Niko's Nature

“Whatsoever thy soul shall say to me, I will do for thee.”

Posts tagged Gay Marriage

14 notes &

Archbishop Cordileone's Awesome Response to Gay Marriage Supporters

"Please do not make judgments based on stereotypes, media images and comments taken out of context. Rather, get to know us first as fellow human beings. I myself am willing to meet personally with any of you not only to dialogue, but simply so that we can get to know each other. It is the personal encounter that changes the vision of the other and softens the heart. In the end, love is the answer, and this can happen even between people with such deep disagreements. That may sound fanciful and far-fetched, but it is true, it is possible. I know it is possible, I know this from personal experience. When we come together seeking to understand the other with good will, miracles can happen."

Filed under Catholic Christianity Gay Marriage Homosexuality Archbishop Cordileone

1 note &

Anonymous asked: In the US, we have separation of Church and State. Since this is the case, shouldn't our decision making in policy reflect this. In the case of gay marriage, religious beliefs should not dictate what should be law on the secular level. How can you justify a secular institution not allowing gay marriage?

Hi, I’ve actually recently answered this question here.

Filed under Homosexuality Gay Marriage Same Sex Marriage Political Philosophy

8 notes &

RE: Allofthegrero

Niko,

Can you address the functional objection to your argument? I am sure critics would argue that same sex relationships should be called marriages if they- at least in appearance- function like other marriages. Can you articulate why the functionalist argument is insufficient? I was thinking about this sort of thing earlier in regards to parenting and adoption.

Plus I think you’ve missed a step in your articulation- convince why teleology should be believed before talking about ends to procreation and the like. I believe it, but others do not.

Regarding this post.  Well, those two questions are actually related.  I chose not to go this far back in my original post, because as I said, I wanted to keep it short, but if it would help people to hear it: the first point to tackle is “why teleology?”  And the answer is, because without it, we simply can’t define anything.  Take something simple like a pencil.  How do we know a pencil is a pencil?  Not by size, shape, color, etc. because there are pencils of all different sizes shapes and colors.  Some pencils have scents and make noises, some don’t.  Is it what they are made up of that makes them a pencil?  Clearly not.  Old pencils had lead, today they have graphite, but they are both pencils.  Some pencils have wood, some have plastic.  Some have rubber for erasers, some don’t.  Yet they are all pencils.  Furthermore, we could imagine someone taking a pencil, separating the wood from the graphite and making some kind of sculpture out of it.  The fact that it maintains the same materials as made up a pencil does not make that sculpture a pencil, and we wouldn’t recognize it as such.  

What makes a pencil, is its ability to write.  We recognize the form of a pencil makes it good for writing, and so we know it is to be used for writing. And all of us who have had to write essays for tests, know that when a pencil can write well, it is a “good pencil,” and when the pencil doesn’t write well, we often are frustrated with it and call it a “bad pencil.”  The fact that we all understand this shows us that we understand that a pencil, and by extension, all other things are defined by their ends.  

Now, when we apply that to the sexual act, we see that the sexual act (or the act of sexual reproduction) has a procreative end.  Thus, the sexual act in part is defined by its openness to reproduction and marriage is defined in part by the ability to use the sexual act to increase love.  Which brings us to your second question “Why can’t same-sex relationships be marriages if they function like marriages.”  Well, the answer is, they don’t function like marriages.  Because a same-sex relationship is not open to procreation, it cannot complete the sexual act, and because it cannot do so, it cannot function as a marriage.  

Now, some people might argue, “what about people suffering from infertility.”  This brings us to a key distinction.  Same-sex relationships are necessarily, definitionally closed to procreation.  Opposite-sex relationships where one or both of the members is infertile is only conditionally closed to procreation.

The best analogy I could come up with is, it’s true a broken pencil cannot write, but even though it is broken we still can tell from its form that it is meant for writing.  A donut however, we can tell is not.  And though a donut can write as well as a broken pencil, that doesn’t make the donut a pencil.  Similarly, just because a same-sex relationship is as fertile as an infertile opposite-sex relationship, it doesn’t make the same-sex relationship open to procreation.  For this reason, a same-sex relationship can never be a marriage.

Now, does that mean that people with same-sex attractions can’t have relationships with each other?  Of course not.  These relationships can be fierce friendships that lead their members to great virtue.  The problem is, these relationships are often trampled upon by everyone pushing for gay marriage, forcing relationships between people with same-sex attractions into this romantic category where they do not belong.  Thus, it takes great courage for someone with same-sex attractions to build healthy relationships in today’s world.  Yes, because they have to stand up to bigots who hate people with same-sex attractions, but more so, because they have to protect their relationship from those “activists” who cannot understand the value of a chaste friendship, and will seek to turn the friendship into an erotic relationship for their own gain.  Therefore, we who call ourselves Catholics have to do our best to support our brothers and sisters with same-sex attractions, stand with them, and most importantly, be their friend.  Because fundamentally, if being a Christian doesn’t mean being a true friend to all, then I have no idea what being a Christian means.

Filed under Homosexual Homosexuality Gay marriage Philosophy Social Justice

9 notes &

princessespeachy asked: "You are literally telling someone you can’t accept them because you’re accepting." really. you do know that homophobia kills people right? like im sorry that people wont accept your bigotry and hatred

Hi princessespeach

I don’t understand where anything I’ve said anywhere would give you the idea that I hold any bigotry or hatred towards the gay community.  I love my same sex attracted brothers and sisters.  We may disagree on what the best way to love our same sex attracted brothers and sisters is, and we can discuss that, but don’t mistake disagreement over how to love as hate.  

