Monday, October 10, 2011

Why gay "marriage" can't be hitched to the Civil Rights train

You all know of Lauren and her uplifting blog at Magnify the Lord With Me, but did you know that her amazing husband also blogs? He writes at The Whole Armor (which I highly recommend) under the moniker of One Man. One Man is a black American who, like so many other black Americans, strongly opposes the push to artificially link "gay marriage rights" to the Civil Rights movement. He has graciously agreed to write a guest post on that topic.

Thanks, Leila, for inviting me to write this guest post for you.

This past week, Lauren and I had the occasion to visit Birmingham, AL. Although we didn't have time to visit any of the specific Civil Rights landmarks -- we were focused on our little girl's surgery -- it was amazing to think that 50 years ago, in this city that was the hub of the struggle against Jim Crow, we would likely not even have been allowed to marry.

As I thought about that struggle, and the many who sacrificed and literally risked and gave their lives, it began to bother me even more that the "gay marriage" movement is comparing itself to that struggle. The rub of it is that some who fought so hard back then for the equal treatment of those of us whose skin happens to be a few shades darker, including Coretta Scott King, are either not speaking up or, worse, are supporting this wave that would sweep the foundation of the family out from under our culture.

Before getting too far into it, I should start by reiterating the Church's teaching on "Chastity and Homosexuality," from the Catechism 2357-2359. I know that not everyone turns to the Catechism as their first source, or any source at all, but there are so many misconceptions of why the Catholic Church opposes homosexuality (i.e., homosexual activity) and so-called "gay marriage" that the truth, in black and white, has to be laid on the line:
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures.  Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 19:1-29, Rom 1:24-27, 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10), tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are gravely disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. (2357)
Ok, so the Body of Christ stands staunchly, unshakably against homosexual acts. Nothing new there. It's worth highlighting (after the underlining above) that it's the acts themselves, not any tendency or attraction to them, that are wrong. The difference results from one of two very powerful gifts given to us that distinguish us from the animals: our will, or ability to act decisively. (The other is intellect, our ability to reason.)
...They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.  Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter… (2358)
If there is any point of commonality between the Civil Rights struggle and the struggle of those living with homosexuality, this is it. Bottom line, we have to love those who are struggling with the burden of same-sex attraction—and all others—without  exception. Loving is the only way that Christians truly imitate Christ. But loving doesn't mean rolling over and accepting actions that are contrary to what the Author of Life has laid out; to do that would be to separate love and truth, falsifying one and bearing poor witness to the other.

The third paragraph hits the nail on the head regarding the "call" mentioned above:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom...they can and should...approach Christian perfection. (2359)
That is the call of all sexual people, which means...all people. We are all sexual beings, and so we are all called to be chaste -- i.e., to live within God's plan for human sexuality -- regardless of our station in life. As much as society would have us believe that we should be driven by our urges, no matter how superficial or deep-seated they may be, it simply is not true. We are not animals.

So, what does this have to do--or not have to do with Civil Rights? It all comes down to the natural law and choice.

Natural law

First, the natural law. Every human society, from before recorded history, has been founded on the family based in marriage: The bodily union of man and woman, and the children that are generated from that union. Putting aside any religious understandings, marriage has always existed as a natural institution.

Regardless of what flawed civil law has tried to tell us time and time again throughout the centuries, this reality of man + woman = children is not and never has been affected by race. This natural aspect of marriage depends on sexual complementarity that is definitely present in a man and woman of different races, but is positively not in two people of the same gender. Even if children do not come from the marriage (due to bodily disorders), the possibility is still there because the marital act itself is ordered toward procreation, unlike homosexual acts. Lauren and I would not have been able to civilly marry in a lot of places as recently as fifty years ago, but that was because of unjust human (civil) law, not natural law or God's law.

Choice

The second reason that the "gay marriage" movement cannot be fairly compared to the Civil Rights movement is that sexual activity contains the element of choice. God gave us the gift of free will, to be able to either (1) choose his (all-knowing, wanting-the-best-for-us) will over our own, or (2) insist on having our way. Marriage is first and most significantly represented in the marital act. That act is an act of choice, just like participation in the unchastity of sexual activity outside of marriage (homosexual or heterosexual) is a choice. It may not seem like much of a choice in the heat of sexual attraction, but the reality is that the choice remains.

Race is not that way. We do not choose our ancestry, skin tone, hair texture, or any of the other characteristics that generally differentiate people of one race from another. We did not choose what we look like, but we absolutely choose how to make use of our sexual faculties. Though our physical characteristics (unchangeable characteristics, not changeable ones like weight, dress, etc.) are amoral and more or less defined at the time of our conception, whether or not we engage in licit or illicit sexual activity is far from a foregone conclusion and has a monumental moral dimension.

These are two very big differences that unfortunately are being overlooked by those trying to hitch the "gay marriage" push to the Civil Rights train. For the sake of the truths championed by the Civil Rights movement, which so many fought and even died for, these realities must be brought back into the discussion.

+AMDG+

353 comments:

  1. Totally agree. Great post. Sorry, I've got nothing else to add.

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  2. Thank you for laying this out so clearly. I've always struggled with how to explain that "gay marriage" is not a civil right, and you have given me a lot to reflect on.

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  3. Thank you! This is the most used argument by the "gay rights" activists and it drives me nuts because it is utterly ridiculous. Thank you One Man and Leila.

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  4. That's my man!!! :)

    I knew One Man was the right man to write this post- but it washed me anew when reading it.
    1) He's black.
    2) He's in a mixed marriage- and the new one-
    3) The marriage has proved, thus far, to be infertile! I've never considered this aspect before! He really is the authority on the subject!

    I've struggled before with explaining the difference in the sexual act between infertile heterosexual couples and homosexual couples. I think it comes down to broken parts. The infertile couple have the right mechanics but something just ain't workin' right! But you can have two fertile myrtle lesbians and they will NEVER conceive in a sexual act between the two. Does anyone else have a better (simple) explanation?

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  5. Excellent post - clear as a bell! Thank you! Now let's talk about how the civil rights movement SHOULD be working for the unborn instead....

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  6. Danya, BINGO!!!

    Lauren, so simple!! I always think of it this way: The act of "union" is sexual intercourse. That union is ordered toward the creation of new life. Just because we live in a fallen world (and the parts don't work due to disorders or aging) doesn't mean that the act is invalidated.

    Gay couples, by contrast, cannot even achieve sexual union. They cannot have sexual intercourse at all. All they can do is simulate it in a very unhealthy, disordered way. It's an imitation of sexual union. And it can never be fruitful. It's disordered from the get-go.

    No way to consummate gay "marriage" = no marriage.

    Your hubby is a gem. :)

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  7. YES! One Man and Lauren, my husband and I have a mixed marriage as well and I've heard the same argument about discrimination against couples like us being tied to gay "marriage." This is one of the best arguments I've read because it is laid out very simply and matter of fact. The quotes taken from the Catechism are great sources of reference.

    Thanks Leila for asking for this perspective. Wonderful, wonderful post. I had to wait until the kiddos were all napping because I wanted to read read it and not just skim it :)

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  8. Wonderful post!
    Thank you so much for so clearly showing where comparisons to the 'civil rights' fight is appropriate and not.
    We as Catholics fully support homosexuals dignity as a person and are not trying to put them at the 'back of the bus' but marriage is a separate and distinct issue.

    Well done!

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  9. Bravo. This post is perfect!! J, you hit the nail on the head. The argument of gay marriage as a "civil right" does a disservice to the many legitimate truths the Civil Rights movement has fought for.

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  10. WOW!!!

    This insightful post is amazing!!!

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  11. Thanks all for the great feedback. @Danya, youre absolutely right, it's time for us to go on the offensive.

    I probably won't be able to comment after this tonight, but I look forward to catching up tomorrow.

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  12. Great post.

    I agree, that I wish the civil rights movement would work for the unborn. It seems so logical to me. Sigh.

    Don't have much more to add. My brain is mush from reading the 200+ comments on that last post, lol!!

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  13. Whether I agree with you or not on the main question, this argument has plenty of holes as well.

    Civil Rights is not limited to "race."

    Even if you argue that "choice" is involved... Well "choice" was also involved in say, a white man and a black woman wanting to get married, which has also been illegal in the past.

    Heck, you can say it was "choice" as to whether you chose to get on a bus or not that made you sit in the back... After all you also had the choice to walk.

    If the US Government rejects "Natural Law" and Church teachings, then it is certainly possible to make the argument that it is a civil rights issue.

    The real problem is that as far as the general consensus here is concerned, it isn't releveant since you have to accept the underlying issues before you even consider civil rights.

    So absolutely yes, for those that accept Church doctrine it isn't an issue. BUT you cannot simply handwave away with wishful thinking the millions of people out there who don't accept it!

    I mean seriously, if this argument here was plausible to the mainstream American we wouldn't have legalized Abortion, let alone something like gay marriage.

    Maybe I am just the contrarian here, but to me an argument that is only going to be effective at convincing people who already agree with you isn't particularly useful when addressing an issue that is going to be fought against people who hold dearly to views that are flat out contradictory to your basic beliefs :-/

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  14. Nicholas, you understand that the moral law (natural law) is something all men are bound to, not just Catholics, right? The natural law is universal. It is not simply Catholics, but the orthodox of all major world religions who know that homosexual "marriage" is impossible, and the acts are immoral. And, there are secular folk who believe this too (what Freud said about the definition of sexual deviance is a testament to that). What you may misunderstand is that we are not talking about imposing "Catholic beliefs" like, say, Marian doctrines, or belief in the Trinity. We are talking about natural law which binds all of us, and which is apprehensible on the level of reason. The reason we know abortion is an evil is because we all know, on a base level, that it is wrong to kill innocents. Can a society forget this? Yes, look at the Holocaust. But still and all we know this. See my post on the avenging conscience.

    So, it does not take divine revelation to understand the moral law, it can be known by reason alone. (Unlike Trinity, Marian doctrines, the sacraments, etc.)

    It's what our laws were based on, before we started down the road of legal positivism.

    Anyway, I'll let One Man talk of that. I believe he has a recent post on it.

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  15. The author of the post said, "Every human society, from before recorded history, has been founded on the family based in marriage: The bodily union of man and woman, and the children that are generated from that union."

    Those are carefully chosen words, as I saw you did not said "One man and One woman."

    What say you about one man and three women? Is this against the natural law? It is historical, but yet we outlaw it, and the Catholic Church does not condone it. How can we argue against it if it fulfills all the criteria for real marriage that you outlined above? I am sincerely interested, as I have thought about this from both angles.

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  16. Mary, great point and I will say that one could much more make a case for polygamy (of opposite sexes) than you could for gay "marriage".

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  17. PS: Of course I am not advocating for polygamy. We know that marriage began as one man/one woman when marriage was established by God (Adam and Eve). But polygamy entered the scene after the Fall and while Christ brought things back to the intended one man/one woman norm, there were men married to more than one woman at a time. Not so much the women who were all married to each other, so even then it was one man and one woman (and the same man and another woman, etc.). Baby making it hard to type, be back later!

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  18. Awesome post and very well-written and explained. Amen Danya and Lauren, you must be so proud to have such a great hub! :)

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  19. I mean seriously, if this argument here was plausible to the mainstream American we wouldn't have legalized Abortion

    "We" didn't legalize abortion. A handful of judges did, and they used the most bizarre reasoning to do so. Have you read Roe v. Wade? Anyway, that bit of legal positivism was actually shocking to the majority of Americans at the time.

    As for the things you said about "choice"….??? I seriously don't get what you are saying. Black people couldn't marry whites because of an unjust law (legal positivism, not rooted in any natural law understanding!). Gay people cannot marry because gay people cannot even perform the primary act of marriage, in addition to the fact that those acts that they do perform are against the natural law. Gays' decision to be attracted to the same sex is not necessarily a choice, but what they decide to do with their sex organs is a choice. We are not obligated to condone what has otherwise been known as "sin" much less call it "good" as in "marriage".

    There is nothing at all fundamentally or essentially different between my marriage and One Man's marriage to his wife. But there is something FUNDAMENTALLY different between my marriage and the "marriage" of Steve and Joe.

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  20. @Leila -

    What I am saying is that ultimately, like Abortion, the issue will be resolved in the Courts as to whether the state sponsored form of marriage will accept same-sex marriages.

    I'm not disputing you on "Natural Law" simply stating that it won't be driving court decisions (or at least that is my guess.)

    I guess my point is same sex marriage is invalid on its face, by natural law, as you describe. Therefore you need no argument for that.

    You only need an argument if you want the secular state and federal court systems to agree it is invalid, and in that case, you need an argument that will sway an atheist who is not going to accept "Natural law, duh!" as persuasive.

    In my opinion, which may be wrong, same sex marriage will become legalized in civil marriages barring the introduction of an argument that will sway atheists on legal merits.

    Even if /everyone/ agreed that by natural law hommosexual people cannot have "real" sex or a "real" marriage, they would argue that they would still like a pretend one for the civil benefits. Would that be persuasive? I dunno.

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  21. Nicholas, oh sorry, I see what you mean. In my opinion, we have turned the corner to legal positivism, so it's going to require a herculean amount of education to get Americans to understand that our laws need to be based on natural law again. Otherwise, just laws are not gonna be the norm anymore.

    I like this, from One Man, on the subject of legal positivism vs. natural law:

    http://thewholearmor.blogspot.com/2011/10/article-it-is-dangerous-to-be-right.html

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  22. Nicholas,

    What you're describing, the creation of laws outside of the Natural Law, as Leila has already mentioned is a political philosophy. I've just come across it and am digging a little deeper to find out the historical basis of it, but I'll try to give an armchair summary.

    Our entire system of government, beginning with the founding documents--Declaration of Independence and Constitution--all rely VERY heavily on Natural Law and Judeo-Christian morality. In fact, Natural law even came into play before that, with the advent of English Common Law (which the Founders heavily pulled from). Surely not all of the founders were Christian, but they did all recognize the merits of natural law when it came to men self-governing. They knew that a democratic republic would not be possible without a foundation in natural law.

    You are absolutely right that the courts have decided, and likely will continue to decide for the foreseeable future, what the civil law will be, but that's also a bad thing. It only furthers the cause of positivism and upends the republican (small r) legal system so that laws are made and/or invalidated by a small group of appointed officials. Which also points to... positivism. Courts should not make law; they are only charged with enforcing it. It's only in the latter part of the 19th into the 20th century that the phenomenon of legislation-by-case-law has taken hold.

    To make a long story short(er), if the relationship reverses and we look to civil law to determine morality, which is what seems to be happening, our republic will eventually devolve into pure democracy, which de Toqueville referred to as the "tyranny of the majority," and eventually will result in either a pure or oligarchical dictatorship, where people who look to the government to tell us right from wrong. It turns the whole system on its head. If these atheists (or progressives) who do not accept either the moral law or natural law have their way, there is no way to convince them that gay marriage is impossible. Further, without natural law, informed by a heavy dose of judeo-Christian morality, our governmental system CANNOT continue to exist.

    I hope I did that justice. If there are any legal experts reading and see that I haven't described it correctly, please offer that.

    I posted a summary and link of a great article that Judge Andrew Napolitano wrote as an introduction to his new book, "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong" that gives a pretty good treatment of the perils of positivism.

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  23. Thanks Leila. You're much better at the brief replies.

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  24. @Nicholas, that first sentence should have read "...is a political philosophy known as legal positivism." Sorry if there was any confusion there.

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  25. Nicholas, and anyone else really, I'm curious about your opinion on something.

    You stated: you need an argument that will sway an atheist who is not going to accept "Natural law, duh!" as persuasive.

    Why don't atheists find Natural Law persuasive?

    Any thoughts?

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  26. @Leila & One Man - Understood and agreed.

    @Bethany - Impossible to say really. Hubris? Willfull ignorance? Wishful thinking?

    People often want and insist that things "make sense" to them, or has an observable "scientific" answer for it.

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  27. @Bethany - Actually, I think I have a better answer.

    Because we changed the rules.

    The concept of marriage /has/ changed over time. Even if not in its most fundamental sense, the idea of marriage we have today, of a union of romantic love between two people, has not always been the case.

    The notion of arranged marriages, political marriages, etc. and over time we have attached more and more legality and such to marriages which has convoluted things further.

