Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My burning question about gender issues



Here's what I don't understand.

I have talked to and debated countless people who assure us that there are no real differences (outside of incidental genitals) between men and women. No difference in essence at all.

They have told us that it absolutely does not matter if a child has a father or not, or whether a child has a mother, because mothers and fathers are completely interchangeable. Mothers and fathers can perform the same functions, we are told. They can cook dinner and make a nice home and they can "love". Gender is meaningless.

They tell us that gender is fluid (unlike one's sex, which is the incidental genitals that I mentioned above), and that any perceived differences are social constructs. To think otherwise, they say, is narrow, bigoted, foolish, archaic.

And yet the same people -- the same people -- tell us that gender differences are so real, so important, so crucial, that people who merely think they are a different gender have a right to surgically mutilate their genitals to get their incidental physical bodies to conform to what they feel in their minds, what they feel is their essence. That to surgically alter their bodies is, quite literally, a matter of life and death, so much so that even prisoners have the right to have taxpayers pay for their gender reassignment surgeries, and small children who are conflicted about their gender vs. genitals need to be put on hormone treatments without delay.

So, which is it? Is one's gender a matter of such essence and import that it means life or death, or is it something so insignificant that mother and father, bride and groom, woman and man are indifferent, meaningless designations that must be ignored or done away with?

Please, I'm sincerely asking: Which is it? And if it can be both, then how?




326 comments:

  1. Exactly. I want to know, too. If gender is so meaningless, then why are we now even hearing them wail about the plight of children "trapped" in the wrong body -- the boy with a "female soul". How can anyone be trapped or restricted by something meaningless?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Exactly! And, why must we redefine marriage, if a man and woman are the same? A man could just as easily marry a woman as a man, then, right? Why have gay "marriage" if men and women are the same? Surely when we are attracted to someone, it's not that we simply want to see their correct set of genitals, right? Men who are attracted to women are attracted to something "feminine", no? An essence of women, not just a body part? What is that "thing"? What is the essence they are attracted to?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Leila!

    don’t believe there is no difference between men and women. I do believe that men and women should have the rights and ability you do the same thing.

    I think the question you pose is very valid and the answer lies in considering macro versus micro scenarios.

    Saying that men are ‘something’ and women are ‘something else’ that fathers are ‘something’ and mothers are ‘something else’, are enormously general statements. They ignore that sometimes fathers aren’t this and mothers aren’t necessarily that. Any time you make a broad statement that concerns billions of people; the statement is like fallacious and somewhat meaningless. Even if what women and mothers typically do applies to 90% of women, it is still problematic to say women as a whole do this, because 10% of 4 billion people, is an enormous number

    Now if an individual person is saying they feel like a man, that much easier to examine. We do know that men OFTEN behave in a certain way, so saying you feel like the 90% of men who function like we know men to function is meaningful. An individual transferred person isn’t saying anything about all men or all women; they are saying they feel a certain way. We can’t validate anything about 7 billion people, we can validate the feelings and life experiences of the person sharing.

    ~CS

    ReplyDelete
  4. Right, CS. So let's be logical based on the feelings that drive this, then:
    The "meaningfulness" is inversely proportional to the "meaninglessness"; therefore, they cancel each other out. And, therefore, we don't need any PC terms to redefine anything. We're full circle by this logic.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Even if what women and mothers typically do applies to 90% of women, it is still problematic to say women as a whole do this"

    Hi CS! But here is the question I have. You use the word "do". So, do you believe that this is about "function"? What we "do" vs. what we are? In that case, if we can all "do" the same things, what is the "feeling" that makes people want to mutilate their bodies surgically? What is this massive new push to recognize the "rights" of people who want to "be" something different from their biology?

    And if we decide public policy based on "feelings" or "validation", then must we pay for surgeries for those who (and this is a real thing) don't want to have their legs anymore? Should we amputate healthy legs so that they can "feel" how they want? Should medical doctors go along with it? And what if someone "feels" like another species? What then?

    I guess I am still not clear on how something so important (gender) is so meaningless at the same time. And how do we based public policy (discrimination laws, tax money, bathroom privileges -- all with real consequences if we dare breach those laws) on something that is a "feeling"?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. 100% of men cannot be mothers--barring some scientific manipulation that is not possible today. 100% of women cannot be fathers. Every cell of a woman's boy is different from every cell of a man's, and has been since conception. Surgery cannot change that.

    ReplyDelete
  7. CS- I mean that, logically one cannot insist on labels and recognition of a "new them" while at the same time, in the exact same respect, insist that labels mean nothing.
    How can something be meaningful, and at the same time, in the same exact respect, be meaningless? It has to do with reassigning labels, and not anything to do with the essence of the thing itself, see? That's what Leila is driving at. She is asking if we are more than feelings and labels, and even feelings about labels. She's driving at the root, not walking the surface of appearance.

    ReplyDelete
  8. No i don't think it's all about function. I think it's about identity.I think we all understand the importance of identity but its certainly hard to articulate why identity is important or even demonstrably what it is.

    Gender isn't meaningless, but I can't say all women are this way or do this. I can't say that because it's literally not true. I can say I am this way or am not this way, because that is something I have an authority on.

    "Feelings" are peoples emotional well being. They are the part of us that makes us us. You ( as most people do) encourage us to make laws based on peoples feelings, or at least considering them all the time.

    I don't think all women are anything, I can't define womanhood for someone else. But I feel like a woman, its a very crutial part of who I am. I don't pretend to know anything about being transgender, but I do not what it is like to be a woman. And if I wasn't allowed to be that, if had to live in the world as a man, I couldn't imagine how terrible my life would be.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nubby,

    I don't think gender is meaningless and am not insisting on new labels so I can't speak to that

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  10. You ( as most people do) encourage us to make laws based on peoples feelings, or at least considering them all the time.

    No, I never do. Not ever. Laws should be based on what is true and right, not on people's feelings. So, I'm not sure what you mean?

    And, again, I don't have an answer to the question: How can something be of no import (so many people have told me that mothers and fathers are interchangeable, and that men can marry men, etc), and yet be so important that people's lives and bodies (and the laws of the land) are at stake?

    I'm not getting that. How can it be both ways?

    ReplyDelete
  11. CS, then maybe you are on the same side as we are? Do you believe that mothers and fathers are not interchangeable? And that marriage is about complementarity and is not genderless in nature? And that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for someone to surgically remove or add body parts based on people's feelings?

    Maybe we are on the same page, and that would be wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Leila,

    Again, I can't make someone else's argument for them. But I believe the answer is that all mothers are not different from all fathers. Not that some mothers are not different from some or even most fathers.

    I also don't understand how the question you initially posed is related to gay marriage? Do you think gay marriage supporters support gay marriage because they don't believe in gender? If gay people didn't believe in gender, they wouldn't need gay marriage because they could just marry straight people?

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  13. And that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for someone to surgically remove or add body parts based on people's feelings?

    That sentence really rubs me the wrong way. Believing that you are int he wrong body isn't an issue of 'feelings' isnt an issue of physical and mental health. I don't dismiss these peoples health concerns anymore than I wish they would dismiss my own. I treat people how I would like to be treated. If I woke up with a penis tomorrow it would probably be integral to my emotional health to get it removed, even if my body was completely fine

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  14. "But I believe the answer is that all mothers are not different from all fathers."

    So motherhood and fatherhood are not distinct? Sometimes mothers and fathers are interchangeable? Kids don't need both a mother and a father, but only two people who "do" certain things that are necessary for children's wellbeing? I am not sure what you are saying. Are motherhood and fatherhood distinct?

    As for gay people, I believe they very much see differences in gender, or they would not feel so strongly about wanted to be with one and not the other. But they are often the same people that say there is no difference to a child between men and women/mother and father.

    So, believing I am in the "wrong body" makes it so? Or, believing I am in the "wrong body" means we must change the body, and not work on the belief (mind)? What if I want my legs amputated? (Again this is a real thing.) Should the medical community amputate healthy legs and make the taxpayer pay for it?

    (Also, if you could either put my quotes in quotation marks, or italicize them, it would make it easier for readers to know what are your statements and what are mine that you are responding to. Thanks!)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think your not liking the answer to this question because your using absolutes. No I can’t say ALL motherhood is different from all fatherhood. That is not at all the same as saying I can’t see the difference in most (good) mothers and good fathers.

    For instance lesbians are saying you can’t look at our marriage and say are children are fundamentally missing something because there isn’t a man, BECAUSE YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT MAN WOULD BE HERE. And we can’t say ALL men are anything. Like we have no reason to believe being raised by an extremely effeminate man and woman would be different than being raised by two lesbians

    And the lesbians are just factually right.

    I’m not a doctor. But I don’t get the coldness directed to these people in pain. I have no reason not to believe their mind is fine and their body is deformed. I know absolutely nothing about these disorders but I do know there are theories that in utero there is an imbalance that causes your mind develop as one sex and your body to devlop as another, In our world with so many disorders, that doesn’t seem unplausible. I don’t know of any theories about people whose brain were developed as people who only need one leg.

    As uncomfortable as it may make me, I don’t know what authority I’d have to stop someone from getting their leg removed. People do ridiculous plastic surgeries all the time that I don’t agree with. I don’t know how much tax payers spend on gender reassignment surgery, I don’t know that I have an opinion on it. I can’t imagine its very much and if I were going to be outraged at tax payer spending of something, I doubt I’d start there.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  16. "No I can’t say ALL motherhood is different from all fatherhood."

    This is where I think we suffer from a lack of a classical education and training in philosophy (and I say that for myself, as well).

    What we should ask about everything is "what is the nature of a thing?" There is a nature to fatherhood, and a nature to motherhood. They are not the same. There is no "fatherhood" that is just like "motherhood". If so, then they are not different things, they are the same. And if that is so, then we must never lament a fatherless child, or weep for the motherless. We must say that it doesn't matter, never could.

    Would you ever say that "I can't say that ALL cat-hood is different from all dog-hood"? No, because cats and dogs (no matter what we call them) are distinct. Brotherhood is different from sisterhood. Chairs are distinct from clocks. What makes them distinct is in their essence, their nature.

    When you say that "we have no reason to believe being raised by an extremely effeminate man and woman would be different than being raised by two lesbians", are you saying that an effeminate man and a woman are the same? No difference but genitals? Or does the man remain a man (and a father) even if he is effeminate?

    It seems that even those who want to discount gender for parenting (but exalt it for identity) somehow know the difference. For example, Elton John lamenting that it will be "heartbreaking" when his son finds out he "doesn't have a mum". Why? Why is it heartbreaking? And this article in the NYTimes, by a gay dad. He says it's all okay, but yet admits that it's really not:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/the-misnomer-of-motherless-parenting.html?_r=0

    Why? What is this longing for mothers? Even if one has an effeminate father, is it the same?

    You never acknowledged the point I made in response to yours, that I have never advocated laws based on feelings (as opposed to truth). Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  17. CS, I can jump in here and say very simply. Yes. all motherhood is different from all fatherhood because motherhood and fatherhood are fundamentally different because mothers and fathers are fundamentally different because men and women are fundamentally different.

    The absence of a father or mother is not a loss that can be made up by the presence of another father or mother. To imply that is to say that there is nothing of unique value to either a father or mother, which is precisely what the gay community insists we accept.

    I do not accept that. I absolutely do not accept that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I do not accept that. I absolutely do not accept that."

      And the children do not accept that.

      Delete
  18. Leila

    When were looking at children raised by gay couples and heterosexuals, were not looking at perfect heterosexual families, we’re looking at heterosexual families as they exist

    40% of white children and 70% of children are born out of wedlock. That’s not including the people who get divorced or the people who are technically married but don’t spend time with their kids. That likely does include the number of children whose parents were together but decided at some point they were gay, or polygamous or wanted an alternative lifestyle and started gender bending.

    Fatherhood is ALL of those aforementioned things. It’s a gay man who dresses in drag and has children. It’s a man who has children but doesn’t spend any time with them; all of those things are fatherhood too. And no I can’t look at them and fundamentally say that’s better than having two moms or dads.

    You are talking about perfect fatherhood. Lesbians aren’t talking about that. You are talking about fatherhood, as it should exist not as it does. If we’re talking about the missing essence of fatherhood we need to have that conversation in the straight community first.

    “You never acknowledged the point I made in response to yours, that I have never advocated laws based on feelings (as opposed to truth). Thoughts?”

    One of the main reasons you don’t like gay marriage or IVF is because children ‘feel deprived’ of a mother or father, or ‘feel abandoned’.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  19. CS, if we are going to talk about sin, then yes, all parents sin in some way. All mothers sin, all fathers sin. All mothers are imperfect, all fathers are imperfect. But in no way does that negate the fact that mothers are not fathers, and motherhood is not fatherhood. If an effeminate male is or can be just like a female, then why doesn't his hypothetical gay partner simply go for a female?

    I have no problem talking about fatherlessness in the straight community. It's an absolute tragedy. Why would it be any less tragic to be missing one's father in the lesbian community? Don't all children, inherently, biologically, naturally, have a mother and a father? The answer of course is "yes". And to strip children of what nature gives is never a good.

    Why did Elton John proclaim it "heartbreaking" when his son finds out he "doesn't have a mum [in his life]"? I really would like to know. Of course, we absolutely all know instinctively why. None of us really questions that comment by Elton John. We all get it.

    Now, as for the last part:

    One of the main reasons you don’t like gay marriage or IVF is because children ‘feel deprived’ of a mother or father, or ‘feel abandoned’.

    Yikes, no. IVF objectively, truly, in reality, is the manufacture of children. It's the trafficking of human gametes. It's the creation of children through isolation, masturbation to porn, and third parties. It's often about depriving a child of his or her biological parents, on purpose. It's objectively wrong to treat human beings like objects or commodities. The fact that a child ends up feeling bad about the loss of a mother or father is a consequence of violating the human rights of the person. Even if the child felt "great" about his unknown biology and loss of a father/mother, it would still be unethical, immoral and simply wrong to manipulate human life and human beings as if they were objects instead of persons. So, you have fundamentally misunderstood me all these years.

    As for gay "marriage"... the reason I oppose it is primarily because it cannot ontologically exist. That is about the furthest thing from basing something on "feelings" as can be. I wrote about my oppositions here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2014/07/my-answers-to-questions-about-gay.html

    Now, do people often end up "feeling" bad when they are used? Or when their lives are manipulated? Or when their right to their own biology/origins is denied them? Yes, most definitely. Sin is crappy, all the way around. Virtue leads to human flourishing, sin leads to the opposite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In other words, it's not an objection because children feel deprived, it's because they are deprived!

      It's the difference between a subjective way of looking at everything (feelings) vs. looking at things objectively, i.e., the way they are, the nature of things, the Truth of things. Truth is so, so, so important.

      Again, we need to get back to a classical education system, to proper understanding of philosophy and truth-seeking. We are a hurting and confused culture.

      Delete
  20. Believing that you are int he wrong body isn't an issue of 'feelings' isnt an issue of physical and mental health.

    ? Then what compels the drastic change, if it’s not feelings? Something in nature? So, someone “evolves” with a desire to be someone they are not? Huh?
    Nubby,

    I don't think gender is meaningless and am not insisting on new labels so I can't speak to that


    You said there are other surgeries you judge as unnecessary (“ridiculous plastic surgeries all the time that I don’t agree with”- exact quote). If the ones you deem unnecessary make the person who undergoes them feel fulfilled, then by what logic do you draw the judgement that their cosmetic surgery is unnecessary? Feelings are the gauge straight through, correct?

    Where’s the logic in your thoughts? Are you saying that people who undergo cosmetic surgery for vain reasons are the troubled ones, but the sex change/identity changers are not troubled? Both can’t be emotionally/psychologically troubled to some degree? By what logic?

    Then you said you’re okay with people denying children a mother and a father by design, because everyone can do a bang up job, anyway, and the lousy straight people aren't so super at it, right? You are indeed saying gender is meaningless, and that’s the exact opposite of what you said in this quote above. Logic, please?

    ReplyDelete
  21. "For instance lesbians are saying you can’t look at our marriage and say are children are fundamentally missing something because there isn’t a [father]..."

    Wait. Are you saying that fatherless children are not fundamentally missing something (i.e., a father)?

    ReplyDelete
  22. First, I 100% used to believe this idea that women and men were the same and it was simply "society" that made more women want to dress in pink and play baby dolls instead of desire to be mechanical engineers. I thought kids just needed two parents in their life, instead of two different sexes. Straight-up, that is what I learned in Sociology Class at my women's college.

    So please when you debate this issue be very kind to people on the opposite position.

    I don't know what I would have told you at age 25, because I saw it as a Woman/Man issue and not a Mother/Father issue.

    I think at the time that I wanted to overcome gender discrimination. I wanted to be a lawyer, something women were actually not allowed to do for many years in the US. I wished I had been better nurtured in Math and Science and Computer Code. I wanted my future daughters to grow up to feel like they could be anything, including mechanical engineers. I was also scared to death that I was going to not be able to work hard at my job because I'd be stuck washing dishes at home.

    The easiest way to gain equal dignity in a personal relationship seemed to be to tell my husband loudly on our first date "Men and Women are the same, only social conditioning keeps us apart."

    I didn't have the deep trust that my husband would adore me and our daughters and want to work constantly to our highest good. I felt defensive coming into our early dating relationship. I felt like I had to demand respect from him.

    The biggest change has been to become a Mother of multiple sons and daughters. I have an appreciation for gender that I didn't have when I lived among all women at a women's college.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Abigail, thank you! It's so good to see real life trump a political agenda. How refreshing, and thanks for your story! I hope that we are always kind here, even as we have to speak frankly to cut through all the fuzz and blur that is thrown at the populace today (especially in college.... students don't even know that there is another way to think, and that is a tragedy and an irony).

