Friday, June 24, 2011

My pledge

Newsflash: Republicans in New York are as much a bunch of cowardly traitors as Republicans everywhere else in America.

Republicans apparently have no problem using the force of the law to define every single Catholic in America as a "bigot," from here on out.

I pledge by my faith that I will never, ever vote for a Republican again, as long as I live.


John E. said...

Erin, it isn't about you or your religion - it is about a vast number of couples who will soon be able to enjoy civil rights and protections for their relationships.

Red Cardigan said...

No, John. It's about driving religious believers out of the public square--and eventually out of America, I have no doubt.

We've been down this road before.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, and one more thing: gay pairs are not couples. Pairs are two of one thing; couples are two different things that fit together.

I'm getting tired of the sloppy language.

Kathy Schiffer said...

Well, I too disagree with the blathering excuses Republicans made tonight-- but I hope you don't mean it that you will never vote for one. I hope you will continue to consider the qualifications of each candidate for office, and will vote for the leader who can uphold our values despite pressure in the public square. Sometimes, that person will be a Republican.

Anonymous said...

It is so disheartening...and what retribution do the Catholics that abandoned their faith to vote for 'gay marriage' get for this? They will still receive Communion on Sunday. They make those of us who stand for faith and morals look like nut jobs while they're the ones jumping off the deep end.

John E. said...

Oh Red, many, many thousands of people who have pledged themselves to each other will now have the security that comes with civil recognition of that relationship by the State of New York.

I, for one, am happy for them and wish them well.

Red Cardigan said...

Kathy, I do mean exactly that.

The party is too diseased to save. The handful of truly conservative Republicans either get laughed out of the party, treated like kooks by their own, marginalized, or...slowly turned into squishy moderates.

Voting for Republicans is now the same as supporting a co-dependent relationship. We keep telling ourselves that they need us, that they don't *mean* to abuse our trust, and that they will change. I no longer believe any of that, and I am disassociating myself forever from their lies and duplicity.

Anonymous said...

Welcome aboard the Third Party Express! It's not very crowded on this here train, and sometimes it doesn't look like we're moving very quickly, but I'm pretty sure we're pointed in the right direction!

John E. said...

Pairs are two of one thing; couples are two different things that fit together.

Well, I'll just take a couple of days and think about that - maybe discuss it with a couple of friends over a couple of beers and get back to you about that.

Maybe I can come with a couple of more examples.

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, come now, John. You know I meant "couple" in the Biblical sense. ;)

It just strikes me as odd to speak of "couples" in a relationship in which copulation (the verb) is, by definition, impossible.

Red Cardigan said...

But, hey: we live in a country that is on its way to defining "marriage" as "a relationship. With two people. Of any gender. Or transgender. Or whatever. And we'll get back to you on whether 'two' is important. And there's no purpose whatsoever for it, except tax breaks and insurance stuff. But people seem to attach importance to the name. And it has nothing the hell whatsoever to do with children, or raising them. And 'monogamy' is optional for gays because they don't roll that way. But they still get the tax breaks. And maybe some people don't think sex is part of it, and they're just roomies or looking for a green card or whatever, but they want the tax breaks too. And all religious people are bigots, because they reject this definition. Yay!"

Words mean nothing in America these days. Isn't that great?

(Great--a word meaning "terrible" or "good" depending on who uses it. And the burden is on the listener to guess.)

John E. said...

That's the wordplay punster I've come to appreciate!

Red, would it make you feel better if I told you that this isn't going to be The End Of The World and that no matter how things look now, the sun will still rise, birds will still sing, and things will go on pretty much as they did before this legislation passed?

Red Cardigan said...

John, the birds will keep singing so long as *they* don't go for same-sex pairings in a big way. Birds, alas, can't hire reproductive prostitutes to make chicks for themselves, and too many gay bird pairings would eventually mean no more birdsong.

But maybe humanity has been on this planet long enough, and is degenerating this way so that the environmentalists' dream of a peopleless-Gaia will come true.

John E. said...

Red, I'll wager ten dollars that ten years from now, you will willingly admit that things didn't turn out as bad as all that.

Amy said...

ed, would it make you feel better if I told you that this isn't going to be The End Of The World and that no matter how things look now, the sun will still rise, birds will still sing, and things will go on pretty much as they did before this legislation passed?

Maybe not the end of the world, but I give it 2 years, TOPS, before the anti-discrimination lawsuits and legislation begin.

Cardigan is right: this isn't about equality, it's about state-sanctioned persecution of people of faith.

Diamantina da Brescia said...

Erin, although I consider myself a social democrat/democratic socialist, I decided not to vote for a Democratic candidate again when I realized that Obama's alleged sympathy to pro-life Democrats was not worth a farthing. I was not going to vote for a Republican candidate, either, since I am a woman of the left in my sympathies. (Admittedly, a practicing Catholic woman of the left, but a woman of the left nevertheless.)

For the 2010 election, I voted a blank ballot when it came to candidates for elected office. However, I voted for nonpartisan posts (e.g., judges) and for ballot propositions. In future elections, I intend to follow this plan, since I doubt that there is going to be a major left-wing pro-life political party in the United States any time soon.

What do you intend to do, since you will never vote for a Republican again?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this part

"It's about driving religious believers out of the public square--and eventually out of America, I have no doubt."

Could you explain? I know that this is one of the main objections, but I honestly don't understand it.

Thank you.

Turmarion said...

Two points, so two posts, in order to keep under the length limit (apologies in advance).

Red: Republicans in New York are as much a bunch of cowardly traitors as Republicans everywhere else in America.

For the last 30 years (and with a vengeance for the last 15), the GOP has used so-called "culture-war" issues as way of garnering support and winning elections. Meanwhile, it pursued economic policies that have spread rampant consumerism, destroyed unions, caused stagnation or drops in real income, concentrated wealth in the hands of an ever-smaller percentage of the population, destroyed working class families' finances, and in general wrought havoc with all but the wealthy. This has been blindingly evident since 2008, with the GOP still screaming for lower taxes when the rates are at historic lows, and lifting not a finger to do anything about outsourcing and unemployment (the Democrats aren't doing any better, in fairess).

Meanwhile, to add insult to injury, the GOP when in power does not lift even its pinky finger to do one damn thing about the societal issues it runs on. E.g. for all the bloviating about abortion, when in the mid-oughts the GOP had the Presidency, majorities in both houses of Congress, and a majority in the Supreme Court--that is, it controlled all three branches of government--it did exactly squat.

It has been very clear for decades that the GOP considers social conservatives as useful idiots who will give it votes, and whom they can proceed to run roughshod over as soon as Election Day is over, knowing that, like a neurotic spouse in an abusive relationship, the base will keep comin' back for more. Thus, it has been manifest for years that the GOP are "cowardly traitors" who hold their own base in contempt, to say nothing of everyone else.

So it took the New York vote for that to be evident?! I don't see how anyone, no matter what their politics could have a shred of respect for the GOP (or for the Democrats, either).

Look, I'm against abortion and not particularly in favor of gay marriage. However, the tendency of conservatives to view these things in isolation from the bigger picture (Why do women get abortions? Maybe they have no support system and no money because of the economy? Have straights screwed up marriage by themselves without help from gays?) has in my view damaged such causes and has facilitated the kind of one-issue voting that has enabled the GOP in its (successful) war on the working class. And as to gay marriage specifically, I doubt it'll damage marriage more than straights already have, and I'm inclined to agree with John that the world will go on turning and we're not going to slip to perdition just yet.

Turmarion said...

OK, second post. Now consider: one may oppose X because one believes X will have negative societal effects (e.g. if alcohol is legal, you'll have DUI, barroom brawls, etc.); or one may oppose X because one things X is intrinsically immoral (e.g. a temperance crusader of the early 20th Century might believe that it's morally wrong even for a person to have a couple of beers while watching a football game, and thus press for total Prohibition--as actually happened).

So I put forth a thought experiment. Let's say an extensive study of gay marriage is done and let's imagine that the conclusions arrived at are so rock-solid, so compelling, and so overwhelming that even those who do not like the results are forced to accept them as true. I'm not saying that such certainty on a sociological issue could be reached, but for the purpose of the experiment, let's assume that it can. It's like tobacco--even smokers can no longer debate the science showing the correlation of smoking and cancer.

OK, Scenario 1: It is proved that gay marriage will cause all the social ills its foes claim, and then some. My question to supporters of gay marriage is this: Would you quit supporting it then; or would you still support it on the grounds that it is an intrinsic right for gay people to get married, and if it has bad effects on society, well, too bad for society, since the needs of the individual supersede those of society?