    Then the second part of I would say is the American Dream. Part of out national culture is the idea that you can have everything you want, if you work hard at it. The idea that we can make our own way, and change things to get what we want.

    Is it really surprising to anyone that in a culture that promotes sexuality, is fixated on romantic love, and tells people that they can do anything or be anyone... that homosexual people might not be content to be told that a chaste single life is their only option?

    It doesn't surprise me. We (and I mean this as a society, not any particular "we") don't teach our children to be obedient and just accept the way it is. We encourage them to challenge the status quo, and push for their hopes and dreams.

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  28. Nicholas, that last part sounds just like what the Pope has said about moral relativism: "We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires."

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  29. @Leila - Agreed. Bethany asked why some people were not finding natural law persuasive. That's as good an explanation as any.

    Also, I am probably in the minority here in that I do not think natural law is particularly obvious or intuitive to all people. In fact, I believe that having it be so obvious may be a gift of the Holy Spirit.

    My rationale being that if it really were that intuitive, why wouldn't all cultures and peoples see it and use it?

    Or on the other hand, maybe it is and the heart of the problem is that we humans have a tendency to over-complicate things to the point that there comes a disconnect with natural law.

    For example, what is marriage at its heart? A man a woman come together in union to create and raise children. But over the centuries we have attached more and more baggage, ritual, legal-ese, and cultural notions to that simple facet of natural law that for many people, they only see the social constructs we attached to the concept, and no longer see the basic concept itself!

    The heart of marriage isn't really a consideration (IMHO) for advocates of same sex marriage... they want the trappings, the recognition, the legal status... in short all of the bells and whistles of pomp and culture that we have /added/ to the natural law foundation of marriage.

    Our culture venerates Brides -- Bridal magazines, TV shows, extravagant weddings... (We are currently subjected to a multiple part reality TV drama of Kim Kardashian's wedding on E!), "Bridezillas" etc.

    Our culture of celebrity worship is constantly obsessed with who is getting married, who is having a baby, and which couple is breaking up.

    None of that crap has anything to do with natural law... It is that cultural caricature though that is what people are fixated on.

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  30. Nicholas, exactly right.

    I think you would love Professor B's books, as it will fill in those questions you are asking:

    http://www.amazon.com/What-We-Cant-Not-Know/dp/1890626546

    He has several on the natural law. My husband is reading the one that deals with politics and the public square (since my hubs is in that line of work).

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  31. Hey, It's National Coming Out Day! : )

    This is an interesting argument; however, I am not persuaded to vote against same sex marriage or to condemn gay/lesbian people for having sexual relationships and companionship.

    I wonder, do you also vote for privatized healthcare, less government oversight and no taxes for the wealthy?

    -gwen

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  32. Gwen, I sure hope he's against Obamacare, against excessive, burdensome regulations and against higher taxes for any American. (Who argues for "no taxes for the wealthy"? Can you be serious?)

    You have a incredible trust in our federal government to do things wisely and well. Not sure why?

    Anyway, I will let One Man speak to your comment, but I have to ask: Can you actually address the points he made instead of instantly connecting it to Obamacare and other leftist public policy issues? Let's stay on point before opening discussion to the merits of the kitchen sink and what it owes the bloated nanny state.

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  33. qwen:
    In the spirit of your Columbus remark and accusation:
    How do you reconcile celebrating an idea of a lifestyle where homosexual acts cause disease and death to thousands in that lifestyle?

    How do you reconcile your hip hip hooray for a lifestyle in which homosexual men are running a very high risk of losing 20 years off their life?

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  34. Gwen, can you envision a day when the NAMBLA folks will be celebrating their own "coming out" day? Will you be as gleeful? And if not, does that make you bigoted?

    I'm truly interested.

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  35. Nicholas,

    I think you are on the right track when you describe how marriage has changed over the millennia from a political or financial tool to the idea of "romantic love".

    However, you finished by saying,
    "It doesn't surprise me. We (and I mean this as a society, not any particular "we") don't teach our children to be obedient and just accept the way it is. We encourage them to challenge the status quo, and push for their hopes and dreams. "

    It is as if you think this is a bad thing. The status quo is often a bad thing. For example, when I was in high school we had many great teachers, but several rather mediocre ones. In the grade ahead of me, one student was famous for being a genius. When he took AP U.S. History from one of the lazy teachers, he noticed that most of his papers (impeccable though they were) were never marked up, and the teacher never wanted to discuss them.

    So one time, he turned in a major paper, and replaced most of the required content with five pages of photocopied comics in the middle. He received the customary "A", and then approached the principal and super with his evidence.

    In my opinion, that was an excellent case of "challenging the status quo". As a teacher of high school, I often found it refreshing when students challenged me with good questions, including: "Why should I care about this?" It made teaching harder, but it showed that they were not automatons, and that they were critically examining not only my authority, but how they were spending their time.

    In fact, as children age through middle and high school, I think it is our duty to teach them to question the status quo to a point. Leila is doing this with her own kids. She teaches them not to accept the messages that the Planned Parenthood culture spews on college campuses, and instead question and challenge.

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  36. Nubby et. al,
    Your points about the health stats for active gay men are, to me, much more persuasive than the "natural law argument". If the health and mental health indicators for active gays are bad, it says to me that, "Yes, it might be that accepting these behaviors is akin to encouraging a liar to keep lying, or an bully to keep bullying."

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  37. Mary,
    Yes. I've been tooting the health horn regarding the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle for a while, and no pro-gay or openly gay person on the Bubble seems bothered by it.

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  38. Nubby, why worry about the healthcare of gay, lesbian and transgendered people when you don't care about universal healthcare in general? Am I putting words in your mouth or do you not object to the idea of healthcare as a human right?

    I'm laughing my head off that you think I'm being accusatory with Columbus. This is the distinction between you and me: I enjoy dialogue and thinking deeply about issues; you enjoy everything in black and right, right and wrong.

    The idea that NAMBLA is suddenly going to accrue all sorts of political power and assert itself is paranoia.

    And Leila, if you don't 'condemn' gay people, just the idea of them having sex, then why not support coming out day?

    -gwen

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  39. Gwen won't you PLEASE answer questions directly?

    I will answer yours directly:

    I will not support "coming out" day because the agenda of those behind the "coming out" day is not one that I would ever in a million years support. Is "coming out" day about "coming out so that we can have support in being chaste"? If so, then yes, I would support that.

    PS: Check the track record worldwide as to which entity provides unconditional and excellent, widespread care for AIDS victims, and whose hospitals care for those people who have diseases which come from gay sex? (Hint: It starts with "Catholic Church")

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  40. @Mary -

    I never said it was a bad thing. I simply stated that the two were at odds - encouraging the idea to push boundaries, and obedience to doctrine. This was simply placed as an explanation, not an endorsement :-)

    @Leila - I am not exactly sure what is wrong with healthcare reform? What is so terrible about so-called "Obamacare?" Certainly nothing immoral.

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  41. This is the distinction between you and me: I enjoy dialogue and thinking deeply about issues; you enjoy everything in black and right, right and wrong.

    You're so right, gwen. I don't like to think deeply at all.

    So if you'd teach me a thing or two, please start with the questions still standing unanswered. The ones that require deep thinking.

    To my political stance on healthcare, I've never even shared that opinion on this blog. Assumptions make people look bad.

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  42. Actually, Nicholas, the bishops were against Obamacare because of it's refusal to ensure that no abortions would be covered by taxpayers. Also, that is a big topic for a combox. There is nothing immoral about wanting health care reform (my gosh, we all want that!!). The devil is in the details. I think socialized medicine is very, very bad in general. I am sure you can find lots of analysis online as to why that is. Lots of discussion all over the internet and in think tanks. Basically, just the "threat" of Obamacare has raised our premiums drastically. And this is before implementation! My kind of health reform would include tort reform (which the Dems won't touch as they are in bed with the trial attorneys) and letting companies sell insurance across state lines. And let me choose my coverage! I don't need coverage for birth control (wait… now that's free for everyone! Mandated! No copays! YAY!!!), abortion, sterilization, sex changes, nor would I necessarily choose coverage for mental health issues, etc.

    One size does NOT fit all, and I certainly don't want the massively inefficient, wasteful, dare I say corrupt, federal gov't dictating to me what I must do for my family or my healthcare. As with everything, the leftist promises sound great in theory, until one must actually live under those rules. Ummmm, no thanks.

    Anyway, you are free to disagree of course. These are policy issues and thus matters of prudential judgment. I feel more people will be helped my way, Obama thinks more will be helped his way. We all want to help, so the question is: What is the best way to do that? I am at fundamental odds with the conclusions of the left on that subject.

    Okay, said more than I should. Off to a doctor's appointment for my son now. I have crappy health insurance, because my husband is a small business owner and we have very few options. As my husband says, soon we will have no choice but to join government healthcare, and then we are really screwed. Thanks, Dems!

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  43. @Leila - OK, well I wasn't counting the abortion issue only because that is a legal battle beyond the scope of healthcare.

    I am not sure I completely agree with you about socialized medicine, but it would depend on the implementation of course. And what "socialized medicine" even means. I am not convinced that the current legislation deserves that title, solely because it requires people to purchase private health insurance.

    Is it more regulation? Sure. But a far cry from a true socialized system.

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  44. I enjoy dialogue and thinking deeply about issues; you enjoy everything in black and right, right and wrong.

    It's ironic that Gwen says this (above), when I just read this:

    http://catholicism.org/sheen-decline-controversy.html

    Which includes this:

    The Church loves controversy, and loves it for two reasons: because intellectual conflict is informing and because she is madly in love with rationalism. The great structure of the Catholic Church has been built up through controversy. It was the attacks of the docetists and the monophysites in the early centuries of the Church that made her clear on the doctrine concerning the nature of Christ; it was the controversy with the Reformers that clarified her teaching on justification. If today there are not nearly so many dogmas defined as in the early ages of the Church it is because there is less controversy — and less thinking. One must think to be a heretic, even though it be wrong thinking.

    Even though one did not accept the infallible authority of the Church, he would still have to admit that the Church in the course of centuries has had her finger on the pulse of the world, ever defining those dogmas which needed definition at the moment. In the light of this fact, it would be interesting to inquire if our boasted theory of intellectual progress is true. What was the Christian world thinking about in the early centuries? What doctrines had to be clarified when controversy was keen? In the early centuries, controversy centered on such lofty and delicate problems as the Trinity, the Incarnation, the union of Natures in the Person of the Son of God. What was the last doctrine to be defined in 1870? It was the capability of man to use his brain and come to a knowledge of God. Now, if the world is progressing intellectually, should not the existence of God have been defined in the first century, and the nature of the Trinity have been defined in the nineteenth? In the order of mathematics this is like defining the complexities of logarithms in the year 30, and the simplification of the addition table in the year 1930. The fact is that there is now less intellectual opposition to the Church and more prejudice, which, being interpreted, means less thinking, even less bad thinking.

    Not only does the Church love controversy because it helps her sharpen her wits — she loves it also for its own sake. The Church is accused of being the enemy of reason. As a matter of fact, she is the only one who believes in it. Using her reason in the [First] Council of the Vatican she officially went on record in favor of rationalism (meaning here the proper use of reason) and declared, against the mock humility of the agnostics and the sentimental faith of the fideists, that human reason by its own power can know something besides the contents of test tubes and retorts and that, working on mere sensible phenomena, it can soar even to the “hid battlements of eternity,” there to discover the Timeless beyond time and the Spaceless beyond space that is God, the Alpha and Omega of all things.


    And this:

    On the other hand, the Church discourages bad thinking, for a bad thought set loose is more dangerous than a wild man. Thinkers live; toilers die in a day. When society finds it is too late to electrocute a thought, it electrocutes the man. There was once upon a time when Christian society burned the thought in order to save society, and after all, something can be said in favor of this practice. To kill one bad thought may mean the salvation of ten thousand thinkers. The Roman emperors were alive to this fact; they killed the Christians not because they wanted their hearts, but because they wanted their heads, or better, their brains — brains that were thinking out the death of paganism. My conclusion is yes, there is a great struggle for the soul of the Church, and all methods of battle are necessary in order to win it.

    Read it all. And think.

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  45. they want the trappings, the recognition, the legal status... in short all of the bells and whistles of pomp and culture that we have /added/ to the natural law foundation of marriage.

    I agree. But what I have found is that, despite perhaps being added at later times, and misused in current proceedings. Most of those trappings, legal statuses, and "bells and whistles" were originally designed to protect and benefit the children, potential or actual, and the family unit as a whole. They weren't originally put into place so that spouses could walk off with half of the other's money, or to dictate who gets the big screen t.v. or who gets to pull the plug.

    It's all supposed to be for the benefit of the children specifically and the family as one, whole, unit. Not to protect two individual interests. It's only become that way, or used that way.

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  46. There are so many issues in this post I'm not sure what to address. It seems one has to buy into the underlying Catholic themes in order for any of it to make sense. I understand Catholics don't consider gay marriage to be legitimate in the sacrament sense but why do you care if the secular world recognizes a marriage (essentially a legal contract)?

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  47. @Nubby
    "Mary,
    Yes. I've been tooting the health horn regarding the dangers of the homosexual lifestyle for a while, and no pro-gay or openly gay person on the Bubble seems bothered by it."

    or you choose to ignore them. First reseach your "20 years" less life. One doctor, and even he admits he does not know where he got that figure from.
    Then I went to the gay websites you state your statistics from. I don't think anyone will argue with you that the more sexualy promisious one is the more open to diseases one is. And I realize y'all are against sex outside of marriage so it is a non issue to you. But if one has limited sexual partners (or us gays get marriage rights and many of us decide to wait for marriage to engage in our "genitle play") then the risks are no greater than you in your marriage. I of course assume you were all virgins when you got married.
    So please don't be so simple as to think we have no issues with your usage of the "health" issues of homosexuality.

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  48. Dena, take a look at the State of Illinois and Catholic Charities. And that's because of Civil Unions. The Church lives in the "secular world", and we should not be forced to set aside our beliefs in order to participate in it. In fact just the opposite, we should proudly declare our beliefs in and throughout the world. The separation of Church and State was designed to keep the State OUT of the Church, NOT the other way around. People's beliefs are at the core of EVERYTHING they do. Simply because a relatively small group of people can't decide WHAT they believe and therefore say ANY belief is valid except for those beliefs that may negate someone else's beliefs, is IMHO not a valid argument. (not saying that this is your argument)

    But even beyond that. It's because it's not a "Catholic" theme. It's a universal theme. Marriage being between man and woman existed before the Catholic Church existed. Man and woman uniting as a family for the procreation and raising of children (the next generation) has been around since the beginning of the development of human societies. (and I'm not referring to the literal story of Genesis, because).

    Once again I will state, the information contained within the dogmas of the Catholic Church existed before the Church (i.e. The Blessed Trinity existed before the Church referred to the Blessed Trinity - the Church did NOT summon it into existence by naming it) The Church is just passing on the information! That's the difference between Catholicism and most (all?) other religions - we're not creating the rules. We simply took the rules, wrote them down and gave everyone access to them.

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  49. @Dena - I believe that at its heart this debate is about who gets to frame it and who gets to define it. There are two competing and non-compatible concepts of marriage out there.

    Do you know what the difference between sparkling wine and Champagne is? Nothing really... Except if it isn't produced in the Champagne region of France, it isn't allowed to be called "Champagne" and thus goes under the generic moniker of "sparkling wine."

    This approach was tried with the whole Civil Unions vs Marriage thing, but at this stage there appears to be wholesale rejection of civil unions and a push to use the most liberal and expansive definition of marriage possible.

    Then on top of that there is the disagreement over the lifestyle choices.

    So a thorny issue that is unlikely to be amicably compromised.

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  50. alanl64: The gay community itself warns gay men of ten areas of health concerns. http://www.glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=690

    And at the risk of a shameless plug- I talked about this subject here: http://psalm34-3.blogspot.com/2010/01/when-it-comes-to-sex-all-bets-are-off.html

    A quote from the link:

    "Can we objectively look at this list and say with love, that this is not a healthy lifestyle? Extending recognition and benefits to same-sex unions encourages more same-sex unions. More people might feel free to engage in this dangerous and destructive life-style.


