NoMarriageEqualityYou might recall the awful option faced by the title character in “Sophie’s Choice:” Pick one child or the other. It’s not a choice any mother wants to make. No matter what she chooses, her loss is unutterable.

Nor would any child want to make the same choice in reverse: “Mommy or Daddy, Sally. Pick one.”

But that is the ugly position into which same sex marriage plunges children, except that the children themselves do not get to choose. Someone else chooses for them.

No matter what you might think about same sex marriage, we know this: Any child raised under a same sex union faces a tremendous loss—either no Mommy or no Daddy. In a union where two men or two women are involved, that’s always the outcome. When Mommy picks a woman or Daddy picks a man as a life partner, the children always lose something enormously valuable and irreplaceable: a mother or a father.

That loss often has tragic consequences for a child. If, for example, you are raised in a home with no father around, the odds that you will drop out of school, that you will take or sell drugs, that you will go to prison, that you will be poor, and that your children will suffer the same fate you did all skyrocket. That same cycle of hopelessness and crime follows upon the absence of a mother.

When Mommy has sex with another woman, it doesn’t make that other woman a Daddy. Having sex with Mommy doesn’t make you a Daddy any more than drinking milk makes you a calf.

The point here is not remotely homophobic. The point here is not that Mommy and her lover, or Daddy and his, are to be shunned, much less hated. The point here is that mothers and fathers are fundamentally important to the development of children, and therefore to the future of the nation, which depends upon the development and maturation of the next generation. That works best when children have both a father and a mother.

I say so because, according to a recent groundbreaking study by University of Texas scholar Mark Regnerus, we discover this:

Compared to children who were raised in intact homes with both the biological father and mother present to raise them, the children of homosexual parents grow up to:

  • Be Much more likely to receive welfare
  • Have lower educational attainment
  • Report more ongoing “negative impact” from their family of origin
  • Be more likely to suffer from depression
  • Have been arrested more often
  • (If they are female) Have had more sexual partners—both male and female

If they were the children of lesbian mothers, they are:

  • More likely to be currently cohabiting
  • Almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
  • Less likely to be currently employed full-time
  • More than 3 times more likely to be unemployed
  • Nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual
  • Three times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting
  • An astonishing 10 times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver.”
  • Nearly 4 times as likely to have been “physically forced” to have sex against their will
  • More likely to have “attachment” problems related to the ability to depend on others
  • Use marijuana more frequently
  • Smoke more frequently
  • Have more often pled guilty to a non-minor offense

None of these dire statistics seem to have much weight with the same sex marriage crowd. Rather, they argue that marriage equality is rooted in human equality. But that bogus argument does not work. It moves illogically from one kind of equality to another. The equality of all persons does not equal the equality of all lifestyles or all relationships. For example, the mere fact that all persons are created equal does not mean that polygamy or incestual marriage ought therefore to be made legal. You cannot move logically from the equality of persons to the equality of actions, choices, lifestyles, or relationships. It simply does not follow.

Same sex marriage advocates also argue that it is wrong to make value judgment about marriage. Yet they allow themselves to make value judgments about who should get to marry. Here again they fail logically. By insisting that same sex unions ought to be considered marriages on a par with heterosexual marriages, they make a value judgment about marriages, both their own marriages and those of others. If they are against making value judgments about marriage, then they have to stop saying what they say. But of course they won’t. Rather, they press their judgments on others while, at the same time, refusing to permit others to make judgments.

Let me clarify a point often misunderstood: I am not saying that marriages without children are not marriages. I never once said that or meant that. I am saying that marriage and family go usually together. I am talking about a common connection between marriage and family, not a necessary pre-condition for marriage. Marriage and family are simply the usual mechanism of creating and nurturing the next generation. But in the case of a homosexual union, that is naturally impossible. And if you try to grant them by some other means the children nature denies them, then the children are statistically more likely to suffer bad consequences as a result, which is not the case with a heterosexual marriage. Or, put differently, my wife and I have no children as yet.  I obviously do not argue that we have no marriage.If we had children, it wouldn’t as likely damage the children involved as would being raised by two men or two women, a situation that entails the significant loss of either mommy or daddy. In short, wise governments and wise citizens do well always to remember that important and basic fact of life and to avoid making laws that undermine the traditional family and traditional family roles, which serve us and our offspring best.

Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.

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102 replies to this post
  1. Dr. Bauman, you are right and make your point with delicacy. I fear, however, that we have all been had by the homosexual “equal rights” movement, who are not at all about tolerance and care for those whose condition is indeed a biological affliction.

    You write:
    “When Mommy picks a woman or Daddy picks a man as a life partner, the children always lose something enormously valuable and irreplaceable: a mother or a father.”

    Sadly, the homosexual “equal rights” movement does not hold mothers and fathers to have any intricate value, and believes they are not only replaceable, but interchangeable. Thus popculture is full of soap operas and movies where a divorced couple remain friends and effectively share their children with new “partners”. In fact, the words “husband” and “wife” are often supplanted by the value neutral “partner”. Since total liberation is a human right, the perpetuation of “value systems” via traditional family units is actually considered a traumatization of the child, who should above all grow up under conditions of tolerance, rather than being brought up as, say, a boy or girl.

    You write:
    “Same sex marriage advocates also argue that it is wrong to make value judgment about marriage. Yet they allow themselves to make value judgments about who should get to marry. they fail logically.”

    You are very kind to your antagonists by presuming they care at all for logic. Logic is just another value in a relativized universe which offers numerous perspectives.

    In the end, the homosexual “equal rights” movement wants to destroy the family in order to erase any sense of historical memory and duty in citizens. The Bolsheviks applied the same method, and I do not mean just the case of murdering entire families, but the practice of encouraging marital infidelity and scoffing at any kind of principled life. A human being raised under conditions of moral nihilism will never be capable of self government and thus will be the perfect slave. For a good film representation of this phenomenon, I recomend the Russian movie “Cargo 200”. It demonstrates the effect of political nihilism and the evaporation of families as seen after three or four generations of policy aimed against the family. (Ironically, it is no surprise that the only character in the film who is redeemed is the professor of applied atheism: he has a relatively “normal” family)

    The homosexual “equal rights” movement will, if not stopped, lead to a society just like the one depicted in Cargo 200.

  2. Dr. Bauman: You may not be aware of the controversies surrounding the Mark Regnerus study, but they abound. Mr. Regnerus has admitted that he was not actually studying the effects on children of being raised by stable same-sex couples, but something much more amorphous; he has also cautioned against anyone using his study to draw the sorts of conclusions about same-sex parenting that you’ve implicitly attached to it. While opinions differ as to the validity and scope of Regnerus’ study, here is what Think Progress concluded last October:

    “Regnerus’ study was not about parents who openly identify as gay or lesbian. It was not about same-sex couples in long-term relationships raising children together. Regnerus even admits “this is not about saying gay or lesbian parents are inherently bad,” because he knows has no foundation on which to make such a claim. This was a study about unstable couples, possibly in sham marriages, who may have dabbled in same-sex relationships outside of their original marriage at a time when there was no recognition for same-sex couples anywhere in the country. In others words, the study’s results have zero implication for conversations in 2012 about out, committed same-sex couples who are already raising children.”

