Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quick Takes: Gay "marriage" plus some good stuff, too!

Let's get right to it, even publishing before midnight (is that allowed??)…







1) I asked a pro-"choice" lady on facebook when she thought that human life begins, and she responded uber-emotionally and repeatedly that she would not allow herself be "intimidated" by me. Well, thank goodness she did not cave to my mob-like tactics.


2) With the "big news" of the week, the wonderful Dr. Gerard Nadal said what a lot of us were thinking:


Truly, it's about time he 'fessed up! My gosh, as if we didn't know to where this man was "evolving" on the subject? Seriously, was anyone confused about where his thoughtful analysis would land him? It makes me laugh, the pretense has been just so ludicrous!

Anyhoo, Dr. Nadal analyzes the sad road we are on, and here's a powerful excerpt:
Part of the pathology of gay/lesbian marriages (and most divorces in heterosexuals) is the belief that a child can do just fine without a mother or a father. At least in divorce the reality of one-parental involvement is a tragic consequence. In gay and lesbian unions it is a principled and celebrated world-view. 
Worse still is the implicit validation of what some in the homosexual community call heterosexuals aloud: breeders. Gay men who donate sperm for IVF and surrogate motherhood merely use women as barnyard livestock. (So do the heterosexuals who pioneered and grew this beastly industry.) 
Breeders. 
Lesbian couples seeking sperm donations for either insemination or IVF do as much with men: Stud animals. 
The entire affair signals the collapse of Western/Christian Civilization. We have lost sight of who we are, what our children require, and have subordinated their needs to our narcissistic and hedonistic obsessions. 
There is nothing sweet and benign about two men determining that they are just as good as a mother. Such belief betrays their hostility toward women at the biological and metaphysical core of womanhood. The same for lesbians with men.
Read the rest, here.


3) What is particularly bizarre about Obama's "evolved" position is that he dared to use Jesus Christ as the basis for his decision. You see, there have been 20 centuries (try to imagine, slowly, 2,000 years of human history) of unbroken Christian moral teaching about the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts. In the last two minutes, historically speaking, a small percentage of Protestant Christianity has, following the trajectory of the sexual revolution, decided to remove Christian teaching and replace it with the heretofore unheard of idea that gay sex is good and holy. (By the way, these are largely the same Christian sects that have also endorsed human abortion.)

I say to Barack Obama: Your wife and children may have informed your brand new beliefs about gay "marriage", but in no way was Christianity your influence -- unless Christian sexual morality has been kidnapped, bound, chloroformed, dumped in a roadside ditch and then replaced by its very opposite.

See, we Christians don't just get to make up Christian doctrine as we go along. Sorry. Revealed religion doesn't work that way.


4) Speaking of "evolving" on the issue of gay "marriage", I know quite a few folks who have "evolved" the other way, including our own Stacy Trasancos, who describes her change of heart:


Praise God, the Church Christ founded still stands to give us back our dignity when we cannot even find it in ourselves. 

I love Peter Kreeft's words on the subject:
‎"The Church is the best friend of homosexuals, both because she tells them they are made in God's image and have intrinsic dignity and rights and are called to be saints, and because she is the only social force left that insists on moral absolutes. So when they sin against themselves she says NO, just as she does to heterosexuals who sin against themselves sexually, but when others sin against them she says NO also. No one else dares to say NO. She speaks up for everyone, including homosexuals."

If you liked that, you need to read what Dr. Kreeft said just prior! Right here.


5)
Do you want to cleanse yourself from all the bad news out there and refresh your psyche with an easy but profound read, which is also a darned good story? Read Michael Oher's book about his life from abandoned child of a crack addict to hardworking, honorable millionaire.


Michael Oher, if you recall, is the main character in The Blind Side (loved that movie!), and hearing him tell his life story was balm for my soul. It's called I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyondand I've been meaning to tell you about it for months. What a hopeful book, with no annoying blame-shifting or class- and race-war rhetoric.

(Sorry for the bad formatting and the weird comma that won't go in place! What the heck, Amazon Associates? Why can't you go back to the way you used to be? Sigh.)


6) For the best online feel-good story of the week, go here:


The best part was the unexpected reveal near the end! I was so shocked, and completely blown away! You will love this beautiful young girl's story. Especially if you have been following all the stuff I do on my other blog, which leads us to...


7) Attention! You have about 24 hours (or, until midnight Friday) to enter the iPad giveaway to help the Smiths bring Malcolm home! Even my adult kids have entered, donating as a tithe but secretly hoping to walk away with a brand new iPad!! Their odds are good, but I'm asking you to make their odds a little worse. (Sorry, kids.) Go here for details.

And, if you live in the Phoenix area and are somehow NOT planning to attend the "Baking Malcolm Home" event in just one short day (on Saturday!), then you are nuts, and you will regret it for the rest of your life. You cannot believe the lineup of guests! And the baked goods, egads! I cannot wait to see you. Go here for details.

Also, there is a chance for you wonderful people to make a real difference in the life of an orphan with Down Syndrome named Sheridan, by busting him out of the mental institution to which he's been transferred. A loving family wants to commit to him now, but they cannot yet do so. Please, to find out why, click this photo link to my other blog to read the story:

Sheridan, waiting for years now for a family.

I get emails from readers telling me that they love the Bubble. If you love the Bubble, could I ask you to throw that love to a child in need? It would mean the world to me, and today it also could mean Sheridan's very life.

(And there has to be at least one multi-millionaire who reads the Bubble, right? If not, can we find one?!)

Finally, congratulations to one of our own blogger sisters, Meg from True, Good, and Beautiful, who is the process of adopting one of the Reece's Rainbow cuties, Justin! Check out her new adoption blog which will chronicle the journey!




Prayers for Jen this week as she works through something terrible. God bless you, Jen. We love you lots.





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189 comments:

  1. Number one had me laughing my socks; absolutely classic.

    I must cite that in my "Quote of the day"

    Thank you for the laugh.....

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  2. Stuart, ha ha, I agree it is pretty funny!! She also told me I am a "fanatical moral zealot" who was trying to "guilt [her] with verbal manipulation". And my asking her the same question again, patiently, was met with the charge that I was "twisting every comment" she made. And on and on with a huge diatribe about coat hangers and love affairs with the fetus and many exclamation points, and incredible emotional rage. Ending with "Good day to you Miss Leila Miller, and I suggest you get over yourself with your religious narrow self-righteousness."

    I still never heard her answer the question, but I did gently provide a link to Project Rachel:

    http://hopeafterabortion.com/

    She excoriated me for that, too. Sigh….

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  3. Leila, thank you. I love that story in #6 and I, of course, love and appreciate Dr. Nadal's words. Thanks for a great "mob-like" 7 Takes, whew, scary intimidation here! :-D

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  4. Thanks for posting the evolution story. I'm on that path myself though not as far yet (still haven't "come out" - ha) though I probably have farther to go as I actually actively campaigned for marriage "rights" in the past. I grew up in a secular house, and while my parents identify as conservative their views, especially my father's, are rooted in superficial and prejudiced ideas (and since embracing Catholicism my assessment of them has not changed). So I raced headlong into the liberal camp and spent many years advocating things that required a lot of explanation in Confession. My worldview was too immature to see anything as more than black and white: I heard evidence about the bullying and sometimes outright violence against people with SSA and figured the only other option was to totally embrace the lifestyle.

    Even when I was an activist, lots of things troubled me. I thought I was advocating for gay people to be like us - get married and have families - and was surprised to learn from other activists that just being straight could sometimes be offensive. One of my dear friends, who grew up Catholic and now identifies as gay, laments the rules of dating that encourage promiscuity, especially considering the city where he lives has a 3 in 10 HIV infection rate for gay men.

    I am struggling with how to break this to friends and family. I know I have to stand up for what is right. But I am afraid. I know almost no one else - not even my husband, who is Catholic but tries to avoid discussion on the "controversial" stuff - who is in line with Church teaching on this. I'm scared to lose all my friends, especially since as an introvert it takes time for me to form friendships. Ugh - I know that God never promised us that life would be easy, but sometimes I really wish it was!

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    1. I know I'm not supposed to hit "reply" and just add my comment at the bottom, but- I know exactly how you feel! I'm in the same boat! I spend a lot of time NOT expressing my disagreement with the views of most of my family, because I would be instantly branded as a bigot and a homophobe. Praying for you!

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  5. T.hanks for reminding, as I begin to look at the agendas of the folks who will mentor my PhD path, that there are women of courage speaking with intelligence and passion in defense of the Bride of Christ.
    And thanks for doing god research to back it all up :)

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  6. I will never understand why asking a simple question incites the kind of reaction you received in #1.

    I'm so glad Oher has a book! I LOVED The Blind Side!!! I watch it with my kids a lot...I think it's their childhood "feel-good movie" (do we all have those?) and we have a blast watching it, discussing it and also following Michael Oher in the NFL.

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  7. Hi silicasandra,

    I appreciate your comment a lot, thank you. I understand how you feel. One thing I left out (for brevity, maybe I should follow up) is how I went from the fourth stage to the "I Must Stand" stage. I remember thinking I should do more, but not knowing how to do it. And I felt guilty. So I did all we can do when we don't know what to do.

    I prayed.

    The opportunities came after that and I knew in my heart when it was time to say something. I kept praying, and sometimes I knew when it was time to be silent. You'll know. Just tell God that you want to align your will with His will, and tell Him to use you because you are ready, and to grace you with what you will need.

    You'll know. Some people, I honestly believe, are called to prayerful activism too.

    I also ask God to kind of hit me over the head with the obvious too, because I'm slow to get it sometimes. He will, believe me.

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  8. Leila: Thanks for posting about Oher's book, and I donated to the Sheridan fund ~ what an amazing family.

    silicasandra: I too felt for awhile that the 'liberal' camp was the only place of compassion for those with SSA or any difference. I've come to realize the best thing for me is to be true to my values and push those in the church around me to advocate as hard for the inherent dignity of those with SSA as they are fighting 'gay marriage'.

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  9. I look forward to reading that book - thank you!

    I read this earlier in the week and thought of you - it REALLY resonated with me as it expresses how I've been feeling for quite a while. I don't know if you read it, but I highly recommend it:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/standingonmyhead/the-divine-mercy-and-the-road-to-hell

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  10. Hi Silicasandra, I would just second what Stacy said--keep praying. The "evolution" can be slow, especially when you've stood for the opposite POV in the past. I'm on the same path you are--and I find the opportunities to actually speak up are fairly rare for me, but perhaps this will change as I grow more comfortable with the whole argument.

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  11. As far as Baking Malcolm Home goes, I have two words for your audience- "Mulhern Cookies"

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  12. Dear Smiths, oh, yes! And since they are like GOLD, we are pricing them higher than everything else!!!

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  13. @Stacy, Joy, Elizabeth K: Thank you! It is always good to not feel quite so alone on our journeys. I am praying frequently for guidance, and reading, reading, reading. I never thought I would be interested in apologetics but there is an interest growing there. I think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, and I am friends with other reasonably intelligent people, but oh, how things can be twisted!

    @JoAnna: thanks for the link! I can understand much of what is in her story.

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  14. I had a liberal/non-religious FB friend that posted that whole Rush Limbaugh thing against gay marriage, but he also called Obama out for pandering with this latest move.

    I applauded him for being the only one of my liberal friends to recognize Obama's actions for what they are rather than some form of heroism. But I did gently chide him for his insulting references to the "stupidity of the social right".

    Then he pulled the whole "You are only against gay marriage because your Church tells you to be because there are no logical reasons to oppose that are separated from religion." And the "why should it matter to anyone else what two consenting adults do" argument.

    This was my response:

    "I also have scientific reasons for believing that it in most cases it is in the best interest of children (psychologically, socially, and neurologically) to be raised in a family with two married parents of opposite sexes. Not that homosexual couples are totally unable to be good parents or that there aren't some really shitty heterosexual parents, but all other things being equal children benefit most from having a father and a mother who are married to each other. And since the family is the core shaper of individuals within society, we all have a vested interest in making families the strongest that they can be by encouraging chastity until marriage and fidelity within marriage, discouraging divorce except in cases of abuse, and not treating anything that "two consenting adults" do as not only harmless but perfectly valid (and this holds true for heterosexual as well as homosexual couples).

    My views are not just based solely on my religious belief. Much that I have studied through secular sources about psychology, sociology, reproductive science, prenatal development, child development, and other topics supports the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

    But Tim, I can totally accept that we disagree on the topic of gay marriage, among many others. And I don't trust politicians on any side of the spectrum. My religious beliefs actually preclude supporting either of our two main political parties completely. And I was just relieved that someone was calling Obama's latest statement for what it was...pandering. That makes him no different than any other politician. But I'm just not a big fan of my friends on either side of the line referring to the other side as idiots, bigots, or any other pejorative generality just because they have a different viewpoint. And I wish my friends on both sides would remember that the "social right" or "liberals" aren't just abstract concepts or groups but real people, sometimes people that we even call friends."

    It's been thirteen hours and no response. Crickets are chirping.

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  15. @Silicasandra to offer some more help on your journey, I was there too, feeling like the only compassionate place to be was on the permissive liberal side. As I evoloved (oh, how the use of that word is cracking me up, if a GOP candidate said that MSM would be all over them with "flip-flopper" and more, but instead, they are applauding it - ugh!) Ahem. As I evolved, I found myself unsure of how or what to say, and it wasn't until I fully understood the non-religious reasons that I was able to speak about it, and months later (today), I finally blogged about it.

    One thing I know for sure made a huge difference was others praying for me, so please know I am praying for you.

    And Leila, well, you are kind of intimidating when on the other side of the fence. BUT, in an awesome way! Your kindness and knowledge of your "stuff" and consistency are hard to go up against - I know I tried. While I was never intimidated in a scared way, I still totally want to be able to be like you when I grow up. Your willingness to consistently speak the truth helped open my eyes and heart and if it meant I had to be intimidated by you, so be it. So keep on being mob-tastic please :).

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  16. The only plus to Obama's statement is that I'm hoping it'll work against him in this election year. *Fingers crossed*

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  17. callmemama,

    Exactly. My husband said when I was freaking out on the phone to him, "This will only solidify Obama's opposition."

    It would take me about 1,000 words to say that, but...yeah.

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  18. I asked a pro-"choice" lady on facebook when she thought that human life begins, and she responded uber-emotionally and repeatedly that she would not allow herself be "intimidated" by me.

    Oh, my sides hurt from laughter, Leila. Absurdity. What is with these delicate people?

    Intimidated? Why, because you'll show her that her logic is flawed? That's called "learning". No need to be intimidated. Toughen up mentally, people. There should be no requirement to add extra padding to these kinds of conversations.

    Great quick takes, mama.

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  19. rdcobb, that was an amazing, reasoned response! And, no reply? Sadly, I am not surprised. But good for you for putting that out there!

    I agree, this whole Obama debacle will serve to wake a lot of people up and solidify the opposition. I mean, how did we get this far off course in so short a time? We've been bullied and scared into speaking up, but I think now people are going, "What the heck is happening to America????"