Scenario 2: It is proved that gay marriage has no negative effect at all on straight marriage and society in general; or maybe it has a positive effect. My question to opponents of gay marriage: Would you give it up, since it's not going to affect anyone besides the gays getting married themselves? Or would you still oppose it on principle since it is intrinsically wrong whether it harms society or not?

Full disclosure: I'm not in favor of gay marriage (though I don't see it as a sign of impending apocalypse), but in Scenario 2, I'd have no problem at all with it under the stipulated conditions.

If anyone on either side would not change his or her mind given the research presupposed in these two scenarios, then they're no longer acting out of concern for the public good, but out of ideology. That's fine--one has a right to be ideological--but in a pluralistic society you can't really expect ideological arguments to fly unless people buy the ideology. In Scenario One, no one who doesn't already consider individual rights more important than societal good is going to agree. In Scenario Two, only someone who already believes homosexual acts to be intrinsically wrong will continue to oppose gay marriage.

My assumption is that Red would oppose gay marriage no matter what could be proved about it; and that is her right; but it's hard to see how such a view would win acceptance under such conditions.

Also, Red has shown admirable consistency in opposing divorce as well. I wonder, though, why she and her side are not pressing initiatives to change divorce laws. I assume (I'm willing to be corrected) that if Red knew a gay couple personally, she'd lovingly but firmly tell them they had to amend their lives, and that she was telling them this not out of hatred but for the weal of their souls. Well, Red, would you do the same to a divorced and remarried couple (assuming no annulment)? Would you refuse to go the wedding of a remarrying couple?

I don't presume to speak for Red, but it seems to me that for an awful lot of social conservatives, gays are highly visible and convenient whipping boys, while aside from generic moaning about the loss of "family values" and such, not a peep is said against straights. Given this lack of opprobrium of wayward straights, is it any wonder that gay marriage opponents are often perceived as bigots, or at least as inconsistent?

Anonymous said...

Scenario 2 is what has actually been happening in all the countries, states, cities, etc. around the world that have instituted legal gay marriage. 10 years of research already.

Red Cardigan said...

I've got lots of people to respond to, so I may break this up into several posts.

1. John, I'll take that bet. In fact, since gay "marriage" has already been legal in MA since 2004, the ten-year mark is only three years away. Already there has been a measurable loss of religious freedom for those who disagree on principle with the push to define homosexual sex as normal and good; there has been a marked increase of indoctrination in the public schools (including, for example, a lesbian teacher who instructs her eighth-grade students in detail into how lesbians engage in sexual activity, complete with lists of sex toys); there has been a chilling effect on free speech, with those who oppose the mainstreaming and normalization of homosexual perversion threatened with punishment for speaking out against it.

And some of those things have happened, in addition to MA, in states which don't even allow legal gay "marriage" yet--so yes, things undoubtedly will get worse when gay rights activists can use the power of the law to stifle and punish anyone who tells them their sex practices are evil. Expect freedom of religion to fall first, followed by freedom of speech and the press, and possibly even the right of people to assemble peacefully (if those assembling are against gay "marriage" or teach that homosexual sex acts are gravely morally evil). But the group under the greatest attack will be children; gay activists can't stand that heterosexual parents will continue to teach that gay sex is perverse, and will try to use the power of the law to stop parents from being able to do that.

Anonymous said...

Scenario 2 is what has actually been happening in all the countries, states, cities, etc. around the world that have instituted legal gay marriage. 10 years of research already.

False. We've seen people fired for not affriming a manager's same-sex marriage. We've seen parents forced out of schools because they could not opt out of education classes that taught same-sex marriage as normal. We've seen manhunts for mothers who repented of their same-sex marriage and fled with their children. Catholic adoption agencies forced out. And this is the rub: in all this legislation, there is not a shred of conscience-protection in them. In other words, it won't affect you as long as you shut up and play along.

Red Cardigan said...

Diamantina, I will probably investigate third-party candidates, and use a combination of third-party votes and blank sections of the ballot.

I argued against doing this in the last presidential election simply because votes for third-party candidates are often not even counted unless they receive at least a certain (rather high) percentage of the vote in many states--so the power of "sending a message" is almost nonexistent. But I no longer care about sending a message to Republicans. I don't care if they lose; there's not a pennyworth of difference between them and the Democrats anyway, except for the fiction that Republicans are less eager to slaughter the unborn.

How can I, a pro-life Catholic, say this? I've come to the conclusion that until our nation has really plunged itself into the depths of evil and depravity, wallowed in filth and sucked up corruption, good people will not lift a finger to form a new political party to protect the rights of religious believers in a nation that is increasingly hostile to us. It's ironic: we fought so long against godless Communism that we totally missed the danger rising in the form of godless secular humanist Capitalism.

App. Prof. said...

Erin, I was raised in NY. It did not surprise me that Republicans crossed the aisle on this one, because Republicans in NY are generally pro-choice AND anti-gun. That is, they are New Yorkers first (and I mean mostly those in the NY Metro area, not the upstaters.) What did shock me, when I came to a conservative area of Ohio, was that the Democrats were pro-life AND pro-gun. Such is the regional nature of politics. But that's not my point. What I want to comment on is your plea for an alternative political party. I think it's a great idea, and I don't think you should limit the radius of your activity to just the internet. You're smart as a whip and one of the most articulate individuals out there. Honestly, I would vote for you. You've got the courage of your convictions. But it's precisely that that will keep one out of the political arena in 99% of the cases. Just my worthless two cents. God bless.

Patrick said...

@ Red:

You mean the GOP's support for unjust war, torture and shilling for banks all these years wasn't enough, but some *New York* Republicans (as opposed to Texas Republicans, Iowa Republicans, etc.) voting for homosexual "marriage" pushed you out forever?

This type of thing is probably why well-intentioned left-wingers have trouble trusting the, ahem, *good faith* of orthodox Catholics. In a word, many orthodox Catholics actually act like Calvinists/Puritans. They will close their eyes to so much violence and greed so long as nobody is having gay sex on their watch.

Now sure; homosexual behavior is sinful. And sure; *I* haven't voted GOP for a national race...ever - though Ron Paul seems like someone I'd support. it just seems odd that *this* - not the illegal wars, illegal torture, illegal wiretaps, sending American jobs away, doing whatever corporations and banks want them to do - but two local Republicans in New York - was what finally pushed you out of the GOP permanently.

Red Cardigan said...

Anonymous at 9:28, in 30 days' time same-sex couples can get "married" in New York. What will follow will probably make MA look tame, but here are some ways religious believers in MA have lost rights or been marginalized:

--Catholic Charities forced to end its adoption services rather than agree to place children with gay pairs (and no, this wasn't about govt. funding, but about a mandatory license);

--County clerks, JPs, etc. forced to choose between their churches' clear teaching that same-sex couples aren't a "marriage" or their jobs and livelihoods;

--Students in public schools may be indoctrinated in the belief that homosexual sex acts are the moral equivalent of what used to be called the marriage act, and religious believers can neither object nor remove their children from these lessons;

--There is a growing push for churches who won't "marry" gays to lose their tax-exempt status because of their "bigotry" (many gay activists are calling for this, and I'm thinking it may be the next big battle)

--Several employees have lost their jobs over non-work-related activities against gay "marriage" (told that their religious views are bigotry and violate companies' anti-discrimination laws);

--Religious schools could be forced to hire openly gay teachers or face lawsuits and sanctions;

...and there are too many more to list, and these are the bare beginnings of what will become a full-scale assault on religious freedom by the gay rights movement. Watch New York closely, because the groundwork for religious persecution will be laid there, taking its cues from MA but building on them as only a more populous state can.

Red Cardigan said...

Turmarion, I point you to what I've written so far, but I'll also clarify: I oppose gay "marriage" in principle and as a practical reality. I think it is wrong in that it will likely lead to the eternal death of its practitioners (and it would be the worst kind of Christian charity for me to act as thought that did not matter to me personally); I also think that a post gay "marriage" society is one in which religious believers will eventually be openly persecuted for our ancient faith.

Patrick said...

@ App. Prof.

"What did shock me, when I came to a conservative area of Ohio, was that the Democrats were pro-life AND pro-gun. Such is the regional nature of politics."

That's exactly right; the parties *aren't* uniform because of regional politics. I grew up in Michigan, where it was perfectly acceptable to be a pro-life, pro-gun, generally socially conservative Democrat.

Red Cardigan said...

