Sunday, June 30, 2013

Should the children sit down and shut up?

While we focus on the wants of adults in the gay "marriage" debate, we've utterly forgotten the rights of children:

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

The left reminds us often that marriage has nothing to do with children, and yet we all know that the continuing push for gay "marriage" will be followed by the "right" for those couples, one way or another, to procure and raise children that nature never allows them.

The voices of kids raised by gay parents are still few and far between, as it's early yet in this sweeping social experiment, but mainstream and social media have ensured that positive reports go viral, such as Zach Wahls' tribute to the lesbian mothers who raised him. I would never expect a child to speak ill of the family he loves, and we can all admire Zach's loyalty.

However, there are many children of gay parents who simply remain silent in their pain, not only to protect their parents, but to protect themselves. If they do speak out to grieve the absence of a mother or father or to question the means of their creation, they risk immediate ridicule or a condescending reminder to be grateful -- and be quiet.

For example, back in March I read with sadness a People Magazine article story of the Today show weekend anchor who is pregnant through anonymous donor insemination, and who will be raising a daughter with her lesbian lover.

Beneath the glowing photo of the "two moms", scores of well-wishers left joyful congratulations, affirming the women with many, many exclamation points. I scrolled down and down, searching for naysayers amidst the myriad celebratory squeals. At last, two notable dissenting voices piped up, both young women.

First, the daughter of two lesbians:

[Kaitlin C. -- unedited] 
congrats to them both and the baby. I am the daughter (not biological) of two mom’s. I love them both sooo sooo much but their is not a day that goes by that i didn’t wish i had a dad. it is very hard for kids like me that are different. no matter how accetping are society is. i have men in my life – my moms’ friends but it is not the same. please, don’t get me wrong, i really love them both but i guess i’m just saying it is not the same. -KC

She received an odd sort of sympathy in reply:

[amalia -- unedited]
Dear [Kaitlin C.],
I understand your point. It’s the same as of millions of people that grew up without a father figure. Either because their fathers didn’t take the responsibility and left them, or because of a divorce, death, estrangement etc. The phenomenon has been around since forever, it has nothing to do with homosexuality. Thus nothing to do with this thread.
Family is that close circle of people that offer you love and care unconditionally and create you a solid environment to educate and develop.
Just as a little detail, I had both parents around as I grew up, but my dad had never been a father figure, nor involved at the level I needed. It was just a personal experience that I overcame just fine. Love is everywhere!!!

In other words: "Your experience is nothing special, Kaitlin. Lots of people suffer through life without a dad and let's just be really clear, your fatherlessness has nothing to do with homosexuality (even though your fatherlessness is precisely because of homosexuality, shhhh!). Let's not point out the fact that while those other father-losses I mentioned were tragedies or the result of sin and neglect, your father-loss was planned and intended by people who love you. And remember, it's all about love, which you can find everywhere!!! (Except for the love of a father.) Bottom line: Your feelings are invalid, please sit down and shut up."

The second dissenting voice also came from a young woman, and although she was raised by a mother and a father, she was conceived through anonymous sperm donation, a fact which unites her experience with that of the children of gay parents:

[Kathy -- unedited]
I’m the product of a my mother’s egg and a sperm donor. I love my parents but I don’t agree with the fact that I will never know half of my biology or my siblings. I will never do that to a child. If I can’t have them, I will adopt. I hope more couples, gay and straight, consider adoption and foster care.

Like Kaitlin, she declared her deep love for her parents, but dared to expose a great wound as well. Here's the scolding she got, admonishing her to stay silent next time:

[Marky -- unedited]
Kathy, I am the adoptive mother of a child who was abandoned on the street with no identification in another country. We adopted her as an infant who was assigned a birthday, a name, and any other information, including what town they thought she might have been born in. Children born using sperm donors are not the only children on the planet who may never know their biological heritage, or bio family, etc. You know half of it, and frankly, I’ve known many people who discovered their bio parents and siblings, only to wish they had stuck with the adoptive parents they knew. Your insistence that knowing bio family makes all the difference in your life is exactly why many people nearly kill themselves to try to have bio children rather than adopt or foster. Believe me, your parents’ worst fear was the thought you would end up saying all the things you have posted here. All they wanted was to have a family, and when you “father”came to grips with the fact he couldn’t do the deed himself, they probably chose to do what they did so you would be related to at least one of them. I know people who were from your same circumstances and they feel very differently. Adoption and fostering, both of which I have done, is not some easy road, either, depending on personality of the child. There comes a time when you need to accept your circumstances and live the best life possible, not to be harsh in any way. Most people make the best choices they can, under their circumstances, when choosing how to build their families.