    Rebecca, aw, thanks!! :)

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  20. LOL@ number 1 Oh to say the things I really want to say to dear Facebook liberal! You big bully Leila.....I love Nubbys "delicate people"....Grow some balls and defend what you believe Facebook liberal!

    It was Oher that made us make the first step into foster care.......You know I saw his Momma in the airport. :) I know, I'm big time over here! They actually don't live far from me... ;)

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  21. What does SSA mean?

    I don't think it makes sense to ascribe political motivations to Obama's announcement about gay marriage because it will only hurt him in the upcoming election.

    @Leila-when you say "20 centuries...of unbroken Christian moral teaching about the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts." are you talking specifically about Catholic teaching? Or teachings from the bible? And are you only referring to the story or Lot, or other references as well? Thanks.

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  22. @Leila-when you say "20 centuries...of unbroken Christian moral teaching about the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts." are you talking specifically about Catholic teaching? Or teachings from the bible? And are you only referring to the story or Lot, or other references as well?

    Yes. :P

    In all seriousness, first Judaism and then Christianity has always taught that extramarital sex is sinful, same-sex or otherwise. In fact, every Christian denomination taught the same until the 1970s or so.

    And let me just preempt any invocation of the God Hates Shrimp fallacy. Simply put, Christian teaching on homosexuality has never rested on proof-texting Leviticus 18:22.

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  23. Because I value your opinion, Leila, and everyone else's on here. Will you all read my latest post on this http://www.innocenceexperience.org/2012/05/sorry-but/
    and let me know what ya'll think.
    I'm wanting to link to it on Facebook, but as my liberal friends outnumber my conservatives ones something like 4 to 1, and seeing as how I get little support from even my conservative friends because they "don't politicize Facebook," I need to make sure that the post is coherent and can be understood.

    Thanks everybody.

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  24. Bethany, I read your piece and I think most people cannot really understand the difference between love the action and love the emotion. I think you need to clarify that more. (I am someone still on the fence about the state codifying marriage for homosexual partners, as I go back and forth on this issue.) But, when you said that "love the emotion" is really unnecessary for a marriage, after all, marriages have been mere contracts in the past, while true, it seems to support the idea that the evolution of marriage to mean any two consenting adults that LOVE each other is good and preferable to loveless marriages that merely produced children.

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  25. But remember Mary, love, the action, is a requirement for ALL relationships, an in particular, marriages. Love, the action can produce other emotions that are equally compelling (happiness, safety, comfort... etc...) and it can even help to maintain love, the emotion. But it is not necessary. In fact, it's only in the modern western world that so much emphasis is placed on love, the emotion, for marriage - in most of the world, where - not too many years ago, arranged marriages were incredibly common (and they still are in many places) - the language used to describe them is "Learning to love". Where the modern western language used to describe relationships moving toward marriage is "falling in love".

    Let me put it this I way. I always LOVE my husband. I fold his laundry, mop the floors, take care of our children, remind him to pay the bills, pick up his dirty socks off the floor, put the toilet seat down, kiss him when he needs a kiss, let him watch t.v. shows I think are stupid when I'm wanting to go to sleep, pack his suitcase when he travels, etc... etc... etc... But I don't always feel love for him. In fact, at times I downright dislike him, he can be arrogant, and aloof, and he can be so focused on things that he wants to do he forgets to take care of things I ask him to take care of. But I don't need to feel love for him at that moment in time. I really don't need to FEEL love for him any of the time. But I do have TO LOVE him, but more importantly, I WANT to love him. And that's WHY one should get married. Not because they feel love for another person, but because they want to the love the other person.

    However, all of this is irrelevant. None of this has to do with marriage. I can feel love (or perhaps more appropriately lust) for my hot co-worker. I might even be able to feel love for my cousin (ewwww!) or Chris O' Donnell on NCIS:LA (D@#^ now I have to go to confession tomorrow). But I'm not married to any of them.
    I love my husband, but I also love my children, my parents, my sister (really difficult) my friends, and from a Christian perspective: Jesus calls us to love everyone. But I'm not married to my children, my parents, my sister, my friends, or anyone else.

    WHY aren't those relationships considered marriages as well? It's because those relationships are not marriages don't reflect both of the characteristics, indissolubility AND potential to create offspring.

    Does that help? Or did I make it more convoluted?

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  26. Mary - can I suggest that you watch this? It's a bit long, but worth watching, especially if you're on the fence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pR9gyloyOjM&feature=share

    I think far too often marriage is reduced to sex, but to me, the commitment aspect of it is far more important than whatever goes on in the bedroom. Any (unrelated, consenting) man and woman can marry, and we honor it as a legitimate commitment no matter how long they intend to stay married, no matter whether they plan to have children, no matter whether they actually love one another - but we draw the line at same-sex marriages and say that those are verboten and that their commitment isn't worthy of recognition. I will never understand it.

    I'm in the middle of studying for the MCAT, so I'm really busy and won't be engaging in any back-and-forth debate like usual, though I'm happy to clarify, Mary, if you have any questions. :)

    Michelle

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  27. Why on earth would any society or nation have a vested interest in promoting or recognizing romantic relationships? This idea that the state should say, "We are so happy you are in love, so we are going to publicly recognize it and give you benefits!" is completely novel. And even more novel is the idea that two men or two women could have something called "marriage", when they cannot even complete the marital act.

    There is a reason that heterosexual marriage has always been recognized, and that has something to do with it being a building block -- no, the building block -- of human society. And that has everything to do with its procreative nature.

    To be blind to that fact is just mind-boggling to me.

    Male and female are like lock and key. They open to something unique and not repeatable by two same sex people.

    The state does not exist to sanction someone's feeling of romance. Sorry. Marriage is so much more than that.

    Bethany, I really enjoyed your article, and I really like your comments! Thank you!

    Mary, for the difference in the Christian view and the atheist view of love, I'll refer you back to this old post:

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

    Also, you might want to think of it this way: Love is a choice, a verb, and action. Feeling an emotion that we associate with romantic love is passive. It's just a feeling. Love, above all, means willing the good of the other, even if that causes great pain and suffering. Every husband, every wife, every mother or father understands this. The "feeling" of eros or romantic love is very lovely and important, of course, but it does not encapsulate the fullness of love. In fact, it's designed to do one thing, which, as you know, is to draw two people together to unite physically for the biological purpose of making new humans.

    Of course, Christologically there is so much more to it, so much depth, with the truth and goodness of human sexuality pointing to Heaven and the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. It reflects our ultimate marriage to the Bridegroom (union and consummation with God). Not one whisper of Christian tradition or Biblical witness points to two grooms, or sodomy or lesbian sex as "marriage" or anything other than mortal sin.

    You told me once, Mary, that you thought twenty centuries of unbroken teaching was a pretty strong sign of true Christian teaching, but that it was "not sufficient". I asked you, and you never answered: What, besides that kind of mind-blowing consistency would be a sufficient witness to Christian truth?

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  28. Michelle, what you are missing is that in order for 'marriage' to be what you think it should be, we actually have to redefine the word. Many of us are against redefining words to mean what they have never in history meant before, simply to make a group feel better. Marriage cannot mean "two grooms". It's an impossibility. It's like saying we can have a square circle. It doesn't exist. I guess the state could pass a law saying that the word circle now includes all squares, but the reality remains the same.

    I really hate language manipulation for political agendas. Some of the rest of what Dr. Kreeft said, in the post:

    Dr. Peter Kreeft: As a philosopher the thing that strikes me most is the brilliant strategy of the gay marriage movement. Like Orwell in 1984 it sees that the main battlefield is language. If they can redefine a key term like "marriage" they win.

    Control language and you control thought; control thought and you control action; control action and you control the world.

    Mussolini knew that too. He made it illegal for Italians to say "hi" in the traditional way. The Italian for "how are you?" is "Come sta lei?" "Lei" is the feminine inclusive pronoun. Fascist ideology held that this was emasculating and weak, so you had to say "Come sta lui?" from now on. "Lui" is the masculine pronoun. So no one could say "hi" in Italy without identifying themselves as pro or anti-fascist.

    In America, the feminists have succeeded in exactly the same way. They've labeled the traditional inclusive language, the language of every single one of the great books of Western civilization written in English, as exclusive because it uses "he" and "man" to include women; and they've labeled their new artificial ideological invention, which insists, contrary to historical fact, that "he" and "man" exclude women—they've labeled this "inclusive" language. And amazingly, nearly everyone follows like sheep!

    So it will be easy, I think, for them to redefine marriage. Hell, they've already redefined "human beings" or "persons" so that they can murder the littlest ones whenever they want to. Why should they feel any guilt about dishonesty when they don't feel any guilt about murder?

    I think you will find that there is an overwhelmingly strong connection between these three agendas: gay marriage, feminism, and abortion. Very seldom do you find people who are for one but not the other, or against one but not the other. And what they all have in common is this attitude toward language: it is what the most powerful and insidious propaganda film in history called "the triumph of the will." Already in Canada it is a crime, punishable by a fine or even imprisonment, to speak against homosexuality in public. Politically incorrect ideas, such as Biblical morality, are now defined as "hate speech."

    One of the things I fear from this is an ugly backlash against homosexuals. If the truth is now whatever we will, then just as there is nothing to stop society today from redefining marriage, there is nothing to stop it tomorrow from redefining personal dignity and rights so as to take them away from homosexuals. The Nazis did exactly that.

    The Church is the best friend of homosexuals, both because she tells them they are made in God's image and have intrinsic dignity and rights and are called to be saints, and because she is the only social force left that insists on moral absolutes—so when they sin against themselves she says NO, just as she does to heterosexuals who sin against themselves sexually, but when others sin against them she says NO also.

    No one else dares to say NO. She speaks up for everyone, including homosexuals.

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  29. At least the liberal people in my CATHOLIC Bible study didn't call me names when I spoke up. I hate labels and here I am using the label liberal. I'm sure Obama will lose the election unless the recession ends and we all have high-paying jobs, and people stop losing their homes.

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  30. Thanks Leila.

    And I apologize, my intention is not to hijack your thread.

    I will say, Michelle, You are right that there is too much emphasis placed on sex. But your example is flawed because you're only looking at the commitment side (indissolubility). I have committed relationships to a lot of people, from my children and parents to my personal banker and my OBGYN.

    The state isn't recognizing JUST the commitment. It's recognizing the marriage which includes not only the commmitment (indissolubility) but the natural potential to procreate. These two characteristics,combined together, are what make marriage unique and THAT is what the state is recognizing.

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  31. "Love, above all, means willing the good of the other, even if that causes great pain and suffering."
    Leila, did you watch the video? I hope you will, and I hope that, at least deep down, you do understand that this kind of love is not exclusive to opposite-sex couples.

    "The Church is the best friend of homosexuals" - this kind of made me sick to hear. Usually your best friend does not tell you that any romantic relationship you have will be morally abominable simply because your partner is of the same sex. Usually your best friend doesn't campaign hard and raise money to make sure that, should you find a partner despite it all, your relationship will be constitutionally banned from recognition. Usually your best friend doesn't believe that your romantic relationships are disgusting, or fixate on what you do in the bedroom instead of the quality of your relationship, or think that your relationships are an alarming sign of the immorality of the country. But maybe we have different definitions of "friends"?

    And, I'm only talking about the legal definition of marriage, which already has little to do with the Catholic idea of marriage. As marriage stands right now, a man can go to Vegas, marry a prostitute today, and get divorced in a couple hours. It doesn't fit in to your religious ideal of marriage, I know, but it is a legitimate "marriage" legally. The fact that you are okay with legally recognizing this, but not the union of two committed men or women (unrelated, consenting, yadda yadda) - that's hard for me to believe. If the state actually cared about procreation, they'd be more selective in who they allowed to marry, and if it's really children that you're concerned about, then why would the adopted/biological children of same-sex couples be somehow less important than the equivalent children of opposite-sex couples? Does not compute.

    This is how I see it - yes, the potential to procreate is something, and it's not inconsequential, I get that. But when any man and woman off the street can get married and receive all the rights of married couples, but the relationship between the men in the video doesn't deserve any legal recognition...to me, it's the sign of a really backwards, morally confused society. Call it a civil union if you like, and leave marriage to religious institutions, but it is beyond wrong to say that the loving commitment between two (unrelated, consenting, not adulter-ing) men or women should be legally equivalent to the relationship between someone and their personal banker.

    Alright. I am not going to argue this anymore, because I've already done it way too many times and I need to study. I'm out!

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  32. Michelle - But it's not about LOVE! I don't know how many times we can say it for you to understand.

    You said, as marriage stands right now, a man can go to Vegas, marry a prostitute today, and get divorced in a couple hours. It doesn't fit in to your religious ideal of marriage, I know, but it is a legitimate "marriage" legally. Then the problem is lies in the law, NOT in the definition of marriage. Instead of trying to change the definition of marriage so that men can marry men and women can marry women and the law will then equally apply to EVERYONE, what we need to do is go back and CHANGE the law. People shouldn't be legally able to get married in a drive-thru chapel in Vegas and divorced a few hours later.

    Call it a civil union if you like, and leave marriage to religious institutions, but it is beyond wrong to say that the loving commitment between two (unrelated, consenting, not adulter-ing) men or women should be legally equivalent to the relationship between someone and their personal banker

    Why? simply because it's a loving commitment? I have loving commitments with a lot people. You said yourself, it's not about sex, so WHY, legally, is it any different from those? And why make an exception for relatives, non-consent, or adulterous). That's equally as bigoted. And while it "may" not be the legal equivalent to the relationship between me and my personal banker, but it IS NOT the legal equivalent of marriage. Do you see the distinction?

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  33. Bethany, I LOVE when others "hijack" my threads. Believe me, it would make me too weary if I had to do the commenting on my own. I need you all to jump in and give the Catholic voice to the discussion.

    I agree with Bethany. Michelle, you have totally missed what we keep saying. This is not about a romantic feeling of "love"!

    Here is what marriage has always been characterized, religious or not, in human society up till about two minutes ago historically:

    1) male/female
    2) permanence

    That's it. And that is because of the procreative nature (the unique nature) of male/female unions.

    Notice that it does not include: "3) a feeling of romance"

    You are mixing up the idea of "romantic love" and the institution of marriage as its been known throughout history.

    Yes, romance is lovely and important and amazing! And we hope that all couples who are married might have that. But it's not definitional to marriage. You want to make it centered around that, I get it. But then you are talking about something brand new. It's not "marriage".

    And as far as the quickie divorces and the failure of marriages in our post-sexual revolution, feel-good culture, I would say this:

    The answer to the dilution of the meaning of marriage is not to dilute it further. The answer is to shore it up and bring it back to the ideal.

    So much more to say on that, but today is Malcolm's big event and I've gotta get cracking!

    Bethany, please feel free to keep engaging. I so appreciate when you do!