If you’re interested, here's a cool video about the issue.  If you decide to watch it, I'd recommend watching it all the way through before making any prejudgments.  

In Christ,

Niko

Filed under Princessespeach Homosexuality social Justice Catholic Gay marriage

49 notes &

Anonymous asked: Hey. Sorry to bother you, but i wound up here after seeing your reply to that anon, and was just wondering what you mean by "people with same-sex attractions are harmed by same-sex marriage."? Because I honestly have no clue as to how that makes sense and was wondering if you could explain? Again, many apologies!!!

Hi Anon,

Thank you so much for the question.  I really appreciate that you took the time to write it out, and I’m sorry I didn’t get to it earlier, I’ve had a busy schedule, so thank you for understanding.

What you ask is a difficult question to answer completely in a short concise statement, because it requires that we look at entire fields of philosophy, including ethics, metaphysics, and even some political philosophy.  Since going over the whole history of western philosophy is not going to be useful here, let’s make a deal, I’ll skip some introductory stuff and start in the middle and try to write as brief as possible, (and it will still be way too long) but if you’re confused about or disagree with something, please message me back on what specifically you’re confused on or disagree with, and I’ll try to expand a little more on it.  

With that out of the way, I think it’s important that we start with a basic thing that often gets overlooked:

Sexual orientation =/= sexual identity

What I mean by this is that in our culture, one’s sexual orientation, whether they are attracted to men or women, or both, is often turned into a sexual identity, gay, straight, bi, etc.  This is a mistake.  As BadCatholic put so eloquently in this post, “the unique identity of man is not defined by where he wants to put his penis.”  Thus, I often try to avoid talking about people with same-sex attraction as “gay,” “lesbian,” or “homosexual.”  They are people with same-sex attractions.  Homosexual does not describe a person, it rather describes a sexual act between two people.  The fact that a man prefers men to women does not affect their sexual identity anymore than the fact that I prefer brunettes to blondes. Thus, we are not gay and straight men and women, rather we are just men and women.  Some of us are attracted to men, some of us are attracted to women, but whoever we are attracted to, does not define us.  

Now that we’ve talked a little bit about sexual orientation, let’s talk about sexuality.  Fundamentally, our sexuality is a “force” or “urge” within us that drives us to “productive unity.”  Now, what do I mean by that term? I mean that our sexuality calls us first to “unity” with another person.  Human beings are inherently social, and our sexuality is clear evidence of that.  Fundamentally, we want to become “one” with other human beings.  This becoming “one with” other human beings is very different from the way I become one with a hamburger.  In that kind of union, the hamburger is consumed, ceases to exist, and becomes a part of me.  I take what I want and leave the rest behind. That is a union of domination.  Though it sounds silly to say it this way, I dominate the hamburger.  I don’t see the hamburger as an equal partner in the relationship.  (And because it is a hamburger I shouldn’t)  However, that is not what we are talking about when we talk about a union of human beings.  A union of human beings refers to a relationship in which they act as one, AND YET, retain their unique identities.  It is a relationship between equals, characterized by respect, compassion and self-giving. It really is, love.

In love, or a “productive unity,” we recognize that the union is working “for” something.  We experience it as a push, beckoning us to service.  This can be done in several ways, through charity to others, to perfection of each other, and to procreation.  In this sense, one’s sexuality does not belong to oneself, rather, one’s sexuality belongs to the whole community, in the sense that the fruits of sexuality ought to benefit someone else, not oneself, either through the works of mercy, (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, teaching the ignorant, etc,) by helping someone live virtuously, or by the creation of new life through the sexual act.  Note that these are all expressions of sexuality, even if we don’t experience it as such.  I certainly don’t love the person begging for food the same way I love my best friend, or the way a husband loves a wife, but each of these relationships with each of these people stems from the same fundamental human desire to love and be loved.

Now, having laid down the groundwork we can start getting around to answering your question, but, there’s something else we have to cover.  Having talked about sexuality and its relationship to our desire to love and be loved, to enter into relationship with others, it ought to be clear that there are moral imperatives related to our sexuality.  This is because it has an “end” something it strives for.  To turn it away from that end would be morally wrong.  Taking this into account, we see that for example, masturbation is wrong.  The reason is because it is taking something, our sexuality, which is meant to be “other-oriented” and turning it onto ourselves.  Thus, the part of ourselves that exists for others, instead of being used for others, is used for ourselves.  It is turned away from its purpose, its “end.”  Similarly, pornography is wrong.  The reason is, because it turns other people, (the people in the pornography) into sexual objects.  Those people are being used, (first by the pornographers to make money, and then by those watching the pornography for pleasure) like objects.  They are not being treated like people.  In doing so, it reduces their humanity.  As the great John Paul II so wisely said, “The problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of a person, but that it shows too little.”  Thus, instead of using our sexuality to serve others, when we use pornography we are using others to serve our sexual desire, and so it is wrong.  It is like the relationship between me and the hamburger.  The person who watches porn takes the parts of the person they like, uses it for their pleasure and ignores the rest.  It is a relationship of domination.  Thus it is wrong because it dominates another human being.  Again our sexuality is really our gift to others, and so it is important to understand it as such.  