In other words: "You spoiled little brat. How dare you snivel and whine when you at least know half of your biological heritage? Look at you, complaining about being the product of a stranger's sperm-for-hire when you could have been an orphan on the street! Your speaking of your pain is your parents' worst fear! How dare you make them feel bad? They did this because they wanted a child at all costs, you ingrate. Your profound loss and disconnection from your origins was orchestrated by the ones who love you the most, so you have no right to complain. You must learn to support adults' choices in how they build their families! They have a right to children and you need to respect that. I mean this in the kindest way: Sit down and shut up."

Now, do you think Kaitlin or Kathy will speak up again any time soon? Not likely. However, as gay "marriage" and artificial reproduction (donor sperm, surrogacy, IVF) go hand-in-hand, we are going to hear more and more stories slipping out, even if they have to be told anonymously, and even if the truth upsets folks.

There aren't yet many seniors who can look back on their life and evaluate the impact of being raised in a homosexual household, but at least one man has done so publicly. In an article that made "huge waves" in France before the recent controversial gay "marriage" vote there, a 66-year-old Frenchman who had been raised by lesbians broke his lifelong silence. He had never wanted to speak of his suffering, but said he simply could not allow the injustice of same-sex "marriage" to come to France. In Jean-Dominique Bunel's emotional interview, he explained that although he loved the women who raised him, he became more and more affected by his situation as he grew into adulthood:

"I suffered from the indifference of adults to the intimate sufferings of children, starting with mine. In a world where their rights are each day rolled back, in truth, it is always the rights of adults that hold sway. I also suffered from the lack of a father, a daily presence, a character and a properly masculine example, some counterweight to the relationship of my mother to her lover. I was aware of it at a very early age. I lived that absence of a father, experienced it, as an amputation."

"All my life as an adult was thrust out of whack by this experience," he blurts. But he stops himself there. "It is too intimate a matter." Pushed, he concedes, "I offer you a testimony. It's not the same in value as a poll. Other children, placed in the same conditions, have certainly grown up and reacted differently. But to the best of my knowledge, no serious study has been carried out in due diligence about this topic, within scientifically irrefutable conditions and bearing upon a large sample size. I doubt that many children of gay couples will open themselves up easily and honestly to journalists on this very delicate matter. It's traumatizing to speak of suffering that one would rather silence."

" the name of a fight against inequalities and discrimination, we would refuse a child one of its most sacred rights, upon which a universal, millenia-old tradition rests, that of being raised by a father and a mother. You see, two rights collide: the right to a child for gays, and the right of a child to a mother and father."

I urge you to read it all, here. Like Kaitlin and Kathy, Monsieur Bunel deserves a voice in this debate. 

So does Robert Oscar Lopez, Ph.D, a bisexual married man raised by lesbians and who for years was immersed in the gay lifestyle. He has been vilified for daring to speak against the acknowledged orthodoxy, but he refuses to be bullied into silence. His story was the first I encountered from a child of gay parenting that was not politically correct. It was raw, introspective, honest -- and difficult to read. Since going public, Professor Lopez has "been in frequent contact with adults who were raised by parents in same-sex partnerships":
They are terrified of speaking publicly about their feelings, so several have asked me (since I am already out of the closet, so to speak) to give voice to their concerns. 
I cannot speak for all children of same-sex couples, but I speak for quite a few of them, especially those who have been brushed aside in the so-called “social science research” on same-sex parenting. 
Those who contacted me all professed gratitude and love for the people who raised them, which is why it is so difficult for them to express their reservations about same-sex parenting publicly.
It's hard for these folks to speak out for two reasons: 1) It's frightening to be politically incorrect as a brave new social movement is bulldozing the land and yours is not the acceptable narrative. 2) It's unthinkable to come out publicly with reflections that would deeply hurt the ones who raised and love you, and whom you love in return.

Ultimately, it's hard to assert one's rights and demand justice when society denies that you have any rights at all. If children have no inherent or natural rights, they are, by default, commodities to be manufactured and manipulated, bought and sold and traded, tested and discarded if defective, killed (or "selectively reduced") if eventually unwanted. How could it be otherwise? Either children have intrinsic, natural rights by virtue of being human, or they only have the lesser rights that the adults decide to give them -- which makes them chattel.

Heterosexuals began this injustice against children long ago by demanding a "right" to a child at all costs, it's true, and now the gay "marriage" movement will only solidify and advance this view of children in our land, with the added injustice of systematic deprivation of a mother or a father.