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  34. One more thing:

    Michelle, I did have a friend in high school who condoned my sins, Michelle, and she did it saying, with a smile, "Leila, I just want you to be happy!" I even remember where we were standing! In the yearbook room in high school. She knew that I was wrong in doing what I was doing, but she went on the "feelings". It was no service to me. She was not loving me. I was perplexed back then, but it helped me to continue on a path of destruction that went on for years. If she had told me at the time, "I love you too much to tell you that what you are doing is okay", then maybe we would have been friends to this day. I don't know. But I look back now and I think… that was no friend. She didn't have the courage to tell me the hard truth. She just wanted me to "feel" good in the moment.

    So, yes, we may have completely different ideas of what a friend is.

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  35. One of my Facebook friends posted one of those snarky things of:

    Well, if you think gay marriage should be illegal, then maybe we should make heterosexual divorce illegal, too.

    I replied. "That totally works for me....(except in cases of abuse)."

    This is what I love about being Catholic. It is about truth, even if the truth is something we don't want to hear. And, Leila is right. A "true friend" who who lovingly tells you the truth even if you don't want to hear it...whether it's what you are doing is wrong, or that guy that you are so in love with is really a creep who is cheating on you, or that dress you are wearing makes your skin looks washed out, or you have broccoli stuck in your teeth.

    Maybe one reason that there is so much divorce and other chaos is because "friends and families" have been taught by the culture that they have no right to offer advice or call a spade a spade or look out for the best interest of those we care about once they reach "adulthood"...no one has a right to interfere or inhibit another's "choices" in any way, even out of love.

    So, when our 18-year-old daughter is dating a 32-year-old man, we say "Well, if he treats you well and makes you happy..." instead of "What noble reason could a 32-year-old man have for dating an 18-year-old girl? He is either extremely immature or only really interested in you for sex. Because no matter how great and mature an 18-year-old girl is a mature 32-year-old man would see her as nothing but a child in terms of life experience. And why would you want to be with an immature 32-year-old man?"

    It's true that when we try to be a good friend the other person might not like what we say, get angry with us, and do whatever they want to do anyway. And we may just have to accept that and move on, but a lot of people think that means that they shouldn't be honest at all. We are dishonest not only in the lies that we tell and in the truths we refuse to say...

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  36. So excited for Malcolm!!!!! If I had the money and the space I'd take them all. When will he come home?

    Yes, romance is lovely and important and amazing! And we hope that all couples who are married might have that. But it's not definitional to marriage. You want to make it centered around that, I get it. But then you are talking about something brand new. It's not "marriage".

    And you are absolutely right. Attempting to make marriage centered on feelings of love and then complaining because some people's "love" isn't good enough to be recognized by the state compared to other's is dishonest at best and nefarious at worst.

    When the state is recognizing marriage, it's NOT recognizing the love that exists in the marriage, it's recognizing and encouraging (via benefits) the unique relationship that is marriage - permanence/indissolubility and potential for procreation/man and woman.

    If you honestly believe that that is unfair then instead of trying to redefine marriage you should be trying to petition the state to stop recognizing marriage all together.

    Absurd?!?!?!?!

    But that's just what will happen. If the state begins recognizing as equals every relationship that exists, then it is no longer recognizing marriage at all. It will be recognizing everybody.

    And yet, you (royal you) may get all the "benefits" (seriously who marries for the benefits), you still haven't equalized the relationships. The uniqueness is inherent. The indissoluble union of a man and woman (which by nature have the potential to procreate) contains a unique quality that isn't granted by the state. The state simply recognizes that uniqueness.

    Make sense?

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  37. If the state actually cared about procreation, they'd be more selective in who they allowed to marry, and if it's really children that you're concerned about.

    So the state should determine the compatibility of the couples and their procreation plans? Can you say, socialism?

    This is how I see it - yes, the potential to procreate is something, and it's not inconsequential, I get that. But when any man and woman off the street can get married and receive all the rights of married couples

    Again with the "rights" talk. What "rights" are we taking about that each citizen doesn't already have? Rights is not the correct operative word.

    Call it a civil union if you like, and leave marriage to religious institutions, but it is beyond wrong to say that the loving commitment between two (unrelated, consenting, not adulter-ing) men or women should be legally equivalent to the relationship between someone and their personal banker. ?

    Why is your definition acceptable and all-inclusive? Who determines that it is a "loving commitment"? The state?

    Further, why would you limit it to two people? Why bring in a religious standard of "non adultering" criteria at this point? This is a very inconsistent and exclusive argument.

    But maybe we have different definitions of "friends"?

    And the criteria for that for you is ...? Nebulous; because you have no standard for morality other than what feels good, should be endorsed because you say it should, and what should be celebrated because it "makes you feel loved, cared for" or some such moving goal post emotionalism.

    Catholics have the straight and narrow to follow. It's no secret. It doesn't move, flinch, or change with the times.
    Friends who keep us on this path are loyal and true. It brings peace and joy because we know we can trust our like-minded friends to care about our souls.

    Who cares about your soul among your friends, Michelle? Or, wait, I'm guessing most of them don't either a) believe in God, b) have a strong relationship with God. They might care about your emotional and physical health, but by what standard? By their own experience, feelings, opinions? And if they all give you similar advice in a very grey emotional area of your life, say, how do you know who you can trust and based on what?

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  38. "So the state should determine the compatibility of the couples and their procreation plans? Can you say, socialism?"

    This is not socialism, Nubby. To make your point more effective, refrain from utilizing concepts you don't completely understand.

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  39. This is not socialism, Nubby. To make your point more effective, refrain from utilizing concepts you don't completely understand.

    False. And here's some unsolicited advice for you, since you're now derailing into emotionalism, which is par for the course: Try not insulting someone with such a premenstrual tone, especially when you have no intention of clarifying your condescension.
    You may want to just address the logic in the comments, and be "friendly", since that's big rub, no?. Try moving the comments along with a clear point. Makes it so much more interesting for the reader.

    Just what do you think socialism is? Because I know what it is, and I'm pretty sure that picture which Michelle has painted in her post, is in no remote way related to democracy and/or freedom. You got a better description, gwen?

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  40. "The indissoluble union of a man and woman (which by nature have the potential to procreate) contains a unique quality that isn't granted by the state. The state simply recognizes that uniqueness." Mind if I steal that, Bethany? It is a version of the reality that the state doesn't "grant" us a darn thing - it either recognizes our God-given rights and makes it easier to benefit from them, leaves them unmentioned, or tramples on them. Traditional marriage merely recognizes a reality that has a huge impact on society.

    I know things are getting rough when my very orthodox Mom says, "Really, what difference does it make if two other people get married?" She said it in more of the "I'm getting worn down" tone than out of real belief that it doesn't matter. Without a lot of time, I mentioned the fact that if gay marriage is legal, it has to be presented in schools as the equivalent of heterosexual marriage, undermining our religious right to teach our children otherwise, and will confuse our children about sexuality in a society that is already terribly confused.

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  41. Sharon, you nailed it regarding the "wearing down"! We are being intimidated and worn down, and made to feel like our views of natural marriage (which all of human history reflects) are somehow freakish! It's a tactic, and it's working on people who don't have the strength or words to fight it.

    I want to write more on that one day. Meanwhile, you should tell her that when gay marriage becomes a "civil right" it will be illegal for anyone to speak or act against it. So, we become criminals as Catholics. Already, foster and adoption charities have been forced to close in some states, precisely because of gay marriage and civil union laws. Our Church will not be free to legally function in American as this goes forward. And remember, that's okay with the Left, as they don't give a rat's patootie about religious liberty.

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  42. Bethany and LEila,
    Sorry for delay. I think my comment to Bethany was misunderstood. I understand the difference between love the action and love the emotion, but I said most people do not, and she asked people to comment on her blog post. Does that make sense?

    However, I do think that the "love" you have for a spouse that is an action and a choice, is particularly informed by romance. Otherwise, it is just a stud/mare arrangement. In our view, the ideal marriage is a combination of friendship, romance, sexual attraction and the mundane love of feeding, picking up after, and caring for the loved one when the other emotions are lacking.

    I agree that the state has very little interest in codifying given the reality of paternity tests, linking males to their biological children through marriage is not really so central (from the state's point of view). I am actually moving towards favoring the state getting out of the marriage business altogether. States should certify civil unions, and everyone needs to do this to establish inheritance rights and all the other rights conferred by marriage. Churches and other religious entities can then be left to conduct marriages. As a Catholic, you would then only consider those married in the Catholic church as having valid marriages. In fact, since I am a practicing Lutheran and married outside the Catholic Church (though baptized) my marriage is not considered valid in the church's eyes and I cannot rightly receive communion until I remedy that issue. I respect the Church's right to do that and when I attend a Mass with my mother I simply pray during the Eucharist.

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  43. Leila said, "What, besides that kind of mind-blowing consistency would be a sufficient witness to Christian truth?"

    Again...the Ottoman Empire lasted for about 700 years, more for the Han Dynasty, so their longevity meant they had some hold on "truth"? Maybe they just figured out power.

    I think a witness to Christian Truth would be that organizations that were based on this teaching, and people who followed this teaching would not create evil or at least, would create less evil than other institutions. The Inquisition and the Crusades stick in my craw...so does the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The sexual abuse scandal as well.
    I am thinking about homosexuality like I do abortion....I am not CERTAIN abortion in the first six weeks is killing a person with a soul, but I will err on the side of life, given the grave nature of killing. With homosexuality, I am thinking we should err on the side of accepting it, given the grave nature of marginalizing a whole group of people who just might be practicing real love.

    My objections to homosexuality are uneven; I am much more disturbed by gay male activity, given the nature of much of the gay male culture, than gay female activity. I also cannot understand how we can consider it biologically normal to be sexually attracted to someone you cannot procreate with. It seems the height of bizarre.

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  44. "With homosexuality, I am thinking we should err on the side of accepting it, given the grave nature of marginalizing a whole group of people who just might be practicing real love."

    Yes! To me, it's insulting and presumptuous to write off same-sex couples as being incapable of genuine love. It would never even occur to me to think that my gay friends' relationships are somehow less loving than those of my straight friends. (I'd also add, in response to your last paragraph, that considering that lots of people enter into relationships with no intent or desire to procreate, it shouldn't seem that weird. Another way to think of it, maybe - I'm straight and want kids, but I'm not dead set on producing those kids myself.)

    Alright, back to studying...

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  45. To me, it's insulting and presumptuous to write off same-sex couples as being incapable of genuine love.

    Michelle, sorry, who ever said that people with SSA are incapable of genuinely loving? Sorry, that does not sound like anything ever said here.

    Mary, the Ottoman Empire was still a baby compared to the Church's longevity and consistency (which you would expect if Christ is God and He founded His Church to be unwavering), and besides, that was an empire, not a religion claiming unchanging truth.

    You still miss my point. You claim to be a Christian. I believe you. So, what makes you believe any particular Christian tenet? Tell me what criteria you use, if it's not unchanging, consistent teaching since the Church began to teach 2,000 years ago. Specifically, again: How do you, Mary, a Christian, evaluate what is truly valid as a Christian teaching, if it is not the fact that Christianity has taught it since the very beginning, and then up to this very day?

    Thanks!

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  46. Michelle, yes, many millions of people enter into relationships where they want to do the baby making act and yet have no babies come of that act. That is why we have, in this nation alone, a stack of baby corpses about 54 million high. I would call that a very warped view of sexuality. And not in keeping with biological imperatives or evolutionary instincts, either….

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    1. Clearer: "...want to do the baby-making act and yet want no babies to come of that act."

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  47. And, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were CONDEMNED by Catholic teaching, the Inquisition was MILD compared to the secular courts of the time (and even the BBC has corrected the wildly exaggerated claims that had been built up about the Church). Which of the many Crusades are you talking about? And as for the clergy scandal, then why are you a Lutheran or a Christian at all since there are just as many (if not more) sexual molestations occurring in Protestantism?

    Help me understand where the perfect Church with no sinners would reside.

    And help me understand how sinners in the Church would somehow invalidate the moral law being taught by the Church unbroken for 2,000 years?

    You do realize that while 1% of priests were having (mostly homosexual) contact with adolescents and children, the Church continued to teach the same exact moral truth (as Christ promised she would always do), that sexual sins are, well, sins. The irony is that anyone who agrees that what those few priests did was sinful are actually agreeing with the moral teachings of the Church.

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  48. One more thing, Mary, just to be extra clear. I was talking about doctrine, and you are talking about sinners in the Church. Put aside sinners in the Church and stick to doctrine. What would be sufficient for you to accept something as Christian doctrine, if not the fact that it's been taught consistently for 2,000 years, since Christ? What would be sufficient?

    Also, were you under the impression that the Church is claiming sinless members as a criteria for teaching Christ's truth? Because that has never been a claim of the Church.

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  49. Leila, I agree that having the right words to counter arguments for gay marriage is important to withstanding those arguments. I had a friend on FB decide, for no reason that I can tell, to post on my wall that she voted "No" in North Carolina. I really don't know why she felt she wanted to tell me that, since I rarely comment on gay marriage and never have in a post she could have read. She is Catholic, so I told her that a main reason I am against gay marriage is because of this: Jesus said to his apostles, "Whoever hears you hears me, and whoever rejects you rejects me and Him who sent me." And that is both a warning and an incredible promise. It's really one of the best verses in the Bible because it means that Jesus didn't have to comment on every issue that could possibly arise. The Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, can be trusted to teach us the truth on the matters that most affect our time. I told my friend that I have studied the "why" of Church teaching on gay marriage and am amazed at the Church's wisdom. We do not have emotional, knee-jerk reasons for what is taught, and there is not one stitch of hatred or disregard for human dignity in what is taught. And the bottom line for a Catholic is, if you reject what the Church is teaching on this matter, you are correcting not only the Holy Father and the bishops but you are correcting Jesus Christ himself - because who rejects the Church rejects Jesus, AND his father! To say we should tread carefully in that regard is an understatement!

    I would also ask Mary and other Protestants, if you believe what Jesus says in the Bible,then what do you think he meant when he said, "Who hears you hears me"? Is it essentially a meaningless statement?

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  50. Pardon me,

    Disregarding your sexist little comment Nubby (and no, I was not premenstrual when I wrote my comment), I believe it's perfectly fair game to challenge misconceptions around here.

    Since all you said was "False" with no further elaboration nor commentary suggesting you've read Marx, Engels, Durkheim, Saint-Simon, Crehan, or Weber (to name a few) I have to assume you still don't have a very clear idea of socialism.

    So let me just try to be succinct-socialism is a social theory about political economy based on European history and European and Classic philosophies. It has nothing to do with a dictator-like state controlling people's "compatibility" or "procreation plans." Rather, socialism suggests(as elaborated upon by Durkheim) that regulation and control of (economic) production are processes carried out within the interests of all members of society. People are free to use the fruits of their production for their own benefit (Giddens, 1971).

