perform sexually with a woman – even if they CAN perform sexually with a woman – they shouldn’t be going to therapy to change their lack of attraction for women, and shouldn’t be prevented from marrying the gender they want – especially not because of your religious beliefs. Relationships are about SO MUCH MORE than performing sexually, and I find it entirely degrading that you reduce them to that level, or would encourage women to marry gay men or men to marry lesbians.

                      I don’t know if God created pedophiles – do you? As far as your question about a sexual orientation toward children rather than adults, almost all pedophiles have a sexual orientation toward adults as well as their pedophilia. So I guess the answer is no? What do you think?

                    • Steve Frank

                      Alex, you keep repeating your points and ignoring my question. I asked what does it mean when Paul says men left the NATURAL USE OF WOMEN. If gender doesn’t matter, why is Paul complaining that men left a particular gender? YOU ARE IGNORING THAT POINT. Repeating to me your talking points about idol worship does not answer the question. Someone is being faulted for sex with a particular gender in that clause. Once again you are obfuscating. Can you answer a direction question?

                      Your assertion that pedophiles are just as interested in adults as children is simply false. As if a person would be willing to spend a lifetime in jail for a sexual experience with a child when it gives them no more pleasure than with a legal adult. Many pedophiles are capable of sexual relations with adults just like many gays are capable of sexual relations with the opposite gender. The issue is not capability but preference. Pedophiles prefer children. Gays prefer the same gender. The degree to which each person is capable of sexual activity with persons outside their preferred category varies from individual to individual.

                      If you don’t believe that God created pedophiles then you have conceded the point that sexual orientation is not something that is hard wired into us as individuals by God at birth. There is no scientific or logical basis to conclude that God custom designs our sexual impulses when it comes to gender of preference, but not age of preference. God is either the author of our sexual impulses or he is not. If he’s not, then there is some other explanation for both pedophelia AND homosexuality that has nothing to do with our creation by God.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I’m repeating those answers because they are my answers to your questions. I guess I will simplify my answers because you can’t take anything longer.

                      What does it means when Paul says men left the Natural use of women? It means Paul saw them so lustful in the shrines they had sex with other men there.

                      If gender doesn’t matter, why is Paul complaining that men left a particular gender? Because he’s complaining about ALL the lust. The lust towards the women, and even towards the men.

                      “Your assertion that pedophiles are just as interested in adults as children is simply false.” So I say almost all pedophiles have a sexual orientation toward adults as well as their pedophilia, and you twist this to say something about “just as interested,” adding words that I did not say. And you set up this strawman in order to make this point:

                      “As if a person would be willing to spend a lifetime in jail for a sexual experience with a child when it gives them no more pleasure than with a legal adult.” Generally it gives the child molester the same pleasure that a rapist gets. It’s about power. Rapists, too, have a sexual orientation toward adults.

                      I don’t know if God created pedophiles, but I do not have to concede the point that pedophilia, rape, heterosexuality, homosexuality and/or interracial attraction are all equivalent in their origins. If I don’t believe God created pedophiles, that doesn’t mean I don’t believe God created miscegenists. If I don’t believe that God created rapists, it doesn’t mean I don’t believe got created heterosexuals.

                      And since I have no logical basis to conclude on what God does and doesn’t do, that is why I said I don’t know. So I ask again the question that you ignored, I don’t know if God created pedophiles – do you? Do you know if God created rapists? Miscegenists? Heterosexuals? Homosexuals?

                      If he’s not the author of our sexual impulses, then there is some other explanation for pedophilia, homosexuality AND heterosexuality.

                    • Steve Frank

                      “Because he’s complaining about ALL the lust.”

                      Where are you seeing the words “ALL lust”??? Where do you see the words “men left loving relationships for lustful ones”? They are not there. It says men left women and burned with lust for other men. That’s a very specific kind of lust. If Paul was complaining about all lust it makes no sense to bring up the fact that men left women. In other words, Paul’s complaint is not only that these men burned with lust, but HOW they burned with lust…by turning from the natural use of the female as a sexual partner to other males. You are changing Paul’s words by saying he’s complaining about lust in general…he’s talking about something very specific and you are changing his words. You are torturing the passage. You are in denial.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Again, I’ll have to answer with simple answers because otherwise you think I’m not answering.

                      “Where are you seeing the words “ALL lust”??? I’m not, and didn’t mention seeing the words “all lust” specifically.

                      “Where do you see the words “men left loving relationships for lustful ones”? Nowhere, nor did I mention that.

                      “It says men left women and burned with lust for other men.” In specifically Romans 1:27.

                      “If Paul was complaining about all lust it makes no sense to bring up the fact that men left women.” Of course it does.

                      “In other words, Paul’s complaint is not only that these men burned with lust, but HOW they burned with lust.” Did you mean to say Paul’s complaint is not THAT they burned with lust, it’s HOW?

                      “You are changing Paul’s words by saying he’s complaining about lust in general.” No more than you are changing Paul’s words by saying he’s complaining about gay lust only.

                      “he’s talking about something very specific and you are changing his words.” In Romans 1:27, very specific. In Romans 1 in general, less specific. And I have no need to change his words. Or torture the passage. Or be in denial.

                    • Steve Frank

                      The passage talks about women lusting for women and men lusting for men. That’s what the actual words say. Nowhere does it mention men lusting for women or women lusting for men. It is ONLY talking about gay lust. You are simply making up your own words and inserting them into this passage. So I’m not going to waste any more time discussing this with someone who can’t be honest with the text. So I’m done…..nice chatting.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Romans 1:26 does mention women lusting for women, and Romans 1:27 does talk about men lusting for men. That is what the actual words say in Romans 1:26 and 1:27.

                      And Romans 1:24 mentions lust, not specifically men lusting for men, men lusting for women, women lusting for women, or women lusting for men. Romans 1:24 is not only talking about gay lust. That would be simply making up your own words and inserting them into Romans 1:24.

                      Thank for your leaving.