    If you find Think Progress an unpersuasive source, here is what Amy Davidson wrote about Regnerus at The New Yorker last June:

    “if this study shows anything, it’s not the effect of gay parenting, but of non-, or absentee parenting. The numbers are so clumsy that it’s hard to generalize, but one can reasonably guess that there are, buried in them, stories of parents who left or were separated from their children, or households that fell apart, because, eighteen to thirty-nine years ago, someone’s first try at an adult life involved a heterosexual relationship, even if that wasn’t sustainable. As Saletan puts it, the study “doesn’t document the failure of same-sex marriage. It documents the failure of the closeted, broken, and unstable households that preceded same-sex marriage.” We already know that there are benefits to stability—which is what same-sex marriage advocates have been saying all along. If your only question is how to help children, then same-sex marriage remains a solid answer. Look anywhere, even with tools as ill-designed as in this study, and you can find lonely children, and lonely parents, too. You can also find families held together by respect and love—and deserving of both.”

    I don’t expect any of this to change your mind; I’m only suggesting that it may be unwise to rely too heavily on the Regnerus study.

  3. This sentence pretty much sums up everything that is wrong about contemporary mores:

    “The numbers are so clumsy that it’s hard to generalize, but one can reasonably guess that there are, buried in them, stories of parents who left or were separated from their children, or households that fell apart, because, eighteen to thirty-nine years ago, someone’s first try at an adult life involved a heterosexual relationship, even if that wasn’t sustainable. As Saletan puts it, the study “doesn’t document the failure of same-sex marriage. It documents the failure of the closeted, broken, and unstable households that preceded same-sex marriage.”

    The very fact that the author uses the term “first try at an adult life” to describe marriage is lamentable. Are recent generations so infantile as to not comprehend the meaning of their marriage vows? Apparently the sad answer is yes.

    As to “closeted” households – that is a very quaint politicaly correct way to say “Bi and homosexual people who attempted to live a double life thus harming themselves and their families.” It’s just like the politically correct newspeak whereby the plague of homosexual priests in the Church is magically transformed into a “pedophile scandal” rather than a homosexual scandal, which adult men sexually abusing men and boys clearly is.

    The foundation for claiming homosexuality to be bad can be found outside of empirical research in philosophy (Plato’s Symposium), psychology (Eric From or all psychology up to the 70s) and biology (which teaches us that aquired homosexuality is a handicap that causes great sadness like any other biological deficiency and thus requires compassion and understanding, but certainly does not therefore suggest it should be a normative standard).

    “Look anywhere, even with tools as ill-designed as in this study, and you can find lonely children, and lonely parents, too. You can also find families held together by respect and love—and deserving of both.”

    This is again doublespeak because it assumes a relativised definition of families, love and respect. Our society has seen broken families and divorce become so normal that no one is even ashamed of it anymore. We have gone from empathy and compassion (which require the acknowledgement of moral tragedy) to encouragement and tolerance of infantilized adults incapable of building families (which requires a suspension of moral conscience).

    Everyone can point to a broken family or homosexual friend, and traditional families are few and far between. Rather than identify this situation as a crisis – our society justifies it and encourages it.

  4. Jack,
    Yes, I do know of the controversy. I know too of his rejoinders to his critics and of his rhetorical steps back from his conclusions. His data, he says, were not gathered in order to stop SSM, and not meant show a cause/effect relationship between SSM and these problems. I accept that. But his data do show a correlation between SSM and some negative effects on the children involved. That’s how I mean to use it here. There’s a correlation, and it worries me. I accept that correlation is not causation.
    Thanks for this contribution, jack, and for the others you have made to previous postings. I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

    • If homosexual couples adopt, then we know that the children involved necessarily lack either a mommy or a daddy. Tell me which one the two the children do not need and why.

      • What is the difference if it is a homosexual or heterosexual couple?You do realize that less than half of the children in the U.S. with heterosexual parents actually grow up with both parents right? Most children grow up in broken homes.It is not the home that shapes the child it is the lack of parenting.If people raise their kids right they will grow up right and responsible.

  5. Dr. Bauman: I believe you’re confusing children’s need for “a mommy and a daddy” with what children actually need from their parents (by whatever name). Children ideally need, when possible, two parents because two parents, for all sorts of practical reasons, are usually better than one; and children need gender role models, which can be found outside of the immediate family as well as inside of it. Most of all, children need nurturing and support and love, which must be reliably and consistently present on a day to day basis (discipline and structure are part of all that, of course). Children raised by homosexual couples can receive all of those things, which seems (to me, at least) significantly more important than the fact that they’ll have to forego the traditional “mommy and daddy” terminology. If single mothers (widowed, let’s say, as has frequently happened throughout history) can and have successfully raised sons, and if single fathers (also widowed) can and have successfully raised daughters–I don’t see why same-sex couples can’t provide good parenting.

    • Jack,
      I am unconvinced that role models at large are a suitable substitute for children witnessing the intimate interaction between a man and woman in the chaotic, unpredictable, difficulties of daily life inside a home. Losing a mommy or a daddy is not a small loss.

      • I do not subscribe to your notion that a homosexual couple can not raise a child adequately. More importantly, the Gay community does not. Homosexuals will continue raising families because that is what humans do. All that you are advocating hurts the children you so claim to be trying to protect. A child raised by a legally married homosexual couple is in a much more secure family structure than a child raised by a couple (or worse, a single parent) outside a legally recognized family structure. By preventing child-rearing couples from attaining a legal marriage you are HURTING kids. Alternatively, you should recognize that many children in America grow up without any parents. Homosexual couples often do not produce their own children and become potential parents for these orphaned/abandoned children. By limiting SSM you are limiting available homes to children without them. Even you must recognize that a homosexual home is better than no home.

        One last thing- Using the terms “Mommy” and “Daddy” to provoke an emotional response from your readers is disgusting. You are promoting a logical message about children requiring a male and female parent. You are not trying to inspire a congregation.

        • If a life is created by heterosexual parents, then heterosexual parents should take care of that life. When two homosexuals create a life, then homosexuals should- and would- be the best suitable to take care of that life. And, if ‘that’ occurs, I doubt heterosexuals would be beating down doors to adopt the offspring of two homosexuals. There is something dishonest about wanting to ‘put your homosexual hands into the heterosexual cookie jar’.

  6. Abstracting from the statistical data that clearly demonstrates single parent homes to be anything but successful at raising children, particularly as demonstrated by the black poverty and crime rates, there is an altogether logical reason why kids need both mothers and fathers, and I highly recommemd Eric From’s Art of Love as an excellent presentation of this logic in rather condenced and accessible form.

    As for widows and widowers: no good person strives to be one, just as no good person strives to be divorced. The tendency to point to single parent homes and say “they are doing ok, so this can be a model for the family” is the result of some strange liberal tendency to treat every presentation of the ideal of the traditional family as an insult to the integrity of a single mother’s love for her child.

    Accident and circumstance can be closer to or further from the ideal, but it is no use pretending they are the ideal.

