Wow, I got a good deal of
Hate Push-Back Email on my recent Leaven Column, What’s the price of equality if it comes at the cost of conscience? which is about what a Supreme Court ruling that States must recognize same-sex “marriages” would mean for our Catholic schools.
People were mad that a Catholic in a Catholic paper would push back against the wave of history for what they “know” to be the great good of same-sex “marriage”.
Sometimes trying to defend one man, one woman marriage can be difficult because it is hard to see how anyone could object or how to go beyond the emotional appeal. It’s like arguing with someone who thinks motherhood is bad. You know on the face of it the person is wrong but don’t know where to start.
In charity I wanted to respond to these people, but hey it took a while so I thought maybe you all might appreciate reading some of reasons why as Catholics we can be against same sex marriage and not be haters. It is a discussion we are going to need to engage.
If you are like me, you have a bunch of friends and family that think like the people in these emails. I have kept the content pretty much the same but I have changed the names of the senders to keep them anonymous.
So here is the first in the series…
Email 1 The Madisonian.
Good discussion “James”
As Catholics, we sincerely believe that God created sex for two combined purposes: the happiness of a man and woman uniting in married love, and the happiness of new life being born from that union. Take away either one — for instance with adultery, prostitution, masturbation, premarital sex, or homogenital activity — and sexual activity turns negative and limiting, because those two purposes are built into us. We are made physically for loving and for generating new life. Sexual acts which are anything less than that will separate us from part of our selves and from what God wants for us; they leave out and suppress part of what sex is and part of who we are.
My basic position is that for Catholics to condone same-sex unions by recognizing such unions as a “marriage” goes against Christian conscience. As a consequence, people of conscience should not be compelled to witness such “marriages” or be forced to hire the practitioners in positions that give moral witness on behalf of the Church. However, the LGBT forces have made it very clear their intent is not “to agree to disagree” but to use the force of law to compel religious organizations to publically endorse their lifestyle. The Catholic Church cannot do that because as much as we love people and have compassion for people who experience strong same sex attraction (SSA) we would be sinning against charity to endorse such practices. Not because we are being mean or hating but because that kind of sex is going to hurt the practitioners and society as a whole.
Let me respond to some of your points…
Gays and Lesbians have the “Right to seek personal fulfillment through marriage”
There are no rights without God and we never have a right to do something that is inherently bad for us and others, and goes against God’s plan for us. I don’t have a right to smoke crack cocaine because crack is bad for me and the addiction it causes has devastating fallout for my family and community.
However, even if we assume the false premise that people who self-identify as “gay” or “lesbian” are exercising their right to the pursuit of happiness it does not follow they have a right to marriage as same-sex partners. The reason no one has a right to same-sex “marriage” is because marriage is NOT a recognition of a special adult friendship. Marriage is a public recognition of an exclusive sexual relationship that has the potential to produce children and bonds the father and the mother to those children that sexual union produces. The institution of one man, one woman marriage serves the common good as the number one way our society protects children. Every baby that is born has a mother not far off, but not necessarily a father nearby. What marriage does best is protect the children by bonding the dad to the mom and the children. The reason the State privileges man-woman marriage is because these unions produce the future generation of the State not so the participants can feel validated. Just because a citizen has a kind of sexual proclivity doesn’t entitle that person to a public recognition of that sexual expression. Pick any sexual expression that by its very nature prohibits offspring, do those practitioners have the “right” to have society affirm their pursuit of personal fulfillment by calling that sex marriage?
“equal rights under the constitution matter”
All citizens have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Many men and women who experience same-sex attraction enter real marriages all the time and go on to start families. What this issue is seeking to do is to create a special class of citizen with a special right. What about all the other people who want to express themselves sexually outside the traditional, moral norms and have that legally defined as marriage? Why can’t bigamists marry many, or zoophiliacs marry their pets? I ask this not to suggest that same-sex unions rise to that level of perversity but to point out that once the good of offspring are taken out the equation there is no ratio for denying any kind of sex the moniker of marriage.