    It is so important to press and ask the questions. So important to ask: How can contradicting, mutually exclusive positions both be held at the same time? It has to be one or the other. Think, think, think, I ask of the readers. It's how I found my way into the Church, leaving my comfortable, culturally-acceptable way of living behind.

    Sadly, students are not really taught to think things through, they are taught to believe secular humanism, much like a religion. Gender politics, race politics, class politics are the lens through which they are trained to see the world. Not Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Has someone been unkind?
    To me, kindness is asking the questions- all the questions because of what people learn (or don't learn) in college classes like sociology or those with a very limited scope and view. The greatest kindness someone can give is a new perspective. Asking questions is loving. It prompts people to assess their own thought process, and if anything, helps them to know themselves better- that's an important truth. To see yourself clearly in the bigger picture. The younger we can do this, the better off we'll be as we age and hold forth intelligent conversation. I think that is always what Leila aims for here.

    ReplyDelete
  25. “So, which is it?”
    It’s whatever will help to support an agenda. Facts just get in the way.

    Reminds me of a discussion I had where homosexuality came up in terms of evolution. The conversation was sparked by me comparing homosexuality to a “deviation”. This was not a moral dialog about right vs. wrong, but about facts vs. design. If we observe the design of the human body in terms of sexuality and then we note the facts about homosexual sex, we can say that it is abnormal to the design or a “deviation”. It would not matter if one believes we were designed by almighty God or by almighty evolution.

    As you might imagine this was met with disdain. I was told that we cannot reduce ourselves down to a mere physical design like some kind of machine. We are sexual beings. Suddenly, people will become “spiritual” about human sexuality if it can help an agenda.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Ben, this is true. I always wish we could all examine things as they are, to get to an understanding of a thing. I wish we could take a way the emotion and the agenda and just look at it. You are right about the facts and design of the human body. There is a right order to the human body, and the way the organ systems are designed to work. Be we are not allowed to even talk about that as long as there is a political or social agenda surrounding the issue, and as long as there are feelings that might be hurt. I get the compassion part, I really do. But isn't there a place to talk philosophically about the nature of a thing? Can we rise above feelings just for a time, and admit some basic truths? That is what I crave, honestly. It doesn't mean in any way, shape or form that we do not have compassion or love for those who struggle with things in life. We all struggle, we can all understand the pain of it.

    ReplyDelete
  27. He feels like a woman.

    I AM a woman, and I don't even know what that means.

    I am not a woman because I feel like one. I don't feel like anything (unless you count eating chocolate).

    Simile: A comparison between two unalike things using like or as.

    How do we get from "feels" to "is"? Are people not aware these are two different verbs?
    To feel and to be?

    And thus ends my incoherent rambles for the time, because this really does make my brain hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  28. It's because without God, people have to claim their self worth from some place. Their behavior, their choices, their abilities/capabilities, their feelings, these have now become who they are rather than a *reflection* of who they are.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Leila,

    Respectfully, I think you’re oversimplifying your opponents’ views. Like CS, I don’t think gender is meaningless. I think you’re absolutely right that if gender were meaningless, homosexuality and transgenderism would make no sense.

    I think some of the misunderstanding comes in when you say things like this:

    “Sometimes mothers and fathers are interchangeable?”

    No, never. Because no two *people* are interchangeable.

    My friend Dustin has adopted, with his partner Steve, a family member's son. The family member couldn’t raise the boy, but my friends are doing an incredible job. I mean this without any hyperbole: they’re heroes. I’m impressed every time I see them with their son, by their commitment, their attentiveness to his needs, and their complementarity as parents. Nobody (man or woman) could replace either one in that boy’s life. Not because of gender, but because those two are the two that have loved the boy as parents. Those men are that boy’s fathers, and he needs them. Period.

    So when you accuse me (or CS) of saying that mothers and fathers are interchangeable, I think, Huh? Who said anybody was interchangeable?

    I’ve written a lot about this subject, btw, especially in response to J. Budziszewski’s book On the Meaning of Sex. He deals with sexual differences in his third chapter, which I respond to in three parts:

    Part A: http://letterstothecatholicright.tumblr.com/post/68384730067/on-the-meaning-of-sex-3-on-sexual-differences


    Part B: http://letterstothecatholicright.tumblr.com/post/69930223931/on-the-meaning-of-sex-3-b-when-mothers-wage-war


    ReplyDelete
  30. And here's Part C:

    http://letterstothecatholicright.tumblr.com/post/70452578249/on-the-meaning-of-sex-3-c-what-happened-to

    ReplyDelete
  31. Bethany, I love this! CS says, "He feels like a woman," and you say, "I AM a woman, and I don't even know what that means." That is great and is a question that has to be asked. If a man says, "I feel like a woman," we need to say, "May I ask how you think you have any idea what it feels like to be a woman?" Does he mean that in the middle of the month he starts to feel bloated and cranky and doesn't know why until he stops and realizes he's about to get his period? Even if he thinks he knows emotionally what it's like to be a woman, I still have to question that. I can see how men behave and could - but don't - think that I would rather behave like a man than a woman in some ways, but I would never say that I know what it "feels like" to be a man. I can relate to a man as a human being, but I can't relate to a man as a man.

    The truth is, when a man or boy says he feels like a woman, what I believe he is really saying is that he does not feel secure in his masculinity. And the loving thing to ask is why he does not feel secure, and to help him to feel secure. Because then you are helping him to be what he really and truly is - a man. And you are not pretending that he is something that he is not - a woman.

    ReplyDelete
  32. A burning question I have is, what about science? I thought progressives love science and mock the Church for being opposed to science. If that is the case, then why is it that when Johns Hopkins, the medical/university complex that essentially gave us transgender surgery in the first place, says that it will no longer perform the surgery because it does not achieve the desired psychological outcomes,do we suddenly turn to the likes of Diane Sawyer and People Magazine to decide that transgender surgery in fact will give suffering individuals the desired outcome? Where is the science in that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And it's not compassionate to ignore the history and outcomes of transgender surgeries:

      http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/04/14905/

      Delete
  33. Frank, hello! You were the one who said long ago that if an infant had a chance to be adopted by a mother and a father OR by two gay men (or two lesbians), all things being equal no preference should be given to the mother and father over the gay couple. How does this not render or imply motherhood or fatherhood meaningless?

    Of course every *person* is irreplaceable in another's life. But that is not the issue and no one has argued it. We are not androgynous humanity. God did not make us so (you identify as Christian, so I will mention God here). He made us with actual bodies, male and female. He speaks of motherhood and fatherhood, and brides and grooms. He speaks of them in ways that reflect the Truths of Heaven itself.

    No one here is arguing that individuals are not valuable and irreplaceable. No one here is arguing that people can't be heroic in the life of children, regardless of gender/sex. So, don't argue the points that no one has contested. That is not productive. We agree with each other on those points. I actually believe that there are millions of heroic nuns who have run orphanages in the world, and yet even though those nuns were heroes, they were not the child's mother and they most certainly were not the child's father. And we can admit that it is sad that those children did not have their mothers and fathers.

    Maybe you can be the first to answer: Why did Elton John say that it would be "heartbreaking" when his son found out he "didn't have a mum"? Why would he say that? Why did no one protest? How come we all understand what he meant? You understand, don't you?

    You have also said other things (related to your mom being raised fatherless) that indicate that you don't believe fathers are necessary in a child's life. This makes me feel that you truly don't see fatherlessness as a lamentable thing, and it makes me think you believe we should be happy with motherless children. But why? It doesn't make sense unless you think that motherhood and fatherhood are the same or interchangeable (because then there would be no void, and no child would be missing a thing).

    Do you think that the child that your gay friends are raising is missing a mother? Is that a loss for the child, to not have a mother? What is motherhood, and is it different from fatherhood, or should we simply abolish the words and concepts as outmoded?

    Help me out: If mothers and fathers are not interchangeable, then should we lament those children without mothers, or without fathers?

    It's a lot of questions. But please, flesh out your philosophy, and not via the links, but right here, answering the questions. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  34. It seems to me that you're all too quick to dismiss transgender people. In a case when a person's mind and body seem ill-fit, we all understand that something is wrong. But I don't see why it's any more logical to think that the mind is "wrong" and must be brought in line than it is to think that the body is "wrong" and must be brought in line. I am a mind, I have a body. That doesn't mean I can declare myself a squirrel or whatever, but I can certainly choose what kind of role I'd like to have in society. And some people take that a little farther and identify with another gender--as far as I can tell there's absolutely nothing wrong with this.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Chris, so the idea that you are a man is not ontologically true, but only an opinion?

    ReplyDelete
  36. Also, what does that mean, "I am a mind, I have a body"?

    Christianity holds that man is body and soul. The body is not just sort of a shell that houses a body, but it's in fact integral to us. It's what makes us human, and not pure spirit (like angels). That is why at the Second Coming we will be reunited with our bodies (man as disembodied spirit is all wrong; that is the horror of death, that the soul and body are wrenched apart unnaturally).

    ReplyDelete
  37. Chris, so the idea that you are a man is not ontologically true, but only an opinion?

    It's ontologically true that I am a man.

    Christianity holds that man is body and soul.

    If you'll humor my terminology, I used the word "mind" because I have no idea if there's such a thing as a "woman's soul trapped in a man's body" at some deep spiritual level, and I didn't want to use a stronger phrase that I couldn't defend. In this case, I meant that while my fingers may be typing these words and my eyes may be reading your responses, you're still talking to my mind and not my body. The mind is the important one in this exchange.

    It's certainly true that our bodies are not just unimportant shells, and it's sad when body and mind seem at odds. But it doesn't always follow from this that the mind must change to suit the body. That would seem to be privileging the body over the mind.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Leila
    I pretty much agree with your objection to IVF (though perhaps not for the same reason) but I feel somewhat differently about a straight couple who are using it with their own sperm and egg--e.g when a woman's tubes are blocked because she has an history of PID. How do you feel about that? I'm just curious.

    "And yet the same people -- the same people -- tell us that gender differences are so real, so important, so crucial, that people who merely think they are a different gender..."

    Your comments at the beginning of this thread are based on inaccurate premises.

    You talk about all the people you've debated who think there is NO difference between women and men. I have been hanging out on the Bubble for years and I can't remember a single person saying that. I have seen people state that a same-sex couple can be as good at parenting as a straight couple. Those are not the same thing at all. Just because someone believes gay parenting is fine does NOT mean they see absolutely no difference between men women. That is a huge stretch.

    "And yet the same people -- the same people -- tell us that gender differences are so real, so important, so crucial, that people who merely think they are a different gender..."

    This is also misleading because it implies that every single person who believes gay parenting is fine believe that it is a matter of life and death for a transgendered person to have a sex change operation. That is not true at all. Many transgendered people themselves don't think it's important to have surgery.

    "That to surgically alter their bodies is, quite literally, a matter of life and death, so much so that even prisoners have the right to have taxpayers pay for their gender reassignment surgeries, and small children who are conflicted about their gender vs. genitals need to be put on hormone treatments without delay."

    I know a lot of transgender rights activists and even they don't believe those things. I'm not saying that no one has those ideas--a few people do, but why the need to exaggerate? It prevents meaningful dialog.

    It is interesting that you bring up the issue of nuns raising children in orphanages. I think it is fine for nuns to raise children in orphanages even though it is sad that those children don't have the option to be raised by their biological parents. I assume you think so as well. But you don't assert repeatedly how awful it is that they are denied their biological parents; you don't call it a sinful situation. Lots and lots of children grow up without both of their biological parents--that would be true without IVF or same sex couples (e.g. the nuns and orphanages)--so why all the upset about same-sex parenting? If you leave IVF out of it (which is used primarily by straight couple anyway) what is the problem with children raised by same sex parents? It makes no sense to me. If being raised by both biological parents isn't an option, what is the problem?

    btw, I believe a long time ago I said on the Bubble that it made no difference if a child was raised by a straight couple or a same-sex couple. I revise that. I believe it's always best for a child to be raised by its biological parents all things being equal.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Leila,

    “So, don't argue the points that no one has contested.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong:

    You think that my friend Dustin and Steve should not be allowed to jointly adopt their son.

    You think that the boy would be better off being raised by a man and a woman.

    You do not believe Dustin and Steve are the boy’s fathers.

    You would prefer for Dustin or Steve to be replaced in the boy's life by a woman. For example, you would be thrilled if Steve were to come to you and say, “I’ve left Dustin, and now I’ve met and married a woman, and we’re raising the child together.”

    Have I misunderstood you on those points?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Johanne, I think we need to recognize that the media are portraying this matter in a life-and-death way. They make us feel that to do anything other than hyperfocus on what *they* claim are the needs of gender-confused individuals means that we are contributing to such individuals' suicide attempts. You can't put that on Leila. If the media are misreporting what transgender groups actually support (we'd need official statements rather than comments by members), then all I can say is, welcome to the world of so-called journalism in the 21st century. It's not about truth, it's about an agenda.

    As far as the transgender groups, do they acknowledge the pain and suffering that so many people experience on the path to gender confusion? The abuse, for instance? Or are we to pretend, like Gay Pride event coordinators, that such things are not at the root of the individual's suffering? Do we not even ask? Do we not try to solve the psychological problems that according to Johns Hopkins are not solved by surgery?

    ReplyDelete
  41. No one here mocks how these people struggle. Let’s just shelve that, and talk about the reality of what the reasoning is going into the choice for surgery, etc.

    Can we just consider that the reasoning of feelings doesn't make any declaration of anything official?

    Saying, “I feel like Einstein”, officially means I must become him? How would that even happen?

    Here’s the concerning thing: Parts are not interchangeable. We’re not talking about souping up your car, like you get a stock version and can add or replace parts -- no. We’re talking the integrity of a human being (essence) in a human body.

    And let’s just say that a man wants to “become” a woman. So he goes through the whole process of hormone replacement, surgeries, etc. Everyone validates him now as a woman. Six months later, he’s thinking he should really go back to “being” a man because, he reasons, that is who he really is.

    So now what? We applaud the choices this person makes to keep seeking change instead of stability, through repeated surgeries and all kinds of hormones? Are we supposed to think that surgery one way is good, but not the other, to revert back? Or that both are fine as long as he’s happy, even though he’s never apparently happy? Would we think this person might be suffering from a lot of things emotionally, psychologically, but we’re not allowed to say that? When is it okay for the people in this person’s life to say, “I love you and I think you need help (psychologically).” This is the same thing we do when we intervene for an addict or someone doing self-damaging things. So, where’s the truth of the matter in this instance?

    ReplyDelete
  42. What if a woman wanted to carve herself up to look like an exact replica of a famous supermodel? Who among us here wouldn't think, “She’s apparently suffering from low self-esteem, must need some kind of security, validation, self-love and acceptance, etc.” But we cannot say this about the psychology of someone who desires to “become” the opposite sex? It’s the same path of connecting of the dots logically, so why don’t people see it and name it?

    No one is mocking the feelings of these people. Their struggles are real. They feel unplugged, worthless as they are, incomplete, ugly, etc. All the same things a person might feel if they’re overweight, abused, addicted, under-appreciated, suffering a mid-life crisis, whatever. The point is, the remedy they seek is just a cover over the true essence. They are a child of God, of course; the sadness is that they don’t see the beauty in how they were created, warts and all. Therapy seems a good remedy to wade through the feelings and maybe get to some true healing and acceptance and love of self, as self really is.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Johanne, I think we need to recognize that the media are portraying this matter in a life-and-death way. They make us feel that to do anything other than hyperfocus on what *they* claim are the needs of gender-confused individuals means that we are contributing to such individuals' suicide attempts.

    Sharon, yest! This exactly! Thank you!

    And yes, the thing that is never mentioned when speaking of homosexuality is how many lesbians were sexually (or otherwise) abused as children by men, or how many gay men were molested/raped as children by men. Not all, but a whole heck of a lot. Why do we never acknowledge root causes (sin against the children who then grow up to be psychologically scarred and sexually very confused)?

    Please be patient as I break up my answers to Frank, Johanne, and Chris, to follow shorty....

    ReplyDelete
  44. As to the hysteria and exaggeration factor, I don't know if any of you follow stuff like this, but it's common and frightening. The YAF chapter at George Washington University is under complete attack by the left and the "Queer" groups, for politely asking to opt out of the most ludicrous "sensitivity" indoctrination (I wish I could link the Queer pdf file, but I don't know how). For not wanting to participate in the indoctrination, YAF people (these are folks I know personally, amazing women, mothers, wives, excellent, lovely people) are being threatened with "hate group" designations, and said to be guilty of "violence"! ???? This is insanity, but does anyone notice that the more tolerant everyone becomes toward gay people, the more angry, violent and threatening the gay advocacy groups become? Remember, tolerance is not enough. They will hunt you down and ruin you unless you accept, 100% their ideas and mandates.

    Here's a taste:

    http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/06/george-washington-university-young-americas-foundation-chapter-targeted-as-a-hate-group/

    ReplyDelete
  45. Chris, you said:

    "But it doesn't always follow from this that the mind must change to suit the body. That would seem to be privileging the body over the mind."

    But when the body has no pathology and is perfectly functioning, why wouldn't we accept that the body is not the problem? Why wouldn't we assume that a good and healthy body is good and healthy?

    ReplyDelete
  46. Johanne, you said:

    I think it is fine for nuns to raise children in orphanages even though it is sad that those children don't have the option to be raised by their biological parents. I assume you think so as well. But you don't assert repeatedly how awful it is that they are denied their biological parents; you don't call it a sinful situation. Lots and lots of children grow up without both of their biological parents--that would be true without IVF or same sex couples (e.g. the nuns and orphanages)--so why all the upset about same-sex parenting? If you leave IVF out of it (which is used primarily by straight couple anyway) what is the problem with children raised by same sex parents? It makes no sense to me. If being raised by both biological parents isn't an option, what is the problem?