    Now yes, I grant you that if two homosexuals discovered a baby on a desert island, it would be better for the baby if they raised it rather than left it to die, just as it is better to have one parent than no parent. But these are not ideals we should strive for. Single parents should try to find a spouse and homosexuals, while they might make good uncles and aunts, would not make good parents ceterus paribus.

    Finally, I note that this discussion demonstrates the damage homosexual propaganda has had on our society already because in speaking of the family, we have been reduced to focusing on who the parents oughg to be and we forget that one of the great tragedies of the broken family, the single parent family etc. and of modern life in general (even when a mom and dad are present) is the lack of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents etc.

    A family is more than just the parents, and children are harmed by growing up without all of its components. If the homosexuals hadn’t highjacked the public debate, perhaps we’d be talking about how to build a strong economy so families didn’t have to live seperated and far away and could see eachother more often than once a year.

    • What you say has nothing to do with reality:
      “Throughout many years of working with families, I’ve studied the lives of gay parents raising sons and daughters. In general, gay parents tend to be more motivated, more committed, and more thoughtful parents than heterosexual couples. That’s because they usually have to work very hard, and plan very far in advance, to become parents, and so rarely do so by accident.

      The children, meanwhile, show few differences in achievement. They perform as well in school, at sports, and in extracurriculars as peers with heterosexual parents. At the same time, they are more self-aware, more adept at communicating their feelings, and exhibit more empathy for people different from themselves. They learn early how to negotiate the outside environment, gauge other people’s motives, and assess how open they dare to be in specific situations. They are strong. In my work, I routinely saw how, with enough support from their families, children of gay parents developed skills at thinking independently and standing up for what they believed which distinguished them from many children with straight parents.”

  7. A couple of things, from a liberal reader who hopped his way onto here on a path I can’t quite remember at the moment.

    1) To be sure, some studies show that the children of same-sex households can suffer to some degree. But as you stated in an earlier comment, correlation is not causation. The author of the study said as much after it was published.

    2) I am certain that similar statistics could be shown about the children of two people who are below the poverty line. If you really wanted to have the standard of a recognized marriage be “What leads to the optimal psychological outcome for possible children of the couple”, wouldn’t you be opposed to poor people getting married as well?

    3) A quick run through your comments section shows a couple of references to the “SSM lobby and what they want”, etc. One says it is a Bolshevik style plot to erase family, God and duty and lead to political nihilism and the end of the world, etc. from your interactions with those supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage, does that honestly seem like their goal, to you?

    4) You wrote a bit about the hypocrisy of asking to not judge marriages, while at the same time judging heterosexual marriages by saying they are an equivalent to a same-sex monogamous long-term committed relationship. I think you might be mistaken as to the meaning of that valuation. What is the value of marriage to others, to you? How do you treat two individuals differently when they are married as opposed to when they are not? I’ll give you an example from my life-If a woman is married, I won’t flirt with her. Can you think of any way that you would be forced to change your behaviour towards two gay men or gay women who were in a committed, long term, monogamous relationship than if they were “married”? Would it be a negative way?

    5) Is a failure to raise children well a thing that ought to disqualify one from marriage, just by virtue of being a poor parent? What should disqualify a heterosexual from marriage? Anything?

    6) You are correct when you say that equality of persons does not equal equality of lifestyles or relationships. However, when the sole difference in those relationships is gender, then yes, it does end up being an equality of persons issue. Surely you would class a debate over recognizing the equality of male firefighters and female firefighters an “equality of persons” issue.

    • 1. Right, correlation is not causation.
      2. I did not identify any particular standard that makes a proper marriage. That is something you tried to do with to my argument, and is not an argument I actually made. It is important to differentiate between your doings with my words and my own. I pointed out that SSM always lacks a mommy or a daddy, and that such a lack might often have deleterious significance. I was pointing out thngs might indicate a relationship as harmful to children, not setting up “what leads to the optimal psychological outcome for possible children of the couple” as the universal standard for recognizing a legitimate marriage. Recognizing a possible defect in one option is not the same as articulating or establishing a norm for all options. No particular marriage of which I have ever heard has escaped inflicting some kind of psychological harm on the children involved. But that does not mean that only those marriages that appear to provide optimal conditions for children are real marriages. That silliness is your doing. I did not say it or imply it. Nor do I agree with it. You’ll also notice that a husband and wife in poverty do not lack for their children either a mother or a father, something always missing from SSM.
      3. I think the SSM lobby has as its goal to undermine the significance and dominance of the traditional family. They share that goal with others. That sharing does not make them the same as the other groups. It means they share an intention.
      4. The valuation they make is that their relationship is as worthy of being recognized as a marriage as is a hetero marriage. That is a value judgment about their own marriage and about the marriages of others. If one makes a value judgement about marriages, one cannot with consistency complain that others make value judgments about marriage. Is it morally permissible to make value judgments about marriages? If so, then we all can do it. If not, then no one can, and that is the end of the discussion on both sides.
      5. To say it again, one thing that makes SSM suspect to me is the inevitable lack of a mother or a father. Which one does a child not need, and why do you think so? I have yet to hear an advocate of SSM answer that question and give a sound reason for the choice. I want to hear the justification for this inevitable deprivation and why that deprivation ought to be upheld by the state as equal to a relationship in which there is not such a deprivation.
      6. The sole difference is not gender, but arises from gender — namely, the deprivation of a mother or a father.

  8. The biggest problem in talking about “marriage” is that it has a spiritual connotation, as well as a pyschological and emotional component. By definition, “marriage” is a sacrament in the Catholic Church, and cannot be extended to same sex couples. I shall leave that argument aside for now, since even that does not have total consensus.

    The concept of “marriage” to a state has evolved over time as a way to manage the care of children and to settle disputes between families and those who divorce while having common possessions. Since the chief problem in society, today as in the 10th century when the Laws of Hywel the Good were written to cover these matters of unwanted children and fidelity in hundreds of pages of detail, is unwanted and uncared for children, at a huge cost to society, the primary function of marriage is to regulate law regarding children. Possessions also, but you do not need a separate contract for possessions, as any normal value contract between two adults would do. With children, you are talking about generations, perhaps a citizen that will live a hundred years. There is no interest that the State has in governing marriages that are ONLY for psychological and emotional and sexual comfort. The connection with the religious notion of marriage occurred when we were predominately a Christian Country, and the sanctity of religious commitment actually meant something to nearly everyone. So, in effect, there are three separate “marriages”. 1) a government sanctioned contract with specific economic and health consequences 2) a “natural” or biological marriage as it exists in many species of the animal kingdom, and usually goes to the death of one or the other and 3) a spiritual marriage blessed by the Church. Gays may be able to acheive a government marriage, simply to say to their neighbors that they are “normal” and that they can force others to accept them by pain of punishment, but they cannot achieve a “natural” biological reproductive marriage, and they cannot acheive a spiritual marriage. Now all these points may be argued from different perspectives, but this is simply an outline of the way I see it. The big threat is that they want to make it a “civil right” so that the spiritual marriages can be forced by the government too. It is also a problem for future legal definitions and contracts if we fall into the trap of becoming a “nation of men, not laws” as John Adams put it, and as our good friend Dr. Kirk was fond of saying. If this were to happen, then yes indeed, you must have to sanction any proclivity that individuals want, and that includes things like polygamy and incest, which have already been pursued to the Supreme Court. The ultimate result is to abolish a national character, and lead to the enslavement of the people by their own selfish desires, much as in Aldous Huxley’s BRAVE NEW WORLD. At the heart of it all is a naked aggression of the Leftists to reduce us all to spiritless taxpayers burying our souls in self indulgence of sex drugs, and yes, I will say it, really bad music.