Now, we’ve talked about sexual orientation and sexuality, and talked about some offenses against sexuality, I want to talk about vocations.  Vocation is often used by many people to mean a job or a career, and this is one use of a vocation, but there’s another meaning to vocation that I think is more important.  Your vocation refers to how you live out your sexuality, how you are to serve others.  There are many different vocations, including being single, being married, being a priest, being a brother, a monk, a sister, a nun, etc. and there are even subdivisions in these, like, do I want to be a missionary, do I want to live in a cloistered order, do I want to take a vow of silence, how will I devote my time to my friends, family, and community?  Will I work creating wealth to share with my community, or will I provide direct service for those who need it and cannot afford it?  etc.  Now, these aren’t jobs, though fulfilling one’s vocation often requires some kind of career or work as well.  Rather, a vocation is a “canvas” on which we can paint the picture of how we are going to serve people.  A vocation connects “who we are” “what we do” and “why we do it.”

Everyone has a vocation, and though everyone’s is a little bit different, they are all expressions of sexuality.  Because of this, we all need to learn chastity.  Chastity is often seen as an imposition, or something made to limit our freedom, but this is a mistake.  All chastity refers to, is to having a proper understanding and control of one’s sexuality.  In the sense that cultivating chastity gives us control over our sexuality and how we express it, it is very much a positive expression of our freedom, since we choose to live in a well-ordered manner.  Chastity is at its core, making sure that our sexual expression is always in service of other people, and never for ourselves.  However, chastity is expressed differently in different vocations.

In marriage, which is what concerns us currently, (promised I’d get around to it,) chastity is expressed through union and procreation.  Union means that for the many people whose vocation is marriage, they are able to physically “become one” with their spouse.  This stems from the “productive unity” I talked about above, but it’s even deeper.  Essentially, this union is the two people saying “I do” to each other with their bodies.  (Seriously, look up the powerful chemicals at work during sex.  The psychology of sex clearly shows us the powerful bonding it creates between two people.)  Even if that’s not what we intend to happen, even if we are just looking to “feel good,” that is what happens.  In fact, because sex causes us to bond in such a powerful way, it is important that we have sex only within the confines of a committed monogamous union.  In a sense, to have extramarital sex is a bit like lying.  It is saying with one’s body, “I am giving you everything I have, everything I am,” when one’s not actually intending to do that.  Which is one major reason why sex cannot be separated from marriage.

The other reason is procreation.  Procreation refers to the creating and raising of children, and it most certainly is a sexual expression of the parents.  Essentially sex is ordered towards creating new life, sexual intercourse is called the act of sexual reproduction.  Marriage exists between a man and a woman to create a stable family structure to bear and raise children.  Numerous studies show that a committed marriage is the ideal environment in which to raise a child, and in fact, family life is often the best indicator of future success of a child.  We recognize that marriage and the sexual act are both ordered to procreation in this sense.  

Having established that marriage and the sexual act is ordered towards union and procreation, something immediately jumps out at us.  Marriage necessarily exists between a man and a woman.  The reason for this is that it is only between a man and a woman that both the unitive and the procreative functions of marriage can take place.  Only a man can give his full self to a woman and only a woman can give her full self to a man, because one’s full self includes one’s fecundity.  Thus, the sexual expression of marriage, union and procreation can only take place between a man and a woman.  So, two men or two women could not marry each other, not because their love doesn’t count, or that it’s not as valuable as the love between a man and a woman, but because that love, and that relationship is necessarily different, (not better or worse) than what we understand marriage to be.  It is a different vocation.  (Another note, marriage is not just for the couple but also for children, and children deserve a mother and father.  People with same-sex attractions are no better or worse at parenting than people without same-sex attractions, but, it’s not a question of being good at parenting, it’s just that children have a right to a mother and a father.  And a man can be the best father in the world, but no matter how good he is, he cannot be or make up for a mother, in the same way that a mother can be the best mother in the world, but no matter how good she is, she cannot be or make up for a father.  Thus, those who argue for adoption by same-sex couples are wrong, not because people with same-sex attractions can’t be wonderful parents, but because a child deserves both a mother and father.)

Having established that marriage is necessarily between a man and a woman, we can finally get into why same-sex marriage hurts people with same-sex attractions.  (I know it was a hard road, but we’re finally here)  Fundamentally, the reason is, it takes people away from their very real vocations and promises them a fake one.  Now, I’m not calling the relationships between people of the same sex fake.  Those are very real relationships, with very real love.  But, what I am calling fake is the labeling of those relationships as a marriage, because, for the reasons we’ve already talked about it is not marriage.  People with same-sex attractions are called, like everyone else to love by and be loved all people, and to develop deep passionate friendships, and may, like many people without same-sex attractions develop romantic feelings for people, and that’s okay.  But, it’s necessary to understand that marriage, and therefore, sexual intercourse can only exist between a man and a woman.  Thus, same-sex marriage cannot exist for the same reason that a square circle cannot exist.  The people who push for gay marriage who are trying to force people who aren’t attracted to people of the opposite sex, who don’t have calling to marry someone of the opposite sex, to see their relationship as sexual or as a marriage, are putting pressure on, and misunderstanding the beautiful passionate friendship that already exists there in favor of a relationship that can never exist.  This can harm people with same sex attractions, because they will be looking at, and thus acting in, their relationship not as it is, but as something it is not.  When that happens, the relationship loses, maybe not completely, but in some way, the capacity to be a true loving encounter with the other person, and gets caught up in abstractness.  Thus, opposition to same-sex marriage exists, not because we want to deny people with same-sex attractions a relationship, but because we want to preserve the one that is already there, a celibate friendship.  