    I sincerely hope that helps Nubby,

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  51. Maybe my wording wasn't as precise as it could be, but it has never once been acknowledged that the love between two men or two women is equivalent to the love in an opposite-sex relationship. This is sort of what I was thinking of, a sentiment I'm remember you repeating in comments (not searchable, or I would have found a quote from you):

    "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." (emphasis added)

    If this isn't something you agree with (it was in a guest post), then my apologies. But I'm quite sure that there's always been a distinction made here between same- and opposite-sex couples in terms of love. When something is consistently referred to as "disordered" there is no way you view it as equivalent. Capable of love, yes, I could see you believing that. Capable of genuine, complete love in the context of their relationship - I have never seen anything to indicate that you would consider that possible.

    Re: abuse scandal - http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2234

    Okay, sorry, but I have to post and run. Important test in two weeks!

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  52. Much to reply to, but Michelle, I think the key for the difference between homosexual love and heterosexual love is that homosexual love can never ever produce a biological child. It can never be fruitful in that way, that is why it can never be "love in its full true being." But, that would mean that love between a man and a woman past menopause can never be equal either. I don't think that is Catholic teaching.

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  53. OK...well, Jainism has been around for probably 600 years more than Christianity. It teaches many remarkably Christian doctrines, but it also holds to the idea of reincarnation. So, the fact that this unbroken teaching that goes on longer than Catholic teaching is no sufficient for me to think it is true (though it gives me pause). To me, again, sufficient would be if the teachings as followed seemed to produce "better" love or more peace or resulted in less war and strife. The teachings have to ring true with results. If they are not required to show results then we might as well throw our reason out the door.

    We now have data about homosexuals being together for years and raising kids....this data does not reveal widespread depravity. If it was so evil, you would see the results of that. Christian teaching on adultery and fornication and divorce are valid; the sad results of adultery, fornication and no-fault divorce are readily seen. The Christian teaching on abortion is easy to follow: it is one of the Ten Commandments. The only way to get around this is by saying the fetus is not a person...but this leads us to idiocy as the (consistent) Peter Singer points out, as newborns are really not that different than preborns.

    Birth control (WITHIN A MARRIAGE) also seems not to create hell...as I know many many great marriages with children who spaced them or limited them using birth control...it is the use of it outside of marriage that is the problem.

    Again, homosexuality seems very odd to me, given the HUGE, OVERWHELMING, biological maladaptiveness of being SEXUALLY attracted to people you cannot procreate with. It is just mind-boggling that it exists in such high numbers. But...if two consenting adults love each other and want to form a lasting union forever and have the state validate it, I have a hard time formulating a good argument why they cannot do so. I really think the state should be out of the business of marriage all the way...that way, Churches can reclaim it and steal it back from the Kardashian depravity it has become.

    One of my major objections to gay unions is those who want to create their own chidlren using surrogates and donated eggs or sperm. To INTENTIONALLY create a child that way seems like the same thing as prostitution. "Hi. My name is Joe and my partner Phil and I want to have a baby using his sperm. We will pay you $10k to get one of your ivy league eggs, and you over there, we will pay you $20k to rent your womb out. We don't want any relationship with you, and we don't want you to be part of the child's life, as it is OUR CHILD, but this is not just using you like prostitution would be. It is just business." So to me this creates huge issues that go beyond basic Christian issues and touch on feminist issues. Sperm donation too...young men who need money are paid for their sperm. This is ToTALLY the same as paying for organs or paying for sex. I see no difference. It is also eugenic in nature, as everyone wants the smart, cute guy's sperm. I find it totally warped that a man would not have a problem with donating his sperm and that a woman would not have a problem donating her eggs.

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  54. Leila, could you show me data saying there was as much sexual molestation going on in Lutheranism as in Catholicism?

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  55. For clarification, what Michelle quoted is from a guest post I ran from a former lesbian. It's a great post, and can be found here:

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

    Michelle, to people, no matter what their sexual attraction issues, can love other human beings profoundly. But when they get together to use their sexual faculties in disordered ways (such as man on man), they have fallen short of their human dignity. It is very true that two men can have deep love for one another, but as in all love, it needs to be pure and rightly ordered. SSA men can do this, with prayer and grace. Same with people who have feelings for each other and yet are married to others. Adultery is also disordered, but no one is saying that two people can't find a pure and honorable way of loving. Everyone is capable. You want me to say that every time people "in love" (eros) express it sexually (as long as it fits the parameters you have set) are doing something wonderful. But that is just not so. I believe there were societies who thought it was noble for men to have sex with teen or younger boys (there are still proponents of that today). Objectively, it is not noble, it is a degradation of man.

    There is no limit to how well we can love others. There is also no limit to how we can attempt to love others in a disordered manner. Homosexual acts are always disordered.

    As for the cartoon… again, what does the sinfulness of priests (who are just as much sinners as the rest of us) have to do with the Church's teaching of doctrine, which has never changed? But, I am glad that you seem to agree with the Church's moral teaching that men having sexual contact with teens and pre-teens is immoral. Rest assured that the Church, at least, will never cave on that teaching. You can't be so sure that the rest of the culture won't cave one day….

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    1. Should have said "two people" there in the third paragraph.

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  56. Michelle said, "Yes! To me, it's insulting and presumptuous to write off same-sex couples as being incapable of genuine love. It would never even occur to me to think that my gay friends' relationships are somehow less loving than those of my straight friends"

    Well, not so much...I would not go that far. How do you react to your guy friend who wants an open marriage with his wife and his girlfriend, both who are consenting? Fine? Or what about two siblings? What about a guy with five wives? There are further implications here.

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  57. Mary, even post-menopausal couples can potentially be gifted with the miracle of a child (see the Bible for that! Abraham and Sarah). But that is not the point, nor what the Church says. Do you not admit to an intrinsic difference between male and female? And a unique quality to their sexuality? Lock and key. Even if, due to the Fall, there are broken bodies (whether sick or old) which do not open to life when they come together, the bodies still are made to fit together. They are made to create new life. And if you are a Christian, you believe that creation has a purpose, and God made male and female and saw that it was good. That was the first marriage… Christ repeats that God made male and female and that was marriage. The whole of the Bible is about God and marriage, about the Bride and the Bridegroom. No Christian can miss that, and no atheist should be missing the biological fact that women and men are meant for each other. (Look at a naked man and a naked woman. We can see, biologically, in the form of their bodies, that they were made for each other, sexually.) This is not rocket science.

    Whether or not a married couple actually is physically able to procreate is not the issue. The fact is that heterosexual sex is ordered toward procreation. Two men? Never. Nothing comes of that "union" no matter how many times you try it.

    And, you are very right that the manufacture of children is using not only the children but the "donors" as commodities. It is all about using people, not loving them. It is truly sick and twisted.

    And Mary, I am surprised you see no harm in gay marriage…. the very fact that their souls are in danger is the worst of it, and the fact that you think having children with no mothers, or children with no fathers is not a harm to society (and to those children!) is very sad to me. We see an explosion of that. I thought of all the children with no mothers on this Mother's Day, those who have "two daddies", and I thought of how wrong and disordered that is. All for our own selfishness. Blech.

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  58. To me, again, sufficient would be if the teachings as followed seemed to produce "better" love or more peace or resulted in less war and strife. The teachings have to ring true with results.

    Mary, how do you avoid this conclusion, then:

    "Since there has been war and strife among Christians in history, then Christian teaching cannot be true. But not only the unbroken teaching on human sexuality cannot be true (clearly the teaching on homosexuality did not start those wars and strife), but also the unbroken teaching on Jesus dying and rising (the core of our faith), the unbroken teaching on water baptism, the unbroken teaching on all the sacraments, the unbroken teachings on Mary, the unbroken teachings on all moral law -- the unbroken teaching on everything must be up for questioning. We cannot really know anything for sure."

    How do you get around that?

    What Christian teaching can you accept as true, and not just because you, Mary, think it sounds right? What does a revealed religion mean to you? What do you submit to, even though you do not understand? Why are you a Christian? Where do you find the part that says Christians get to discern Christian doctrine for themselves? Where do you see Jesus saying that?

    And, for the record, the shining jewels of our Church, the "sign", if you will, of "better love" and real fruit, are our saints. They manifest the goodness and beauty and truth of our Church, and of Christ's teachings. They lived the Faith to its fullness (yes, including the teachings on human sexuality), and their lives and influence speak for themselves. Many, many, many people have been converted by witnessing and reading the saints. They stand out on this earth like shining stars, and again, they accepted and lived the entirety of the Faith. There's your evidence. :)

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  59. Mary, here is an article about how Catholics are no more likely than any other denomination to molest:

    http://blogs.denverpost.com/hark/2010/05/25/scandal-creates-contempt-for-catholic-clergy/39/

    You should read it all, but here is an excerpt:

    “There is no plausible evidence that Catholic priests are gangs of sexual predators, as they are being portrayed,” said Pennsylvania State University Prof. Philip Jenkins, eminent religion and history scholar, and a non-Catholic who’s studied the church’s abuse problems for 20 years.

    Jenkins said there has been no formal study comparing denominations for rates of child abuse. However, insurers have been assessing the risks since they began offering riders on liability policies in the 1980s. Two of the largest insurers report no higher risks in covering Catholic churches than Protestant denominations.

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  60. Gotta run, but...I have an easier time saying homosexual sex is disordered than adultery being disordered. I find the urge for adultery to be quite normal, but acting on it to be very WRONG. Being sexually ATTRACTED to a person you cannot actually combine genes with seems disordered. But...I believe these couples when they say they have fallen in love, and as they are adults, I might not ever think it is equal to a man and a woman, but I am hard pressed to tell them why I should have any power to keep them apart.

    Also..I am now in classes to foster children. In this class are two lesbian couples (near as I can tell), so 20% of the class. They want to adopt children nobody else wants to adopt. I really laud their interest and commitment. Saying what they are doing is disordered or wrong seems to miss most of the point of what they are doing. I feel really bad for the kids that are in the system, but glad for those that find a loving, nurturing home. There are not enough homes for these kids...there is a long list of kids stuffed into the existing homes...this is in one of the richest states in our union! I am happy these women are not creating children through sperm donation. (my husband was asked to be a sperm donor from by another lesbian couple he worked with. They seemed very nice and it was flattering to him to be asked, but I was very glad that his first reaction...before even talking to me...was that he would never want to be separated from his biological child.) It is sad that these kids cannot have a mom and a dad, as I think that is ideal, but their lives are so far from ideal right now that the word has lost relevance to them.

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  61. Mary -

    "We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else," said Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. "I can tell you without hesitation that we have seen cases in many religious settings, from traveling evangelists to mainstream ministers to rabbis and others."

    Since the mid-1980s, insurance companies have offered sexual misconduct coverage as a rider on liability insurance, and their own studies indicate that Catholic churches are not higher risk than other congregations. Insurance companies that cover all denominations, such as Guide One Center for Risk Management, which has more than 40,000 church clients, does not charge Catholic churches higher premiums. "We don't see vast difference in the incidence rate between one denomination and another," says Sarah Buckley, assistant vice president of corporate communications. "It's pretty even across the denominations." It's been that way for decades. While the company saw an uptick in these claims by all types of churches around the time of the 2002 U.S. Catholic sex-abuse scandal, Eric Spacick, Guide One's senior church-risk manager, says "it's been pretty steady since." On average, the company says 80 percent of the sexual misconduct claims they get from all denominations involve sexual abuse of children. As a result, the more children's programs a church has, the more expensive its insurance, officials at Guide One said.
    - source

    Question for you. Would you be okay with convicted sex offenders adopting the children that no one else wants? I'm guessing no, right? Well, it's the same concept. You wouldn't want a convicted sex offender to adopt so-called "unwanted" children because you'd be afraid they would abuse those childrens' bodies. We are opposed to same-sex couples adopting because we're afraid they'll abuse those childrens' souls. To a Catholic, keeping a child's soul safe is equally important as keeping a child's body safe.

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    1. And before anyone freaks out, the Church would not adopt a child out to a fornicating heterosexual couple living together, either.

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  62. Mary, you are right that adultery, though mortally sinful, is a natural attraction and more "ordered" than homosexual sex, which is a disordered attraction.

    So sad about the foster kids. You know I have a heart for them. It's sad that sin brought them to the foster system (breakdown of family and marriage), so the watering down of the term "marriage" even further does not seem to ultimately help their plight, you know? (Gay "marriages" have a very high "divorce" rate, by the way…) What is really sad about your state is that there is no room for Catholic adoption agencies anymore. After about a hundred years, the Catholic adoption agencies, which had done such good in placing children with families, were driven out due to the homosexual agenda, which demands all must comply, not just tolerate, but accept fully and comply with the agenda, no exceptions. Such a tragedy. This is not a movement with good fruit….

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  63. This says so much:

    “Every evil screams out only one message: ‘I am good!’” And not only does it scream, but it demands that the people cry out tirelessly in response: “You are good, you are freedom, you are happiness!”

    — Fr. Alexander Schmemann, former Dean of St. Vladimir’s Seminary

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  64. Yes, I am hogging my own combox. I wrote this on facebook the other day. Any Christian who is fine with homosexual "marriage" can respond:

    Chastity is and has always been a Christian virtue. So, for those Catholics who are okay with homosexual sex, would you say that the homosexual couple must remain chaste until the "wedding" night? (Not sure how they would consummate the "marriage", but let's put that aside for the moment.) Or, do you think that premarital sex is okay for homosexual and heterosexual couples? In other words, are you jettisoning more than just the male/female component of Christian sexual morality/marriage? Put another way, what part of Christian sexual morality do you still hold to? Thanks!

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  65. Yeah, really abusive to your soul to have two parents willing to go to the trouble of taking you into their home and caring for you. Far more abusive than growing up unwanted and having no family. Because being raped is totally equivalent to having two parents who happen to be of the same sex.

    As for the priests, Leila, it's like a university turning out math majors who can barely add, and then defending themselves by saying "but the rest of the population is barely literate in math!" Sure, math is still math, but the school itself has something very fundamentally wrong with it if they can't produce graduates who are better than the general population at math, no matter how long they've been around.

    Okay, for real this time, I'm out.

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  66. Michelle, I can see how someone who doesn't believe in the existence of a soul can dismiss the concept of spiritual abuse. But your belief doesn't change reality. Abuse of the body is temporal. Abuse of the soul is eternal. They are equal atrocities, and no child should have to undergo either one.

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  67. Bingo, JoAnna.

    And, Michelle, no one is excusing priests who abuse. But it's less than 2%, I think? How does that discount the good priests or the Church? I'm pretty sure that families have a zillion times the rate of abuse than the priesthood, but do you discount the family as an institution because of it?

    What do you expect? Perfection? If so, why? We never claimed perfection and sinlessness for our members, so why do you?

    And, what of the saints? What of those who lived lives of heroic virtue? We have too many too count. What of them? If sinners invalidate our Faith, then do the saints validate it? I'm pretty confused at what your point is?

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  68. Let me break it down:

    As for the priests, Leila, it's like a university turning out math majors who can barely add, and then defending themselves by saying "but the rest of the population is barely literate in math!"