    Nuns running an orphanage is not sinful, it's a ministry. In no way are the nuns pretending to be a married couple raising children as their own. They are caring for children who have no mother and father to care for them, and they would never in a million years assert that it's better to be in an orphanage than with their own mom and dad, the way God and nature intended. Adoption, and orphanages are a way to deal with a tremendous loss that has occurred in a child's life. Adoption seeks to restore the loss by giving the child what was lost in the natural order (mother and father), and orphanages seek to care for the child if that restoration is not possible or available. No sin involved. Homosexual couples are living in grave sin, and also, they are imitating something, but they cannot be the thing they are imitating. A child should not be living in that situation, in the same way that a child should not be living in a situation where a mother and her new boyfriend are living together, etc. Just as we would not think place a child for adoption with a woman living with her boyfriend, we would not place a child with a gay couple. There are plenty of mothers and fathers who wish to adopt (and if we are going to open a conversation about the horrors of the foster care system, we can, but that is a long and involved subject, and foster kids' plight is not due to a lack of couples who would take in a child. It's much, much more complicated than that).

    Honestly, this last thing you said brings me great joy, and I thank you for it:

    "btw, I believe a long time ago I said on the Bubble that it made no difference if a child was raised by a straight couple or a same-sex couple. I revise that. I believe it's always best for a child to be raised by its biological parents all things being equal."

    ReplyDelete
  47. “Then you said you’re okay with people denying children a mother and a father by design, because everyone can do a bang up job, anyway, and the lousy straight people aren't so super at it, right? You are indeed saying gender is meaningless, and that’s the exact opposite of what you said in this quote above. Logic, please?”


    No, I am saying we can only use the argument that gay marriage deprives children of a mother and a father, If children would have a mother and a father without gay marriage.

    As we can see from looking at reality, they wouldn.t.


    If we think all children should be raised by their two biological parents in amarried household, that fine. But we have to do that first before we criticize gay people for not doing that. Holding a minority group to a standard that the majority themselves don’t practice is the definition of discrimination.


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  48. Frank,

    Here is what you asked, and my responses:

    "You think that my friend Dustin and Steve should not be allowed to jointly adopt their son."

    I think they should not have been allowed to in the first place, correct. I don't believe that gay couples should adopt as if they are a married couple. I understand that this was a private adoption willed by the bio family, so I don't have much say in that, but when the government is mandating that gay couples be treated as if they were a mother and father, and placing children in gay homes (even against the will of the birth mom, as happened tragically in England!), then it's even more egregious to do that to a child. The Church is opposed, period.

    "You think that the boy would be better off being raised by a man and a woman."

    Yes, a married mother and father. This is what nature and God gives each child, and it is the natural right of each child to have his/her mother and father. If that is impossible due to loss or tragedy or sin, then adoption seeks to restore what has been lost to a child. Yes, having a mother and father is undeniably best for a child.

    "You do not believe Dustin and Steve are the boy’s fathers."

    I believe that the child has a father, and that the child has been legally adopted by two men. Dustin and Steve have become the legal parents of the child, yes, but I disagree that this should have been a possibility. I would say that the boy has two legal fathers, and that I disagree with a the law that allows it. But I would not dispute that legally, they are his fathers.

    "You would prefer for Dustin or Steve to be replaced in the boy's life by a woman. For example, you would be thrilled if Steve were to come to you and say, “I’ve left Dustin, and now I’ve met and married a woman, and we’re raising the child together.”"

    No, that's not exactly my position. It's a quagmire that cannot be resolved in any good manner at this point. It's a quagmire that we humans have made, and that the children will suffer for. There is no good answer at this point, and no real resolution. The child is the one who hurts, either way. It's like the IVF "excess embryo" situation. There is no good answer for what to do what the "excess embryos". We adults have made a mess of things, and we don't have a good way out of it for the children, and for the family, and for ourselves. It's sad. So, no, that is not what I would prefer. There is no good answer. We should have never put a child in this position in the first place, and we adults should do better by the children.

    Now, will you address my points? I think I have addressed all of yours as very best I can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correction to point #2: Nature doesn't give each child a "married" mother and father, but nature does give each child a mother and a father. Marriage is ordained by God from the beginning, though, and we Christians know that it is God's will that each child be born of a married mother and father, no?

      Delete
  49. If we think all children should be raised by their two biological parents in amarried household, that fine. But we have to do that first before we criticize gay people for not doing that. Holding a minority group to a standard that the majority themselves don’t practice is the definition of discrimination.

    Discrimination, now? Quite a reach, there. Why just target the straight people? Or maybe that is that just a comfy deflection from the truth of the matter -- that a purposefully designed void in family structure causes harm? I could easily say that you are "discriminating". See? Logic.

    ReplyDelete
  50. “Wait. Are you saying that fatherless children are not fundamentally missing something (i.e., a father)?”

    No. I am saying that even children WITH fathers are ‘missing a fathers’ the way you are defining it

    We mean that these children are missing GOOD fathers. Not merely people with penises


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  51. "If we think all children should be raised by their two biological parents in amarried household, that fine. But we have to do that first before we criticize gay people for not doing that. Holding a minority group to a standard that the majority themselves don’t practice is the definition of discrimination."

    You mean we have to be perfect (literally) before we can say what is right and good? How can that happen, exactly? I don't see it.

    And, the Church is very consistent both for gay and straight: A child has a right to his mother and father. If that is impossible, we try best to restore what is lost to a child, namely a mother and a father through adoption.

    I also never tire of quoting the Catechism on this. This is beautiful and true:


    A child is not something owed to one, but is a gift. The "supreme gift of marriage" is a human person. A child may not be considered a piece of property, an idea to which an alleged "right to a child" would lead. In this area, only the child possesses genuine rights: the right "to be the fruit of the specific act of the conjugal love of his parents," and "the right to be respected as a person from the moment of his conception." CCC #2378

    ReplyDelete
  52. "We mean that these children are missing GOOD fathers."

    Then let's order our acts and our society to encourage good fathers! Right?

    That's the only thing that bad fatherhood implies. Why does it imply anything else? Why does it imply that lesbians should adopt (or more likely, artificially inseminate themselves), so that we have more kids without fathers?

    ReplyDelete
  53. He feels like a woman.

    I AM a woman, and I don't even know what that means.



    I guess this is what people talk about when they talk about privilege. I’m not even sympathetic to the transgender causes, but I find the lack of empathy astonishing.

    I am lucky to be healthy. I am lucky that I have a woman’s body. I guess Bethany and others are saying that if tomorrow you woke up with a penis instead of a vagina, you’d just accept that you were a man and move on. I wouldn’t. You have said several times that you recognize the essential difference between men and woman, and assumably you don’t just mean that one has one part and one has the other.

    Sharon asked about what science says. Science has a lot of theories. One is that people’s minds develop as one sex and their bodies develop as another. Given the things that can go wrong with the human body, this doesn’t seem far-fetched. But the point is, I don’t know and neither do you.

    Having a taxpayer objection to it is certainly one thing. But I don’t know on what grounds id have to tell Bruce Jenner or anyone else not to pay to have his own penis inverted, or tell anyone else they cant get breast implants or all sorts of tattoos.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  54. “It is interesting that you bring up the issue of nuns raising children in orphanages. I think it is fine for nuns to raise children in orphanages even though it is sad that those children don't have the option to be raised by their biological parents. I assume you think so as well. But you don't assert repeatedly how awful it is that they are denied their biological parents; you don't call it a sinful situation. “

    This, I agree with completely. If I could pick for every child to be raised by their own loving biological parents in a household, I would pick that. I can’t pick that however, not because of IVF and not because of gay people, because its not mine to pick.

    So I don’t go up to adopted children and smirk at them that in an ideal world they would be raised by their bio parents 1 because I don’t know if their bio parents would be better parents 2 BECAUSE ITS MEAN. Its not my job or my place to rip down other peoples family structures or to point out what isn’t ideal in their lives. While we can talk on the bubble about all things being equal. We will never in real life know if all things are equal.


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  55. CS,

    Who is without empathy? My goodness, I feel terrible for these people who are struggling! But how does having empathy translate to, "Let's support them in their surgical mutilation of their bodies, and not only that, but if you don't support the surgery, or if you don't agree to say that a man is a woman, you are a hateful, bigoted, horrible, mean, nasty and violent person without a heart." I don't get it.

    And, no one (as in no one) wakes up to find a penis growing on them, instead of the vagina that was always there. So, the analogy is a bit.... off. What do we do when someone has a healthy, functioning, non-diseased, non-deformed body, and they tell us that they "feel" that their mind does not line up with that healthy body? Normally, we might want to look into why their mind is not lining up with their reality. Why is the assumption that the mind is sound, but the body (healthy DNA, organs, genitals) are all wrong?

    And what on earth (again) does this have to do with empathy?

    Why must everything be based on feelings and hurting people's feelings? Why can't we look at things from a 'truth' perspective and go from there (while still loving all)?

    ReplyDelete
  56. CS, I am in a community where adoption is common. One of my closest friends has adopted four children and has just looked into foster-adopt. Other friends have also adopted, and many of them have adopted older and special needs kids. So, the idea that I would go up to child and "smirk" is ludicrous. And that you would present this as the only other alternative to a two-parent bio family is silly. That is a false dichotomy. Every adoptive family knows that the child has suffered a great loss even if they are in the perfect adoptive family. No one smirks at tragedy. No one that I know, at least. We do our level best to restore what is lost to a child.

    So, drop the false dichotomy and tell me how you (you personally) are helping to foster a culture where two married biological parents are the ideal for a child. How are you doing this, so that we have more of what you and I admit is best? What steps are you taking to influence friends, culture, public policy? I'm truly interested.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  57. “You mean we have to be perfect (literally) before we can say what is right and good? How can that happen, exactly? I don't see it.”

    No but we have to do something before we hold other people to that standard. We can say what we think is good and right all we want but if we want to make a law saying that gay people can’t get married on the BASIS that it deprives children a mother and a father, the children of straight parents better have a mother and a father. Or we’re just telling the gays do as I say not as I do,

    The church might be consistent but I don’t see the marches and the pundits talking about making no fault divorce illegal, or children living with mother and boyfriend illegal.

    If we as a society think children are gifts that great but WE ALL HAVE TO ACT LIKE IT. We can’t just expect gay people to treat them as gifts when they are considering their families or women see them as gifts when they are seeking abortions. We can’t pick the OTHER people we want to hold to a high standard. Its especially problematic if the other people we want to hold to these high standards are sometimes disenfranchised groups.


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  58. CS, I agree with you! That's why I'm Catholic. ;)

    So I go back to my question: What are you, personally, doing to foster a culture where two married biological parents are the ideal for a child. How are you doing this, so that we have more of what you and I admit is best? What steps are you taking to influence friends, culture, public policy?

    ReplyDelete
  59. Also, many pundits and others are against no-fault divorce. Many, many. And as for making it "illegal" for women to live with their boyfriends, no... that's not going to happen at this point. But we can make it more stigmatized, like smoking, right? But when we try to do that sort of thing, even for the good of children, we are haters and bigots and religious freaks. Even though this stuff is common sense.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I see people as doing the best we can. I don’t know how many lesbians are being inseminated. I was under the impression that the majority of children of gay people are actually from straight relationships, but I could be wrong.

    I don’t really need to influence friends and culture that being married and then having children is ideal. In the culture I’m apart of that’s the known and widely accepted ideal.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  61. CS:

    I have been called a lot of things in my life, unempathetic has NEVER been one of them. Actually my empathy is often on overload, it's hyper-stimulated, to the point that I can't watch certain things, or even play certain video games because I find myself, emotionally and even physically taking on the same pain and it's often more than I can handle.

    When I say I don't know what it means to "feel like a woman." I mean precisely that. I understand they're confused, and in an emotional state of pain because of it. And it pains me to know that. But I don't know what it means to feel like a woman, as in, what does being a woman actually feel like?

    I guess Bethany and others are saying that if tomorrow you woke up with a penis instead of a vagina, you’d just accept that you were a man and move on.

    Actually this speaks exactly to our point. If I woke up tomorrow with a penis instead of a vagina, a bodily difference, then no, I wouldn't accept it. I would know that something was wrong with my BODY, because there was a BODILY change or problem. People, such as Bruce Jenner, are not waking up one day with a change in body, they are waking up (perhaps over the course of several years), with a change in their MIND. They're DNA has not changed, nor has they're body changed, but they're mind, they're psychologically state has changed to say, "I should be the opposite of what I am." And we're saying, instead of changing the body to match the mind, we should be looking at why the mind changed in the first place, and how do we help them reconcile that change, and support them in order to ease their pain and suffering.

    In other words, Mr. Jenner, as well as others suffering from the same illness, has never been a woman, and the truth of it is, no amount of surgery, hormones, and any other bodily changes or adaptions is going to make him a woman. Because being a woman is not something we FEEL, it is something we ARE.
    And who we ARE cannot be changed, least of all by us.

    ReplyDelete
  62. Sure Bethany,

    I definitely agree Bruce needs to undergo intensive therapy. I am saying nothing more or nothing less than i don't know anything about the situation and I can't say what is wrong because I'm not a doctor or an expert. The only thing I can understand is that it is a very real affliction, one I am very thankful not to have. I hope people suffering from it can get whatever the appropriate treatment is.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  63. But when the body has no pathology and is perfectly functioning, why wouldn't we accept that the body is not the problem? Why wouldn't we assume that a good and healthy body is good and healthy?

    Is a transgender person's body good and healthy before transitioning? Yes. But the vast majority of changes a transgender person might make would still leave the body good and healthy. From changing the way they dress and the way they refer to themselves, to taking hormones or having cosmetic surgery, they are still the same person, and still functioning properly. The only exceptions to this would be the "sex change" operation itself--this of course damages the function of the body and it would make sense for people who oppose sterilization procedures to also oppose this. But it doesn't follow from this that there's anything wrong with the vast majority of the transition process, and it's a fact that most transgender people have not had this surgery, and many do not wish to have it.

    I think transitioning to the opposite gender is weird, but so are many of the things that people do to their bodies. If you want to surgically modify your face to look like a cat's, or cover yourself with thousands of piercings, or tattoo yourself head to toe with lizardlike scales (all things that people have done), are you "wrong?" Are you sinning? Or are you just weird? I think it's just weird.

    As I recall, a mental abnormality is only considered a problem if it impedes a person's ability to function normally. This doesn't necessarily mean that the mind is "wrong," (it's been found that depressed people have a more realistic self-image than non-depressed people, for example), only that a problem exists for the person. Oftentimes there is no easy way to "fix" this.

    ReplyDelete
  64. "I don’t really need to influence friends and culture that being married and then having children is ideal. In the culture I’m apart of that’s the known and widely accepted ideal."

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you are mostly around liberals, right? Cultural liberals who accept gay "marriage" and IVF and all that stuff (including pre-marital sex and abortion and single parenting as stuff not to judge), right? I am willing to stand corrected. So, if those are your circles, are you saying that they all understand that it's best for a child to be raised by a married mother and a father? And if yes, then they are good with Catholicism's stand on these issues, yes? They don't think people like me are bigots, meanies, narrow-minded, hateful, etc.?

    ReplyDelete
  65. Chris, but tattoos and piercings aside, what is the medical communities place in taking a healthy body and mutilating it? Is that the place of doctors? Or should doctors be concerned with proper function and right order of the body, based on science? Why do "feelings" dictate a medical procedure that takes a body and destroys healthy function, attempting to "change" the body to another sex (impossible, by the way)? What is the role of doctors and the medical profession in this type of thing?

    Also, should this be paid for by the taxpayer? Shouldn't it be elective surgery, if anything? Because that's not what is happening. And then, as far as the populace (schools, workplace, everywhere), we are all supposed to pretend that men are women and boys are girls, even when it's not true, and if we don't pretend and go along with that lie, then we are in trouble, we can even be afoul of the law. How can this be? Is this right and just?

    "As I recall, a mental abnormality is only considered a problem if it impedes a person's ability to function normally." Yes, that is what they say now, which is why some wanted to change the DSM to say that a tendency to pedophilia was only a pathology if the person who had that desire felt it was a hindrance or burden. Otherwise, we were to believe it "healthy". Crazy, no?

    I guess that I wonder why we have stopped looking at what is rightly ordered (even scientifically) and gone completely to what someone "feels", even if it contradicts what is real and true.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I am friends with mostly all liberals. All of whom see the value of getting married, marrying someone you intend to be married to forever, and waiting to have children until marriage. I would say single parenthood is frowned upon pretty deeply, though premarital sex, abortion, IVF and gay marriage are not.

    Everyone in my circle understands how marriage would be best for them and their children personally ( I actually don’t have any close gay friends). I think people give very little thought to how other people should organize their families, unless the intend to be abusive.

    Certainly your views on pre-marital sex, abortion gay marriage and IVF would be disagreed with but you knew that ;)


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  67. But if they know that married parents raising their children would be best for society (and in fact, to go down any other path, to support other family choices as equal, would harm society and children), then why do those on the left disagree with the teachings of the Church** regarding marriage and family? I don't get how one can understand what is best for children and families (marriage, mom and dad), but then work and live and vote against the truth that we all know?

    And just to clarify: Your friends *don't* think it's best (or even equal) for a child to be raised by gay couples?

    (**And I'll just add that of course, it's not just the Church's teaching, it's natural law/universal moral law.)

    ReplyDelete
  68. Sorry, I should have looked more closely at your comments:

    "Everyone in my circle understands how marriage would be best for them and their children personally ( I actually don’t have any close gay friends). I think people give very little thought to how other people should organize their families, unless the intend to be abusive."

    I think you are saying that they personally know what is best for them or their children, but it doesn't matter what others do, aside from abuse.

    Is that correct?