Having answered that question, the only question that remains is how do we help our brothers and sisters with same-sex attractions?  And this is a question that we as a society have not answered nearly as well as we should have in the past.  Clearly, for the reasons stated above, same-sex marriage isn’t the way to do it, but neither are “gay conversion centers” which try to “make people heterosexual.”  Not because its necessarily impossible for some people to be able to change who they’re attracted to.  For some people it may be possible, for most, it doesn’t seem that way.  But, centers like this don’t seem to be addressing the root issue.

Really, it seems like the most helpful thing would be to help people with same-sex attractions accept those same-sex attractions, and provide them assistance, if they need it, in learning how to live a celibate lifestyle of service.  In this second effort, I think priests would be people who can help.  Priests, who (in the Latin Rite, with some exceptions,) are celibate, can share the knowledge they’ve gained about celibacy through their classes and their life experience with the gay community, and show how meaningful human relationships are not only still possible while one is celibate, but how in many ways, celibacy can lead to still deeper relationships.  Of course, most priests don’t have experience ministering to people with same sex attractions in this capacity, and so, priests will have to listen to people with same-sex attractions and learn about their specific needs and struggles to be accepted.  Through this dialogue, I have high hopes that great progress on this issue will occur.   

I’ve already taken way more of your time than I should have, so I think I’ll end hear for now.  Thank you very much for reading, and I hope everything made sense.  If it didn’t, again, please message me back.  And if you have any other questions, feel free to ask.  

Your friend,

Niko

Filed under Catholic Homosexuality Social Justice Gay Marriage Homosexual

149 notes &

Religious Homphobia Is Still Homophobia

ambassadorofreconciliation:

alwaysabeautifullife:

estebanthegreat:

nikosnature:

godinthebrokenness:

"For those of us that work in our worldwide church with the intersection of LGBT and faith, this notion that you must have malice towards LGBT folk to be considered homophobic is extremely misleading. I have yet to meet a single Christian person who has been intentionally malicious towards gay people. Non-affirming Christians honestly, truly believe they are being loving by attempting to change our orientation, encourage celibacy, or ban us from their pews — but to name their actions as anything but what they are would be to turn a blind eye to the epidemic of religious homophobia.”

Interesting, so if a church or denomination doesn’t kowtow on this issue, and support same-sex marriage, never stepping out of line with the “gay agenda,” it’s homophobic?  So, no discussion, no understanding, no reflection, just “do this, or your homophobic?”  It sounds to me like those who write articles like these aren’t looking for love or acceptance from their religious communities, just obedience.

So because I don’t believe 2 men should get married and have sex, I’m a homophobe? Wow, that sounds strange for me to call myself a homophobe knowing I’m a proud gay person. Last time I checked, a homophobe was someone who has hatred toward homosexual people. When I say I think 2 men and 2 women should not be together sexually, it’s not because I hate my own kind, it’s because I love them!

It’s this simple: I believe in Christianity, thus I believe in what the Christian faith teaches. The Faith teaches same sex sexual activity is sinful. I love all people, including gays. I don’t want anyone (including gays) to sin. So, I would tell gay people (including myself) that I don’t think they should engage in sexual activity.

OMG I hate myself and other gays so much!!!!!

I find this extremely theophobic.

This is fantastic!

Hi everyone I’m the author of this article :)

Let me clarify some things: It’s not about obedience or any of that sort. It IS about love and compassion. I write about this topic for the past two years, when religion and LGBT folk intersect. If you read any of my other work you would know that i’m much more about reconciliation and bridge-building. 

It’s really interests me on why non affirming Christians (those who are against same-sex sex because we are talking about gay sex not a sexual orientation) have such a problem being labeled homophobic. The definition of homophobia is being said you must be malicious or intentionally hateful. Or an irrational fear of lgbt folk. That’s not it.

Definition: 

Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It can be expressed as antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred, may be based on irrational fear, and is sometimes related to religious beliefs.

That’s the dictionary definition.

If by definition you are homophobic, even if it’s religiously based, why are you so afraid to be called that? I don’t think that most christians are purposefully malicious or intend to be harmful. But you don’t have to be intentional to cause harm. Homophobia under the guise of love is still homophobia. 

For those who find this “theophobic”
Here is a list of the all the times Christians have been discriminated against for tier beliefs in the USA. Just so we’re clear.
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/examples-of-anti-christian-persecution-in-present-day-america/

And contrary to the very dedicated tumblr person who believes i’m being “funded by Arcus” foundation— I’m not. I’m a broke college student who started a 501 c 3 (that’s a non profit) creating safe spaces for LGBT students on educational christian campuses. I don’t make a single cent from any of my articles or from the work that I do. It’s probono because I believe that’s what Christ calls me to do. 

But yes by definition, if you’re “against” same-sex sex, you’re homophobic. If that’s really what you believe, shouldn’t you own that label not be afraid of it? Just a thought. 

Here are all my social media links so people can “verify” me and know i’m not getting “paid” for some gay agenda. Though if someone wants to pay me, i’ll let you know where to send the check. 