    A similar list of negative consequences could be written for heterosexual activity outside of marriage. Contraceptives in the pill form come with a list of warnings from the medical community. When sex is not used as it is intended- for a man and a woman in marriage to be open to life and unity- there are dangerous consequences."

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  51. @Nubby, I never said you didn't think deeply so if you thought I said that, I'm sorry. I did say that you seem to prefer things in black and white/right and wrong versus viewing a subject from outside the box or from a different angle or even considering multiple sides to an argument.

    @Leila, great, so now you can understand why I'd never be Catholic-I can't support the agenda!

    With regards to 'health scares' for gay people there are plenty of risks in driving, flying in airplanes, using the grocery cart at the store and exercising in a gym. I'd say we all put ourselves at risk of infection every day.

    -gwen

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  52. alan - Since you're arguing the less 20 years stat, I'd like to see another stat on life expectancy for practicing gay males, then. And for argument's sake, let's say life expectancy is -15 yrs or even -10.

    That's still a huge risk, agreed? Don't you want to live as long as possible, as healthy as possible?

    The stats are there, is all I'm saying. Just they're there for any unhealthy habit or lifestyle.

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  53. It seems one has to buy into the underlying Catholic themes in order for any of it to make sense.

    Dena, not at all. The idea that marriage is a union between a man and woman for the purpose of having children is not a "Catholic" idea… it's a universal idea. All religions and even the non-religious have understood marriage as such. So, there is nothing "Catholic" in the idea that marriage is intrinsically about sexual union, which is intrinsically about children.

    Also, do you at least see the difference between a state of being (skin hue) and an act of the will (choosing to use sexual faculties in one way or another)?

    Nicholas, you are right that this will not resolve amicably.

    Very sad.

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  54. Gwen,
    Your comment drew a comparison. You: think deeply about issues. I: enjoy things in black and white, right and wrong.

    I actually prefer both. One doesn't negate the other. One can think deeply while at the same time prefer a black/white answer but not at the expense of deep thinking.

    Would you agree that simple math equations, though yielding a simple answer, most of the time take a lot of deep thought to figure? Both simple and deep.

    Anyway, apology accepted.

    Can we talk social studies as related to morals back on the other post?

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  55. Zach!? Zach where are you? : )

    -gwen

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  56. @Leila - Regarding your point about skin color (state) and how you express sexuality (choice)...

    The counter-framing from the other side is that being same sex attracted is a /state./ Remember, from that side of the argument, being able to express your sexuality is a right. As per the Planned Parenthood flyer that tells teens with HIV that they have a right to sexual pleasure.

    Since it is all in how you frame it, that is why there won't be consensus.

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  57. From "ONE MAN" who is at work and cannot access blogger!:


    @Nicholas, your observations about natural law not being so self-evident, and about all of the "trappings" that have have been attached to marriage and distorted its purpose, power, and challenge to complete self-giving, are spot on. We stand at a societal crossroads now, whether to reaffirm true marriage it as the societal norm, or to remove it and let the natural consequences follow as they will.

    @Miss Gwen, the short answer to your questions are yes, yes and yes. But that's not without a few major caveats.

    Health care: The industry has turned into a monster over the last few decades. Costs are way too high, and rising at 12-15% per annum (depending on who you talk to). If we look at it in general terms, the average household now spends 1/3 ($15K out of a median $45K) of its income on health care costs, and that's with the private sector running it. The only reason the bubble continues to inflate at that rate is because health care is a service that will always have demand, and is being subsidized by taxpayer money and unfunded mandates (Medicare). Adding government bureaucrats & middle men into the mix is not going to help the cost. I can't imagine any business where you would add middlemen when you are trying to cut cost. Eventually the bubble will burst and we will either (1) have to pay for a completely socialized system, where patients wait months or even years for life-saving procedures (the money will still have to come from somewhere, i.e. our taxes), or (2) when people can no longer afford insurance, they'll keep those thousands of dollars and start contracting with and paying their physicians directly. Some are already returning to that model. The rates will come back down to match demand (i.e. what the patient can pay out of pocket) and doctors will not have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff fees and malpractice insurance. From that perspective, socialized medicine is a lose-lose, privatized is a win-win.

    By the way, on the other side of the anti-life coin, under the single-payer system that's in the process of being implemented, labor and delivery costs will not be covered because the procedure is considered an elective procedure a money-loser for insurance companies. So...you guessed it, $10-15K per child out of pocket, on top of regular insurance, and that's if there are no complications or surgery required (C-section). Welcome to the other side of the anti-life coin.

    Less government oversight: Almost too much to write about in one post, but the bottom line is that it doesn't do anything efficiently, and can't get its money from anywhere but out of the taxpayers' pockets. More on that in the next paragraph.

    No taxes for the wealthy. My take may seem a bit--how shall I say--unconventional, but it was less than a century ago when our government operated on NO INCOME TAXES FOR ANYBODY. The income tax started in 1913 as a "temporary tax" of less than 1% for the wealthiest Americans to help build up for the war looming on the horizon. We did just fine for the 137 years leading up to that without any income tax. Even in 1950, with tax benefits, the average family of 4+ paid 2% of their income in federal taxes. Today, the same family pays close to 33%. Imagine if each average family had $15K more per year to spend/invest/save, etc. Jobs problem would be gone before you could say, "no taxes."

    To be continued...

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  58. Continued from ONE MAN:


    This all stems from the natural law principle that a person's body, the labor they produce with that body, and the fruits of that labor, are their property. Taking those fruits by force, against their will, is theft, pure and simple. What if it were decided that we needed to pay 40%...or 50%...or 80%...or 100% in taxes? Where do we draw the line? It's a very slippery slope. Sure we all have to contribute, but I'd rather decide how I should contribute and where my contributions go. That way my money can't be used for something I am totally opposed to (which I think anybody would agree with). Again, we were able to provide for defense and the basic functions of government for 137 years without taxes and we survived and continued to grow and prosper as a nation.

    I should offer a little perspective: We (Lauren and I) did not come to these conclusions overnight. She grew up traditionally Republican, and my family was staunch left Democrat. It was a long process of asking questions (a lot like the ones Nicholas has been asking and pondering), and sometimes not liking the answers, until we eventually to realized that everything that the Church taught was like one seamless, unbroken, unfaded, 2000-year old piece of fabric, designed by God himself to be wrapped around and protect the dignity of the human person. The more we dug (together after we got married), the more we also began to see the very human flaws and inconsistencies of our "evolving" socio-political structure.

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  59. Nubby, what if our life expectancy is longer? then what?
    Studies like that would be hard to quantify for many reasons. One is that up until recently many did not live in the "open". Still many don't and you know why this is. It has been discussed before.
    But my response was to let you know that we don't agree with your "health" reasons against gays, just like I do think it is my civil right to marry whom I want. It is civil marriage we want.
    I don't wish to continue the discussion though because we have been here before and it gets nowhere. YOu have your opinions, I have mine. I just want you to know when you state things like the gays don't take issue with the "health" issue it's not true and you know its not true.

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  60. Nubby, what if our life expectancy is longer? then what?

    As in, long because of your lifestyle or in spite of it?

    Let's stick to the science, alan. Stats that I have seen say -20 yrs. You posted conjecture that that stat was inaccurate and you didn't supply another stat in its place.

    Now you're saying, in effect, no it's not -20 years, it's not even less 15 or 10; why, now it's that we live longer, yes possibly longer!

    Longer than whom? A smoker? A drug addict? A heterosexual monogamous? A celibate? Surely you're not claiming that your life style actually adds years to your life over that of a celibate or even a monogamous (even if not a virgin when married)?

    I just want you to know when you state things like the gays don't take issue with the "health" issue it's not true and you know its not true.

    I didn't say that. I said those pro-gay and openly gay, who read the Bubble, aren't bothered by it (the health risks).
    Even when you addressed me, you didn't even openly admit the damage (medically). You just tried arguing the life expectancy. There is damage living the gay lifestyle. That's why the Church urges people with homosexual inclinations toward chastity. Preservation of your life.

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  61. Leila, great, so now you can understand why I'd never be Catholic-I can't support the agenda!

    Miss Gwen, that's too bad, because the moral "agenda" of the Catholic Church is the living out of the virtues. Nothing more, nothing less. A call to virtue in accord with our own human dignity.

    I do hope you will get on board one day!

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  62. Sorry ONE MAN...gotta disagree. Healthcare costs are rising...no doubt, but the main drivers of this are http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/08/8-reasons-healthcare-costs-rising.html.

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  63. Nicholas, but anyone who even thinks for a minute can differentiate between a disposition and an expression (active, willed) of that disposition.

    But again, that would actually take a moment of thought. And we don't do that sort of thinking any more, especially if it might mess up getting what we want.

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  64. Mary, that's one man's opinion. I will tell you that it's been no fun watching what's happened with our insurance after we left the government rolls (my husband used to work for state gov't and boy those benefits were great! All at taxpayer expense!). Now that he runs his own business, it's impossible to get good insurance (I don't even have maternity coverage, nor do we have any mental health coverage, but we do have coverage for sterilizations and abortions, which I will never use), and our premiums have gone up (like all opponents of Obamacare predicted, yawn).

    Some great things to come if Obamacare is upheld:

    Fewer doctors. I know of many who have or will retire as soon as it goes through… Medicare, etc. won't even reimburse the full cost of a visit or a treatment; also, who would become a doctor when you are left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans that may never be paid back? Might as well become a lawyer instead. It's easier, cheaper, takes less time, more lucrative, and Democrats love lawyers. Personally, if I had to chose a world with doctors or lawyers, I'd take the doctors.

    More on the government rolls: Many thousands of companies (aside from the thousands who have already obtained Obamacare waivers!!) will simply pay the fines for not offering health insurance, rather than go broke trying to pay the higher costs of the Obamacare system and mandates. So, those workers will be pushed into Obamacare whether they like it or not. No private insurance for them anymore! Enough of that scenario (and it will be a lot of people), and eventually you will have that socialized system that Obama is on record saying that he wants (What? You haven't seen his speeches and talks pre-presidency? He is an avowed proponent of single-payer. This scheme is just a backhand way of forcing it in that direction. Unintended consequences? Maybe, but it will still get us to the place he wanted.)

    Basically, no social program that the federal gov't gets mixed up in gets more efficient or more effective. And we will all be stuck with it.

    Someday I will write on the principle of subsidiarity, a Catholic principle (from Wiki):

    Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.

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  65. With regards to 'health scares' for gay people there are plenty of risks in driving, flying in airplanes, using the grocery cart at the store and exercising in a gym. I'd say we all put ourselves at risk of infection every day.

    There's getting the flu from the top four you mentioned and then there's contracting AIDS from homosexual acts.
    One you acquire because the bacteria can live on your hands up to two hours and you're more likely going to get sick if you touch hand to mouth and/or if your immunity is down; the other you acquire when bodily fluids are exchanged and enter the bloodstream.
    Also, a person is more likely to avoid crowds or congregations if they fear they may be exposed to a bug or an illness. But the gay lifestyle engages in barebacking. Sex without protection from any kind of bacteria or virus.

    Which do you think is logically more dangerous?

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  66. OH, ha ha! I hope you understood, Mary, that I meant that the article you linked to was "one man's opinion" not that I was talking about One Man's (our blog post author's) opinion, ha ha! Sorry!

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  67. driving, flying in airplanes, using the grocery cart at the store and exercising in a gym.

    And not one of these carries any true moral implications. Unlike homosexual acts.

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  68. @Nicholas, you're right. It's not only unlikely that we'll reach an amicable solution, it's impossible. Getting back to the natural law, it used to be that discussions took place with it as a fairly common and accepted basis of reference. Without that common frame of reference, what we end up with is two competing ideas of what society should be based on & how it should be run. One will win and one will lose. Judging by the fact that every society that has accepted homosexuality as a common practice has (with the aid of other factors) faded from the historical landscape within a matter of generations.

    @Mary, perhaps I oversimplified with the use of the word "only." I think that subsidized demand is at the root of the 8 reasons the article highlighted. Financing the insurance companies via subsidies and absurd premiums are precisely what make it so that the per-visit or per-procedure cost is relatively transparent for the patient and the doctor. We are usually much less careful with other peoples' money--especially when it looks like the supply is endless--than we are with our own. If the subsidies weren't there, to the tune of $20+ T in prescription drugs and $80+ T in medicare ($890,000+ per taxpayer), costs would not be able to be anywhere near what they are now.

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  69. Whoa! Where are you getting those tax numbers??? The first tax was three times the rate you quoted (and we had LOTS of taxes before that, just not direct income taxes), and my sources do not support a 1950's tax rate of four percent!

    I'm no tax lover, but I would love to see your sources!

    I focus on: "sure we all have to contribute". How do you propose we do that? Just go around and ask for voluntary contributions? No doubt the conversation has to be about how much is fair and necessary, but with an interdependent and complex society such as ours, it seems taxes are here to stay. Read about the problem of the commons.

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  70. ONE MAN said :"One will win and one will lose. Judging by the fact that every society that has accepted homosexuality as a common practice has (with the aid of other factors) faded from the historical landscape within a matter of generations."

    Some citations? I had not known this was common knowledge. I really have no idea.

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  71. I was all set to agree with you here, but not sure what you mean "Financing the insurance companies via subsidies and absurd premiums are precisely what make it so that the per-visit or per-procedure cost is relatively transparent for the patient and the doctor."

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  72. Mary, how about before the federal government "asks" (ha ha) anyone to "contribute" more taxes, they should first responsibly spend the trillions they already get and balance their budget? Shouldn't that be a prerequisite to taking more, more, more? Call me crazy.

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  73. First, Leila: "and our premiums have gone up (like all opponents of Obamacare predicted, yawn)" Well, people have short memories but my premiums have been going steadily up for about ten years, Obamacare or not!

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  74. Leila, given the current state of affairs I do think restraint is in order, and plan to vote pretty fiscally conservatively, but George Bush was no more fiscally prudent with spending than any Democrat. I was just calling out ONE MAN to find his sources, because his numbers raised my eyebrows and he seemed to allude to some "way we all could contribute" without income taxation.

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  75. I am not an expert in this, but: "Basically, no social program that the federal gov't gets mixed up in gets more efficient or more effective."

    Not true...with healthcare!

    http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/us-health-spending-breaks-from-the-pack/

    We spend way more and get less on a whole host of measures like, infant mortality and longevity.

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  76. Mary, I agree with you totally on the spending of G.W. Bush. Really, when will we stop putting up with the outrageous spending?

    And, I just can't do the studies and charts with you, Mary. Tell me in plain English: Are you saying that government does things more efficiently and more effectively in health care?

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  77. I mean, healthcare is a mess, but you actually think that getting panels of bureaucrats in the middle, and mandating what people "need" (or will be allowed to get), all controlled by Washington (have you worked among politicians?), will give you better and more efficient healthcare? I guess there are people who do believe that, but I don't know why they believe it, unless it's based on a "feeling"?

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  78. I just saw this on Rebecca's (AKA the Mom) facebook status:

    I just heard an OWS protester on the news say "We should tax the rich more because we'd spend their money better."

    I feel like this ludicrous statement is the position of the left on healthcare and just about every other social program they want and/or want to perpetuate. But there is just no basis for this belief, that "we'd" spend their money better!

    Weird. How is this an American ideal?

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  79. How did this turn into a healthcare debate???

    It seems to me insurance is the main problem with health care- creating mandates for more insurance isn't going to fix the problem,it will exasperate it! Insurance interferes with the price mechanism, which lets the market set the proper price. (Too high and people won't pay it. Too low and producers lose money. Much like Goldilocks, the price mechanism insures that the price is JUST right!) The only place price mechanism works in healthcare is elective surgery, such as cosmetic procedures, then supply and demand forces a resolve in the price. What is the one part of healthcare which has seen lower prices? Elective surgery!

    We shop for the best prices in everything except health care because someone else is paying- so you use MORE of that good!

    Our health care system faced huge changes in world war II. Because of the number of soldiers drafted there was a significant number of people out of the workforce. Businesses wanted to attract workers and wages were exploding. Government's "helpful" answer? They placed a ceiling on wages. What could businesses do but offer perks! The biggest of which was INSURANCE! This is why it's employer-based, instead of consumers at least shopping for competitive health care plans.