    ReplyDelete
  69. I used to mentor a girl who had about 20 siblings between both of her parents. I made sure that we talked about marriage and children and did my best to impart the knowledge that it would be best for her to wait until she was married to have children.

    Everyone I know would have agreed with this approach. How we talk to children about what they should do when they grow up is very different from how to talk to adults who get to do whatever it is that they want to do.

    I don't know anyone who would say its ideal to be a single parent or who would try to be one. But its certainly something people have the right to do, even if it isnt ideal for their children.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  70. Chris, but tattoos and piercings aside, what is the medical communities place in taking a healthy body and mutilating it? Is that the place of doctors? Or should doctors be concerned with proper function and right order of the body, based on science?

    Doctors should be concerned primarily with helping people's bodies function properly. However, many doctors do cosmetic surgery (typically unnecessary) or things for cultural reasons (circumcision for non-Jews, for example) and I don't really have a problem with this. Again, the only part of a gender transition which counts as "mutilating" is not done, or wanted, by all transgender people.

    Why do "feelings" dictate a medical procedure that takes a body and destroys healthy function, attempting to "change" the body to another sex (impossible, by the way)? What is the role of doctors and the medical profession in this type of thing?

    It's true that you can't change your body to be another sex. That's determined genetically. Different doctors have different motivations; those doctors who do cosmetic surgery generally just want to provide a service that many people want, while making some money. They're not likely too concerned with the ethics of the procedure, leaving it up to prospective patients to decide that for themselves.

    Also, should this be paid for by the taxpayer?

    I don't really think so. Deciding what to cover is the biggest problem setting up a "free" health care system, of course, because somebody on the outside must judge what's necessary and what's not. Gender transition-related procedures are already covered by many health plans, and there's pressure from several major medical bodies to cover them. As far as I know, though, nobody is forcing doctors to perform these procedures or forcing the public to pay for them.

    we are all supposed to pretend that men are women and boys are girls, even when it's not true, and if we don't pretend and go along with that lie, then we are in trouble, we can even be afoul of the law. How can this be? Is this right and just?

    I do not factually know the biological sex of the vast majority of people in my life. I just kind of take their word for it. This seems to work out okay. I'm not sure what you're afraid of here.

    I guess that I wonder why we have stopped looking at what is rightly ordered (even scientifically) and gone completely to what someone "feels", even if it contradicts what is real and true.

    Could you name any culture that wasn't governed substantially by the feelings of those who dominated it? Feelings are pretty important; we certainly can't free ourselves of them, nor should we.

    Transgender people are not denying reality. If I choose to regularly shave my head, am I denying the reality that I have hair? Or do I simply acknowledge the hair and decide not to have it? Admittedly that's a really simplified comparison but I don't understand what about the process of gender transitioning might be a denial of reality.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Or should doctors be concerned with proper function and right order of the body, based on science?

    Absolutely. I know an athlete who separated his shoulder -- snapped the ligaments completely off the bone, during a collision in a game. Surgeon took one long look at the x-ray and said, "Surgery won't fix this, so I would not even recommend it." The athlete skipped the surgery and went to physical therapy instead. Even the doctor didn't want to hear about any feelings on the matter. The surgeon said, "your shoulder is in X condition, surgery will never repair or make something new, here. I do not recommend it." That was the end of that.

    Could you name any culture that wasn't governed substantially by the feelings of those who dominated it? Feelings are pretty important; we certainly can't free ourselves of them, nor should we.

    Chris, We don't govern nations by feelings. Feelings change on a dime. The governance of a culture can only be beneficial to the people if it acknowledges truth from error; not this feeling from that other feeling. Where's the ballast?

    ReplyDelete
  72. "And as for making it "illegal" for women to live with their boyfriends, no... that's not going to happen at this point. But we can make it more stigmatized, like smoking, right? But when we try to do that sort of thing, even for the good of children, we are haters and bigots and religious freaks. Even though this stuff is common sense."

    I am briefly breaking my self imposed ban on reading/commenting here because this comment blows me away-an actual argument FOR stigmatization! Wow!

    Please tell me the details of how you plan to stigmatize me for having pre-marital sex and living with my partner? Blacklisting me to teach college classes? Not allowing your children to come within 50 feet of me? Insisting I wear a scarlet letter on my clothes, or maybe a yellow arm band?

    I have limited time here-less than 30 minutes-but I am dying to know how you reconcile inflicting stigma on people with your Catholic teachings?Would Mother Theresa be on board about this too?

    ReplyDelete
  73. Chris, We don't govern nations by feelings. Feelings change on a dime.

    True. But when people talk about our culture today as though it's all about people's feelings, they usually mean that it's about persistent, deeply held beliefs that do not always conform to reality. And that is an accurate descriptor of pretty much every country throughout history.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "I do not factually know the biological sex of the vast majority of people in my life. I just kind of take their word for it. This seems to work out okay. I'm not sure what you're afraid of here."

    You know within a reasonable doubt what the sex is of 99.9% of people you know and run into. Please don't tell me we now have to assume that we can't really know the sex of people around us? Sigh... I don't believe that, never heard of that.

    As for the lying to our children thing: Well, there are more and more cases where little Jimmy is coming to school as little Janey, and the classmates are supposed to acknowledge that Jimmy is now a girl. And the girls will share a bathroom/lockeroom with him, and any statement by teacher/parent/child that Jimmy is not actually a girl will be considered bullying, discrimination, hatred, bigotry, violent, etc.... There are laws on the books now, that we must lie. So, that is not something I'm "afraid" of, it's something that is a lie and it's simply wrong for me or my children to go along with. And it's not healthy for the child who is pretending to be something he is not, either.

    And actually, our nation was founded on Truths that are "self-evident", not on feelings that change with the wind. It was founded on "unalienable rights" given, not by people, or on a whim, but by "our Creator". So, it's based on Natural Law, or Truth. I guess I am not familiar with founding a nation on "feelings"? How would that work, since as Nubby said, feelings change constantly?

    ReplyDelete
  75. Miss G, easy: It's what we (and Mother Teresa yes) have always done. State unequivocally that it's morally wrong to be living as husband and wife without benefit of marriage. That sex is a privilege of marriage. That fornication is a sin. That it's neither good for the adults nor the children. And speak it freely. Everyone (as in it was the sentiment of the culture) used to believe this, and therefore it was stigmatized. "Living in sin" and all, remember?

    Do you believe we should stigmatize acts or trends or movements that are not good for society, or are we not allowed to judge anything as good or bad?

    Is there a stigma you have against the word "stigma"? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  76. "I don't know anyone who would say its ideal to be a single parent or who would try to be one."

    Millions of feminists would say it's wonderful, and loads of single women (and lesbians) have gone to be artificially inseminated. (There was the case of Christians doctors in CA who refused to inseminate a lesbian for ethical/religious objections and they were sued. No one is allowed to say that it's "wrong" for a child to be made fatherless on purpose. That would be mean, apparently, and discriminatory.) The cry of feminist icon Gloria Steinem, way back when: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." Women don't need men to have it all, remember?

    ReplyDelete
  77. You know within a reasonable doubt what the sex is of 99.9% of people you know and run into. Please don't tell me we now have to assume that we can't really know the sex of people around us? Sigh... I don't believe that, never heard of that.

    I was being facetious. My point was that a person's sex is rarely all that relevant to me.

    In the case of talking to a child about this stuff, I think it would be sufficient to say that "The person in question wants to be referred to this way; that is their business and they would like if you went along with it." I'm not sure what the point would be in arguing with a person who you barely know about their identity, or wasting breath on how they're "not really a girl" or whatever.

    Our nation was founded on the beliefs and values of the people who founded it. As I said to Nubby, I don't actually think that our culture today is all about feelings in the typical, minute-to-minute sense. It's defined by beliefs and values, but some people are convinced that today's values and beliefs are "just feelings" and are unimportant.

    ReplyDelete
  78. In the case of talking to a child about this stuff, I think it would be sufficient to say that "The person in question wants to be referred to this way; that is their business and they would like if you went along with it." I'm not sure what the point would be in arguing with a person who you barely know about their identity, or wasting breath on how they're "not really a girl" or whatever.

    But it's more than that. It's not just that "this person would like you to go along with it [the untruth]", but more like, "Everyone in the school is going to pretend that this boy is a girl now. And there are repercussions if you don't go along with it, too, both legally and socially." How is that okay?

    Lying and deceit and pretense is a sin. I won't teach my child to "go along" with a lie, even if all the adults around him are pretending. Remember when the Emperor's New Clothes had something to teach us?

    Chris, would you tell your child to just pretend it's all true, when it's not? Because remember, we are to accept that this boy is REALLY a girl. Not just dress up, but we are to deny the science and the truth and we are to lie about it. You are okay with the adults (even up to the lawmakers) going with that, and that we then have to tell our children to go along with a lie, too? And if we say it's okay to do on this issue, isn't it okay to do it on other issues as well?

    ReplyDelete
  79. Remember that according to the definitions of "boy" and "girl" that transgender activists are using, it would be a lie to call the kid from your Jimmy/Janey example a boy. The debate to be had here is about definitions.

    It would be a lie to say Janey is biologically female, but it would be the truth to say that she is a girl if we are clear that "girl" refers to an identity and a position in society that accompanies it, and not to the state of being biologically female. This is the definition of "girl" that everyone at the school is apparently using. Saying "their definition is wrong" doesn't really get you anywhere in the example, because they'll just turn around and say yours is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Chris, you have perfectly illustrated all that is wrong with the "tyranny of relativism". Thank you! Yes, in the world of gender politics, we redefine things as we feel. Reality is meaningless.

    Here's a funny little riddle that is not so funny:

    "How may legs does a dog have if we call its tail a leg?"

    Answer: 4

    Sadly, the logic of that is lost on about 50% of Americans today.

    It's a neat trick for those on the left to say that the truth-tellers ("Jimmy is not a girl, even though everyone will be saying that he is") are the ones who are said to be the liars ("...according to the definitions of "boy" and "girl" that transgender activists are using, it would be a lie to call the kid from your Jimmy/Janey example a boy.")

    Boy and girl are ontological truths. We happen to put labels "boy" "girl" on those truths (which are transcendent, not subject to redefinition), but the essence of boy and the essence of girl does not change simply because someone wants to redefine it. (Just as a tail does not become a leg, simply because we "declare" it so.)

    This is dangerous stuff. Lies are more dangerous than just about any other sin. And we Christians know that Satan is the Father of Lies. Bad, bad stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  81. I just love this so much, and it speaks to what Chris said:

    From G.K. Chesterton ("The Suicide of Thought," from Orthodoxy)

    Then there is the opposite attack on thought: That urged by Mr. H.G. Wells when he insists that every separate thing is "unique," and there are no categories at all. This also is merely destructive. Thinking means connecting things, and stops if they cannot be connected. It need hardly be said that this skepticism forbidding thought necessarily forbids speech: a man cannot open his mouth without contradicting it. Thus when Mr. Wells says (as he did somewhere), "All chairs are quite different," he utters not merely a misstatement, but a contradiction in terms. If all chairs were quite different, you could not call them "all chairs".

    (Chesterton was a brilliant Catholic apologist and philosopher, and an ex-atheist)

    ReplyDelete
  82. As long as everyone has a way of saying what they mean and being understood, I don't really have a problem with changes in the way people speak. Combining tails and legs and not leaving a way to distinguish between would be silly. On the other hand, let's say that we used the word "legs" to refer to all major appendages. A dog would have four "walking legs" and one "wagging leg." This would be strange but there'd be nothing dishonest about it. This wouldn't constitute a denial that tails and legs are different, but instead would group the two together in a larger category based on what they have in common.

    In Vietnamese, blue and green are both considered to be the same color, xanh. You can distinguish between the two with other words, but they still are seen to belong to the same category. In Turkish, dark blue and light blue are considered to be completely separate colors. Are these languages "lying?" Are we? Or are we just communicating the same reality with different categories?

    ReplyDelete
  83. A dog would have four "walking legs" and one "wagging leg." This would be strange but there'd be nothing dishonest about it. This wouldn't constitute a denial that tails and legs are different, but instead would group the two together in a larger category based on what they have in common.

    Chris- Legs are made of long solid bone. Tails consist of cartilage and only some bone. They are legs and tails, respectively, based on scientific characteristics alone. These would not be "like" items at all. Think of algebra - you have to group "like terms". You cannot compartmentalize x's and y's in the same group. x=legs, y =tails. You cannot call them the same thing based on characteristics alone. That's science, that is fact. Descriptions (wagging leg?) need to be accurate in order to correspond to what it "is", not to what it "looks like". If you start playing around with descriptions, then you're going to revamp the entire dog. You'll start calling the nose a "sniffing leg", because it's made of bone. The structure is entirely different, see?

    ReplyDelete
  84. Is the word "appendages" dishonest or counterfactual? Tails and legs are both considered appendages because of what they have in common. We just usually use a more specific word instead of "appendages" in English.

    ReplyDelete
  85. Your umbrella is way too wide. Your terms include too much without zeroing in on form, function, purpose, and proper anatomical differentiation. A chart at a vet's office needs to label things as they are according to science . If your vet's chart indicates a tail as a wagging leg, you might want to take your dog elsewhere.

    "Appendages" is very general. You cannot talk of things in generalities all the time, otherwise, you never get to true details of a thing. You'd never find truth.

    ReplyDelete
  86. I'm beginning to think I shouldn't even try comparing things to other things around here.

    ReplyDelete
  87. ?
    Has anyone been unfair or incorrect?
    When you have algebra homework, and you fail to simplify the answer -- that is, reduce and solve -- then your prof will have red-inked the heck out of your errors, right? He'll say, "Re-do this, accurately." Same thing if you mislabel or reassign labels in science class, right? You can't expect points for inaccuracy. That's the truth.

    We're talking the same type of simplification for clarity here. That's all.

    ReplyDelete
  88. Nah, no one's been unfair. I do think that whenever a comparison is brought up the discussion gets sidetracked by picking apart the comparison. I'm certainly not blaming anyone though, especially when I was the one who ran with the leg/tail example that Leila created.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Chris, I don't mind comparisons. Not at all. But what you are talking about here is language usage and how language can be changed or (mis)used. We can speak of legs and tails as "appendages", sure. But we cannot speak of "legs" as "tails". Unless the entire populace (or most of it) agrees to use the word "leg" for "tail" -- but then we would have to find a new word for what we used to all understand as "leg". Do you see what I mean?

    We can't just say, "We now want the word 'girl' to include 'boy'", because you have just changed the actual meaning of the word "girl" (which means a child/person who is not a boy). If we want to do that, okay, but we need to find a new word for "girl". Otherwise, we cannot speak.

    So, if my child grows up knowing what a girl is and what a boy is (these are some of the first and most basic concepts a child understands), then I can't suddenly one day tell him to just pretend that a boy is a girl one day. Because that's like saying that a circle is a square, and we just need to go along with that. How confusing is that??

    The point of language is clarity and truth, not confusion and chaos.

    I hope you get what I mean. I like to be clear. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS: I didn't create the leg/tail riddle. I heard it somewhere and thought it was a great way to illustrate basic logic to my kids. Also, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet"... Shakespeare. We know that it's not the name we give something, it's the "what it IS" that matters. The essence. But we need the language to impart the understanding of the "thing" about which we are speaking. And girl can never mean boy. It's contradictory. Completely.

      If you want to have a word for a boy-who-thinks-he's-a-girl, then we need to think up a new word for that, because it is not synonymous with "girl". At all. And he still is, in essence, and in science, a boy.

      Delete
  90. "Appendages" in your comparison would be similar to the use of the word "child".

    So, tails and legs are appendages, and boys and girls are children. But we were honing in on the fact that legs and tails are different things (even though both are appendages) and boys and girls are different things (even though both are children).

    Hope that makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Appendages" .... "children" (first line of above)


      Sorry, ha ha. I am sure you understood that, though.

      Delete
  91. I just wanted to make a note on the phrase "on the left" that Leila and others have used. I find this a bit of a misstatement, as in I consider myself somewhat on the "liberal" or "left" side of things because I am in favor of everyone having health care, education, and fair working conditions, which are all things traditionally espoused by the "left". It does not mean, however, that I am in favor of gay marriage or other issues that are considered "leftist" or "liberal". I just wanted to clarify that point, because some Christians think that they must agree to everything on the "right" side due to the labels, and I like to be a bit more individualistic and precise. (Sorry if that sounds too picky. I really don't mean to offend, just elaborate.)

    ReplyDelete
  92. Thanks for your honest answers, Leila. I’m glad to hear you wouldn’t advocate breaking up my friends’ family.

    “I would say that the boy has two legal fathers, and that I disagree with a the law that allows it. But I would not dispute that legally, they are his fathers.”

    This is the only question you didn’t really answer. If I were to tell you that Dustin and Steve were legally married, you would emphatically respond that they’re not married, no matter what the law says. You would put “married” in quotation marks every time you wrote about them. Right?

    So when I ask you if Dustin and Steve are the boy’s fathers, I’m not asking what the law says, or how you feel about what led to the situation. I’m asking you: are they his fathers?

    ReplyDelete
  93. Angel, good point, and I should say "secular left". They are big on the sexual "rights" issues that are so pervasive today.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Frank, fatherhood is intrinsically about men. So yes, men can be and are fathers. Fatherhood is intrinsic to the male nature. That is why priests are Fathers, too.

    Marriage is intrinsically about conjugal union. So no, two men cannot have a marriage. Ontologically impossible. The law may say they are married, but that is not possible if we are talking about actual marriage. Just as a law cannot declare a man a woman, even if people really want men to be able to change into women. Intrinsically, a man cannot be a woman. And two men cannot complete the marital act, cannot consummate a marriage, cannot form a conjugal union. So, no marriage is possible.

    Hope that helps!

    Can you answer my questions now? Thanks.