I’m always up for respectful dialogue :)

Facebook
Twitter

Hello Mr. Cruz,

First of all, I just wanted to thank you for making yourself available for discussion about your article.  Not a lot of authors of articles like these have tumblrs, or are so willing to discuss, so it is a bit of a rare treat for us, and I’m sure the entire tumblr community feels the same way. 

Next, I’d like to echo your sentiment that reconciliation through bridge-making and creating loving relationships is central not just to coming to the truth on this matter, but really to our Christian mission, for Christ is the law, and the law is love.

That being said, I think the easiest place to start would be to answer your question as to why those of us who oppose same-sex marriage do not like the label “homophobic” applied to us.  The main reason is that we find it a poor descriptor of our position.  While we do have what may be called “negative attitudes” towards homosexuality, in that we believe that same-sex attractions (SSA) can cause people difficulty in their lives as Christians, because it predisposes them to a variety of sexual sin they might not otherwise be as susceptible to, we do not think this makes people with SSA bad people or even worse sinners than others.  We have no fear of SSA or those with them.  We all carry crosses, and having SSA can be one of them.  We are called to love those with SSA just like we are called to love anyone else.  Furthermore, the definition you provided says that “homophobia… can be expressed in antipathy, contempt, prejudice, aversion, or hatred,” and of those responding to your article here on tumblr, none of us hold those sentiments.  We simply disagree with you on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Now, it should be noted that denying someone a specific right on the basis of their orientation could qualify as an example of homophobia.  Advocates of same-sex marriage who consider same-sex marriage a right often use this stipulation to show that opponents of same-sex marriage are homophobic.  However, those of us who oppose same-sex marriage do not believe we are denying a right, rather, we argue the question of whether there is a right to same-sex marriage, which is a very different thing, and therefore, cannot be called homophobic.  For more information on this issue, please check out my article which touches on the “rights” issue of same-sex marriage, here.

Furthermore, a good number of us repudiate that term because it is loaded with political baggage.  It’s a way that people can dismiss those who disagree with them without addressing their arguments.  Charge that your opponent has a phobia or an -ism, (whether homophobia, racism, sexism) and you don’t need to discuss with them, because they are “blinded by their bigotry.”  It’s a common tactic used by tumblr’s very own social justice warriors.  It is also a genetic fallacy. 

As for your article, I should note that your comment that opposition to same-sex marriage is founded primarily on “disgust with the mechanics of gay sex” is perhaps true in community level debates in some fundamentalist areas, but this hardly represents the reality of the discussion elsewhere.  For most people, the crux of the debate centers around the teleological understanding of marriage as “ordered towards procreation” which is impossible for same-sex couples.  That is the issue that needs to be addressed, not ‘disgust with the mechanics of gay sex.’

Next, in your examples of what qualifies as “homophobia” you include “encouraging celibacy.”  Now, one might wonder then if you consider the Catholic Church to be “priestphobic” as well, since it “encourages celibacy” among its priests.  Barring the possibility that you do think that, it would seem to me that “encouraging celibacy” cannot be construed as a type of prejudicial discrimination.  Either way, that definition means that anyone who opposes same-sex acts or marriage is necessarily classified as homophobic, which means that you essentially dismiss anyone who believes same-sex acts/marriage is wrong as homophobic.

Another problem with your definition is that it denies the experience of many people with same-sex attractions who oppose gay marriage and same-sex acts.  It labels them as self-loathing when that is clearly not the case.

That sums up perhaps my biggest concerns with your article and your argument, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.  I’ll be anxiously awaiting.  Pax et bonum!

In Christ,

Niko

(p.s. as to your tongue-in-cheek list of ways Christians have been discriminated against in the U.S., I would recommend looking up the experiences Catholics in early American history who often had to go into hiding or even hide their churches, for example Old St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia. Also of interest are the histories of Irish and Italian Catholic immigrants in the United States.  Catholics who were persecuted by the Ku Klux Klan.  Really, any of the myriad accusations of evil through “popery” against the Catholic Church.  More recently, Christians have been forced to participate in weddings of same-sex marriages violating their consciences, there have been several examples of churches having windows smashed or being otherwise vandalized, on new years day a priest was beaten to death with a gutter pipe and a wooden stake, and the government is coercing Christians into providing contraception against their religious beliefs.  I’m not saying these are the worst examples of discrimination in our nation’s history, but just because they aren’t the worst does not mean one can erase them.)

Filed under Homosexuality Gay Marriage Homophobia Discrimination Christianity

12 notes &

Anonymous asked: This isn't so much a question as it is something I wanted to get off my chest. Your views on same-sex marriage are hurtful, ignorant, and cruel. How can you possibly have any right to deny anyone love?

I’m not denying them love, for it is not love I deny but merely a false understanding of love.  I’m only showing the way to a higher love, the love of God and truth.  The love that we were truly made for.  

If the way seems tough, it is only because the flesh is weak.  Christ taught us love, but he did not teach the pagan understanding of love which revolves around fulfillment, where one loves only because and so long as they are given what they want, but rather a Christian love that revolves around sacrifice and self-denial for the sake of truth.  All men must sacrifice for truth, it is folly to think it should be different for those with same-sex attractions.

Filed under Catholic Christianity Homosexuality Gay Marriage

55 notes &

Against Civil Same-sex Marriage (Bringing this back)

INTRODUCTION

 

Due to the recent resurgence of an age old heresy which suggests that while the Catholic Church does not have to recognize same-sex marriages, its adherents cannot advocate against the state doing so, I think it timely to address it and the arguments supporting civil gay marriage.