    Obamacare isn't socialist, but it certainly isn't free-market driven! The very idea of mandating coverage for all regardless of prior conditions defeats the point of insurance. Imagine trying to get house insurance while standing in front of your burning house! It's not the same risk pool. Government is calling this prior conditions, but this is really a fallacy. Insurance can't insure those with prior conditions. It is really a redistribution of assets by government force when you require the burning houses to be in the same risk pool.

    Imagine if car insurance was required to cover not only accidents, but oil changes, new tires and such. What would happen? You'd use more and get more! If it covered wear and tear, you'd be less careful when you drive! Insurance cannot work this way!!! Only the market can correct it!

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  80. How to solve it?
    1) Eliminate all licensing requirements for hospitals, medical schools, pharmacies, doctors and health care personnel. The supply would immediately go up, prices would fall and you'd have a greater variety of services. How would you find a good doctor??? Word of mouth and recommendations...this is how the market works! Now just because the government says a doctor is okay, people assume they're okay. (Much like the SCC and Bernie Madoff???)

    2) Eliminate all government restrictions on production and sale of pharmaceutical products and medical services. It takes DECADES to get new drugs approved. The cost will fall tremendously. At least let us import drugs on-line from Canada, which is currently forbidden by the FDA.

    3) Deregulate health insurance mandates which requires insurers to cover those at high risk the same as those at low risk.

    My two cents...

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  81. Mary,

    According to the 1913 Form 1040 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/1913.pdf), the normal tax rate for income over $3000 up to $20,000 ($69K-$457K adjusted for inflation) was 1%, with marginal rates increasing in increments of 1% above that. Worth noting, the income tax was enacted in 1862 to pay for the Civil War, repealed in 1872, and enacted again in 1894, only to be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. It wasn't until the progressive era arrived that Congress was able to convince the states to ratify the 16th Amendment.

    An alternate tax system that might work better (if, by chance we are ever able to cut spending down to a sane level) would be a combination of tariffs (as used before) and sales/consumption taxes, as used in the state of Texas. Sure sales taxes would be higher, but every payment would be a voluntary agreement. Plus, a lot of services now provided by the federal government--including health care and homeland security functions, could largely be returned to state agencies as individual laboratories of governmental innovation. That's they way our system was designed to work, so that if people didn't like the way their state was being run, they could move to another state. It would also require us to stop engaging in foreign aid obligations, and seemingly endless military operations, and return the majority of defense functions to the National Guard, with a smaller full-time military. I know this is all a long shot and seems like pie-in-the-sky thinking. Perhaps it is, looking back at how far we've come, but I think Americans are capable of rediscovering the innovation and go-do-it spirit that has made us the most prosperous nation on earth. It will take some deep, gut-wrenching
    soul searching to get there though.

    I'm not familiar with the problem of the commons. Can you send me a link?

    As far as the unfunded liabilities, visit www.usdebtclock.org, which pulls from a variety of sources, including Treasury, Federal Reserve, and Census data. The $100+ trillion was for prescription drugs and medicare, not counting Social Security. With SS included, each taxpayer is on the hook for over a million dollars. Again, if I were a company and knew that there were a cloud of people out there each owing me $1+ million, I wouldn't hesitate to charge astronomical amounts either. L has already covered the specifics of what might be changed above.

    For the statement on the relationship between sexual restraint and societal flourishing (and the opposite, sexual laxity and societal decline), Lauren completed an overview of the sociological studies of J.D. Unwin (Sex and Culture, 1934) Carle Zimmerman (Family and Civilization, 1947) on her blog last year: http://psalm34-3.blogspot.com/2010/06/marriage-and-society.html. I know Gwen took issue to those studies, but I haven't seen anything specifically debunking them. In fact, Unwin set out to prove the opposite of what he finally concluded.

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  82. @Leila and others - I am not able to debate healthcare numbers, as I am not adequately educated on the specifics, but I am happy to discuss what I think and feel, what my common sense and gut tells me :-)

    I have serious doubts that healtcare should be a for-profit business. Isn't it more important than that and isn't that (of ALL the things the government spends money on) one of the most basic "public goods" you can think of?

    Health insurance companies are in the business to make money. They make money by paying as little out as they can, and maximizing what they take in.

    Health care providers are in the business of making money. They make money by charging the most the market will bear and what they can get.

    I am sure that many individual providers are wonderful, altruistic people. But should the business of life and death, health and welfare even be a business?

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  83. Nicholas-

    There are two types of rights: positive, which are desires converted into rights ONLY by employing government to take away other people's rights or property, such as education, housing, and healthcare, and negative, which are prohibitions laid out against others- especially governments.

    Positive rights require someone else to pay for it. The corresponding obligation violates others' rights to liberty by taking of their property (income) without consent.

    Positive lights violate our fundamental right- the right to be free.

    "Health insurance companies are in the business to make money. They make money by paying as little out as they can, and maximizing what they take in."

    YES. And they do so by providing a good or service THAT PEOPLE WANT or REQUIRE. If they provide a poor service or poor product- they lose business, IF the free market is allowed to work as it could.

    But currently there is a multi-billion dollar health care industry out there SUPPORTED by the government. Consider vaccines for example. My eyes were opened to the government/health care connection when my governor, Rick Perry, signed an executive order mandating a vaccine for twelve year old girls to guard against HPV (Gardasil). This was a new vaccine that had not been tested very long. Why would our children be required by law to receive a new vaccine that guarded against a disease caused by voluntary behavior? It's worth noting Perry worked for Merck and Merck contributed heavily to Perry's campaign. It turns out vaccines are a huge industry in and of themselves, and when government requires them, the companies profit.

    So government involvement fails to protect us from health care providers working for profit.

    "They make money by charging the most the market will bear and what they can get."

    YES- this is how the price mechanism works. No one gets to set prices. You set your wage at what you deserve AND what people will pay you. The competition between supply and demand force a resolution to market prices in the economy.

    Interestingly- the quality of health care would likely increase GREATLY if allowed to work according to the free market. Remember house calls? They cost about $3-4, which compares to $30-40 today. Now if you're sick you go to the waiting room with other sick people and likely get sicker! Doctor's offices used to be small- there was a waiting room, receptionist and examination room. Now they're HUGE- lots of rooms, people, files... There are people whose job it is to try to get the doctor paid by INSURANCE!

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  84. Nicholas,

    Agreed that health care is certainly not a business where I would want to be working with professionals who saw the dollar as their bottom line and were in it to get wealthy. I'd want to go to someone who loves what they do and has a servant's heart.

    But the bottom line is that it's still a business. Doctors have payroll to meet. They have to put food on the table for their families. I don't know many that would incur $250,000 in debt (ballpark figure) and endure 8 or more years of grueling medical training to work pro bono.

    Somehow, somewhere along the line the boundary between honest, profitable business (a good thing) and crony, government-driven capitalism (an economically dangerous endeavor) has been blurred and all business got a bad name as a result.

    How did we get so far off marriage and natural law. I sense we've gone down a rabbit hole. Definitely enjoying the debate though.

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  85. Nubby
    We all die. None of us our guaranteed any specific amount of days.
    Plus I don't understand why you want to live longer. I mean Leila herself has told me this life is just to get you to the next one, and that will be the better life. So why would you want to live longer?
    I am not suggesting that gays live longer, but I am not surprised that is what you got from what I said. What I think I tried to get you to see is that the study is flawed from the beginning as you would be hard pressed to find as many men who would admit to being gay to study. Especially those that are older as they grew up in an age when it wasn't talked about. And like it or not it is still hard to admit you are gay in this day because so many will tell you their opinion of it, or worse beat/kill you.Well who really wants that? The factor in all the years that no one really cared about aids because it was a gay disease and it is no wonder that so many gay men died, of course skewing the numbers. Take out the deaths contributed to aids and lets see how the statistics go then.
    Now I would be willing to bet I know quite a few more gay men than you do and guess what, we are a healthy bunch. But I know something will kill me. I do know that being married and sleeping with only one man will not do that.
    Now dear Nubby, how is your lifestyle so much healthier than mine or my friends?
    Plus I thought catholics didn't care about studies. I have seen many posts by your brethren saying studies and statistics can all be made up.
    I will hold judgment on how my life expectancy as a gay man (oh wait, monogamous gay man) is any different than yours until the stigma of being gay has been gone long enough to do a study that can truly show life expectancy of gay males.

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  86. Correction: Perry's chief of staff who went to work for Merck after working for Perry, not Perry himself.

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  87. @Lauren and One Man - I don't dispute that, or have naive illusions of a utopian world...

    But I do find it disconcerting to be talking the cold hard facts of libertarian "rights" in the same space as our religion, which by the way, I am pretty sure Jesus would say screw profits and fairness :-p

    Obviously, you cannot run a country like that in any practical manner, but Jesus wasn't libertarian.

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  88. Fascinating! I do hate the fact that health insurance is tied to one's employer! So stupid!!

    And, so true about the FDA. The only things they fast track with nary a thought are abortifacients and birth control ("Ella" anyone?). I have a dear friend who works for a small pharmaceutical co, and they have an amazing drug that can save lives and help people NOW. The FDA is impossible to work with. He went to Europe and they were fine with it and approved it! And now in Central America. The bureaucracy here is killing us!

    When my dad started his orthopedic practice, he treated poor people all the time. He accepted a dollar a month for payment, or a chicken or some shrimp from Mexico. Or, he wrote off their balances altogether. His was a solo practice with three employees. Those days are gone. By the time he retired, he was so disgusted with what medicine had become. No way would he do it again now. We are losing good people. Nicholas, before medicare and mandates and insurance premiums sky high and fueled by malpractice attorneys, and defensive medicine, the poor were looked after, they were cared for.

    And Catholic hospitals were part of this! But even Catholic hospitals are not safe from the unholy mandates of the Obama administration and they may be forced to close rather than refer for abortions, etc.. It is very sad.

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  89. Gwen! I left indefinitely! I have learned how to make more productive use of my time, tutoring kids in math and science and observing middle school class rooms. It's a wonderful volunteer opportunity, and I put my heart and soul into it.

    Much better than debating a bunch of people who seem to think that "choosing" to be with the person you love is a sin. Happy coming out day everyone!

    “Burst down those closet doors once and for all, and stand up and start to fight.” Harvey Milk

    -Zach

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  90. Zach, seriously? On what grounds do you say your "choice to love" is virtuous and that, say, a NAMBLA members's "choice to love" is vice?

    Seriously, I want to know. Why is your sex good and kosher, but others' is sick and wrong?

    Lemme guess: Consent?

    Tell me about consent as the sole criterion of the good, Zach. And I'll tell you some sick things that people consent to.

    No one has every given me a good answer.

    Why is your sex good and their sex bad?

    Sorry, frustrated.

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  91. Nicholas, I didn't see a link between the two either, save for one thing: the free will he gave us so that we might exercise it, and ultimately choose freely to love him and trust him. God does not coerce, and since we are made to imitate him, we should not be coercing others either. That is the crux of libertarianism.

    No, Jesus certainly wasn't libertarian, and didn't say very much about earthly government. The amazing thing is that he trusted that to us, recognizing that so long as we adhered to his commandments, strived to live justly and virtuously, and did not look to any earthly source as our God and object of our ultimate loyalty ("Render Unto Caesar..." is this Sunday's Gospel reading), things would work out okay during this temporary journey.

    Today's first reading, Romans 1:16-25 is very timely for a discussion of sex, marriage, and the natural law:

    "The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness. For what can be known about God is evident to them. Ever since the creation of this world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.

    Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."

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  92. *No coercion ends at the point where our free will starts to violate the dignity and rights of others. Then we enter into the requirement for justice & restraint.

    **I imagine some will probably interpret "we should not coerce" to mean that we should not enforce our views on marriage on anyone else. That is not primarily what this argument is about. Noone is seeking to be in anyone else's bedroom, policing what goes on there; as St. Thomas Aquinas said, (paraphrased) "You cannot legislate morality." What we are talking about is maintaining a public, societal standard (which marriage is) that affects everyone. Redefining it with the force of law coerces everyone to go along with that definition, and sooner or later punishes those who do not comply.

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  93. http://fmmh.ycdsb.ca/teachers/fmmh_mcmanaman/pages/debatessm.html some of the best debate here

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  94. Leila,
    You said, "Tell me about consent as the sole criterion of the good, Zach. And I'll tell you some sick things that people consent to."

    Leila, although I have no interest in these sick things, I think you should consider how different those people are to your typical gay couple that wants to get married today. Are there consistent levels of these sick people out there across cultures? I doubt it. Those people who do sick things are probably mentally ill, something I cannot seem to think about gay men.

    I do think it wrong to characterize a loving, mutual, homosexual relationship as being on the same level as those "people who consent to sick things." Even if we might not (and I am still undecided) want to consider their union a marriage.

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  95. Leila,
    You said, "Nicholas, before medicare and mandates and insurance premiums sky high and fueled by malpractice attorneys, and defensive medicine, the poor were looked after, they were cared for. "

    I am glad your father served the poor. So did my grandfather, a generalist outside of Boston. He also received little or no pay from some, but he did not think the poor were adequately cared for at all. Many came too late, many needed better preventive care, and he knew of many who never came at all. Again, nostalgia for the better days that might not have been so good.

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  96. Sorry, Mary, but sodomy is traditionally one of the sins that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. Sexual intimacy is sacred, because it is the mechanism which creates human life through the one flesh union of husband and wife.

    I won't go into it further, but suffice to say that all of us are sinners, and all of us have done and do things that are abominable. So I do not place myself as holier than anyone, trust me. I cannot speak of culpability, because I cannot read hearts or souls, but the acts that you call "loving" used to be considered (and still are by many) unthinkable.

    Sorry, I just will not sugarcoat it.

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  97. I will agree that malpractice is out of hand. I am for tort reform at this juncture.

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  98. Oh my goodness!

    After being raised a staunch democrat, I am beginning to understand the conservative (Republican) side of taxes, healthcare, corporate America etc...etc...

    Here is the problem that I have resolving it all, (mentioned by another friend discussing corporate America but I think it applies to all of the above):
    A friend of a friend (on FB) commented about how all the protesters with the Wall Street protests are upset about the CEOS making 400% more than the people that work for them (and really the rest of us). My friend's response was something to the effect of, if we start capping the pays of CEOs then people will not strive to become CEOs and will not work as hard to do build companies and be CEOS.

    It's this line of thinking that I think many democrats and those like me, who are toddling over to the conservative side of things, can't reconcile. Whether a Wall Street CEO or a healthcare conglomerate, the sole purpose of your company should NEVER be to make SO much money that you end up screwing over other people in order to satisfy your wants. It's greed, plain and simple. And if the only way future CEOs will become (or want to become) CEOs or build companies is if they're going to make 400% or more than the people who work (just as hard or harder than they do) for them. Then I'd probably suggest a monastic lifestyle for them - they need to have some reflection about what's really important. And it ain't money! (intentional ain't)



    I'm okay with privatized healthcare, I just think it should be not-for-profit private companies. Do I realize this is probably unrealistic? Sure, but I'd love for somebody to explain to me WHY, it's unrealistic?

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  99. Many came too late, many needed better preventive care, and he knew of many who never came at all. Again, nostalgia for the better days that might not have been so good.

    And this was the fault of…? I sometimes wonder if you and others believe that there actually can be utopia and perfection for all people on earth, if we only all just try hard enough?

    There will always be poor (as Jesus said) and there will always be suffering and there will always be those "left behind" and there will always be bad choices, and there will always be sin.

    All we can do is try our best, as individuals and as communities, to take care of those closest to us. When a community cares for its members (not perfectly, but as best they can), it's always better than having a bureaucrat in Washington coldly handing out ineffective, expensive, destructive mandates far removed from real people and real needs. And which often make things worse than they were.

    Good intentions are NOT enough.

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  100. Hey, y’all. Lauren is a friend of mine from high school, and she pointed me over here since I’ve gotten into a few of these debates on her blog. I agree with the general consensus that Lauren is great, and that her husband is a sharp guy. I disagree with just about everything else.

    “Lauren and I would not have been able to civilly marry in a lot of places as recently as fifty years ago, but that was because of unjust human (civil) law, not natural law or God's law.”