                    • Pay

                      Of course male/female attraction is ordained by God. That is known from Scripture and right reason. His permitting will allows for deviations. Our fallen world has many physical evils. Not ordained but permitted.

                    • Pay

                      You have no reason not to allow incest. That type if relationship is based on the same argument that allows homosexual relations. I want what I want regardless of morality or logic.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I have a reason, though you may disagree. And you’re free to. And incestuous couples are free to disagree.

                      That type of relationship may be based on the same argument that allows interracial relationships and homosexual relationships, so bet it.

                      “I want what I want regardless of morality or logic” is not the same argument though. That’s not at all what goes through interracial couples or same sex couples heads.

                    • Pay

                      Interracial couples have nothing in common with faux marriage. Two men can never form a marriage. Race has nothing to do with it.

                    • michelekc

                      Why two people specifically? Why not 3 or 8? Why are you limiting marriage to just 2 people? Here’s why: there are two complementary sexes. Without the complementarity, the number involved in such an arrangement is really arbitrary.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      No, I’m actually stating it two because that way you can completely commit to the other.

                      But my fiance complements me very well – he’s extroverted, I am introverted. He’s the cook, I’m the financial planner. He’s keeps our social calendar in check, I keep the house in working order. I know not everyone has such a complimentary relationship, but it really works for us!

                    • michelekc

                      That’s not what “complementarity of the sexes” means. What you just described is a good roommate situation.

                      http://catholichotdish.com/faith-and-reasons/complementarity-and-marriage/

                    • Alex Guenser

                      It’s what “complementary” means. Complementary. Not complementary of the sexes.” Not “complementary of races.” Not “complementary of ages.” Not “complementary of height.” Just complementary. We don’t need “complementary of the sexes” anymore than we need “complementary of the races.”

                      A good roommate situation is actually me and my female roommate of nearly 7 years. A good marriage is me and my fiance.

            • Art Deco

              1. I have news for you: people discriminate all the time – in their hiring, in their clientele, in their friendships, in their various associations. It is a fairly novel idea in Anglo-American society that the state has a franchise to intervene in these processes. There is no glaringly obvious criteria to determine ‘legitimate’ from ‘illegitimate’ discrimination, just the rough and ready practice of the last 60 years.

              2. The justification for interfering with freedom of contract was that those affected were operating ‘public accommodations’, which is to say establishments where strangers commonly entered for periods of limited duration. Even so (and see Richard Epstein on this point), legislative proposals offered in 1963 did not take account of conventional distinctions between commercial services offered in the presence of considerable competition and the absence of it). A photographic studio bears no resemblance to luncheonettes or hotels.

              3. Loving and Loving could have honestly pointed out various inconveniences to them from Virginia matrimonial law which they could only evade by leaving the state. The inconvenience involved in seeking another florist for these asses was minimal, and no one would ordinarily bear the cost of filing a lawsuit if they were not trying to make a point. The point is ugly.

              • Alex Guenser

                And I have news for you. We passed laws against some forms of discrimination, in 1964. Almost 50 years now. If you are complaining that this law restricts freedom from association, you are about 50 years too late.

                Are you saying that a photographer should be exempt from anti-discrimination, and can refuse to give services to black people or Jewish people? You can feel free to take that case to court.

                Ah, so this is more like Rosa Parks rather than Loving – where it was not at all inconvenient for Rosa Parks to seek another seat in the back of the bus or stand. And she was a diva for refusing to give up her seat, because the inconvenience was minimal. Or she would only be a diva if she sued?

            • Art Deco

              The only injustice here was that perpetrated by the plaintiffs, the judges, and their advocates.

              • Alex Guenser

                You are free to that opinion, just as you are free to think the only injustices of the whole civil rights movement were the advances in rights gained by plaintiffs, judges, and advocates.

        • UAWildcatx2

          Art Deco responded to your other points well enough, but I have to ask, what the heck are you talking about with “Trust me, the day is coming when an interracial couple will sue some church.” I think I don’t understand because it’s a non sequitur. It doesn’t make sense. If your hypothetical interracial couple is Catholic, practices the faith, and promises to live a Catholic life, they don’t have reason to sue the Church. If they want to get married civilly, fine. BUT, if they are a homosexual couple, then they, by their actions, are living a life that is contrary to Church teaching, and cannot get married in the Church, the same way non-Catholics can’t demand a Catholic wedding.

          • Alex Guenser

            Thanks for asking. The same laws that protect same sex couples protect interracial couples, in case you didn’t know. It’s a comparison – it may seem like a non-sequitor, but it’s actually a comparison between similar things.

            Through history – have we had interracial couples discriminated against? Yes. By churches? Yes. Even today? Yes – like a Kentucky church voted to ban interracial couples from their congregation.

            If an interracial couple is discriminated against, then they have a reason to sue a church, any church. Just like a same sex couple would.

            If an interracial couple wants to get married civilly, they can – same sex couples in most states cannot, and actually Catholic churches don’t say that’s fine and fight against it. Quite a difference!

            Gay couples aren’t talking about getting married in the Catholic church, UAWildcat. You’re mistaking what’s going on for something else entirely, discrimination in business services.

            • UAWildcatx2

              “Gay couples aren’t talking about getting married in the Catholic church, UAWildcat. You’re mistaking what’s going on for something else entirely”
              I’m going to bring it back to the original article, which was a satire about one person’s “reasoning” for the Church to accept gay “marriage.” I’m saying that now that they are making major gains in opinion polls and arguing about “equality,” then a giant target (as she always has been) is the Catholic Church, since she’s one of the very few churches standing up for what we know is right. The administration has already tried to tell a church how it can and can’t conduct itself. It’s a matter of time until someone sues the Church to let them have their “ceremony”

              • Alex Guenser

                It was a satire about one person’s reasoning for the Church to accept that gay marriage be legalized. Just like the Church reasonably accepts that non-Catholics can be married.

                A giant opponents of same sex couples being allowed to legally marry is the Catholic church, while the Catholic church doesn’t oppose non-Catholics from being allowed to legally marry.