 

The argument made essentially draws a distinction between “religious marriage” and “civil marriage,” and argues that the Catholic Church has jurisdiction over the former (so long as it is a marriage in the Church being sought.  I assume it is not being argued that the Church has rights over protestant or non-Christian religious marriages.) and not the latter, which are under the jurisdiction of the State.  With the state and the Church being legally separated in the United States, it is argued that the Catholic Church’s recent activism against civil gay marriage constitutes a step outside of the jurisdiction afforded to it by law and/or social convention.  Thus, the following argument is made, “The Church has the right to deny gay marriage in its own churches, but if two people of the same-sex want to marry each other, and the state is willing to marry them, the Church has no right to prevent them, and in fact, in doing so, would be violating the rights of the couple.”

 

Now, there are several counter-claims that can be made without addressing the central claim of the argument that would appear to invalidate it.  For example: Is it not hypocritical in one way or another to claim that same-sex couples have a right to marriage, but allow the Church to deny or violate it within their parishes?  Are you truly advocating for a human right if you’re claiming that the government can’t violate it but private groups can?  Could it be claimed that the state has no authority to marry?  Do same-sex couples have the legal right to civil marriage or simply the benefits given to heterosexual married couples, ex. Tax breaks and visiting rights that could be granted to them without granting them a “civil marriage”?  I believe arguments could be made condemning civil gay marriage simply mining the veins of these questions, but this essay does not attempt to do that.  Instead, it will endeavor that civil gay marriage arguments fail on four grounds:  1) There is no “right to civil gay marriage” and therefore it is not violating a right to deny it to a same sex couple.  2) Civil gay marriage is fundamentally opposed to civil marriage in that promoting it contradicts the purpose of promoting civil marriage, and therefore, civil gay marriage is not comparable to civil marriage.  3) Opposing and legislating against civil gay marriage does not constitute a violation of the free exercise or the establishment clause. 

 

In this essay, marriage will be referred to a romantic union between a man and a woman, and gay marriage would be used to refer to a romantic union between two men or two women.  Civil marriage will be used to refer to a marriage certified by the state, and civil gay marriage will be used to refer to a gay marriage certified by the state.

 

Support for this essay is found in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence of the United States, Supreme Court opinions related to this discussion, and in the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church, which have consistently opposed same-sex marriage.  The fact that I use sources which come from a religious background should not encourage skeptical readers to discount my arguments as merely religious appeal, for I could make the same arguments on a secular level without referencing these documents.  I choose to reference them in order to show how these fundamental documents in the history of humanity, which have influenced social, economic, and political thought, recognized the veracity of the statements that will be made in this essay so that I can show the continuity my arguments have with the American and the human moral tradition.

 

THERE IS NO RIGHT TO CIVIL GAY MARRIAGE

 

The underlying assumption of the gay marriage argument is that because there exists civil marriage, there must exist a right to civil marriage, and if there exists a right to civil marriage, there must exist a right to civil gay marriage.  It is this assumption that deserves questioning.  First of all, I think most people would agree that just because the government provides something to its citizens does not mean those citizens have a right to it.  If for example, a government were to provide a free car to all citizens upon their 16th birthday, we may colloquially speak about a “right” to a car in such a society, but philosophically speaking, we would not claim that the government’s decision granted human beings with an intrinsic right to an automobile.  The reason is that we recognize that the government cannot grant rights; rights are self-evident, intrinsic to the human person, fundamental and inalienable.[1],[2] If we were to believe that the government could grant rights, then we must also believe that the government can take rights away, in which case, human rights would not be inalienable.  Therefore, human rights are intrinsic to the human person and the government cannot grant them but merely recognize them.  Therefore, just because civil marriage exists does not mean that there exists a right to civil marriage, and therefore, there is no compelling reason to believe in a right to civil gay marriage simply because civil marriage exists.  It should be noted that this does not question whether the state has the authority to certify or recognize marriages, but challenges the idea that the state does so because there is a human right to a civil marriage.

 

Others would claim that a right to civil marriage (and therefore to civil gay marriage) exists because a right to marriage exists.[3],[4] This of course is decidedly false; having a right to marry does not mean the government is required to marry anyone, anymore than having a right to bear arms means that the government must provide guns to anyone wishing to act upon those rights.  The fact that man has a right to marriage simply means that the government cannot prevent people from marrying.  For example, the government cannot prevent churches from celebrating marriages and the government cannot prevent people from professing their love to each other, living together, and raising a family together, but the government certainly isn’t required to give any governmental recognition to any such union, heterosexual or homosexual.  Therefore, there is no right to civil marriage or civil gay marriage, and therefore denying it, does not violate any right.

CIVIL GAY MARRIAGE IS FUNDAMENTALLY OPPOSED TO CIVIL MARRIAGE

            There are some who would agree with the points made above, but continue to support the cause of civil gay marriage, arguing that whether or not there is a right to civil marriage or civil gay marriage, the government provides civil marriage and thus, to be fair and equal, the government must also provide civil gay marriages.  The logic of this claim is already strained simply by realizing that the government can and has given benefits to one person or group and not another, and this is generally considered progressive, not regressive.  Consider for example means tested social aid programs which only give social aid to those who need it, or consider affirmative action policies which are based on the idea that one group needs more assistance than another.  Therefore, if the government can give something to one person or group and not another, then the government can provide civil marriages without being morally constricted to provide civil gay marriages. 