    Off to my sons' track awards... ;)

    ReplyDelete
  95. Sorry, I'm still not sure you're answering the question. I'm not asking if men can be fathers. I'm asking: Are *these* two men *this* boy's fathers?

    The boy's name is Jason. Are my friends, Dustin and Steve, Jason's fathers?

    Have fun at your sons' track awards! I'll answer your questions, but I'd like to finish this line of thought before we get sidetracked.

    ReplyDelete
  96. “Millions of feminists would say it's wonderful, and loads of single women (and lesbians) have gone to be artificially inseminated.”

    I think you’re excluding context. There are millions of single hard working mothers. Aren’t they wonderful? The vast majority of those women are rising children alone are because the men in their lives wouldn’t step up. They don’t need those men. Because they are de facto doing it without them. That isn’t to say that things wouldn’t be better if those men were around. Of the single mothers you know, don’t the majority WISH they could be with their children’s fathers. Of the women who don’t wish that, isn’t it normally because the father isn’t worth being with and would make things worst?

    Single motherhood is hard. I don’t know of anyone who tells young girls to get pregnant on their own. I don’t know of any woman who hopes that life for themselves. I don’t know any single mothers who wish they didn’t have help. Going to be artificially inseminated is rare, and a backup plan, it’s not an ideal. Its making the best of the situation dealt to you. Very very very few women aspire to raise children on their own.


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  97. I don’t understand you’re views on single motherhood and abortion, they seem incompatible. Telling women they don’t need men to have children is the very thing that encourages unwed women to have children. I

    “The cry of feminist icon Gloria Steinem, way back when: "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle." Women don't need men to have it all, remember?”

    Again I think context is really important. Women don’t NEED men to do anything. The message to our daughters isn’t that men are terrible. Its that if you never meet someone, if you meet someone and they leave you, if you meet someone and they die, you can be okay. You’re children can be okay. You can do it, you’re life can be just as fulfilling and great. That’s a much better message than you NEED a man. Even if you never find the right one, even if the one you have mistreats you, keep him because you need a man.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  98. Well, Frank, like I said, it's a quagmire, this idea that we can have two legal "daddies" and maybe a couple of legal "mommies", plus bio dads and bio moms, and then throw in some guardians, and now we are in the realm of three-parent legal situations (there are some tragic situations there already, where surrogates and egg donors and sperm donors and adoptive (lesbian) mommies are all caught in a legal nightmare (well, to be honest, the nightmare is the child's). So, your question is a difficult one for me to answer. Does the state have the right to legally designate "father" for a child? Yes, adoption confers the title of father. Your friends are adoptive fathers to the child. Is that legitimate law? I sure wouldn't want to be the person responsible for those laws. Should the state be affirming that a child legally has TWO adoptive fathers? I don't think that the state should. Does the state have that authority, morally, ethically, and in light of the Natural Law? I don't know. I don't have the expertise and I have not done the research.

    Are the two men the adoptive fathers of the child? Yes, legally. My opinion is that the state should not appoint more than one adoptive father to a child. And they certainly are acting as father figures to the child (which any male can do, since fatherhood is intrinsically something only men can actualize).

    Now, I think we've stayed on this question for a while. How about you answer my questions now? And add this one: Are you for three-parent adoption, or four-parent, or any other number? Because that already is coming and even exists. I will try to fine that story I referenced. A Brave New World, indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  99. "There are millions of single hard working mothers. Aren’t they wonderful?"

    They certainly are! I never said otherwise, so whew, we agree! :) My beloved cousin who just died, she was the best mother I could imagine. And she never, ever desired single motherhood. There was a tremendous loss to the children, among others, when the family broke apart.

    She, like my other single mother friends, was fully, 100% pro-life, and 100% pro-marriage, 100% Catholic. She and my friends speak the truth about marriage, sin, adultery, fornication, living in sin, abortion, etc., etc. They could speak the truth about single motherhood. Nothing about speaking the Truth meant that they did not love and support women who were in crisis pregnancies (guess who runs crisis pregnancy centers and homes for unwed moms?). There is no contradiction there.

    For example: The Sisters of Life are a religious order of sisters whose should apostolate is to care for women in crisis pregnancies and their babies. To build a culture of 100% pro-life, while doing everything you can imagine to support girls and women who have made bad choices and find themselves in dire straits. They clearly are against sin of any kind, including pre-marital sex. There is no one who thinks otherwise about these amazing Catholic nuns (most of whom were successful professional women before they entered the order, by the way). But even as they would never for a moment be for sin, they have given up their entire lives to help the women who find themselves in a bad place because of sin (either the woman's or someone else's). Do you think that the two ideas (working against sin and error and helping those who are hurting because of sin and error) are not compatible?

    And, if you think that there are no feminists, women, and/or lesbian couples who are purposely having babies without fathers, you have missed a huge swath of the childbearing populations. Heck, I know of several of them personally in my own life. It's quite common.

    ReplyDelete
  100. That should have said "...whose sole apostolate" is pro-life. Their website is here. They don't live a contradiction, they live with beautiful integrity, and their mission is fruitful and powerful:

    http://www.sistersoflife.org

    ReplyDelete
  101. By the way, this:

    Women don’t NEED men to do anything.

    Well, yes and no. I get that you are saying that we don't want women to stay in abusive situations because they think they can't do anything alone, or they would be helpless if they left a bad situation. I get that. But we take that too far. We actually now have a culture where we are proud to say that women don't need men. Heck, I've heard it said that we don't even "need" them to make families and babies, because we can just go to a sperm bank! What a message to send our boys and men. And it's not true anyway. I need men in all sorts of ways. I need a man in order to be a wife (my life's vocation). I need a man to become a mother (so far, we still need men to create children). And I need my husband in my life, and he needs me. I am not against dependence on others. We live interdependent with others. No one (and I do mean no one) is dependent on no one. Everyone has dependence on others for something. It's this lie of total independence that has left so many women unhappy and ... alone, and it has relegated men to useless and unwanted. Not a good place for men to be.

    Hopefully you (and Frank) know of Margaret Mead, a famous anthropologist (and an atheist, by the way). She said the following:


    “One of the most important learnings for every human child is how to be a full member of its own sex and at the same time fully relate to the opposite sex. This is not an easy learning; it requires the continuing presence of a father and a mother.”

    We need men, men need women, and children most definitely need their mother and father. If, God forbid, we or they or the children have to be separated from husband/wife/mother/father due to death, sin, abuse, war, loss of some kind, then this is a tragedy, and it is something to lament, not celebrate.

    ReplyDelete
  102. Then we agree for the most part. I actually don't know any single mothers who would rather be single mothers than not ( in principle not necessarily that they want to be married to their child's father). But if you do I believe you. I certainly think that's not very bright, if nothing else children are hard work, and having a partner is helpful, but if that's happening, it's happening.

    CS

    ReplyDelete
  103. “I am not against dependence on others. We live interdependent with others. No one (and I do mean no one) is dependent on no one. Everyone has dependence on others for something. It's this lie of total independence that has left so many women unhappy and ... alone, and it has relegated men to useless and unwanted. Not a good place for men to be. “

    It’s a double-edged sword Leila. I certainly get what your saying. No one is completely independent and when you look at ‘feminism’ you have to ask yourself what they are actually saying and why.

    For instance. I depend on my parents. I don’t depend on them financially but they are enormously essential to my emotional health and decision-making. I don’t think feminists would tell me not to depend on my parents in some pursuit of independence. They would tell me to depend on people I can depend on, which is pretty sound advice. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t depend on men, we have to make leaps of faith and trust people in order to have healthy relationships. But depending on a man is considerably more dangerous than depending on your parents for instance. Not because feminists say that or want that, but because the world shows up it is.


    CS

    ReplyDelete
  104. Great guns and little pistols (as my grandmother used to say)!!!! First a misstep with stigma and now quotes from Mead's 1975 (?) publications (Coming of Age in Samoa or Male and Female: A Study of the Sexes?) are being used to support the position of strict binary gender roles? Bodies in graves are rolling over....it's too much for me to handle, LOL. Goodnight!

    ReplyDelete
  105. CS, just to clarify, I didn't say that women would "rather be single mothers" (I know that a lot of the women who have babies "on their own" would have loved to have had a man/husband, but decided to go ahead with making a child since that didn't work out). I said that there are many "who are purposely having babies without fathers". Many, many. They don't want any stigma or judgement on their choice to bring those children into the world (again, by design). And gay men are doing the same on their end, by the way. But, as a society we should be able to say, "no, that is not good for children, not good for women, not good for society." It should be discouraged and we should not be seen as "haters" for saying it's not only a bad idea, but it's wrong.

    And, you must admit that for some people in some circumstances, it's more dangerous or risky to rely on parents than a husband. Some people have bad parents and wonderful husbands, right?

    ReplyDelete
  106. Gwen, whoa! You pop in and out, but you don't address what I said. You never addressed my first answer to you (what "misstep with stigma" are you talking about?). And what part of Mead's statement (which word or words) do you disagree with? Here it is again:

    “One of the most important learnings for every human child is how to be a full member of its own sex and at the same time fully relate to the opposite sex. This is not an easy learning; it requires the continuing presence of a father and a mother.”

    Also, was there no truth to be had in 1975? I don't get the incredulity. Isn't Truth timeless, and can't it even come out of the mouths and pens of atheists in the '70s? Help me out, Gwen. Stick around, don't tease us so! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you didn't address my concern re: stigma. Stating a Catholic Truth is not the same as perpetuating stigma.
      my surprise with the Mead quote is that it is being used here; where's the context for the quote? Also, there's been A LOT of follow up research on both Mead's work and gender/sexuality in general.
      I don't mean to tease, but I don't have the desire to get into a long debate here; other projects are calling me : )

      Delete
  107. CS so glad to see you back, Your tight cogent arguments are a breath of fresh air!

    ReplyDelete
  108. when you look at ‘feminism’ you have to ask yourself what they are actually saying and why

    LOL, well, CS, here’s what one of feminism’s lovely founders had to say, maybe you could supply the reason, since it’s not very logical as it pertains to the ‘more options=more power’ agenda they’re supposed to furnish us with:

    “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children . . . precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one. . . . We don’t believe that any woman should have this choice.”
    -The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

    She goes on to use the word “parasite” as an insult to women who rear children at home.

    Golly, talk about a stigma, huh? Her idea of “empowering women” had everything to do with taking away basic freedoms from women and, therefore, directly harming family structure. That’s called, “oppression”. Don’t worry too much about what feminists say or why they say it. It usually comes from this battle cry:

    “We don’t NEED men!” To which I call B.S.

    I’m sorry for your painful and limited experience of shallow men. I know I would not be who I am today, as a modern woman, without the direct impact of men in my life – through personal, academic, and professional relationships. Most women who trumpet this have either never experienced growing up around a lot of good guys, or they have been wounded through a relationship with a man they trusted.

    Men are not something to be used, and they are not merely stronger versions of women. They are completely different in their essence, their brain, their everything. I, for one, need them, appreciate them, delight in them, and I’m not ashamed to say so, as a modern woman who could easily take a job from one of them. I toast you, guys! Thanks for being all that I cannot be, and for giving all I could never give. I praise God for that!

    ReplyDelete
  109. -The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir.

    * To clarify: de Beauvoir authored the book, but spoke the quote directly to Betty Friedan. Even better, eh? Look at what she said. Can you explain the oppression? How does her thinking 'empower' any woman?

    ReplyDelete
  110. Nubby, your comments about men (I have wonderful men in my life, too!) reminded me of what my friend Kim said about her time as a radical feminist (her story is linked in my reversion story, as we went through our journeys together):


    My first brush with radical feminism was a brief discussion with the Lutheran minister at my college over the issue of inclusive language in the Bible. At the time, it struck me as absurd that the reference to God as “our Father” in any way undermined my value as a woman. That was when my head was still screwed on straight and I was majoring in science. Two years into my degree, I switched majors and began to study social work. My heavy interest in the subjective philosophies of pantheism and my decision to do a volunteer internship at a domestic violence shelter had potent consequences. I began to hear a lot of talk about “woman’s experience,” how it is the ultimate source of truth. It began to seem like an all-out attack on women was taking place in society, in the form of domestic abuse (not such an absurd conclusion if the only new women you meet for 10 months are battered ones). I began to read a lot about misogyny, considered by many feminists to be a deep psychological predisposition in all men.

    By the time I graduated, I was still brave enough to get married, despite my growing awareness that marriage was a legal maneuver orchestrated by men to gain control of women, both economically and physically. With a growing concern for my oppressed sisters everywhere, I took a paying job as a domestic violence counselor in a shelter.

    In my personal life, I continued to explore pantheism, branching out into the New Age movement. I became fascinated with all things subjective. Psychology and spirituality were my passions and the left-brained world of critical thinking was now diagnosed as anal-retentive. I became convinced of such nebulous notions as there is no evil (or good/evil/God are all the same), pain is an illusion, God is really a woman, if you don’t get it right in this life you can always come back and try again, truth is whatever we make it for we are all creating our own realities, and all views and choices are of equal value. My highest “virtue” became tolerance, and I felt guilty if I in any way judged another’s actions.

    These ideas dovetailed quite nicely with my experience at work. The staff members at the shelter were all women. We saw ourselves as a feminist organization in which all of the women were co-equals. On numerous occasions I found this “no one’s in charge” approach unbearable. Sometimes we would sit around for days in staff meetings trying to make a decision about a particular case. Those days seemed interminable, but it was all done in the name of fairness, for there should be no leaders, no hierarchy of authority – those were male constructs. So everyone would have her say as discussion and negotiation would go on and on. The name of the game was consensus, but when consensus could not be reached our director would make the final decision. This always struck me as contrary to our philosophy, but in the end everyone seemed willing to overlook the inconsistency out of sheer fatigue.
    Ours was a safe environment in which the lesbian women could feel safe to “come out.” The banter of male-bashing was an endless stream of jokes and occasional outbursts of raging hatred. A woman’s “right to choose” was the pivotal issue around which woman’s freedom revolved and which had to be protected at all costs. We even had copies of videos giving instruction in “menstrual extraction” (do-it-yourself abortion) in case men ever took away our “right” to control our own bodies. Makeup was frowned upon and dieting was seen as a total surrender to the male-dominated culture in which women are merely objects for men’s pleasure.


    (To be continued below)

    ReplyDelete
  111. (Continued...)

    Sexual abuse in America was rampant, I was told. The estimates were said to be as high as 70 percent of all girls. Some feminists I read even asserted that all acts of sex between a man and woman are, by definition, rape. And the statistics for domestic violence were astounding; we often quoted that half of all married women were being savagely beaten every year! Eating disorders (which we believed were caused by the male desire to keep women helpless little waifs) were killing our daughters, and all over the world the organized patriarchal religions were keeping women oppressed with such tactics as genital mutilation, whipping, stoning, death sentences, forced marriages, forbidding birth control and access to abortions, and refusal to accept same-sex marriage.

    It all seemed so unjust, so horrible. The evidence mounted in my mind: Men were simply evil, and governments and organized religion – specifically Christianity in America – were their weapons. And then one day it happened. I had my “click” experience. I later read that Ms. Magazine had coined this phrase to describe the exact moment of coming into full consciousness of one’s oppression. I was sitting across from a co-worker in the shelter one evening and, like a light going on, it suddenly hit me that the cultural reality of my childhood did not exist. I realized in my moment of “enlightenment” that all men were perpetrators and all women were victims. “Where have I been all these years?” I asked my friend. “I feel like I’ve been living under a rock and for the first time now I can see clearly. There’s a world of male oppression against women out there and we’ve got to fight back.” My friend smiled warmly and said, “Now you’re getting it. I had the same experience. Now you see the truth.”

    From that moment on, for the next four years, I essentially abandoned the notion of objective truth and embraced the worldview that all things are relative and truth is determined by the individual. This was a wholly right-brained approach to life in which one’s personal experience and feelings at any given moment determine reality. Left-brained thinking patterns, such as critical analysis and skepticism, were deemed too rigid, too limiting, too male. I felt freed by the artistic approach to life where everything is an open possibility. What 23-year-old wouldn’t love a doctrine of carte blanche? Luckily, though, the tradition, objective values of my upbringing still resonated with me, and so my “experience” led me to continue to make prudent decisions in my own life.

    Meanwhile, in the name of tolerance, I found myself supporting or at least not speaking out about all manner of poor decisions that friends, co-workers, and clients were making in their own lives. They did not have the luxury of a sound foundation in the Christian ethics that I had grown up with, and consequently their lives were disasters. I was too much of a coward to judge anyone else’s actions, but I reaped the benefits of having been reared in a worldview that correctly set high standards for me. Consequently, I went along subscribing to this nonsensical system without getting myself into any real trouble.

    During that time, I led my life with the comfort that I had found the “truth” – that it was whatever I willed it to be and was determined only by my own personal experience. But two situations came up that caused such a disruption in my feminist outlook that, looking back, I realized they were the start of my de-briefing process out of radical feminism.


    (To be continued...)

    ReplyDelete
  112. (continued)

    The first was when I discovered that a seriously flawed methodology was being used to gather data on the number of women that the shelter system had to turn away each year. I saw that the numbers were being artificially inflated by a defective statistical method, and then those numbers were being presented to the public as the basis for more funding. I told people about this, but no one seemed concerned. I was told that the huge numbers we were getting statistically coincided with our “sense” of the number of battered women out there who were not able to get help, so therefore the numbers were valid. I was also told that statistics were basically meaningless anyway since mathematics is just another male construct used to oppress “woman’s reality.” This was too much for someone who had majored in science for two years. Personal determination of lifestyle and worldview I was willing to go along with, but such a cavalier attitude toward numbers and data was intolerable. When I began to see the outer reaches of subjective truth, I pulled back to regroup.