Also, what about the children? Don’t children have a God given right to have a mother and a father? Isn’t it sexist to say that 2 dads can fill the void of a mother or 2 moms can fill the void of a father? Now sadly, not all children get a father or mother. However, it is one thing when the situation arises by accident of circumstance. It is quite another and indeed cruel when it is done on purpose. It is rightfully considered shameful to be a dead-beat dad by a man abandoning his child. Is it not also shameful for two moms to deny the child even the possibility of ever have having a dad? (And of course vice-versa two dads denying the chance to have a mom)
“people regardless of sex must have equal rights”
I agree, and they do have equal rights to enter man-woman marriages, or not. We have many rights that we may not choose to exercise because we are not attracted to the object of that right, for instance the right to bear arms. My 2nd amendment rights are not being violated if I choose not to be a gun owner because I lack interest in guns.
“we have the first amendment so you and others like you will not force people who do not see you way into inequality.”
Certainly that Catholic Church does not wish to force people into inequality. In fact it is from the witness of the Church that all people are created in the image of God that our nation was able to declare, “all men are created equal”. Therefore, the basis of our democracy is our common origin and destiny in God.
However, I think that adults who wish to enter into consensual sexual relations (even same-gendered) should not have that activity criminalized (which you might be surprised to learn is the position of the Catholic Church). Not all sin should be illegal because giving such power to the State would do more harm than good to the commonwealth. Certainly, compromises could be made in which adults who wanted to have their unions recognized in a public way could be accommodated so they had access to benefits and hospital visits. And Church leaders have even advocated for civil unions as a way of compromise. However, the LGBT agenda doesn’t want accommodation. They want that legal status of “marriage” as a tool to coerce everyone into accepting their sexual activity as morally valid. It is not even OK to be neutral. We are the ones who are being forced into inequality because we won’t be coerced into blessing a sin.
“As for the court making the church bless same sex marriages it will not happen”
I hope you are right “James”. However, the State can coerce in many other ways by forcing Catholic Schools to hire people who openly practice and advocate the LGBT lifestyle. Or the court will likely someday say that the Church can’t have a tax-exempt status because it prohibits LGBT activity. I respect that LGBT advocates sincerely think the Church is wrong. I just wish they had the honesty to tell people the truth that what they want is for complete acceptance of their lifestyle and the complete marginalization of anyone who disagrees with them. They want to push us into the closet they just came out of.
One of the Church’s toughest duties is to speak the truth with love and confront the self-destructive ideas and behavior of any society, and often those societies resist. Our Christian “tough love” insists that God intends more for us than homosexual activity can ever offer. Our long standing Judeo-Christian tradition is coming under strong attack especially in America. Madison would respect our right to dissent. As well, he would never embrace the false notion of “marriage” that is being promoted today.
Subject: Re: what’ the price
Bill: your thought: this supposed quest for equality is the point. To deny individuals the right to seek personal fulfillment through marriage is at the most basic level a denial of equal citizenship. This is the first right in the constitution. How can you say you can only see marriage in a Christian way? This not a moral issue, you are making it one. This is an equal rights under the constitution matter. And people regardless of sex must have equal rights. First in this country marriage is a public matter which the church blesses. 50 years ago this week we went to the court house for a marriage license [public] then took our license to church [private] to get it blessed. You are trying to mix the public with the private. That is why we have the first amendment so you and others like you will not force people who do not see you way into inequality. Spend some more time with Madison and you will see this is no more than an equal rights issue. As for the court making the church bless same sex marriages it will not happen.
From: Bill Scholl
Subject: RE: what’ the price
Thanks for writing.
I think Madison would share my concerns as he helped to write the establishment clause to the first amendment. If the Supreme Court should legalize same-sex “marriage” and define it as a fundamental right, any religious group that upholds the inherent immorality of same-gendered sexual unions, as Christians have held from the beginning along with all major world religions, will over time be coerced in recanting an essential moral teaching. It will set us on course for a constitutional conflict in which Madison’s amendment: “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” will collide with the supposed right for same gendered people to marry as they use this ruling to pressure religions to embrace their lifestyle.
I have no problem with Madison as he saw to it that rights were clearly articulated as opposed to 5 of 9 justices mandating a new morality. If LGBTQB activists want their unions to be a right they should amend the constitution. I think this supposed quest for equality will come at the price of religious liberty.
Subject: what’s the price?
Dear bill. I just put down my 4th book on James Madison. I am sure he would disagree with your opinion. Your opinion is “if the Supreme Court makes same sex marriage constitutional there will be no religious exemption “is just wrong. Madison taught us that. Your argument is with Madison. Your next opinion article should be “dear president Madison this is why you are wrong on same sex marriage”. I would like to read your thoughts. But until then I will stay with President Madison.