App. Prof., I appreciate the compliment, but I'm hoping to be in a merely supportive role should a consensus form around the idea of building a third party whose purpose is to protect the rights of religious believers in an increasingly hostile nation like ours.

Patrick: I never voted for a GOP candidate *in order* to support torture, unjust war, etc. But I have, for too long, bought into the idea that the only way to stop the Democrats from their full-scale pursuit of evil was to elect Republicans. Now: I think that Republicans barely even try. They are unprincipled, undisciplined, unintelligent, uninspiring, and unnecessary. If the evil the Democrats want gets imposed upon an unwilling nation faster without the GOP than with it, at least the consensus that the religious believers among us need to be protected from Moloch, Bacchus, Astarte and the other false gods of the Democrat Party and that a third party should be formed with that goal in mind might actually gain some traction.

Anonymous said...

I am "Anonymous at 9:28"
Thank you for your reply.

I agree, I think the tax-exempt fight is next. And perhaps we would be better off saying "Keep it."

Kathy Schiffer said...

Those of you who nobly swear off voting for Republicans-- admittedly the better of two bad options-- have chosen to protect your blessed integrity at the price of no longer having a real voice in the management of our country. Many pro-life Republicans (yes, they are many) lost because of the divisive effect of third-party candidates. I cannot disagree more with this tactic.

Geoff G. said...

For those interested, here is the text of the language protecting religious organizations (Text of the full bill is here [PDF])

1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, [...] a corporation incorporated under the benevolent orders law or described in the benevolent orders law but formed under any other law of this state or a religious corporation incorporated under the education law or the religious corporations laws shall be deemed to be in its nature distinctly private and therefore, shall not be required to provide accommodations, advatages, facilities or privileges related to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage.

2. A refusal by a benevolent organization or a religious corporation, [...] to provide accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges in connection with section ten-a of this article shall not create a civil claim or cause of action.

3. [...] [N]othing in this article shall be deemed or construed to prohibit any religious or denominational institution or organization, or any organization operated for charitable or educational purposes, which is operated, supervised or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization from limiting employment or sales or rental of housing accommodations or admission to or giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from taking such action as is calculated by such organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.

My reading of this is that this seems to provide the protections Red was worried about for not just churches but also schools and charities run by churches (like adoption services). So this would appear to address some of Red's concerns that she mentioned earlier.

What it doesn't appear to do is carve out a broad exemption for any business to refuse service on the grounds of same-sex marriage (i.e. the religious caterer we were discussing earlier).

I'm unfamiliar with NY state law (nor am I a lawyer), so I don't know if there were laws already in place that prevented discrimination in public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation (i.e. you can't refuse someone's business because he or she is gay or lesbian...or straight for that matter). If they do have such a law already, then I'd suggest that very little has changed for our caterer (aside from a potential for more business) and that the right to turn down such trade was lost some time earlier.

Obviously, I'm pleased with the passage of this law. I'm also pleased that efforts were made to listen to and address at least some of the concerns of religious people like Red. I hope this will, in time, strike people on the other side as a good compromise.

Red Cardigan said...

Kathy, *if* I agreed that Republicans were "admittedly the better of two bad options..." your point might be valid. As I've made clear in this thread, though, I no longer believe that. I think that what the Democrats want for our country is unmitigated evil, and what Republicans want is almost as much unmitigated evil, with a few unconvincing protests as members of *their own party* cast the decisive votes for evil.

Republicans gave New York gay "marriage." I will not forget that. Not ever.

Geoff G. said...

BTW, I am kind of confused. I'm a bit of a grammar maven so I'd like to be correct. Next time I go on a road trip, should I pack a "pair" of apples or a "couple" of apples to snack on on the way?

John E. said...

--County clerks, JPs, etc. forced to choose between their churches' clear teaching that same-sex couples aren't a "marriage" or their jobs and livelihoods;

Are the clerks, etc., handing out Sacraments? No, they are not.

Red, you are, perhaps deliberately, perhaps unconsciously conflating:

the recognition-by-civil-authorities-of-a-relationship which for historical reasons has been called 'marriage'


the-Sacrament-known-as 'marriage'.

Tumarion - fantastically good job of pointing out that the Republicans have been using the religious part of their base as 'useful idiots' for more than thirty years now.

Red Cardigan said...

Geoff: that entirely depends on whether either of the apples was given to you by Eve. ;)

Geoff G. said...

Red, you of all people should know that I'm not the type to take anything from strange ladies.

Red Cardigan said...

Well, except flak, on the Internet--unless you think I'm neither a lady nor strange. ;)

Turmarion said...

As far as the religious persecution angle goes, I think I'd want more evidence. Things like flaps over Heather Has Two Mommies types of things or people who refused services to gays were in the news before gay marriage was instituted. Constitutionally, I don't see how religious organizations could be compelled, say, to perform gay marriages, hire gay teachers for private schools, etc., if it came to a Constitutional test.

More broadly, it reminds me of the various hysterical stories heard after the removal of prayer from schools. Things like teachers stopping children from saying silent grace in the lunch room (individual private prayer, of course, is not forbidden--only teacher-led prayer), etc. The thing is that these stories are anecdotal, often hard to pin down, and even when documented, not usually part of some clear pattern. In short, to listen to the camp who blame removal of organized, teacher-led prayer from schools for all our ills, one would think that there is some systematic war on religious expression going on the public schools. I'm prepared to say that this is simply not so in my state, and I've not seen any evidence for it in other states, either.

The point is that the types of things Red is pointing to, while in some cases doubtless genuine, seem like disconnected anecdotes. I'd like to see some neutral researcher do a really extensive survey and see what's actually going on in gay-marriage states vs. the others, and also compare with the pre-gay-marriage situation. Short that, I would reserve judgment and be very slow to draw any conclusions.

Red, Jesus didn't tell the woman taken in adultery or the woman at the well that they were in likely in danger of eternal death. Was he slacking?

Red Cardigan said...

Turmarion, Jesus warned many times about the kinds of sins that would lead to Gehenna or to fire. To the woman taken in adultery He said "Go, and from now on avoid this sin." He didn't say, "Do whatever you want, and if that includes adultery, no big deal."

All: I'm going to be away from my computer for a while. I'll try to check back on comments this evening. Please continue the civility. :)

Hector said...

Re: Jesus warned many times about the kinds of sins that would lead to Gehenna or to fire

Oddly enough, 'same sex sodommarriage' not being among them.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Wow, this is a long series. I, for one, am ecstatic that Red will never vote for a Republican again. Given the way politics is going, I'm wondering whether Red and I could agree on a party platform that says NOTHING about abortion or gay marriage, doesn't PRETEND to take a virtuous position on either, but DOES take firm positions on issues we can agree on, which may actually be nudged in a better direction through the political process. I've always believed that Republicans were using these issues as a cynical distraction while stabbing working families in the back over the things they REALLY care about.

I was going to flatly deny that this is the cutting edge of bigotry toward Roman Catholics, orthodox Jews, and a good number of Protestant denominations. But Red offered a detailed list of what she was talking about. I'll try to answer a few at a time.

--Catholic Charities forced to end its adoption services... That has already happened a few places. It should be reversed, on the grounds "let a hundred flowers bloom." A nice mix of agencies that specialize in various ways, or don't, would be for the best.

--County clerks, JPs, etc... should adjust be getting a firm grip that the STATE is issuing a license, but that is not binding in heaven. They are not committing God, just issuing a state process. (And nobody is getting deported or gassed as a result).

--Students in public schools may be indoctrinated ... that's a legitimate concern. Can we get together on a balanced curriculum to put out there? It should emphasize the biological function of sexuality, the fact that a minority in every generation are gay, that various sects have various moral teachings on the subject - which the schools are not competent to endorse or vilify.

--Churches tax exempt status: I'm in favor of abolishing "tax exempt status," for everyone, while recognizing that what goes into the offering plate is not "income." The donors would have paid taxes on it (if it is not tax exempt). BUT, churches are NOT going to lose tax exempt status based on their doctrine. Once again, I refer all concerned to
a beautiful presentation of "church autonomy in matters of faith and doctrine."

--Employees fired as a result of political activity during their free time should sue. They can win. I'll volunteer to do research for any of them. Employers have been pulling that for many reasons since capitalism began. It's wrong, no matter the cause.

--Religious schools could be forced to hire openly gay teachers or face lawsuits and sanctions. IF they are taking government funds, maybe, although it hasn't happened with school choice in Wisconsin so far. Otherwise, again see
Teachers in religious schools are part of the church's propagation of faith and doctrine.

I will say that many of the examples Erin offers, to the extent they actually happen, justify her fears.