                The Catholic church is standing up for discrimination, in ways it doesn’t to others. They also want to have the right to discriminate in their business practices, in a way they don’t discriminate against others who are not catholic. I can’t see in any way how that is “right.”

                The administration has already tried to tell businesses how they can and can’t conduct themselves. Because the Church owns businesses, you have confused the two.

            • Pay

              You compare unequal items and then draw erroneous conclusions.

              • Alex Guenser

                The only way to draw comparisons is between two items that are similar but not equal. If we were to compare an iPhone with an iPhone, it wouldn’t be a comparison.

                The conclusions, however, seem to be sound.

                • Pay

                  They are not equal or similar. One is authentic and one is a charade . Unequals ought to be treated unequally.

                  • Alex Guenser

                    They are equal and similar.
                    Both are authentic. Neither are a charade. Both are marriage.
                    Your prejudice out not to be reason to treat either differently than same race marriages or opposite sex marriages.

                    • Pay

                      Your deviant behavior and ideology cannot make fiction into reality. They cannot be similar other than one apes the other. It is contrived, aberrant arrangement not based in biology, reason, or moral correctness.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      You calling something deviant can’t turn it from reality into fiction. Just as if you called interracial marriage deviant. Both are marriage, neither needs to ape the other. Interracial marriage does not ape same race marriage, and same sex marriage does not ape opposite sex marriage. All are simply marriages, in and of themselves.

                      You’re free to have the opinion that it is contrived, or aberrant, or not based in biology, or reason, or morality. Those can be argued about many things. It is, nonetheless, still marriage – regardless of the gender and the race of the peoples involved.

                    • Pay

                      More fiction. Marriage requires male and female. Just because the State abuses its authority and creates some legal fiction cannot change the truth of the matter. Two men cannot be married. They can pretend and the State can pretend but they are not married.

                      Interracial issues have nothing in common with deviant sex acts.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Nothing in marriage required male and female. Male and male couples have been getting married perfectly fine, and female and female couples have been getting married perfectly fine. To require something means it NEEDS to happen or else fails – like humans require food. Without food, humans will die. But same sex marriages? They don’t die, they flourish.

                      Two men can be, and are married, even though you want to pretend they are not.

                      And interracial relationships were absolutely considered deviant sex acts, just as you consider same sex relationships – and the two have everything to do with each other.

        • Pay

          What rights? There is no right for a man to “marry” another man. That is a legal fiction.

          • Alex Guenser

            The right to equality under the law.

            There is no right for a man to “marry” another man,
            there is no right for a man to “marry” another man,
            there is no right for a man to “marry” another woman,
            and there is no right for a black person to “marry” a another black person.

            There is a right to equality under law, which applies to how we are treated in marriage, regardless of our race or gender.

            Thank you for asking!

      • http://anziulewicz.livejournal.com PolishBear

        DEAR WILDCAT:

        As far as churches are concerned, I wouldn’t worry. Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship in the U.S. have always been free to conduct their own affairs as they see fit. Muslim and Atheist and Jewish couples are allowed to marry, and churches have never been compelled to provide any services to them. Nothing is going to change when Gay couples decide to tie the knot either.

        And what does it really matter anyway? None of the legal benefits and protections of marriage come from the church, they come from GOVERNMENT. And couples have never needed church approval to obtain a civil marriage license. As for the Church of England, that simply illustrated the problems that arise when the Church is co-opted by the government.

        In a nutshell: The government can’t force a church to perform gay marriages, and churches can’t prevent the government from recognizing them.

        As for businesses that exist to turn a profit, that’s a different story. All the bakeries and florists and caterers and photographers that people are wailing and gnashing their teeth about? They aren’t in the business of enforcing moral codes or providing spiritual guidance, they exist to MAKE MONEY. And as such they are obligated to comply with civil rights laws, whether those civil rights law protect people based on race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

        Perhaps Christians who believe that existing civil rights laws are too burdensome should file suit to have those laws overturned. Who knows, maybe they’ll be successful! Maybe the Supreme Court will determine that civil rights laws interfere with religious freedom and freedom of association. Then we can go back to the days when landlords could refuse to rent to Muslims, and restaurants could turn away Blacks. No doubt that would make a lot of White supremacists happy.

        • Bono95

          “Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship in the US have always been free to conduct their own affairs as they see fit.” Tell that to the homosexual lobby and Obama Administration, or did they make their demands for religious organizations to support adultery and murder even when against the organization’s beliefs BEFORE they got your memo? And are they going to listen to it now?

          “Muslim, atheist, and Jewish couples are allowed to marry, and churches have never been compelled to provide any service to them.” Well gee, no Muslim, atheist, or Jewish couples have ever demanded that a church perform or recognize their marriages. Apparently, their own non-church ceremonies were good enough for them. So why is the homosexual lobby so desperate to have churches perform and recognize THEIR “unions”? And why don’t they demand Islamic affirmation?

          “The government can’t force a church to perform same-sex weddings.” The government also can’t take away our arms, suppress our free speech, or declare war without Congress’s approval, and yet, it’s done and is still doing all these things, and while maybe no church yet has been browbeaten by the feds into performing a same-sex wedding, it looks very much like it will only be a matter of time until that happens. Come on, just look at what other forms of religious freedom are being suppressed.

          “For-profit businesses exist only to make money, not enforce moral codes.” So that’s all business is?? Money, money, money?? Whatever happened to fighting corporate greed?? As for the 2nd point, if businesses can’t enforce moral codes, does that mean a store owner can’t call the police if his store’s being robbed? Does that mean he has to just let the thief take what he wants -no, scratch that -does that mean he has to personally hand the thief his wallet, the cash register, and whatever merchandise he wants and then congratulate him on his successful robbery and wish him the best of luck in all his future heists?

          If you want to convince me that same-sex marriage is a good idea, you’re going to have to do better than that.

