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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Mere Politics?

Recently I had a conversation with a friend who lamented her father leaving the Church because the Pastor in question had gotten too involved in "politics", and he didn't intend on going back until the Pastor in question left.

Interestingly enough, he went to the Lutheran Community down the road, who didn't avoid "politics" but who, it just so happens, had a platform with which my friend's father happened to agree.

Methinks that if one is following a Faith based on politics, one's relationship with God is inherently disordered.

What, you may ask, were the political issues in question?  

 Abortion and Gay "Marriage" of course!

So many people accuse Catholics of bringing Faith into the public square, and condemn us for it. They try to shut us up and send around Facebook Memes designed to shame us into silence. Shame us with profanity into keeping "our beliefs to ourselves."

To those I respond blatantly that since they who are trying to shame us are clearly living their lack of faith so publicly, it gives equal license to we who believe to do the same. We will not be silenced simply because a few people want us to shut up. In fact, we will be more vibrant still, for we CANNOT be silent in the face of injustice.

On the issue of "Abortion", it belongs to the deposit of the Catholic Faith that life is sacred. It belongs to God alone and always has, from the beginning of time. The fact that this issue has for several years now come into the political sphere does not render it political property. We as Catholics believed and advocated the sanctity of life from the very beginning and this is present in the writings of even pagans in observance of the early  Christians (who were only Catholic as there were no other Christian denominations until 1500).

The Other "Political" Issue?

Thanks for asking!

The other "political" issue at hand, at least here in MN, is the push to re-define "Marriage" to include same-sex  couples.

Once again, people of Faith are not being allowed to comment without being shouted down by all sorts of vile accusations.

Why? Because we have logic on our side. The arguments from those who oppose the MN Marriage Amendment argue from emotion, not logic. They argue from mere "feeling" and a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of marriage and the nature of love.

You see, their argument goes something like this (and I used to fall within this belief myself, until I woke up and began questioning the status quo):

* "People should be allowed to love whom they want. No one has the right to tell them they cannot love someone."
*  "How dare someone tell me I cannot be happy?"
* "Telling me I can't marry my same-sex partner is relegating me to second-class citizenship."
*  "You hate me! You're a hater! You're a homophobe!" 

You get the idea. It gets tiresome.

The reality is this: "love" according to cultural definition has NOTHING to do with the nature of marriage. What our culture calls "love" is, in reality, mere lust, mere superficial desire and attraction. It does not desire the eternal good of the other. It does not look beyond this world.

So, to address the first point, people can "love" whom they want. This amendment does not limit freedom of consortium or association. It simply states that such association or consortium does not match the definition of "marriage", which is a union of one man and one woman who are bonded for the ultimate reason of the foundation of society and the upbringing of children in a stable relationship and for the common good.

On the second point, regarding "Happiness", well, don't get me going on that definition. How do you define "happiness"?  I seriously doubt that redefining Marriage to match the definition of "Anything Goes" would really give "happiness" to anyone. No one is being denied "happiness" but for their own personal definition that happens to be temporal and quite transitional. Given the state of "gay marriage" in other states, and the rate of divorce and infidelity, I seriously doubt the MN amendment would do anything other than render more people miserable by definition and give divorce attorneys more of your money.

The charge of relegating same-sex partners to "second-class citizenship" is just plain silly. You see, when compared to slavery and REAL Civil Rights issues, the question was not about the DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE. It was about WHOM was allowed to Marry, and yes, it WAS, back then, a civil rights issue as people were actually not allowed to marry even though under Biblical and natural law it was clearly permitted. Same sex "marriage" on the other hand, simply doesn't exist as it does not meet the basic nature of what marriage has always been and what it intends. A man and a man and a woman and a woman cannot between themselves be fruitful without unnatural intervention. And that unnatural intervention actually opens a whole other Pandora's box as it necessitates the death of many children in vitro. In natural marriage, the miscarriage of a child is a tragedy. In Same-Sex "Marriage" the death of many children is part and parcel to create from a dish, only one child.

On the final inflammatory point, no, I don't hate anyone. I do hate temper tantrums though, and find them to be far less dignified when put on by full grown adults who know better, and I'll treat them in the same way as I treat a child: by ignoring him or maybe, in severe cases, by throwing a glass of ice water on him when he gets to be too loud and tiresome.