            It becomes even more strained when we consider the policy aims for why the government provides civil marriages, and realize that civil gay marriages are not equivalent but rather contrary to the aims of civil marriages.  Government policies are meant to serve the common good.[5]  Therefore, the decision to offer civil marriage must be understood through the policy aims it has with reference to the common good.  Now, the government has an interest in promoting marriage through civil marriage for one reason: to strengthen by policy the natural connection between procreation and child rearing.  (NB: This does not mean this is the only purpose for marriage, but it is the purpose for which government encourages marriage through civil marriage.)  Procreation and child rearing are important to the state because the state depends on them for future generations of people performing tasks necessary for the survival of the state.  It is important that the two are seen as interdependent because this will lead to the creation of strong families based around the two-parent model, which has been shown to be the best family structure to promote the success of future generations, by assuring that a greater percentage of children will be raised by the parents that conceived them.  It is for this reason that the government promotes the civil marriage and not civil gay marriage because promoting civil gay marriage would be a public policy that would conflict with the policy aim of promoting marriage as the link between procreation and child rearing for the simple reason that procreation is not inherent to the biology of a same-sex couple as it is to one of an opposite sex couple.  Therefore, it would be contradicting the purpose of civil marriage to promote civil gay marriage, even if appearances would suggest that debates over civil gay marriage center on the issue of “equality.”

To understand this further, consider a government policy that would reward drivers for driving environmentally friendly vehicles to encourage environmentally driving habits.  It would be wrong for a hypothetical lobby, perhaps named, “Hummer and Other Gas Guzzlers Society (HOGGS),” to claim discrimination because they are not being rewarded for driving their cars.  They could claim “cars are cars, gas guzzler or environmentally friendly they both are forms of transportation and the government should not discriminate between owners of one car and owners of another” just like civil gay marriage activists claim “love is love” as if there is no distinction between a heterosexual and homosexual union.  But the fact is that if the government were to give in to the demands of this “HOGGS” lobby, it would be contradicting the original goal of the policy, just as promoting civil gay marriage would be contradicting the original goal of promoting civil marriage.

Now, there are some who would argue that technological advances have allowed and will continue to allow same-sex couples to artificially conceive children, and therefore, they are fundamentally identical to heterosexual couples.  But this overlooks a very important difference: a man and a woman are in themselves sufficient to procreate, while a same-sex couple will always have to rely on someone or something else to procreate.  In this sense, it shows the insufficiency of the couple on their own to procreate, and how they are required to bring in a third party to do it for them.  This bringing in of a third party in order to achieve that which a heterosexual couple can do independently within the realm of procreation with which marriage as a concept is so intertwined contains implications of polygamy, by bringing in something which is extraneous to the couple into the procreative union.  Therefore, a same-sex couple, even with this technology would still be fundamentally different from a heterosexual couple.  It furthermore seems to be quite a fantastic claim to think that a same-sex couple would be able to function in the same manner as an opposite sex couple with relation to child rearing, because this treats men and women as interchangeable when in reality they both bring different strengths and mindsets to table with differently nuanced relationships with their children and both are very important to a child’s development.  In treating the sexes of the parents as interchangeable, civil gay marriage proponents simply deny the reality of sex differences between males and females and how they affect parenthood and their children.  Only by affirming the complementary strengths of male and female in child rearing, through the protection of civil marriage, which includes preventing civil gay marriage which claims to testify against this complementary relationship, can we truly build families which are capable of creating and preparing the future generation for citizenship.  Therefore, the government should not create civil gay marriage.

AGAINST CLAIMS OF RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION

            One of the strategies of civil gay marriage activists is to decry the lack of civil gay marriage as a violation of the separation of Church and state.  Some claim that by not providing civil gay marriage, the state is promoting the ideals of one or more religions, which would be a violation of the establishment clause, while others argue that by preventing individuals from receiving civil gay marriage, the state is preventing them from acting on their own beliefs, and this would be a violation of the free exercise clause.  Further examination, however, reveals that neither of these claims are accurate, for they assume that endorsement of a tenet of a religion means endorsing it because it is part of that religion, and that the government cannot prevent someone from committing an act the individual deems acceptable, both of which are incorrect.

            The establishment clause claims that the United States government cannot endorse or “establish” a religion as the state religion.[6]  Using this principle, civil gay marriage activists claim that civil gay marriage must be legalized, because doing otherwise would be endorsing or “establishing” the Catholic faith as the state religion because Catholicism prohibits gay marriage.  The problem with this logic is that it assumes that the government cannot prohibit something prohibited by a religion, when the establishment clause simply means that the government cannot prohibit something because it is prohibited by a religion.  Because one does not have to be a member of a certain religion to oppose gay marriage, and there are reasons to want to limit civil marriage to opposite-sex couples, that are not limited to any one creed, it can hardly be claimed that prohibiting marriage is an “establishment” of Catholicism.  Furthermore, following the argument that any condemnation that exists both in Catholicism and in the state represents an establishment of Catholicism as the state religion, then laws against murder, stealing, and other laws necessary for the common good of the people should be abolished as they all would represent an establishment of Catholicism as the state religion.  This of course would be a ridiculous conclusion, and so, reason would seem to suggest that prohibiting civil gay marriage is not a violation of the establishment clause.