The left prides itself on being tolerant, on fighting the oppressor, on giving voice to the weak, on being sensitive to the pain and feelings of others -- but will the proponents of gay "marriage" invite or even allow these hurting children of gay unions to speak of their experiences without censure or rebuke?

I'd like to be optimistic, but I'm not holding my breath.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Square circles win the day

In light of the Supreme Court's support for the "rights" of square circles (i.e., gay "marriage", which is an ontological impossibility), we have a bit of a new Roe v. Wade moment at hand. I expected these decisions from a leftist Court, and I am not that upset. It's just another opportunity to clarify the sides.

There is no middle ground on this issue as some on the timid Catholic side would have loved to believe before today. And there is no way that the gay rights advocates are stopping to rest on their laurels. Next up? I'm guessing it'll be the forcing of gay "marriage" on states that oppose it, and also the ironclad "right" for gay couples to have the state give them children or the means to manufacture them, since nature has decreed that no gay couple can ever produce a child through their always non-fruitful "unions".

The good news is, the line in the sand is ever clearer, and each of us will have to choose a side: with Christ and truth and authentic love, or with the world and lies and false compassion.

I hope it's a wake up call that our culture is on a huge, slippery decline into, well, madness. Start praying and working and teaching your children well, folks. We will be accountable into eternity for which side we choose.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Quick Takes: The Coffinmaker, joy, tiaras, sex and hammers

Can we call it Whenever-I-Get-Around-To-Them Quick Takes?

1) Wisdom:

"A man of conscience is one who never purchases comfort, well-being, success, public prestige, or approval by prevalent opinion if the price is the renunciation of truth." 
-- Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

2) Not wisdom:

I have no words.
From the stage at the recent Women Deliver conference, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea revealed that her much-admired maternal grandmother was the child of unwed teenage parents who “did not have access to services that are so crucial that Planned Parenthood helps provide.” 
Chelsea’s grandmother was born of an unintended pregnancy.
I just don't get it…. Is there a disconnect here? Does she not grasp the irony in her own words and worldview? Sigh.

3) I had such great feedback after posting info about my friend Marcus and his Marian Caskets, and apparently even the secular world is impressed with this incredible carpenter and his ministry of love and Divine Mercy. Check out the short film recently made about Marcus, titled The Coffinmaker, which shows him lovingly, beautifully, fashioning a casket as he describes the process. Judging from the comments on the filmmakers site, he has moved many people who would normally not give a second glance to a spiritual work like this.

It's very short, so click the video and enjoy this touch of the transcendent. Be sure to tell me what you think!

The Coffinmaker from Dan McComb on Vimeo.

4) Day late and a dollar short is the story of my life and all, but I have been meaning to tell you about this book for so long! You all know the wonderful Hallie Lord, over at Moxie Wife (formerly Betty Beguiles). Well, her husband, Dan Lord, the editor of Catholic Exchange, is a rock star. No, really, he's literally a rock star (admittedly a minor one, but still). Anyway, he wrote this remarkable little book, Choosing Joy: The Secret of Living a Fully Christian Life, for Our Sunday Visitor a few months back and it's a gem. Just looking at the cover makes me feel refreshed (and healthy, darn it)!

The healthy is in the holy, and the holy is always joyful. To get us there, Dan is my kind of writer: clear, simple, but completely orthodox. He draws in the reader with personal stories that illustrate universal truths about Christian joy. The stories of his father, his sister Susan, even his own rock-n-roll past, kept me turning the pages and putting off bedtime just a few minutes longer. A neat surprise for me was that Dan has a brief section on the question of sex/marriage in heaven, a topic that I'd been intending to write about for months ("Why there is no marriage in Heaven") but hadn't gotten around to as usual. Dan covered it so well that maybe I should ask to use that excerpt as a guest post. Hmmmm….

5) And I am thrilled to recommend another great book from our bloggy community, as our own Rebecca Frech from Shoved to Them has set the homeschooling world on fire with her Teaching in Your Tiara: A Homeschooling Book for the rest of Us (again, I'm loving the cover here!). Rebecca's book is a must for those considering homeschooling, those who struggle with homeschooling, or even those who have given up homeschooling and are reconsidering. The buzz about this book is all positive, and you can read the Amazon reviews if you don't believe me.

Isn't it amazing what members of our little Catholic blogger community are doing these days? Keep it up, peeps! Making us proud and building up the Kingdom!