I am quite tired of being "hated", however, because I'm Catholic. I'm tired of people accusing me of "not respecting" them. I'm tired of people doing to me what they accuse me of doing to them when I've done no such thing.

I'm tired of the heterophobics and the Catholophobics and am tired of being treated as a second class citizen because I am Catholic. But then again, that's our lot, isn't it? Because we have a LOT to live up to and here is an examination of conscience for all of us who claim to be Christian, no matter what our Faith or Denomination:

From a letter to Diognetus (Nn. 5-6; Funk, 397-401)

"Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives.

They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. They are attacked by the Jews as aliens, they are persecuted by the Greeks, yet no one can explain the reason for this hatred.

To speak in general terms, we may say that the Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body. As the soul is present in every part of the body, while remaining distinct from it, so Christians are found in all the cities of the world, but cannot be identified with the world. As the visible body contains the invisible soul, so Christians are seen living in the world, but their religious life remains unseen. The body hates the soul and wars against it, not because of any injury the soul has done it, but because of the restriction the soul places on its pleasures. Similarly, the world hates the Christians, not because they have done it any wrong, but because they are opposed to its enjoyments.

Christians love those who hate them just as the soul loves the body and all its members despite the body's hatred. It is by the soul, enclosed within the body, that the body is held together, and similarly, it is by the Christians, detained in the world as in a prison, that the world is held together. The soul, though immortal, has a mortal dwelling place; and Christians also live for a time amidst perishable things, while awaiting the freedom from change and decay that will be theirs in heaven. As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian’s lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself."


Sara A said...

I feel that a lot of the statements that you have made here are quite simplistic. Stating that same-sex marriage would be redefining marriage as “anything goes” would be very offensive to someone in a committed same sex relationship.

My greatest fear however is that our religious views would be used to make laws. The points that you make are fine for why the Church should not recognise same-sex marriage but they do not explain why a 75 year of atheist with no intention of have children with their new spouse can still be legally married. Saying that they fit under Biblical and natural law does not mean anything to a person who does not hold the same beliefs.

When it comes to making laws around religious beliefs, we need to be very, very careful!

(On a side note, when people make remarks against a person’s sexuality it goes to the core of them. I can understand why someone may react by calling a person a homophobe, it can be difficult to understand the negativity towards something that is so natural to them - just the same as it is often difficult for a heterosexual to understand homosexuality. I would hazard at a guess that people often react badly towards us Catholics because they have been hurt by the Church in some way, perhaps by situations such as the push to have the laws governed by our religious beliefs.)


Adoro said...

Hi Sara A., thanks for your comment.

Please note that I wrote this post in Minnesota and referenced the Ballot currently being put forth this coming election: the MN Marriage Amendment.

You said: Stating that same-sex marriage would be redefining marriage as “anything goes” would be very offensive to someone in a committed same sex relationship

In fact, it is not I who am saying this. This is in fact, the very question on the Ballot: whether the DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE should be CHANGED.

That's at the heart of what's going on in MN. I guess maybe some same-sex couples don't really stop to understand how offensive it is to the rest of us to have a definition that actually pre-dates religion or the State, changed to meet an impossibility?

Natural Law cannot be changed.

I appreciate that some people are "offended" but the reality here is that in Minnesota, religious beliefs are being systematically suppressed in favor of the preferences of a few and they are quite LITERALLY trying to change a definition that NONE has the right or ability to change.

Anonymous said...

My apologies to Sara A, I didn’t realize that she was still logged in when I posted that comment!

I have just had a little look at what is happening in Minnesota at the moment and the ballot question that I found that is being asked is:-

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"

not “should the definition of marriage be changed to anything goes” as you have stated.

Writing that a same sex marriage is ‘anything goes’ and stating that it is “offensive to everyone else” that two people should request the right to be included in the institution of marriage is not respectful (please note I am not saying that the view is not respectful but rather the demeaning and mocking context in which it was conveyed).

I still feel strongly that our religious beliefs should not be used in law (because there is a difference between legal marriage and biblical marriage, they are not always interchangeable and the inclusion of same-sex couples does not suppress the rights to practice our faith). I realise that this is your blog where you can express your own views but I will just say that if people don’t want their views to be brushed off as homophobic or disrespectful then they should try to convey them is a more sympathetic or respectful manner that is going to open up a conversation not shut it down.