    Unfortunately for your argument, this is not the analogy that works. No one is excusing sin (or bad math); in fact, we say that sin (bad math) will earn you hell. And we say that molesting priests (or bad math teachers) are not holy, not good, and cannot be active priests (math teachers). And, perhaps there was something wrong with the admissions process in the university (or seminaries) and nothing wrong with the tenets of mathematics that are and have always been taught (or, doctrinal truth). And, since our university (Church) has consistently churned out the very BEST math teachers of all time (saints), and no more bad math teachers (molesting priests) than any other university (church), then I think you need to rethink your premise.

    Sure, math is still math, but the school itself has something very fundamentally wrong with it if they can't produce graduates who are better than the general population at math, no matter how long they've been around.

    Your analogy is not sound, again, because you are trying to imply that there is something wrong with doctrine (the truths of mathematics) that the Church (the university) teaches. When in fact, doctrine, as math, is true, sound, and unchanging. The problem is with the people, not the doctrine. Your premise is utterly unsound. Unless you want to get rid of math principles altogether, because there are bad math teachers?

    I hope that you see my point.

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  69. it's like a university turning out math majors who can barely add, and then defending themselves by saying "but the rest of the population is barely literate in math!"

    We are defending our doctrine because its true. A university defends math principles because they are true.

    The Church churns out saints and sinners. The university churns out great math teachers and bad ones. None of that invalidates the truth of mathematics, or the truth of doctrine. You see?

    And, if only living the virtues were as easy as memorizing formulas and doing the math. Human beings, and human will, are more complicated than that.

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  70. I TOTALLY agree that what happened to the Catholic Charities in Boston was terrible. I think that is a Church/State issue.

    And...I am aware that many same sex relationships break down (is it the same for lesbians and men?), but the fact is that heterosexual people are not lining up in the streets to take these hurt, abused, difficult children. I think at least one of these gay couples is interested in parenting an unwanted child because they have developed empathy from being rejected and hurt in their own life.

    JoAnna,
    Thanks for the stats about sex abuse rates across denominations...around my community pretty much nobody seems to know a case of a Lutheran pastor abusing, and there are several cases of priests, just in the next town alone. Of course, the Catholic population dwarfs the Lutheran one here, so it is not really a fair comparison.

    I do think Michelle's analogy has some merit. There is a higher standard for clergy for these sorts of moral issues. I would expect a higher standard for moral issues for a teacher in a Catholic or religious school than for a teacher in a public school as well, and I hold a higher standard for sexual morality for a teacher or coach of any kind than for a car mechanic. Sorry...but that is the way I feel. If you have sexual urges for children and then you deliberately place yourself in a position of trust and access to many children you are a predator. If you try to work in a field without children, at the very least I can respect your effort to remove temptation, even if you do eventually abuse.

    JoAnna is SURE that two same sex people getting "married" is the same gravity on their soul as other, widely-accepted-as-being sinful acts. She bases this on the teaching of the Catholic Church, as all sexual activities must be ordered towards procreation. She is consistent as she accepts that masturbation and any form of birth control is mortally sinful. She sees no possibility there could ever be a population problem. So I respect her view on those grounds. I do not accept those views as being totally true, so it colors my view of gay unions. I also know some gay people and just cannot muster up a convincing argument for them or for myself that tells them I am SURE what they want is sinful. I am not in a gay relationship, therefore how can I know if it is damaging their souls? Most (all?) other activities that the Church views as soul-damaging have earthly evidence of that (excepting contraceptive sex in a committed marriage).

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  71. I would expect a higher standard for moral issues for a teacher in a Catholic or religious school than for a teacher in a public school as well, and I hold a higher standard for sexual morality for a teacher or coach of any kind than for a car mechanic. Sorry...but that is the way I feel. If you have sexual urges for children and then you deliberately place yourself in a position of trust and access to many children you are a predator.

    Yes, but how does this invalidate Catholic doctrine? I am still not hearing that answer.

    Let's say a group of very pleasant people who are not openly sinning are in an organization that teaches that rape is a good thing. Then let's say there is another group of awful sinners who are in an organization that teaches that rape is a bad thing. Which organization is teaching the truth about rape? I'd say the second group is teaching the truth.

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  72. I am not in a gay relationship, therefore how can I know if it is damaging their souls?

    Because the Church has taught from Day One that gay sex is a mortal sin. Again, if that's not enough for you, why are you Christian? It's a serious question. Because if that teaching is not strong and clear and consistent enough, then what teaching is?

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  73. Leila said: "Or, do you think that premarital sex is okay for homosexual and heterosexual couples? In other words, are you jettisoning more than just the male/female component of Christian sexual morality/marriage? Put another way, what part of Christian sexual morality do you still hold to? Thanks!"
    I think premarital sexual activity should be curtailed...I think if you want to have sexual intercourse with someone you should be married...ideally. For hetero couples they might produce a child, for gay couples, all the bonding chemicals will be there and the intensity, and if you are going to be that intimate with someone, you owe them the forever promise...otherwise the temptations to be promiscuous and abuse is too great. I feel that if gay couples want marriage, then they need to abide by all the regulations of straight marriage. Dan Savage's version of marriage is problematic. There are lots of gays who disagree with his "monogamish" version...particularly lesbians. Again...let's just all have civil unions and leave marriage to the Churches. Why not?

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  74. Mary, you might want to check out http://www.reformation.com for information about clergy of other denominations who abuse.

    Anecdotally, I have a close friend who was sexually harassed by a married Lutheran bishop (also her employer). She filed suit but had to drop it due to lack of evidence; it became her word against his when her co-worker was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's and thus became an unreliable witness.

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  75. "Because if that teaching is not strong and clear and consistent enough, then what teaching is?"

    Jesus taught "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." and "love God", and "forgive others" and "be humble" and "help widows and orphans and the marginalized" and "love children" and "be honest" and "don't focus on material goods" and "you can grow in suffering" and "your soul is eternal", and "you can never be perfect but you can always work towards this" and "prayer can connect you to God's purpose"....that about sums it up.

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  76. edit - bummer, looks like reformation.com no longer exists. That's a shame; it was a good resource. http://stopbaptistpredators.org is a good one for stats on abuse by Baptist ministers.

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  77. Again...let's just all have civil unions and leave marriage to the Churches. Why not?

    Because every single society in the history of mankind has seen fit to have a vested interest in protecting and promoting marriage… because of the children that come from these unions, and because the family (man, woman, children) is the very most foundational societal unit. We ought to be innnnccccrreeeeeedibblllly careful before we decide to jettison the very foundation of every society since the beginning of mankind, don't you think?

    We are incredibly arrogant to make these massive social shifts because we want people to feel good and get legal benefits.

    Marriage was never just about the adults feeling romantic, it was about the family and the safety of the children which are the result.

    We are such a selfish society of arrested adolescents. Blech.

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  78. "And, if only living the virtues were as easy as memorizing formulas and doing the math. Human beings, and human will, are more complicated than that."

    Math is significantly more complicated and difficult than not raping children. There is nothing complicated about that. And if you're associated with a faith that claims to not only believe that abuse is wrong, but also that you'll be sent to hell for abusing a child, then there is nothing less complicated than that. You should be judged to a much higher standard, especially when it comes to something so mind-blowingly basic.

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  79. And, yes, lesbians "divorce" at a high rate. And, I'm still not clear on your answer. What does the Christian virtue of chastity mean to you? No premarital sex, or just less of it? And two men should wait till they are "married" to have… sexual acts together? I'm trying to see if your view of the virtue of chastity has anything to do with the Christian view of it.

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  80. Math is significantly more complicated and difficult than not raping children. There is nothing complicated about that. And if you're associated with a faith that claims to not only believe that abuse is wrong, but also that you'll be sent to hell for abusing a child, then there is nothing less complicated than that. You should be judged to a much higher standard, especially when it comes to something so mind-blowingly basic.

    Michelle, hell is a pretty harsh judgment. Mind-blowingly so.

    And, of course it's easy for you not to "rape children". But lots of people find it very hard not to… that is called SIN. Sin is ugly. And believe it or not, we Christians have such a high standard of virtue placed before us that there are many lesser things that are considered sins, too. It is difficult to live a virtuous life, but if one only believes in a couple of big sins (like child rape) then of course you can say it's easy for you to avoid sin. But for us, there are many more sins than that. Virtue is not easy, and in fact is impossible without God's grace.

    But when you say that practically nothing is a sin anymore, then yes, it's easier to live a "good" life.

    And all of that still does not answer the question: How do priest molestors invalidate Church teaching? ANYONE??????

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  81. In other words, how does, "Priests should be held to a higher standard" translate to "the Church teaches false doctrine"?

    Can anyone answer the actual question?

    Sorry, didn't mean to "yell" above. ;)

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  82. Jesus taught "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." and "love God", and "forgive others" and "be humble" and "help widows and orphans and the marginalized" and "love children" and "be honest" and "don't focus on material goods" and "you can grow in suffering" and "your soul is eternal", and "you can never be perfect but you can always work towards this" and "prayer can connect you to God's purpose"....that about sums it up.

    You could be a Buddhist and believe this, too, right? Or a New Ager?

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  83. PS: Actually, Jesus taught, "Be ye perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect." We are here to be perfected, even divinized. The vast majority of us will not be so until after a cleansing in Purgatory! :)

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  84. "You could be a Buddhist and believe this, too, right? Or a New Ager?"

    Leila, I just finished Orthodoxy by Chesterton and what you said above reminded me of this quote:

    "It is commonly the loose and latitudinarian Christians who pay quite indefensible compliments to Christianity. They talk as if there had never been any piety or pity until Christianity came, a point on which any mediaeval would have been eager to correct them. They represent that the remarkable thing about Christianity was that it was the first to preach simplicity or self-restraint, or inwardness and sincerity. They will think me very narrow (whatever that means) if I say that the remarkable thing about Christianity was that it was the first to preach Christianity. Its peculiarity was that it was peculiar, and simplicity and sincerity are not peculiar, but obvious ideals for all mankind. Christianity was the answer to a riddle, not the last truism uttered after a long talk."

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  85. LJP, bingo! Exactly! Oh, how I love Chesterton. (And providence.)

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  86. Leila said, "In other words, how does, "Priests should be held to a higher standard" translate to "the Church teaches false doctrine"?"
    That was not the question as I understood it. I understood it to be "What would be sufficient evidence to convince you that the Catholic Church was the one true source of all morality?" . That does not mean that I think that ALL the Church's doctrines are wrong or invalidated by the actions of some of her adherents, but unless such a Church had a very very good record of molding people or turning them into people much less likely to do evil than other institutions or no institution, then I would have a hard time believing they were teaching "Truth about all things". I think many Catholic doctrines are very true and have been demonstrated to be so by their "fruits" even when they are hard. Not fornicating is very hard to do. But, the data are in, and they point to the serious benefits of not fornicating.

    I think most new-age religions would have no problem with fornication if consent was had all around.

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  87. Buddhists don't believe (consistently) that the soul is eternal.

    I will tell you (haven't I already?) that believing that Jesus Christ died, rose from the dead and acended into heaven is very hard for me to actually believe. I know all the arguments for why I could believe this and not be a nut, but for me the doubt is strong and no matter the prayer and the focus, I realize I will always have this doubt. I have now accepted the doubt to some degree as part of me forever. In fact, many clergy have this doubt. Most (not all) of my Catholic (nominal and devout) friends and family have this doubt. Some just live with it, others wrestle with all the time (like me). I do believe in God pretty strongly. But, just like Pascal's wager, I guess a good percentage of the time, I just think that I might as well believe in Christology and follow the teachings of Jesus as best I can, as his teachings ring true. Note, if you read the New Testament, the overarching themes are for humility, honesty, total devotion to God, total giving of self, giving until it is painful even, never killing an innocent, always looking for the God in others. The overarching theme is not about heterosexual marriage. It just isn't. Certainly there are passages about this, but they are part of the background.

    I suppose I could be a Jain, or maybe an Orthodox Jew, but these traditions (the songs and all) are so foreign to me that shopping around for a synagogue or a temple would be too daunting. Others have done it though.

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  88. So let me just try to be succinct-socialism is a social theory about political economy based on European history and European and Classic philosophies. It has nothing to do with a dictator-like state controlling people's "compatibility" or "procreation plans." Rather, socialism suggests(as elaborated upon by Durkheim) that regulation and control of (economic) production are processes carried out within the interests of all members of society. People are free to use the fruits of their production for their own benefit (Giddens, 1971).

    Understood, gwen. Would you then prefer fascism, statism, or totalitarianism? Here is the point: you don't want the govt to control the family. You want power of choice at the individual level.

    Michelle stated this:

    If the state actually cared about procreation, they'd be more selective in who they allowed to marry. This leads to way too much government control. Which leads to freedom loss.

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  89. You certainly have an odd way of engaging in debate. I never voiced a preference concerning government; my concern was your gross misconceptions about socialism.

    I believe Michelle's point was to refute the idea that marriage between one man and one woman must be protected by the state in order to protect procreation/children/ "family values." (notice the use of the word "if" at the beginning of her sentence).

    Anyways, I don't want to usurp Michelle's fine arguments-my point was simply to encourage you to have a better understanding of political social theories.

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  90. National Socialist German Workers' Party is also known as the Nazis.
    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is also known as the USSR, or the Soviet Union (communists).

    And several others.

    We Catholics do not believe in socialism.

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  91. Mary, I don't think the Buddhists care if people believe in a soul or not. It's probably optional? Also, I understand that you have a hard time with the Resurrection, and with Christian teaching on human sexuality. But everything that you say seems to be simply your own opinion or comfort level, from doctrine to "what's part of the background", to the moral code.

    But Christianity is about submission to Christ and ALL that His Church teaches, not just picking what is comfortable. (And I still hold that all the things you hold as definitely true can be found outside of Christianity). What is specifically Christian among the beliefs you hold? Or, could you hold all those same beliefs even if Christ never existed?

    Also, I really urge you to read up on the Early Church Fathers, and the councils, etc. And of course the Bible. You may be surprised what is and is not "in the background". Some folks, for example, say that the Eucharist is "in the background" and yet the Church has always said it's front and center ("source and summit") of Christian life. Same with the virtues (yes, chastity included!!), and same with the hierarchical structure that Christ established, etc.

    And quite frankly, many liberal Christians think Christ is A-okay with abortions by the millions. They use their "feelings" and subjective opinions and individual "interpretation" of the Bible to come up with that total contradiction to Christianity.

    To accept Christianity, there are are certain things you don't get to "decide" or make up. One, that Christ is God incarnate who truly died and truly rose, and that the Truth he left is unchanging and revealed, not decided on an individual basis. If you read the early Fathers and the Councils, etc, you will see what was and is still important and essential to our Faith. It was never a matter of picking and choosing what felt comfortable. It is about obedience and submission to Church teaching, by the Church that Christ established to teach in His name, with the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit. That's basic stuff. It's beautiful. Otherwise, Christianity is not worth a darn, it's just another opinion among many.

    (to be continued)

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  92. As for this statement:

    "What would be sufficient evidence to convince you that the Catholic Church was the one true source of all morality?"