6) In the comments of my last post, Benjamin linked one of the best articles I've read about how the current obsessed-with-sex-acts culture has distorted the very meaning of the word sex. Here are the first few paragraphs to pique your interest:

...Instead of a conjugal union between a man and woman open to new life, the word “sex” now often signifies any sort of sexual stimulation, even self-stimulation. Using this new parlance, you can, for example, say you had “virtual sex” with a “virtual woman.” Speaking this way, however, bends the language beyond recognition; it makes no more sense than saying I used my virtual hammer to drive a virtual nail. Try getting a job as a carpenter with that on your resume. 

When a person using a “virtual” hammer on “virtual” nails insists he is “building a house,” then he and an actual carpenter won’t be using the same language anymore. They won’t, for example, be able to sit down and share stories about “building things” the way, say, two carpenters, one who builds houses and another who builds furniture, will. The latter two understand two different sorts of “building”; the computer guy understands only a pale simulacrum of the actual thing. 

So too with what many people today consider to be “sex.” It’s merely an odd simulacrum of actual, full-bodied sex. I swing my little toy hammer, and I call it “hammering.” Is it? A real carpenter would say, “Get yourself some nails, kid, and then start building something.  That’s hammering.” Hammering, for a real carpenter, isn’t an end unto itself; it’s a means to some other end: to making something, like a house or a table. In a similar way, you can imagine an adult who’s had real sex, upon listening to the descriptions of what young people today often call sex – that sterile, contraceptive activity – saying: “That’s not sex, any more than play hammering is hammering. Use some actual nails, kid, and make something!”

Modern people say odd things like: “What? Children? Why would they be involved in sex?” But that’s a little like saying: “What? Nails? Building something? Why would those be involved in hammering?” The actual carpenter could only scratch his head: “What are they teaching kids these days?”

Read here for the rest, and get happy because apparently he is going to give us a Part Two.

7) My boy Marshall finally has a family coming for him!! That news just made my week, and I pray we can help precious Alonzo find his family, too:

Click my photo for more info!

From his profile:

Alonzo is a 7-year-old boy who has a number of congenital bone abnormalities. Despite the deformities he can effectively use his limbs – he walks independently, goes up and down the stairs while holding onto the railing or an adult’s hand. His fine motor skills are not very well developed. He has good social and emotional skills. He sleeps good and has a good appetite. He likes to play with another children. He loves to play ball – he kicks a ball and throws the ball with both hands. During the school 2012/2013 he is a student in the preparatory class of the Primary school at the Home for Children with Physical Disabilities.

This sweet little boy's potential is endless!

Have a great week everyone, and thanks to Jen for hosting Quick Takes!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

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

It happened again yesterday when I was debating atheists on a man threw out the ubiquitous accusation that the Catholic Church is trying to "impose" her view of marriage on society.

The charge is so common now, used so reflexively by gay "marriage" supporters, that I think most Catholics just ignore it altogether. But I've decided to stop letting it slide, and I've started giving the accusers a short lesson on the meaning of the word "impose".

When I googled the word "impose", this was the first definition that popped up, so let's use it for our discussion:

[To] Force (something unwelcome or unfamiliar) to be accepted or put in place.

Now, if you've been following the issue of gay "marriage" and the massive, pull-out-all-the-stops push for its acceptance in America, something should immediately jump out at you when you evaluate that definition. Do you see it?

Just in case it's too obvious to see, let's break it down....

Marriage as union between male and female has been a reality (a non-controversy, a given) not only for the entire history of America, but essentially for the history of mankind. Since I cannot stop repeating the brilliant words of Hillary Clinton on the subject (shortly before her historical knowledge "evolved" along with the political winds), here are they are again:
"[Marriage is] the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman going back into the mists of history, as one of the founding foundational institutions of history and humanity and civilization, and that its primary, principle role during those millennia has been the raising and socializing of children for the society in which they are to become adults.”

And this basic understanding of the inherent heterosexuality of the conjugal union is what we would call the status quo.

A bride and a groom are needed for a marriage = status quo.

Traditional view of marriage (woman + man) = status quo.

Enter the gay "marriage" movement, with its advocates working very, very hard to change the basic understanding of marriage. In other words, the gay "marriage" movement is trying with all its might to change the status quo.

When a movement or group comes in and labors to replace what exists with something new that it demands, that is called imposition. It's imposing. The gay rights movement (and not the Church!) has actually been imposing its view of marriage upon society.

To refer back to the definition above, let's just add the words to test it: The gay "marriage" movement has "forced (something unwelcome or unfamiliar) to be accepted or put in place".