Charlotte said...

Do you normally separate out the sayings of Jesus from the rest of the New Testament books and writers - who all personlly knew and followed Jesus?

I've heard that crock of shit argument about "Jesus never talked about the gays" and I'm not buying it. Neither does (or would, or has) any legitimate Bible scholar for the last couple hundred years.

Anonymous said...

@Turmarion: Full agreement on the worthlessness of the Republicans and the Democrats. “Useful idiots” is the perfect term to describe how Republicans view social conservatives (and how Democrats view peace-and-justice voters.) I think the idea of a Republican-only war on the working class is nonsense, but that’s a subject for another day.

But “the tendency … to view [abortion and gay marriage] in isolation from the bigger picture” is not a conservative tendency; it’s the product of the American political system. Our Republican system of government doesn’t handle things holistically; it takes individual causes and issues and breaks them down into polar opposites so that the senate or the public can vote on them without the vote breaking down in such a way that a 6% vote carries the day. It’s not because conservatives are simplistic or because liberals are dumb; it’s just the way our system works. When a problem has to be subjected to a vote, the goal is to garner as much support for one side as possible without diluting the essential cause. That’s why we wind up with pro-abortion folks using phrases like “safe, legal and rare” and “terrible choice” to describe a procedure that they actually regard as essentially good. It’s also why you wind up with anti-abortion folks supporting measures with exceptions for rape and incest. (There’s no logical reason why a child’s right to be born should be contingent on the fact that his or her father is not a rapist. These kinds of measures are all about gaining the widest possible base of support for legislation.)

Just because you don’t see people lobbying for every worthy cause imaginable doesn’t mean they don’t care and aren’t trying to address those other issues in the best ways possible.

As for your thought experiment, I can’t speak for Red or for anyone else, but the only reason I oppose gay marriage legislation is that I think it is bad for society, and will make the difficult job of raising chaste kids even more difficult. If someone were to present me with irrefutable evidence that gay marriage legislation actually promoted more chastity I suppose I would be in favor of it. By the same token I think snorting meth is wrong and harmful and that legalizing it would almost certainly result in higher rates of drug abuse. But I’m on the fence about whether drug use and possession should be criminalized, at least to the extent that they are because I’ve heard some compelling arguments that criminalizing drugs may cause more harm than it prevents. I’m on the fence about that one- not because I’m on the fence about the morality of drug use (as a former user I have absolutely no doubts about that!) but because the point of civil legislation is broader than simply punishing sin and rewarding virtue. I oppose the expansion of the legal definition of marriage not because I have any doubts as to the morality of non-marital sex (again, as a former fornicator, I have no doubts about it from a moral standpoint) but because I am morally certain that such legislation will, in fact, promote unchaste attitudes and behavior.

As for whether straight people have damaged marriage, I don’t think a society can embrace contraception without eventually embracing fornication, adultery, divorce, pornography, homosexuality, and eventually abandon the institution of marriage altogether. Straight Americans killed marriage; gay Americans are now laying flowers on the grave; soon we’ll decide the whole thing is silly. (What logical reason do we have for denying marriage to a ménage a trois or to a father and daughter or to a man and his three wives?) And then we’ll just bulldoze the gravesite altogether and be done with it.

Geoff G. said...

Charlotte, I'd point out that both Paul and the author of Acts are quite explicit about saying that he did not know Jesus when he walked the Earth as a man.

Moreover, it's far from clear that any of the evangelists knew him personally either.

And just because someone follows a particular leader doesn't mean they don't add their own embellishments as time goes by. Otherwise, how else to explain the wide variety of different Christian faiths, all of which proclaim themselves followers of Christ?

Not that I'm disputing your argument; my guess is that any Jewish holy man of around the time of Christ would have had major problems with homosexuality, both due to prohibitions of it in the Old Testament and because of its association with Hellenistic and Roman culture.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

That’s why we wind up with pro-abortion folks using phrases like “safe, legal and rare” and “terrible choice” to describe a procedure that they actually regard as essentially good.

I speak only for myself on this subject, and nobody from Planned Parenthood nor any candidate for public office speaks for me. I have fully supported Roe v. Wade since I first read about it in an issue of the New York Post in January 1973. It is a reasonable and conservative application of well-developed constitutional law to a specific set of facts not previously submitted to the Supreme Court.

I consider it a matter of the autonomy of the individual citizen vs. the power of The State to intervene. It has nothing to do with whether abortion is a good decision, or a bad one. If the court had weighed in on whether it was a desirable choice to make, that would have been the essence of an "activist judiciary" exceeding its constitutional role.

I personally believe that there are circumstances in which abortion is a justifiable option, including a real threat to the life of the mother, rape, incest, detection of severe genetic deformity, the ravages of infectious disease in the womb, and in the first 4-5 months, even just that the woman doesn't want to carry the pregnancy to term.

I have no objection to a woman, or a couple, who believe abortion is wrong in all circumstances, choosing not to have one. That too is a matter of their own autonomy, and responsibility to whatever spiritual beliefs they embrace.

None of this has anything to do with believing that abortion is a positive good. It is, at best, a serious interruption in a natural process, with many physical and psychological risks, all of which should be weighed. In general, it is better not to put one self in the way of pregnancy, than to rely on the availability of abortion. The less reason a woman has to despair about being able to provide for the child, the less attractive, in many instances, abortion will be.

So, safe, legal and rare is a perfectly honest position to take, not a mere political subterfuge. Polls also show that a middling third or so of the American voters feel that way, so it may well be a pragmatic position for those running for office. The swing voters don't want abortion recriminalized, but don't want it taken lightly, and would rather the incidence of women seeking abortions stayed low.

Patrick said...

@ Hector, Charlotte, Geoff:

Jesus never brings up homosexual behavior in *any* of the Gospels, yes; Paul talks about it but Jesus never does. However; Look at Mark 10: 2-10. *That's* how the Creator wants things. You'll agree it rules out homosexual behavior *per se* (even if you ignore the Old Testament and the Epistles.)

Anonymous said...

@Siarlys: I've heard that line before and I'm really not buying it. Not that I'm disputing the truth of anything you say (except for the part about the Roe decision being Constitutionally-sound, but again that's a subject for another day.)

But you are pro-abortion in the same way you are pro-chemotherapy. You think it's an appropriate medical treatment for certain circumstances, you respect people's right to not avail themselves of that treatment if they choose, and you recognize that it can have serious consequences.

But something tells me you wouldn't call chemotherapy a "terrible choice" or loudly insist that, while you want it to remain legal, you'd like to keep it rare.

Anonymous said...

"But something tells me you wouldn't call chemotherapy a "terrible choice" or loudly insist that, while you want it to remain legal, you'd like to keep it rare."

Sometimes chemo is a terrible choice; it can lead to sterility, to name one bad side effect.

And I for one would be very happy if the need to use chemotherapy were rare.

Anonymous said...

I didn't say anything about "the need to use" chemotherapy. I'd be delighted if cancer stopped occurring altogether, but I can't say the same about pregnancy. You don't have pro-chemotherapy advocates talking about "unwanted cancers."

The "right to choose" an abortion is fundamentally about the right to have consequence-free sex.

Geoff G. said...

Here's the passage Patrick was talking about. And he's quite right to bring it up in this context; I had forgotten about it.

I wonder, though, if this should be interpreted as a positive duty that all men and women have to each other: to marry for life and be "in one flesh" (this perhaps is how Patrick is taking it when he says '"That's" how the Creator wants things.'). Or whether this is merely an injunction against divorce, which is how I've always read it.

If the former, then it's true that this passage would seem to rule out same-sex relationships of any kind. But it would also rule out celibacy of the type that the Church has celebrated from at least the time of Paul as well. So perhaps the latter interpretation is the correct one.

None of which, of course, means that Jesus would have had anything good to say about homosexual relationships. His silence on the topic does not make it licit. For the reasons I've mentioned above, I doubt He would have approved.

Hector said...

Re: For the reasons I've mentioned above, I doubt He would have approved.

Maybe he would and maybe he wouldn't, but the reason you give above is not a good one. That Jewish holy men in the first century disapproved of homosexuality isn't a reason that Jesus would have disapproved as well, unless you think that Jesus was just another human being with all the cultural baggage of his time. You could fairly say that about Paul, but Jesus was divine, and therefore I have a hard time saying he was influenced by the currents of his time, or whatever. If you believe, for other reasons, that homosexuality is intrinsically wrong, then it makes sense to say that Jesus condemned it, but not otherwise.

Re: Or whether this is merely an injunction against divorce, which is how I've always read it.