    No, that is not exactly what I said. You said something that was taught always and everywhere by the Christian Church would not be sufficient for you to believe that it is actually Christian doctrine. I asked you, what besides unbroken, unchanging, unwavering Christian teaching since the beginning would convince you that it's, well, Christian teaching.

    The best I can make out your answer is this: "I believe that for something to be accepted as authentically Christian teaching, it has to have been taught by the Church since the beginning and I have to personally see and believe that it has, in my opinion, borne good enough fruit for me to agree to it."

    Is that generally what you mean? Thanks!

    And in fact, it seems like "unbroken Christian teaching" is not even one of the necessary criteria for you to make that determination (of what is authentically Christian teaching), because there are some things that you accept as Christian teaching which have only been around certain sects of Christianity for a few decades, including the "goodness" of marital contraception and possibly some gay sex. Those have never been taught consistently (or really at all) in Christian history, and yet you accept that those things are okay because of the "I think it's good" part of your criteria for judging what is Christian truth, and not because of any Christian history of 2,000 years.

    See, that makes no sense to me.

    It's like you are making up what you want Christianity to be, according to your opinions and comfort levels.

    Am I totally off base? And if so, then what do you accept as revealed, that is specifically Christian teaching, whether in doctrine or morality? And, why do you not take Christianity as a package deal, as it was intended?

    Sorry, lots of questions, but I don't know how to make sense of what you are saying.

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  93. St. Irenaeus, in A.D. 189, wrote this in Against Heresies, regarding Apostolic Succession and the Deposit of Faith which Christ handed to the Church and the Apostles and their successors protect unbroken to this day. Every church was to agree with the Church of Rome (the Holy See). These were martyrs, in the earliest days of persecution, when the Apostles' teachings still rang in their ears. They say what we say today:

    Irenaeus

    "It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about" (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

    "But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3:3:2).

    "Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (ibid., 3:3:4).

    "Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. . . . For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant conversation, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?" (ibid., 3:4:1).

    "[I]t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth" (ibid., 4:26:2).

    "The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere" (ibid., 4:33:8).

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  94. Regarding the above:

    This is the SAME faith we have today, two thousand years later. We believe this SAME thing. It is like reading something from an old friend.
    THIS is the Christian belief to this day. You can't make up something else and say it's Christian belief.

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  95. "And quite frankly, many liberal Christians think Christ is A-okay with abortions by the millions. They use their "feelings" and subjective opinions and individual "interpretation" of the Bible to come up with that total contradiction to Christianity. "

    Abortion violates one of the paramount Commandments. It is unquestionable. These people (if they have a brain) have convinced themselves the fetus is not a person, but (at least) past the 7 week stage or so, that is an absurdity. Nobody could ever look at a 7 week old fetus and say convincingly "That is not a person". They might say, "That person is not equal to born persons", but that sends you down the crazy slope of eugenics.

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  96. Gwen - usurp away! I started writing a response to more recent comments, lost it, and decided it wasn't worth my time to retype. No time to continue (and honestly, I don't even want to since I'm still in shock that gay couples are apparently abusive parents just by existing)!

    (Aside to Nubby, though: and the government banning same-sex marriage doesn't lead to freedom loss?)

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  97. Abortion violates one of the paramount Commandments. It is unquestionable. These people (if they have a brain) have convinced themselves the fetus is not a person, but (at least) past the 7 week stage or so, that is an absurdity. Nobody could ever look at a 7 week old fetus and say convincingly "That is not a person". They might say, "That person is not equal to born persons", but that sends you down the crazy slope of eugenics.

    Mary! I could say the same thing about the absurdity of gay sex and gay "marriage"! Don't you see? Plenty of people can say what you are saying, but yet still your very own denomination is pro-"choice" and you stay! It's absurd, I agree!

    But millions say it every day, and say they are living in Christ's will.

    Without the Church's divine authority, that's what you get.

    Can't you see?

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  98. Aside to Nubby, though: and the government banning same-sex marriage doesn't lead to freedom loss?

    Speaking of absurd… how does one "ban" something that no one (even gay people) ever knew existed till five minutes ago?

    Do you see how absurd that statement is?

    To "ban" something implies that it has existed and been allowed up till then.

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  99. It's not just my opinion LEila. The data (data is not opinion) on broken marriages because of adultery is CLEAR. If a person did not look at that scientific data and come to the same conclusion then they would be STUPID. Human logic can look and see that the fruits of certain teachings are good. Keeping your pants on until marriage is clearly good because the converse produces bad things. Difficult, but good. Being an unforgiving person? Clearly bad...they measure these things like cortisol levels and there are crime stats to tell you that anger is bad. Going to church regularly and praying has been shown to be statistically good for your health and your social group. Gay people getting married has not been proven to cause demonstrable harm to them or others (if you don't include sperm banks or surrogates). These things too are now showing harm: the men that regret donating, the women who wish they never gave up their eggs...the kids who pine for a parent they never knew....this info is just starting to come out. Look...I absolutely don't think two gay moms or dads is ideal at all, but telling two adult people they have no right to joining themselves to each other because of Christianity is just beyond me. What if you are wrong? What if millions of gay people suffer because the Catholic Church got it wrong? They got it wrong on married priests...no doubt in my mind...

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  100. "Mary! I could say the same thing about the absurdity of gay sex and gay "marriage"! "

    Where in the ten commandments does it say anything about "Thou Shalt Not Marry a Person of the Same Sex"?

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  101. Mary!! Where does it say anything in the Ten Commandments about "Thou shalt not maim a person" or "Thou shalt not commit bestiality"? Not there, either. So, I guess that means that, even though Christianity has always taught it as belonging in the moral law, it really is still up for grabs!

    You cannot just make up Christianity as you go along, Mary. I promise you, it's really not allowed. It's not part of the system!

    What if "millions of pedophiles and kleptomaniacs and adulterers suffer because the Catholic Church "got it wrong"? Indeed, what if?

    And as for married priests… I feel like you have no read this blog or learned anything: Married priests is NOT a DOCTRINE! It's a discipline and my own priest is married with six children! However, the discipline has served the Church VERY well. But it's NOT a doctrine that was revealed!

    Sigh and sigh…

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  102. "My denomination" is not perfect. There are many Lutherans for Life here. Working to change it. But...I have other considerations for going to this church. Could I go to the Catholic Church down the road and just accept the things I don't agree with there, instead of going to the Lutheran Church and accepting that their official teaching is that abortion is a terrible option, but must remain an option in some cases. It is a good question, but the state of the Catholic churches around us would horrify you...you simply cannot find the types of priests you seem to know, or the congregations you seem to have. My husband would never stand for it. At the very least, he demands an intelligent celebrant.

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  103. Mary, seek out a good priest and a good parish. Even in the sorry state of liberal Massachusetts, they exist! I promise. Accepting a denomination which is okay with child murder is not really a good option, don't you think? If you can sit in their pews, they who have lost so much of Christian teaching and tradition, and who completely jettisoned everything the early Christians died for (did you read the St. Iranaeus quote?), then why not sit in a Catholic Church where at least you have the Eucharist and can sit in the true presence of the Risen Christ?

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  104. What if "millions of pedophiles and kleptomaniacs and adulterers suffer because the Catholic Church "got it wrong"? Indeed, what if?

    This is absurd. Opposition to same-sex marriage is predominantly founded in religious prejudice and there is no objective basis for it being wrong (I have never seen a single secular argument against it). Opposition to pedophilia, kleptomania, and adultery are all founded in objective harms caused by those behaviors - you don't need the Bible to condemn them, but you do need it to condemn homosexuality because it hurts no one. Without your faith, you would have no reason to oppose same-sex marriage, but you would still have reason to oppose hurting children, theft, and adultery. See the difference?

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  105. Um, no, Michelle, I can't see. You do realize that those who champion adultery and pedophilia (things we thankfully can agree are harmful) claim that they are not harmful, right? You get that?

    You have an opinion which is very new on the face of this planet: The idea that two men can "marry". Even secular societies (I think I recall that the USSR, for example, was founded in godless atheism) never had "gay marriage" before five minutes ago when it became chic.

    You have never seen a secular argument against it? Have you tried? My goodness, we've even had them here on this blog, several times.

    Never seen a secular argument against it?

    Absurd.

    "Homosexuality hurts no one" is utterly and totally your subjective opinion. I hope the opposite opinion. Now what?

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  106. Michelle,

    love the comment you just made!

    Leila, what is the point of this fun little comment?

    "National Socialist German Workers' Party is also known as the Nazis.
    Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is also known as the USSR, or the Soviet Union (communists).
    And several others.
    We Catholics do not believe in socialism."

    There's difference between how people use and abuse power and social theory and the actual philosophies and interpretations of social theory itself (not to mention instances where it fared better in practice).

    But i love the poetics of your comment, so in the spirit of that,

    "Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm an atheist, how about you?"

    cheers : )

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  107. Took me about three seconds to google "secular case against gay marriage". There are plenty of things that pop up. Here is one, so that you can never again claim that you have "never seen a single secular argument against it" --

    http://secularright.org/SR/wordpress/2009/04/29/a-secular-case-against-gay-marriage/

    Now you've seen one.

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  108. Gwen, cute poem!

    Here is the definition of socialism, from Merriam-Webster:

    Definition of SOCIALISM

    1
    : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
    2
    a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property
    b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state
    3
    : a stage of society in Marxist theory transitional between capitalism and communism and distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done


    Just thought we wanted to get clarity.

    What do you think of socialism? I think it's really yucky.

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  109. Leila, sure, those are arguments, but they're very stupid ones. From now on I'll be sure to say that I've never seen an intelligent secular argument against same-sex marriage.

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  110. Well, gosh, Michelle, I think all the arguments for gay "marriage" are stupid ones. Now what?

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  111. Leila
    What source do you use to state that lesbian divorce is high?

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  112. Now I keep on hoping for (and thoroughly expecting to see in my lifetime) progress and you don't.

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  113. I guess this guy from MIT is stupid too, Michelle?

    http://tech.mit.edu/V124/N5/kolasinski.5c.html

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  114. Not necessarily, but just because he's from MIT doesn't mean his arguments are any good.

    http://www.theatheistpig.com/2012/05/16/05162012/

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  115. Now I keep on hoping for (and thoroughly expecting to see in my lifetime) progress and you don't.

    And I rest in the knowledge that even if the whole world should say that good is bad and bad is good, that does not make it so. Truth is truth and majority opinion cannot change it. It will be sad if marriage is redefined to make it meaningless (and especially tragic for children), but it won't change the truth and meaning of human sexuality, nor will it change the meaning of marriage. Just as a public declaration that a square is round will not make it so.

    Good luck to wherever you are "progressing".

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  116. http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02

    Johanne, here are a bunch of comparative stats.

    I remember when my friend Kim (conversion story linked to mine) was a feminist working in a domestic violence shelter with many lesbian friends, she told me that the level of breakups were very high, even after "commitment" ceremonies.

    I have also read that gay "marriage" does not have great longevity where it has been tried. I will look more into it and especially for lesbians. Right now, I have to go watch some chick flicks with my daughters! (My sons don't want to watch them…. even though there is supposedly no difference between men and women. ;) )

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  117. Michelle, you've responded to an article regarding the secular case against gay marriage with a (dumb) cartoon mocking the Biblical stance against gay marriage.

    Can I assume that you're unable to rebut the arguments presented in the article, given that your response is completely nonsensical?

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  118. http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEntry?id=15542125

    The lesbian couple whose legal struggle helped pave the way for gay marriage in California is getting divorced.

    Robin Tyler and Diane Olson were the original plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court case (argued by attorney Gloria Allred) that opened the doors to lesbian and gay marriage in the nation's most-populous state. They appeared in an interview with Allred for ABC News.

    In June 2008, Tyler and Olson were the first same-sex couple to wed in Los Angeles County.

    During the campaign over Proposition 8 - the voter-approved initiative that ultimately overturned the court's decision and banned gay marriage - Olson and Tyler appeared in campaign ads asking the voters to not "take our marriage away."

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  119. JoAnna, it wasn't in response to that, I just stuck it at the bottom of the comment. You can assume that I'm studying for the MCAT right now and shouldn't be commenting at all, let alone getting into lengthy debates!

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  120. My mistake, Michelle. Best of luck with your studies.

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  121. Mary, at one point you indicate that you don't see why two people of the same sex should not be able to get married. I am wondering, why "two" people? I know this comes up a lot at the Bubble, the question that, if you are going to change the definition of marriage, why stop at two? I am wondering what your opinion of that is.

    It makes sense to me that the reason societies have historically seen marriage as between one man and one woman and in fact never seriously considered that it could be between people of the same sex is because of our innate recognition of the physical, sexual and psychological complimentarity of men and women, and that this complimentarity is fulfilled when a man and a woman unite. Because it is fulfilled, there is no need for more than two. It also makes sense that societies could see that this union produced children who needed someone to be responsible for them, and marriage, the commitment of the man to the woman, was the institution that would best provide for the child. Certainly there is nothing we've learned lately that would show that children are better off without a father or without a mother. The children benefit from the psychological and physical complimentarity of the parents, as well as obviously benefiting from the sexual complimentarity that made the children's lives possible to begin with. It is the complimentarity of the sexes that makes one male/one female marriage make sense, and its ability to produce children that has caused society to have an interest in the union. If we decide that complimentarity doesn't matter, then why should be decide that the number of individuals in a marriage does matter? Do you think that is out of a sense of tradition? Ironic that the tradition of "two" should be honored while the tradition of sexual complimentarity should not be.

    To me one secular argument against gay marriage is that there is no need for society to be involved in relationships that cannot, by their nature, produce children, and when we start getting into regulating such varieties of relationships we do have to ask what the new standard will be (two, for instance?) and why. And if there is no real reason to limit it to two, then there should be no law limiting it to two. I don't see what the basis for "two" would be.

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  122. Sharon, exactly! Gay "marriage" proponents seem to see the biological imperative of "two" but not the biological imperative of "male/female".

    You know, if we ask anyone what the ideal situation for a child is, I would hope and pray that even people like Michelle and Gwen could say a child ideally should be born of and raised by his biological mother and father.

    Anything other than that is less than ideal. Does the less-than-ideal happen? Yes! But we don't make it happen on purpose, or make it the equivalent of the ideal. Even adoption is about restoring to a child what has been lost (a mother and a father). It's about justice for the child, not simply to "fulfill the desires" of the adults!

    But yes, I'm always interested in why "two" is the number for the gay-rights folks.

    After all, we still call polygamous marriage "marriage" and we always have (because it's still male/female and we understand that term and what it involves, namely the coming together of man and wife (or wives) in sexual union). But never have used the term "marriage" to describe gay couples' unions. That is brand new territory, a complete redefinition of the word.

    **Polygamy is illicit, but societies have, throughout history and even till today, called polygamous marriages "marriages". Not so with homosexual pairings.