    The second situation occurred shortly after this discovery. It involved what I like to call my “anti-click” experience,” which would begin my return to the world of objective truth (though complete deprogramming would take years). One day it suddenly dawned on me that if I were to base my truth solely on my own personal experience, then I could not subscribe to the gender feminist model. After all, my experience of my father, brother, and husband was that men were wonderfully kind and had the utmost respect for women. It was statistically impossible that I alone would have found the only three decent men in the entire world. So with that, gender feminism became a self-refuting proposition for me and began to crumble before my eyes.

    (You can read the whole story, here: http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/01/from-radical-feminist-to-devout-catholic.html )

    ReplyDelete
  113. That's quite a story, right there.

    And this, regarding what other women were telling your friend:
    I was also told that statistics were basically meaningless anyway since mathematics is just another male construct used to oppress “woman’s reality.”

    My God. How can math be a "male construct used to oppress 'woman's reality'"? Math is just as much a part of ‘man’s reality’ (whatever that is) as it is for woman’s reality.
    Math is just as important for men as it is for women.
    Men drive over the same bridges as women, they use the same vehicles to commute to work, they fly in the same airplanes in the skies --- all of these things are dependent on math – along with every single solitary operative thing in the world.

    ‘A wee bit paranoid' would probably be the descriptive phrase I would use if someone posited the idea to me, that math is merely a 'male construct' - lol.

    I’d be inclined to rebut,
    “Maybe consider putting a stop to your conscious search to daily feel offended or feel oppressed. Math is gender-free and gender-less, it is involved in the very manufacturing of every product in existence, so your fears of algebra, statistics, and geometry (to name a few) are pretty, um, across-the-board unfounded."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often use math as an intellectual bludgeon to great advantage. You should tremble.

      Delete
    2. The Chris and Nubby Show! Please, please, you guys need to get an agent!

      Delete
    3. hahaha

      Surfer voice: "Duuuude, did you know that like, uhhh, 4 out of 3 people struggle with math??? It's an epidemic, man..."

      Really, I owe u a big thx for keepin' me sharp by correcting your homework. And did you need the working rate or the projected rate today, bro? Wait, I'm supposed to hate you for creating 'male mathematical constructs' to keep me under your big bad thumb, right? Modern woman and all...

      Delete
    4. A while back I had to figure out the volume of a cone shaped structure. I did it! Now my wife voluntarily walks 4 steps behind me. And my daughter won't even try with her schoolwork anymore.

      Delete
  114. "you didn't address my concern re: stigma. Stating a Catholic Truth is not the same as perpetuating stigma."

    Gwen, it's not a Catholic Truth, it's what society always understood, Catholic or not. So, if we all went back to proclaiming (via families, schools, media, Hollywood, advertising, arts, politics, etc.) that sex outside of marriage is harmful and wrong in so many ways, that would stigmatize it, no?

    So, you disagree with Mead's statement?

    Here is the context of the quote, where I found it:

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/04/14822/

    But again, you disagree with Mead on this?

    ReplyDelete
  115. Leila,

    So you’re really not going to answer the question? That’s disappointing, but I hope you’ll keep thinking about it.


    Your questions:

    1. “You were the one who said long ago that if an infant had a chance to be adopted by a mother and a father OR by two gay men (or two lesbians), all things being equal no preference should be given to the mother and father over the gay couple.”

    In fairness, I’ve never liked that hypothetical, and I’ve said so, because all things are never equal. And I’ve said in our previous conversations that I think gay parents face obstacles in raising their children that straight parents don’t. When I say I wouldn’t give preference to a straight couple over a gay one, I mean that I wouldn’t let the gender of the parents be the deciding factor. Let me make an (imperfect) analogy: if I had two straight couples to choose from, and one was financially secure but the other was financially struggling, didn’t have good prospects, couldn’t afford to live in good school districts, etc., I wouldn’t decide based on that factor. I’d look deeper. Your hypothetical says I can’t look deeper, I know, but I think that’s bogus.

    2. “How does this not render or imply motherhood or fatherhood meaningless?”

    Things can be meaningfully different without one being inherently better.

    3. “Do you think that the child that your gay friends are raising is missing a mother?”

    You’re conflating two questions here: Is Jason missing HIS (specific) mother? And: Is Jason missing A (generic) mother?

    The answer to both questions is yes, but the significance of the two questions is different. The first one is where the tragedy comes in—it’s heartbreaking that the boy’s mother is unable to care for him. That heartbreak is not Dustin or Steve’s fault: it would have happened whether or not they were in the picture. Dustin and Steve are the guys who stepped up to alleviate that heartbreak. [The same can’t be said for Elton John, btw.]

    The first question dwarfs the second one, because no person can replace Jason’s specific mom. Besides, the second question reflects the normal human condition—none of us has a *generic* mom. We have specific families, specific parents, who deviate from “the norm” in lots of meaningful ways.

    I know you don’t want me to link but, sorry, I’ve already written exactly what I want to say about that topic here: http://letterstothecatholicright.tumblr.com/post/57889018326/three-essays-on-ideal-families

    I’ll excerpt in case you don’t want to click:

    "Full disclosure: I’m an only child, and my parents divorced when I was seventeen, so my family fits into two of the categories outlined above. And I relate to the frustration these authors feel at being told our families are broken, or that our childhoods were tragic—not because telling us that hurts our feelings, but because it’s not true. Recently, my wife, my sister-in-law, and I were sitting around talking about family. They know the facts of my childhood, and they know that I sometimes wish I had had siblings or that my parents had stayed together. But they also know my parents and the outsized regard I hold for them, and I simply could not convince them that my childhood was anything other than idyllic. These two sisters, now best of friends, who spent a recent Saturday night drinking wine with their parents and singing songs from their childhood on the same porch of the same house where they used to play as kids—they think my childhood was ideal!

    And they have a point. I wouldn’t trade the way I was brought up for anything in the world. On the one hand, my childhood was imperfect because of who my parents were and the choices that they made; on the other hand, my childhood was perfect for the same reasons. I think most happy adults would say the same thing."

    4. “Help me out: If mothers and fathers are not interchangeable, then should we lament those children without mothers, or without fathers?”

    Honest question: why can’t we take it on a case-by-case basis?

    ReplyDelete
  116. "So you’re really not going to answer the question? That’s disappointing, but I hope you’ll keep thinking about it."

    I find this a bit condescending. I answered your question. It's a quagmire legally and morally. It's a hot mess, and poised to get worse with all the ART and "three-parent embryos" on the horizon. Legally, they are his "fathers". Morally, ethically? I don't know about that. That's as close as I can get to an answer in a quagmire. You tell me... how many "fathers" can or should a child have? Why two? Why not seven? Serious question.

    1. I note that you only speak of the adults, and not the child here.

    2. Why were male/female made to be complementary? You are a Christian. Why did God make male and female? And, no one argued that motherhood is "better" than fatherhood. But that both are necessary, both are different, and children have a right to a mother and a father.

    3. You utterly dodged the question of whether or not the child was missing a mom. You said yes to both. But then you made the case (based on your experience) that missing a mom is nothing to fret about. Of course, the longing for a mom is primal, and that is why anonymousus.org is around now, and it's why this (honest) gay father can say what he did about his motherless daughter:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/the-misnomer-of-motherless-parenting.html?_r=0

    You don't think the longing for a mother is a primal, basic longing? And by the way, it appears that you had a mother and father, so I'm not sure your example applies? And since you are good with your parents divorce, should we as a society now say that divorce is nothing to discourage, and that there is no difference between being raised in an intact home vs. being a child of divorce?

    4. Why? Because we live by truths and principles, and we can't throw off nature and God and the right order of how children come to the world and why. We can't base everything on what the adults want, and we can't say that everything is simply relative. Can we? If so, tell me how that fits into the Christian view of sex, motherhood, fatherhood, children, procreation, male/female creation, etc. I'm interested in how integrated your ideals are with your professed Christian faith. Thanks!

    sorry, if typos, in a rush...

    ReplyDelete
  117. I want to clarify, because I was in a rush. I want to correct myself. You did answer the question about whether or not the child was missing a mother. You said yes. But the overall sentiment is that it just really doesn't matter. Unless of course it matters one day to the individual child in retrospect. But that parents or adults have the complete right to decide whether or not a child gets a mo but the overall sentiment is that it just really doesn't matter. Unless of course it matters one day to the individual child in retrospect, but that essentially parents or adults have the right to decide whether or not a child needs a father and a mother. You have said that motherhood and fatherhood are different, but you never said how (which is ok because it's axiomatic), and you've never noted that those differences are important to a child. Basically I hear you saying it's no big deal unless the child one day thinks it is. So having a mother or father (or not) is similar to any other preference, like deciding whether a child will share a room with the sibling or get his own room, or whether the child will be raised in Europe or America, or whether the child's room will be painted blue or purple. Sort of an incidental, subjective to each situation, but not a matter of human rights or natural rights or primal needs, correct? I'm speaking into my phone so forgive me if it's not clear.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Sorry, I didn’t mean to be condescending, and thank you for your follow-up post.

    I really was disappointed, because I really want an answer to this question. So I wasn’t trying to be a jerk when I said I hope you keep thinking about it. Are either of the men Jason’s father? Are neither? If a straight man adopted Jason, would you hesitate similarly in calling him the boy’s father?

    It doesn’t seem like a quagmire to me, so I’m fascinated by your confusion with this question.

    “I note that you only speak of the adults, and not the child here.”

    I’m referring to the obstacles the adults will face in raising the child. I’m talking about the wellbeing of the kid. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I should have said: a child of a gay couple will face obstacles a child of a straight couple won't.

    “I’m interested how integrated your ideals are with your professed Christian faith.”

    Well, the post I linked ends with a quote from a Christian minister and a link to a verse from the Gospel of Matthew. It’s 100% integrated with my Christian faith.

    I’m off to proctor an exam now, but I’ll try to respond to your other questions soon. You raise lots of great points.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Thanks, Frank! If you think I'm confused by multiple legal fathers, just imagine how the kids are going to feel! Especially with the advent of "throuples" and three-parent embryos, etc. Just to clarify: If the state, then, declares a child to have, say, five legal fathers, do you consider all those men the child's father? Ethically and morally that is all good to you? Or do you sense some confusion and chaos there?

    Also, I'm interested to see how St. Matthew integrated the idea of two gay fathers and no mothers into his preaching of the Truth. Could you link the quote from Matthew here, and also the quote from the minister (and his denomination)? Thanks!

    Off to see my son in a Shakespeare play tonight... These are busy times for both of us! :)

    ReplyDelete
  120. And, oh no you didn't! LOL! You didn't just use the "judge not" quote to justify your thoughts on gay "marriage" and motherless families and two dads, etc.! Oh, my! That is the single most out-of-context quote today, and secularists love it, because they have no clue what it means. We may not judge souls, but we are CALLED to judge actions and reject sin outright.

    And your minister's quote is nice, but it's so broad as to apply to anything and everything, including incestuous families ("judge not, Frank!"). ;)

    It's so broad and vague that it cannot be anyone's guiding principle on anything. Yes, we all know that some seemingly happy families are miserable, and some seemingly miserable families seem happy. So? How does that speak to the question?

    And how is any of what you are using as justification particularly Christian? After all, any good atheist could use the same quotes and arguments to justify anything at all. But we are talking about family and children and sex and motherhood and fatherhood and creation and order. Can you tell me something from your Christian faith that speaks directly to those things? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  121. “That is the single most out-of-context quote today, and secularists love it,”

    Maybe, but I'm aware of how it fits into context of the whole Bible, too.

    “And your minister's quote is nice, but it's so broad as to apply to anything and everything, including incestuous families”

    1. As you’ve admitted before, *you* don’t believe incest is inherently wrong (Abraham and Sarah, remember?) Don’t make me dig up the conversation. I will if I have to. ;)

    2. Her quote is “nice”? It’s a basic building block of the Christian worldview, and incredibly difficult in practice. Honest question, and I’ll take your word for it if you answer yes. She says, “We ought to treat every family with tenderness and compassion for all the things we do not know about them, and pray that they will deal gently with us too.”

    Would you say you’re very good at that?

    “It's so broad and vague that it cannot be anyone's guiding principle on anything.”

    It’s not the end of ethics. It’s a starting point. A building block, but a necessary one. Again, have you mastered it?

    “And how is any of what you are using as justification particularly Christian?”

    You think that argument would have any meaning in the Islamic Caliphate? Could you see it flying in Soviet Russia? Communist China? Saudi Arabia?

    Ah, I forgot: you think those guys are right on this issue.

    “After all, any good atheist could use the same quotes and arguments to justify anything at all.”

    Yeah, but only because Western atheists are steeped in the logic of Christianity. Damon Linker has a good piece along these lines:

    http://theweek.com/articles/450759/how-christianity-gave-gay-marriage

    Have a great night! I'm out until tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  122. You are king of the links! I rarely go to links that are posted in comments, so forgive me for that.

    Am I kind to every family? Frank, I'm kind to every person I meet. I deal gently with people, yes. I keep in mind that everyone is wounded (and in one way or another, those wounds come from... wait for it... sin! Either their own, or someone else's).

    Now, when we are debating ideas, do I challenge? Do I stand for Truth? Yup and Yup. It's imperative. We are a wishy-washy culture now, and we stand for practically nothing (except "feeling good" and "making sure no one gets offended"). I assure you, Christ did not come so that people could feel good about their sins. You have a real way of slipping past all the questions, and making everything look pretty. Sin is ugly. Sin harms people. Sin destroys souls. It destroys families. It destroys children. When one's Christianity is influenced and molded (and melded) with the morality of the day, one should be very concerned. The Spirit of the Age does not determine what is True and Good. The Church Christ founded teaches the Truth, in season and out. Have you thought about why your church reversed all its teachings in concert with the Spirit of the Age? It should give you great pause.

    I'm not asking you what the difference is between your views and Communist China. I am asking you what is the difference between your views on morality and any good secular atheist?

    Christianity came during the Roman Empire. All the sexual issues of our present day were in full bloom then. Fornication, abortion, infanticide, homosexual acts. All of that was accepted, practiced often and openly. Christianity turned that morality on its head. Why do you align yourself with the morality of the pagan Roman Empire (that the Church brought down in a loving, bloodless coup), rather than the Christian moral ethic? It's perplexing to me.

    You say that "being kind" is a starting principle. Yes, being kind is a principle (and it never means celebrate and accept sin, would you agree?). But it's not the starting principle. The starting principle is that Truth exists, and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth and the life. We don't get to make up our own truth, and we don't get to turn Christian morality on its head and then claim it's compatible with the Bible.

    I'm not sure you do understand "judge not" in the context of the Bible and Christianity. If you think that "judging not" means accepting sin and celebrating it, then you have missed the mark by about ... infinity.

    And it's a weird question, to ask if I've mastered kindness. I don't know that any of us is perfect yet. I work on the virtues every day. Kindness, courage, fortitude, piety, patience. The Christian virtue that is out of favor today is chastity. Do you believe in that Christian virtue? You have to take them all, not pick and choose.

    As for the incest issue, your comment about the OT incest is irrelevant to what I asked. I said that the minister's statement is so vague that it could apply to anything. Incest (which I assume she is against), man-boy love, zoophilia, violence, anything. If life is only about being "happy" and feeling good, then the minister has missed pretty much the point of the gospel. The gospel is about being set free from something so horrible that it necessitated God's death on a Cross at the hand of his creatures. Sin is an ugly, ugly thing.

    The saints have said that they would rather die than to willfully commit a single sin. They have said that it is better that their children die (in a state of grace) than to commit a single mortal sin and perish eternally. I hope you are very, very fearful of sin, Frank, and I pray that you don't celebrate it, and then use your subjective interpretation of the (Catholic) Bible to justify it. It is a scary place to be.

    ReplyDelete
  123. My comment at 2:09....

    You skipped #2.
    You skipped #3.
    You skipped #4 (except to say "judge not" which makes no sense in light of the questions).

    You skipped the entire comment at 2:44.

    When you have time. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  124. Good morning, Leila!

    First, I know I’m leaving some of your questions unanswered. But every time I answer three, you ask me ten more back. I’m trying, but I’m not going to get to all of them.

    “Christianity came during the Roman Empire. All the sexual issues of our present day were in full bloom then. Fornication, abortion, infanticide, homosexual acts. All of that was accepted, practiced often and openly.”

    That’s false. The things we’re talking about in threads like this (gay marriage, transgenderism, sexual egalitarianism) are totally opposed to the sexual ethic of ancient Rome. Romans maintained strict, hierarchical distinctions between the sexes, and they thought of marriage as an institution for the production of children. Sex, both inside and (especially) outside of marriage, was an exploitative play of power relations, and that was seen as a good thing. Effeminacy was the worst thing a man could display, the opposite of virtus. So, insofar as our culture celebrates Bruce Jenner, it’s as far from ancient Rome as could be.

    It’s absolutely true that St. Paul turned that ethic on its head. It’s also true that that revolution led, eventually, to the modern sexual ethic. You can make a case that we’ve taken that revolution too far, or that we’re imperfect in our practice of it, but you can’t say that we’re like ancient Rome.

    “When one’s Christianity is influenced and molded (and melded) with the morality of the day, one should be very concerned.”

    There’s plenty about modern morality that bothers me, and I try to stand as a sign of contradiction. But as our understanding of Christianity develops, society has changed in lots of ways for the better, too. You don’t contradict good things just because they’re modern. You have to admit: sometimes the progressives are right.

    “I am asking you what is the difference between your views on morality and any good secular atheist?”

    I believe that goodness comes from God, and I try to show that to the nonbelievers in my life. But apart from that recognition, if the secular atheist is “good,” why would my behavior be different from his?

    This seems to be a big difference between us: morality isn't about setting ourselves apart from atheists. It's about trying to do God’s will in the world. And I’ve noticed, in my life, that some of the most moral people I know are atheists. So when they’re being moral, I’m not ashamed if my behavior looks like theirs. Why would I be?