    The thing is, anti-miscegenation laws relied heavily on the rhetoric of “natural law”. For example, here’s a quote (from 1878) from the Supreme Court of Virginia, invalidating a marriage between a black man and a white woman:

    “The purity of public morals, …the moral and physical development of both races….require that they should be kept distinct and separate… that connections and alliances so unnatural that God and nature seem to forbid them, should be prohibited by positive law, and be subject to no evasion.” (Taken from Pascoe, P. What Comes Naturally)

    And this is from the ruling (almost 100 years later) that Loving v. Virginia eventually overturned, also from a judge in Virginia:

    “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    The language used to describe interracial marriage was exactly like the language used to describe gay marriage today—words like “unnatural,” “abomination,” and “against the natural order.” And laws against it were “for the good of the children.”

    Everyone recognized that a man and a woman of separate races could have sex and produce a child—just like most Americans today recognize that a gay couple can start a family and commit to a healthy lifelong romantic relationship. But the idea that those relationships could be called a “marriage” was as absurd to, say, a Southerner in 1860 as you find gay marriage today. It was an “impossibility.”

    Now, you might argue that’s a misunderstanding of “natural law”. But I think imposing lifelong bachelorhood on a class of people also shows a lack of understanding of human nature. And that saying marriage is only oriented toward procreation shows poor understanding of the nature of marriage.

    Also, Nubby, regarding gay marriage and public health, encouraging gay people to enter stable, committed relationships will decrease STD rates. Which is what’s happening in countries that have legalized gay marriage: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11327 (full paper in pdf form here: http://www.swarthmore.edu/documents/academics/economics/dee_w11327revised.pdf)

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  101. I do have a question for Zach, if he's still lurking.

    This is going to sound like an entrapment question and it really isn't.

    How do you know you love your partner? And (without sexual details - I wouldn't ask that of ANYONE of ANY orientation, that's too personal) how do you love your partner?

    I guess what I'm asking is, what is it, within your relationship, that makes you define it as love?

    Does that make sense or am I getting incoherent?

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  102. See, and I don't care at all how much a CEO makes, as long as the shareholders don't mind paying him. I mean, we pay sports figures millions, and they don't employ nearly as many people. I don't begrudge them their millions, either. America is about freedom and letting people rise to whatever level they can as long as they do not break laws or oppress people. Some will argue that just the fact of making hundreds of millions of dollars is "oppressing" people, but that would only be true if it were a zero sum game. It's not.

    I've just never, ever had any problem with people making a lot of money (unless they are corrupt in how they acquire it, of course). I don't know why it's such a big deal to people, as if the money is owed to them? Now, if someone like a Madoff does bilk people out of their hard earned money, then absolutely, lock 'em up and throw away the key!! Sick and evil!! But simply *because* a CEO makes a lot of money is not my business at all. That is between the company and the stockholders.

    We are not like Europe, where the rich are rich because they have old money, family money. We actually have rich people here who started out poor. It really has always been such an anomaly in that it's the land of opportunity where anyone of any class or race or background is free to pursue the American dream. I do fear that soon that will all be lost. We don't realize how precious and how RARE this "great experiment" of America is.

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  103. Frank, welcome! Those were obviously quotes from Protestants, and the Catholic Church does not prohibit races from marrying each other nor has she.

    No, actually, gay couples cannot have children with each other. They can't even have sex with each other. They have to simulate intercourse, but they cannot achieve sexual union. So, no sex, no marriage. No sex, no children even possible. Not even close to what a man and woman have in marriage and in the procreation of children.

    As to the idea that marriage is about "romance" and our own fulfillment sexually…. that is a new thing. I'll have a post on that soon.

    As to lifelong bachelorhood…. Well, I know a few Catholic priests. Oh, and single Catholics. And Buddhist monks. No one dies because they can't have an orgasm.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but really, sex is not like eating and drinking. One can live a happy life without it. I'm always surprised to hear people today think it's impossible to live without sex. It just sort of baffles me.

    Sex is a privilege of marriage.

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  104. I'm only addressing Bethany. I have this little bird that keeps passing things on to me, and her question intrigued me.

    Because often in the Cities, people who try to witness me ask me to define, "What is love?". They inevitably define it as dying on the cross for the sins of all mankind, which is kind of a buzzkill if you know what I mean.

    I'm not a philosophy. People have debated how we can know what love is for a long time. I fall back on the definition by description. Love is as love does.

    His shoulder is there for me to weep on. His smile is there to share memories with. His ears and his critical mind are there for us to have deep and meaningful conversations. In all things we do, we support each other.

    We share an obvious physical attraction for one another. We share a strong emotional bond that has been hardened by our physical attraction and fostered by our choice to have a monogamous relationship. We share movies, dinners, all types of moments from pedestrian to romantic. No one understands me like he does.

    These clues are not an exhaustive list, but they are definite hints at how I know I definitely love him.

    How do I love him?

    I support him when he's down, when he's making decisions. I make him meals and give him presents. I listen to him and spend time with him. I bond with him. This is all so we can understand each other, develop a meaningful bond with each other. I'm being repititve.

    We do not love each other for any type or notion of God. We do not model our love based on any type or notion of God's love. We love each other for each other.

    Most Christians call us heathens. Whatever!
    -Zach

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  105. Barbara had a great quote about this idea that gay people can create families, on another post:

    I do feel that same sex parents are "playing house", especially when they use extraordinary means to create a child of a surrogate or a sperm donor. They are consciously creating a human being and then alienating that human being from half of his genetic history, half of his background and half of his identity. On top of that they are creating a situation by which that child will either lack a parental figure of the same gender or one of the opposite gender, neither of which is favorable for developing interpersonal skills.

    A gay couple "doctoring" up a child is a kind of "playing house". They are "constructing" a heterosexual family without the opposite sex partner. It's an imitation of heterosexuality and is also parasitic on it. Homosexuals who want children have to get some of the "other guys stuff" in order to make these people.

    The thing is, we have no idea how this is going to affect the children who are being born in these scenarios. How is not having a mother, with a mother's touch and a mother's sensibility going to affect these children? How is not having a father going to affect them? We used to consider it a tragedy when a baby had no Mama to hold him, to nurse him, to sing to him, but now we're purposefully creating it.

    And why? because of some messed up idea of compassion which amounts to little more than squishy emotionalism. Some "Care Bears" philosophy in which "It's aww about wuuv,". Um, no, it's making Social Science experiments out of human lives, and we have no idea what is going to happen when these kids grow up.


    Again, sorry, I will not sugar coat this. It's simply not about the grown ups. It should be about the kids. That is the point of marriage; it was meant to provide stability and a mother and father for the children who were born to that union.

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  106. Leila, during the last century infant mortality has plummeted (even though the stats are worse than other industrialized nations) and longevity has increased. Much of those gains have been since 1950, during the period where health insurance and Medicare were on the rise. So actually, something has been working! It needs tweaking, certainly, but to go back to a fee for service system seems totally uncaring to the poor, or to those who have rare medical conditions (preexisting conditions) that private insurance company will touch.

    Right now dentistry is almost a fee-for-service industry (some nominal coverage for routine care), and quite a few of the poor (and not so poor) people I know have bad teeth and their kids have bad teeth. I actually tried to get my dentist to help this one woman, and she was obviously annoyed. "There are some clinics", she huffed, and tried to tell me that most people with bad teeth are just afraid of the dentist. Maybe she didn't realize most people don't make 300K plus per year, and that the thousands of dollars it costs for a crown are out of reach for many.

    Another way to fix healthcare---pay physicians and hospitals based on outcomes. Right now surgeons are paid per procedure. That is a perverse incentive! "Hey doc, I think I might need a knee replacement!" "You sure do!"

    Another thought: Medicare (which is basically a single-payer system), takes the sickest population (older folks) and provides them with care, while allowing the healthiest population (young people) not to be part of the collective bargaining agreements. This seems odd. Why not make everyone pay into the system, right from age 22 on? That would drive cost down as the costs for the sickest folks were amortized over the gains from the younger, healthier folks. Yes, I realized it makes for a large, bureaucracy, but perhaps it is actually worth a try.

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  107. Re the CEO question. I agree with Leila. If companies are so dumb as to think they need to pay their CEO's that much money when they don't actually do what they should for the company then the companies should suffer at the hand of rival companies who know how to get CEOs for less who work more.

    A friend of mine, Rakesh Khurana from Harvard actually demonstrated that there was a poor link between CEO compensation and actual performance. I think we are on the brink of a new era in this regard.
    http://harvardmagazine.com/2010/05/the-pay-problem.

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  108. Leila said, "Again, sorry, I will not sugar coat this. It's simply not about the grown ups. It should be about the kids. That is the point of marriage; it was meant to provide stability and a mother and father for the children who were born to that union. "
    Yes, OK, marriage must be about kids, but that is not the same as telling two gay men that their love for one another is intrinsically sick.

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  109. I have to say, when I read Zach's list of how he knows he loves his man, it sounds exactly like how I felt when I got serious with my now husband.

    I cannot even imagine a person who was trying to justify their sexual relationship with a six-year-old child describing it thus.

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  110. Leila said, "we are not like Europe where the rich are rich because of family money". That is an old idea that has changed.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/17/social-immobility-climbin_n_501788.html

    Class mobility is actually worse in the US than in many European countries. The Atlantic had a great spread on this a few years ago, I will try to find it.

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  111. Zach,
    I am interested in if you have ever thought of the evolutionary conundrum that male homosexuality presents? I know it sounds strange, but I do think about how it could have evolved, since it seems so counter-intuitive.

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  112. Nubby
    We all die. None of us our guaranteed any specific amount of days.
    Plus I don't understand why you want to live longer. I mean Leila herself has told me this life is just to get you to the next one, and that will be the better life. So why would you want to live longer?


    Alan, Short answers here b/c I think the horse is dead so we'll stop kicking him.

    Why I want to live longer:
    1) Because I am working out my salvation, I have not arrived to sainthood. I need all the time I can get to achieve any kind of holiness that I can. This entails a lot of things which demand time.
    2) I want to live longer to be with my family, friends, and anyone else that matters to me, and me to them.

    But I know something will kill me.

    What kind of logic is that? Why tread where there's more danger?
    I'm not getting into your personal business, alan. I don't want to know what you do or with whom. The stats are the stats. Take it up w/ the medical board at your local hospital and berate them if it pleases you. But in the face of facts, as it stands, you've not posited a more relevant stat - that those who engage in the homosexual lifestyle can seriously consider a shorter life just based solely on how they live.

    Why would you engage in something harmful? Do you think it wise? I'm not going to get personal, I just don't see why you're dancing around the truth that the stats show how harmful the gay lifestyle really is - anything from domestic abuse rates, to drug use, to mental health, to physical health. It's clearly there.

    Now dear Nubby, how is your lifestyle so much healthier than mine or my friends?
    Would you like a list of the things I do to maintain and even improve my personal physical health? I don't seek out anything that would up my risk of harm to my body.

    Plus I thought catholics didn't care about studies.

    ??
    You're talking to the wrong Catholic here. Studies can be junk. Studies can also be valid. In this case, we're talking medical studies. It's not like one can wave away medical stat, esp as pertains to the percentages linked to any dangerous physical activity. It's not like arguing over a social study. We're talking medically important stats relevant to the particular lifestyle that you currently engage in. Even if the percentages waver a bit, there are still dangers. It's not like closing your eyes to that will make it go away. There are risks - how worth it is it for you to take them?

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  113. Mary,

    Evolution isn't as simple as we'd like to think. There are a lot of ways for genes to get through the system in nonconventional ways.

    Explaining behavior is even trickier. For surely the occurance of homosexuality cannot be singularly determined by genetics. Beyond that, we cannot truely describe it as a dichotomy. Sexuality exists as a continuum.

    There are many ideas floating around that deal with environment (such as interactions with hormones during fetal development) and culture (cognitive/developmental psychology).

    Not everything we do or have is here because it's favored genetically. Cancer, for example, is a "misstep" of evolution. There are a lot of ideas out there on the evolution of sexuality, and it's very hard to wade through them all.
    -Zach

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  114. alan, I'm the one who said I don't like the discussion of morality and philosophy to somehow be thought to be contingent on leftwing sociological university studies. I am with Dennis Prager that these studies trying to prove something novel about human nature (not what the Navajo did in 1789, Gwen!) are either common sense conclusions which we knew without the study, or they are wrong. That's a very specific type of study I am talking about. For example, if I hear of a study which comes out of academia proving that men and women are the same, I know it's simply bunk and I dismiss it out of hand. There are no studies needed to prove what we already know, i.e., that men and women are in fact, different.

    Now, hard sciences? Um, yes. I am from a medical family. I personally don't want to read medical studies all day, nor statistical studies, etc. But of course they are good and worthy! I will defer to scientific, provable, repeatable studies any day. No problem there, and the Church is extremely supportive of scientific inquiry (we kind of had a huge hand in modern science you know, and we also founded the university system). You guys can debate the science studies all day long and I will happily watch and learn.

    But please do not leave here with the impression that the Church is not all about seeking and finding scientific or mathematical or statistical truth wherever it's found in an academic setting. We love learning and truth!

    Anyway, just wanted to clarify. JoAnna and Nubby have gone to great lengths to work with anyone who wants to evaluate studies. I'm glad they are gracious enough to do that. :)

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  115. Mary, even an atheist can see certain acts as "perverse" even if the people themselves have a love for one another:

    Sigmund Freud: "The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it."

    I really, really think that Marie spoke to your point on that.

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/07/from-awesome-gay-lifestyle-to-catholic.html

    That there certainly can be love between two gay people, but in the same sense that any illicit lovers have "love". And they could have that love even without the sex acts, by the way. There is something called deep friendship. It's okay not to have sexual activity with people you love deeply.

    As Marie (an ex-lesbian) wrote:

    As human beings, we love on a physical plane, yet are called to something greater. It can be hard to grasp this if you don’t understand the difference and unity of love – eros, philia and agape.

    Eros is the love between man and woman that is neither planned nor willed but somehow imposes itself upon human beings. Philia is the love of friendship, akin to the relationship of Christ and the disciples. Agape is divine, unconditional, self-sacrificing, active, volitional, and thoughtful love. It is the love of God, grounded in and shaped by faith. They all are the essence of God, as He is love. The problem is that man has taken these gifts and has chosen to maintain the separateness of them instead of unifying. “An intoxicated and undisciplined eros is not an ascent in ecstasy…but a fall, a degradation of man.”(ii) The love between a man and a woman has become worldly and broken, creating a disordered union between eros and philia, and a complete division from agape. That is homosexual love. It is still real. It is still love. But it is not love in its full, true being. It is a fascination for the great promise of happiness, but because it has lost its proper unity in the one reality and true nature of love, it is impoverished and loses its truth.

    So here is where I ponder: How did we get to this point? How did the beauty of God’s most precious gift become reduced to a mere commodity of sex and pleasure? How did marriage become a debatable issue of rights, desires, and benefits? Why is the societal hot topic “gay marriage” when real marriage has been broken? “To love and to be loved was sweet to me, and all the more when I gained the enjoyment of the body of the person I loved. Thus I polluted the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence and I dimmed its luster with the slime of lust.”(iii) Thanks, St. Augustine... 1,600 years later, you took the words out of my mouth. Man, gay and straight, has fallen victim to disordered love. This is why the issue right now may appear to be a fight about sexuality, equality, and freedoms, when truly it’s about love. Until man unifies the fullness of love, there will always remain this struggle between those who know and those who don’t want to know; there will be no purification or healing.


    And as One Man mentioned, no one is advocating that someone go in anyone's bedroom and lock the other person out. Gay people have free will, like the rest of us and as far as I know, gay people do exactly as they want in the bedroom, just like everyone else. But for society to suddenly decide that gay sexual relationships are now "marriage"? That is where we are called to protect true marriage, and we will do so with persuasion and also in the voting booth and in the public square. We might lose the battle, which would be tragic for society and families and children, but we have to be faithful to Christ and keep speaking the truth.

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  116. So, Mary, I hesitate to post this, but you seem unbelieving that "love" could be expressed the same way between pedophiles and their child victims. If you poke around the NAMBLA site a bit, you might see otherwise. Here is one sickening excerpt, from a now 30-year-old man:

    I had a wonderful affair with a 27-year-old man when I was only 12 years old. It was the most pure, clean, and honest relationship I've ever had in my life. I knew of my attraction for men when I was eight years old.