I read it as an injunction against divorce. And possibly, also, a statement of the ideal for sexual relationships, which is lifelong, procreative marriage. That something is the ideal, though, doesn't mean that all sexual relationships that fall short of it (and I'd include homosexual ones, here) are necessarily immoral.

My church, correctly I think, is moving towards a consensus that homosexuality isn't inherently wrong. I think that Sleeping Beastly has a point when he says that it's very difficult to accept the legitimacy of contraception, on the one hand, and also to say that homosexuality, premarital sex, etc. are inherently wrong. Either all three are sometimes acceptable and sometimes not, or all three are inherently wrong, because the reason to prohibit one is also the reason to prohibit the others. Personally, I think it's more likely that contraception and homosexuality are both OK, than that they're both wrong, but the conservative Catholic position is at least a logically and morally consistent one, which I can't say for, for example, the evangelical Protestant position.

Red Cardigan said...

I've been following this conversation, and just wanted to chime in to say:

Jesus never explicitly condemns many things we call intrinsically evil. Incest, necrophilia, and anthropophagy are just a few things Jesus never explicitly condemns. True, the ancient Jews would have seen all three as clearly forbidden and evil, but they also didn't eat shrimp--so that must mean that Jesus would have approved all three, right?

I realize that's absurd. But I also realize that if there were, say, a strong anthropophagy, um...afoot?...and the practitioners were to say that since their meal donors were already dead, since eating human flesh is the ultimate in recycling, and since nobody except religious bigots could possibly object anyway, the argument in favor of anthropophagy would not be strengthened by pointing out that Jesus never explicitly condemns it.

In fact, Christians could point to Church teaching on the resurrection of the body and the corresponding dignity with which human remains have always been treated in the Church as reasons to oppose the practice; the Church's teaching is guided by the Holy Spirit in all matters of faith and morals, and Catholics could be sure that there were very valid reasons other than religious bigotry to oppose the eating of corpses, however attached the secular world were to become to the practice in our little hypothetical.

Red Cardigan said...

Sorry about the deleted double comment; Blogger got hung up on my post.

Hector said...


You're the one who brought up the words of Jesus, not me. I fully agree that Jesus didn't explicitly condemn cannibalism, because he didn't need to, and the fact that Jesus didn't condemn it is not a reason for us to do it. However, since you said, "Jesus warned many times about the kinds of sins that would lead to Gehenna or to fire", I simply pointed out that you can't fairly invoke the words of Jesus with regard to homosexual sex, since he never either condemned or endorsed it.

As you point out, you can make good reasoned arguments against cannibalism, and you can try and make reasoned arguments against homosexuality and contraception as well. In the latter case, I simply don't find them convincing, and nor do an increasing number of Christians.

Turmarion said...

Red: [T]he Church's teaching is guided by the Holy Spirit in all matters of faith and morals....

But there's the rub. The Spirit also "blows where it wills", and doesn't work on a human schedule. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been nearly three centuries of Christological and Trinitarian debate in the early Church, and the Great Schism would never have happened.

I also point out that the Church has outright changed significant doctrines. The Medieval Church understood any interest on loans as totally forbidden. This is why Jews became moneylenders (and why the Christians despised them while taking full advantage of their services) and why the Templars got in trouble (they had a complicated banking system that charged interest without calling it that).

Likewise, many of the early Fathers denied even a unitive end to the sex act of married couples, and rejected the legitimacy of even what we'd now call NFP. Two more examples: the changes in teaching on nulla salus and on religious liberty.

Now I'm well aware of the comeback: doctrine doesn't change, it develops, those things weren't decreed infallibly anyway, it needs to be interpreted correctly, etc. I must say that none of those arguments has ever struck me as compelling. They always come off sounding like heroic logic-chopping trying to say that a Church that cannot change hasn't changed despite the fact that it obviously has changed. Certainly the Medievals wouldn't have thought they were wrong, and there are still Traditionalists who argue that the changes on nulla salus and religious liberty are signs of the perfidy of Vatican II.

Anyway, I'm not saying I disagree with the Church's teaching on homosexuality, because I don't. I do think that it's impossible to argue the religious case to someone who doesn't already share one's presuppositions about interpretation of Scripture and Tradition; and though I do accept a very circumscribed version of infallibility, I think it is far less applicable than the Church currently teaches. Thus, short an ex cathedra statement, I am willing to posit that the teaching on homosexual relationships might possibly, over the next century or so, go the same way that those on interest and religious freedom did in the past. None of us will be around then, but I guess our great-grandchildren will see one way or the other.

Red Cardigan said...

Well, Turmarion, the usury thing is beyond the scope of this post; suffice it to say that a lot of the lending-at-interest that goes on today is objectively sinful--but most of us are innocent victims rather than perpetrators of it.

But think about this: the Church hasn't changed a single significant law concerning sexual morality. Not ever. Masturbation is still gravely evil, fornication is still gravely evil, adultery is still gravely evil, and--guess what?--homosexual sex is still gravely evil.

If we understand both natural law and the Church's understanding of the meaning and purpose of marriage, we will also understand that the Church will never declare that, guess what, adultery, fornication, masturbation, and gay sex are all fine and dandy.

(And, again, outside the scope: but I think the "nulla salus" thing is totally misunderstood and hasn't changed at all...but we'll save that for another time.)

Hector said...

Re: Two more examples: the changes in teaching on nulla salus and on religious liberty.

Slavery is another one. While the Church NEVER endorsed slavery (in contrast to what some atheist intellectuals like to claim), it is a fact that the early church fathers did tend to oppose rebellion and disobedience on the part of slaves (there are second-century writings, widely read in the early church, which portray disobedient slaves in Hell, and there were regional councils in the fourth century which condemned the practice of slave rebellion). To say nothing of the Epistles of Peter and Paul, of course. Nowadays, I would imagine that Catholic prelates in a place like Sudan would be quick to endorse slaves rebelling against their masters and seeking freedom.

For that matter, pacifism is yet another one: my understanding is that most church fathers were pacifist right up until the time that Christianity became officially tolerated by the Roman EMpire. St. Augustine makes extensive arguments against pacifism, which suggests that a lot of Christians around his time were pacifists.

Christian teachings do change, and evolve, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Hector said...

Re: but most of us are innocent victims rather than perpetrators of it.

If you have any money in stocks (I don't know if you do, but I have a little), then you're guilty of usury as the Scholastics would have defined it. I know that I am. I'm not happy about that, and would prefer that we had a more socialistic economic order, that would accord better with Christian principles, but it's virtually impossible to live in the modern West without being entangled in some way with interest-lending.

Turmarion said...

Red: Jesus warned many times about the kinds of sins that would lead to Gehenna or to fire. To the woman taken in adultery He said "Go, and from now on avoid this sin." He didn't say, "Do whatever you want, and if that includes adultery, no big deal."

So you think the wronged husband thought "go and sin no more" was strict enough? I doubt most of us would be so sanguine.

But I have, for too long, bought into the idea that the only way to stop the Democrats from their full-scale pursuit of evil was to elect Republicans. If the evil the Democrats want gets imposed upon an unwilling nation faster without the GOP than with it, at least the consensus that the religious believers among us need to be protected from Moloch, Bacchus, Astarte and the other false gods of the Democrat Party....

Sigh. Can't you at least use the correct name, the Democratic party? It makes you sound like someone on Fox News?

I'd point, btw, to Luke 3:5-6 and John 12:31 as indicating that in some sense all politicians have always been, in a sense, in league with the Devil. Also, the next verse, John 12:32 seems to indicate against some of the Gehanna stuff.

Look, we live in bad times--as have many, many other Christians througout history. Certainly we're not the first generation to think that things were so bad that it must mean the end is near. In one sense, it doesn't even matter. Human life is short--the end is near for all of us, and when the Big End comes is not for us to know. All we're supposed to do is keep the faith. Our ideas of what, exactly, is entailed by "keeping the faith" may differ--but if you read Acts and the Epistles or read history, it always has. Once again, we all do the best we can, argue with each other, perhaps, but in the end keep the virtues of faith and hope (love goes without saying).

As I've said, I don't disagree with the Church's position on homosexuality, but I do think that the Church is becoming a bit hysterical and unbalanced about it, largely for reasons that are political, not spiritual. I also think that on "family values" issues, the Church is being incredibly hypocritical, for reasons I've detailed in other posts. You may disagree with these assertions, but it's how things look to me.