  9. There are some obvious flaws here
    1) you imply that if we disallow gay marriage, they wont have children. I know many gay couples that have children. Banning gay marriage does nothing.

    2) its also implied that without gay marriage more kids will grow up in traditional 2 parent homes even though you leave out every year single parenthood becomes closer and closer to be the norm in our culture

    3) you say gays can’t have a spiritual marriage yet you leave out that there are christian churches that do that. Are you assuming all Americans are Catholic?

  10. Nope. Not convinced. Two intelligent people raising a child together is the best chance any of us can get. The sex equipment doesn’t factor.

    Your logic is faulty on more grounds than I have the inclination to go into.

    Furthermore your attempt to quantify collective fallout fails to include the willfull shunning from those of faith as a potential factor.

    It requires nothing from you, effects you in no way, and isn’t within your institutions power to deny. Regardless, if you could you would prevent them from undertaking the most important union two people can have.

    I’m still looking for someone who is against gay marriage who has non-religious motivations.

  11. I think the other commenters have covered Mark Regnerus’ research thoroughly and have beaten the topic into the ground, so I’m going to set that aside in favor of a different part of the article.

    I think that some ideas have been ignored in the article. For one, children who grow up in a single-parent household share a similar lack of ‘Daddy’ or ‘Mommy’ in their lives. Secondly, just because two parents are the same gender does not mean that other adults cannot share an important role in a child’s life. For example, say two men are raising twins. Just because the twins do not have a female parent does not mean that they cannot learn from an aunt or family friend or teacher or grandmother (the list goes on).

    Secondly, just as the world isn’t divided into homosexuals and heterosexuals (there are bisexuals, pansexuals, and many other ‘types’ of sexuality), the world is not divided into male and female genders. Yes, the majority of people are born with one set of genitals or another; however, genitals do not necessarily define who a person is. Thus, a child might have parents: one who identifies as male and another as female, but their physical sex has little to do with that.

    Along that line of reasoning, why does a child need a male and female role model? Is there any trait so inherently female that a man could not teach it? Or vice-versa?

    Lastly, the idea that a child needs male and female role models implies that the parents will do a decent job parenting. I would rather grow up in a loving polygamous incestuous family than in an abusive family with a male and female as parents.

    On a totally different point, I would like to contest the statement arguing that marriage equality is not rooted in human equality. As a homosexual woman, I see human inequality everywhere. Setting aside any arguments based on feminism (or this comment would be far too long and not exactly to the point), denying a person the right to marry whomever they wish is denying the person human rights. Many of the arguments against marriage equality can be found in arguments about biracial marriages, or marriages between people of two different religions.

    Furthermore, children who identify as not homosexual have significantly higher chances to get bullied, harassed, assaulted, or raped than other children – a fate that I’m sure we all agree should never be wished on anyone. And much of the motive behind these acts are perpetrated by the idea that, since people who fall under the LGBT umbrella have significantly less rights than others, they are not as human as heterosexuals, and thus it is “okay” to treat them as second-class citizens.

    If a person belongs to the human species, then they deserve human rights, regardless of identity.

    (Why should you care if I choose to spend my life and share my love with another woman and perhaps raise children together? Does it truly matter to you what happens in my private life as long as none are harmed?)

    • “For one, children who grow up in a single-parent household share a similar lack of ‘Daddy’ or ‘Mommy’ in their lives.”

      They do, and to similar disastrous effect. More than half of the people I grew up with grew up in single-parent homes. Some, even into their thirties, still live at home.

      “Secondly, just because two parents are the same gender does not mean that other adults cannot share an important role in a child’s life.”

      No one argued otherwise. But two men cannot be a mother and a father. The two roles are not interchangeable, and our considerable human history is a testimony to that. Hint: If the two were interchangeable, we wouldn’t be able to make a distinction.

      “The world is not divided into male and female genders. Yes, the majority of people are born with one set of genitals or another; however, genitals do not necessarily define who a person is.”

      What evidence do you have for this? Recent studies on brain structure reveal that men and women not only have different chromosomes, different genitals, and different social roles, but different -brains-. (

      “Along that line of reasoning, why does a child need a male and female role model?”

      No one is arguing that a child needs a male and female role model, but a mother and father. Why does a child need one of each? Well, probably for the same reason that a child needs a mother and father to exist in the first place – it is human nature.

      “Lastly, the idea that a child needs male and female role models implies that the parents will do a decent job parenting. I would rather grow up in a loving polygamous incestuous family than in an abusive family with a male and female as parents.”

      No you wouldn’t. These types of “sexual communes” were practiced in the 1960’s, and the results were nothing short of horrifying. In fact, they were definitively abusive – so they captured all of your description without the dichotomy.

      Just because a child has a need for a mother and father does not imply that the need will be met to 100% satisfaction. If you read the article and any of the comments, you’d understand no one thinks otherwise.

      “On a totally different point, I would like to contest the statement arguing that marriage equality is not rooted in human equality. As a homosexual woman, I see human inequality everywhere.”

      You confuse equality of human worth with equality of essence. All humans are not equivalent, and men and women are different. Tis a basic fact of life.

      “Many of the arguments against marriage equality can be found in arguments about biracial marriages, or marriages between people of two different religions. ”

      This is simply not true. Until the 2000’s, there was no concept of “same-sex marriage”. Interracial marriages may have been argued against by some, but everyone knew what “marriage” meant. What we have today is an attempt to un-define the term so that it means everything and nothing.

      “denying a person the right to marry whomever they wish is denying the person human rights”

      We deny incestuous marriages, adult-child marriages, non-human marriages, marriages that are clearly designed to exploit someone (for example, someone in a comatose state), polygamous marriages, postmortem marriages. You don’t have a right to marry whomever you wish, and anyone who told you otherwise lied to you.

      “Furthermore, children who identify as not homosexual have significantly higher chances to get bullied, harassed, assaulted, or raped than other children – a fate that I’m sure we all agree should never be wished on anyone.”

      I assume you meant “as homosexual”. No one advocates those things, but I think you’ll find deep irony at the imprisonment of Pastors who preach against homosexual behavior (like they do all sin) out of governmental pro-homosexual bullying.

      “And much of the motive behind these acts are perpetrated by the idea that, since people who fall under the LGBT umbrella have significantly less rights than others, they are not as human as heterosexuals, and thus it is “okay” to treat them as second-class citizens.”

      There are two ways to think about this. The first, superficial way of dealing with this information is to say “how dare those evil people do this”. The second is to say “why do people find homosexual behavior so repulsive”. That is, is there any merit – whatsoever – in being repulsed by homosexual behavior. Is it a natural reaction to an unnatural tendency (since it is natural to use human sexual organs for, you know, reproduction). This takes a rational mind to consider. Emotionally, some reject it before even hearing it.

      “If a person belongs to the human species, then they deserve human rights, regardless of identity.”

      We agree on this, although I suspect you think there are a lot more “human rights” than I do, and a whole lot fewer “human responsibilities”.

      “(Why should you care if I choose to spend my life and share my love with another woman and perhaps raise children together? Does it truly matter to you what happens in my private life as long as none are harmed?)”

      Ah, the real reason for your post is revealed. You see, the reason anyone should care (especially the government) about whether or not you raise children is -the children-. Their well-being, specifically. Secondarily, one could make the case that no person is a ship sailing on their own – there is no private morality as a we are social creatures. That means there is no private harm from immorality, either.

      I’m not about to suggest that the government micromanage you, but nor am I about to suggest that the government allow you to redefine a 10,000+ year old institution just cuz you want to be in a marriage. Your homework is to find out the origin of the word “marriage” (hint, it is related to matrimony), and figure out why, for the entire duration of Western history, it has meant something different than it apparently means now.

  12. Jack Shifflett,

    Are you aware that all the studies on Same Sex couples raising children are controversial? Including those that seem to show it does not have negative effects. Indeed, I’m not aware of any study showing homosexual parenting does not have negative effects that does not have such major methodological flaws (non-random samples, small sample sizes, and so on) as to be useless as a source of real knowledge.

  13. I was raised in a single family home and can tell you from my own experience that it is not the same to get love from a “good role model”, compared to a real father. I sometimes find myself looking at my husband interacting with my children and feel sorry for myself because I missed out on that as a child.

    “It is very easy to deal with symptoms and get upset about it, but the symptoms are ultimately expressions of the roots in which this thinking is based.

    When we ask about the problems of evil, the problem of pain, the question of meaning, they all begin with one assumption that we know what life is all about.

    C.S. Lewis said when a ship goes onto the high seas, it has to answer three questions: How to keep from sinking? How to keep from bumping into other ships? Why is it out there in the first place?

    [The first] is personal ethics; [the second] is social ethics; and [the third] is essential ethics — what is life’s purpose?

    I feel that every deviation in family, be it in sexuality, be it in culture, whatever, comes from our definition of what it means to be human. Unless we understand where the difference lies, we will always be attacking the symptoms, never get to the root problem.”

    Ravi Zacharias

  14.  “is there any trait so inherently female that a man could not teach it? Or vice-versa?”

    My wife and I were in a toy store looking for a present for her godson. She had a bunch of ideas for educational or cute toys which I promptly vetoed, pointing to a big car carrying tractor trailer truck that came with two other cars. My wife reminded me that on balance, she is always right and asked why things should be any different this time, when buying a present for her little godson.

    I looked straight at her and rebutted:

    “Were you ever a little boy?”

    That settled it. That is one situation in which a woman simply would not meet the challenge. I will save myself the embarrassment of listing the zillion things women can do better than me and other men.

    You can clamour all you like about equality, but the sexes are no more equal, by nature, than individuals, and thank goodness. A world where men are manly and women are feminine is fantastic. Homosexuality, bisexuality, lesbianism et al. are on the margins, or cutting edge of the diversity of human sexuality, which is fine – but just like the multiplicity of moral types does not debunk ethical standards, sexual diversity does not debunk some level of sexual normality.

    Also, you make the common error of mistaking principle for circumstance. Any good person or set of persons can raise a child if they make the effort. But this does not mean that ceterus paribus, children are not better of without two parents.

    That’s why broken families are called “broken”.

    Lastly, I note how the definition of marriage, when someone argues for “marriage equality” always seems to mean “state sanctioned relationship”. That’s a rather empty definition.

    I find it sad that in our upside-down world, Russians seem to understand all of this while Americans increasingly fo not.

  15. Occasionally it is important to point out the emperor’s new clothes. One has to wonder, of all the evils which Christian theology enumerates in the nature of fallen man, why is it that those most associated with declining taboos generate the most zealous opposition? Is SSM really the doom of this country? A risk far greater than rapidly expanding economic disparity, a risk far greater than disregard for ecological stability, a risk far greater than an increasingly dysfunctional government? Let’s be honest, the reason Christians oppose SSM at this time with an ever whinier tone is that it used to be such a safe target to make one look righteous and holy. That time is passing and I, as one Christian, am happy to see it gone.

  16. I can’t disagree more, respectfully, Mr. Baker. Homosexual relationships and homosexuals were tolerated, and the private lives of citizens respected as private, with politics focused on the really important matters you list, until the gender studies ideologues began their public campaigns to put questions of sexual intimacy at the forefront of the public debate – now they are appalled that rather than shy away from talking about sexuality, their opponents (Christian and otherwise) are quite capable of discussing the matter. I would, like you, also like to see a return to a time when intimacy was private, but it is not Christians who have led to a situation in which the question of what marriage or men or women means has suddenly become a disputed matter to be resolved by legslatures and courts rather than in various ways by private citizens.

  17. But what about the fact that sometimes one biological parent left by choice. It is no fault of the parent. For example. My sons father became abusive and I had to leave him when my youngest was only 2 weeks old. I gave him full visitation and even offered joint custody but he chose not to be in the picture. My sons are happy and healthy and even happier since I met who they call “Momma K”. They chose to call her that. I make sure they still have strong male role models such as my father. It was not my choice but the right decision to become a single mother and they are better off with 2 moms and no dad than 1 mom and no dad. Another good example of an adult is my friend from high school. His mothers were a lesbian couple. Now, he is a high ranking scientist in the Navy. While you also look at me and my brother. We were both raised in a home with a mother and father. I am of average wealth and happiness. My brother though, lives off of welfare and is on the verge of losing his children with his wife. So tell me how anything in this proves your theory.

  18. It proves quite a bit, actually – as does every single additional story for why people decided to leave their children, not fulfill marriage vows, not care for their children etc etc etc. Each and every additional statistic, every growth in the percentage of broken families and “nontraditional” families proves the same point over and over: America as a nation is falling apart.

    I realize that the scales have tipped to the point where people feel that an argument in favor of traditional families is almost an insult to them. Everyone now has a great story about how some husband was abusive, somebody was too young, too inexperienced, how things changed, the economy was terrible etc etc etc and, subsequently, about how an unconventional arrangement managed to work wonders in their lives.

    It has become so common that no one considers it a problem anymore, and that is perhaps the biggest tragedy.

    For example: I don’t unerrstand why your brother living off welfare is a reason for him to loose his children and wife. That example alone proves the wider point of Dr. Bauman’s article. After all, why would someone loose their family just because they can’t find a job or have some problem in life? The whole point of family is that you can’t lose it – ever. Marriage doesn’t mean being there when someone has a job and leaving when they don’t. I understand cases of extreme violence or pathology that inhibits a spouse – but “he’s on welfare so I have to leave him” is somewhat hard to fathom. People should not leave eachother when things get tough.

    Even your son, no matter who he grew up with has one biological father, and no amount of excellent male roll models will fill the void of not having been brought up by his father and the pain of being left as a child. His father clearly harmed both you and his son by leaving you.

