It happened again yesterday when I was debating atheists on StrangeNotions.com: a man threw out the ubiquitous accusation that the Catholic Church is trying to "impose" her view of marriage on society.
The charge is so common now, used so reflexively by gay "marriage" supporters, that I think most Catholics just ignore it altogether. But I've decided to stop letting it slide, and I've started giving the accusers a short lesson on the meaning of the word "impose".
When I googled the word "impose", this was the first definition that popped up, so let's use it for our discussion:
[To] Force (something unwelcome or unfamiliar) to be accepted or put in place.
Now, if you've been following the issue of gay "marriage" and the massive, pull-out-all-the-stops push for its acceptance in America, something should immediately jump out at you when you evaluate that definition. Do you see it?
Just in case it's too obvious to see, let's break it down....
Marriage as union between male and female has been a reality (a non-controversy, a given) not only for the entire history of America, but essentially for the history of mankind. Since I cannot stop repeating the brilliant words of Hillary Clinton on the subject (shortly before her historical knowledge "evolved" along with the political winds), here are they are again:
"[Marriage is] the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history, as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society in which they are to become adults.”Bam!
And this basic understanding of the inherent heterosexuality of the conjugal union is what we would call the status quo.
A bride and a groom are needed for a marriage = status quo.
Traditional view of marriage (woman + man) = status quo.
Enter the gay "marriage" movement, with its advocates working very, very hard to change the basic understanding of marriage. In other words, the gay "marriage" movement is trying with all its might to change the status quo.
When a movement or group comes in and labors to replace what exists with something new that it demands, that is called imposition. It's imposing. The gay rights movement (and not the Church!) has actually been imposing its view of marriage upon society.
To refer back to the definition above, let's just add the words to test it: The gay "marriage" movement has "forced (something unwelcome or unfamiliar) to be accepted or put in place".
See, that fits.
And the force for acceptance has been powerful, as it's been imposed from the top down. Meaning, the clamor and cry for the redefining of marriage did not grow upward from the people (as the 1960s-era civil rights movement did), but was instigated by the elites, led by lawyers and judges and professors. The whole point of forced acceptance was to displace society's status quo understanding of marriage, which had been comfortable and quite acceptable to the people.
But now let's go back to left's narrative, this accusation that "the Catholic Church is imposing its beliefs on society!" What would society have to look like for that claim to have any truth in it?
Picture this: An American society exists in which gay couples are marrying just as they have since "the mists of history". The sight of two grooms on their wedding day is as familiar and pleasing to the average American as baseball and apple pie. Lesbians shopping for their wedding gowns (with the brides later being escorted down the aisle by their two sets of married dads) would simply be part of the cultural landscape, unremarkable in any way. Children would know from a young age that when they grow up, they can marry either boys or girls; it's simply understood. The concept of traditional marriage is unheard of and unwanted.
Enter the Catholic Church into this America, heavy-handedly "imposing" her beliefs,
It'd be a pretty weak imposition by the Church without the power to fine and jail and all, but of course, the entire scenario is completely false, and so the claims that the Catholic Church is imposing her beliefs on society is ludicrous.
Okay, back to reality. The truth is that all the movement, all the force, all the pressure, all the demands "to accept or put in place something unwelcome or unfamiliar" is coming from one side. And it's not the Catholic side.
So the next time someone tells you that the Catholic Church is "imposing" her beliefs on society, you might want to say: