Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Is the Church "imposing"? Or is it someone else?



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:


im·pose  
/imˈpōz/
Verb
[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, using her police force, her courts, her unlimited power to fine and imprison and ruin… wait, never mind, she doesn't have anything like that; that's the state telling citizens that they must no longer accept the status quo but instead must change their minds and values and accept the Catholic Church's understanding of marriage as heterosexual in nature right now! Or, or… or else!

Hmmmm.

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:

Princess Bride











307 comments:

  1. So glad you are back!!!
    I love your posts. They not only educate the other side, but they clearly explain to us that already believe the Truth topics that we need to know more about in order to defend our Faith day to day!!!

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  2. Eh, it's a word that gets thrown around that's borderline meaningless anymore. I once had a student come by during office hours and I presented him a syllogistic argument about something or other (I don't even remember what it was now). He said that I was imposing my views on him. I pointed out, first, that he'd voluntarily come by during office hours (and asked *me* about whatever it was) and, second, I asked him if the argument was good (were the premises true? Did the premises lead to the conclusion?, etc). He said "Yes, I can't find anything wrong with the argument". At which point I suggested to him that it wasn't as much one side "imposing" views on other; it was being faced with an argument and, rather than refuting the argument (or accepting its truth if it can't be refuted), ignoring it by claiming that its presentation was an imposition of values. It's kind of a juvenile tactic but, well, college freshmen are startlingly juvenile (in my experiences, at least).

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  3. I love this! It's so true. I love the clarity with which you write....so great. Thank you!

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  4. Couldn't agree more with Benjamin. This is the inevitable result when our academic institutions become bastions of brainwashing instead of establishments of critical thinking and intellectual debate. "I'll just throw around words that I hear my professors say and surely I'll win!" I've seen so many times that these college students and even recent college grads (or just any aged liberal for that matter!) don't even know what they're arguing or why. And when you call them out their heads explode because they're soooooo not used to it!

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  5. Menu...link...all...send. How do you spell the sound of a flying back-kick? I used to impose , now I'm imposed on! Awesome, thank you !

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  6. You know...the whole gay marriage thing is interesting for straight people. I wrestle with it every day. "What should I think about this issue? How can I tell a gay young man that he must be celibate his entire life?" Many sincere Christians honestly struggle with this because, unlike abortion--which kills a person--gay unions seem to an expression of real love (agape as well as eros). They want to express their love and fidelity to that person (sure SOME have a strange notion of fidelity, but some straights do too, and have for centuries...Anna Karenina et al). The purchasing of eggs, wombs and sperm that accompanies many gay unions is abhorrent to me, but it is rampant in the straight world...so I feel hypocritical using that as an excuse not to be pro gay marriage. And divorce and remarriage...this is a public scourge...I wish I saw as many people venting about this and starting groups to overturn no-fault divorce laws as I see fighting for traditional marriage.

    I know why they don't; it is very hard to bring it up in mixed company because so many folks are divorced and remarried. Whenever I try to calmly say something pro-marriage and about the pitfalls of divorce, people descend upon me like wolves. So it is easier to be pro traditional marriage because less people have direct experience with an openly gay person.

    My best friend's brother is gay and has an awesome guy for a partner. His partner grew up the youngest of four boys and he has always been loved and accepted. He is quite well-adjusted, very caring, vibrant and kind. Before they were together, my friend's brother went through a string of relationships, and battled depression....now he is much better...I see how this relationship has been good. It is very hard to see this as mortal sin.

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  7. Mary, do you find it equally unfair when we tell pedophiles that they must be celibate their entire lives?

    But it's really beside the point of Leila's post, because refusing the imposition of gay "marriage" =/= telling anyone they must remain celibate their entire lives. Last time I checked, people can and do engage in all manner of sexual activities outside of marriage.

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  8. I was reading this on Feedly and didn't realize who wrote it. I was thinking, "This is awesome! Where is it from?" and then I see it's from the Bubble! It really is so well done, Leila! I know, as Benjamin and others have said, people today aren't used to being expected to think this clearly. But if we keep on them, I think people will respond to the truth - to reality, basically.

    Mary, I know what you mean regarding the redefinition of marriage. It doesn't hurt to point out that marriage was redefined, with serious damage to children, when the concept of stability was thrown out of the equation. It is very sad.

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  9. I'm new to reading your blog. This is wonderful!

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  10. "Before they were together, my friend's brother went through a string of relationships, and battled depression....now he is much better...I see how this relationship has been good. It is very hard to see this as mortal sin."

    Mary, I do understand what you are saying, but we all know situations where people do seem happier and at peace in their sin. For example, men who have left their difficult wives and gone off with new women (often starting in adultery [sin], before the dumping the wife [sin]) and who have been happier (at least on a temporal level) in the end. And, even knowing it's a sinful situation, we do, on the level of human emotion, feel good that some of those folks are looking and acting more refreshed, calm, etc. But it doesn't change the reality that adultery is a sin, dumping one's wife is a sin, etc. Heck lots of folks living together and fornicating are feeling really happy about doing so, too!

    Christian morality does not equate to this: "If I feel calm and refreshed and happy when doing it, it's not a sin."

    I feel great sympathy for gay people, I really do. They have a very, very, very tough road. It's not easy, not ever. None of us would wish their cross on anyone. I'd guess most of them don't want it, either. But I want to be very honest with you and tell you that I feel sorry for these people, too:

    http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2009-08-20/news/those-who-practice-bestiality-say-they-re-part-of-the-next-gay-rights-movement/

    And no, I am not equating this with homosexuality. It is not the same on many levels, but they do have my sympathy.

    Bottom line, it is hard to live in this world, and we want to see people "happy", but not at the expense of what is true or good. And, feeling sympathy for gay people does not necessitate redefining marriage, as JoAnna has made clear. No one is hindering the movements of anyone, or stopping them from doing the things they want to do. But redefining marriage is a separate issue altogether.



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  11. Ben, consider this post my little attempt at resistance. ;)

    Emily, welcome!

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  12. I am so glad you will be posting here more often! Though, if you go back to posts with 200+ replies, it might not be such an improvement over ditching Facebook. ;-)

    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.

    And that side has the battering ram of the mainstream media for its daily, non-stop use. If MSN is your homepage, you'll see a gay story (Oh no! a gay couple was denied a wedding cake! How dare someone deny them flour and sugar! Close that shop down and ruin the owner's livelihood!) every day. The more you read about gay couples, womb/egg/sperm swapping and baby manufacturing (which is just as wrong for heteros) to make them a "family', the more that it becomes "normal" in our subconscious and all critical thinking is displaced by emotion. Same goes for pre/extra marital sex, contraception and abortion.

    Last night, I posted a response on a well-known conservative blogger's post about gay bias and media bias. Some of the comments were so mind-numbingly stupid that I had to respond and was as blunt as I could be. Did you know that journalists are "educated, literate with good critical-thinking skills and have a 'humanistic'" approach to their profession? That's why they are so gay-friendly? Because, I with my master's degree from a public, gay-agenda pushing university, am apparently not educated or literate. Did you know that there is "no rational" reason to oppose gay marriage? Did you know that a contract (marriage) is what gays need to be monogamous (what the -?!) (apparently, they get a pass for self-discipline and responsibility) and that sexually transmitted diseases are all OUR problems? As someone who has been celibate and chaste since learning her lessons the hard way, and who is disease-free (and drama-free from the heartache that pre-marital sex brings), I said that NO, STDs are not MY problem. I haven't read responses to my post yet. I can only imagine!

    Best movie line ever: A Few Good Men: "You can't handle the truth!" Whether the "truth" is used with a capital or lower case "t."

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  13. Oh, Girl from New York! You need a blog! This is so right, and so frustrating! You really nailed it.

    And, I am going to do a very big post (soonish?) on the effect that all this is having on the children who were manufactured and/or adopted and raised by gay couples. It's a voice that is so hard to hear, but some of them have begun to speak, courageously. We have a few generations before we will appreciate the full fallout.

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    1. And, I will pray for you as you go back into the lion's den of the combox. I spent the last couple of days there on SN, with folks who do not recognize a god above themselves or their passions. It is heavy on the soul, and one can only take it so long before it's necessary to pull back and breathe. I cannot even go into some of the things that were said. Sometimes true colors come out from behind facades. It's a heavy spiritual battle we are in, and we can't forget that our real foes are not those "educated, literate" folks (whom we hope to see in Heaven with us), but powers and principalities…. That's why it's so wearying.

      Please, keep fighting, but take breaks as needed. (Pray the St. Michael prayer often!)

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  14. I forgot to add that I also said that contraception is not healthcare, it's behavior care.

    Leila, I appreciate your comment, but I don't have the patience and charity you have in dealing with people and which is needed to blog and reach people as you have done. One of my regular prayers is that I become a good example of a Christian and a Catholic Christian...so far, not so good. You're straightforward but tactful when dealing with opposing views...I'm a sledgehammer.

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  15. "contraception is not healthcare, it's behavior care"

    I love this! So true.

    "You're straightforward but tactful when dealing with opposing views."

    I've been told otherwise in no uncertain terms, many times, ha ha. And, believe me when I say that it has taken all I have in me to be civil at times. It is very, very difficult to hold back when God and all that is good and holy is being viciously attacked or flippantly mocked. I'm prideful to a fault, and I want to lash out when people go after me personally… it's good you can't see what goes on here in person as I sit at the keyboard, lol! I'm working on it, praying for grace, just like you.

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    1. "it's good you can't see what goes on here in person as I sit at the keyboard, "

      Oh yes we can :) We all experience this when we comment Leila:

      "What??? Where did he get that from my reply???
      "Hun, look that this! Read my reply to him, what I said earlier! Did I give ANY indication that I wanted all gays thrown in jail???? How can he say that?? What planet does he live on??? You see? This is what I have to deal with!

      "Calm down Leila before your reply back."

      "Yeah...you're right Hun." (Deep breath then POUNDS! the reply link).

      "Jail huh? You just wait pal and try to refute THIS!!!!"

      Another great post Leila ;)

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  16. "And, I am going to do a very big post (soonish?) on the effect that all this is having on the children who were manufactured and/or adopted and raised by gay couples. It's a voice that is so hard to hear, but some of them have begun to speak, courageously. We have a few generations before we will appreciate the full fallout."

    I do hope you'll take into account the children's circumstances when you write this. To really know whether same-sex parenting is bad for kids, you need to be comparing as similar of cases as possible. I think, ideally, I'd like to see a comparison of kids adopted at a young age into stable families with gay parents and kids adopted at a young age into stable families with straight parents. If you're comparing a kid who has remarried gay parents who have multiple partners (for instance) to a kid who lives with monogamous biological parents, I don't think anyone would be surprised by the results. Basically – make sure that the children speaking out were actually primarily affected by the fact that their parents are gay, not that they were harmed by situations and behaviors that would be tough regardless of parental gender.

    (I'm not sure I'm back commenting for real, so forgive me if I decide to disappear again. :) )

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  17. Sorry...have little time today.
    JoAnna: I understand the pedophile connection and all, but I think we make a distinction where people must control their wants and needs if expressing those needs infringes upon the rights of another (i.e. the right of a minor to have a normal childhood). In the case of two gay men, they are freely entering into a union with full consent as they are adults.

    People will say that there is not a slippery slope when it comes to pedophila because young children are not able to consent...period. And, for teens there is a sliding scale...as evidenced by the evolved and varied minimum age for marriage in the different states. 18 is actually an arbitrary number (but I think good to have a number) for the distinction of a minor, as many 17 year-olds are quite mature and many 19 year-olds are children.

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  18. Leila: "And, I am going to do a very big post (soonish?) on the effect that all this is having on the children who were manufactured and/or adopted and raised by gay couples. "

    OK...but I would rather see a post about the effects of divorce. There are several good books out there and studies that debunk the myth that amicable divorces are harmless.

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  19. Words are indeed losing their meaning. Pretty soon we'll all walk around like the artist formerly known as Prince - we'll identify as just a symbol, before deciding to change back again. Maybe if we all speak in math equations we can actually make logical, truthful sense.

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  20. Great post! It is amazing how many people do not know the meanin gof words anymore and just use them for their own agenda when that make no logical sense. Thank you for your clear writing and explanations Leila! I would also love to see a post about divorce as well, it is not even talked about as part of the downfall of society anymore.

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  21. existenceandessence (Michelle), it will be hard to explain what I am doing for that post, but you will see it and hopefully understand it when I finally pull it together. It's not going to be about crime rates or suicides, it's going to be about what kids want to say about their (purposely motherless/purposely fatherless/ and also their manufactured/artificially created existence (which of course happens heterosexual unions, too, but is part and parcel of the gay "marriage" landscape). It's giving them a voice, even those who were raised in happy homes and loved. They have things to say, and we tell them to be silent. Since this is our future as a nation, we should start hearing what's to come and how they feel.

    As for divorce… that is so devastating. Yes, I also have been toying with the idea of a post on the disposability of marriage, even among good Catholics. It is so heartbreaking and the kids suffer greatly. The difference, I think, between that topic and gay "marriage" is that we pretty much do acknowledge as a culture that divorce is detrimental (or at least not ideal) for children. But with gay "marriage", we are told repeatedly and loudly by our betters that children raised by gay parents are not only AS well-adjusted as kids raised by their mom and dad, but we are told that they are BETTER off than the children of heterosexuals! It is seen as positively ideal, and something to shoot for, that a child would have gay parents.

    And yet, ironically, where gay "marriage" has been around for decades, we have plenty of data that those unions are terribly prone to divorce, more than heterosexual couples. So, the child gets a double whammy. Sigh….

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    1. Goodness, this is positively incoherent! I apologize. I have an extra couple of kids over today, and I'm trying to clean up a bit for the appraiser coming this evening. Sorry folks! I hope you can make sense of my comments today.

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  22. Mary, you talk about children not being able to consent (I agree) but you've been here long enough to know that age of consent laws are being dropped around the world (or being lobbied that way), and the cry for "sexual rights for children!" is growing. After all, if sex is simply for pleasure and recreation, why shouldn't children be able to have fun, too? That is the mindset. So, while you say they cannot consent and sex is bad for them, many others are starting to join the chorus that says that maybe folks like you are just narrow-minded, clinging to taboos.

    How do you not see a slippery slope? What is the "end" or "stop" for sexual progressives?

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  23. Yeah, what Leila said. Those who advocate for open pedophilia (or an abolishment of statutory rape laws, see below) claim that kids/teens can and do consent, want sex, etc., and those who disagree at just intolerant, close-minded, bigoted, etc.

    Example: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/23/justice/florida-teen-sex-case

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  24. JoAnna, exactly.

    And if anyone thinks that children having sex is of actual concern to the powers that be, just look to the the massive, well-funded, best friend of our executive branch (Planned Parenthood, our cultural bellwether on all things sexual), to see that it's not. When young girls and teens come in for abortions, Planned Parenthood is notorious for not ignoring statutory rape situations, even as they know that the "boyfriends" of these young girls are actually grown men. Predators.

    When young teens are told through an ad on MTV to "embrace their inner slut" -- does anyone really think that the sexual progressives are actually, truly horrified by the thought of sexualized children, or children having sex?

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    1. Whao, clearly that should have read:

      Planned Parenthood is notorious for not reporting statutory rape situations

      or

      Planned Parenthood is notorious for ignoring statutory rape situations.

      Man, is this what happens on five hours of sleep? Sigh. Sorry.

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    2. And that should have read "whoa". Ha ha.

      Okay, is this a sign I need to stop?? Or is it a sign that Blogger needs an edit button? :)

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  25. Leila,
    I saw this quote on FB and thought of this post - I think it fits :): (Disclaimer: I found the quote on FB, didn't check authenticity, regardless, I still think it's a good one!)

    The Church does not impose but freely proposes the Catholic faith, well aware that conversion is the mysterious fruit of the action of the Holy Spirit. Faith is a gift and a work of God, and hence excludes any form of proselytism that forces, allures or entices people by trickery to embrace it.
    - Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

    Also, I've skimmed the comments, and I just wanted to say that I agree with Mary's part about why we aren't fighting "no-fault divorce" laws. I agree whole-heartedly with this and I personally think this is why we are having such a hard time with the same-sex "marriage" issue. That, in my opinion was the beginning of the slippery slope we are on today because we (Catholics) essentially said "yes, marriage is just about a feeling of love" when we didn't hold firmly to our beliefs on marriage.

    As an adult child of a "good" divorce with a Dad who stayed very active in my life, I can tell you from my own experience that divorce sucks and has ramifications on children that take years to be fully realized. (I am actually working on a post about this right now.)

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  26. Hopefully the voices you choose won't uniformly paint gay parents as a social evil! Anecdotes are important, but I'd hate to see a biased representation of opinions here. :)

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  27. Michelle, giving voice to people's experiences is important, no? I think the left is very much an advocate of that, and hopefully not only when it favors liberal sensibilities. And especially when to speak about truths that may actually hurt the very ones you love (moms, dads). There is some courage in that, don't you think? I think we can all understand why purposely fatherless or motherless kids (or kids manufactured by using some anonymous guy's special "donation") would be wounded in some existential ways, but would also never wish to harm the parents that they do dearly love. It's a very hard position to be in. Again, I hope you would support giving voice to people's pain, their experiences. It may help us find some truth in this quagmire we have created.

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  28. It certainly is. But if I were to compile a series of anecdotes about kids raised in Catholic families, I'm sure you'd hope to see some balance – there are going to be some who hated it, but there are some who loved it and are grateful for it. It'd be a shame if I only gave voice to those who wished they hadn't been raised Catholic just because I don't think I'd have liked it or because I disagree with the philosophy. You can't find truth if you're only looking in one place.

    (And, just as an aside, doesn't it seem kind of harsh - dehumanizing, even – to call kids conceived through IVF/sperm donation "manufactured"?)

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  29. Rebecca, I am looking very forward to that post!

    You are so right. No-fault divorce is a scourge on our nation and our children. It did exactly what you said: Made marriage all about feelings of "twu wuv", and thus if my romantic flutters go away, I am outta here! That, and the idea that sex (always considered a privilege of marriage) could be divorced from procreation -- i.e., the acceptance of contraception.

    So, 1) the belief that sex and marriage have nothing to do with children and the 2) belief that marriage is based on romantic feelings. The combo have done us in. And those beliefs perfectly paved the way for gay "marriage".

    The reason that we are actively fighting gay "marriage" is that there are still enough folks on our side that we feel we can fight it. It is a concept still foreign to us, and it's not "who we are" (yet). So, we fight the battle that we still think we might win, while we still have the numbers. Adults are too selfish and indulgent in this nation to do away with no-fault divorce or contraception. So, we fight the latest fire, the latest threat to marriage.

    Believe me, I don't like it.

    But I love the Pope Benedict quote!

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  30. And, just as an aside, doesn't it seem kind of harsh - dehumanizing, even – to call kids conceived through IVF/sperm donation "manufactured"?

    Actually, that's how they feel about themselves, quite often. It is not in keeping with human dignity that humans be created this way. The Church can speak that truth while at the very same time saying that the child herself has dignity. Just as the child conceived in rape is fully human, fully deserving of all human rights and deserving of love, even though the way she was conceived was morally wrong and against human dignity.

    And of course, it's the Church who says that those "manufactured" babies, who are treated like commodities (and often "selectively reduced" [aborted] after their purposeful creation) have the full right to life just as any other human being. Folks on the other side not only feel they have the right to manufacture their children, but that those children can then be disposed of as so much trash should they command it.

    The IVF clinics see the embryos as money makers and specimens, most often ending as medical waste. The Church sees those same embryos as having the fullness of human dignity.

    Which attitude is the "harsh" and "dehumanizing" one?

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  31. "But if I were to compile a series of anecdotes about kids raised in Catholic families, I'm sure you'd hope to see some balance – there are going to be some who hated it, but there are some who loved it and are grateful for it."

    Yes, but that's not what we are talking about. We are not talking about raising kids Catholic. We are talking about a culture which purposely is designed to deny children their mother or their father or their identity.

    Look, I don't know of a single human on earth who would need an anonymous support group, for example, for the existential harm done to her by being raised by her mom and dad in a happy, intact home. No one has soul-level, even crippling angst from happy homes, with mom and dad present.

    However, there are many people hurting badly by being produced or raised in a way that, even though it was loving and happy, has left them feeling completely disconnected from their own sense of who they are, or who their parents are.

    You can understand that kind of existential suffering, right? It's universal. Every child has a right to know who she is, who her father is, to be connected to him, to be connected to her mother. And despite the rhetoric surrounding gay families, each child actually does have a mother and does have a father. It's just that the child has been purposely been denied one or both of them.

    Anyway, when I do the post, you will have more of an idea.

    But you can understand my points, can't you?

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  32. Michelle, regarding the original post, do you believe that the Catholic Church is imposing her view of marriage on society? Or do you see my point? Thanks!

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  33. Michelle, you said: "Hopefully the voices you choose won't uniformly paint gay parents as a social evil!"

    I would never paint any parent as a "social evil". Think of this: I can assert that divorce is a social evil without asserting that divorced parents are a social evil, right? There is a huge distinction there.

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  34. Just wanted to say I'm glad you're back, Leila! I enjoy the discussions as much as the posts and learn a lot from both.

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  35. Hmm. I just probably wouldn't want to reinforce someone's feelings of somehow being "artificial"? I'd maybe emphasize opposing the method rather than suggesting that the people themselves are different than people conceived naturally. I don't quite understand IVF/donation being dehumanizing (though I do understand the practical arguments against IVF), so maybe I'm not qualified to question the semantics here.

    I do get your points. All I was trying to get at was that, in determining whether gay parenting is damaging, it's important to also hear those who don't feel that their upbringing was lacking in some way. There are certainly a lot of people who resent being raised in the Catholic faith, but that shouldn't lead us to conclude that a Catholic upbringing leads to miserable adults. In both cases, there are going to be voices for and against, and it's only fair to at least acknowledge that. (I could, for instance, write a whole post on people that wish they'd never been to church, but it'd be wrong for me not to at least note that there are also people who couldn't be happier that they grew up in a religious family.) I look forward to reading what you post, but I hope there'll be that acknowledgement.

    About the post, I'm not sure. Can you impose the status quo on society? I think if society is static in its views, no, what is already there can't be an imposition. But if society's views as a whole are shifting (and according to polls they do seem to be), then I do think that pushing to maintain a status quo is forcing something unwelcome to be accepted, even if it's not something unfamiliar. I think this is particularly true in the case of constitutional bans on same-sex marriage – even if they reflect the status quo or the majority opinion at the time of passage, it's quite possible that they'll become an imposition when society's views shift. Does that make sense? I don't usually think about the issue in terms of imposition, so these are sort of off-the-cuff opinions.

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  36. Just wanted to say I agree Leila - that we should still fight, because yes, it is a foreign concept. I realize that wasn't clear from my first post. Just because we are on the slippery slope doesn't mean we can't stop it :).

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  37. But if society's views as a whole are shifting (and according to polls they do seem to be), then I do think that pushing to maintain a status quo is forcing something unwelcome to be accepted, even if it's not something unfamiliar.

    You're proving the opposite.
    Question: Why this "shift"?
    Are society's views as a whole shifting because of an agenda, Michelle? That could be the only explanation. Something has to be *imposed upon* a societal status quo for that picture to change, drift, or shift.

    Also, wouldn't your illustration here just paint the picture that as long as society shifts to something I (Michelle) want, then it's not imposing, it's just drifting/shifting?

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  38. In other words, the status quo has been forced away and now it wants to naturally drift back which is the opposite of your last paragraph.

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  39. I have to be honest with you, Michelle -- no, that last paragraph made no sense. I think you've almost turned it into a "blame the victim" thing, ha ha. Push back from an attack now constitutes an attack, and the attacker is now the victim?

    Let me ask this just out of curiosity. By what means is the Catholic Church imposing her (status quo) views?

    "I don't quite understand IVF/donation being dehumanizing". Well, it's against human dignity to know that your father is a shadowy, anonymous figure who was paid money to close himself into a little room with a pee pad on the seat, look at porn magazines/video, and masturbate into a cup. To be a product of porn-induced masturbation by a stranger is not in keeping with the dignity of human beings and how we should come into being. I hope you can agree!

    And, you know I love you Michelle (at least I hope you know!), but I have to throw in again the uncomfortable fact that you support the ultimate dehumanization (literally) of the children conceived by IVF, because you support the right to their unfettered, violent killing. What could be more dehumanizing than that? It's a serious question. I don't get it.

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  40. I'm very much looking forward to the post about IVF and children adopted by gay couples.

    Do you by any chance touch on the dehumanizing IVF does to the adults? It really does treat the mother and father as objects, only as good as the "parts" they contribute. I cannot even imagine what it must feel like to be told "your eggs are not good enough" or "your sperm are not good enough" and then in the next breath be told someone else's are better, so you should just get a donor. It's hard enough being told something is wrong and then being told "let's fix it" in the next breath. Oh, truly, Lord have mercy on us.

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  41. See, this is why I didn't talk about the main post originally, because I don't like the word "imposing" coming from either side. I definitely not interested in pursuing this if you're going to frame this as a victim/attacker situation. You all know my position already – that gay marriage lets same-sex couples marry. Not to sound mean, but people who find themselves unable to bake wedding cakes for certain clients or people who don't want to explain homosexuality to their children...I think those are issues that are much less important (and honestly, I think kind of ridiculous) than committed same-sex couples being able to share the same legal rights as straight couples. If you consider that an attack, that suggests to me that you consider your status in society to be incredibly fragile, which I find very bizarre.

    Honestly, no, I don't agree. I think adoption is a far better choice than IVF or donation, but if I were conceived in either of those ways, I would really, really feel like shit hearing how you're describing these children. Would you say that second to last paragraph to someone you knew was conceived by donation?

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  42. Actually, I only thought of victim/attacker when you framed that paragraph that way (turning the tables). It's nothing that originally came to mind.

    Freedom of religion (the right to live out my faith, even in my business, without being ruined by the government) is not "less important" to me, nor are my deepest held beliefs, which I believe to have eternal implications, "kind of ridiculous". Remember, the freedom of religious expression trumps the "right" of someone to get a cake from me, or the "right" of someone to be affirmed in their unusual sexual inclinations. I know you disagree, and that freedom of religion is dependent on what the government determines it to be (which kind of negates the concept of a right to freedom of religion).

    As for the fragility of religious groups once a strong central government gets in place that is hostile to those religious groups, you are darn tootin' that things become incredibly fragile. One must have a very limited view of history to not see how quickly governments (remember, they are the ones with the courts, the jails, the guns, the power) turn on any group of which they do not approve, or which do not tow the line. I remember once (was it you?) that you said your knowledge of history was admittedly weak. I encourage you to watch For Greater Glory, to see what happened not even a hundred years ago in the nation just south of us.

    One thing that I don't think students and young folks today are taught to understand: Our freedoms are hard won and very, very fragile. Start reading about the founding of the nation, and the letters and documents of those Founders. They knew what the comfortable young people in America do not know about the realities of human nature and corruption of governments that have too much power. Gosh, we were founded on the knowledge that freedom is an abnormal human condition, not the default position.

    So please, know that our concerns about our "fragile" condition are not at all "bizarre" but based on a broad survey of human history.

    I wouldn't have to tell a child conceived in "donation" that those were the facts of how he was conceived; these are teens and adults and they already know how they were conceived (why do you think that donor-conceived kids are often, as Slate put it, "not okay"? It's pretty yucky to know that's how you got here. But I'm glad we agree it's shitty.

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  43. Actually, no. I'm sure you'll hate this, but I think people shouldn't work jobs that require them to violate their consciences. I wouldn't get a job in the army and then complain that war is immoral. I wouldn't get a job in a deli and then complain that meat is murder. I also wouldn't get a job decorating wedding cakes (or doing floral arrangements, or whatever) if I didn't think I was capable of providing my services to all of my customers without violating my conscience. Religious freedom is important, but if we let Catholics discriminate against gay couples, then we must necessarily allow others to discriminate according to their deeply held beliefs.

    And, again, no, I don't think donation is inherently bad. It's not a route I'd probably take, but I don't agree with you. Do know, though, that if I had been conceived by donation, I know I would question your view of my worth after reading that paragraph. I'm not telling you this to refute anything, but I want you to know that I don't think many people would read that and say "that sounds like someone who cares about my human dignity."

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  44. Michelle, would you question your worth if you were conceived in rape and I said of children conceived in rape, "This is exactly why abortion should be legal." Would you question your worth if you were conceived unwanted and I pointed to a photo of a burned and dead aborted fetus in a casket and said, "I can't decide if that girl is trash or not, I have to know the circumstance of why she was killed. She might be trash if she was unwanted."

    The difference is, Catholics may lament the process of IVF, but we don't question the worth of a child conceived by IVF. We disdain the undignified procedure precisely because we believe all children have dignity and have the right to be conceived by her two married parents through the marital embrace. We uphold that IVF-produced child's worth and dignity from the moment of conception, unlike those who profit off those IVF children and kill them by the millions in the IVF clinics. It's the pro-choice crowd that denies, literally, the worth of a child till about the ninth month of its life. Before that, the child is disposable waste, and can be acted upon violently and with impunity. Do you see the disconnect? Better to decry the way a child was conceived than decry the child himself! You've got it exactly backwards.

    And see, on the other subject, a person who doesn't eat meat would never have worked in a deli in the first place. A person who believes war is immoral would have never joined the army in the first place. But, that is their free choice! See? They have the freedom to decide where to work! The government doesn't say to them, "You can't work here and have your religious freedoms or else we will drive you out."

    Catholics have always worked jobs as bakers and photographers and ER doctors and pharmacists. The only reason we would FEAR to work those jobs now is because of government, specifically government imposition. Do you see what I mean? We don't want to "choose something else" and we shouldn't have to. Guess what? I can work as a baker and not violate my conscience. Unless the government tells me, by force, that I can't. So, your analogy doesn't not hold.

    No vegetarian would open a meat market. No pacifist would open a gun shop. But until recently, Catholics were opening flower shops and bakeries and photography studios by the thousands, millions!

    Who suddenly made it dangerous? Who forced (imposed) the choice between a having a livelihood and a conscience, where that horrible choice never existed before? Not the Catholics. The government! Hello!

    Anyway, I hope you at least think wistfully about us Catholics when you see us on the news going to jail in the future, as you think, "Sheesh, they should have just quit the practice of medicine and become janitors or something. No big deal! They are so picky, sensitive and bizarre, those Catholics. Yawn."

    :(

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    1. *First sentence should read: "Would you question my view of your worth…"

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    2. Such bad grammar and typos again! AHHH! I am so sorry!

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    3. ....I'm hoping that just seeing my name makes you feel better about your gramer ,spelinh and punkuation

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  45. Would you graphically describe a rape in order to demonstrate to a child born of rape why their conception was wrong? I really hope not. All I'm saying is that your language is, likely unintentionally, calling into question the worth of people who you say are worth exactly the same as everyone else. If I had been conceived by IVF/donation, I think I'd be pretty upset to hear that I was "manufactured" or the product of some sleazy dude watching porn. Does that make sense? I'm not trying to be a tone troll, but I really do think that, given your concern for the children whose circumstances of conception you find non-ideal, you could use more compassionate language.

    What is your solution, then? Say you're a baker in a state that recently legalized same-sex marriage and it violates your religious freedom to give a gay couple a cake for their wedding. What kind of legislation would you like to see written to accomodate your beliefs? I am no fan of slippery slope arguments, but I can't think of how fair legislation could be written that would allow you to discriminate due to your deeply held beliefs but would not allow others to legally discriminate at will.

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    1. And, I hope you won't think me unfair, but I really don't see how, from a legal perspective, Catholics choosing to discriminate against gay couples is any different from any other choice to discriminate.

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  46. "What kind of legislation would you like to see written to accomodate your beliefs?"

    There should not have to be any kind of legislation that allows me to be a practicing Catholic. I never needed such legislation before in order to be a baker, a florist, a doctor, a pharmacist. But I guess the legislation they are talking about are conscience clauses, protections for us. (How sad that we've come to this.)

    And, I hope you won't think me unfair, but I really don't see how, from a legal perspective, Catholics choosing to discriminate against gay couples is any different from any other choice to discriminate.

    Homosexuals have become a protected class. Perhaps one day it will be pornographers (they also have rights). Should a Christian photographer be forced to photograph a porn shoot (better yet, a gay porn shoot) even if she objects on the basis of her faith? She would be a legal discriminator. Should she lose her business or be jailed?

    What about cutters? They might one day be a protected class, especially as they are socially vulnerable. Would a Catholic knife store owner then be required to supply clean knives for the cutters' annual conference? If he refuses, what should be done to him by the government authorities? He would be a discriminator after all.

    All I'm saying is that your language is, likely unintentionally, calling into question the worth of people who you say are worth exactly the same as everyone else.

    Do you think masturbation is degrading, or is it normal and healthy? If there is no shame in masturbation, then what I said should not be troubling and make you feel less worthy if that is how your life was brought about. When I say manufacture, I mean it literally. These babies are made by hand. They sperm comes from masturbation and is handed to the nurse, the eggs come from extraction and then are injected by a third party with the sperm. The new human lives are tested, studied, weeded out, then a doctor uses his hands to take the ones he wants and with his tools implant them in the mother. And later the doc can abort (selectively reduce) some of the children if there are too many of them. All done with human hands, in a lab and clinic setting. I hate it, too. I really do. It's awful. It's degrading, it's not in keeping with human dignity. These kids, many of them understand all this already. It's nothing they haven't thought about. I am not speaking directly to their faces in private conversation. I am telling my audience exactly what IVF is, just like when I tell my audience exactly what abortion is. I hate this euphemistic culture we have now. Why can't we be honest? It's horrid and selfish and disgusting (I've seen a photo that one IVF husband took of his "porn room"). What if the child ever saw that? But this is big, big business. The culture is proud of this technology. But the kids and their psyches, their rights, are never thought about. It's business. And the adults want a child at all costs.

    I promise you, I have compassion for them, and that is why they deserve to be heard and I want to do that post.

    I hope you understand. And by the way, you are very courageous to come here and comment as the "lone" atheist. I appreciate it. I know it's not easy and I thank you.

    And Chris, ha ha!

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  47. Let's look at this thought experiment, Michelle.

    I'm a Catholic scientist in 1930s Germany, and have been for many years. I've been growing uneasy for some time regarding government treatment of Jews, especially when Jews are legally declared non-persons. One day my boss comes to you and tells me that as a condition of my job, I must assist the newly arrived Dr. Menengle in experimenting on (i.e., torturing) Jews in the course of scientific study -- the results of which will, hopefully, benefit millions of Germans. These experiments are entirely legal under German law and have the stamp of approval of the German government.

    I express my concern and reluctance to my boss, citing my Catholic faith and my belief that Jews are human beings with inherent dignity, and he replies, "Then maybe Catholics should not be scientists if they can't do their job."

    Is that a fair response by my boss? Should I suck it up and quietly "do my job" even if it goes against my conscience?

    Also, re: the Catholic baker. The baker in question has had several gay customers for whom he has made cakes before (birthdays, etc.). In fact, the homosexual who requested the wedding cake was a repeat customer. How can you claim he discriminates against gay people when he has happilu made them cakes before?

    He declined the job on the basis of disagreement *with the validity of her marriage,* not on the basis of her sexual orientation.

    If this girl had been marrying a Catholic boy outside if the Church and he had refused to make her a cake on the basis of disagreement *with the validity of her marriage,* would you say he was discriminating against heterosexuals?

    What about the bakery that refused to decorate a cake for three-year-old Adolf Hitler? Were they discriminating against heterosexuals, or Caucasians? Should they be forced, under penalty of law, to make that cake? Should people who oppose Adolf Hitler just not become bakers, just in case?

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  48. Hi everyone!

    I'd say that Catholics and other Christians are clearly attempting to fight what are the obvious changing social attitudes of the country. Didn't Catholics try until the very, very end to attempt to keep no fault divorce illegal, even though it was obvious that was the desire of the majority of the country? In fact, if you could get a sizable enough minority behind a rebanning of divorce with a war chest that could be put towards ads, and get a ban referendum on a ballot, wouldn't you attempt to change the rules again?

    I use the word impose because Catholics clearly would attempt to fight marriage equality even in cases where governments, social and academic organizations don't agree with their conceptions of being homosexual or homosexual relationships and are arguing for marriage equality, again, right to the bitter end. How can you consider fighting and attempting to reverse a legally binding referendum, or legal decision as anything but imposing? I see the Catholic opposition to marriage to be a religious one, wrapped up in a secular argument that really doesn't make any sense (sorry, I'm only being honest ). That argument doesn't go away when the public or lawmakers disagree, and the states enact marriage equality. They'd just try and change the law right back, lol.

    Now, this isn't to say that marriage equality advocates aren't attempting to "impose" their views as well, just that this isn't one sided. I'll freely admit that if I could "impose" marriage equality on all 50 states, it'd be done by lunchtime, lol. You attempt to impose what you believe is right on the government. Everyone does. Sometimes (and I'm sorry) I believe your attempts are just actively harmful.

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  49. You attempt to impose what you believe is right on the government. Everyone does

    Disagree. Where do people get this thought process?
    Are Catholics forcing you, via the government, to convert or else? Are we pushing an agenda with the government to uphold Catholics as a group with special benefits? No and no.

    People talk about a societal shift - where does that pressure to change come from? Catholics upholding the "status quo" ain't it. People have been forced away from the status quo. Not the opposite.

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  50. But that's where my second paragraph comes in. Social attitudes change. That's just human society. If change happens and you insist everything remain the same, even though people are changing what they believe, and are starting to change the laws, how is that not imposition?

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    1. Also, I don't understand your conception of "force". Like you, I'm assuming, I came to believe in marriage equality by weighing the arguments of both sides. I wasn't "forced" by anyone to do anything?

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  51. Of potential interest: Randall Smith (at TCT) addressing whether or not the Catholic Church is "obsessed" with sexuality. In my experience, the charges of Catholic imposition and Catholic sexual obsession follow one on the heels of another.

    http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2013/lust-language-and-the-un-level-playing-field.html

    Sincerely,
    ~Benjamin

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  52. Leila, and JoAnna, really what I was getting at is how we could legally allow you to discriminate for what you genuinely believe to be valid reasons and not also allow others to discriminate at will. Your desire not to provide a cake for a same-sex wedding is not different in any legally meaningful way than someone desiring not to provide a cake for, say, a marriage between a Muslim and a Jew. I really want to know where you draw the line. I think a lot of things (like the Adolf Hitler issue) could reasonably be decided on a case-by-case basis, but that doesn't quite work for an entire (growing) class of people. How do you write a law that allows you to discriminate based on your deeply held beliefs, but does not allow others to discriminate based on theirs?

    Leila, I'm not arguing your points. You're entitled to your opinions, but all I'm saying is that your language, regardless of your intention, is not compassionate. I know you hate euphemisms and political correctness, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable in telling you that language is important in a discussion, and I would be surprised if anyone read what you wrote and felt that there was compassion behind those words. Really, that's all. Even if I fully agreed with you, I think I'd still try to be careful in how I talk about issues that I knew could be very sensitive to people. If I thought I was fat, if you also said it, it wouldn't be okay just because I had already been thinking it.

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  53. Wait, forthewar, this is confusing to me:

    "I use the word impose because Catholics clearly would attempt to fight marriage equality even in cases where governments, social and academic organizations don't agree with their conceptions of being homosexual or homosexual relationships and are arguing for marriage equality, again, right to the bitter end."

    So "attempting to fight" a societal change being imposed = imposing ? Resistance to societal change being imposed (artificially from the top down), even to the bitter end, is "imposing"?

    I'm not talking about one referendum being reversed, I am talking about a societal change. A sea change. In this case, very swift change, based on an aggressive legal, political, social and emotional strategy. It came in like a wave and the Church is saying, "Wait… stop…think" as it crashes down on society. That is how you use the word "impose"? I'm not getting it. How does that fit with the definition of the word?





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  54. Michelle, but if someone had made you fat, in some very undignified way that was not your doing, and if that thing were happening to children everywhere, and was seen as a "good", don't you think it would need to be exposed and not euphemized? Blunt talk is needed when the people are asleep. Some things are just not right and we need to understand, in our dull consciences, why that is.

    forthewar, you mean the sudden turn to accept gay marriage "just happened"? Organically, from the people?

    More in a bit, out the door.

    Benjamin, looking forward to reading it!

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  55. So "attempting to fight" a societal change being imposed = imposing ?

    If your argument goes against the wishes of the majority of the public's wishes and the position of empirical evidence and relavent experts, then I believe absolutely it does.

    Resistance to societal change being imposed (artificially from the top down)

    I don't understand. Artificially from the top down? Are you referring to courts that legalize same sex marriage? The law works that way all the time. The courts interpret the law and determine how to best apply it many cases that have nothing to do with homosexuality. They aren't doing anything special here. Just interpreting the law to the best of their ability...

    'm not talking about one referendum being reversed, I am talking about a societal change. A sea change. In this case, very swift change, based on an aggressive legal, political, social and emotional strategy.

    Marriage equality as a movement picked up tremendous steam recently, as do many social justice movements (just ignore that you don't think marriage equality is social justice, it isn't the point, lol). Movements pick up momentum. That's how I see society working. How is LBGT advocacy different in this respect than any other social movement like the Civil Rights movement, feminism, worker's rights movements, etc? It's pretty common for movements such as these, if they will ever gain some sort of political success, to have a "catalyzing moment" where huge amounts of public support move behind them. It's a moment when the public consciousness changes. People change their minds. Or more often, new people are born and believe different things from previous generations.

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  56. Okay. I'm not going to change your mind here, but I don't think it's either "be blunt and have people understand" or "be sensitive and have nothing change." Particularly for someone who knows that people can be struggling with how they were conceived, I think you can do better. Exacerbating someone's struggle in the name of righting a wrong is, I would think, counterproductive, even if you're echoing something they already feel about themselves. That's all I'll say on this.

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    1. Michelle, I understand your point, even though of course I disagree.

      FYI, some of the stories on this site are compelling:

      http://anonymousus.org/

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  57. forthewar, you mean the sudden turn to accept gay marriage "just happened"? Organically, from the people?

    I don't understand what you mean. Could you clarify? Organically? I think advocacy played a role in turning the tide of public opinion about marriage equality, sure, but when does that ever not happen?

    People just didn't change their minds about the segregation, either, right? Haha.

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  58. Social attitudes change. That's just human society. If change happens and you insist everything remain the same, even though people are changing what they believe, and are starting to change the laws, how is that not imposition?

    You and Michelle are confused on where the imposition comes from. Status quo is here at *point A*, if you force point A to change, you've imposed. Not the other way around.

    Now that things have drifted, because of force or imposition, naturally, people want to return to status quo. That's the point. You guys are confusing what it means to "impose" or what drives a societal change.

    And, further, what is the engine that drives a particular societal change? Just because a societal change is being imposed doesn't mean it won't or shouldn't face backlash or fight.

    Social movement doesn't always "evolve" to the greatest good (see World History). The redefining of marriage will render it meaningless. You can't compare that to the societal movement away from segregation.

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  59. Nubby, do you agree that a majority of people were not 'forced' to accept marriage equality as one of their beliefs, they came to understand that argument and accept it as lining up with their beliefs. I don't understand. You seem to be implying that everyone that doesn't agree with 'traditional marriage' has simply had their viewpoints "imposed" upon them...to me, that seems kind of uncharitable. Although we disagree, I believe that you want the best for everyone and you've thought through what you believe. :)

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  60. Nubby, do you agree that a majority of people were not 'forced' to accept marriage equality as one of their beliefs, they came to understand that argument and accept it as lining up with their beliefs.

    Right, so it's not imposing when it lines up with your beliefs. I ticked this point before. It's imposing because most people do not want it.

    I don't understand. You seem to be implying that everyone that doesn't agree with 'traditional marriage' has simply had their viewpoints "imposed" upon them...to me, that seems kind of uncharitable. Although we disagree, I believe that you want the best for everyone and you've thought through what you believe.

    I understand perfectly.
    Question: How is it that your change is not imposing but mine is?

    Voting records show, yes, your view is the imposing one. Where are you getting the assumptions that most people are for the redefining of marriage?

    You're correct with your last line: I do want the best for everyone (society). The minute we stop upholding marriage as the foundation of family and society, we're screwed, as a society because marriage (man + woman) is a social construct that is the very foundation of family life, and from family life we get a healthy society.

    Understand, the fight against the whole marriage change/equality isn't just a faith based one. It's extremely detrimental to shifting society's fabric and foundation as a whole. People don't think through the implications.

    Can you extrapolate out what society will look like once we've changed what marriage means, what it means for children (no rights), what it means as far as how society will function? The issue isn't just the here and now... it's the future issues that no one thinks about.

    Someone could (probably has) throw together a demographic shift chart/graph that covers the next three or four generations, with gay marriage being across the board embraced and sanctioned. I'd love to see the projected percentages on several variables indicating "societal health". Wouldn't you?

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    1. Nubby, this has some interesting (and sad) stats on what happens to marriage when a society accepts gay "marriage":

      http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/06/10325/

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  61. forthewar, this is an article that really spells out what I mean by "from the top down". I hope you will give it careful consideration. This issue is not like other true social justice movements at all:

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/media/me0396.htm

    And, I love JoAnna's point that the bakeries and businesses are not refusing to serve gay people (because they all clearly do), but rather are refusing to support certain (and very specific) events or activities that they sincerely believe to be gravely sinful, and with which they are conscience-bound not to cooperate.

    Should a vociferously pro-abortion owner of a printing shop be forced by the government, under fear of penalties and ruin, to print flyers for the local pro-life Catholic rally? I don't think so. Should a gay rights advocate who runs a catering business be forced by the government, under fear of penalties and ruin, to cater the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) conference? I don't think so.

    This is America. I'm beginning to wonder how long I will recognize my own nation. Maybe for young people, who have only been adults for a few years, this all seems quite normal, but it's not.

    Okay, off to a few hours at Chuck E. Cheese! Please carry on, and pray for me, ha ha!

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  62. Still, though, how do you legislate reasonable discrimination? Because I promise I'm not trying to be a troll, but while I understand that you're talking about a very specific kind of discrimination against actions, I'm not sure how you draw the line between that (and the other examples you mentioned) and, for instance, a white supremacist refusing to serve black people. At what point are deeply held beliefs deemed unsupportable by law?

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  63. Michelle,

    Just one point that I don't think has been brought up in this conversation: having a wedding cake is not a human right. Nor is getting your picture taken. I don't see why my first amendment rights should be taken away so that someone can have a cake. It doesn't stop their "marriage" from being recognized by the state. It's not an essential element of marriage or even part of the wedding--only part of the celebration afterwards.

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  64. That's one hot mess, Leila. Thanks for the read.

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  65. Connie,

    I don't think anyone's saying that it's a human right. But like I was saying to Leila and JoAnna, can a business then turn away any client for any reason? It's not, for instance, a human right to be served at a restaurant. Could a white supremacist restaurant owner turn away black customers as an expression of their first amendment rights?

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  66. Don't businesses a lot of times have signs that say "we have the right to refuse service for any reason"? Is that discrimination? I don't assume they have to provide the reason they refuse service, but it does say ANY reason. Just wondering how that factors in here and why that hasn't been deemed discriminatory in the past.

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  67. While the transformation of the American public's view on marriage equality was rapid (and awesome lol), it's not outside the realm of previous seismic shifts in social policy. Civil rights went from inching along via suits and advocacy in 1955 to having landmark protections enacted by law in the mid-60s. It happens.

    I think opponents of marriage equality are disconcerted with the way the debate that seemed so ensured for them has shifted, so they've created a way to handwave away the support. 70% of millennials (18 - 32 year olds) support same sex marriage -- that's not just an indicator of pressure, that's an indicator of a generational divide. And these aren't people who just support things because their "conformists" either. Ask 10 Millennials why they support gay marriage and you'll probably get 9 of the same answers; they support gay marriage because they believe gay people are entitled to the rights of marriage. That's a bonafide reason for believing what you believe.

    I'm not gonna deny that politicians are falling away from 'traditional marriage' positions like flies; but they aren't doing that for no reason, they're doing that precisely because younger American people have such different minds than their parents. The 'traditional marriage' support, and forgive me for being rude, is literally dying, when you look at it demographically.

    Some side thoughts about the article you posted (thanks for the read!): There have been no dogs attacking protestors, or film of cops beating protestors precisely because this nation will never stand for that ever again thanks to people like Dr. King. But there have been numerous, and I mean numerous rallies, commercials, marches, and benefits for gay marriage, so I have no idea why he thinks there haven't been. Also, he's got his history wrong -- quite a bit of the long and complex fight for the civil rights of African Americans was done by the elite (both black and white). Elite African Americans have always benefited and enacted and fought for more civil rights legislation.

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    1. Also, enjoy Chuckie Cheese! I wonder if it's what I remember it being like when I used to take campers there

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  68. Nicole, I've never seen/noticed those signs, but Googling does tell me they exist. From what I'm seeing, the right to refuse service doesn't allow for discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age, etc. and I think also sexual orientation in some states (though it is not a federally protected class). That's as much as I was able to find – anyone know more than I do?

    I understand, though, that for Catholics it's a question of discriminating against a chosen action (a same-sex wedding), not a person. I assume, even in cases where sexual orientation is a protected class, you would still not see discriminating against couples getting married as illegal. If I've misrepresented your views at all, let me know, but I think legislation allowing for this would still allow for racist business owners to refuse to serve mixed-race couples. Even if you don't think they should be discriminated against, do you see where I'm running into problems with this? If one group gets to discriminate, then everyone should be allowed to discriminate as long as their case fulfills the same criteria (deeply held belief, moral convictions, discriminating against an action).

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  69. While the transformation of the American public's view on marriage equality was rapid (and awesome lol), it's not outside the realm of previous seismic shifts in social policy. Civil rights went from inching along via suits and advocacy in 1955 to having landmark protections enacted by law in the mid-60s.

    How awesome that you think it's awesome. We don't think it's so hip to be pressured into changing our minds on marriage, or else. Civil rights are about protecting individuals' freedoms from the government, among other things. Oh, the irony.

    Someone's sexual preference is not the same as skin tone. Gays have rights, like anyone has rights. It's not about rights, as you well admit. You're advocating a *movement* for acceptance. You want a societal shift, even though it has nothing to do with *rights*. You want it at the cost of imposition. You're alright with that.

    Ask 10 Millennials why they support gay marriage and you'll probably get 9 of the same answers; they support gay marriage because they believe gay people are entitled to the rights of marriage. That's a bonafide reason for believing what you believe.

    You're misusing another word in your civil rights vs. gay marriage analogy:
    Gay people have the same rights as citizens. Already.
    What you're arguing for isn't rights, it's benefits. It's also a game changer to reassign a new definition to a traditional term.

    So while you're trumpeting how awesome, and forward-thinking, and pro-active, and outside-of-the-box your generation is so hip to being, we'll be standing saying, "Good luck when your 'healthier, happier society' implodes because you've now just extracted the very root of what keeps a society running. You've extracted family, children's rights, and meanings to words. Congratulations.".

    Can you give me a projection, 50 years down the road, of where we'll be as a society when there's less children and less rights for those children, and less rights for traditional families, but more and more laws and politics protecting various adults and their preferences. Your best guess.

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  70. Right, so it's not imposing when it lines up with your beliefs. I ticked this point before. It's imposing because most people do not want it.

    But that's not what I said! Haha. I said that you should recognize that the people who support gay marriage do so because they earnestly believe that homosexuals should have the right to marry, not because the idea was forced upon them. You seemed to be implying that anyone that wants to change the status quo must be forced to believe that.

    How is it that your change is not imposing but mine is?

    I said that my view was imposing too! I said:

    Now, this isn't to say that marriage equality advocates aren't attempting to "impose" their views as well, just that this isn't one sided.

    It's extremely detrimental to shifting society's fabric and foundation as a whole. People don't think through the implications.

    I believe, at best, this is debatable, and at worst, this is completely unsupported by any mainstream empirical data. Also, it's primarily a religious position, very few sociologists or anthropologists would say that.

    Can you extrapolate out what society will look like once we've changed what marriage means, what it means for children (no rights), what it means as far as how society will function?

    How does expanding marriage law remove the rights of minors? Any married same sex couples that raise non-biological children will only have custody of children because the original parents relinquished their parental authority -- the same goes for any adoption.

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    1. Not going to butt into this conversation beyond this, but do keep in mind that a lot of us have thought through the implications of allowing same-sex marriage and we see those implications as good. We think that decades from now society will be better off for it. We aren't actually rushing into something without having thought it through; we've simply come to different conclusions than devout Catholics would.

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    2. existenceandessence, if you've thought through the implications of same sex marriage and have decided they're good for society, you stand with the American Psychological Association (the premier scientific psychology body), the American Psychiatric Association (the premier medical organization of psychiatrists), the American Sociological Association (you get the point, lol) and nearly every other social science based premier research organization in the United States and worldwide.

      So you're probably in good company when you think that. :)

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  71. Projections, Michelle? Can you paint for us the picture of America and how society as a whole will be better off with all the variables I listed?

    What conclusions have you reached?

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  72. Nubby, I see more families. More marriages and fewer long-term unmarried relationships. More children whose parents are recognized as such under the law. More acceptance of LGB(T, maybe not so much) individuals. Less bullying, fewer kids killing themselves, less fear surrounding what being gay could mean for one's career and place in society.

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  73. I said that you should recognize that the people who support gay marriage do so because they earnestly believe that homosexuals should have the right to marry, not because the idea was forced upon them. You seemed to be implying that anyone that wants to change the status quo must be forced to believe that.

    I am the one forcing rigidity? If we aren't trending toward your beliefs then that's force? If we are trending toward your outlook, then that's just natural progression?

    I believe, at best, this is debatable, and at worst, this is completely unsupported by any mainstream empirical data. Also, it's primarily a religious position, very few sociologists or anthropologists would say that.

    It's not a religious position to consider the demographic shifting of a society bent on preferential treatment of adults at the expense of kids, increased political tape, and increased legal sanctions, and picture what that would look like. I can take Catholicism right out of that analysis and still be shaking my head at the crumbling. You can't see it, eh? Because you say the APA and ASA are on board?

    How does expanding marriage law remove the rights of minors? Any married same sex couples that raise non-biological children will only have custody of children because the original parents relinquished their parental authority -- the same goes for any adoption

    The child is denied a right to know both a mom and dad. They're denied the right to grieve the loss. Denied a voice when they want to speak up about the pain of that deliberately designed void.

    Marriage isn't about the adults and their preferences, forthewar, it's about the children and supporting society at that local level.

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  74. If you think gay marriage is being imposed from the top down, where do the ordinary gay folks who want to get married fit into the picture?

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  75. Hi Chris! It's not my opinion, it's actually what happened. Ordinary gay folks were never looking to get "married" in the decades past, because they actually understood what marriage is, and that two men marrying is an ontological impossibility. The intrinsic heterosexuality of marriage was not controversial, even to gays. In fact, we old folks remember when the gay movement was all about dissing marriage, because "we don't need a piece of paper to validate our love" and such…. The strategy changed when that didn't work well.

    You don't have to take my word for it. Here is an article written by gay activists from a couple decades back (the guys who wrote After the Ball). They were laying out the blueprint for how to "overhaul" America to get acceptance of homosexuality. You can read it. They did a great job getting things moving from the elites/top down and also you may note that there was no mention of gay "marriage". None. I searched the article for the word "marriage" and "marry" and couldn't find it discussed. The article was written in 1987. This is modern history, only 20+ years ago. No mention of marriage.

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  76. I haven't had time to read all the comments, but I saw this:

    "Any married same sex couples that raise non-biological children will only have custody of children because the original parents relinquished their parental authority -- the same goes for any adoption"

    No, no, no. Adoption is borne out of a loss. Adoption starts with something that went wrong with a mother and father's inability to raise their own child. Adoption is a restoration for a child of what was lost to him or denied him. With IVF, etc., there is a design from the very beginning of a child's creation to deprive him of his mother and/or father on purpose. The distinction is huuuuuuge!

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    1. **Adoption starts with something that went wrong with a mother and father's ability to raise their own child.

      UGH, my brain! This time I will blame the six hours at Chuck E. Cheese.

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  77. I very much doubt that all of the same people were involved in 80's gay activism and present-day gay activism. Most likely, growing up in a society that shunned them, the older crowd chose to reject the social order, preferring to stick with their own subculture. By contrast, today gay folks are more accepted in society. So instead of wanting to free themselves from the traditional social order, they want to be more fully included in it. It's an interesting contrast, but nothing sinister is going on there.

    If you want something vaguely analogous, I think second-wave feminism went through a phase of hating marriage, sex, etc. but that mostly didn't carry over to the third wave. The simple explanation is that they were different people at different times, not that someone gave them new marching orders.

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  78. Not sure that discounts anything I said or the fact laid out in the article I linked? I never said their motives were "sinister", just that they were planned, strategized, and effective. But did the the thought of gay "marriage" just organically rise up from the people who felt marginalized? Nope.

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  79. "Nubby, I see more families. More marriages and fewer long-term unmarried relationships."

    But the stats from other nations show that there is a much higher rate of divorce (and with gay men, infidelity) among gay "marriages" than with heterosexual marriages. So, really doesn't it just mean more divorces (which are already devastatingly high) and more infidelity and instability?

    How will this (on top of the fact that children will not even know or be raised by at least one and possibly two of their natural parents) be better for society and children?

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  80. "But did the the thought of gay "marriage" just organically rise up from the people who felt marginalized?"

    Yes, yes it did. Even if I'm to believe that any small group of people is really in charge of the gay movement, you just said that the article does *not* mention gay marriage. You did forget the link, though, so I didn't get a chance to read it (I forgot to mention that in my last comment).

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  81. No, no, no. Adoption is borne out of a loss. Adoption starts with something that went wrong with a mother and father's inability to raise their own child. Adoption is a restoration for a child of what was lost to him or denied him. With IVF, etc., there is a design from the very beginning of a child's creation to deprive him of his mother and/or father on purpose. The distinction is huuuuuuge!

    I don't see how this difference is relevant; children in an adoption situation, for one reason or another, are lacking two primary caregivers (the maximum allowed by the state). Children (should) only have the right to guardianship, not a mother or a father. The reason why this happens is irrelevant, minor's rights to guardianship, and any other minor rights isn't impacted by same sex adoption.

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  82. But the stats from other nations show that there is a much higher rate of divorce (and with gay men, infidelity) among gay "marriages" than with heterosexual marriages. So, really doesn't it just mean more divorces (which are already devastatingly high) and more infidelity and instability?

    Yes, the rate of divorce and infidelity among homosexuals is higher, along with interracial couples, the poor, people in time demanding occupations, and pretty much any group of people where the relationship is marginalized or results in a high stress environment.

    But that isn't the whole story. It's known that when marriage equality passes, the rate of homosexuality infidelity goes down, as well as the rate of HIV and STI infection. It goes up when marriage equality is banned. Also, homosexual stress and anxiety has been shown to decrease after the passage of marriage equality. And increase when marriage equality is banned. There has never been a study endorsed by any major research body that has shown an effect on heterosexual marriage that would negate or accompany these effects.

    Families that are headed by LGBT parents have also been shown to benefit dramatically from legal recognition of their unions.

    I hate to sound so fact heavy, but the evidence is simply not behind the fact marriage equality creates instability. In fact, the evidence points in the opposite direction, which is why so many research organizations have issued reports supporting marriage equality.

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  83. Children (should) only have the right to guardianship, not a mother or a father.

    So, gays have a right to marry, but children don't have a right to a mother and a father?? Thanks for making my point ...

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  84. "So, gays have a right to marry, but children don't have a right to a mother and a father?? Thanks for making my point ..."

    There's no proven empirical benefit to having a mother and a father over alternative family structures, as long as the family structure is stable. That's as close to scientific consensus as you'll get.

    If children had a right to a mother and a father, why wouldn't we conscript eligible married men and women to take care of orphaned children? Children have the right to care, not particular care, especially when that particular care has no proven medical benefit over other alternative family care.

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  85. forthewar, you don't have empirical data supporting your claims. Nothing, *nothing* has been adequately studied (that you've cited), over the long haul of several generations, sorry.

    And this idea of "conscripting"? You're saying want the state to compulsively enlist adults to take care of kids? When does the state stop reaching in your world view? When does the state remove its hand from the freedoms of individuals?

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  86. Children have the right to care, not particular care

    What kind of pseudo-jargon is this? And how does this protect any child?

    What is "care" vs "particular care"? Care is care. A child has a right to it from both a female and male union. The English language is getting a smear job.

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  87. light comment here, but I HAD to click on this post because of your INIGO MONTOYA picture. I said it in his voice. So funny. Thanks for the giggle.

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  88. Nubby, why are you being so aggressive? You're misrepresenting what I say, and essentially yelling at me for the misrepresentation (I never said the state should conscript parents, I just asked you why the state doesn't do this if children have a 'right' to a mother and father). I can point you towards the studies and data I'm referring to, if you want, but I don't really want to have a discussion with someone who I feel is being really antagonistic.

    I said in the beginning that I choose to believe no matter what side of the debate people (and that includes you, Nubby) are on, their motives are charitable and they wish to do good for children and all people. I say that even when I think their opinions are actively harmful, like I think opposition to marriage equality is. I'd at least like the same respect back -- you may think I'm advocating sending society down the highway to destruction, but what I think and believe I believe out of the goodness of my heart, not to spite others.

    Anyway, what I'm saying is I think this conversation is going to a negative place and may be it's time I bowed out. Thanks everyone!

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    1. This is why I rarely respond directly to Nubby. Thanks for all of your comments, though – they have been great!

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  89. forthewar's comment at 7:37pm answered that way better than I could have.

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  90. Chris, you are right! I am sorry. I did forget the link and that is very, very important:

    http://library.gayhomeland.org/0018/EN/EN_Overhauling_Straight.htm

    This older group of activists (not the same as today, it's true) actually are trying very hard (as you can see in their detailed strategy) to become mainstream and be acceptable to ordinary Americans. And yet still, the idea that gays could "marry" was not even on the radar.

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  91. "If I've misrepresented your views at all, let me know, but I think legislation allowing for this would still allow for racist business owners to refuse to serve mixed-race couples."

    The analogy would only fit if the business owner (baker, let's say?) refused to make a cake for a mixed-race wedding. But he would not be allowed to refuse to bake them a birthday cake. I don't like the analogy at all, since mixed-race marriages (unlike homosexual "marriages") have always been ontologically possible, and even racists know that even if they are against it. But I see that you had to use it to illustrate the point in some way.

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  92. "children in an adoption situation, for one reason or another, are lacking two primary caregivers"

    The "for one reason or another" makes a huge difference! Some children are born without limbs. We fit them with prosthetics to restore what has been lost. We don't happily create them without the limbs in the first place! This idea of "I want it, so I will have it!" by adults in this society is the most selfish thing. Takes my breath away.

    And did you really say that children do not have a right to a mother and a father, but they have a right to guardians? Who decided that children don't have the right to their parent? What powers that be made this pronouncement and by what authority? I am stunned, truly.

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  93. Right, that's what I meant, sorry that was unclear. My concern isn't the morality of either case, but just that laws allowing for discrimination against same-sex weddings (or any of those other situations you'd mentioned where it was an action being discriminated against) would also have to allow for discrimination that I think just about everyone has an automatic negative reaction to.

    What makes me super uncomfortable about the whole thing is that, while I understand that it's the action (the wedding), not the people, that you are proposing discrimination against, it still feels veeeeery close to discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender (or race). You are still discriminating against them because they are both male or both female, or one's black and one's white. Does that make sense? I understand the distinction you make, but I feel like legally, it's still standing on very shaky ground.

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  94. "Children (should) only have the right to guardianship, not a mother or a father."

    Sorry, but seriously, what does this mean? Who says? Where did this come from? And who is the giver of these rights? Sorry, I just don't know how to let this one go.

    And particular care vs. care? Then all a child really has a right to is a clean and well-run state orphanage where he gets lots of care. There can be very loving caretakers in orphanages. If a child, who comes into this world as the product of a mother and a father, has no right to a mother and a father, but only guardianship (approved by the state) and "care", then heck, let's just do a brave new world thing and let the state take charge of raising these kids who don't even have, according to you, the most fundamental right of all.

    Gosh and golly gee. That is about all I can say right now. We are in deep doo-doo, folks.

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  95. "it still feels veeeeery close to discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender"

    But how close can it be when I am having my gay employee assist me in making and serving my gay customers all the birthday cake they want, with a smile and a handshake and a "come again soon"?

    In one case, I serve people and serve happily. In the other case, I don't serve cake for the gay wedding/porn wrap party/cutting convention.

    Totally different.

    Unless you can't see that there is a big difference between an abortion activist baker not wanting to bake a cake for a pro-life victory party and an abortion activist baker refusing to serve the Christian family who wants to get cookies for his daughter.

    I am for freedom on both sides! Yours and mine! That is what is scary about all this. So much legislation. So much monitoring of citizen's movements, control of their businesses. We are supposed to be a free country. This idea that the legislators and courts run our lives and pick our noses and watch us sleep is getting a little much. The government seriously needs to back off. Our government is supposed to fear and serve and answer to us, not the other way around.

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  96. I do see the distinction. I don't really have a solution for you, honestly. My state recently legalized same-sex marriage and I know an attempt to amend the bill to allow for discrimination failed. I won't be living here much longer (moving to a state with a constitutional ban against same-sex marriage :( ), but I will be interested to see whether issues arise as opponents of the bill anticipated and how it plays out if they do.

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  97. There is a solution. It's that the government needs to back off and stay out of people's consciences. The idea that this has to be legislated at all, or that people have to be bullied by the government for their religious beliefs. It's against everything this nation was founded upon. If we keep getting harassed and bullied, it will come to a head sometime, and it won't be good for America as we will keep dividing and dividing and eventually Catholic Americans worth their salt will go to jail. I am not sure anyone will care (we are bigots, after all), but it's just sad that we can't have some thoughtfulness on the gay activist side. The truth is, I believe that part of the strategy to get people in line is to bring these lawsuits on purpose. Because we all know that plenty of people will bake a cake for a gay wedding.

    You know, I just remembered something. My sister is having a cake made for my daughter's bridal shower. She was telling me that the baker has made cakes for so many occasions, including a divorce party. I remember sort of recoiling as she said that. Frankly, as I sit here, I am pretty horrified by the idea of a divorce party. Divorce is a tragedy and nothing to celebrate, even if circumstances made it necessary. If I were a baker, I would gently, carefully decline to make such a cake, based on my deeply help beliefs. Not everyone feels as I do, and that's okay! I don't begrudge the right of someone else to make a divorce party cake. I honestly believe I should have the freedom to use my gifts for something that I can be proud of, not that I would be ashamed of. Please tell me you can see that as reasonable?

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  98. By the way, congratulations on your graduation!

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  99. "There's no proven empirical benefit to having a mother and a father over alternative family structures, as long as the family structure is stable. That's as close to scientific consensus as you'll get."

    This is patently and demonstrably untrue. There are stable single-parent homes, stable cohabitating homes, stable step-parent homes, stable "alternative family homes", and none can beat a stable two-biological-parent home when it comes to what is best for a child:

    http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/06/17/30-years-of-research-that-tells-us-a-child-deserves-a-mother-and-a-father/

    "If children had a right to a mother and a father, why wouldn't we conscript eligible married men and women to take care of orphaned children?"

    What is your concept of a "right" and who gives rights? There are natural rights, and one of those is the right for a child to be born to his own mother and father. There is really almost nothing I can think of that is more basic than this. It's not a right given by "the state", but society must recognize it and thus order all its laws and conventions around that understanding. There are many cases when it is not prudent or possible or safe for a child to be raised by his parents, and that is what we call a tragedy, a loss, and we deal with it. It's not something adults should be designing and bringing about for a child, on purpose. Again, it's the selfish nature of what we are doing that gets me.

    Sorry if I am repeating myself. I am just now reading through some of the later posts I missed and answering as it hits me.


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  100. forthewar wrote (and Michelle liked):

    "Yes, the rate of divorce and infidelity among homosexuals is higher, along with interracial couples, the poor, people in time demanding occupations, and pretty much any group of people where the relationship is marginalized or results in a high stress environment."

    Did you guys actually read this carefully? These are largely people on your side:

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/06/10325/

    Are homosexual couples in the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway generally "marginalized" would you say?

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  101. forthewar, you used the term "marriage equality". This is a term that is so misleading, so euphemistic ("What kind of meanie wouldn't be for equality?" Just like, "What kind of meanie would deny choice?").

    And the truth is, you don't believe in marriage equality yourself. There are many, many groups and subgroups to whom you would deny marriage. But you guys keep using that term as if you mean you really want marriage equality. I think the groups that are coming up next after the homosexuals will hold you to that. They'll hold you to your words and demand true marriage equality…for all!

    Oh gosh, I've made too many comments and I am sorry to dominate the thread now. You left coasters are all asleep!

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  102. One more thing. Michelle, you said:

    "My state recently legalized same-sex marriage and I know an attempt to amend the bill to allow for discrimination failed."

    This word, discrimination (again we have to talk about words). We all discriminate every day. People with good taste were said to have "discriminating taste". I discriminate when it comes to the schools my kids attend, the cereal we eat, the friends I choose to associate with, etc. The word means so much more than what the left has co-opted it to mean. What I think you mean when you say someone is discriminating, is that they are unjustly discriminating. There is unjust discrimination and just discrimination.

    I prefer to substitute these words, since it's not at all unjust to refuse to cooperate with sin:

    "My state recently legalized same-sex marriage and I know an attempt to amend the bill to allow for religious liberty and conscience protection failed."

    That is really what happened, and it's a darn shame. :(

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  103. Nubby, why are you being so aggressive? You're misrepresenting what I say, and essentially yelling at me for the misrepresentation (I never said the state should conscript parents, I just asked you why the state doesn't do this if children have a 'right' to a mother and father). I can point you towards the studies and data I'm referring to

    You asked about "conscripting adults". I answered with a question as to the extension of powers you think the state should have. *That's* what I challenged. No misrepresenting.

    When you comment, "If children had a right to a mother and a father, why wouldn't we conscript eligible married men and women to take care of orphaned children?", I like to ask you why that's even a possibility in your mind.

    Why would you entertain the idea that the state should (or could) usurp individual freedom? The state doesn't conscript people in this role because it has no right to do so. The real question is, do you want state management of every micro or macro individual choice, whether it trends with your views or not?

    To your other point, you don't have studies and data worth a read. In fact, the opposite holds true, as Leila posted that link. What you see as "fact heavy data", I call a different word.

    You guys see "aggression" where I see "assertively challenge". You guys see "political heroism" where I see "a complete shrug-off and smack down of children and fundamental building blocks of free society".

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  104. Welcome back Leila. You have been missed!!!! This same-sex marriage issue came to light and became real and "in your face" for me a few days ago. While taking my grandaughter to her home, she began telling me of a new girl in her neighborhood who just moved in and the little girl, who is 8 years old(, as is my grandchild,) felt comfortable enough to explain to my grandaughter her household situation.....
    She said she had been adopted as a infant and then those parents divorced and then her Mother married a woman. Eventually they divorced and she married another woman who is the present "wife". Sad story and a sad little girl. My grandaughter was completely confused and we had a nice long talk to try and explain all that drama. This is not the world I want my grandchildren to live in....but society is accepting it. Angel

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  105. Thank you! Congrats to your daughters on theirs too! (And hope the wedding planning is going well!)

    See, I hope you can understand why for me, the government just backing off isn't quite a real solution. We need anti-discrimination laws for obvious reasons. Deciding when you can and can't discriminate in a business operating in the public sphere is important. You certainly can't cover every case (I don't think it happens too often that someone's small child is named Adolf Hitler), but when it comes to a growing group of people (engaged/married same-sex couples), it seems reasonable that there should be solid laws in place. It's more fair for the business owner who may be perpetually worried about being sued, and it's more fair for the couples who may be perpetually worried about being refused service. Personally? If I knew a business wouldn't bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, I wouldn't buy cakes from there – knowing where a business owner stands may be one solution, but then I do think it could end up driving away business. I really don't know. I'm interested to see how this ends up being resolved as more states pass same-sex marriage laws.

    I know what you mean about the word "discrimination", but I wouldn't word it as you did, because "conscience protection" can stand for just about anything. Unless we legislate what can and can't reasonably fall under "conscience", then anyone could say anything violated their conscience, and who would we be to disagree?

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  106. Here we go again.

    Leila wrote:
    "Ordinary gay folks were never looking to get "married" in the decades past, because they actually understood what marriage is, and that two men marrying is an ontological impossibility"
    A. What is an ordinary gay folk?
    B. It's amazing what you assume the "ordinary gay folk" were or weren't looking for based on reading an article.

    Then you write:
    "but it's just sad that we can't have some thoughtfulness on the gay activist side. The truth is, I believe that part of the strategy to get people in line is to bring these lawsuits on purpose. Because we all know that plenty of people will bake a cake for a gay wedding."
    A. Actually just because you feel something is a truth doesn't make it one.
    B. Perhaps because the baker had been making cakes for them for a while they assumed that having a wedding cake made by them would not be a big deal.
    C. I think one would have to consult a lawyer to know what the signs saying they have the right to refuse service for what ever reason.
    D. Where is the thoughtfulness from the catholics?

    But I think what you are saying is it is ok for me as a gay man to discriminate in my business however I see fit, as long as I state it is because of "my deeply held beliefs"

    Perhaps the government should get out of the marriage business. But at the end of the day, truth is I don't believe that is what you truly want. If you take marriage away from government what does that leave? I don't need the govt approval for my marriage (but I do deserve the benefits and rights that are bestowed by it just like you get). You putting your childish quote marks when writing about same sex marriage (or any other word you don't agree with) doesn't negate my marriage.

    If there is no governmental benefits or rights bestowed with marriage then anyone can say they are married. So perhaps instead or fighting against gay marriage, you should be fighting against any legal recognition of marriage?

    Finally for your studies I ask, which study involves children of two same sex low conflict (read your study closely, the phrase low conflict is mentioned several times) stable relationships. How many children who have been raised entirely by two men or two women are in these studies.
    If you need a good example of a young many raised by two lesbians please look up Zach Wahls.

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  107. I know what you mean about the word "discrimination", but I wouldn't word it as you did, because "conscience protection" can stand for just about anything. Unless we legislate what can and can't reasonably fall under "conscience", then anyone could say anything violated their conscience, and who would we be to disagree?

    You would agree that Catholicism is not some fringe cult or strange, new-fangled religion, right? We've been around for eons before America existed (and will be here long after America falls). So, I'm struggling with the idea that simply because a very bizarre understanding of "marriage" was suddenly imposed on us and all of society, we are the ones who are suddenly in danger of not being able to work at our professions or trades, and we need to be asking (and even grateful) for "protections" just to work and be free. Do you see the frustration? It is all so bizarre to us, like we have entered the Twilight Zone. Why are we put in this position when we live in a nation whose primary purpose for founding was not "sexual rights" but very specifically, religious liberty. Being able to live our faith free of the fear of government tyranny. The Founders were about protecting the religious from the creeping, oppressive powers of the state. They wanted to live according to their consciences. That was the whole point of this country. That is why I believe our days are numbered as any kind of coherent nation.

    Angel, that is so, so, so sad. Can you imagine that young girl having any sense of how to have a relationship with a husband some day? Or knowing a stable place in this world rooting in any kind of natural realities? At eight years old for her to have to grapple with these issues like that. As a mother of children that age, my heart just aches. They should be playing and swimming and being carefree and innocent, not having to work out the intricacies of gay politics and relationships in her increasingly unstable "family". My heart just aches for her. :(

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  108. status quo
    [kwoh] Show IPA

    noun
    the existing state or condition.


    Also called status in quo.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Origin:
    1825–35; < Latin status quō literally, state in which

    so where does it say that the status quo cannot change?
    How many years was the status quo for women to not vote, to be subservient to men?
    How many years was the status quo that blacks deserved less rights than whites?
    See things change, and both those changes were thought by some to be good, and some to be bad.

    So I ask, why can the status quo not be changed?

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  109. Alan, I am sure there are many wonderful people raised by lesbians, just as there are many wonderful people raised by single moms (I know them!). That doesn't mean they are wonderful because they were denied a father or had a missing father, it means they were able to succeed despite being denied a father. The human spirit is amazing and can overcome many, many hurdles, losses and adversities. That doesn't mean fatherlessness is a good thing and something to enshrine. Obviously.

    And alan, I want to be really honest with you and say that I because I do not often follow your logic, and we seem to be very often talking like two ships in the night, never actually connecting on even the basic ideas of the conversation, I will leave the other Catholics to have the discussion with you, if that's okay.

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  110. Of course the status quo can change. No one said otherwise. Sometimes, the status quo changes due to the imposition of something else. That was the very point of the original post, Alan.

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  111. I really don't want to have this conversation if people are going to be uncharitable. But, since everyone's acting like I think it's totally cool that children languish in foster homes and orphanages (!?) I think I better correct that at least. Just because children only have the right to foster or orphanage care does not mean I think that's the ideal situation or even a good one. But I asked Nubby that originally: If children have a 'right' (and I don't recognize a natural right to a mother and a father, maybe this is why we are talking past each other) to a mother and a father, then why aren't eligible married men and women conscripted to be parents? The reality is that children have the right to a safe living environment, food, and protection, but not more. Please don't confuse this with an endorsement of the situation of parentless kids. I'd say that about anything depressing. People without jobs have the right to live, not to a particular house. People without health insurance only have the right to life-saving care, not particular medical care. I'm stating reality, not idealism.

    Which is why I'm so insistent about the reality that LGBT parents are interchangeable with a mother and a father, and should be allowed to reduce the amount of parentless children. This is as close to sociological fact as you'll get. Even the Witherspoon Institute (btw, they absolutely do *not* agree with me, it's a conservative religious think tank, in fact, a conservative think tank that has had its studies about LGBT parenting discredited by peer review) inadvertently or otherwise, quoted something supporting me in the article you linked:

    Average differences favor women over men, but parenting skills are not dichotomous or exclusive. The gender of parents correlates in novel ways with parent-child relationships but has minor significance for children's psychological adjustment and social success.

    That's from the Journal of Marriage and Family, and mentioned in the Witherspoon Institute page.

    http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/06/17/30-years-of-research-that-tells-us-a-child-deserves-a-mother-and-a-father/

    Okay, so a lot of the pages they cite from are down, so I wasn't able to compare most of the things they cited to the primary paper, but in the cases I saw, all of the studies they cited that concluded that children do best with a married mother and father didn't even include LGBT parents in the study. They simply compared adoptive, single, and varied heterosexual relationships. This merely shows children do best with two parents (well established fact), and says nothing about homosexual parenting ability. All studies that I am aware of that directly compare heterosexual and homosexual parenting in a rigorous manner, like the abstract I listed above, do not show any deficiencies children raised by two moms or two dads. It is established science and medicine backed by nearly all major professional organizations of those scientists and physicians.

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  112. Just because children only have the right to foster or orphanage care does not mean I think that's the ideal situation or even a good one.

    If the kids have no rights beyond foster/orphanage, then what do you care who their parents are, forthewar?

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  113. You may not see it, but you have no argument FOR gay parenting/parents.

    You're really driving at nothing more than an example of Marx's dialectic materialism.

    While advocating for gay marriage, you are advocating for wanting this, that, and the other to be advanced (greatest physical pleasure, greatest degree of stimulation, etc.) without a glance toward your responsibility to the common good.

    The larger truth is that you (universal) cannot disrespect *anyone's* rights (think unborn babies, born babies, and faithful people in this instance) and expect a more advanced, idealistic society. Ain't gonna happen. You cannot smack down basic rights without shattering the common good.

    So, as you wish to advance us to be more enlightened and all embracing, you're forgetting that as long as you step on basic rights (whether it's the unborn's or the Catholic who is forced to sanction anything against the faith, whatever), you are shattering the very thing you think you're striving for.

    Rights are there to advance people to a higher principled life. Rights are the basic foundation that cannot be violated because the common good for all relies on rights, so that we can aspire to something closer to idealistic. They under gird the common good. Cannot separate rights from the common good.

    Not only do you separate them, you deny them.

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  114. forthewar, I should have been more clear. Definitely the Witherspoon Institute is not a leftist source. But the studies and things that they QUOTE are from your side. That's what I was hoping you'd take into account.

    Do you not believe in natural rights? We don't have any? We have no right to a mother and father (by mere fact of being human) but somehow we have a right to a "guardian" (given by the state)? So, whatever rights we have are not inherent, but handed out by the state? Do you believe there is a natural right to stay alive? Do I have a right to my life? If so, where does that right come from? Not a rhetorical question, please answer.

    You said: Which is why I'm so insistent about the reality that LGBT parents are interchangeable with a mother and a father, and should be allowed to reduce the amount of parentless children.

    This is not about reducing the amount of parentless children (unless you are against IVF and surrogacy for gay couples?) Remember, every child who has ever lived has parents, a mother and father. Some children don't get to know or be raised by their parents. And in that case, the question is why not? For example, a donor-produced child, or a child bought from a surrogate, is missing one or both of his natural parents in order that gay people can have something they cannot by nature have (and not because of defect, infertility, disease, but because nature does not allow them to have it, ever). They are making fatherless and motherless children on purpose. They are not "saving" some poor, parentless child abandoned at birth. They are designing and ordering up their children to be without one or both of their parents, and without a mother or without a father.

    Again, adoption restores something that has been denied a child and is borne out of misfortune of some type. Donor insemination, surrogacy, manufacture of child from others' "materials", and even adoption to a gay couple when a mom and dad could have adopted the child, is purposely denying them their right to a biological mom and dad, and/or an adoptive mom and dad to absorb the loss of the bio mother and dad they couldn't have in life.

    It's convenient for you to deny the right of a child to his own parents, because it paves the way for the adults to get what they want. And same with denying any natural, inherent right to life. That conveniently allows adults, again, to get what they want.

    The consequences of this selfishness are catastrophic to a society and to our own human dignity. A society that bulldozes children and their rights so that the adults can get what they want is not a society I want to endorse, much less live in.

    We should be ashamed of ourselves.

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  115. Leila,
    Yet again I am amazed that you simply skip answering questions that I ask. Seems like a trend with you. And then of course you discuss how you "cannot follow my logic". Broken record.

    Not sure where your disconnect in following my logic is. I have my suspicions, but I'll keep them to myself.

    As for imposition, you really actually think you are not imposing your beliefs on others?

    So let the other catholics have at me. Or not.

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  116. Nubby
    who decides what is a right?

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  117. Well, alan, as you know, there are two kinds of rights:

    Inalienable rights - given by our Creator. They cannot be taken from us, because no human government ever gave them. They were never acquired by vote, and therefore, cannot be removed by a vote. Early history points to Suarez with this notion in the 1600's, then to John Locke (who wrote it into his second treatise on gov't), then to Jefferson.

    Extrinsic rights - given by a Constitution or Bill of Rights.

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  118. "As for imposition, you really actually think you are not imposing your beliefs on others?"

    Refer to original post. Start at the top, read all the way to the end, carefully. That is my answer.

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  119. If so, where does that right come from? Not a rhetorical question, please answer.

    Since where rights come from is an active philosophical debate, I can't tell you a bonafide truth, but I can tell you my opinion as someone secular. Rights come from ethics, the study of morality. Rights are a way to refer to the privileges sentient organisms are given by virtue of simply being sentient. I suppose you could call these 'natural rights', but I don't like using that word 'natural' because it brings up images of 'natural law' that is totally unsubstantiated and unjustified, in my opinion. What I believe isn't related to the philosophy of natural law, so I like to make a clear distinction. That's a secular conception of rights, and the one I subscribe to, in my own words.

    One of those rights is the rights to be safe, and well cared for if you are unable to care for yourself, as children are. However, simply because the biological fact is that every child has a mom and a dad does not mean children have a right to those biological parents, it simply means the necessarily exist for any human to. That is missing an important validation step. Show me why that's true! It's equating a reality with a value position.

    This is not about reducing the amount of parentless children (unless you are against IVF and surrogacy for gay couples?)

    Surely you know not all children parented by LGBT parents are not conceived via IVF or surrogacy? A fair amount (and it'd probably be more if it wasn't illegal in so many states) of homosexual parents adopt or take in foster children.

    So this reduces to a question of math. If there are X number of parentless children in the US, and homosexual use of IVF creates Y number of new parented children, but at the same time, homosexual adoption makes Z amounts of children parented, then the overal effect of LGBT parenting is to reduce parentless children by X-Z, a net good on the world!

    As for IVF, I can't fault parents for wanting children genetically connected to them.

    Again, adoption restores something that has been denied a child and is borne out of misfortune of some type.

    Yep. Parents.

    And same with denying any natural, inherent right to life. That conveniently allows adults, again, to get what they want.

    Well, a) I don't deny an inherent right to life, and b) since when are adults not allowed to have civil rights because kids exist? Especially because 1) Marriage has nothing to do with children (unless this is now a debate about LGBT adoption) and 2) There is no reported difference in the welfare of children ever substantiated by research (this applies if you're talking about LGBT adoption). Ever.

    I must drive this home. When you say things like this:

    The consequences of this selfishness are catastrophic to a society and to our own human dignity.

    You can't just say that, you have to show why, preferably with evidence. Especially since every, and I mean every single reputable academic and advocacy body who's job it is to study this thing disagrees with the Church.

    One of the things I've always admired about the Church, as an outsider who learned about it later in life, was that it (or is she what's used to the refer to the church? I've seen it both ways...legit question) has always been willing to accept science and temper faith with scientific discovery. This is why it disturbes me that the Church is in odds in something which is clearly not even a debate , at least academically and professionally. Forgive me, but I do not understand why Catholics can't see this is another culture war like creationism, or global warming.

    On one side, you have all the scientists and people with peer review, and on the side you have...

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  120. Since where rights come from is an active philosophical debate,.

    "Active debate"? Did we just row the boat ashore to America? No one debates the root of inalienable rights, and no one debates the root of extrinsic rights. Former is given by Creator, latter by government, and you can lose those extrinsic rights by the same government. "Where rights come from" has been clear since the foundation of our own country. It's a non-argument.

    The inalienable rights developed from Suarez (I'd throw back to Catholic background on this, but I bet you already know about this), to Locke, all the way to the traditions of Germany, France and around the world and back a snap.

    Jefferson picked up from Locke about the truth of inalienable rights. Locke's were: the inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and Property, which he incorporated into his second Treatise on Government. Jefferson's were: the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness.

    WHICH, by the way, are ordered right, based on what is called the "necessity criterion". You've studied this, I hope.

    Rights are a way to refer to the privileges sentient organisms are given by virtue of simply being sentient.

    In English, we can just say, "humans have inalienable rights that were given to them by their Creator, not voted on or given by any government." See Dred Scott and RvW for two contrasting examples of how the court cleaned up one decision and leaves the other miserably derelict.

    I suppose you could call these 'natural rights',
    Those would be called "inalienable", unless someone's on the horn changing that term now, too...

    but I don't like using that word 'natural' because it brings up images of 'natural law' that is totally unsubstantiated and unjustified, in my opinion.

    Really? So, what a conundrum for you to acknowledge inalienability, right?

    What I believe isn't related to the philosophy of natural law, so I like to make a clear distinction.

    Then you're ignoring the complete reality of inalienable rights that aren't given by any worldly government of America, yet the worldly government of America acknowledges these rights.

    One of those rights is the rights to be safe, and well cared for if you are unable to care for yourself, as children are. However, simply because the biological fact is that every child has a mom and a dad does not mean children have a right to those biological parents,

    And here is where your argument gets derailed. Marriage actually guarantees the child to know his/her natural mom and dad. Kids of gay parents don't have those rights. Kids of donor parents don't either. Kids born out of wedlock don't either. But within marriage between a mom and a dad, you bet. That's the utmost guarantee, to know thy parents.

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  121. Forthewar-

    You said " I don't recognize a natural right to a mother and a father, maybe this is why we are talking past each other)" I'd really like you to expand on this.

    See.....that's simple biology. Every human on this Earth has a mother and a father. Unless I've been asleep at the wheel and missed a major scientific advance we can't just whip up unique genetic material to make all the eggs and sperm we want. So everyone HAS a mother and a father.

    So when you say the child doesn't have a "right" to their mother and father---- what exactly do you mean?

    Do you mean that the mother and father don't have to take care of their offspring? Do you mean the child shouldn't be able to make any demands on their parents?

    Are you talking legally? morally?

    Do you think we should encourage situations where a child may not be able to have both parents? (Catholics would argue this is EXACTLY what IFV does.)