  • Pingback: First Links — 8.29.13 - CATHOLIC FEAST - Every day is a Celebration

  • Ben Embry

    First off, this is a cheap shot. There are clarifications given by Bottum published since his Commonweal article which further explain his essay as being aimed toward strategy, not doctrine. Too nuanced for you, maybe? And you teach (?) *philosophy*? “Whatsoever things are true…..” Secondly, it’s not good satire either. Try augmenting your satire rhetoric with stuff beyond the middle school level. 3rd, Distinguo, prof mikey: is there a difference between civil marriage and sacramental marriage? ‘Cause I’m an evangelical, and I really need to know. 4th, nice one: saying that Bottum is trying to embarrass the church leadership into accommodating his desires- as if your Ave Maria University isn’t accused of the same thing, what with your quasi-oratory and your rich pizza kingpin. 5th, I feel like I’m wasting my time writing this small comment; no telling how long you scoured Bottum’s article to be able to produce this risible “satire”.

    • Bono95

      A civil marriage is a “courthouse wedding”. The couple to be goes down to the courthouse and signs the marriage certificate. No prayers, church service/ceremony, or anything religious is involved. Civil marriages are valid if both the man and woman fully consent to the union, but far, far less graces are bestowed upon the couple in such a union, and baptized and practicing Catholics, who should know better, shouldn’t settle for less by undergoing a civil marriage when they can (and should) unite in a sacramental marriage. A sacramental marriage is when a baptized man and a baptized woman are married in a Catholic Church by an authorized priest and the wedding is observed by at least 2 witnesses. A Mass to accompany the wedding ceremony is not required, but the couple will receive many more graces if there is one. Note: a Catholic who undergoes a wedding that is not sacramental is validly married if he or she and his or her spouse consented, but the marriage is not sacramental.

      Anyone else who can explain all of this better than I did please do so. Thank you.

    • Pay

      Cheap shot? The entire piece by Bottum is a cheap shot.

  • Bono95

    Does anyone else find Mr. Bottum’s smile in the top picture as creepy as I do?

  • Purists aren’t really purists

    I do love how the folks commenting on this article in defense of SSM presuppose a certain definition of marriage that inherently excludes children. Children become an accessory to the relationship (even if IVF is required) and not the fundamental reason for the the STATE to recognize and protect those relationships. Children, children, children. The religious liberty stuff is a real threat, but people arguing against SSM purely on the religious point miss the greater point! If we take children out of the picture entirely, then what is left? Why recognize it at all?

    • Alex Guenser

      Are you presupposing a certain definition of marriage that inherently includes children?

      Are you saying there is no worth to marriage, nothing to recognize, unless children exist?

      • Purists aren’t really purists

        “marriage that inherently includes children” doesn’t make sense. I obviously don’t want people to have the children prior to being legally recognized as married. But I am saying that marriage as a civilly recognized structure only makes sense because it promotes and protects that entity from which children are conceived and through which children are taught, protected, fed, bathed, clothed, sleep, eat, have their poop cleaned up, and given a set of people that are their creators, educators and caretakers. I have no problem with granting hospital visiting rights, property transfer rights, etc. to everyone else (heck conservatives have been arguing for less government regulation in all those sectors, especially tax related, for quite some time). But I don’t see why financial stability and “health and well-being” of individuals are of equal value to the state as ensuring that children have someone who is legally required to provide them with food, clothing, and shelter. Not to mention Bill Gates could easily provide financial stability, better health care, and take a lot of people of the government dime, but presumably you wouldn’t want Bill Gates walking into the slums of New York City and taking ten wives for himself. And, since I know you are going to ask, I think as a prudential matter it makes sense to include infertile and older couples in the mix, rather than excluding them, but I think marriage benefits (which I’ve yet to see how me paying for two cars, two premiums, and two people’s rent, diapers, baby clothes, etc. is somehow a huge plus over and above when I had four roomates and paid almost nothing in rent) should be geared towards making it easier to have and rear children and less about tax breaks and visiting rights. We can make common sense legislation to address those without redefining the family.

        • Alex Guenser

          I’m confused on why you think “marriage that inherently excludes children” makes sense, but “marriage that inherently includes children” doesn’t make sense.

          Marriage as a civilly recognized structure makes sense to the married couple too – not just to the children. I don’t think most would agree that the only reason marriage exists is for the children. Many people who marry do not want kids, or are past the age of kids, and still see a point in marriage, and I don’t think we can accurately say there is no sense to their marriage.

          “But I don’t see why financial stability and “health and well-being” of individuals are of equal value to the state as ensuring that children have someone who is legally required to provide them with food, clothing, and shelter.”

          I’m not sure where you got this – I don’t believe anyone said this. And secondly, parents ARE legally required to provide for their children, regardless of marital status. It makes sense for parents to legally be required to provide for their children even when unmarried.

          Nobody is talking about redefining the family. This is talking about civil marriage.

          • Purists aren’t really purists

            There are two sides to marriage: the “sacramental” or existential aspect (between the two people) and the procreative aspect. You seem very much interested in enshrining the first into law (which is ironic, since it seems to be an imposition of your religion on the state), but not so interested in the latter (which is the biological reality that produces mouths that must be fed). I know it’s an unpopular idea, but children are just as much citizens as are adults. Therefore the state has an equal interest in them as it does in us, and in fact, since a one-month old baby is entirely defenseless and incapable of caring for herself, the state has an even greater interest in her well-being. Children are easily the most affected by divorce, by being born out of wedlock, by being raised without a father, by being raised in orphanages, by abuse from step-parents, from neglect, and even from being raised by people that aren’t their biological parents (yes adoption is great, but it isn’t ideal). Just because we require dead beat dad’s to pay child support (even though they often don’t), that doesn’t make the system just. I personally don’t care whether or not the people next door have a happy, healthy, stable life (I do, but I don’t need them checking the “happy” box on their tax forms), but I do care if the kid next door has a father and mother living in the same house as her. Who will pay for the 17 trillion dollars of debt? Who will pay into social security? Who will pay public pensions? Who will take care of the elderly? Our children. The state obviously has a very big interest in repopulating America, and it does so by creating an institution that binds couples that biologically are suited to reproduction (even if they are infertile, or even if they aren’t planning on having kids. As though “unexpected” pregnancies are some fanciful myth). That should be the foundation on which marriage law is based. That doesn’t exclude the couple, in fact it benefits them if done properly, but it doesn’t make two people living together the ideal. We should be moving to strengthen and encourage marriages that produce children, not making marriage into an abstract concept and treating children as a side thought addressed through other laws. It’s sad that most Americans don’t think about our posterity anymore, but in reality, a mom and dad raising their kids is the foundation of our entire nation.