    “You say that ‘being kind’ is a starting principle.”

    I was actually referring to understanding the limits of our knowledge. Humility, in other words. I know you’re kind to everyone, btw, and I totally admire that about you.

    “As for the incest issue, your comment about the OT incest is irrelevant to what I asked.”

    I know. It was a lighthearted jab in response to your joke about not judging incestuous unions. But yes, irrelevant.

    “If life is only about being ‘happy’ and feeling good, then the minister has missed pretty much the point of the gospel.”

    Just because she said the word “happy” in an essay doesn’t mean her whole morality boils down to being happy and feeling good. See, this is what I meant in my first post when I said you tend to oversimplify your opponents’ positions. I was going to bring this up earlier when you said I’m “good” with my parents’ divorce. That’s a very reductive take on what I wrote.

    I’ve got to start my day now, beginning with changing a flat tire in the rain (ugh...). Then I’ve got to get to campus to grade all of the exams I proctored last night. And I’ve got family stuff all afternoon and evening.

    I’ve got on record that you want an answer to your questions #2, 3, & 4. Looking back at 4, I know I’ve answered that in previous conversations. You can probably find an answer to question 3 in my earlier posts, but I’ll try to make it clearer. That leaves question 2 and some other stuff from upthread. I’ll be back as soon as I can.

    Have a great Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  125. Frank,

    So let's stop the conversation from going off into left field, let's stop the bleeding and tourniquet the sidebar thoughts, and just keep it focused on this:
    Under what working theological theory of Christianity do you logically and coherently distill down the very harsh, painful, alerting, alarming, demanding, exclusive gospel message of salvation history to get to “hippie Jesus loves all our sin” at the end of the day?

    The goal of change within the Christian person is, “Make me like you, Jesus. When this is all over, I want to look just like You”.
    The change is not, “May everyone like and accept me as I am, Jesus. When this is all over, I want the brutes to accept me just as I am”.
    The reflection at the end of it all should be of Him - not of us staring back at ourselves, unchanged.

    Distill this all with one question:
    What is the one theological virtue we will all be judged on?
    You’d say “Love. How well we have loved.” Right?

    I agree. Yes, we will be judged on how well we have loved.
    Then what does that even entail, per Jesus Christ (not per any mere human like you or me)?

    What does that snapshot look like? What is the main bug it excludes?
    A five word answer is all we need here. Guesses?

    ReplyDelete
  126. "Under what working theological theory of Christianity do you logically and coherently distill down the very harsh, painful, alerting, alarming, demanding, exclusive gospel message of salvation history to get to “hippie Jesus loves all our sin” at the end of the day?"

    I'll give you a two word answer: I don't.

    That was easy. Okay, one sentence more: Disagreeing on what specific acts are sins is not the same as saying Jesus loves sin.

    Okay, off to work.

    ReplyDelete
  127. "Disagreeing on what specific acts are sins"?
    So, sin is blurry, huh?
    Those things which we must avoid for salvation aren't clear and spelled out in the New Testament? That huge compilation of letters and gospels doesn't quite spell out black from white as far as sin goes? Weird.
    Why do you complicate and not simplify your data/reference/information?

    Christianity is *not* complicated at all. It is very difficult to walk and live, but most definitely not complicated. Jesus Christ is the Ultimate Simplifier.
    Why can I say this about Him?
    Because He is Love. Correct?
    Love = Simplicity
    Philosophically, theologically, and even logically speaking.
    One shouldn't need to talk like a politician to navigate the New Testament, Frank.

    ReplyDelete
  128. "So, sin is blurry, huh?"

    No. You and Leila are *wrong* about what constitutes sexual sin. Is that clear enough?

    "One shouldn't need to talk like a politician to navigate the New Testament, Frank."

    Like a politician? What have I equivocated on? Where have I dissembled? I've answered every question I've had time for, as clearly as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  129. Okay, really, really off to work now.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Frank, how did Christianity survive 1,900 years before we had you to tell is what is sin and what isn't??? How did you come by this specialized knowledge?

    I'm honestly asking. Do you believe you are the sole arbiter of what constitutes sin and what does not? If not, who is?

    Regarding "judge not," you're conveniently ignoring the other verses in the Bible that specifically command us to judge. See here: http://www.catholicstand.com/yes-catholics-can-judge/

    ReplyDelete
  131. When I read your answers, Frank, I see that you implement deflection and personal opinion. I don't see any reference to scripture or authority. No authority is referenced, at all. You give history trivia but no authority. You give personal family stories, but no authority. Maybe you're doing it for colorful effect or interest, but I don't see any meat of ideas being tied together coherently.

    I don't understand the desire to make sin sound cloudy or the gospel message sound clever or tricky or even philosophical. Sin is not cloudy. The gospel is not clever! It's for simpleton humans, like us. See?

    Love distills down to a singular grounded reality. This is a metaphysical proof of a God you already believe in.
    Love is grounded in the Grounder who is One.
    He is, by proof, unified active mentation that holds everything together, ok?
    That means, there's never discrepancy or percentages about what He thinks or mandates or commands.

    There is no room for confusion, because Love, by essence, will never author confusion, or percentages or fractions of sin or sinful acts or half-way commandments. By nature, He cannot contradict Himself. Love is incapable of authoring confusion. Love authors a simple wholeness.

    It's the humans that want to split hairs and philosophize our way out of very bare bones teaching to justify our choice to rebel.

    Here’s a simple angle:
    Our job is to imitate the Master to inherit heaven, right? Where do I find him? When I am confused about “which acts are really sins”, where do I go to make sure that I am imitating the Sinless One? What do I reference? Whom do I call on for the answer? How do I dispel confusion?

    ReplyDelete
  132. "So, sin is blurry, huh?"

    No. You and Leila are *wrong* about what constitutes sexual sin. Is that clear enough?


    This. This right here. Wow. Honestly, I'm glad you said this. Remember, Frank, when you say "you and Leila", you can substitute "the Christian Church since the beginning of Christianity". So, you are saying this:

    "The Christian Church since the beginning of Christianity is wrong about what constitutes sexual sin. Is that clear enough?"

    Yes, it's very clear that you set your self against the teaching of the Church that Christ founded. Tell me about the virtue of chastity, Frank. And tell me how a Christian truth can suddenly reverse itself, right about the time of Margaret Sanger and the Sexual Revolution. And tell me how you know that your beliefs on sin (that are the opposite of 2,000 years of Christian teaching) are correct? On what authority?

    Let's get to the bare bones: Can grave sin keep us from Heaven? Can it lead us to hell? And if so (I don't know how a Christian can say no to those questions), mustn't it be of the utmost import that we know what sin is? And yet you say that the we didn't know until 20th and 21st century America/secular Europe what actually constitutes sexual sin? How can this be?

    See, this is why I'm glad we press for clear answers. You said (I repeat):

    You and Leila are *wrong* about what constitutes sexual sin. Is that clear enough?

    An opinion you threw out there. Based on your opinion. Based on nothing that came before in Christian history or thought. Based on the blurring and melting of the Episcopal Church into the sexual mores of a secular culture. Based on.... ?

    It's blowing my mind. I need to go get breakfast....

    ReplyDelete
  133. Nubby,

    "I don't see any reference to scripture or authority. No authority is referenced, at all."

    If you've got time, please read through the comments of Leila's 2013 post "Learn your faith, find your courage."

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2013/03/learn-your-faith-find-your-courage.html

    Starting on April 1 at 8:35 pm, Leila and I had a weeks-long conversation on the Bible, in which I supported my arguments with Romans 5:20, Romans 13: 8-10, Galatians 5:13-14, Matthew 12:7, Mark 2:27, Genesis 2:18, Luke 6:43-44, Matthew 25:14-30, and Matthew 19:12. I also quoted the Catholic Catechism, the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., John T. Noonan, and modern Christian thinkers like Tina Beattie, Rachel Held Evans, and Richard Beck. The conversation ended with a discussion of an essay by the former head of the Anglican Communion, to which I belong.

    I've mentioned many of those sources in other discussions on this blog, too. All of those conversations are available and searchable in Leila's archives.

    You might disagree with my arguments, but it's factually incorrect to say I don't reference any Christian authority.

    ReplyDelete
  134. So, being that those are your references -- which are some of the exact same references I use, and Leila uses, all Catholics use -- then where's the logical hang up or confusion on what constitutes a sinful act? I looked at Romans 5:20 which you provided, to gauge. It says *nothing* about specific sexual sin. You want to see it: "The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more."

    You mean to say, you've referenced over 15 sources to furnish your argument that shows "Christianity is still so unclear about sexual sin, specifically homosex"?? Which is really the only sin you're trying to defend here, right? Because this ties back into your gay friends adoption, no? So you feel a need to defend this via the bible and extra biblical sources? To *defend* this? No way in the world does this logically hold up. No way.

    We're not talking about implementing Laplace transforms here.
    We're not talking multiple equations with multiple unknowns.

    So, again, I stand by my comment which is "No authority is referenced at all." The only thing you refer to is your interpretation of those sources. What makes you right and us wrong? Where do you go for the final call?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Gal 5:13-14 you provided above.

      Frank, this says ZERO about sexual sin. Talks about life by the spirit. That's actually the name of the chapter. And you somehow left out what importantly follows, anyway:"The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

      So you references these things just what ... for thought? None of these two first references of yours -- as in none -- speak to your defense of sexual sin. They speak to a life in the spirit and of grace to overcome the flesh or sins of passion. So, why would you furnish me with these? They actually help *my* argument. ?

      Delete
    2. * So you reference these things
      ------------------------------

      And again. Looking at Matthew 12:7:
      7 If you had known what these words mean, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice,’[a] you would not have condemned the innocent.

      Zero reference to any kind of sexual sin here, Frank. Again. This chapter speaks to Christ as Lord of the Sabbath. No idea what word play you're trying to pluck from this, but it doesn't fly. Logically or theologically. It does not fly. I don't see any logic in my proceeding with the homework you gave me, here. You're getting your paper handed back to you with red ink all over it. Way too many errors, way too many illogical threads of thought.

      Delete
  135. Why are you trying to fictionalize all those sources, by inferring there is somehow mass confusion in their simplicity, Frank? It takes no effort to read and to understand most of those, as they appear in context. The complication factor is a human one, not a God one.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Frank: You referenced NT Scripture (which comes to us from the Catholic Church) and Catholic sources in order to make your case that homosexual acts are not sinful? I don't know what to say. I am almost speechless. Because if anything is clear, it's that the Catholic Church (and her Scripture) has always, for 2,000 years, taught the grave sinfulness of homosexual acts. So, wha...? I don't get this at all.

    "Modern" Christian thinkers, as in, the ones who have decided to walk away from Christian teaching on sexual issues and decide that the Church has been wrong for 2,000 years. That is a little too convenient, isn't it?

    I don't get it. Frank, do you agree that sin can keep us from heaven and direct us to an eternity in hell? And if yes, then do you agree that the Church's job (really her only job) is to save souls by pointing them to sanctity and away from sin? And are you now claiming that the Church was teaching sin as virtue and virtue as sin for the last 20 centuries? If so, then what the heck is the point of the Church? And why is the truth only known to the tiny sliver of folks in the western world who subscribe to the tenets of the sexual revolution? Does this make any sense?

    My brain hurts. And my heart hurts more. Sin is ugly, sin is evil, sin is something to run from, Frank, not justify. Do you have any fear for your soul? Do you care that you may be risking your eternal soul by spreading your personal opinion which is the polar opposite of the Truth taught by Christ's Church for 20 centuries? I just tremble when I think of it. Why aren't you trembling at the thought that you are pushing sin as virtue, when sin is what put our Lord on the Cross, sin is the one thing he came to save us from?

    Lord, have mercy. This is not a game.

    ReplyDelete
  137. I'm confused here as on outsider to this conversation.

    There are two ways to debate Truth. A) You can talk about the truth in a scientific and secular manner. B) You can talk about the "right and wrong" in an ethical or religious manner.

    For example, I read today that egg harvesting causes 10% to 40% of later infertility in egg donor women. That study freaks me out I don't know any woman who is dealing with the heartbreak of infertility who wants to spread that pain to someone else. As a lawyer, I wish that statistic was well publicized in an effort to allow women and donor women to have "full and express consent" to IVF.

    That is a secular, scientific reason for me as a Catholic to object to IVF.

    Now in religious terms, I've got totally different objections to IVF. If I was talking to another Catholic respected our joint Pope, I'd use different arguments to explain the church's stance against IVF.

    Pick one argument style or the other Mr. Frank. Either you are with the Wise Men looking for Truth with secular eyes. Or a shepherd who can hear the angels sing. Either way will get to the same place. Mixing your objections to organized "religion" and your disagreement with the "hard data/scientific method" is going to get us no where in this current comment box fight.

    ReplyDelete
  138. I hope Frank will give concrete answers to JoAnna's questions:

    Frank, how did Christianity survive 1,900 years before we had you to tell is what is sin and what isn't??? How did you come by this specialized knowledge?

    I'm honestly asking. Do you believe you are the sole arbiter of what constitutes sin and what does not? If not, who is?


    Honestly, this exchange is so disturbing. It's one thing to debate atheists and non-Christians, but Frank is a Christian. Frank, what is weight do you give sin? What fear do you have of it? Do you really know and understand the eternal consequences of grave sin, or do you think (as I used to), "Oh, God understands! He knows me! No worries, I'm heaven-bound!"

    How devoted are you to fleeing sin and embracing virtue? And what fear do you have of leading other souls into error and sin? Do you tremble at the thought of it?

    Dear Lord, sin is not a game. The consequences are eternal, and we are responsible for what we say and do.

    Lord have mercy.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Abigail, thank you. I agree. I like to talk to atheists in secular terms, and Christians in Christian terms. I have no idea how to talk to Frank, since he seems to live in both camps at once, and yet switches back and forth, or ignores one for the other.... I'm so confused, lol. Heeelp!

    Frank, here's what I'd love to do at some point. I'd love to talk about sin and salvation, as a Christian. Maybe not today, but someday soon.

    ReplyDelete
  140. How does one know when "modern Christian thought" is wrong? When it deviates from 2,000 years of Christian teaching. It's a simple formula, really.

    ReplyDelete
  141. I'm confused here as on outsider to this conversation.

    There are two ways to debate Truth. A) You can talk about the truth in a scientific and secular manner. B) You can talk about the "right and wrong" in an ethical or religious manner.

    For example, I read today that egg harvesting causes 10% to 40% of later infertility in egg donor women. That study freaks me out I don't know any woman who is dealing with the heartbreak of infertility who wants to spread that pain to someone else. As a lawyer, I wish that statistic was well publicized in an effort to allow women and donor women to have "full and express consent" to IVF.

    That is a secular, scientific reason for me as a Catholic to object to IVF.

    Now in religious terms, I've got totally different objections to IVF. If I was talking to another Catholic respected our joint Pope, I'd use different arguments to explain the church's stance against IVF.

    Pick one argument style or the other Mr. Frank. Either you are with the Wise Men looking for Truth with secular eyes. Or a shepherd who can hear the angels sing. Either way will get to the same place. Mixing your objections to organized "religion" and your disagreement with the "hard data/scientific method" is going to get us no where in this current comment box fight.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Frank, I have a sincere question about your church's acceptance of homosexual "marriage". Does it give a scriptural basis for this acceptance, or does it just say something along the lines of "Jesus loves all of us"? I really have always been curious how a few churches could sanction gay marriages while the rest clearly cite scripture as being against the practice.

    Also, Leila was not false about sexual immorality being largely accepted in Ancient Rome, and in fact much of the ancient world. Roman orgies are not a Hollywood invention. Yes, Augustus did try to bring his people up to his desired "marriage is important to the empire" status, but he really meant for that to produce more Roman children and didn't stop his own extramarital affairs (and failed to prevent his own, only daughter from sleeping with half the town, although he did banish her for it). And although the Romans would not have accepted two adult males as being "married", they did accept that older men often had younger men (without facial hair yet - so boys!) as sexual partners as in the Greek tradition. Acting effeminate was frowned upon, but senators and even the emperors often had "boy toys". (Tiberius and Nero both come to mind.) Writers of the day often poked fun at such relationships but didn't condemn them on moral grounds. As long as a man "did his duty" and produced legitimate children by his wife, his sexual preferences (whether with men, women, or children) were largely overlooked as insignificant.

    ReplyDelete
  143. (1/2)

    "So, again, I stand by my comment which is "No authority is referenced at all." The only thing you refer to is your interpretation of those sources."

    What!? Wow. Is it so hard to type "I was wrong"?

    "Why are you trying to fictionalize all those sources"

    Huh? Nubby, read the conversation. It's pretty straightforward.

    "Zero reference to any kind of sexual sin here, Frank."

    This is spectacularly dishonest. To borrow your homework metaphor, you're trying to mark off based on the footnotes without ever reading the essay. Read the conversation.

    No, I don't say "Romans 5:20 Galatians 5:13-14 Matthew 12:7 John Paul II ergo gay marriage!" But it's a pretty simple argument. And let's be clear on this, because I'm tired of people acting like this is something I've made up: I'm not saying anything new. I'm making points that have been made by dozens of respected theologians--AND I CITE THEM!

    Sorry for the exasperation.

    Read the conversation.

    One more time: Read the conversation.

    Abigail:

    "Pick one argument style or the other Mr. Frank. Either you are with the Wise Men looking for Truth with secular eyes. Or a shepherd who can hear the angels sing."

    I don't understand your critique. If you were making an argument against IVF, wouldn't you make both scientific and ethical arguments? That's what Leila does. How am I supposed to answer her otherwise?

    And where have I objected to organized religion? Where have I objected to hard data/ the scientific method? Please point to specific instances.