I've pretty much given up on the two parties, myself (though not for all the same reasons), and I don't feel the need to defend or say nice things about either; but I really think your rhetoric here is slipping way past any reasonable limits of charity. In one sense, all human governance is both an instrument of God's will (Romans 13) while at the same time in thrall to Satan (see the quotes above). It would be nice if it were simpler, but lots of things would be nice that aren't so. Beyond that, however, I think it is really a failure of Christian charity and loving sinners (while hating the sin) to attribute a "full-scale pursuit of evil" even to the party you oppose, or to compare them to worshippers of Moloch. I mean, I think Republican financial policy is, to put it bluntly, evil; but I do not accuse them of "full-scale pursuit of evil" or speak of them as worshippers of Mammon. People become blinded, do evil things thinking they'er good, etc. I think it's way above my pay grade to discern the soul of any politician, no matter what I think about the policies he or she pursues. Anyway, not only do I think you're lacking charity here, I certainly don't think such rhetoric is going to attract much support from outside the choir.

Turmarion said...

Hector, excellent points. I frankly think Augustine took things in a bad--and wrong--direction with just war theory. I'm not a pacifist, since I think, sadly, that it's not doable in the real world; but I think Christianity was far more disposed towards it than has been the case for a long time.

Red, I agree that much interest now is sinful and that the Church went the wrong way on that, too.

I think, however, that it has changed some sexual teaching regarding the unitive aspect of the "use of matrimony" and the acceptability of using infertile periods for sex, which I alluded to before. Also, statistics indicate that 90%+ of the population masturbate and (for those married) engage in activites that the Church used to call mortal sins. The Church doesn't seem too exercised about the fact that most of its sheep are apparently Hell-bound, does it? (and yes, I know about full consent of the will, non-culpable ignorance, and such; but still)

As to nulla salus, read some Feeneyite websites some time. I disagree with them, but in terms of strict argumentation and citation of numerous Papal statements I think they have a stronger argument. They would (rightly, in my view) tend to see assertions that the issue is "misunderstood" as obfuscation trying to argue that a clear change hasn't actually happened.

Finally, I was putting this in the last post but ran out of characters: Pope John Paul II once said that we can't be sure that even Judas Iscariot is in Hell. As I've pointed out before, Hans Urs von Balthasar strongly advocated the hope that all may be saved. Not only was he a favorite of JP II, his work has never been condemned by the Vatican. I'm not saying I don't take Jesus' statements about Gehenna seriously or that I know all will be saved; but like many of the Eastern Church Fathers, I'm strongly inclined towards universalism. It's hard for me to see a loving God letting the world go literally to Hell in a handbasket and damning the vast majority of humanity to eternal perdition.

Once more, it's not that I don't take the possibility of Hell seriously or that I think it's OK to do whatever you want because God will forgive you whether you repent or not. Rather, I think the rhetoric about losing souls really puts forth an image of God as a sadistic despot ready at a moment's notice to cast sinners to the depths of Hades; and I think this is a bad thing. I'm not saying that's how you see God; but many of us who are fundamentalist or of fundamentalist backgrounds (and not a few pre-Vatican II Catholics) were taught an image of God much like that, and don't react well to it. I certainly don't think such rhetoric is going to garner much support.

John E. said...

@Red ...the argument in favor of anthropophagy would not be strengthened by pointing out that Jesus never explicitly condemns it.

Erin, I sometimes wonder if you put those big old slow-pitch softballs out there just for me ;-)

Jesus didn't condemn it - he commanded it and made it a Sacrament...

Red Cardigan said...

John E.: well, only when the flesh happens to be veiled under the appearance of bread and wine and originally belonged to the Son of Man, Himself both truly human and truly divine, and when the Person in question suffered, died, and rose from the dead--such that nobody could possibly see in the partaking of that particular Flesh anything even remotely akin to the sin of desecrating a corpse.

But your reminder made me smile; we Catholics who attend the Ordinary Form Mass did celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi today, after all! :)

Red Cardigan said...

Turmarion: money in stocks? Ha! We barely have money in groceries. :)

Seriously, though, I've never been comfortable with the stock market from a moral perspective. I think that, the question of usury aside for the moment, it is the system that gave us multi-millionaire (and billionaire) CEOs profiting on the backs of near-slave labor in places like China and other third-world countries.

Godless Capitalism may have taken longer to get to the purely evil stage than Godless Communism, but they are brothers, and the Church frequently reminds us of that fact.

Those of us whose livelihoods are inextricably intertwined with this system and its increasing evil aren't any happier than believers under Communist rule were, except for two big things: we can still go to Church (though our ability to live our faith publicly keeps shrinking, and gay "marriage" is a new factor in perpetrating that injustice) and I can still say such things publicly without having to worry about being arrested and jailed for it. Thus far, anyway...

Turmarion said...

Godless Capitalism may have taken longer to get to the purely evil stage than Godless Communism, but they are brothers, and the Church frequently reminds us of that fact.

I am gratified to find there is one thing on which I can give you complete and unqualified agreement!

In this vein, I would submit for your perusal this article and also this one here, in which the sad failure of many "conservative" Catholics to remind us of the ills of "godless capitalism" is pointed out, as well as the alliance of all too many such Catholics with a neoconservative economic agenda, even to the extent of misquoting Papal documents to make them seem more friendly to capitalism.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Sleeping Beastly:

This is such a LONG discussion it is hard to refer back to any particular line of discussion, but you are stooping to sophistry. I wrote several paragraphs, so "I've heard that line before" is so nonspecific as to present the integrity of a child on a playground shouting "Is not."

Maybe you can't tell the difference between abortion and chemotherapy, or between a cancer and a fetus, but I can. I do, as a matter of face, prefer that chemotherapy be rare, and that those who can live without it refrain from availing themselves of it. There are many reasons to abort a pregnancy that would apply to married women who want children. Mixed metaphors make for unpersuasive argument.

Hector, assuming that Jesus was divine (and I'm a communicant member of a Christian Church, so I won't argue otherwise), he was also human, and he was speaking to a human audience. Necessarily, what he could say was constrained by the currents of his time, even when he chose to challenge them. Further, he said he said a good deal about fulfilling every jot and tittle of the Jewish law. (Jot and tittle are 17th century English; I have no idea what the Aramaic terms he used were).

Further, it strikes me as theologically dangerous to attribute to Jesus a condemnation based on "other reasons" for believing "that homosexuality is intrinsically wrong." If Jesus didn't say it, what others thought cannot be attirbuted to Jesus.

But the good news is that Erin has forthrightly condemened the evils that flow from the stock market. I'm too much of a libertarian to endorse her position on abortion, or even divorce, as a political, statutory, or legal measure, but if we can agree on electing people who will take on the capitalist plutocracy, I won't even worry that some of them might be pro-life.

Hector said...

Just to make it clear, I don't like the stock market, nor do I like usury, or capitalism, or plutocracy. I'd happily agree with you on having a government that took on the plutocracy (and I'd love it if they got around to banning all non-medically-indicated abortions, while they were at it).

Anonymous said...


I cannot help but note a similarity in tone between your dire predictions about the coming religious persecution, one result of gay marriage, and the dire predictions you made on Rod's blog (I didn't read you here back then) during the 2008 election.

Remember how the first thing Obama would do, if elected, was push an abortions rights act through Congress, which would shut down the entire pro-life movement and force Catholic hospitals and "doctors" (which doctors was never specified - were ear, nose and throat specialists included?) to perform abortions against their will? (Was that going to be at gunpoint, or at threat of arrest or of having one's legs broken or house burned down? That was never clear.)

How much of that happened?

Neither will religious people be pushed into hiding or jailed.

(Also - do parents spend time telling their children about the evils of gay sex? I used my teaching time with my son to talk about his responsibilities, which include kindness, respect, commitment and supporting any and all babies he fathers. )


Hector said...

Re: Also - do parents spend time telling their children about the evils of gay sex

I'm pretty sure my parents never told me about gay sex. I think I picked up the basic facts from my seventh grade classmates, although it's been a while....:)

VRWC said...

one thing i'd say in the national GOP's favor on that other culture war issue is that so far as i can tell, other than funding, there's really not much they can do on abortion besides appoint conservative judges so long as Roe stands.

not that there aren't some who don't really care about the issue, but even if it was issue #1 after a particular election, there's only so much you can do when it's defined as a constitutional right. parental notification, funding cutoffs, conscience protections, not sure of much else

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth & Hector -

This is one thing mainstreaming gay marriage will obviously bring with it, mainstreaming gay sex practices.

Mainstream sex education in schools will now include female-female oral-vaginal sex. male-male oral-penile and penile-anal sex, and female-female and male-male toy sex.