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  123. Michelle, said, "Without your faith, you would have no reason to oppose same-sex marriage, but you would still have reason to oppose hurting children, theft, and adultery. See the difference?"
    Your argument regarding adultery, kleptomania etc is a good one...but I think there is a secular argument against homosexual acts (maybe not marriage). You are studying for the MCAT...some of my doctor cousins tell me (and Leila backs this up) that anal sex causes trauma. Also, from a purely biological perspective, it is totally odd to be exclusively or primarily sexually aroused by someone or something you cannot procreate with. It is like a total waste of biological energy. Thus, it does give me pause, but I just cannot fully oppose gay marriage, as I have no hard data to tell these folks that getting married to each other causes harm to them or others. This is excepting the in-vitro creation of children that are not "theirs".

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  124. Polygamy is such a bad deal for women, but there are people in our society who want to be in such marriages. Just because I happen to think it is a bad deal for women shouldn't negate someone else's desire to be in such a relationship though, right? If the standard is love and the desire not to "marginalize" people who are different from us, then the law would need to reflect that standard - maybe, that any people who want to be united in love and experience the legal benefits of traditional marriage, should not be denied the opportunity. I don't see how we could argue otherwise.

    Interesting, though, that "love" in terms of romance has not been a historic requirement for marriage. My great-grandmother in Ireland met my great-grandfather on a Sunday and since Lent was coming up and weddings were not allowed in Lent, they married the following Tuesday. Not much of a chance for romance to develop but certainly plenty of opportunities followed for real love. I don't know if romance ever did develop - I'll have to ask one of my cousins who is more informed on family history! But I do know they stayed married and I'm sure my grandfather, and my father, benefited from that fact. So did my great-grandparents. I think we all have a sense that marriage is supposed to be about commitment, even though we hardly take commitment seriously in our society, sadly enough. Along with your question about about pre-marital chastity for gay couples (any good answers to that question?), it would be interesting to see gay couples fighting for tougher marriage laws that would make divorce more difficult, to strengthen the institution. What are the chances of that, I wonder!

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  125. Sharon and Leila,
    You are both totally correct that the polygamy argument is obvious when gay marriage comes up. I agree...but you are not going to like my answer: I don't really consider polygamy to be so deviant (polygyny...polyandry is almost nonexistent). It is clear that many societies have practiced this in the past with success....I don't think it works in a modern society where a good portion of the males are NOT being killed off by warfare and hunting...so you have the problem of extra males running around without hope of females...which creates all sorts of social problems...so I guess it is a very good challenge to gay marriage TODAY...but I don't really consider it so "deviant".

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  126. Sharon said "Polygamy is such a bad deal for women". I don't totally agree. As I have gotten older...I can see that it could be a very good deal for women if done right. It is a VERY bad deal for the men who are left over.

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  127. Mary, I do know what you're talking about from an biological standpoint. Yes, on a species level, it wouldn't make sense if everyone were gay. But on an individual level, something (genetics, maternal environment, I don't think anyone is quite sure) causes someone to be gay and it does make perfect sense for them to be gay; it wouldn't make sense to condemn the few because of biology. I'd also keep in mind that any sexual acts that are often causes of concern here can be and are certainly done in heterosexual married relationships - so, while it isn't biologically productive, it's not exclusive to same-sex couples. I think something that I've been noticing more and more (and is kind of why I posted that comic in my last comment) is that I'm not taking sex into account, which I think a lot of the commenters here are doing. To me, there is no functional difference between a same- and opposite-sex couple beyond reproduction - they love each other, can raise children, and live productive lives in society. That's what's really important; what goes on in the bedroom has not ever played into my reasoning, and it never will.

    JoAnna, no worries, it was pretty unclear. And, thanks! :)

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  128. Mary, I am wondering how it would be a good deal for women? Do you mean in such places as Africa where there is a higher mortality rate so at least women get married at all? I read about the mother of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan who was in a polygamous marriage, but the way it worked was that the man just moved on to the younger wife, leaving the older wife to fend for herself, at least physically, and with the poverty level she'd be on her own financially, too. Do you think it is possible for there not to be serious jealousy in a polygamous marriage, and that the women involved could deal withe the jealousy with anything other than serious denial? Ugh - the thought of the studly man who would think he is worthy of so many women. Count me out.

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  129. Mary, Leila keeps talking to you about the consistency of Catholic Teaching.
    I want to point you to this blog post, (not by me) and see if it helps explain things any better.

    http://www.catholicsistas.com/2012/05/17/why-i-became-catholic-and-not-buddhist

    I think it explains, in a step-by-step way, what Leila is talking about.

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  130. Mary, you are right about the deviancy factor. In degrees of deviancy, it's much less deviant to have male/female polygamy than it is to have "two grooms". As I said earlier, polygamy is still the natural order of "male-female" which is definitional to marriage.

    Gay "marriage" is not even on the marriage chart, so to speak. It's off the chart of reality, as is a square circle. There is no such thing as gay "marriage", because gay "marriage" is not even physically possible. Two men, or two women, cannot even perform the marital act.

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  131. Leila, I wouldn't turn to an online version of Merriam Webster for a thorough understanding of socialism; nor would I expect to find a definition of 'love' there that comes close to the concept of 'christian love' you posted about. Best to read from the original sources, no? Pop open the Bible, Marx, Engels, or maybe a little Giddens.

    I'm excited to see polygamy mentioned here. Anyone up for Polyandry? Just imagine how many house improvement projects could get done!! ; )

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  132. it wouldn't make sense to condemn the few because of biology

    Michelle, biologically, is it disordered for a man to be attracted sexually to a child?

    Thanks!

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  133. To me, there is no functional difference between a same- and opposite-sex couple beyond reproduction - they love each other, can raise children, and live productive lives in society. That's what's really important; what goes on in the bedroom has not ever played into my reasoning, and it never will.

    But reproduction is important when it comes to defining marriage. And this is WHY: Because what goes on in the bedroom for same-sex couple stays in the bedroom (It's like Vegas ;) ). But what goes on in the bedroom for a straight-couple most certainly has the potential to effect the entire rest of the community, society, the whole world, in some cases.

    THAT is one the difference between the two relationships, and why it is a necessity to classify the two differently! One is a marriage, the other is NOT.

    Not too mention, if what goes on in the bedroom is irrelevant. Then two sisters, parent/child, roommates. If what goes on in the bedroom is irrelevant then these pairings should also be classified as marriages.

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  134. I'm not taking sex into account, which I think a lot of the commenters here are doing.

    Michelle, a close relationship without sexual involvement is called "friendship". Why would the state have an interest in codifying friendships?

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  135. Leila, I wouldn't turn to an online version of Merriam Webster for a thorough understanding of socialism

    Gosh, Gwen, I never said that a dictionary would give a "thorough understanding of socialism"! I just didn't have time to cut and paste a thesis into a combox, so I thought a dictionary definition would be, at least, foundational. Do we still share a common language, at least some of the time?

    Do you see any use for dictionaries, or are they completely passe?

    Thanks!

    PS: Polyandry… hmmm… only if they are really cute, always pleasant, and have good hygiene!

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  136. Good grief. gwen, when you balance your accounts, do you need a "thorough" understanding and application of all things mathematical? Will remedial math do? Or do you rely on your knowledge of Calc IV to get you thru it?

    For the means of combox dialogue, we don't get our academic snob on, even if most of us are academics.

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  137. Bethany, great article!! And, lest anyone think I was hinting about my husband, I must clarify that he's really cute, often pleasant and has great hygiene! :) And he does a ton of stuff around the house, including cooking… So, I guess I don't need more than one hubby. :)

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  138. I don't know, Nubby. I certainly use my A.P. Calc II class in the kitchen. ;) It's important to graph before baking....

    ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!

    Sorry, I thought it was funny. But I may just THAT sleep deprived.

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  139. :) Bethany

    I'm sure you and I, and all the readers here, can define socialism without reading Marx, just as you and I, and all the readers here, can learn about lightbulbs without reading Edison.

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  140. Mary, I had a light bulb go off in my head in the shower about why we keep talking past each other on the "official Church teaching" subject!

    See, I can't get past the thought that, "Mary has set herself up as the final arbiter of what is authentic Christian teaching!" And of course, that simply cannot be. As nice as you are, you don't get to determine for Christianity and what is authentic Christian teaching, and I think you would agree.

    So, let me see if this helps:

    Okay, I keep asking "What, aside from unbroken, unchanging Christian teaching, would be sufficient enough for you to see it as authentic Christian teaching?"

    You keep hearing (I think), "How do you personally determine what you think is true within Christian teaching?"

    So, to get clarity and space, let's move it outside of Christianity and into something we both don't subscribe to: Hinduism.

    For example, I don't believe in the Hindu teaching of reincarnation. Official Hindu teaching is that we are reincarnated. I can say that "Yes, reincarnation is an official Hindu teaching" even if I personally don't believe that. I would never say, "Well, because I have evaluated the theory of reincarnation and I don't believe it is plausible and I am fairly certain that we only die once and that is the thing that makes sense to me empirically and logically -- therefore reincarnation cannot be considered authentic Hindu teaching, even though it's always been taught as such."

    Do you see the problem with making a statement like that?

    You (or I) don't personally have to believe in the Christian teachings of the Resurrection, the inerrancy of the Bible, the teachings on human sexuality, etc., for them to be authentically Christian teachings!

    For example, I don't think you would ever say: "I'm not so sure I believe in the Resurrection, therefore the Resurrection is not authentically Christian teaching!" Right? You would know that belief in the Resurrection is an unbroken, unchanging teaching of Christianity from the beginning, and you would recognize that it is an official teaching of Christianity (even if you don't believe in it, and even if a small minority of Christians deviate from Christian teaching and deny the Resurrection).

    So, why do you have a different standard for judging Christianity's moral teachings?

    Now that we have a new perspective on the question (if I was clear in my explanation), can you answer: What, aside from unbroken Christian teaching since the beginning of Christianity, would be "sufficient" for you (or anyone) to acknowledge it as authentic Christian teaching (regardless of your personal opinion of it)?

    I hope that helps!! I'm actually really excited that I think I figured out our miscommunication! :)

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  141. Leila I get what you are saying. I was misunderstanding you in a way. How about this. "What would be sufficient for you to accept it was 100% the intent of Christ and was 100% true if not the 2000 years of unbroken teaching of the Catholic Church?" Because, it might be "Christian Teaching" according to the Council of Nicea, but it might not actually be what Jesus intended.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/

    Do I think it is up to each person personally to decide what parts of religion are useful and what parts are not? No. But Yes. I do think that many people can use logic and history and science and evidence to assess rules given by religions. Let us say you were a small Hindu girl raised in Uttar Pradesh and you had never even heard of Jesus Christ (hard to believe, but I have trekked to places where the children had never seen a photograph...EVER!). Imagine that your religion tells you that there are castes and some people in the lower castes are "untouchable" and "less" than you. You make a friend from this caste and your logic and reason tell you that this person is not less than you...you begin to doubt the veracity of this Hindu teaching, even though the priests and your parents are telling you it is 100% true on the authority of history and some type of revelation. Is it not in your duty to follow your logic and the evidence to reject such a teaching?

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  142. Leila, I just think some concepts are more complex than others and worth delving into on more than just a quick glance; I do use dictionaries once in awhile. And I have spent way too much time in school; but aside from that, plenty of people proclaim to know all about Christianity or Catholicism or Communism and yet they haven't read the Bible or Catholic Doctrine or "The Communist Manifesto." There are exciting things to discover when you take the time to read through original works that have been so inspiring to people (and no I'm not comparing the Bible to the Communist Manifesto and I'm pretty sure you are not about to pick up Marx/Engels, I'm just saying, the original tome is better and more accurate than cliff notes).


    I love being an academic snob for you Nubby, because I think you need enrichment in your life. For all you know, Marx is hanging out with God right now ; )

    And I love the idea of using a Calc II book to graph before baking; why not? I once used geometry to prove who got the biggest piece of birthday cake at a family celebration (and yes it was humorous and funny not stodgy and presumptuous).

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  143. Mary, people are free to accept or reject any part of a teaching they want. We all have free will. We can assent or reject.

    My quibble is with someone coming in 2,000 years after the fact (the well-established, unbroken fact) and saying that Christian moral teaching is suddenly "not" Christian moral teaching, and that 20 centuries after the Apostles were anointed by Christ to teach the same truth that He taught to them directly, that suddenly, five minutes ago, someone in America decides that Christ never meant that, silly!….

    If someone wants to teach certain things about human sexuality that have never been taught in the history of Christianity, then fine. But don't call it Christian teaching…

    I am glad that at least we sort of understand each other, although I don't know that you have fully answered the basic question. "No. But Yes" is sort of meaningless.

    Anyway, thanks!

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  144. Miss Gwen, I've read The Communist Manifesto (high school or college?) and my children read it as part of their classical curriculum in high school. No worries!

    In fact, my kids' school (the classical model which the education establishment despises) is based on going straight to original sources. It's the foundation of what they do in their two-hour Humane Letters course, daily.

    Good stuff!

    But like Nubby said, this is a combox. ;)

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  145. I love being an academic snob for you Nubby, because I think you need enrichment in your life.

    Ha!
    Take a bow, your arrogance here just made you that much more ridiculous (you quite obviously don't know one thing about me or my life, that is just a stitch, thanks), since that's the look you're going for.

    I'm all for enrichment and it always entails goodness and beauty, never snobbery from people who wouldn't lower themselves to be real. Thanks, but not thanks, for the offer, though.

    Speaking of enrichment, your life will only ever be enriched in the truest way possible when you embrace the reality of God.

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  146. Miss G. You crack me up. LOL I wish we could all meet for coffee some evening. I could only imagine the looks we would get debating intellectual philosophies followed by discussing graphing calculus in baking.

    I love these discussions.

    Oh and, I'm just saying, the original tome is better and more accurate than cliff notes
    Classical Education, FTW!!!!!!!!!!!

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  147. I guess I should ask: Miss Gwen, as an academic, are you a fan of the trivium?

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  148. Actually, to be fair Nubby a great deal of my time is spent being "real" yo, and I'm a far cry from arrogant (perhaps you're reading my words in a voice like a British school marm?). Maybe I should've said you need humor in your life, not enrichment.

    Yay for classical education, learning Latin, logic, grammar and rhetoric. Yay also for integrating classical education with Mexican, feminist, Catholic, Communist, Russian, Women, Black, Ojibwe authors/intellectuals.

    I agree with Bethany-coffee would be a riot no doubt.

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  149. Yay also for integrating classical education with Mexican, feminist, Catholic, Communist, Russian, Women, Black, Ojibwe authors/intellectuals.

    Would pride of place be given to the foundations of Western civilization? If you see my kids' literature list, it would be very hard to make the choice to evict Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky for, say, an obscure lesbian feminist poet or an Ojibwe author. They might want to do that sort of research and reading when they are at the college level (provided that they actually learned about Western Civ in high school, which is increasingly rare).

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  150. And, Gwen, do you agree with this statement:

    There is no better and no worse in literature and the arts. The reason universities in the past taught Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and Bach rather than, let us say, Guatemalan poets, Sri Lankan musicians, and Native American storytellers was “Eurocentrism.”