    If you think children don't have a right to their parents....well it must follow you don't think parents have the right to their children.

    Why not just put all the kids in a home and randomly hand them out to licensed adults the state has deemed have the "right" to parent?

    That's a pretty distasteful idea, right? But why?

    I'm sure you think I am taking your comment out of context but I am really curious why you think a child doesn't have a right to something the child would never exist without.

    Furthermore, talking about the "imposing" debate. It sounds to me, your argument is because most of the country thinks marriage should be x therefore it should be. Would you agree with the reverse? Prop 8 was revoked by popular vote- should that stand? If the majority rules and that's it.....how is that any different than mob rule? Shouldn't laws be based on something more than the crowd's whim?

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  122. forthewar, I still cannot reconcile your idea that marriage has no connection to children. Because, as Bethany said on another thread, the idea that the state would have some kind of interest in confirming our romances is just creepy. If children didn't come as a matter of course from heterosexual unions, there would be no such thing as marriage in the first place.

    And so many leaders of the left had, until very recently in the political cycle, fallen all over themselves to affirm that marriage has always been between a man and a woman (these clips are funny and sad at the same time):

    http://hotair.com/archives/2013/03/28/flashback-remember-when-democrats-swore-they-opposed-same-sex-marriage/

    And I will never tire of repeating Hillary's words of recent memory:

    "[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.”

    And I ask the same question I've asked others: How did she get her history so wrong? She has an exemplary educational pedigree. She is an intelligent woman. She's been around a long time. Before the political winds changed, she seemed pretty firm in her historical understanding. So, how did she get is so wrong and what new information did she get to undermine the old understanding of what marriage has always been?

    I have yet to get an answer to that question, but on the StrangeNotions post from a week or so ago, one liberal atheist gay "marriage" advocate was less than eloquent when answering, telling me that it was not her fault that Hillary was full of turds, or something like that. I didn't find the answer particularly compelling. Does anyone have an answer?

    And as for this:

    "Especially since every, and I mean every single reputable academic and advocacy body who's job it is to study this thing disagrees with the Church."

    Wha…? I don't even understand this? What is "this thing" that everyone has studied and that, to a man, they have disagreed with the Church? On what issue? I am honestly at a loss?

    "This is why it disturbes me that the Church is in odds in something which is clearly not even a debate"

    What subject are you talking about? I cannot even fathom what you are talking about.

    And by the way, science cannot, at any point, ever, determine the moral law. The moral law is as set as are the laws of the physical world. Are you implying that we can determine that some sins are not sins due to the discoveries of science? Absolute rubbish, if that is what you are saying. But feel free to extrapolate on that. I honestly am at a loss and I may be missing your point?

    And, you can call the Church "it" if you'd like, but "she" is fine, too (Holy Mother Church).


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  123. Kat, excellent questions and I am interested in forthewar's response.

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  124. forthewar, the irony is that two seconds ago, you're all about "kids have no rights", then in a flash, you're all about "kids have rights to gay parents" in loose terms. You might not see it as such, but that's what you're advocating.

    Two seconds ago they had no rights, now they've suddenly got rights to be ripped away from natural parents by design, or manufactured for non-natural parents. I'm stumped.

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  125. Leila- Just an aside. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the attitude marriages are disposable.

    I have a lot of friends who take a very casual view of their marriages and some are even in the process of divorce. I've found their views are so at odds with what I believe a marriage truly is......I have a very hard time talking to them about it.

    I don't have your awesome talent to break down the Truth to clearly understandable basics.

    It just seems like they believe marriage is all about making themselves happy and it should be effortless.

    The best explanation I can find is the Catholic psychologist book For Better, Forever but none of them will read it because it is "Catholic."

    Seriously.....50 Shades of Gray has become a household name but people won't pick up a Catholic marriage book...........

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  126. If we're talking about marriage books, I highly recommend "Three to Get Married" by good ole Venerable Fulton Sheen! He wrote it back in the early '50s, but it's seriously as though he wrote it in the year 2013, his wise words truly transcend time!

    http://books.google.com/books/about/Three_to_Get_Married.html?id=wAq6Kg06j6kC

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  127. Kat, I hear you, and I am at a loss. I mean, even when my hubby and I married, he an agnostic Jew and me a veeeeeery lapsed Catholic, we knew that divorce was simply not in the lexicon. Not on the radar screen. The only difference between people who stay married and people who don't is commitment to stay. Otherwise, our emotions take us all over the place, and every crisis becomes a deal-breaker. And yes, we have utterly, totally bought the lie that "I have to feel happy. I have to feel good. If you don't fulfill me, I am gone." This is not a Christian sentiment, and it's not compatible with permanent marriage! Who suffers? The children, always the children. We are a disposable society and gosh darn it if divorce, and abortion and IVF means we can dispose of human beings, too, if they are not convenient, do not fit our "plan" and do not make us "happy". But there you are, that's the prevailing sentiment of folks from the Baby Boom generation onward. No wonder our children are in a world of hurt. (And the adults, too, I daresay.)

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  128. So this reduces to a question of math. If there are X number of parentless children in the US, and homosexual use of IVF creates Y number of new parented children, but at the same time, homosexual adoption makes Z amounts of children parented, then the overal effect of LGBT parenting is to reduce parentless children by X-Z, a net good on the world!

    So much for the relevance of y.
    Thanks for the useless math that tells me that the more orphans adopted, the less orphans there will be.

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  129. Leila, I know what you mean, but unfortunately your free expression of your religion affects other people in ways that are generally deemed (unjustly) discriminatory, and I think in any case like that, legislation is necessary. While I understand your points, I do also believe it's pretty unfair to expect same-sex couples to simply accept that they could be turned away by businesses. Additionally – and again, remember I hate slippery slope arguments, so I wouldn't be saying this if I didn't really, really believe it – I see it being the kind of thing that could become very messy. There's the example of the mixed-race couple I used a few times. What about other things, though? Could a Catholic restaurant owner turn away a same-sex couple clearly there on a date? Could a Democratic coffeeshop owner turn away a group of people discussing plans to go door to door to tell people to vote for a Republican candidate? Could a (weird and irrational) pacifist baker refuse to bake a going-away cake for a soldier?

    I only want to show you why I think conscience-protection laws could be a very tricky thing to deal with. That's not to say they won't ever be passed or that there's no solution, but I think it's not ever going to be quite as easy as just letting people follow their consciences, and I hope you can see why.

    I'm going to have to duck out of the conversation now because I don't anticipate having time to comment this weekend. I may check back, but I can't promise anything!

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  130. "but I think it's not ever going to be quite as easy as just letting people follow their consciences, and I hope you can see why. "

    So whose conscience are we going to follow? Skynet's?

    Clearly, we cannot allow people to think for themselves because they might make a wrong/unfair/mean-spirited/jerk-like decision and that will obviously tear a hole in the space-time continuum and destroy us all.

    Obviously we can't rely on free-market enterprise and good ol' social pressure to remind people that well......people don't like jerks and don't tend to give their business to jerks. Obviously, this needs the interference of the government.

    I'm sorry to be so snarky but please tell me you understand why some people might consider your approach a bit heavy-handed.

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  131. Michelle, but I could lay out an endless amount of such scenarios, and then we are legislating everything! I am very much opposed to the legislation of every possible thing that could not be "fair" or "equal". I think it leads to a loss of freedom, and as I've mentioned before somewhere, freedom is not the default position vis a vis citizens and government. It's the exception to the rule. And the momentum, sadly, is always that government will naturally move toward giving itself more and more power. As Dennis Prager (formerly a liberal) has said, the bigger the state, the smaller the citizen. I don't want to live in a world where government tracks and legislates my every move. Again, that is not what this nation (which was a great experiment in history) was founded upon.

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  132. I have a question for the liberals/same sex marriage supporters: what do you think about striving for virtue or living a virtuous life? And is it better to be selfish or selfless? Is it too much to expect people to be selfless?

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  133. Margo- Thanks for the book recommendation! I'll have to put it on my reading list!

    Leila- I know what you mean. My husband and I aren't great Catholics in a lot of ways but divorce was/is NEVER an option.

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  134. Ooooooo, I like Margo's question!

    Hey Leila- you should provide popcorn!

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  135. Kat, lol! I have heard that there are actually entire families that follow these discussions! I hope they are edifying and I really appreciate the atheists/secularists who are willing to come and debate with us vigorously!

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  136. But think about it from the other side, too – would you feel okay knowing that you don't have the freedom to just walk into a business and be served like anyone else? That you have to be prepared to be told "no" and be expected to just bow your head and say "okay, I understand" and leave?

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  137. Michelle, I would MUCH rather have that than to have the government throw good people out of business and have the government and the bullies be legislating every movement and every thought I have. Remember, we don't have to patronize jerks! The folks who would deny service to Catholics, let's say, are few and far between. I would be happy to take my business elsewhere and pray for those sad people.

    And, if a Muslim baker did not want to bake my daughter's First Communion cake, I would not even think ill of him. I would completely understand. Fully within his rights.

    Finally, did you notice that you predicated this on whether or not I would "feel okay"? I can't stress this enough: We do not make law and restrict freedoms based on whether or not someone has his or her feelings hurt! That is why we are in such a hot mess.

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  138. You don't feel okay violating your conscience, and same-sex couples don't feel okay being refused service. I'm not sure how it doesn't still come down to feelings in both cases?

    (Also, I really don't know much about discrimination laws, but I think the Muslim baker in your example would be violating federal discrimination laws.)

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  139. Michelle, it's not about "feelings" with a conscience! A conscience is between a person and God (or a person and himself.) We, as humans, must not violate our consciences. It has nothing to do with feelings. In fact, there are many times my conscience tells me that I must go against my feelings!

    And the government may neither interfere or coerce my conscience, nor should it be about the business of making sure everyone "feels good". I am truly confused. What do you think is the role of government and the role of conscience?

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    1. First line clarity: Meaning, when it comes to conscience, it's not about feelings!

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  140. Okay, distinction understood. But when my conscience, between me and my view of God, tells me to never interact with gay people because I believe it suggests I approve of homosexuality, then what do we do?

    Basically, I worry that, under the law, there's no way to distinguish consciences that you view as valid (religiously-based ones) from consciences that I hope we can agree are ridiculous (my hypothetical one). Like I said, I really don't have an answer. I wish I did. All I can tell you is how I see this leading us down a road where discrimination laws come to have no meaning because anyone can justify any (unjust) discrimination as a matter of conscience or deeply held belief.

    I don't know what our time difference is, but it's pretty late out here and I really need to sleep (and maybe you do too!). Sorry to have to leave it at this, but I probably won't be able to take the time to comment in the next few days. Thanks for the discussion!

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  141. Michelle, understood, but just to make a last point: No one is suggesting rolling back the anti-discrimination laws re: race. No one was ever asking for that. Things were really good right where they were. The problem is now the government is making laws based not on passive characteristics like race (I don't like you because of what you look like, so I won't serve you food), but on active behaviors that are traditionally sinful (in all major religions' views, frankly). And the list of "protected" groups is ever-growing. But we cannot police people's minds and hearts. The government can do some bare minimum things (and my Church was part of the civil rights push in the '60s! It was very much a religious movement) to make sure that true discrimination is addressed, but we are getting into crazy land now. In order to make sure that people's feelings aren't hurt, we are losing freedoms and ruining livelihoods. There is no balance anymore. These laws are unnecessary, and will have tons of unintended (and sadly, intended) consequences. But I do appreciate that you are at least seeing the other side here, and I feel it's been a productive discussion. Thanks, Michelle!

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  142. "Okay, distinction understood. But when my conscience, between me and my view of God, tells me to never interact with gay people because I believe it suggests I approve of homosexuality, then what do we do?"

    This just reminded me of Mary Daly, a feminist professor at Boston College who would not allow males in her class. Peter Kreeft (a wonderful Catholic and fellow BC prof) told me that she didn't even speak to men. Should the government have done something to her? I think the school should have (ultimately they did not give her tenure, thank God), but not the feds. :)

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  143. Nubby wrote
    "No one debates the root of inalienable rights, and no one debates the root of extrinsic rights. Former is given by Creator."

    Incorrect. Many people debate the mere existence of a creator. So yeah, those inalienable rights are indeed debated.

    "Where rights come from" has been clear since the foundation of our own country. It's a non-argument."

    Did rights only begin with the foundation of our country?

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  144. Leila
    I read (and reread) your post.

    You are still missing the point. I can't make you see that.

    But here is a different definition of impose:

    im·pose
    [im-pohz] Show IPA verb, im·posed, im·pos·ing.

    verb (used with object)
    1.
    to lay on or set as something to be borne, endured, obeyed, fulfilled, paid, etc.: to impose taxes.

    2.
    to put or set by or as if by authority: to impose one's personal preference on others.

    3.
    to obtrude or thrust (oneself, one's company, etc.) upon others.

    4.
    to pass or palm off fraudulently or deceptively: He imposed his pretentious books on the public.

    Look at #2. Sorry kitten but if the gay activist are imposing their beliefs on you, and you are saying, "hey wait, the status quo is this" then aren't you too imposing your view on them?

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  145. Margo writes:
    "I have a question for the liberals/same sex marriage supporters: what do you think about striving for virtue or living a virtuous life? And is it better to be selfish or selfless? Is it too much to expect people to be selfless?"

    Not sure your point here. Could you elaborate? Can you define "virtuous living"?

    See I am reading this as you are saying that in no way is it possible for someone who supports gay marriage to live a virtuous life? Is it impossible for married homosexuals to live a virtuous life?

    I know this cannot be what you meant, so before I can answer the question I will need more parameters.

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  146. Incorrect. Many people debate the mere existence of a creator. So yeah, those inalienable rights are indeed debated.

    Really, alan? So there's currently hot debates in our government over what inalienable rights are?

    Alan, go back to the Dominican tradition (pesky Catholics always creating, debating, and influencing for the good of all; ugh, I know), which was debating the idea of human slaves, even before Suarez coined the term "right", there you will find the fleshing out of "inalienable rights".

    Those rights were coined around 1620. The "debate", you can say, is called "Rights Theory".

    By the time it was worked into our law by Jefferson primarily, there was no debating. Inalienable rights were part of English law, German law, French law, all around the world, and eventually our law.

    Your comment has nothing to do with the fact that protection of our intrinsic dignity was incorporated into our fundamental laws, which are called, "inalienable rights". Why was it incorporated? Because governing men recognized these rights to be something that belonged to each person intrinsically. Government didn't give this worth or value, men had it by virtue of being human. Government acknowledged this, wrote it into law, and upholds it.

    They didn't vote on these rights, and they cannot be taken from any human being.

    These men realized there was a state obligation to protect people because of their intrinsic worth, based on a transcendental worth, namely, those men recognized God in each person. Inalienable rights are what allow us to be treated as dignified people by each other, and by the state.

    You can debate about God all day, alan. Knock yourself out.

    What you can't do is tell me, or anyone reading, that inalienable rights were given by a government, Even the government would disagree with you. US History 101, fifth grade social studies, pick a resource. It's plain. It's not my opinion.