I wonder what effect that mainstreaming will have on traditional heterosexual sexual practice choices.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Put sex education back in biology class, and there will be an objective basis to put heterosexual sex first and foremost. There is a reason is is called sexual reproduction.

Then, authorize the school nurse to advise students individually on the best way to preserve their own health, given whatever sexual practices they indulge.

What should be avoided is endorsing or encouraging any particular practice or preference. There are some things we all still have to work out for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

What minimal sex-ed our son got in Minneapolis Public Schools health class was about reproduction and diseases that can accompany sexual acts.

Nothing about pleasure, which is a major component of non-reproductive sex.


Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, I'm sorry pleasure was a minor component of the sex you have had.

However, as you suggest, the unitive value of sex can be had even in the absence of pleasure. Gay teens in high school anticipating becoming married gays will rightly demand and receive equally informative education on what they can anticipate and any hazards which may accompany it.

Teaching only heterosexuals about heterosexual sex will be as discriminatory as teaching only males about sex.

Do you object to teaching gays about gay sex? If so, why?

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe this thread and I'm not afraid to say so.

Red, you know who I am, but I'm choosing to remain anonymous here on purpose.

Gay sex is WRONG. If you want to love a gay person as another gay person, fine, great. But it's wrong and disordered to sexually act upon that love not only because the Church says so, and the Christian tradition says so, but because it goes against nature.

People here are discussing the pros and cons of teaching gay teens about gay sex? Really? Last time I checked, men ejaculate SPERM in the course of pleasure. Sperm has one purpose and one purpose only - to try and reach an egg to make another human being. It's not meant to be ejaculated into a mouth or butt, period.

And last time I checked, the only place you can get an egg is INSIDE a woman, which requires ejaculating INSIDE of a woman. How hard is this, people? Do you ask your ears to see or your stomach to fart or your fingers to think?

My God! How far we've come away from common sense!!!!!!!!

The lesbians don't get a pass either! You can suck on a boob for a long as you want for pleasure, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day, boobs are there to provide milk to a BABY - preferably one that comes out of the uterus attached to the same set of boobs.

Yes, I'm being crass, because I can't believe people will worship at the God of Orgasm to the point that they will deny their own physicality.

Turmarion said...

Anonymous: Sperm has one purpose and one purpose only - to try and reach an egg to make another human being. It's not meant to be ejaculated into a mouth or butt, period.

Which is a pefect argument against the sexual practices of a majority of heterosexuals and against any form of spacing births, even NFP. At least, I'm trusting you to be consistent in applying your criteria here.

John E. said...

The lesbians don't get a pass either! You can suck on a boob for a long as you want for pleasure, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day, boobs are there to provide milk to a BABY - preferably one that comes out of the uterus attached to the same set of boobs.

So what exactly is the purpose of the clitoris, then?

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's have the clitoris override all the other reproductive functions to which its associated. Typical liberal, orgasm-as-god drivel.

As to NFP, I'm not a huge fan. I accept it as acceptable because the Church says so, but on this subject, I'm more in agreement with the uber-orthodox Catholics who don't go for it because of them semi-contraceptive nature of it.

And yes, you're right, the majority of heterosexuals do missuse the penis/ejaculation. In my marriage, we don't. I hate that and my husband has never wished to degrade me in that manner. Besides, that specific act is learned from porn - the grand promoter of orgasm-as-all-important.

It's still all about natural body functions - orgasms are a natural part of natural sex acts. The two weren't supposed to be divorced from one another.

Stop trying to argue around it. It's so juvenile and so tiring. You all will say anything and come up with any insane argument to keep responsibility-free sex and unlimited orgasms at at any cost as the main agenda. Why don't you just all admit it.

Seriously, I know masturbation is considered a grave evil by the Church, but at least masturbation is single, solo, and doesn't involve degrading, despoiling, and objectifying a real, live person in the process.

John E. said...

Yes, let's have the clitoris override all the other reproductive functions to which its associated.

All I'm saying is don't ignore the needs attention also...

Red Cardigan said...

Um, okay, all; let's try to keep things just a trifle less explicit. I mean, I'm cool with Theology of the Body and all, but sometimes people are reading these comments with early-reader age children hovering nearby.

The way I like to put things is this: the criteria for marriage for the Church (and a long time for the State as well--and still in some states as far as I know) is that the couple must be physically capable of performing what used to be delicately referred to as "the marriage act." You did not have to prove fertility (which is a gift from God) but you did have to have one person with a functioning male body part and one person with a functioning female one and thus the capacity for intercourse to occur.

Some sex acts are gravely sinful whether they are engaged in by heterosexuals or homosexuals. Others (not involving climax) are permitted in the context of a marriage relationship when intercourse is the intended object. Anybody needing specific clarity on that should talk to either a good priest or a solidly orthodox lay spiritual adviser.

Now: some 37 states, supposedly, still have laws allowing *civil* marriages to be annulled (that is, declared invalid) for non-consummation (and consummation is defined in the law as involving intercourse). If gay "marriage" were enacted in any of these states (and I don't know if it has been; I'm still trying to track down the statistic), it would amount to treating homosexuals and heterosexuals differently, since homosexuals by the scientific definition of intercourse can't consummate their "marriages," and since adopting a legal fiction that some other act was "consummation" would impact heterosexuals as well.

Turmarion said...

As to NFP, I'm not a huge fan. I accept it as acceptable because the Church says so, but on this subject, I'm more in agreement with the uber-orthodox Catholics who don't go for it because of them semi-contraceptive nature of it. You all will say anything and come up with any insane argument to keep responsibility-free.... Why don't you just all admit it.

Well, we're agreed on that--the über-orthodox Catholics are indeed more logically and intellectually consistent. If you look at Church teachings before the late 19th, early 20th Century, there was nothing about the "unitive end" of intercourse, and many Fathers were explicit that even use of infertile periods, intercourse by those past the age of fertility, etc., were impermissible. Marital sex was for procreation only, period. As I've pointed out, if you read such Traditionalist websites, many such über-orthodox Catholics argue that this is a clear change of doctrine which indicts Vatican II as being heretical. I don't agree, but it's logical. We're agreed that that is more logically consistent; we just disagree on whether to accept that or not.

In short, I think that non-defined dogma can actually change (that's a super complex argument in itself); and I think Humanae Vitae is not infallible (that's a super complex argument, too). Traditionalists think a change has occurred regarding NFP, and that's why they think Vatican II is heretical; I also think a change has occurred, and I think that's OK.

I think part of the reason that even John Paul II and Benedict XVI have never used an unequivocal statement ex cathedra regarding contraception is that there is some acknowledgement, even if subliminal, of the illogic and inconsistency of their case. A marriage in which one or both spouses are incapable of intercourse isn't valid, but an infertile one is. An unconsummated marriage is invalid, but at times Josephite marriages have been not only accepted but recommended. All forms of contraception are sinful but some forms invalidate the consummation of marriage while others don't. All "uses of marriage" (what a romantic term Vaticanese uses!) must be open to life; but intercourse between infertile or elderly couples, or in deliberately planned infertile periods are OK.

I've had this discussion with Red over at Rod's old blog, and with A. Sinner (from Renegade Trads) over at Reditus. I have yet to be convinced that any kind of logical consistency can come out of this contradictory mess without not only logic-chopping, but slicing, dicing, and making beautiful julienne logic fries, as well. I actually agree with most of the Church's sexual teaching, but I think the level of argumentation for it has been abysmally bad. Certainly, for philosophical reasons way too complex to go into, I think the Theology of the Body and the natural law arguments simply don't hold water. This is why, though I agree with the Church's teaching on homosexual acts, I'm not as exercised about it as some, and I'm open to the possibility (not likelihood) of future change.

Anyway, you spoke of "admitting it". I don't admit that I promote "responsibility-free sex", etc., because I don't; but it would be nice if the Church would admit the incoherence and actual change in its stance here. I'm not holding my breath.

John E. said...

@Red, regarding the civil annulment question, New York State has this in their civil code:

(c) Incapable of entering into married state from physical cause DRL 7(3)

The inability to have sexual relations will be a grounds for an annulment if the condition is incurable, excluding speculative or potentially dangerous cures. Mere sterility will not suffice either.

Either party may seek an annulment under DRL 7(3) pursuant to DRL 140(d). If the incapable party files, they will have to show they were unaware of the condition, or if they were aware, did not know it was incurable.


No explicit details. I suspect that existing case law would reference impotence or an undisclosed physical deformity.

Also note that this makes a marriage voidable, but not void.