            • Alex Guenser

              You were asking me questions about my positions, and now you seem to be attacking me for them. If you are not interested in a discussion about my views, and would rather just ask so you can attack them, I don’t find that to be very honest or respectful. You also claimed you would answer the questions I asked, but have yet to respond and answer them as I had answered. I find you to be more and more rude.

              I don’t know why you think marriage laws are an imposition of any religion on to the state. I don’t think marriage is inherently religious. Atheists marry, Buddhists marry, Jewish people marry, Muslims marry, tribal communities marry, Native Americans marry – all people marry regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof. And the choice to marry doesn’t seem to be an imposition, nor an imposition on to the state, in any of the centuries that marriage laws have existed.

              You seem to think that I am trying to make marriage laws today, as if they are not in existence. They actually are in existence, and you were asking me questions about the purpose, which I tried to answer. If you think instead that marriage laws are bad, you are free to that opinion.

              In your entire post about marriage and children, you pretty much get at exactly what I was saying about marriage encouraging stability. Divorced households are damaging to children AND adults often because of the lack of stability. Children of single parents lack a lot of stability that comes from two parent households.

              Marriage is the institution which encourages stability in adult relationships for their own well-being as well as that of their families. So the state creates an institution that binds couples, regardless of race or gender or procreative ability or blood relation to their children, in order to encourage that stability.

              Encouraging that stability is what marriage is about. And we should be moving to strengthen this ideal of stable, cooperative marriages for the benefit of all, with or without children. And that is exactly what expanding marriage to all couples, regardless of race or gender, has sought to do.

              • Purists aren’t really purists

                For the record, I used the word “you” once. You used it seven times in the first paragraph. So no, I wasn’t attacking “you.” I was addressing what I see to be the fundamental flaw in the marriage revisionist mentality.

                But it’s better to end these conversations and let others read our respective points and draw conclusions for themselves. I had no hopes of changing your mind, but maybe our back and forth will clarify the thought of others.

                • Alex Guenser

                  For the record, what I took offense to was this statement where you judged my interests after I answered what I was asked: “You seem very much interested in enshrining the first into law (which is ironic, since it seems to be an imposition of your religion on the state), but not so interested in the latter (which is the biological reality that produces mouths that must be fed)”

                  “Marriage revisionist mentality?” I think there is a fundamental flaw in not showing respect to people who believe one way and reducing it to this. I wish to marry, for the benefit of my relationship and my children, and there is no reason to call that a “marriage revisionist mentality” that I see – especially when it is so consistent with your view.

                  But before you end the conversation, maybe you’d like to answer the questions you said you’d answer? What IS your definition of marriage, please. Because it seems you might think a tree is a large animal with four legs. Do you think the state SHOULD recognize two people in a committed relationship, or only two people who have children? What good would both bring to the public at large, and what bad would both bring to the public at large?

                  • Purists aren’t really purists

                    For the definition of marriage as a religious sacrament see the catechism. Legally speaking it should be the union of one man and one woman for life (i.e. I’m very much opposed to no-fault divorce). Obviously there are thousands of other legalities attached to this one that define tax status, health care, etc., but those are all secondary and should proceed from a proper understanding of the first. What that definition presupposes is that, without undue burden on the couples (i.e. fertility tests or age limits), marriage entails a biological complementarity that can, in some instances, produce children (i.e. disqualifying homosexual couples but not interracial couples). And again, marriage “perks” should be geared towards that end, not just supporting the two spouses. If it were the case that the majority of people getting married were past reproductive age, then I would think it silly for the state to get involved in marriage at all, but as a general rule most couples are married before those years are over, therefore the “perks” of marriage should be geared toward making those child bearing and raising years more affordable. I’m not opposed to working to free up property rights, etc., but I think those are not questions about marriage itself.

                    Furthermore, and this was what I meant by my remark earlier, it wouldn’t make sense to have a definition of marriage that’s retroactive, i.e. waiting until the couple has had their first child to call them married. Rather you would define marriage to include those couples that are biologically capable of having children (i.e. one man and one woman) so that any children they have AFTER marriage are raised within the context of marriage.

                    Obviously the primary good this brings are (as I most definitely stated earlier) the children. A society without posterity won’t last very long and, being good Americans racking up debt, we desperately need future tax-payers. Furthermore, since children are going to be born (because complete sterilization is still not entirely accepted) it is far better for the child (food, clothing, love, education, clean diapers, not being an orphan, etc.) and the state (parents pick up most of the child’s tab so taxpayers don’t have to, and anyone who thinks children aren’t much better off being raised by mom and dad than just by mom or dad are not being serious) if the child is raised by his or her biological parents living in one household. That’s just about the greatest good anyone can give society.

                    To be honest, at this state in American culture it would be better to buy everyone Dave Ramsey books rather than promote marriage for everyone if our sole purpose was financial stability and happiness.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I don’t believe you asked me for the definition of marriage as a religious sacrament, and I wasn’t asking you. You asked me, what IS marriage – to make sure I wasn’t talking about a large animal. You asked what my definition of marriage was, not for me to deflect to some denomination’s religious take on marriage, I’m talking about your definition.

                      So your definition of marriage is “the union of one man and one woman for life.” Very similar to mine. Nothing in the definition including children, or excluding children. Which is interesting considering your earlier post. I mostly agree, except that it is the union of two people. Doesn’t need to be one man and one woman, just like it doesn’t need to be two people of the same race. Legally speaking that should not be relevant.

                      The definition of being two people for life does not presuppose anything about what burdens the couple may face, or how many children they may have or not have. The definition is irregardless of children.

                      Now, moving on to outside the definition. You’re free to believe that no couples should marry unless they have biological children, and that elderly couples, infertile couples, and adoptive couples should not seek marriage perks because they are meant only for biological children of the couple.

                      I don’t believe anyone was talking about a marriage being done retroactively – it more would work that when a birth certificate was produced, that the couple could now be married. It would start obviously on the day of the birth, as if that child is the point, then benefits without that child would have no end. In that way, any children that they have would always be raised within marriage. It could also be that as soon as the child turns 18 and is an adult, if there are no children in the house, then there are no more marriage perks – as they would not be needed.

                      Obviously I disagree – and think that there are stability benefits to society that are much greater than just the benefits to the child. And I even think that adoptive couples and step-parents should be allowed to be married and have those benefits too even without having biological children.

                      Fortunately for me, the legal definition of marriage is in line with my view of what marriage benefits should be. And your view of benefits are more like “child deductions,” and that marriage should be rolled into “child deductions.”

                    • Purists aren’t really purists

                      I swear it’s like you didn’t even read my post.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I read it, and actually responded to the points I felt I had something to say about how I disagreed, in the post above. Was there something in specific you think I missed that I did not respond to? Do you think my post doesn’t make sense in the context of yours? What makes you think I didn’t read it?

                      Would you like to respond to anything in my post, or just be mean?

                    • TKinTX

                      Marriage is an ontological institution that has existed since before written history, before religion and before it even had a name. It’s the life-long bonding together of a man and a woman to support and care for one another and for the children that come from their union. This doesn’t preclude couples who are infertile, for whatever reason, because the dignity and integrity of the institution are still maintained.
                      Understanding this fact, it’s easy to see that the word “marriage” is chronically misapplied in our culture. Any situation, to include two homosexual who /cannot/ reproduce with one another, is not and cannot be a marriage. Eso si que es. It is what is is.

                    • TKinTX

                      **Any situation, to include two homosexuals who /cannot/ reproduce with one another, which does not have the essential elements of man and woman bonded together for life with the intention of welcoming children, is not and cannot be a marriage.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Then I argue in the same vein that marriage is an ontological institution that has existed since before written history, before religion and before it even had a name, and it’s a life-long bonding together of two people to support and care for one another.

                      If any children come from their union, or outside of their union, parents are still responsible for their care. If any children come to them from outside their union, though adoption or guardianship, it’s also their responsibility to care for the children regardless of marital status. Children is a separate issue than marriage, as married vs unmarried has no bearing on the responsibility people have with their children.

                      This meaning of marriage does not preclude couples who are same sex, because the dignity and integrity of the institution is still maintained regardless of the genders of the people involved.

                      To include two homosexuals who can reproduce with each other, is and can of course be marriage. It is what it is. Reproduction is of course unneceesary, and gay couples are not precluded from marriage for being infertile together because the dignity and integrity of the institution are still maintained.

                      There is nothing essential about the elements of man and elements of woman being incorporated in marriage, as same sex couples to marry just fine without those essential elements. And there is nothing essential about the intention of welcoming children – though many same sex couples do welcome children, like my fiance and I.

    • http://methodicanarchist.keepandshare.com/ Jim Englert

      Does civil society have no stake in the promotion of stability and fidelity in sexual relationships in se?

  • Erika Tatsis

    If you know Alex Guenser is a homosexual and excited about gay marriage, then why engage him on an orthodox Catholic website? He is here to provoke, he is not interested in meaningful exchanges. Just wants to make Catholics look like bad, bad people. Please ignore.

    • Pay

      His propaganda should be exposed for lurkers to see. His arguments are the usual solipsistic silliness.

    • Alex Guenser

      I’m not here to provoke, I’m here to stand up for my rights, my fiance, my step-son, my family. I’m here to get people to think about what they believe, and what they say, and what that means.

      Would you like to have a meaningful exchange? I would love it.

      I know many Catholics, and Catholics are great people. Catholics don’t look bad to me, and shouldn’t. Catholics make up most of the PFLAG group I get invited to attend, and Catholics for Marriage Equality were a great presence in the Pride march this year and for pushing for marriage equality in Washington. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I haven’t said anything against Catholics, Erika – because I don’t have anything against Catholics.

      I hope you can see that, or give me the opportunity to show it even more.

      • AnthonyMa

        If the US Supreme Court declares a bull to be a cow, can we then milk it? Natural Law shows us that your body is not built to accommodate the very actions that define your depravity. I invite you to spend some time with the New Testament and in deep prayer in the hope that you can find a way out of this sinful behavior.

        • Alex Guenser

          I don’t know how you expect to reach out by calling people depraved.

          No, but if the Supreme Court declared a black person to be a human with rights, can he or she vote? Yes.

          Natural law shows us nature, it does not show anything about marriage law. Just like people’s black skin shows a color, and does not show anything about voting laws.

          You can call anything deprave you want. Even black people marrying white people, as often used to be the case, or shout “integration is unchristian.”

          Thanks for your concern, but my engagement and marriage and parenthood is not a sinful behavior. You’re free to your personal religious beliefs however.

          • AnthonyMa

            A person can not, by an act of will, change the color of their skin or their race. A homosexual(or a pedophile) needs to simply not act on their impulses to not fall under the sexual deviancy by which you define yourself. Not to mince words, you appear to be an adult by the photograph next to your name, but the actions you are defining yourself by, are disgusting. Your body is not meant to be defiled in the manner you are using it. Come to your senses, move to the desert if you have to, just stop degrading and abusing your body.

            • Alex Guenser

              A person also can not, by an act of will, change their gender. A person in an interracial couple needs to simply not act on their impulses to not fall under the sexual deviancy by which interracial marriage is defined.