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  147. Nubs, you said no one debated it. I am merely stating that is not a factual statement.

    didn't say inalienable were granted by the government, did I?

    I don't debate that the concept of inalienable rights are old.


    Leila, yes I called you kitten. It's just something I call people when discussing things with them.

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  148. lol, okay alan. May I call you "tiger"? ;)

    Just a reminder to all. We are approaching 200 comments, at which time, blogger loses its mind. To access anything after 200, you must hit the "load more" at the end of comments, which is fickle and annoying….

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  149. Mmmk.
    Debated as in, "There's no God, and no rights given by a God, wah, wah, pout, stammer, gasp!"

    Or debated as in, "We see these rights, we recognize them, and we have to flesh them out, and we will acknowledge them".

    Answer: It wasn't the former.

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  150. Leila you can call me anything you want.

    Nubby, it's comments like this (There's no God, and no rights given by a God, wah, wah, pout, stammer, gasp!")that make me wonder if you are an adult.

    And no I don't think all view us as having inalienable rights.

    Abortion definitely shows that don't you think? You say the baby has a right to life, others say no. And that is one of the inalienable rights (the right to life).

    Would you agree that is a factual statement? I'm not asking if you agree with abortion, but just the fact that the mere debate on abortion shows that many don't agree with the inalienable right to life.

    But just for spits and giggles can you list our inalienable rights, and specifically those mentioned by Locke and Suarez,or give me them from your specific source? (I am not certain that anyone has ever claimed that the right to be raised by a mother and a father is an inalienable right, nor frankly have they said marriage is)

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  151. alan, I said I would not debate you, but I just have to say this…

    You would have a point if my thesis was about individuals debating each other. So, if you and I were sparring off on this, we are both trying to "impose" our beliefs on the other.

    But the line is this: "The Catholic Church is imposing its beliefs on society!"

    So, remember, the Catholic Church (entity #1) believes in man/woman marriage. Society (entity #2) believes in man/woman marriage (i.e., status quo, if you remember my thesis), so how could the Church (status quo) be imposing its beliefs on society (status quo)? Status quo cannot be "imposed" on status quo! They are holding the same position!

    Do you see? So the argument that "That Catholic Church is imposing its beliefs of society!" is ludicrous.

    The only way it could be a valid accusation is in the case of the scenario that I paint, the in the original post, but that is completely fictitious. Now, one day it could be true that our society looks like that (God forbid), but as of now, that is not the case.

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  152. Leila,
    Problem with that is that society does not necessarily agree with the catholic church (you can see the tide is turning, you can call it a slippery slope, I'm ok with that. In mentioning the lowering the age of consent please remember that you yourself have told me that you think your church says the age of consent to marry for girls is 14, so lets not use that argument as one against gay marriage).

    And the catholic church is involved in an attempt to make sure that society does not change the status quo for marriage, because it is counter to their beliefs. So at the end day it is still the catholic church attempting to impose (or continue to impose) it's belief.

    I know you don't see this. And I assume you will tell me my logic is flawed (or you can't follow it) but in reality we are all attempting to impose our beliefs on each other. There really is no arguing that.

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  153. Abortion definitely shows that don't you think? You say the baby has a right to life, others say no. And that is one of the inalienable rights (the right to life).

    BINGO. We have a winner. And here's where the courts screwed up big time, and why they need to fix their error (as they did in the Dred Scott decision).

    Roe v Wade was awful on three counts:
    The Court undermined inalienability of rights
    It undermined the objective ordering of those rights
    And it allowed itself to proclaim when the inalienable right to life began.

    They used clarity criterion which is a subjective criterion which should NEVER have been applied to the inalienable right to life.

    And they allowed a lesser right (liberty right of mother) to trump the fundamentally more important right (right to life).

    There is an order to those inalienable rights, because of the importance. You can't have liberty without life, and you can't have pursuit of happiness without liberty or life.

    The court took it upon itself to let a lesser right trump a higher right. Guess what that means for you, me, or any other group, alan? It means, the court will bless any decision, based on subjective clarity criterion, and open up the door for any groups to be done away with.

    It basically means, that unless they correct their error (as in Dred Scott) that they hold power to wear fuzzy glasses and declare, "Well, you may not really be a person afterall..." Open season on any group, at any time.

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  154. Alan, so for the entire history of America, it's been the Catholic Church imposing her beliefs on society, and that is why no one ever thought that marriage could involve two grooms? How do you explain, say, China then?

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  155. But just for spits and giggles can you list our inalienable rights, and specifically those mentioned by Locke and Suarez,or give me them from your specific source? (I am not certain that anyone has ever claimed that the right to be raised by a mother and a father is an inalienable right, nor frankly have they said marriage is)

    Self evident truths/unalienable rights per the Declaration's second paragraph:
    Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, alan, but not limited to just those.

    The other rights you talk about are extrinsic rights.

    Nubby, it's comments like this (There's no God, and no rights given by a God, wah, wah, pout, stammer, gasp!")that make me wonder if you are an adult.

    That's not my argument, alan, so perhaps you should wonder about the maturity level of those who use it instead.

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  156. And it's actually Un - not In-alienable rights. I'm sticking true to form as per the Declaration. Inalienable rights isn't as accurate.

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  157. This is an interesting article from an atheist libertarian. Some excerpts:

    From the get-go, the depiction of the campaign for gay marriage as a liberty-tinged movement for greater equality was questionable to say the least. For a start, grassroots public protesting for the right of homosexuals to marry was notable by its absence. Instead, this has been a movement led by lawyers and professional activists, backed by the CEOs of hedge-fund corporations and newspapers of record such as The Times, and it has actively sought to insulate itself from engagement with the prejudicial public....

    It seems clear that the radical civil rights imagery cynically wheeled out by gay marriage advocates disguises that this is in truth a highly elitist, debate-allergic campaign. That is because, fundamentally, gay marriage speaks to, not any public thirst for the overhaul of marriage, but rather the narrow needs of some of the most elitist strata in our society. The benefit of the gay marriage issue for our rulers and betters is twofold. First, it allows them to pose as enlightened and cosmopolitan, as bravely willing to to enact ‘civilising measures’, in contrast with the bigots who make up the more traditional, religious or lumpen sections of society. As one observer said yesterday, gay marriage has become a ‘red line’ in politics, determining one’s goodness or badness. Supporting gay marriage has become a key cultural signifier, primarily of moral rectitude, among everyone from politicians to the media classes to bankers: that is, members of an elite who have increasingly few opportunities for moral posturing in these relativistic times. And second, and crucially, gay marriage satisfies the instinct of the authorities to meddle in marital and family life; it throws open to state intervention previously no-go zones, including the very meaning of our most intimate relationships...

    The state’s determination to interfere in marriage and re-determine its content and import and relationships reveals what is really motoring the gay marriage issue - not a desire to complete the drive for civil rights that kicked off 50 years ago, but rather a thirst for further expanding state authority over our private lives and relationships.

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  158. Leila.
    "Alan, so for the entire history of America"

    Yes the entire history (sarcasm if you could not tell)

    ", it's been the Catholic Church imposing her beliefs on society, and that is why no one ever thought that marriage could involve two grooms?"

    No one? Do a little research and you will see this is not necessarily true. And the current fight for gay marriage tells you this statement is untrue.

    "How do you explain, say, China then?"

    In what context? They are against gay marriage? How would I explain Russia? Archaic thinking. More governmental controls than the USA.

    I knew you would not really read what I wrote. But here it is. The catholic church is against gay marriage, because, well, because it is counter to their beliefs. Up until recently those beliefs were in line with the country and much of the world. Now we see a change in those beliefs in many people and many countries.
    The catholic church is doing everything it can to fight those changes. To keep the status quo in line with their beliefs. That in and of itself is the catholic church attempting to force it's beliefs on society on the whole. It matters not that society has up until now agreed with the catholic church in this argument.



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  159. we disagree on abortion. I don't use that to start a debate about abortion, but rather to evidence that indeed there is debate about inalienable rights (or un, don't care which you use but lets decide and stick with one.)

    You wrote:
    "Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness, alan, but not limited to just those."

    OK so if not limited to just those where do we find out the rest of them?

    Plus wouldn't my big gay marriage fall under my inalienable rights of liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

    I'll point out that you are using a document created by our government to establish your inalienable rights, in an argument that the government does not grant them to us though.

    and finally, I question your adultness as you are the one who wrote the comment. It has nothing to do with the ones arguing against the existence of god, however I can assure you that the folks I know who argue the existence of god do not "wah, wah, pout, stammer, gasp" That is your comment. So yeah, I'm still debating you being an adult, not the persons who you assume use this argument.

    And my logic makes no sense......geesh.

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  160. Have a super weekend, alan! God bless you in your historical endeavors.

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  161. Alan, just think. If the Catholic Church never existed, the whole world would have clearly always understood for all these millennia that marriage could be homosexual in nature, right? (Forget the fact that the Church has only existed for 2,000 years, and even then only in certain places.)

    Again, I need to bow out of this. Many blessings!

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  162. "I'll point out that you are using a document created by our government to establish your inalienable rights, in an argument that the government does not grant them to us though."

    So if the government produced a document stating that God exists and that 2+2=4 (both true), then does that mean the government made God and made 2+2=4? Do you think that is reasonable and logical to conclude, alan?

    Or could it be that the government is simply acknowledging what is true?

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  163. ", it's been the Catholic Church imposing her beliefs on society, and that is why no one ever thought that marriage could involve two grooms?"

    No one? Do a little research and you will see this is not necessarily true.


    Sorry, let me correct, then. 99.9999999% of all societies never thought that marriage could involve two grooms (before two minutes ago historically). Are you going to claim that all those societies were being imposed upon by Catholics?

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  164. Alan, your belief that Russia and China outlaw gay marriage because they're backwards troglodytes compared to Americans is not only laughable, but offensive. I had no idea you were so racist.

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  165. JoAnna, that article and analysis by the atheist libertarian is excellent! How refreshing to see an atheist see right through the smokescreens to the heart of the matter.

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  166. What is being imposed on me is that when I sign on the intranet at work, a banner comes up saying the company is celebrating LBGQT month. What does sexual attraction and sexual behavior have to do with work? And doing a good job and being accurate and such? Every time I see that banner I want to turn away due to instinct. Oh, I've had co-workers whom I think were gay, but I sure wasn't going to ask them. That would be totally inappropriate! And unprofessional. And it has nothing to do with the job at hand. What matters matters to me as a co-worker is whether a person is helpful, polite, cooperative and pleasant. Why do we have to celebrate GQLBT month?

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  167. Lena, I cannot imagine being in the workforce with all that PC/gay agenda stuff coming at me all the time. It's a never-ending barrage on the news, but to have it at work, where you can't turn it off? I feel for you! It's exactly the strategy the "After the Ball" gay activists talked about (see link somewhere above). They said to talk about it all the time so that everyone gets desensitized and thinks it's totally normal (and all the but the strongest citizens just give up, as most people go along with the zeitgeist, no matter what the zeitgeist is). Oh, how I long for the days that we didn't hear about "gay, gay, gay, gay, gay" every single moment of our lives! Or any type of in-your-face sex talk. It's so wearying. As if we are defined by our sexual proclivities! But really, you would think everyone in America is gay. It's that out of proportion. Sigh.

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  168. If I may comment on the original topic that "Kitten" Leila (Meow, pussycat! :)) started, this ruse - of an aggressor playing aggrieved (an imposer claiming to be imposed upon) - is as old and as disingenuous as the devil himself! Dishonesty is as dishonesty does. Here's a true story:

    When I was young, growing up in India, the time came for me in my late teens to acquire my first bike (motorbike). Given the traffic chaos and lack of (respect for) road rules in Calcutta, where I was, I was understandably a bit nervous about riding there. One day, I happened to mention my fears of (the consequences of) a possible road accident in which I might hit some pedestrian or rickshaw-puller, say, causing him/her some injury. What if I hit someone, I anxiously asked, and a crowd gathered (as they sometimes did) to exact some (rough) justice on the spot? No sweat, replied my wise friend - far more seasoned than I in the ways of the world. As soon as you hit someone, he advised, jump off the bike and start yelling at the man you've hit! Scream at him at the top of your voice for not having been careful, not watching where he was going, denting your expensive bike by stupidly colliding his body with it (!!!), etc... Never mind that he's down on the ground with multiple broken ribs, moaning, groaning and bleeding to death! Keep up the tirade even as you spot, out of the corner of your eye, a crowd of concerned onlookers gathering! Soon, he said, having heard your loudly, repeatedly and righteously proclaimed "grievances", they'll turn on the man on the ground and echo to him your chastisement of his foolishness, carelessness - and fault! Never mind that you were the one really at fault! Once your case has been made and your "indignation" justified and acknowledged by a score of nodding heads, you can calmly get back on your bike and ride away unscathed.

    I'm happy to report that I never did hit anyone on the road, and thus never did have to resort to this ruse, but trust me - if you understand the dynamics of mindless mobs/rabble (read: today's massively dumbed-down populations) - if ever one has to resort to such a measure it usually works! Indeed, if only I had a dollar for every time I've actually seen it work! For every time I've seen a corrupt "officer of the law" (including the one currently in the White House) deftly, with just the barest minimum of slimy, fork-tongued oratory, turn a plaintiff into a defendant! The latest being, of course: "How dare these homophobic bigots and intolerant haters in the Catholic Church impose their discriminating views on our "marriage equality" rights and freedoms, all the while complaining that we're impinging on their supposed unalienable conscience rights and the intrinsic rights of our children, allegedly guaranteed to them in the Constitution of the USA?"

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  169. I guess JoAnna needs to go in either the I can't read what you wrote category or the I am a child category. Or hey I guess even both.

    Please tell me where I wrote anything you said, or the fact that what I said points to racism on my part.




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  170. Clear and telling stats countering alleged "empirical studies" which prove that children with same sex parents fare just as well as normal families (especially two parent families with a real female mom and a real male dad):

    http://www.familystructurestudies.com/outcomes/

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  171. Leila you bowed out (again) but then you posted twice more. Confusing to say the least.
    Or just the necessity for you to get the last word? No need to respond.

    I try to be polite and respectful. I read what you write, not what I want to read into it. I'm not sure where that courtesy is extended by the catholics?

    Oh were are not imposing our beliefs on you, you are imposing them on us. As Nubby would say "wah, wah, pout, stammer, gasp!"

    I continue to be not surprised that you don't see your imposition as much as you see mine. But it's there. Sorry kids, it is.

    Francis, your post makes it sound like it's yours and the catholic church's time to play the victims.


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  172. Francis before I read the study can you tell me how many children raised from birth by the same two homosexual parents are used for in the study?

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  173. Nubs you have a super fantastic weekend too. Allah praise you in all your endeavors

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  174. Alan, I don't understand your last sentence. Allah simply means God in Arabic, the Christians use it just as much as the Muslims. So God is to praise Nubby in her endeavors? What does that mean? In my world, we are praising God, not the other way round.

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