Anonymous said...

I say this with the utmost respect to you - I'm on your side of this issue - but if you bring up big kid topics, please don't ask us to refrain from talking about these things in big kid lan guage. I hardly think beginning age readers can even properly figure out or pronounce words like "cl*tor*s," etc. And even if they could, you as a parent should be able to properly deflect any questions.

This is an adult blog where adults discuss. At least that's how I've always seen it. And this issue is far from delicate. It sounds prudish to even suggest coding words to be more delicate.

Red Cardigan said...

Anonymous, respect back at you, but I try to restrict really explicit terms to posts actually about those topics.

This post was initially about my pledge not to vote for Republicans, after all. We've come pretty far afield. :)

Point is: some unwary parent might click on the comment thread thinking there'd be some discussion of the gay marriage issue and whether or not voting for Republicans is ever a good idea, and not expect to get into specifics about oral sex by the end of it all. And that's a reasonable assumption--my girls are older now, but when they were at that delicate age, I was much more careful about which comment threads (esp. at Crunchy Con) to read while they were in the room.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Suppose humanity was made in the image of God. Suppose that the image of God had to be divided into male and female. In that case, the marriage of a man and a woman would have considerably more spiritual significance than merely breeding babies.

It is, however, true, as detailed by others, that at times the dominant voices of the Roman Catholic Church have taught that sexuality has NO significance except having babies, and therefore, neither does marriage.

It is likewise true that some early church fathers, who could equally be considered antecedents of the Roman or Greek communion, asserted that women are inherently evil, entirely responsible for The Fall (because the woman tempted the man who would never never never have eaten the apple without her seduction), and that men should have as little to do with women except for the minimum necessary to produce male heirs, and daughters to marry off in business or diplomatic alliances...

But suppose that humanity was made in the image of God. And suppose that... that marriage is about REUNITING THE ADAM. That would confound many Roman teachings AND many gay activists.

Then again, suppose Geoff is right about how much God loves him, and how much Geoff loves the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, except the error they made in rejecting the essence of who and what Geoff is and how God made him...

Diamantina da Brescia said...

Speaking as someone who is a 4 on the Kinsey scale (a moderate degree of same-sex attraction, although with some degree of opposite-sex attraction as well), I don't think that the Roman Catholic Church has rejected the essence of who and what I am and how God made me. Everyone who is not married to someone of the opposite sex is called to celibate chastity, and if they do not find the right spouse of the opposite sex, they are called to celibate chastity for life. Even some people who are married (e.g., those whose spouses are in persistent vegatative states or have severe dementia) are called to celibate chastity.

I realize that contemporary culture -- including the Church culture in the US -- is very couples-oriented. Also, I have noticed that single people over 40 who have discerned that neither marriage, priesthood or conventional religious life are for them are apt to be seen to some degree perhaps as a bit odd at times. But that is primarily the culture's fault and not necessarily the fault of the single person. An intimate relationship with another person, whether of the same or opposite sex, is not the be-all and end-all of life: preparing for the next life is. And so what if other people think one is odd for not coupling, for remaining a (technical) virgin for life? (I have never had intercourse, but when I was younger, I did make out quite a bit with a couple of guys...) Look for God's approval instead.

Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration with the Republican Party, believe me. If you lived in New York State I could understand swearing off voting for a Republican for any STATE or local office again.

But if you don't live in New York -- if I remember correctly, Red, you live in Texas -- what sense does that make? You're going to punish Republicans in your far more conservative "red" state, or in other states, for the actions taken by Republicans in a "blue" state?

Until such time as a third party gains enough traction to win an election outright (like the GOP did when it was formed in the 1850s after slavery opponents gave up on the Whig Party) saying that you will "never vote for a Republican" is in essence cutting off your nose to spite your face. You are saying you'd rather concede every election to liberal Democrats who will almost certainly be FAR more aggressively pro-abortion and pro-gay rights than most "moderate" or liberal Republicans tend to be. I think you really ought to reconsider this.


Gillimer said...

I can't support "marriage equality" as long as my polygamous friends are treated as second class citizens.

"There's no slippery slope.... there's no slippery slope..." Oh, they're still there, why didn't they disappear?

astorian said...

I won't try to persuade you to vote for any Republican. I will ask, however, if there are any particular Republicans who have campaigned as being anti-gay marriage and then turned around and voted for it.

I will also ask, are there any particular Republicans you've voted for because they posed as pro-life, but then voted in favor of abortion rights when it mattered.

It's unquestionably true that a lot of leading Republicans are liberal on all the big social issues, and a pro-life conservative would be foolish to talk himself/herself into voting for those people. It's silly to vote for an Arlen Specter and then act hurt or betrayed when he behaves like the pro-abortion liberal we always knew he was.

In my opinion, the proper attitude is not "I'll never vote for another Republican." Rather, it's "I'll never vote again for a liberal, pro-abortion Republican, in the misguided belief that he's somehow better than a liberal, pro-abortion Democrat."

The Falcon said...

Pray tell what is the interest of the State in a gay marriage? All their needs can be met by either specific gay partnership legislation which would leave the millennia old definition of marriage in ALL cultures that have ever existed intact and has served them well. The only interest of the State in a heterosexual marriage is the real and potential capacity for it to produce and raise the next generation, where a marriage between the mother and father of the children has proven to be the most effective means for this purpose which has suited
the parents, the children AND and the State.
This is not to say that a marriage does not fulfill further other purposes. It is simply setting out the ONLY interest of the State in the marriage

Now the critical feature of a marriage is that it is an "exclusive" relationship and there is absolute fidelity between the two parties involved. Otherwise we would have to approve polygamy. Of course ONE member of a gay relationship can procure a child. But in order to do so nature biology and the unavoidable laws of genetics require that that ONE party has to bring into the relationship a THIRD party in order to produce the child, be it through the natural process or through artificial means. The child remains always the product of ONE ONLY of the gay relationship. In bringing this third party the "exclusivity and fidelity" required of the marriage is gone. Thus the only way a gay couple can meet the only "interest" of the State in a marriage is by actually demolishing the very meaning of marriage.

The very notion of placing on a child's birth certificate that it is the product of two fathers or two mothers is not only an offence against natural law but is risible and the stuff of comedy. Worse still it is an offense against the human rights of the child because in the process it is absurdly being denied its genetic inheritance and forbears on whom the child has a claim for sustenance and support throughout its life. NOBODY, not even the child's parents have a right to give up these rights on behalf of the child.

NOTE: No biblical injunctions here; just a simple outline of the lack of interest of the State in gay marriage, and the fundamental contradiction that to attract the interest of the State the parties involved have to actually contradict the very foundation of marriage which is exclusivity and fidelity, and in the process arrogate for themselves the rights of the child to its genetic inheritance and its claims on support from it.

Red Cardigan said...

Sorry, Jasper, I don't allow that sort of language or personal bashing of others on the blog. If you can reword your comment more civilly you are welcome to post it.

David said...

John E.,

If someone offered you a 'martini' they had just mixed up with yogurt and orange soda, would you accept it? As a 'martini' I mean. Or would you instantly conclude that they had lost all connection with reality.

People who use the word 'marriage' to describe relationships of their choice are like people who would make the orange soda/yogurt martini. Just insane.

Anonymous said...

Or, David, we could refer to man-woman relationships as "matings" to more precisely highlight just what you want to highlight. In his employer's HR records, David would be listed as "mated", assuming he had beed successful in that regard.

Same sex relationships, by comparison, could be referred to as "marriages", precisely highlighting the lifetime bonding being celebrated while leaving out the element that distinguishes David's breeding element.

Because the notion of any sort of legal right to language or the terms that make it up is beyond hilarious, this may really be the best approach.

In the popular vernacular, man-woman relationships will be referred to by all gays and of course by those who value marital equality as "matings", and all gay relationships will be referred to as a matter of course by anyone speaking civilly as "marriages".

Since no language has any sort of natural exclusivity, since it only means what its users say it means, that way, each side gets what they keep claiming most loudly they want the most: male-female couples get to celebrate their reproductive potential, and gay couples get to celebrate their devotion to one another.


Red Cardigan said...

Druma: I don't put up with trolls here. Bye!

Pat: apparently "devotion" in gay "marriage" terms is now defined to mean "cheating on your partner if that's how you roll," too. See here:

We keep redefining words like this, and we might end up as incoherent as this too-long blog comment thread--which I'm now closing. It's a holiday, and I can't keep deleting the obvious trollish stuff that keeps showing up from various anonymous people; I've got better things to do.

Thanks, all!