    I don’t understand how Americans can be so casual about these kinds of things. And for the life of me I will never understand why people keep imagining that if one has an ideal, then everything that falls short is evil or bad.

    Unfortunately, my experience of the West vs. the East on this point – for what it’s worth – leaves me baffled by the West. The West strikes me sometimes as many lonely, divorced people living in material wealth. The east strikes me as many happy families living in relative material poverty. Though if you look at growth, the West is stagnant, the East grows. I suppose the very fact that this has become a burning political question is a sign of decadence. It’s a bit like the incomprehensibility of how so manyAmericans in the 19th century could claim negros were not humans. Something so patently obvious as human equality was not obvious to so many, who, surrounded by slavery, grew to see it as normal. It’s the same nowadays in the west, when so many, surrounded by divorce and broken families, make personal choice and absolute personal freedom, not love or fidelity to vows or responsibility to children the principle upon which to judge relationships.

    Everyone makes mistakes, nobody’s perfect – but to make a virtue of mistakes and imperfections… is just strange. It used to be that you needed a world war to break up families to this extent.

    Finally, I reiterate that in this whole debate, no advocate of same sex marriage has yet to explain how it’s better for kids not only to grow up without mommy or daddy, but without ALL associated family connected to either mommy or daddy – namely uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers, godparents, cousins, sisters (from the same parents) etc etc.

    We can be in denial all we want that we are harming ourselves and our kids, but when exceptions become the rule and tragedies cease being tragic because they become common – the nation will fall. At best, America will be reduced to wandering proletarians.

  19. “Finally, I reiterate that in this whole debate, no advocate of same sex marriage has yet to explain how it’s better for kids not only to grow up without mommy or daddy, but without ALL associated family connected to either mommy or daddy – namely uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers, godparents, cousins, sisters (from the same parents) etc etc.”

    Please explain how the children of a same sex couple would lack any of these relationships.

  20. Oh my word people. You are trying to tear this article only because you disagree with it. Every “concern” you have with his logic is just a poor excuse to disprove him. He did not use the Bible, he did not use Christianity. He used evidence from studies and if you have problems with this evidence, you can contact the people who conducted the study. Sorry that the facts are so hard to face.

    Using single-person examples may prove your point, but they are anomalies. The studies hold generalization and if that upsets you, then you’ll have to get over it.

  21. What I find strange about this conversation is people using generic examples such as “I saw a person raised by gay men, he is the greatest researcher today”. Nobody is denying the capability of sound pair of individuals to raise a perfectly capable child. What needs to be noted here is that statistics or crunching numbers in a discussion of the ethics of SSM, sans religion, will be irrelevant in the next ten, twenty or hundred years, whereas the ethical outcome of the discussion is here to stay.

    Having said that, the requirement of a male and female role model respectively is necessary for the normal mental development of the child, as from the time we rose from the seas and shunned our asexual reproductive traits, the male and female have played an important part in the upbringing of the offspring. While we have reached the pinnacle of the evolutionary chart, any attempts to test how a primitive mind filled with million years worth of heterosexual parentage will cope up with homosexual parentage itself requires a lot of skeptical and rational thought, plus comprehensive tests into how it may affect the general psychology of the populace raised out of SSM, neither of which has been tested comprehensively so far.

    Thus saying, the burden of proof lies on the proponents of SSM to validate whether SSM parentage may have any deterimental effects, say in a lineage of SSM’s, say 100 years down the line. (Not that I’m saying that homosexuals always rear homosexuals, but assuming a chain of homosexuals is made so long).

    UN laws have explicitly stated that the right of marraige is less of the right of the individuals involved in it and more about the child who may be born/raised as a reault of that matrimony. In light of this fact, it is more thn prudent to wait for concrete evidemce, with nio ambiguities whatsoever, yhat the psychological development of a child raised in a homosexual family is the same as a child raised in a happy and peaceful heterosexual family.

  22. The problem I had with this article was that it was not extensive enough and thus did not make as strong an argument as I had hoped it might from reading the title.

    The reasons against same sex marriage are too numerous to mention in a comment such as this. I know this because it is the reason I have yet to write my own article although I have made it clear on numerous occasions that the “secular” arguments against same sex marriages far outweigh as well as occurring in far greater frequency than the “so-called” religious ones. Obviously those on the left prefer to pretend otherwise.

    Essentially it all boils down to the fact that the issue of same sex marriage has nothing to do with the concept of individual rights.

  23. Dr Bauman is 100% wrong. The Regnerus “study” has been totally debunked a flawed, and poor scholarship because the conclusion was pre-written by the funders, and Regnerus just created a bogus support by cherry picking his data.

    Further, Marriage has nothing to do with children. A married couple is not to bear children, and women are not required to be married to have children.

    Until you address non-marital procreation, adoption, divorce, and early parent death, you have no leg to stand on.

    • “Marriage has nothing to do with children.”

      Except it has everything to do with children…..

      “A married couple is not to bear children,”

      I’m sure the above is supposed to mean something.

      “and women are not required to be married to have children.”

      Doesn’t make it right or change the reason for marriage.

      “Until you address non-marital procreation, adoption, divorce, and early parent death, you have no leg to stand on.”

      That would be your opinion, not to mention an apparent implied assumption that I haven’t done so it terms of my position.


    • Boilerplate nonsense. The methodological decisions in Regnerus’s study were subsequently defended in Social Science Research, Volume 41, Issue 6, Pages 1339-1628 (November 2012). From the abstract of Schumm’s article:

      Even though the apparent outcomes of Regnerus’s study were unpopular, the methodological decisions he made in the design and implementation of the New Family Structures Survey were not uncommon among social scientists, including many progressive, gay and lesbian scholars. These decisions and the research they produced deserve considerable and continued discussion, but criticisms of the underlying ethics and professionalism are misplaced because nearly every methodological decision that was made has ample precedents in research published by many other credible and distinguished scholars.

      Of course, the number of fools on the net pretending that X or Y has been ‘debunked’ is approaching infinity.

  24. This article commits a fallacy of relevance know as the appeal to fear fallacy. The fact that homosexual couples are incompetent in raising children has nothing to do with the fact of whether they should be allowed to get married. This article only supports the fact that homosexual couples should not raise children. This is an appeal to fear fallacy because you are saying gays shouldn’t get married because of the fear that they will raise awful children.

    • “This article commits a fallacy of relevance know as the appeal to fear fallacy. The fact that homosexual couples are incompetent in raising children has nothing to do with the fact of whether they should be allowed to get married.”

      Wrong. It is relevant as the government interest in marriage arises only because it seeks to promote the generation, care and custody of children in marriage. And since children themselves cannot ever arise within a homosexual relationship, the government has no interest, at least as far as marriage is concerned, in regulating homosexual relationships.

      • Children have a right to a mother and a father…each is invaluable in their own way. Homosexual couplings by design exclude one sex or the other from the family, thereby by definition have no license to parent a child. Better to call the same-sex households “orphanages” than families.

  25. Not to be impolite, but logically deducible axiomatic meta-ethical presuppositions of themselves dispose of the right of socially corrosive individuals of medically pathological, handicapped condition to marry.