              And no, I don’t define myself by sexual deviency, nor have I. You brought that up to deride me, while somehow thinking this is going to make me in your Christian image.

              I am an adult. The action of marriage – or whatever else you think it is that I “define myself by,” which I never said anything to define myself – may be disgusting to you, and so be it. If you find it disgusting that I define myself as a husband, so be it. Telling me you are disgusted shows you are here to provoke, and push people away from Catholicism and Christianity.

              • AnthonyMa

                Alex, by embracing and celebrating your sexual preference, you are turning your back on Jesus, no one is pushing you away. Since you are an adult, I’m sure you know what the proper use of a rectum is, if you don’t, read a biology book. All people are sinners and fall short of the glory of God, you’re no different than any other sinner, but I don’t see too many thieves trying to justify their behavior by comparing themselves to interracial couples. Deep down, you know your behavior is wrong, why else would you spend so much time on a Christian website? God wants you to stop engaging in this sin and wants to welcome you back into his grace, you’ve made a first step by coming here, hopefully you’ll find the peace Christ is offering you.

                • Alex Guenser

                  I have a great relationship with Jesus – I have no desire to turn my back on him. And I hope you do realize what effect it has when you call people deviants, or disgusting, or tell them they are degrading, abusing, or defiling – that’s all words you chose to use, and I hope you knew your intent when you chose them.

                  You’re free to believe I’m a sinner or a white person dating a black person is a sinner, that is your choice. But deep down, I know love is right. That’s something you might not be able to see, which I understand – and it might not be something you want to see, as you don’t show any interest in getting inside my head.

                  Thanks for asking about why I’m here. I am here because as a Christian, I am interested in how different Christian groups deal with same sex couples, and how that’s evolving. I had read the original article by Bottum, and someone in the comments – Thomas – directed me to a link from crisismagazine.com, so I found myself here.

                  My first step in giving myself over to Christ was when I was young and struggling with the fact that I had no romantic attractions to women, but I did to men, and I didn’t want to be that way because I was told it was all sorts of evil things. But in time, Christ welcomed me into his grace and gave me comfort – and since then, I’ve found loving family, friends, church, a fiance, a step-son… and peace.

                  I hope you find peace and the grace of God, and no longer feel the need to demean others. I sometimes do give in as you have, I know, but I know it’s not what God wants of me.

                  • Steve Frank

                    “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:4-5)

                    If you don’t wish to turn your back on Jesus, why are you turning your back on His words? In this passage from Matthew’s gospel, Jesus clearly tied the purpose of marriage back to God’s creative design of two human genders…male and female. When conservative politicians say these same words, they are called bigots and homophobes. Why does Jesus get a pass from you?

                    • Alex Guenser

                      I don’t turn my back on His words, just like I don’t believe people who are intersexed turn their back on their His words. Intersex people might read this passage would think there is no place for them, being not entirely male and female, and gay people might read it meaning that marriage is only for representing two genders. But with more understanding of God’s word and God’s love, we learn that He is inclusionary, not exclusionary.

                      I give conservative politicians and Jesus both a pass, especially when they don’t use that to try to deny my love. And Jesus never has.

                    • Steve Frank

                      Your reasoning is faulty. So what about a person with pedophelic urges? Is there “no place for them”? The premise of your conclusion seems to be that all sexual urges are legitimate.

                      Also, any “more” understanding that you believe you’ve gleaned from God’s word can’t contradict what He has said elsewhere. If God really “makes people gay”, then Jesus had the perfect chance to clarify that for us in Matt 19. But he said the opposite. He said that God had a plan from the beginning for marriage and that is why he made them male and female. Did it ever cross your mind that God could have created humans as one gender? But he didn’t, he created two genders. Your pro-SSM belief system can’t explain that, because one of the faulty premises behind it is that gender is basically a meaningless construct…to you males and females are interchangeable units when it comes to both parenting and marriage. But that goes entirely against the entire created order.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Logically, if I accept there is a seat at the table for intersex people and others who don’t fit the gender binary, it doesn’t have anything to do with “urges” or age. I understand how you could interpret my argument that way given your preconceptions. But I do not argue from the point of sexual urges.

                      And no, I do not think God contradicts himself by making people intersex or gay, nor do I think Jesus needed to point out the existence of intersex people or gay people in Matt 19. Jesus did not say that God didn’t make intersex people.

                      God could have created humans as one gender, or as two genders exclusively, or as a spectrum with males, females, and people who are intersexed. I don’t think gender is meaningless, I think actually it is very meaningful and intersex people help us find that out perfectly. But I understand why you think intersex people go against the entire created order, and why you ignore their existence. That’s okay, it doesn’t change anything.

                    • jane

                      Please help me understand what you are saying: What do you mean by “intersexed”?

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Intersex encompasses varying conditions in which a person is not strictly male or strictly female. There are varying estimates of how common intersexism is, but the intersex society estimates that 1 in 100 births is a child whose body differs from standard male or female. 1 in 1000 receive surgery to “normalize” genital appearance.

                      Intersex conditions include people who are not XX or XY, people who are XXY (Klinefelter’s), XY women who have androgen insensitivity syndrome, etc.

                      Here’s an article on someone who was a man going in for surgery, and found out she was intersex – and transitioned to a woman.
                      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/05/25/man-admitted-to-hospital-for-kidney-stone-discovers-hes-a-woman/

                      And here’s a good story about what we can learn from intersexism with regards to gender and sexuality
                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tonyjones/2013/08/26/an-intersexed-person-changed-my-mind/

                    • Jack Smythe

                      Your reasoning is faulty. Children cannot give consent for such things. There is a huge difference between two consenting adults having a sexual relationship and an adult and a child doing the same. This is just more anti gay propaganda. Try a new approach as this one is really old and nonsensical.

                  • AnthonyMa

                    There is no biblical prohibition against interracial marriage, I don’t know why you keep harping on that. The Bible in general, the New Testament in particular and Church teachings for 2000 years do, however, prohibit homosexuality. A canary can call itself an eagle, but it doesn’t make it so. An unrepentant, practicing homosexual should not call himself a Christian. Just as an aside, its not me who’s demeaning you, it’s you who demean yourself every time you act out on your deviancy.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      No more do I demean myself than interracial couples demean themselves when they act out on their deviancy. I keep drawing the comparison because the attitudes are so similar.

                      You’re free to think I shouldn’t call myself Christian, or any number of people shouldn’t call themselves Christian. You’re free to your religious beliefs.

                  • Pay

                    The truth is not demeaning. Part of Gay propaganda is to redefine concepts and words in an attempt to change reality. Reality cannot change. Truth is a person. He cannot change. Promoting homosexual desires and acts as loving is a grave offense against the Truth. Feelings and deception cannot reorder reality.

              • Pay

                Your gender is male. Your desires are the problem.

                • Alex Guenser

                  You’re free to that belief. You’re free to believe your desires are right, and mine are wrong, just as you are free to believe that Richard Loving’s desires are wrong.

                  • Pay

                    Why bring race up ? How is that related to unnatural desires?

                    • Alex Guenser

                      Because race is an apt comparison to gender. Gender and race are related to “unnatural desires” because people tell whites their attraction to blacks is an “unnatural desire,” like they tell women their attraction to women is an “unnatural desire.

                    • Pay

                      Race has nothing to do with behavior or desires. Deflection will not work.

                    • Alex Guenser

                      And gender has nothing to do with behavior or desires either. Comparisons will work, not deflections though.

        • http://methodicanarchist.keepandshare.com/ Jim Englert

          You seem a bit of a stranger to the Lord’s testament in your own ways, Anthony. I hope you consider joining Alex in the deep prayer to which you invite him.

          • AnthonyMa

            Huh? If I say murdering and stealing are okay and engage in both behaviors can I still call myself a Christian? Only sodomy is allowed this week, is that it? When Luther opened that door just that tiny little bit all those years do you think he had any idea what he’d done? I could be wrong but I think, in fact, I’m pretty sure there are a few definite steps one must take to be a Christian, unless we’re just going to throw the bible away and do whatever we decide.

            • http://methodicanarchist.keepandshare.com/ Jim Englert

              There are many ways of straying from the narrow path, Anthony. Yours is a not uncommon one. So I simply repeat the suggestion to join in the deep prayer to which you invited Alex.

              • AnthonyMa

                There a many ways to stray from the narrow path? What in Thor’s name are you talking about?

                • http://methodicanarchist.keepandshare.com/ Jim Englert

                  You seem to be far from the Kingdom of Heaven, so little surprise that you would not understand. Join in deep prayer, read the Lord’s testament, and you may, like the blind man, begin to see.

    • Alex Guenser

      Well, I guess now I’m the one who is giving in to people who provoke me and don’t want meaningful exchanges! I probably should ignore them.

      Of course, I love to read articles like the Jody Bottum article on which this one was based, and the “Homosexualty: A New Approach Is Needed” article because these people realize how the church is hurting themselves, and how the church can do better to help gays and lesbians. Perhaps I should just not comment and invite myself to be provoked.

  • Margo Leibertno

    Good so far as I’ve read. I’ve read a greater percentage of yours on the first read since. yours is concise from the start. Do you suppose Professor Bottum perhaps was paid by the word? Wonder what the true Word shall offer as minimum wage….

  • Bill1225

    Great article.

  • Jcar

    Sadly, all this is so predictable. The socially acceptable practice of same sex sex seems to peak at the beginning of the end of great civilizations. The Greeks, the Romans, and many others. What new argument are today’s gay presenting that we not have heard before? What can the gay lobbie say that can convince us or help us change our convictions about this practice? What noble cause do gay partners stand for other than to have sex in an open society, can they have children. No. You ever see commercials of kids running & jumpin into their parents beds on what appears to be a Sunday morning. Picture an adopted boy doing the same scenario only it’s a same sex homo sexual couple? How wholesome does that seem to you? Lets talk as adults shall we? I have never seen a bed after same sex sex but it must be a bit messy?

    • http://methodicanarchist.keepandshare.com/ Jim Englert

      Silly historical gibberish. Rome’s highest levels of tolerance were at the very height of Republican triumph, descent from those heights was marked by sexual intolerance. I’m less familiar with the Greeks in this regard, but there, too, the height of Athenian culture surely showed no sexual squeamishness.

      I draw no conclusions from this. Just wondering why you would rest an argument about which you seem to care on such flimsy foundation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Ritchie/502235138 John Ritchie

    Two men or two women will never be able to get married. Why? Because
    reality is not up for discussion. Laws cannot change nature, no matter
    what the Supreme Court thinks. Here are 10 more good REASONS why
    same-sex “marriage” is harmful.
    http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/homosexuality/10-reasons-why-homosexual-marriage-is-harmful-and-must-be-opposed.html

    • Alex Guenser

      Reality isn’t up for discussion, you are right. Marriage law is. Laws can change law. Nature doesn’t need to be changed, and nobody is trying to change it. Not even the gay penguins or bottlenosed dolphins or rams or all the animals who pair bond.

      And nothing in that article really shows how allowing a same sex couple to marry rather than not marry is harmful. None if it actually quantifies any harm – it’s all just opinion. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 – none of them actually show any harm. 3 and 4 could potentially – except for “marriage” doesn’t create either of those situations. Nor many of the others, I might add.

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  • dancingcrane

    Thank you, Michael. This reads less like a parody in places, and more like a translation of Mr. Bottum’s self-described superior writing (which apes much of the turgid prose that modern liturature prides itself on) into plain English. I grieve, but am not surprised, that he has proven himself one of CS Lewis’s “men without chests”. He reminds me of Cypher from “the Matrix”, who weary of the fight for truth because he never really believed in it, yearns for the taste of steak, lie though it is, because the matrix is just that inevitable. Pray for him.

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