    At the age of 12, a very good looking 27-year-old man, a friend of my family who I very much looked up to, made his approach on me. I guess I had a lot to do with it because I wanted it. We had a very wonderful affair, but it only lasted eight months. I fell deeply in love with this man, and through my love for him I matured a lot spiritually as well as sexually.


    Another excerpt:

    How can gay people attack, judge, and condemn boy-lovers if we were once under the same oppression as they are today? Do we really want to become as closed-minded as those who refuse to let us gay people share a space in society? Have any of us taken the time to examine closely what man/boy love is all about? How can we then become part of the narrow-minded team that we once fought, and still fight, against? How could we ever win the battle of gay rights if we are shooting with the same weapons that were (and are) used against us? We have forgotten that sex is a vehicle of communication through which there can be the maximum expression of love.

    Personally, I wouldn't look around for more evidence if I were you, but I had to show you a snippet of the loads of "testimony" out there.

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  117. Leila said, "And, I just can't do the studies and charts with you, Mary. Tell me in plain English: Are you saying that government does things more efficiently and more effectively in health care? "
    That study I linked to is the easiest chart to grasp. Check it out. It shows how our healthcare spending broke away from the spending of every other industrialized nation in the world some time ago, and is still going gangbusters. Another data point will show you we get LESS for our healthcare dollar than a whole host of other nations that have a nationalized healthcare system. So, actually involving the government, might actually reduce cost and improve efficiency.

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  118. @One Man - Agreed

    @Leila - I think you are over-weighting homosexual activity. Sin is sin, and I cannot see the act of gay people choosing to express their sexuality as in any way "worse" than two unmarried straight people doing it. It amounts to the same thing.

    In fact, while I still believe that us trying to grade or scale "sinfulness" is a terrible idea (ultimately only God judges us all), you can just as easily argue that the straight couple is risking greater harm... By the possibility of having a baby through that illicit union, adding another life to those harmed by the act.

    And those millions of abortions? I'm pretty sure none of those were the result of gay people indulging... and 100% of them are from straight people.

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  119. I have to say, that the bias against doing "charts and studies" worries me. It is as if some folks here want to create their own reality based on personal experiences and then extrapolate that to the wider world. One simply cannot just "know" about the reality of the healthcare issue without reading "studies". "Studies" about the health risks of gay behavior are pertinent. You cannot say, "I will accept studies only when they support what I think to be true."

    Also, Leila keeps referring to studies that show that men and women are the same. I have never seen such a claim by a study. Could you point one out? And before you do, remember that a study that might investigate and find out that girls and boys share some behaviors or abilities does not mean the author is trying to say that they are "the same".

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  120. The Nambla stuff is gross, no argument there. But, I am left wondering. I mean, I would be willing to bet that every single one of us knows at least one gay person, and gay poetry and exhortations of love are evident throughout history etc. Do you think the Nambla folks are a select few (relatively fringe group, say like NeoNazis) or are they a large cohort of people clamoring for rights?

    I personally know exactly zero people who have ever shown the slightest Nambla tendency, or who have claimed to be in love with a child.

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  121. I think the NAMBLA comparisons are out of line personally, insofar as they leave the boundaries of good taste and meaningful dialog.

    Comparing every gay person to NAMBLA is as useful as people judging Catholics by the standard of pedophile priests or insane abortion clinic bombers and terrorists.

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  122. sorry but I have seen comments about statistics and studies being useless on these blog posts. I have no time to go back and find them, so I guess I will now have to take your words that you believe in studies now. Especially those that "prove" your point. I think they may have to do with studies about who are better parents, and studies that maybe showed single or gay parents were not harmful to children.

    Think you might need to do a little more research Nubby. (not to mention the most hits one gets states that gay men live 8 - 20 years less than heterosexuals, but you focus on the 20, and of course the fact that those researchers now say with aids drugs prolonging life gay males expectancy is now higher)

    And of course you don't want to know what I do with whom. All this talk of the "homosexual lifestyle". Stacy seems to think our whole beings are tied up in our gayness (a hilarious concept coming from a catholic who seems determined to show everything comes from catholicism) but that is not what we are about. It's just it all you can see.
    My lifestyle is get up, go to work, work hard, go to gym (you'd be surprised how many gay men and women go to the gym to stay healthy) pay my taxes and live a life with the man I love (and golly I am so sorry that again the catholics don't seem to have much use for romantic love, makes me wonder how you have chosen your opposite sex baby making partner)
    I have been with my husband 7 years, and yes there were others before him. But that is why I make my comment about you all being virgins when you married. See many of you had relations before, and golly guess you opened yourselves up to the same risks that homosexuals did. I think what you missed is that I agree a promiscious life can be more dangerous.

    I guess at the end of the day I just know the healthy gays, so the studies seem to be bunk to me.

    And again, none of us is guaranteed any days. We die when we die. Very little we can do about it.

    I hope you reach your sainthood soon though. Or your holiness, or what ever it is you are seeking in this life.

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  123. (not to mention the most hits one gets states that gay men live 8 - 20 years less than heterosexuals, but you focus on the 20, and of course the fact that those researchers now say with aids drugs prolonging life gay males expectancy is now higher).

    1) Call it less 8 yrs, call it less 20 yrs, call it less 9.2 yrs. The stat is there. That is the point. It is unhealthy to mess with anything that risks your health, agree?

    2) All kinds of drugs prolong life, does that mean it's a healthy life? Is that all one can hope for - drugs to keep them, when all of it could've been avoided had chastity been the choice to avoid all of that in the first place, not to mention the moral consequences (of which I know you don't believe, but I do)?

    I'm not condemning you, alan. I'm just showing you - less any # of years, it's dangerous the way the gay culture behaves in a very general way of speaking. Can we agree on that much?

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  124. @Nubby - I think the problem comes that you can discuss groups like that, but those kinds of analyses don't hold up well when looking at individuals.

    It isn't that people go, "Hmmm... Should I be straight or gay?" at least not in the vast majority of cases... :-p

    The choice people are making is between chastity and... not. Now without even delving into right/wrong discussions, it isn't like the vast majority of straight people aren't making the same decision, even though they do at least have the option of marriage.

    Again, not disputing the right/wrong angle, just stating it is a bit disingenuous to present it as a simple rational choice based on life expectancy.

    The gay community is a small minority. People getting murdered for being gay also is a factor in any reduction in life expectancy too.

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  125. Understood, Nicholas. And I mentioned that I don't want to get into personal details of Alan (meaning anecdotal or otherwise). I'm speaking in generalities for the sake of conversation.

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  126. So I went and looked some more into Nubby's study, and I agree most say I will die 8-20 years before the average male. Some say 30 years. Some say the average age of gay men is 43-48, guess I better get a lot of living done soon. And I definitely will not tell my 78 year old uncle in law (who sadly lost his partner of 55 years a few years ago) or any of his friends who are in their 60's and 70's about these studies.

    So you are right. I will no longer argue these statistics with you. Hopefully some day soon a new study will be done. Maybe even when homosexuality is accepted so gay men do not have to live in the closet. Then and only then do I think a study could be done that might show the actual statistical death age of homosexual men. I hope you see where one could maybe question the end results of this study because not every gay man is out and proud.

    and Leila, I admit it scares me just alot about how much you know about NAMBLA. How'd you feel about that 50+ year old Hollywood actor marrying that 16 year old? Is it ok because they can have themselves a baby?

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  127. "alan, I'm the one who said I don't like the discussion of morality and philosophy to somehow be thought to be contingent on leftwing sociological university studies. I am with Dennis Prager that these studies trying to prove something novel about human nature (not what the Navajo did in 1789, Gwen!) are either common sense conclusions which we knew without the study, or they are wrong."

    Excuse me, was this another slam against my work in Anthropology? Useless, vile, leftist work Leila? Incidentally, your question is peripheral to what I do, but are you really curious what Navajo peoples were doing in 1789? They had moved from the Dinetah region about 30 years prior and were herding sheep and goats quite successfully in the areas that now make up the Navajo Nation. Many were weaving (on up right looms) incredibly tight, accomplished weavings with stripe and step designs using Indigo dye (from the Camino Real), and natural wool colors. These blankets were called "chief blankets" and often traded with Plains Indian groups. One of these textiles was featured on Antiques Roadshow a few years ago and was appraised at $350,000+

    Zach, I'm happy to hear you've moved on to more quality time helping students with science and math. I need to take a hint from you : )

    -gwen

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  128. Nubby, do you drive a car? get on a plane? Jump out of planes (and for that please go read Stacy's flying post)? So much of daily living is "dangerous", but yet we do it. As I have said something is going to kill me. Mom died at 59, Dad is just about to turn 84. I get your point, you think having gay sex is gonna kill me, I disagree. I think a more fair study needs to be done. Best as I can tell all the "studies" are really one, and if I am reading right the "science" of the study can be questioned.

    You keep all trying to get us to see things. And they all revolve around your church. But your eyes are not open to see other things. My homosexual proclivities are disordered because they cannot creat children so they are wrong. Marrieds who cannot procreate are disordered but because there is the "possibility" of life they are not wrong.
    Gays die earlier, a study shows it. But do you question the validity of the study? What I want you to dig deeper to see is that because of society deeming homosexuality as wrong so many lie about it. And until they are finished lying about it a true factual study cannot be done. The statistics are skewed from the get go. I mean c'mon we have all see Michelle Bachmans husband, and he says he isn't gay. It is dangerous to rely on statistics when all data cannot be presented. And until all gays can live openly and honestly that is just not going to happen. Give us the chance for thousands of years of history to show how things really are.

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  129. I will second Gwen that it is unfair to completely discount social science as useless, leftist, and either obvious or wrong.

    You know that "hard science" also falls into the same "obvious" trap often enough as well? For example, here's a gem from the New England Journal of Medicine: http://abonius.com/study-shows-potato-chips-lead-to-weight-gain/228479/

    Eating potato chips leads to weight gain! Thank God for scientific studies to tell us things we couldn't figure out on our own :-p

    That being said, I don't discredit scientists for wanting to check and double-check things, even obvious ones. That is part of what they do.

    I'm going to pull a statistic out of my butt and say that the majority of studies done in both hard and social sciences turn out to be neither groundbreaking nor particularly useful. They do studies on anything and everything just because you never know what ones will lead to the interesting and exciting ideas.

    A lot of major scientific breakthroughs happen by accident - discovering something while looking for something else entirely.

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  130. Alan said,
    "Hopefully some day soon a new study will be done. Maybe even when homosexuality is accepted so gay men do not have to live in the closet. Then and only then do I think a study could be done that might show the actual statistical death age of homosexual men. I hope you see where one could maybe question the end results of this study because not every gay man is out and proud."

    This is an interesting and valid point, but someone on this blog somewhere once pointed to a study that looks at mental health and general health measures for homosexual men in countries that had accepted homosexuality for some time, and the stats were sill rather poor. (I think). Now, I am not ready to say that this MEANS the homosexual lifestyle is bad, (it might be a case of correlation not causation) but it is worth investigating. Anyone remember those points?

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  131. I wanted to go back and pose a question I posed to ONE MAN to all of you. He claimed that all societies that had accepted homosexuality bit the dust. People have claimed this before. Where is this coming from?

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  132. Nubby, do you drive a car? get on a plane? Jump out of planes (and for that please go read Stacy's flying post)? So much of daily living is "dangerous", but yet we do it. As I have said something is going to kill me. Mom died at 59, Dad is just about to turn 84. I get your point, you think having gay sex is gonna kill me.

    Alan,
    what common assumptions are there between the three? Commonality between them From a scientific standpoint you have to compare the inputs and the evaluation method in order to compare the results, and thus draw a conclusion. I see no correlation between the inputs which means that everything else is irrelevant. Why would the result be a good comparison?
    It's like comparing a plane crash to what you eat for breakfast everyday. the numbers might be the same - I eat eggs 5% of time and the risk of dying in a plane crash is 5% doesn't mean they correlate.

    What are you measuring for?

    I'm willing to hear the stats. It's not apples to apples.

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  133. Nicholas,
    I don't believe anyone has said that social studies are irrelevant in general; just irrelevant to certain conversations we've had lately.

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  134. Okay, it's probably time for me to step away from this discussion, but with a few clarifiers first:

    1) Nicholas, you may not be aware that there are degrees of sin. I'm not simply talking about venial vs. mortal, but also degrees of sin within the category of mortal sin. For example, abortion is a more grave sin by degrees than premarital sex. Both are moral sins, and both, done with full knowledge and consent of their seriousness, can destroy the life of God within us (mortal sin; worthy of hell). But they are not of the same gravity. Same with heterosexual sex (unmarried) and homosexual acts. That's not my opinion. I didn't "make up" the sins which call out to heaven for vengeance. Sorry.

    2) Miss Gwen: I was not slamming you! In fact, I think that those kinds of studies (wanting to learn more about the Navajo, or any other culture) are all good. That his why I put it in as an exception to the kinds of silly studies I was talking about! Didn't you get that it was an exception? If not, then my writing has gotten very unclear. My fault. Of course we love learning about other cultures. It's when we say things like "because the XY Tribe in outer Mongolia had men living in the same tents and calling each other 'babe' in 3,260 B.C., that means that we must accept that humankind has always been about marrying and recognizing the marriage of two dudes as equal to man + woman."

    I am sorta trying to be funny there, but do you get my point? One thing is valid (what the XY tribe, or the Navajo tribe did), but the extrapolations we see sometimes? Not so much. I am wary of those types of conclusions which try to imply something that are really quite a stretch to fit an agenda.

    More in a sec….

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  135. Mary, I really hope you get what I am about to say:

    I didn't understand your chart vis a vis the idea that government had brought down health care costs and made it more efficient. The reason I didn't get that is because that is not what your chart said, and that is not ultimately what you were claiming the chart said. So I was utterly confused as to you point, regarding gov't and health care (or any conclusions).

    But here's the deal. You show me a chart that says costs have gone up (which we all know, and for the reasons we've all mentioned including one we never have: we all want 1950s health care prices in 2011, when the technology and medical equipment consist of much more than linens and IV bottles). Okay, so the costs have gone up. But then you say that perhaps federal government can make the system more efficient and more effective. This is where my logic button in my brain goes haywire and starts blinking out of control. On what basis and by what prior evidence do you believe that the federal government (with its loooooooong and sad history of massively bloated, inefficient "programs" could make our huge and complex system and make it "more efficient and more effective"? Again, good intentions are nice, but I'm talking about what real world experience can you point to to show even a spark of hope that such an outcome would be true?

    This is sort of my point, then. The average American does not need to have a study that says "federal gov't is simply NOT GOOD at making big fat social programs work smarter, better, efficiently and effectively". In fact we know that when gov't gets involved in anything on that scale, things do not get better and more efficient. It only takes a trip to the Post Office (or a look at their books) for me to become terrified at the idea that they will now be taking control of our massive health care system and our very lives.

    Sorry if that is not clear. I just had no idea how that study said anything about the efficiency of the fed gov't. Now I understand that it never did and that your point was that since the system is expensive now, we should try something like a gov't takeover.

    That's where you utterly lost me.

    More in a sec.

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  136. @Leila - I don't have a problem being wrong, but is there a source for this list? It certainly makes perfect sense to me that abortion is a more grave sin than premarital sex, but where is the source for other gradients?

    Premarital "straight" sex vs "gay" sex?

    Is sodomy the same sin when done by a hetero couple vs gay? Oral?

    Where does this "cry out for vengeance" language come from? God will grant redemption to those that legitimately and faithfully seek it, so again I am not sure that a 'scoreboard' style of what sin is worse than what sin is particularly useful.

    I would be very interested to see this source material. I haven't found anything like that in the Cathechism, but obviously that is not the be-all-end-all of documents.

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  137. wow Nubby, you so smart telling me what I have to do. Don't really care if you don't see the correlation. Simply put, life is dangerous to your health. Yet you continue to live it.

    "It is unhealthy to mess with anything that risks your health, agree?'

    I think we all take risks with our health. Flying, eating junk food, not exercising, they all can mess with your health, yet we do them.

    But as an fyi I always practiced safer sex. I do realize that compounds my sin, but see many of the health risks can be worked around.

    I note you still can't even make mention that the studies might be skewed though.

    @ Mary, thanks for at least seeing my point. I will ask what country has accepted homosexuality for a while? How long is enough? I mean catholicism has had "over 2000 years of history", do we get the same amount of time to show that homosexuality is actually not harmful?