On a completely different note, I hope everything turns out okay with your job – but if it doesn’t (and this meant nothing to me at the time when everyone was telling me the same thing) redundancy was the best thing that ever happened to me. It took me out of a place where I thought I was supposed to be and put me somewhere even more amazing!

Good luck!


Mike said...

So where do religious beliefs start and end? Do we say "well, your religion says murder is wrong, so we must strike it from the law?" Or do we accept that there are laws of morality that are independent of religion, and can be known through reason?

I ask this because it is typically supporters of "marriage equality" who claim this is a Biblical issue, whereas the people I know who support traditional marriage do not consider the definition of marriage to be defined by the Bible.

When I hear "why can't I love the person I want to?" and "why can't I spend my life with that person?" I think "who's stopping you?" If marriage is not a special institution, then it is "just a piece of paper" and so there is no need to fight for it. Love whom you want to, live with whom you want to. Existing law doesn't prevent this.

On the other hand, if marriage is special, we have to ask "why?" The answer, from an anthropological point of view, is to keep fathers from abandoning their children. If that is the case, the argument for "marriage equality" is bunk.

The fact is, "marriage equality" isn't so much about the couple loving each other (which they presumably already do) but about forcing other people to treat them differently. In that sense, it is a negative and repressive proposition.

John said...

If marriage is not a union between 1 man and 1 woman, then what is it? Where does it come from, and why is it given a special status? Why is it important?

It is a sacrament for the Catholic Church, uniting man and woman as "One Flesh". This is only possible due to the complementarity of men and women. 2 men or 2 women are not complementary to each other physically.

So the problem essentially is this: should the push for same-sex marriage succeed, the left will begin a new campaign to force churches to perform these marriages. It is the next step. Tolerance for an action quickly turns to forced participation in the action. A prime example is the contraception mandate enforced on religious institutions. The left is rearranging the hierarchy of rights, and forcing religious rights to the bottom of the pile.

Adoro said...

Thanks Mike and John.

Annabelle, I just have to add one thing; I appreciate that you feel my post is "mocking" but in reality, I was just being myself and writing in my own style. I'm sorry you feel that it's "mocking" but then again, I also feel and believe with my whole being that this who idea of same sex "marriage" is a mockery of what Marriage is truly about and why it exists.

I'm not going to censure my tone on my own blog for fear someone might happen along and be "offended" by my attitude. We've turned into a very thin-skinned country and far too many laws are being driven by "feeling", not by Reason and Truth. The whole "marriage debate" is a perfect example.

Now, on the more pleasant topic of my job...still don't know what's going on but hope to find another job soon as I really need to move on, get paid more, and be freed up to actually volunteer in my own church! lol

Jose said...

Hey all! Being somewhat of a Libertarian, I personally do have something of a problem with having peoples personal beliefs becoming law. If more Devout Muslims continued to immigrate to the U.S., I would hope that the consumation of pork would not become Illegal. Even through Democratic means. Secular Gay Marriage isn't something I would fight for, nor against,though I would fight tooth and nail if they started to argue for recognition within the Church.

That being said, I do think there is one Pro Gay Marriage argument you left out that I hear quite often. That of "Consenting Adults". "Consenting Adults in their own homes should be allowed to do as they please." SOUNDS about right, and quite in line with my Libertarian views, right? Except that this argument is applied quite hypocritically and inconsistently to my point of view by the "Left". I believe strongly that I could use the "Consenting Adults" argument to defend the right of 3 adult Mormons, or Muslims, to live in a Polygamous marriage if they so choose. I also believe strongly that the same Pro-Gay Marriage supporters who just used to "Consenting Adults" argument would call me a "mysogynist" or other vile names. I am not talking here about old men in locked up compaunds marrying many little girls. I refer only to the possibility of 3 CONSENTING ADULTS wanting to have their marriage recognized. And let's be honest, we HAVE HAD MANY polygamists welcomed into the White House (By both parties) as HONORED guests without any vilification. So, as long as people on the Left get to pick and choose who THEY get to limit the definition of marriage to based ALSO on their personal values and traditions, with no regards to fair and widespread use of their own logic, I will not take them too seriously. I shall continue to be cynical and say "They want Gay Marriage because the majority of their voting supporters want Gay Marriage. NOT due to morality of sincere values."