    Leila/JoAnna:

    "Frank, how did Christianity survive 1,900 years before we had you to tell is what is sin and what isn't???"

    Christian thinking has developed for its entire history. (We've had this conversation before, too, so for my sake please look back into Leila's archives before asking me to elaborate.)

    "How did you come by this specialized knowledge? "

    This is not specialized knowledge. This is the current understanding of the majority of Western Christians, and lots of respected theologians (and no, I'm not appealing to the masses as an authority, just--again--sick of everyone acting like I'm the first person to make a Christian case for gay marriage).

    "Do you believe you are the sole arbiter of what constitutes sin and what does not?"

    No.

    "If not, who is?"

    God.

    And, in answer to Nubby's follow-up question: "What do I reference? Whom do I call on for the answer? How do I dispel confusion?"

    The three-cord strand: Scripture, Tradition, Reason.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Back to Leila:

    "Frank, do you agree that sin can keep us from heaven and direct us to an eternity in hell?"

    Yes.

    "And if yes, then do you agree that the Church's job (really her only job) is to save souls by pointing them to sanctity and away from sin?"

    Yes.

    "And are you now claiming that the Church was teaching sin as virtue and virtue as sin for the last 20 centuries? If so, then what the heck is the point of the Church? And why is the truth only known to the tiny sliver of folks in the western world who subscribe to the tenets of the sexual revolution?"

    Answered in previous conversations. Search "usury."

    "Frank, what is weight do you give sin?"

    Tremendous weight.

    "What fear do you have of it?"

    Tremendous fear.

    "Do you really know and understand the eternal consequences of grave sin,"

    I hope so.

    "or do you think (as I used to), "Oh, God understands! He knows me! No worries, I'm heaven-bound!""

    No.

    "How devoted are you to fleeing sin and embracing virtue?"

    Not enough. I'm trying.

    "And what fear do you have of leading other souls into error and sin?"

    Tremendous fear.

    "Do you tremble at the thought of it?"

    Yes.

    Everyone:

    This is an honest question: what modern Christian theologians do you all read? Do you ever actually read any progressive Catholics or Episcopalians, or do you just dismiss them off the bat as looney-tunes? What about bloggers? Do you ever read anybody whose intelligence you respect but who, nonetheless, disagrees with your positions on these questions? Do you read any of them regularly?

    How much of a bubble is this?

    ReplyDelete
  145. Okay, Frank, I don't get what you mean. Your answers are so vague as to be nonsensical. I ask you who appointed you the arbiter of what is and is not sin, and you reply, "Christian thinking over the years."

    Okay.... ? You might as well have replied, "Because the bakery was out of cheesecake." It makes as much sense.

    Let me put it in a simple question.

    For all of Christian history, up until around a decade or two ago, the Christian churches taught that homosexual activity was sinful.

    Now you are claiming that homosexual activity is not sinful.

    So did God (1) allow the Christian Church to teach error for nearly 2,000 years, or (2) did God change His mind?

    You can just answer (1) or (2).

    ReplyDelete
  146. Frank, I often read "progressive" (i.e., heretical) Catholic writers. Then I write blog posts rebutting them, because usually their logic is so ridiculous as to be farcical.

    As for modern Catholic thinkers, I read Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, and other modern Catholic theologians who actually make sense.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Angel,

    "Does it give a scriptural basis for this acceptance, or does it just say something along the lines of "Jesus loves all of us"?"

    I'd recommend Matthew Vines' God and the Gay Christian for answers to that question.

    "Also, Leila was not false about sexual immorality being largely accepted in Ancient Rome, and in fact much of the ancient world. Roman orgies are not a Hollywood invention."

    Right, but gay marriage, transgenderism, and sexual egalitarianism--the things we argue about here--were not at all accepted by Roman society. You'll see a lot of Christians defending those things; you won't see many advocating orgies, adultery, or exploitative man-boy relationships.

    ReplyDelete
  148. Frank,
    Your three cord model leaves off a very important teaching arm. Reason alone depends upon an authority so that you may know that you are indeed being reasonable in your interpretation of the scriptures and of tradition.
    This is becoming way too taxing. Your references in the homework assignment never buttress your argument which is exactly this: "Homosex is not bad per --- PER, mind you -- Christianity."
    You're doing a very illogical thing by using Christianity to attempt to prove the goodness of homosexual acts as you see them -- or at least you're trying to say "we're cloudy on whether this is actually, you know, sinful".
    No. Way. No sane logical way can you ever hold up Christianity as your go-to source for an outright validation of homosexual sin.
    It's as bizarre as pointing to a manual for good health and saying, "No, infact, this very manual itself says M & M's aren't maybe so bad for my waistline, it’s cloudy. No wait, infact, it says it's good! I can show you all kinds of proof from this manual!” When the manual says THE EXACT OPPOSITE.

    Do you use a negative balance in your checking account to prove that, indeed, the numbers show there is somehow really money there? No sense.

    ReplyDelete
  149. "You'll see a lot of Christians defending those things; you won't see many advocating orgies, adultery, or exploitative man-boy relationships."

    But on what basis should Christians advocate AGAINST these things? By your logic, Jesus is love, love bears all things, etc. etc. so why are these things wrong? If Jesus is now okay with homosexual acts, why not orgies or adultery or man-boy relationships? Don't judge, Frank!

    ReplyDelete
  150. "Frank, I often read "progressive" (i.e., heretical) Catholic writers. Then I write blog posts rebutting them, because usually their logic is so ridiculous as to be farcical."

    Any whom you respect?

    After all, I wouldn't waste my time here if I didn't respect all of your intelligence.

    ReplyDelete
  151. I respect everyone as a human being with inherent worth and dignity.

    I haven't yet read a Catholic "progressive" (again, heretical) writer whose ideas I can respect. Mostly because anyone who identifies as a Catholic yet advocates against the teachings of the Church lacks integrity, and I can't respect that. If the Church is wrong about homosexual acts, gay marriage, contraception, abortion, etc., then how can She possibly be right about the Eucharist? Or about the divinity of Jesus Christ? It's all or nothing. If these "progressive" Catholic writers had any integrity, they would leave the Church, stop identifying as Catholic, and instead join a church that will confirm them in their own private erroneous beliefs (instead of challenging them with Truth, as the Catholic Church does).

    Don't get me wrong, I don't WANT anyone to leave the Church. I just don't have a lot of respect for the ideas and arguments of anyone who expects the Church to change to conform to their own beliefs, because it should be the other way around.

    And I do a LOT of reading by "Catholics" who advocate for abortion, as that's a topic I'm constantly debating with others (although I prefer to leave religion out of the abortion debate entirely unless I'm debating with someone who is trying to claim that the Bible condones abortion or other religion-specific topics).

    ReplyDelete
  152. "I ask you who appointed you the arbiter of what is and is not sin, and you reply, "Christian thinking over the years."

    Um, I said that "God" is the arbiter of what is and is not sin.

    ReplyDelete
  153. Okay, Frank, if God is the arbiter, then my question still stands.

    So, in terms of homosexual activity and its sinfulness, did God (1) allow the Christian Church to teach error for nearly 2,000 years, or (2) change His mind?

    You can just answer (1) or (2).

    ReplyDelete
  154. Frank, your answers are making my brain and my heart hurt.

    It's non-sensical.

    It's like you saying this:

    "You all need to start reading the modern thinkers who say that circles are square. I know that for millennia, authorities have held that circles are round, and people have written about that in the past, but now it's super clear that circles are square, and I am willing to bet my eternal salvation on it, because I respect modern thinkers who say so. And, if you object, then, well, 'usury'".

    Honestly, that is what I hear.

    Please, answer JoAnna's questions. And please, tell me, do you think God made male and female on purpose, by design, for a reason, or was it because he thought it would be cute?



    ReplyDelete
  155. Um, I said that "God" is the arbiter of what is and is not sin.

    And God told you directly that homosexual acts are pure, good, and chaste?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As opposed to what he had told all Christians for millennia before?

      Delete
  156. "But on what basis should Christians advocate AGAINST these things? By your logic, Jesus is love, love bears all things, etc. etc. so why are these things wrong? If Jesus is now okay with homosexual acts, why not orgies or adultery or man-boy relationships?"

    I'd recommend you read Rowan Williams' "The Body's Grace," and the commentary that surrounds it, for the answer to your question.

    ReplyDelete
  157. "I'd recommend you read Rowan Williams' "The Body's Grace," and the commentary that surrounds it, for the answer to your question."

    Before I do, what authority does Williams have to arbitrate sin? Does he have apostolic succession and hold to the teachings of Christianity?

    ReplyDelete
  158. No thanks. I want to know what YOU think, not what Rowan Williams thinks.

    If Jesus is now okay with homosexual acts, why not orgies or adultery or man-boy relationships? And you said earlier "Don't judge," so how can you judge orgies or adultery or man-boy relationships?

    ReplyDelete
  159. Frank, you said that you are trying hard to flee sin and embrace virtue. Please, tell me what you know of the Christian virtue of chastity.

    ReplyDelete
  160. "So, in terms of homosexual activity and its sinfulness, did God (1) allow the Christian Church to teach error for nearly 2,000 years, or (2) change His mind?"

    3: Church teaching on human sexuality is developing, as did its teaching on usury. (Again, for answers to all of your objections, please refer to previous conversations in Leila's archives.)

    ReplyDelete
  161. Too bad it took so long for Frank to admit that his definition of sin is not the same as God's. God bless you, Leila, for your patience and clarity.

    ReplyDelete
  162. "No thanks. I want to know what YOU think, not what Rowan Williams thinks."

    What!?!?!? If I tell you what I think, you'll ask me how I got that specialized knowledge and what makes me think I'm the arbiter of what is and isn't sin.

    This is getting absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  163. "Does he have apostolic succession and hold to the teachings of Christianity?"

    Well, yes, but as a Roman Catholic I don't expect you to accept that.

    ReplyDelete
  164. Church teaching on human sexuality is developing, as did its teaching on usury.

    Do you not hear yourself on this line of logic?
    This line of "developing" moral teaching. NO. Moral teaching never changes it just becomes more concentrated in what it always said to begin with!

    If anything, Frank, IF ANYTHING, "developing" doctrine fleshes out the teaching to imprint it that much more forcefully upon the faithful! That's what "developing" does.

    Arrrghh where's the bourbon?!!

    ReplyDelete
  165. "Too bad it took so long for Frank to admit that his definition of sin is not the same as God's."

    Huh?

    ReplyDelete
  166. Developing Does Not = Complete Reversal.

    Again -- "developing" means "concentrating", not "reversing", "editing out", "globbing on the white-out" or "hitting delete". No way in hades.

    ReplyDelete
  167. One develops a theory by building on it-- not exploding it! This is true in every branch of science.

    Frank, you really hang you hat on the hopes that the Church will change, doncha? That's what this whole thing is about. Not about learning or wanting us to learn. It's about your high hopes.
    Shelve those hopes. Church teaching will never budge. Never has, never will.

    ReplyDelete
  168. *waves* I'll bring the bourbon, who has the chocolate?!?!?!?!?!

    ReplyDelete
  169. Thank u! I'll bring the Dove dark chocolates!
    Holy smokes... I'm on brain block *without* alcohol...lordy

    Let's hope we can "develop" some sense back into the arguments. Really, Frank, may God remove the scales from your eyes. It's dangerous spiritual ground you are treading with this outlook that sin is "good". No way....Run from that thought process like you'd run from an African gorilla. I ain't kidding.

    ReplyDelete
  170. DARK CHOCOLATE!!!!!!! And I may start drinking.... lol. But only really sweet, fruity wine, or a Bloody Mary with Grey Goose, so I can't taste the alcohol.

    ReplyDelete
  171. Frank:

    You keep using the word "develop." It does not mean what you think it means.

    Develop =/= change.

    A certain doctrine may develop based on our clearer understanding of underlying scientific principles, but it will never change. The underlying principle of the doctrine will ALWAYS be the same.

    Let's use your example of usury. Usury is ALWAYS sinful. That has not changed. What has DEVELOPED is our understanding of what constitutes usury in our modern economic system vs what constituted usury a thousand years ago.

    See here: The Red Herring of Usury by David J. Palm

    But teaching that homosexual activity is gravely sinful and an intrinsic evil to teaching that homosexual activity is NOT gravely sinful or an intrinsic evil? That is not a development, that is a one hundred and eighty degree REVERSAL. And the Church has never, will never, reverse (change) a doctrinal teaching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. or yeah, what Nubby said.

      I'm pregnant so no wine for me. Chocolate sounds like an excellent idea though.

      Delete
  172. For the readers, to better understand development of doctrine:

    Imagine you are in a room with the lights down low. The room is filled with furniture, objects, colors. In the dim room, you can make out the outlines, the general shapes of things, and some dim colors. Imagine that someone turns the dimmer on the light switch up, gradually. Slowly, over time, you start to see the details. You start to see the objects with more detail, you see the smaller objects more clearly, you see the colors start to come alive.

    The room and the objects have not changed. They are exactly the same. But you can see them more clearly, more deeply, with more detail, color, beauty, richness, depth.

    In no way has a single thing in the room changed or reversed itself! And nothing has been added or subtracted! But our understanding of the room is deeper and we see the beauty in ways we hadn't when the light was more dim.

    I hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  173. Frank, let me ask my question another way.

    Why should I believe Rowan Williams instead of Pope Francis? How do I know who is right between the two of them? They are saying polar opposite things. How do I decide?

    ReplyDelete
  174. What!?!?!? If I tell you what I think, you'll ask me how I got that specialized knowledge and what makes me think I'm the arbiter of what is and isn't sin.

    Frank, so you get your specialized knowledge from Rowan Williams? Where did he get his authority and specialized knowledge? And I should be able to test it against the unbroken teaching of the Church, right?

    But JoAnna's question is better:

    Why should I believe Rowan Williams instead of Pope Francis? How do I know who is right between the two of them? They are saying polar opposite things. How do I decide?

    ReplyDelete
  175. Frank: "You and Leila are *wrong* about what constitutes sexual sin. Is that clear enough?" Leila believes what God says about sexual sin, ergo: Frank doesn't believe what God says about sexual sin. I didn't think my statement needed clarifying, but I guess it did.

    ReplyDelete
  176. I can understand if Frank is getting overwhelmed (I have been there, and I sympathize), so I will direct this to readers in general:

    Frank said that many theologians are making the case for gay marriage. That is true. Many of them are. And many western thinkers want badly for sexual sins like masturbation, fornication, homosexual acts, to be considered moral and healthy and good, despite the clear teaching of the Church for millennia. And it may be true that millions of Christians believe that sexual sin is okay now. It reminds me of the time in the early Church where even the major Sees (save for the Roman See... the Pope!) were preaching heresy. One of the major heresies was Arianism, and it was so pervasive at the time (except for the teaching of Rome, of course), that St. Jerome famously said, "I woke up to find that all the world was Arian!"

    Now, Arianism lasted for hundreds of years before it died out. Heresy has always been with us, and the Church has always stood fast against it. Many, many theologians advanced the un-Christian position of Arianism. They were wrong.

    Here's what we must remember about theologians. Theologians do not have teaching authority. Theologians are important in that they *unpack* doctrine (doctrine is taught by the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church). The theologians are the ones who help "turn up the lights in the dim room" in the analogy I gave before. To the extent that a theologian seeks to overturn or reverse a Christian doctrine, then that theologian has overstepped his authority, his role, his responsibility.

    Hope that helps.

    ReplyDelete
  177. Hi Leila,

    I lack clarity with your argument re: stigma. To me, it seems you are shifting your argument. You originally postulated that perpetuating stigma against people who choose to have pre-marital sex is along the lines of prohibiting people to smoke in public places (paraphrasing here). So, how is that justified?

    I do agree with Mead's quote, but the context for it is lacking; the context of Mead's work is not an alarming conservative piece from the blog you linked to-Public Discourse. It is disturbing to me that Mead's work is being used very much for an agenda she would never have agreed with; also, Malinowski is a famed ethnographer and anthropologist too-so it seems inaccurate to me that he's specified in the article as a "psychologist" and then his words are misconstrued too. But maybe I should not be surprised-this seems to be what conservatives do best: take words out of context and then bend them to their own agenda.

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  178. Angel, I like what you said:

    Frank, I have a sincere question about your church's acceptance of homosexual "marriage". Does it give a scriptural basis for this acceptance, or does it just say something along the lines of "Jesus loves all of us"? I really have always been curious how a few churches could sanction gay marriages while the rest clearly cite scripture as being against the practice.

    Far from being "silent" on the issue of the nature of marriage (as is often claimed), Jesus was quite clear about marriage and who is "capable" of undertaking it:

    http://www.catholiclane.com/was-jesus-really-silent-on-same-sex-marriage/

    Keep that in your reference folder. It's excellent. And, on top of that (which is irrefutable, regarding marriage as a conjugal union), there is not one scintilla of evidence that marriage could be anything other than a union of bride and groom. The Bible is, quite literally, filled with bride/groom references and the entire Bible is written in nuptial language (never once is sodomy, man-on-man sex, lesbianism, etc., even hinted as something good, and in fact it is condemned outright).

    To me this whole "the Bible supports gay marriage!" argument is the same as "the Bible supports abortion!" argument. It's no where to be seen, it goes against the unwavering teaching of the Church from day one, and it's not even hinted at in any themes or analogies or archetypes anywhere...

    They are making it up out of whole cloth, and it's painful to see.

    ReplyDelete
  179. We have hit 200 comments, so you must hit "load more" below to get to the next comments!

    ReplyDelete

PLEASE, when commenting, do not hit "reply" (which is the thread option). Instead, please put your comment at the bottom of the others.

To ensure that you don't miss any comments, click the "subscribe by email" link, above. If you do not subscribe and a post exceeds 200 comments, you must hit "load more" to get to the rest. We often have meaty and long discussions -- trust me, they're worth following!