    Problem is I could find study after study showing my point and they would be negated here because homosexual activities are disordered and sinful. We should have no rights in that arena. We can be gay, heck we can even love, but we cannot demonstrate that love in any way that will offend the catholics and their god.

    I guess I still would very much like the answer to how you determine your opposite sex partner for baby making. I mean if romantic love is not involved then how do you determine whom to marry? I think it is a simple straight forward question.

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  138. Alan,
    The studies may be off a percentage or two, but the danger is still present! Agreed? This is the main point.

    8-20 yrs. Pick any number there. That's not equivalent to saying there's low risk. It's still a great risk. That's my main point.

    I'm not trying to be smarter than anyone. You asked me to compare variables. I assessed them honestly.

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  139. Leila,
    I had read your response to Gwen "Didn't you get that it was an exception? If not, then my writing has gotten very unclear." and read it as an exception. I thought it was clear.

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  140. @alanl64 -

    It would seem clear to me that the vast majority of people in western culture, Catholics included, now select their marriage partner as part of a romantic love coupling.

    However, what I believe is the case is that marriage goes beyond that. In other words, just because you get married due to romantic love, it really isn't OK to dissolve a marriage just because you change your mind or decided you loved someone else. The Catholic sacrament of marriage is for life.

    But for the mainstream culture, the linking of marriage and romantic love has made it more acceptable to simply say that when one goes, toss out the other as well.

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  141. Nicholas, you are right that sometimes experiments lead to great and surprising breakthroughs. Yes! It's true! But those are generally hard science experiments, no?

    It would be ridiculous to run a study about potato chips making people gain weight because it's really already understood by the general public that eating crap will make you fat. But if people want to do a big study on that, that's fine. I don't want them using taxpayer dollars for it (wasn't there a study "proving" that when people get drunk in a bar they are more likely to want to have sex? That type of thing is so stupidly obvious as we understand basic points of human nature, etc.). My problem is that there are state universities using taxpayer money for this nonsense, and it's a waste. I hate waste. I hate when people waste other people's money and insult their intelligence at the same time. So, if someone wants to do a study on potato chip eating, or drunk people in bars, I hope they find a private grant for it. But most people with a lick of common sense can tell them the answer before they begin.

    The NIH used our money (half a million dollars!!) to fund a study on why men do not like to use condoms! ummmmm, I could have given them the answer for $20.

    As for the study that says men and women are not different… Well, that is apparently being taught all over academia today (on the left), because not only did our two college atheists say it as "truth", but if you remember, Larry Summers, a liberal himself, had to resign as president of Harvard University after the firestorm (and it was a firestorm, I remember it!) which followed his seemingly innocent comment that men's and women's brains are different. (gasp!) There is a belief out there in academia and on the left, fueled, I'm sure, by what they would call sound research, that the only difference between men and women is genital, and the rest is simply the result of social conditioning and "societal constructs". Of course, this is so silly to anyone who actually knows men and women! Or who has raised both sexes. And yet, the "experts" tell us no. Sorry, I dismiss that stuff out of hand. We don't need to check out common sense at the door of the university. We can think and know things without being "told" by the "experts", esp. regarding the things of human nature.

    Now, if you still want to say that I am against all studies (which I have never said) then I give up.

    And if you want to say we cannot discuss human nature and common sense without a peer-reviewed university study on how people find love on the internet, or that two men doing things sexually is as ordered (and not "perverse" as Freud could recognize) as a husband and wife having sexual intercourse then I give up, too.

    I'm sorry if everyone wants to "feel good" about the things they do, but I am going to go with JPII on this and say it's time to start naming things for what they are. Truth actually means something.

    more in a sec….

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  142. Also I would state that in the popular culture, romantic love and infatuation and sexual chemistry and any number of other social concepts are all getting lumped together under the label of "romantic love" which skews things.

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  143. @Leila - Well I've never said you were against all studies. I also agree with you that there are a lot of seemingly silly studies. Part of the problem may be that we have such a large population that there are just a whole lot of scientists and they need to find things to keep themselves busy :-p

    Also as scientific knowledge expands, we seem to be further and further specializing and asking more and more narrow questions (which is to be expected.)

    My only point was that social sciences are not completely pointless :-)

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  144. Leila said, "but I'm talking about what real world experience can you point to to show even a spark of hope that such an outcome would be true? "
    Sorry, I was unclear. I had two points:
    1. Our healthcare costs have skyrocketed in the last 15 years or so, as evidenced by that chart...but they have also gone up exponentially more than the costs of most other industrialised nations (as the chart showed).

    2. Our country actually fairs WORSE than other industrialized nations on a whole host of health metrics. So something is wrong.

    3. Many of those other industrialized nations have government healthcare systems. Maybe those government systems are helping to keep costs down and outcomes up.

    4. Or do you think that the US is somehow unique, and that if we put government to it we would not bring costs down and outcomes up, as several other nations have done?

    PS my mother is a Canadian by birth and we go up there all the time. My Canadian relatives rave about the care, except for when they are looking for a partially elective surgery. Then they get annoyed by the wait times. But, when my uncle needed heart attention and heart surgery ASAP he was treated like the King of Saudia Arabia (and he is of rather modest means (fixes oil burners).

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  145. Part of the problem may be that we have such a large population that there are just a whole lot of scientists and they need to find things to keep themselves busy :-p

    And getting those grants for all kinds of silliness, doncha know.

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  146. And as for the pedophiles. That's all well and good that you are offended (I was too), but it sort of seems ironic that that guy would label you a horrible bigot in the same way that gay activists today label the Church bigoted. Don't you get that irony?

    And, all I have ever heard as "logical" answer for why we shouldn't ask the same questions about pedophilia as we have about the acceptance of homosexuality is that "there aren't very many of them clamoring for recognition"). That is what I hear time and again. My answer: Neither were there tons of gay rights activists in years past clamoring for acceptance (it was the love that "dare not speak its name" remember?), and besides that, it's about the principle, not the "number".

    And if someone wants to misrepresent me again and say that I am "equating" homosexual acts with pedophilia, I will say again, for the thousandth time, that I am not. I think that pedophilia is a much greater sin (even though both are mortal sins, see above). There are degrees of mortal sin. Premarital sex, homosexual sex, pedophile sex… all are grave sins. All go against our human dignity and the proper use of human sexuality. But some are graver sins than others, objectively speaking.

    If, after these past few comments, I am still going to be misrepresented or misunderstood after trying to be very clear and address every point, then I think I need to step back and work on my writing skills, because it means my writing is no longer very effective.

    :)

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  147. @Mary - One of the problems is scope and size. Most European nations and places like Canada have populations that are a fraction of the size of the US. So I would say that socialized anything tends to be more successful the smaller a population is, and probably will not work well in most areas for a population the size of the US.

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  148. Leila,
    I had read your response to Gwen "Didn't you get that it was an exception? If not, then my writing has gotten very unclear." and read it as an exception. I thought it was clear.


    mary, thank you!!

    Also, with regards to other nations (usually much smaller) with socialized health care (which like England, are in big trouble), I would just say it's good to really look into the problems with those systems, all of which are showing outcomes and cracks that we don't want. Of course, our nation is so much bigger, it's hard to compare anyway. But I would not want to live under those systems. There is a reason why people (even from rich nations) fly to the US for medical care. We have the best care in the world, and the gov't (with its history of messing up pretty much every program it touches) will not make things better. I see disaster up ahead. But I think most Americans get it, and that they will vote Obama out repeal his 2,000 page healthcare bill that no one has read and should give everyone great pause.

    Anyway, I can't do a whole healthcare debate today, ha ha! Gotta go eat…. :)

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  149. @Leila - I apologize. I did not mean to imply you were equating the two. However, you did compare the the two directly in your response to Zach asking why his was different than the other in your comments about consent. That is all I was replying to, and I was not meaning to be accusatory or disrespectful in any way.

    I think part of the issue is this debate has split off in several different directions and yet still completely intermingled.

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  150. 2,000 page healthcare bill that no one has read and should give everyone great pause.

    Bingo.
    A 2,000 page healthcare bill was needed to convey a change in healthcare, and things are supposed to get "easier"?
    Meanwhile, who's getting rich off of reading this thing?

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  151. The healthcare bill like everything else, has a mix of good and bad. I am quite sure it will be amended, changed, and modified extensively over the next few years regardless of whether Obama is re-elected or not.

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  152. Alan said, "I guess I still would very much like the answer to how you determine your opposite sex partner for baby making. I mean if romantic love is not involved then how do you determine whom to marry? I think it is a simple straight forward question. "
    Sorry, I did not realize that question was aimed at me.

    I absolutely had a walloping dose of romantic love involved in who I married. Actually, I had a crush on the guy since I was in middle school, even though I was a serious late bloomer. I also had massive sexual attraction. We had a totally immoral relationship from the second half of college on, and I regret all of that and moving in with him. It put off our wedding for years and helped us wait too long to start having kids. I regret all of that with all my heart and soul. I should have teenagers.
    I wasted years and years of my life.

    Men like sex and women should make them wait for it, at the very least until you are engaged. Yeah some women are crazy driven for it too, but it waxes and wanes with their cycle, and if women were more educated about this they would be more aware of their behavior and better able to control themselves. I have no doubt about this.

    I agree with Leila about this almost entirely; women and men are very different (there is a spectrum I realize) about how they think about sex. (men pay for sex and women almost never do).

    I also realized this man was loyal, very kind, sensitive, smart, hardworking, mostly respectful and thought deeply. He was not Christian (I was raised Catholic but now Lutheran) and that is an issue, but we are working on it. Actually, I am in mortal sin as far as the Catholic Church would determine because we were not married in a church.

    Sexual love is part of it, but there is a lot more. (I also was attracted to how he loved and respected his mother and grandmother more than any other man I know.)

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  153. oh Nubby, you do keep my heart and mind going.
    Again I will not debate the percent or the study. I will again point out the major flaw in the study. Until all gays are represented in true numbers there is no way to get a practical average age of death for them. Can we at least agree to that?

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  154. Leila said, "The NIH used our money (half a million dollars!!) to fund a study on why men do not like to use condoms! ummmmm, I could have given them the answer for $20. "


    Hee hee...that was funny!

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  155. Nicholas, try this:

    http://www.saintaquinas.com/mortal_sin.html

    and this:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=29

    (The Bible says those four sins "cry out to heaven for vengeance")

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  156. Nicholas I am not sure what you are getting at. If marriage includes romantic love, then what is the difference of the romantic love you feel for you wife and what I as a man feel for my husband?
    I understand the arguments about marriage being for bonding of husband and wife to their children, but still insist that neither marriage nor biology plays any part in the bonding process. It is the people involved.

    I admit I don't have the same morals as most of you. That does not make mine wrong and yours right, it's just we see things differently. I don't do "sin". Not my thing. I get where the ideas come from, just don't think they are needed in my life. And I read alot here about how we gays expect you to accept and tolerate us and give you no consideration. No one here had given me a compelling answer to the how my gay marriage infringes on your right to practice your religion (not your right to discriminate), so for now I think my way of thinking (that we all "keep our eyes on our own paper") is better. I let you live your lives you let us live ours and let god decide in the end.

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  157. Nicholas,
    Point taken about the size of our nation. But, Germany is pretty big (about 90 million?) and has a form of a universal healthcare system that is working well. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91971406

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  158. Leila said,
    "There is a reason why people (even from rich nations) fly to the US for medical care. "
    Rich people you mean.

    I know lots of Americans who fly to Bangkok for medical care! Not sure what that proves.

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  159. @alanl64 - I was just trying to give an honest stab at answering your question, no more and no less :-)

    As you say, it is two very different ways of approaching what a marriage is.

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  160. mary, I am sorry I didn't mean that question just to you, I have asked before and never really gotten an answer. I appreciate the answer though.

    my favorite line was this
    "Sexual love is part of it, but there is a lot more. (I also was attracted to how he loved and respected his mother and grandmother more than any other man I know.)"
    See we agree on this, except mine is about my love for my husband. I see so much more in him than sex, he is better than any person I have met ever and he makes me strive to be a better person. Now for anyone to say that what we have is wrong just doesn't make sense to me. It's not up to you to decide whom I love, how I love them or the commitment I make to them. I plan to be married to him for as long as I live. Now it's sad that Nubby's statistics only give me a few more years (I am 47) but you know what, I will take what I am given. He is worth any risk.

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  161. Nicholas and Leila,
    Per the "(The Bible says those four sins "cry out to heaven for vengeance") "
    I have some issue with this list because of the glaring omission of slavery and sexual abuse of a child (excepting sodomy).

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  162. @Mary - Well, certainly at the time that many pats of the Bible were written slavery was not uncommon... I certainly do not take it to be that list is all-inclusive or designed specifically for a 21st Century audience.

    Also, personally, I give the New Testament far greater weight than the Old Testament. The Old Testament informs and explains the New Testament, but it doesn't mean that every single facet of God's covenant with the Israelites is applicable to Christianity.

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  163. Alan,

    If you have to include all gays then stats are irrelevant in any study.


    If you'd like I can give you the standard deviation of that study (on gay life expectancy).

    That's the point of statistics. We need and rely on statistics because of the improbability that you can gather 100% of any population. Statistics become irrelevant if you can gather 100% of any study group you are studying!

    It's not practical to get 100% of any population.


    Predicting on sample size is what is necessary. You don't have to include all gays to get an accurate number. Studies help draw conclusions based on sample size of the overall population of the study, not of total # of people.


    We don't get 100% of the population when we vote! Does that mean the election is invalid? We can predict the outcome of any election without even needing the full # of votes in.

    That's how statistics works.

    Overall estimated population plus sample size taken. In a nutshell, standard deviation is a way to predict the error of the measurement.

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  164. @Nubby - I don't believe that was alanl64's objection. My interpretation of his point (hopefully I am not wrong) is not that you need data from all gay people, but rather that you need an accurate representative population.

    Since so many gay people live in secrecy, is the gay population that is measured truly a representative population?

    That is a valid question to ask about the legitimacy of the study. I cannot say whether it is or isn't relevant to this particular study.

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  165. thanks Nicholas, that is what I meant.

    Nubby
    I understand how statistics work (did I mention my husband is a infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist).
    But lets just ask Nubby when was this study done? Was it before the advent of life extending drugs for aids? What percent of the participants died of aids related illness? Guess what 100% of aids patients will die. So that can most definitely skew the results.

    So the answer to my question is no, we cannot agree to anything except the study exists.

    I am going to ask my husband to look into the study though. And ask his collegues about their thoughts on the study. Sorry but I'll take their words over yours as to the validity of the study.

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  166. “Frank, welcome!”

    Thanks! And I want to clarify that I think Lauren and One Man obviously understand marriage well—I just think they’re wrong on this point.

    “Those were obviously quotes from Protestants, and the Catholic Church does not prohibit races from marrying each other nor has she.”

    Sure, but you see why I’m skeptical, don’t you? Those Protestants were absolutely positive that God intended the races to be separate, and they thought their view was supported by scripture, empirical evidence, and logic. But what was “written on their heart” was horrifically wrong.

    “As to the idea that marriage is about "romance" and our own fulfillment sexually…. that is a new thing.”

    1. I don’t think marriage is all about romance or sexual fulfillment. It’s a pledge of mutual responsibility, which is not selfish—it’s the opposite. And that’s what makes married partners good parents.

    2. My view of marriage isn’t new. These are traditional Christian wedding vows, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer (slightly modified from the one ratified in 1789), from a copy passed down to me from my Great-Grandmother:

    “In the Name of God, I, N., take you, N., to be my wife/husband, to have and hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

    I see a lot about love and support in those vows. Nothing about procreation.

    A page before that, three purposes of marriages are given: 1) the spouses’ “mutual joy,” 2) “the help and comfort given one another in prosperity and adversity” and 3) “when it is God’s will” the procreation and nurturing of children. Two of those purposes are essential to a marriage, the third (procreation) is contingent.

    “No, actually, gay couples cannot have children with each other.”

    I didn’t say they could. I said they can start a family together. That’s what a marriage is, with or without children—the formation of a family.

    “…they cannot achieve sexual union.”

    Yes they can.

    “No one dies because they can't have an orgasm.”

    If someone has a good reason to sacrifice the good of sexual union for celibacy, I’m all for it.