    I do not even concede the American Leviathan the liberty of impudence in assuming its arbitration and juridical arm, to possess the mere authority to engage in the hallowing of unhallowed, counterfeit unions.

    As pure data of a priori anthropological ethics, the unity of disordered individuals, who do not deserve the term “gay” (the word simply means “HAPPY” – defend Western cultural standards!), the unity in a grotesque parody of Sodomites, is deontologically impossible by definition and offensive grounds of warlike ire… But who has the courage to stand against the crowd of sickly nihilists of today?

    I do. But who remains standing in America, in the West?

    American judicial imperium has only a speculative and empirically wholly accidental role in substantiating lawful wedlock.

    Not libertarian here: a flagitious, debauched country of degenerated slaves, of a serfdom so vile in debasement, not even half-shadowed in medieval culture’s crudest hours…for the serfdom to pornocratic McMafia is occult in nature, and the myriad, motley throng of litanies of litanies of all imaginable human vices, each and every prostration to these “decriminalized” vices of soul, is abysmally subconscious (legalized by malfeasance, judicial misprision, by individuals, as a fellow jurist, I hereby declare, UT-LAGATUS!) where unchaining oneself, ascending to anything even approximating the perfectionist, Masonic intellectual fallacies hidden in the “pirate ship pamphlets” Americans worship as surrogate of the Platonic-Christian “One”, the deicide proclaimed by Nietzsche rarely understand in its esoteric thrust… In light of such facts, liberty of civilized refinement, the experiment in “self-control” is a dreamy, exploded illusion of Anglo-Judaic philistinism.

    The average ape-like person is not equal, not morally or judicially equal moreover (Jeffersonian ideologues resort to the “judicial equality” sophistry when panicked with reality), a clay directionless, rudderless and morally atrocious except in the service of PERSONS OF NOBLER MANNER and NOBLER BREED.

    Slavery was never abolished, America. You semantically played with words and now designate slavery as “prison”… American prisons are the greatest validation of unpopular hard truths…

    Time to dump the Dionysian pantheist Masonic godling of “framer” orthodoxy – “Nature’s God” – pay close attention here… We are in the realm of Pan, Saturn, not the elevated conception of Moses, Platon, Philo, Plotinus, etc…

    The tragic middling individual is given emancipation only to wither away in lack of purpose. The middling individual, neither excelling in heroic martial endeavors nor gifted with cognitive prowess, has his place, has his dignity… Only the utterly bestial should be slaves of Hellenistic type today, the rabble dog-men, if not engaged in routineer-type “work”, slips into criminality instantly… I am not advocating the caste-stratification of Indo-European Christians, but “framer” enthusiasm of perfectibilist naivete, cannot be maintained in honesty a second longer… The fallacies in our Constitutionalism must be purged, and fundamental axes of orientation, re-adventured…

    As above said, only the criminal by nature, deserves actual slavery. Yet our yeoman’s pride of Saxon totemic character must be ruthlessly likewise rectified and cleansed…

    The caste of non-servile laborers, merchants and mechanics, etc., do not tend to intellectually possess the finest, sharpest noetic acumen… Not “slavery”, but GUIDANCE INSTEAD OF WISHFUL UTOPIAN DECEIT, is the problem of American governance and statecraft.

    Except a percentage of the population discouragingly minute, not all of us Saxon blooded citizens, us sturdy yeoman, shall flower forth into heroes and exemplary luminaries of greatness… Or do we delude ourselves into asserting the Saxon yeoman represents upper limit of human achievement?

    WITHIN THE RESPECTABLE FREEMAN SUB-ORDERS, exist micro-differentiation of baffling subtlety. There is no existence in a blank homogenized template of linear equality…EVEN THANES, IN WEAK MOMENTS BARONS AND EVEN PRINCES, need various social assistance sometimes… The Roman patrician of the RES PUBLICA, accepted the fact culture and metaphysical greatness, existed as the price of subjection of the multitude to tasks otherwise making culture, art, intellectual genius, all human greatness, impossible… Can we stomach the Nietzschean harsh fact here without compromising our Christian sensibilities? We must, can, and should…

    The artificial “equal citizen” of “framer” dreaming NEEDS COMPULSION MORALLY. The lower ranks of the free peasantry in cycles of decay are incapable of not the barest self-mastery, only living in empty sensualist swamps of vices…

    Our little “experiment of the capacity of the glorified anonymous ant-heap prole to spontaneously convert peasant breeding of libertine vulgarity into an abstraction of nullity” impossible perfectionist, Pelagian a exploded has become a dream-wish…

    American conservatives can have no illusions. Certain documents refer to the “NAMELESS BEAST”… American Sodom is real… American malfeasance of such depth in the sphere of “jurisprudence”, as to be indescribable… In America, law is lawlessness…

    America is heresiarch of Gnostic apocalypse, my fellow believers in higher order.

    Unfortunately, the grim hour nears when studies of Thomistic tyrannicide represent lucidity of forethought, and penetration of insight into the spiritual malady…

    We American conservatives can make the likes of Nietzsche seem like babes. Summon the courage and intellectual intransigence, fellow Americans and fellow upholders of transcendental good and transcendental goods.

    De Maistre and Cortes we must begin studying as new Lockes, new Montesquieus, if actual conservatives in America, almost unbelievably, remain still deluded by “framer” gibberish uttering only silly heretical superficiality, Leveler and Digger propagandist nonsense…

    Virility, not “bourgeois” conservation of…nothing at all… can a necropolis-nation of zombies dead to all decency, be object of our preservation?…

    America JURIDICALLY needs of the moment, the most epic housecleaning; or Spenglerian necrosis is our fate…

    Revolutionary restoration of authentic conservative-traditionalist manhood. The “anarchs” of Stirner foretell Anti-Christ lawless antinomianism, doubtlessly; and the most chaotic strata are unloosed, the Voegelian eschaton is initiated – and now is the time for the coalescence and solidification of the legion of the Catechontic restrainer… Bourgeois literary chattering can still exist, just put in its proper place…

    “Framer” dandified scribbling, no longer usefully or rationally defensible, or worthy of defense, as the chrism of legitimating sovereignty, poor fellows. The time is ghoulish, but ostrich-like escapism is hell-worthy. Millennial hysteria is not the goal here, but when the power-wolves beset your door in American Gomorrah, be in soldierly readiness…

    Time to man up and out-Nietzsche Nietzsche, surpass in radical vitality the extremists of hardcore chiliastic socialist nightmare.

    The pseudo-messianic anarcho-nihilist neo-Gnostic devotees of apocalypse, can be defeated by a superior radicalism of intransigence of endless mobilizing potency due to its immaterial basis in the noumenal empire of axial good… The interregnum must close, and paladins of Galahadic warrior-ascesis must arise, as loyalists of METAPHYSICAL JUSTICE, not mercenary pawns of feuding nations imitating sub-civilized tribal hordes; OR the nihilists of sewage culture return the human being into semi-apedom… “The end of history”, Kojeve’s infra-humanism, ending the human historical round…

  26. “The point here is that mothers and fathers are fundamentally important to the development of children, and therefore to the future of the nation, which depends upon the development and maturation of the next generation.”