    Dennis Prager has this as one of his bullet points as to what is wrong with higher education today. I agree with him, but I am curious as to what you think.

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  151. I can agree with that.

    I do think Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky have an important place in high school English classes to be sure. I think most teachers work very hard to give their students a background in classic literature that is referenced across disciplines.

    I do remember thinking that the reading list for my high school freshman and sophomore English classes was oddly made up entirely of European/American white, male authors. So it seems to me equally important to have a sense of writing traditions in other countries/cultures as well

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  152. See, I don't agree. I think Prager is right to slam higher education for their refusal to say that some works simply are better than others. And, I only wish that high schools gave a broad background in classic literature. It's not true in college anymore, sadly.

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  153. http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/292108/what-kids-now-learn-college-dennis-prager

    Here's the rest of his article, if you're interested. I agree with his points about what kids now learn, but I also agree with the academics who say that dropping the bomb on Hiroshima was WRONG.

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  154. Leila, I had to read the article. At first I thought you were agreeing with that statement and was confused when you said that Prager was denouncing higher ed for not acknowledging that some works are better than others.

    What the heck were you reading in Freshman and sophomore English classes. I admit, we read Shakespeare, but we also read The Odyssey and The Iliad (storytelling), Gilgamesh(from mesopotamia), Beowulf (older than dirt), Night by Elie Wiesel (Jewish), Pride and Prejudice (female author), Jane Eyre (female author), and those are just the ones I remember.

    I'm still trying to figure out how you classify Mexican Lit, Feminist Lit, Communist Lit, and even Native American Story-telling as Lit under the heading of Classical Education

    I'd prefer my children to learn about the classics, the traditional classics. Because most everything written in the last 75 years is junk. But then again, I HATE American Literature, especially Contemporary American Lit. It's crap, pardon my French. It's patronizingly whiny and caters to playing the victim.
    Give me Jane Austen, William Blake, Homer and the Greek Myths, and YES William "white as my @$$" Shakespeare any day of the week. (Can you tell I have an opinion about this? Gosh my American Lit classes still give me nightmares. John Steinbeck... blech)

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  155. Bethany, ha ha, sorry to have confused you! I agree with Prager that today's higher education is a travesty for the most part. Again, my issue is that the lens of "race, class and gender" and the oppression model is simply leftist propaganda disguised as "education". I prefer the lens of "truth, goodness and beauty" -- the universal experience of all human beings.

    And yes, I do not understand how Gwen can put that stuff under "classical education"!

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  156. And don't get me wrong. I don't mind, necessarily, reading some those topics. They are important in the study of world literature, world history, sociology, anthropology and a number of other subjects.

    But you have to begin with the classics and learn how to read with a discerning eye and to develop critical thinking skills and a basic understanding of literary criticism.

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  157. Michelle, another "progressive" comes out publicly in defense of marriage, and against gay "marriage". Of course, you will dismiss his thoughtful comments out of hand as "stupid", but nevertheless, they are here to see:

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/12434

    I like it when I can agree with a lib. ;)

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  158. Just checking back, hoping to see a defense of polygamy as being beneficial to women. In case Mary is able to stop back here again, I have been wracking (racking?) my brain and haven't been able to guess anything that you might say, Mary.

    Great article from Spiked, Leila!

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  159. Another good article, although the accompanying photo may annoy the "grammar nazi" in you.

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2012/05/18/what-radical-gays-really-want-and-will-never-ever-have/

    One part of the article:

    "(T)here is one thing you cannot have, and it is the one thing you seek through this radical political agenda, these hysterical protests and complaints about Christians: our approval. It cannot possibly be about anything else, because it is really the only thing you are missing. You want to live in a world in which everyone regards what you do and how you live not only as normal, but as a positive good. And your attempts to legalize “gay marriage” are about this and this alone. It is not about “equal rights” that you already possess, it is not about the freedom to openly identify as gay, which you already have. It is about using the power of the state to force society to recognize your living arrangements and lifestyle choices as legitimate. It is about policing the thoughts and opinions of the American people. It is about sharing prestige with properly and truly married couples. It is about envy and resentment, and a deep, abiding hatred of religion in general and Christianity in particular."

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  160. Haha, give me some credit, Leila. I don't dismiss things out of hand, but I found his comments to be not at all thoughtful and - you're right - pretty stupid. You were also right to put "progressive" in scare quotes. If this guy is actually progressive, Kathleen Sebelius is actually Catholic. ;)

    (I'm not trying to make a habit of calling something stupid and leaving it at that, I promise. That's trolling, not discussion. It would just be extremely irresponsible of me to pursue some debate and neglect my work, and I'm not sure at this point that either of us has much new to say anyway. Perhaps once I have a bit more free time I can come back and address why exactly these secular arguments aren't convincing.)

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  161. Right, Michelle, because something like this that the secular guy said is "not convincing" and so dang stupid:

    The concept of marriage throughout history has been the union of one man and one woman for the purpose of procreation and the raising of a family. The fact that some couples do not have children does not invalidate the fundamental basis of this institution. The binding of the family to the larger community over generations has led marriage to be considered a public good worthy of state recognition and support. This definition clearly sets marriage apart from other bonds in society.

    And the response ("But the two men are so in love, how can you deny their love?") is so thoughtful and, um, not stupid. Correct? ;)

    Also, are their tenets to secularism? Must one subscribe to the progressive "creed"? Can you point them out to me (and is there an authority which binds folks to one way of thinking? Sounds utterly dogmatic to me…almost like a religion in itself! Does this guy get excommunicated from the cult of progressivism for having his own (albeit stupid, non-thoughtful) thoughts about marriage? How does that work, exactly? ;)

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  162. First of all, that wouldn't be my response, which makes me wonder if you've been reading what I write at all. In fact, from that excerpt, I only take issue with the first sentence; the rest is fine. I just don't understand how an opposite-sex couple without children is more deserving of marriage than a same-sex couple with children, if the rearing of children is truly the reason for marriage (if it's really the reason, kind of funny how it's not mentioned as any kind of requirement - shouldn't you want that added?). Government-sanctioned family relationships (relationships that would exist with or without marriage as an institution) are only valuable to children if those parents are of the opposite sex?

    Leslie and Riley have a happy relationship, have three kids, own a home, and contribute productively to society. Casey and Taylor have a happy relationship, have three kids, own a home, and contribute productively to society.* If you value marriage as an institution to benefit children and to bind people to their community through the generations, who cares if Riley is male, and Leslie, Casey, and Taylor are all female? Are you seriously going to say that just because there's one penis and one vagina between the first couple and two vaginas between the second, that makes the second unworthy of legal recognition? Count me totally baffled. Honestly, no matter how many arguments I hear, I keep coming back to this - the family relationships you say you want to protect exist in families of same-sex couples, too, and they always will.

    (And, I think you know the answers to all the questions in your last paragraph. Progressive: favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas. Maybe he's progressive on other issues, but he's certainly not on this one.)

    I'm going to call it quits commenting, seriously this time. I can't spend more time on this now, but I can come back in a couple of weeks if you still want to discuss!
    ___
    * Assume, of course, unrelated/of age/consenting/etc. Those are different, unrelated discussions.

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  163. I just don't understand how an opposite-sex couple without children is more deserving of marriage than a same-sex couple with children

    Then you don't understand the unique character of male/female sex. Sorry, I can't help you if you really think that the sexual union between a man and a woman is identical in character to two men doing sexual things with one another. I truly cannot make you see and I don't want to spell it out. As we've said countless times, male/female sexuality is ordered towards procreation, and male/male sexuality is ordered toward…. nothing.

    Same-sex couples are not ordered toward having children or creating life… ever. Even an atheist can see that, right? When a heterosexual couple cannot physically have children together, it is because of disorder or advanced age. When a homosexual couple cannot have children, it is… normal. Homosexual sexual sexual acts could never, ever produce life. There is no reason for the state to sanction it. None.

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  164. if the rearing of children is truly the reason for marriage (if it's really the reason, kind of funny how it's not mentioned as any kind of requirement - shouldn't you want that added?)

    It never had to be "added" to any society in mankind's history because it was always a given. You are so young, and you can't imagine anything that came before a life of contraceptives on every shelf. I'm young enough that I once couldn't imagine it either. But then, I looked at history, got out of my myopic world of post-sexual revolution America (and the onslaught of broken families and messed up children with no security and homes), and realized that marriage was never about the state sanctioning someone's romantic feelings.

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  165. You say I'm not listening, but I could swear you aren't. Look at this:

    Are you seriously going to say that just because there's one penis and one vagina between the first couple and two vaginas between the second, that makes the second unworthy of legal recognition? Count me totally baffled. Honestly, no matter how many arguments I hear, I keep coming back to this - the family relationships you say you want to protect exist in families of same-sex couples, too, and they always will.

    "Legal recognition" of what? You keep coming back to this idea that the state must recognize romantic relationships? Why? It's almost weird now. Again, legal recognition of what? Gay people do not produce children, so there is no need for society to sanction that union for the children who will result. The only way children come to gay couples is by "borrowing" the other guys' "stuff", and that is using children (and other adults) as commodities. If you are saying that gay couples should only have children through adoption, at least that goes down a little bit easier. Are you prepared to say that that's the only way they should have kids? And, since adoption is the attempt by society to restore what is lost to a child (namely a mother and a father, which is what biology dictates they had and should have continued to have), then shouldn't every attempt be made to place a child in a home with a mother and a father?

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  166. (And, I think you know the answers to all the questions in your last paragraph. Progressive: favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas. Maybe he's progressive on other issues, but he's certainly not on this one.)

    What happens when a liberal idea is achieved? Do we keep going? For example, once gay "marriage" is accepted, what do we progress to then, with marriage? Will the proponents of bigamy and marriage to animals be seen as the "progressives" then? And if you balk, will you be seen as the repressive bigot then? I'm seriously asking.


    * Assume, of course, unrelated/of age/consenting/etc. Those are different, unrelated discussions.

    If you are a proponent of "marriage equality", then why all these caveats? Serious question. Why do you restrict marriage so severely?

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  167. I just don't understand how an opposite-sex couple without children is more deserving of marriage than a same-sex couple with children,

    Now here's the problem, Michelle. Marriage isn't something granted by the state to a few deserving couples who fall under guidelines. You're either married or you're not. If you have not committed yourself to an indissoluble relationship in which there is an inherent natural potential to procreate , then you're NOT married.

    Are you seriously going to say that just because there's one penis and one vagina between the first couple and two vaginas between the second, that makes the second unworthy of legal recognition?
    What makes the second relationship different between platonic roommates one of whom is a single parent? Or the widowed grandmother raising her grandchildren but living with her best friend? Or for that matter best friend college students? The answer is nothing, especially since we don't include what goes on in the bedroom. Therefore all these relationships would HAVE to be declared legal marriages as well, lest we be as bigoted as Catholic's are currently portrayed.

    From a Catholic perspective, that second relationship is also endangering the children's souls (not to mention, their own) by failing to live up to God's commands, but since not everyone is Catholic, and not everyone believes in God, we'll set that aside.

    But even without a "Catholic" perspective, yes, those relationships should be legally declared different, because OF the children. In your second example, with the two vaginas, the children are being denied, selfishly on purpose, their right to both their mother AND their father - both are necessary because both are different and bring different but necessary attributes to the family unit.

    BUT even more than that... The second relationship does not fit the requirements for marriage (see first paragraph of mine).
    The state doesn't confer marriage onto people, it recognizes and encourages marriage, through benefits, because marriage is the institution that is, the MOST stable, the MOST cost effective, the MOST efficient building block of society. But the state is not the "almighty granter of marriages". It might try to be. But I might try a lot of things that I'm never gonna do.

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  168. It's comments like this,

    "Again, my issue is that the lens of "race, class and gender" and the oppression model is simply leftist propaganda disguised as "education". I prefer the lens of "truth, goodness and beauty" -- the universal experience of all human beings."

    that make me very, very sad.

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  169. Miss Gwen, it makes me sad, too. Kudos to you if you don't teach via the "oppression model" lens. Unfortunately, that's pretty standard for higher education today. Surely you are aware?

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  170. so, just out of curiosity, what do you think of this opinion piece?

    http://ncronline.org/news/justice/catholics-and-racism-examination-conscience-examination-culture

    I can't remember if you've already declared the National Catholic Reporter too much of a liberal, misguided Catholic news service or maybe it's just this one opinion piece.

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  171. Miss G, I only have a moment, so I will read that later…

    But for some perspective, The National Catholic Reporter is also known (among Magisterium-loving Catholics) as "The National Catholic Distorter" or "The National Cathylic Reporter", so that might give you some idea of its credibility in my eyes. :)

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  172. Don't forget Fr. Z's "National Catholic Fishwrap" HAHAHAHAHA

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  173. Bethany, yes, ha ha!

    Well, Gwen, I read it. I wonder what the author's views on contraception are? Anyway, why didn't Catholics hear of the Trayvon case from the pulpit? Perhaps because the Church does not see it as her job to foment the race wars? And did you (or the author) question why the Church did not speak from the pulpit about the recent violent acts which were black on white? Why not?

    The Church says that all humans are created in the image and likeness of God... blacks and whites have been Catholic since the beginning -- our Church is universal. We even intermarry. :) People are people.

    But for a better discussion of the problem of race and the Church, go to my friend LaToya's new blog at "Look! A Black Catholic!" (see my blog roll). She is tackling that very subject. She also has two degrees and is a member of at least two oppressed groups, so you might like her. ;)

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  174. PS: Zimmerman is not "white" so the article loses some of its power there. The liberal media tried so desperately to paint this tragedy as a black/white issue. That narrative didn't quite fit, though.

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  175. Sharon,
    As I get older, I can see how polygamy with strong restrictions could have worked well for women, particularly in a world where many men were lost due to wars, risky jobs etc. Raising children alone in a nuclear family situation can be very lonely and a mountain of work. Sharing the work with sister wives, as well as the child-rearing would be welcomed. There would be jealousy...no doubt. But, particularly as I get older, having other women to keep up with the husband's sexual drive could conceivably be helpful. Of course jealousy would be terrible, but I can see the benefits. The people who lose out the most are the single, unattached males. In today's world there would be many of them, and for the straight ones, it would be bad (most violent crimes are perpetrated by single males). You think this sounds dismal, but I know only a very few lifelong marriages of one man and one woman where things are hunky-dory more than not. The numbers of men who cheat or have cheated is very high...

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  176. Thanks Leila, I was just curious and forgot that the National Catholic Register holds no authoritative weight with you.

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  177. Miss G - The National Catholic Register, I'm sure holds quite a bit of weight. The National Catholic Reporter is another matter all together. Which one are you referring to?

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  178. Gwen, Bethany is right. The Register is a faithful-to-the-Magisterium publication and I love it. The Reporter, on the other hand, is very much full of dissenters who are embarrassed by Church teaching. Too bad they both have the initials: NCR

    National Catholic Register: Yay!
    National Catholic Reporter: Blech!

    Sorry, it is confusing.

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