    “I do feel that same sex parents are ‘playing house’”

    Playing house? You think a couple that goes through the either pregnancy/childbirth or the adoption process (Lauren can tell you all about that!), that stays up with that kid, that nurses that child, that makes a million sacrifices every day for that kid, is playing house?

    When you have children, and mortgages, and shared debts, and the responsibility to make life or death decisions for someone else, and when you’ve made a commitment before God, your family, and the state, that's not playing house. That's real life.

    “[Marriage] was meant to provide stability and a mother and father for the children who were born to that union.”

    This is such a limited view of marriage. We get married because it’s in our nature. Because it’s good for us. Kids are part of that. But lots of marriages don’t fit your model, and those marriages are good for their participants (and society!), too.

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  167. The healthcare bill like everything else, has a mix of good and bad. I am quite sure it will be amended, changed, and modified extensively over the next few years regardless of whether Obama is re-elected or not.

    Nicholas, the whole thing is so bad that even the Obama administration has handed out over a thousand waivers to companies (probably a lot more than that, by now). That's how bad it is and it's not even been implemented yet. The whole thing needs to be scrapped and start again.

    I am not caught up on the comments. However, I had to do a gut check today. I have been exasperated and annoyed as you all might have picked up on. So, when that happens, I ask myself, "When was your last confession, Leila?" It's been way too many weeks since I've been to confession. It starts to show. I need to get there as I need the graces. In the meantime, I need to back away a bit so that I don't bite anyone's head off! :) When I do comment, I will try to be polite. :)

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  168. Frank,

    Gay people can achieve sexual union? That is news to me. How can gay people consummate their "marriage"? (You can email me privately if you want to give details… although really the question is rhetorical. There is no sexual intercourse possible. Even secular law grants annulments for non-consummation.)

    Families then mean… anything we want them to. Yes, I know that is what people on the left have been proposing for decades. I disagree.

    If you want to equate a husband and wife adopting a child into their family as equivalent to a gay couple doing so, you didn't read Barbara's points clearly. And I like what my friend Danya has to say on it:

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church so often discusses human dignity - and that is precisely what we are talking about here. Every person has the the inherent right to be conceived within the loving union of the marital embrace. That is God's design for marriage and procreation.

    When that breaks down, we have a moral back-up plan. Adoption.


    Children need mother and fathers. They are not interchangeable. (But now you see part of the agenda of why the left has to proclaim that men and women are the same. One benefit is that we can do away with this "crazy" idea that kids need a mom and a dad.)

    The vows… yes, a vow to love is so important. We Catholics are all about love, obviously. But again, we have a different understand of what love is then the secular culture. Look at a crucifix: That is love. Total self-sacrifice, not merely a "feeling". Here is what I wrote on the differences in views:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/01/is-christian-love-gibberish.html

    more in a sec...

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  169. Procreation. Well, my vows included agreeing to welcome children lovingly into the marriage. That procreation was assumed, i.e., a given (till recently) is made clear in this secular 1931 editorial from the Washington Post when the Protestant churches went off the rails of Christian teaching regarding contraception within marriage:

    It is impossible to reconcile the doctrine of the divine institution of marriage with any modernistic plan for the mechanical regulation or suppression of human birth. The church must either reject the plain teachings of the Bible or reject schemes for the "scientific" production of human souls. Carried to its logical conclusion, the committee's report, if carried into effect, would sound the death-knell of marriage as a holy institution, by establishing degrading practices which would encourage indiscriminate immorality. The suggestion that the use of legalized contraceptives would be "careful and restrained" is preposterous.

    Marriage was inherently about bonding of spouses AND procreation. And society knew it. Now, we are redefining everything (marriage, family) and it's to the fun and excitement of the grown-ups (to use a term lightly) but to the detriment of children, as always. Children are always the ones to suffer for our push to have sex as we like it, how we like it, when we like it (50 million dead babies, anyone?).

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  170. If someone has a good reason to sacrifice the good of sexual union for celibacy, I’m all for it.

    A good reason to forego sex is being unmarried. Sex is a privilege of marriage.

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  171. “[Marriage] was meant to provide stability and a mother and father for the children who were born to that union.”

    Yes, this is a limited view of marriage, as it should be. If marriage is anything people want it to be, based primarily on a feeling of 'twoo wuv" (did I get that right, JoAnna?), then why would the state have any vested interest in it?

    One thing we have never gotten is a coherent definition of marriage from the other side. Can you define marriage for me, Frank? Thanks!

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  172. I like what JoAnna said to Zach a while back:

    ...until you can answer, as Steven Greydanus has asked, "why it is the state should have a bureaucratic apparatus for certifying (and decertifying) sexual partnerships involving two and only two non-related adults in any gender combination,” then your arguments in favor of same-sex marriage are simply trite and meaningless.

    Can you answer? I've never heard an answer. Nor have I heard a coherent definition of "marriage" from the other side. In fact, Zach was staging a mock marriage on his college campus with his partner, and I asked him to define marriage and he said he hadn't thought about it. (If you want to change something, shouldn't you know what you are changing it from and changing it to?) Later, he said we should just do away with marriage altogether. !!

    Here's Steve G.'s great ten part series on "redefining marriage", FYI:

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/redefining-marriage-1

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  173. @Leila - Understood, we all have good and bad days :-)

    What I meant by "good and bad" is that for example the idea of doing away with denying people coverage for pre-existing conditions is not a bad idea.

    And any 2000+ page piece of legislation is not a single monolithic law, it is hundreds of different things bundled together. There is no doubt in my mind that nestled in that rat's nest are at least a few good individual ideas that will wind up sticking around :-)

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  174. Nicholas, granted, but I have zero confidence that the horrors, bloat, nonsense, waste and immorality will be thrown out and the tiny, shining good nuggets (where we can find them) will stay.

    Do you have that much confidence in the federal gov't? If so, what underlies that confidence? Not track record, surely?

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  175. Nubby
    I understand how statistics work (did I mention my husband is a infectious disease doctor and epidemiologist).
    But lets just ask Nubby when was this study done? Was it before the advent of life extending drugs for aids? What percent of the participants died of aids related illness? Guess what 100% of aids patients will die. So that can most definitely skew the results.

    So the answer to my question is no, we cannot agree to anything except the study exists.

    I am going to ask my husband to look into the study though. And ask his collegues about their thoughts on the study. Sorry but I'll take their words over yours as to the validity of the study.


    Alan,
    So we should not include AIDS's patients? Should we also exclude all other sick gays and only study the healthy? Nice statistical sample. Skewed completely the other way. No?
    And please do consult whomever you need to as to validity of any study concerning your lifestyle. It's no skin of my nose who you ask, I urge you toward Truth in all things. Medically and morally.

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  176. @Leila - Touche! Actually my faith is more in the Federal Government's ability to NOT do anything which makes me believe that most of the provisions will be reversed or overturned... They are just going to wait till the eve of the deadline. :-p

    That is what Congress does... It passes a law that will go into effect in the future, or will end at some date in the future... and then they either reverse it before it happens, or extends it past the sunset date.

    The same will true of the Super Committee... Oh, if they don't have a plan by X date there will be massive government cuts... Except the night before the automatic cuts would go into effect they'll either terminate that provision or extend the deadline :-p

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  177. I've been following along, and I really didn't want to comment, but I feel I have to step in. Where is this study about gay men losing 20 years of their lives that everyone is debating? Was it linked to early on and I missed it? I would love to see it - I've been picking apart hard science papers for the past several weeks and would really like to tackle a soft science one for a change!

    I'm not going to comment back and forth - I have a lot to say, but no time to carry on a long conversation right now. If someone could link me to the study in question (even if it's behind a paywall, I can probably get access to it), that would be wonderful! Thanks!

    -Michelle

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  178. Michelle,
    Since you've been busy "picking apart hard science" would you mind posting the fatal flaws you've concluded in Hawking's latest book? Last we left off, you were reading it.

    The stat in question is from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. I'm sure you can look it up.

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  179. LOL Nubby you keep me laughing, my lifestyle. There is no lifestyle. Where do you get this stuff from? We have lives. I am sure should you examine your life and mine you would find very little different, well except you go to church.

    Again point missed. Back in the day so many gay men died of aids as there was no treatment, so of course that would skew the results towards earlier deaths. Now with the drugs and a better understanding of the need for condoms (that was a hard one to get the gays to understand as who did they have to worry about getting pregnant) I am fairly certain our life expectancy is greater.
    But now lets ask what was the life expectancy of gay men before this study was conducted? Before aids was around? Is it the same, has it gone down? up?

    No need to get me toward the truth Nubby. I am all set with that. Being married to a doctor I am definitely all set medically, and as far as moral truth, well I am ok there as well. My morals are outstanding.

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  180. michelle,
    I don't know if Nubby has ever linked this study but all you have to do is a google search and you will find her statistics. A lot are on religious affiliated web sites. But it's out there.

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  181. Lifestyle is a general term. Lifestyle is how one lives. Speaking in generalities is what was driving that conversation.

    Alan, re-read what you just posted in the way of examples/questions. Are you seeing the irony?

    I think we're done.

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  182. I admit I don't have the same morals as most of you. That does not make mine wrong and yours right, it's just we see things differently.

    Alan, can two contradictory ideas both be true?

    I don't do "sin". Not my thing. I get where the ideas come from, just don't think they are needed in my life.

    But what if sin is real? What if virtue (the opposite of sin) is "needed in your life", according to God? You may not "do sin" but does that mean sin does not exist?

    And I read alot here about how we gays expect you to accept and tolerate us and give you no consideration. No one here had given me a compelling answer to the how my gay marriage infringes on your right to practice your religion (not your right to discriminate)

    Part of the "practice of my religion" would include helping foster children find homes, helping with adoptions, running hospitals and insurance companies without the gov't mandating that we put our souls in jeopardy, etc. I've done posts on it. You say practicing my faith within the framework of traditional virtue is "discrimination", I say it's "practicing my faith". So now what? Who wins, the state or a mainstream, major religion? If the state can interfere with my practice of a faith held by a billion people for 20 centuries, then we've lost sight of the fact that the Establishment Clause we designed to protect believers from the state.

    so for now I think my way of thinking (that we all "keep our eyes on our own paper") is better. I let you live your lives you let us live ours and let god decide in the end.

    God is truth and he already decided and revealed. Our only job is to seek and find Him. And to seek and find His truth.

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  183. Michelle, Leila had also once linked to a site that medically explained how sodomy is actually quite traumatic and bad for that part of the body. It causes a whole host of problems.

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  184. Or, Michelle, you could just go directly to the glma website and poke around.
    Skip the religious sites.

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  185. Michelle,
    alan's main complaint is that there aren't enough gays "out" to take a stat sample/study.

    Now, wearing your scientific cap, wouldn't your first question to that be: Really?

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  186. alan - so the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association is a "Catholic site"? I'm sure that's news to them!

    http://www.glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=690

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  187. No one still has told me why consent is the sole criterion of the good. Or why, if sex is only about pleasure and fun and bonding (and not also intrinsically about procreation), it can't be open to pretty much anyone who would like pleasure and fun and bonding?

    Why do you think Freud could see what the Catholic Church sees?

    Just throwing out unanswered questions.

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  188. @Leila - With the possible exception of Freud, of who I am not a great fan, those are good questions and I would say that consent is certainly not the sole criterion of the good.

    In fact, I think that consent is really more of a concept about legality... Usually when one is talking consent it is a question of whether something was illegal / valid etc.

    If sex were about nothing but consent and personal pleasure, why would fidelity be treasured? Why would people become incredibly incensed and offended by "cheating?"

    Clearly, even in the casual hookup society of today people have not completely divorced (pun not intended) sex from everything else.

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  189. Nubby we been done for a while now. You said in your second response the horse was dead.
    I just like responding, it gives you what you want.
    Reread what I wrote Nubby as you have totally missed my main point.

    and actually all, again you seem to have difficulty reading, I said most of them are religious. Geesh.

    And can you give the exact page where the glma says life expectancy is 20 years less? I don't want to read the whole thing.

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  190. Nicholas, just to clarify... Are you saying that people in the hook-up culture are concerned with their sex partners "cheating" on them? Sorry, I want to make sure I follow...

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  191. Zach- Thank you. I appreciate your honesty. I don't know you, or Alan (since I noticed Alan described some of his experiences based on questions from Mary), and therefore cannot question your devotion to your partners, I am sure they are relationships that bring you both much happiness.

    I think what I find interesting, is Mary's comments following your description:
    I have to say, when I read Zach's list of how he knows he loves his man, it sounds exactly like how I felt when I got serious with my now husband.
    I thought something similar. What you describe is very much how I would have described love if asked about me and my boyfriend (now husband) say 12-13 years ago. Some of it may even mirror how I would describe my feelings toward my husband (and possibly his feelings toward me) now.

    But I think here lies the inherent difference, here is how I would describe marriage, our marriage, from my perspective:

    ...in the last 11 years I have: worked for income, at a job I really wasn’t very good at and didn’t really enjoy most of it, while my husband was a full-time graduate student; worked for insurance at another job that frustrated me and kept me going for long hours, because my husband’s first full time job had much more expensive medical insurance; been pregnant 5 times and given birth to 5 beautiful (if not loud and rambunctious) children – 4 of them boys; moved for the sake of my husband’s job across most of the northern Midwest, to three different states, in as many years, one of which was on one month’s notice (which was given the day our daughter was born); quit my job in order to stay home with our children and homeschool them, despite my gravitation to the highly unorganized side of life; and made countless other sacrifices, some small, some large.

    I’d say that I would do it all over again if given the opportunity, but I don’t want another opportunity. I would much rather see where the next 11 years takes us: more children? More moves, more states? More jobs, some likable, some not? More curriculum, or more schools? More degrees?

    The only thing I’m sure of is that there will be more sacrifices. For me and for him. It’s what love and marriage is.


    Does this make sense?

    And wow! I can't keep up with everyone. I need a chocolate fix.

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  192. @Leila - Sorry that was a bit confusing... What I meant to say was that even in the hookup culture there is still the concept of cheating and fidelity, even if it is perhaps not quite as pronounced as it once was.

    People have not, generally speaking, been able to completely erode the connection between sex and commitment.

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  193. Leila, I don't think anyone has said that consent is the sole criteria for good.
    I have explained harm, but that is how we got on this gays live 20 years less than you all. But I guess the main point of harm does go hand in hand with consent. If I choose something that can harm me (lets say skydiving) then I must accept the consequences of such action. If I in turn push you our of that plane unwilling (without your consent) do you have to accept the consequences? So my accepting the consequences of my actions has no affect on you unless I force you to mirror my actions. Now last I noticed I am not asking you to be gay.

    We have discussed age of consent also, and while you seem to be ok with teenagers getting married (and I did not see a response about the 50+ hollywood actor marrying the 16 year old so I imagine you are ok with that) because people of a certain age really don't understand their actions and their consequences. This is why parents raise their children rather than sending them off to figure it out on their own.

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  194. And as far as referencing Freud, I just was putting it out there to show that this is a natural law argument, not a Catholic one. Meaning it's not simply a Catholic delusion that sex was made for procreation. It is a truth that we call all see by the light of reason. So, just as an atheist doctor can see it, so can Mahatma Ghandi, a Hindu: "Artificial methods [of contraception] are like putting a premium on vice. They make men and women reckless .... Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral results can only be produced by moral restraints. All other restraints defeat the very purpose for which they are intended. If artificial methods become the order of the day, nothing but moral degradation can be the result. A society that has already become enervated through a variety of causes will still become further enervated by the adoption of artificial [birth control] methods .... As it is, man has sufficiently degraded women for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her."

    He speaks of "nature's laws" being violated by contraception... he would certainly have applied that to homosexual acts as well. Those acts are entirely opposed to the natural (moral) law, as the orthodox of every major world religion teaches.

    Now, would either Freud or Gandhi have been able to "see" the Trinity or the Marian Doctrines or the Sacraments by the light of reason alone? Nope. That requires revelation. But everyone can apprehend the natural law. It's not merely a "Catholic" thing.

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  195. Nicholas, that is right. The conscience is a hard thing to shake, even in the hook-up culture.

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  196. @Leila - Very good point.

    @alanl64 - I for one was grossed out by "Eugene Tombs" (that is who he will always be to me :-p) marrying that 16 year-old bombshell, even though she got parental consent :-p

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