            The free exercise clause, it is claimed, protects the exercise of religion in the United States, and so it is claimed that if a same-sex couple believes civil gay marriage is acceptable, and if they so desire as to be “gay married” the government must provide such a marriage to them.  This argument also fails however, because the government can regulate actions, even if it cannot regulate beliefs.  This has always been accepted since Reynolds v. United States, when the court decided that the practice of polygamy is illegal.  If polygamy can be prohibited, so can civil gay marriage.  Therefore, not providing civil gay marriage is not a violation of the free exercise clause.

CONCLUSION

            The push for civil gay marriage has been argued to be one of the contentious civil rights issues of our era.  While I agree it is certainly one of the most contentious issues of our era, I hope this essay has shown that it is not a civil rights issue, since the typical arguments advanced for a “right” to civil gay marriage are insufficient to justify it.  Furthermore, by recognizing that civil gay marriage is not equivalent to civil marriage but opposed to it, we can see that the existence of civil marriage testifies against civil gay marriage, not for it.  Finally, I hope that I have shown that arguments against civil gay marriage cannot be condemned as mere religious rhetoric, or a violation of the first amendment.  Should my positions hold, it would seem that the supporters for civil gay marriage must either admit defeat, or find new arguments that are substantially different than those rebutted here.  But should they attempt to do so, I caution them not to make the mistake of thinking that they must merely show that civil gay marriage is acceptable, for as stated earlier, this is not merely an issue of legalization of gay marriage, but rather, a debate about whether the government should render the service of providing civil gay marriages.  Therefore, civil gay marriage proponents must show that gay marriage is something essential to society or beneficial to the common good and show that it is an institution the state has an invested interest in protecting.   Furthermore, they must show that promoting civil gay marriage would not contradict with the explicit interest in marriage as we currently understand it.  Until these standards are reached, arguments for civil gay marriage will continue to be insufficient, and therefore, the US government has no reason to provide civil gay marriages.

WORD COUNT

2,867



[1] Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, par. 388

[2] Declaration of Independence

[3] Chief Justice’s Earl Warren’s opinion Loving v. Virginia, “Marriage is one of the ‘basic civil rights of man.’”

[4] Compendium par. 216

[5] Compendium par. 168 - 169

[6] First Amendment, United States Constitution

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5 notes &

Anonymous asked: Hey Niko! first of all I admire you a lot, second I wanted to ask a quick question! Don't you think religiousness should be separate from the government? for example, don't you think its a bad idea to have thousands of people forcing laws against gay marriage? that is something I struggle with a lot. I believe marriage should be man to woman, but I do respect homosexuals , shouldn't they be allowed their own decisions ? isn't that part of their free will? why do we need to prohibit marriage?

Hi, thank you so much for your kind message.  

I do agree that there should be some degree of separation between the Church and the State, though we might differ on how much exactly.  But that’s not necessarily connected to your next questions, because the reasons people oppose gay marriage is not because it is against their religion but because they believe it is bad for society and that it is a distortion of the truth.   Consider it like this, imagine you asked me:

Don’t you think religiousness should be separate from the government? for example, don’t you think its a bad idea to have thousands of people forcing laws against murder? that is something I struggle with a lot. I believe people should not be killed, but I do respect murderers, shouldn’t they be allowed their own decisions? isn’t that part of their free will? why do we need to prohibit murder?

Now, I’m not saying same-sex marriage is murder, or that it is as bad, and I’m not trying to draw any equivalency between the two.  I’m merely pointing out that we oppose both for the same reason, because we know they are both wrong and that legalization of either will hurt society in some way.

Now, this doesn’t take away their free will, people have free will to break laws.  The law does not take away your free will, it simply holds you accountable to the choices you make with it.  Also, it should be noted, from a legal perspective, we are only opposed to having the government  sanction gay marriage, because the government is a civil authority, and if the civil authority distorts truth to the people who it is charged to protect, it is not doing its duty.  The Catholic Church does not push for laws against people of the same-sex who want to live together and have a sexual relationship together.  Therefore, we are not imposing anything on anyone, we only ask that the government not teach untruths to its people.

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9 notes &

On Marriage

I don’t.  It is an error of the modern era to suppose that everything that’s sacred happens inside the Church.  But why should God restrict Himself to the Church when the devil has no problem causing sin outside of it?  The sacred world and the secular world are not so distinct, but instead are very fluid, flowing in and out of each other.  Some might argue that they are identical.  
Point being, a secular marriage may not be a sacrament, and so may not be a conduit for the same or as many graces as a sacramental marriage is, but that does not mean it is not sacred.  Now, that being said, the intent of your question  still stands:
Now if secular marriage is not sacred and certainly not sacramental, does a secular homosexual marriage truly lessen the sacrament of marriage. In this case the marriage is not recognized by the church but is by the government. What is your opinion on this?         
No, “civil homosexual marriage” does not “lessen” the sacrament of marriage itself, or harm it in any way.  But, it does make it less comprehensible to most people.  If people grow up in an era where “gay marriage” is accepted as equal and equivalent to any other, they will lose the fundamental ideas that marriage is ordered towards procreation and is made up of the complementary natures of male and female. 
When we defend marriage as something that can only exist between a husband and wife, we don’t do so to defend the sacrament.  The sacrament can defend itself.  We do it to defend ourselves and the generations after us from being led astray from the truth  by a lie, that men and women are interchangeable, and that marriage is for our own gratification instead of being necessarily ordered for the benefit of our children.

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