See, that fits.

And the force for acceptance has been powerful, as it's been imposed from the top down. Meaning, the clamor and cry for the redefining of marriage did not grow upward from the people (as the 1960s-era civil rights movement did), but was instigated by the elites, led by lawyers and judges and professors. The whole point of forced acceptance was to displace society's status quo understanding of marriage, which had been comfortable and quite acceptable to the people.

But now let's go back to left's narrative, this accusation that "the Catholic Church is imposing its beliefs on society!" What would society have to look like for that claim to have any truth in it?

Picture this: An American society exists in which gay couples are marrying just as they have since "the mists of history". The sight of two grooms on their wedding day is as familiar and pleasing to the average American as baseball and apple pie. Lesbians shopping for their wedding gowns (with the brides later being escorted down the aisle by their two sets of married dads) would simply be part of the cultural landscape, unremarkable in any way. Children would know from a young age that when they grow up, they can marry either boys or girls; it's simply understood. The concept of traditional marriage is unheard of and unwanted.

Enter the Catholic Church into this America, heavy-handedly "imposing" her beliefs, using her police force, her courts, her unlimited power to fine and imprison and ruin… wait, never mind, she doesn't have anything like that; that's the state telling citizens that they must no longer accept the status quo but instead must change their minds and values and accept the Catholic Church's understanding of marriage as heterosexual in nature right now! Or, or… or else!


It'd be a pretty weak imposition by the Church without the power to fine and jail and all, but of course, the entire scenario is completely false, and so the claims that the Catholic Church is imposing her beliefs on society is ludicrous.

Okay, back to reality. The truth is that all the movement, all the force, all the pressure, all the demands "to accept or put in place something unwelcome or unfamiliar" is coming from one side. And it's not the Catholic side.

So the next time someone tells you that the Catholic Church is "imposing" her beliefs on society, you might want to say:

Princess Bride

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bye-bye Facebook!

So, I finally deactivated my Facebook account. I'm sure it's only temporary, but for me it's necessary. I have so little discipline when it comes to chatting and posting and reading on Facebook, and although I think it serves a great purpose (we need to have a Catholic presence there!), it has become for me, at this time of my life, a great time-suck that keeps me away from my vocation (wife and mother). And, it's part of the reason that this blog has begun to wither on the vine a bit.

Also, if I were to add up the amount of minutes (hours) I have been spending on Facebook compared to time spent in prayer, well, let's just no go there at all.

I will miss my conversations there, and the ability to link good news stories like crazy, but I also really have missed the great comment box conversations we've had here over the years. I want to get back to that. I want meaty discussions on cultural issues, and I also want to get back to teaching the Faith, simply and clearly.

Although summer at the Miller home is probably not conducive to a whole lot of concentrated writing and editing of good posts -- as we speak there are five boys crazily playing some kind of running, jumping, tagging, slamming, injuring-your-brother game right next to me, and the second story on which we are situated is bouncing up and down; I keep wondering when we all are going to collapse into the garage below -- it will at least be easier if I am not constantly drawn to the siren named Facebook.

Disciple and discipline are related words. I need the latter to be the former.

Thanks for sticking with me, guys, and hopefully I will have something of substance back on this blog soon.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Light summer reading!

Finally catching up with my kids and am reading Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

I highly, highly recommend it. Dostoevsky's timeless understanding of the human heart and the human condition is astounding. And what a story teller!

Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1821-1881

My admiration for those great minds who have come before us knows no bounds.

Next up, Brothers Karamazov!

UPDATE: For another great summer reading idea, check this out!


Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Curious: What made you turn from pro-"choice" to pro-life?

A couple of weeks ago I received an interesting email from a reader, and I thought it would make a great "Just Curious". She said in part:
It occurred to me that you might be interested in inviting your readers to share if they've seen pro-abortion people change their hearts and minds....and how it happened. I imagine you and your readers would have some great insights that could inspire and help others!  
I'm also mulling the idea of doing more. It would be fascinating to hear stories from those who participate in sidewalk prayer as well as volunteers in crisis pregnancy centers. When I say stories I think I really mean witness. This is all so foreign to me and yet I already know that this is where I'm headed! I can't not do something.
So in honor of this woman's sincere desire to be a better pro-life witness, I'm just curious:

1) What made you (or someone you know) turn from pro-"choice" to pro-life?

2) Sidewalk counselors and crisis pregnancy center volunteers: What graces have you witnessed or consolations have you received in your ministry?

I am allowing the comments to be anonymous for this post, at least for now. Let's see how it goes.