    Precisely. But the whole problem is that the radicals pushing “gay marriage” (not the run-of-the-mill, herd-thinking dupes we all know personally, but the upper-level radicals BEHIND the agenda) actually HATE Western civilization, not to mention America, and WANT to see it crash and burn, so they can build their socialist hell from the ashes.

  27. Very interesting, erudite discussion.

    My take: Legal recognition of the right of same gendered couples to enter into a civil marriage relationship is inevitable in the USA. So you can argue all you want about whether or not this signifies the fall of civilization. But if you assert that SSM becoming legally recognized throughout the country holds an impending disaster, please provide some proof thereof from the states in which it is legal already.

    What have you got there? Nothing – Just a bunch of married gay people going about their business, with successes and failures surrounding raising children, natural or adopted, just the same as hetero couples. And successes and failures at the marriage relationship, just the same. Why is that? I theorize that it’s because we are all human beings.

    Freedom of religion does not carry with it the right to have a legal system that conforms to your particular set of beliefs. Indeed, it assumes and honors differences between people. The tricky part is coming up with laws that treat everyone fairly in light of those differences. On this topic, the only fair resolution is to recognize SSM legally, while leaving it to the doctrine of churches, synagogues, and mosques etc., whether to bless, endorse or solemnize those marriages.

    Everybody happy now?

  28. I would be perfectly content with civil unions for homosexuals who wish to acquire the same legal rights in terms of hospital visitation, inheritance, taxes etc etc (especially since I think we should have a low, simple flat tax with no deductions for anyone thereby making the point irrelevent).

    My fear, based on the last few years, is that the LGBTQ lobby ISN’T “happy now” – they demand full marriage equality along with the right to adopt children (or produce them via in-vitro fertilization) and in some places they also fight to compel acceptance for their unions in Churches.

    The reason I fear this is for the reasons Dr. Bauman gave – children – ideally – ought to have both a mother and a father. Modern technology makes it possible for homosexual couples to bypass nature and produce a baby through in-vitro fertilization and raise it without ever knowing the real dad (the same problem/risk applies to same-sex couples).

    I do not mean to be judgemental, nor label people as “bad” here – but I really do fear that it is wrong and harmful to children to deprive them – ON PURPOSE – of both a mother and a father. I know it “happens” – but the SSM lobby wants it to be something people can choose to do, and have the law help and facilitate it. I think that’s just not right for the same reason I think it’s wrong for dead beat dads to abandon their wives and children.

    I wish the SSM lobby would acknowledge that issues like this go beyond individual rights of two gay people and touch the rights of the child as well as impacting the kind of society we have.

    You say “look at the states where it’s legal.” I’m looking at them – high rates of single-parent homes, high rates of divorce, and now children with two moms and no dads or two dads and no moms.

    I understand that these things happen – but when it becomes a norm, a majority phenomenon – something is wrong. I have no “easy quick” fix for the problem. But the SSM lobby pretends it’s not a problem and that everything is fine with Western society. It’s not.

    If the SSM lobby limited itself to desiring civil unions, and if we could find some common sense limitations in terms of adoption and in-vitro fertilization – I would be more accepting. As things stand, the SSM lobby treats people who have the type of objections voiced here as if we were all wackos. Young boys and girls need both parents – to purposefully deprive them of one or the other – whether by divorce, abandonment, or homosexual union – is just not right. I understand that in the case of adoption, it’s not the homosexuals who are doing it – but they are compounding the problem because the child will grow up without a male/female union in the home. Is this fatal? No. No more than growing up without a grandfather, toys, books or ice cream. But in general we want kids to have grandfathers, toys, books and ice cream – we do everything possible to give them these things. Why not both a mom and a dad?

  29. What is marriage? My understanding is that it is the eternal bonding of two people whom love each other dearly, and wish to become family. Are you suggesting if a women feels this way about another women, or a man feels this way about another man that it is no longer legitimate marriage? It’s not incest or pedophilia; it’s legitimate love between two adults. You say procreation isn’t needed to legitimize marriage, so what does? Love, perhaps? Furthermore, are you suggesting that foster care and single parents shouldn’t be allowed because the children are worse off? I’d say having two mothers who love their children would be significantly more beneficial than one mother, or parents whom are paid to raise a child. And who is to say the gender of the parent matters at all? In many families traditional roles are forsaken and children end up fine. The bottom-line: just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean you should fear it, and attempt to rationalize it anyway you can to delegitimize it. Love is beautiful, and children raised by parents who love each other are better off 100% of the time.

  30. As the old Married with Children song goes “Love and Marriage go together like a horse and carriage.” But a horse is not a carriage, and marriage is not love, eternal or otherwise.

    Two men may love eachother more deeply than a man and a woman, but they cannot partake of marriage understood in the traditional senses of the word marriage. We can, for the sake of our whims, redefine a horse to mean a carriage. After all, they both have similarities: people ride them, they are made of similar molecules, both serve similar locomotive functions – why not! A horse is a carriage and a carriage is a horse.

    Well, unless we agree that words have no purpose beyond signifying random things (and thus destroy language as something serving a common good), then we have to agree that love is not marriage, though the two are often related and “go together like a horse and carriage”. To those who point out that there has never been uniformity in traditional definitions, I should like to note that in both philosophy and natural science, all valid challenges to existing norms were made in pursuit of the most ancient norm: truth. The present atrack on the definition of marriage is not made by those who have a definition closer to what is true, but by those who regard truth as either relative or without necessary value.

    Thus, I venture it is those in the SSM lobby who “do not understand something and attempt to delegitimize it.”

    A good starting point for understanding would be CS Lewis’s book, The Four Loves. Homosexuals may indeed enjoy philas and eros, and as humans they are capable of realizing Agape and storge, but marriage is none of the loves by themselves or together, it is rather something between a man and a woman that grows out of and complements their Loves. Your equation of love with marriage mistakens compatibility for identity.

    Your assumption that those of us who hold the views Dr. Bauman holds do so because of ignorance and fear is also condecending. I have had two very close homosexual friends in my life and have spent considerable time in the company of numerous homosexuals on a regular basis for prolonged periods of time. What experience I have had has not convinced me that it is a good idea to popularize and help facilitate putting orphans in homosexual homes, thereby depriving them of mothers or fathers on purpose, let alone that teaching Marxist Gender ideology to little kids under the guise of “sex education” is a worthy subsititute for teaching them the science of biology (that does include procreation after all).

    I am all for individual rights, and for tolerance of sexual diversity, but in the words of President Putin “just leave the children alone”. Is that really too much to ask?

  31. One other point: What do you mean by “two mommies” or “two daddies”?

    Those terms are scientific impossibilities. A human being has one mother and one father. Biologically, every child can only have one mother and one father.

    Now, you may mean the “social role” of motherhood, but usually the biological and social functions of a mother are performed by the same woman. When they are not, as in cases where the biological mother dies or abandons the child, a woman who steps into the social role of a mother is, in the english language, called a “stepmother” .

    A step-parent is not a biological parent, and it is common for children to never fully accept step-parents and to constantly long for biological parents. In cases where one parent is biological while the other is not, it is natural for tension to exist in even the best of relations with a step-parent. Good step-parents don’t pretend to be the child’s real parent.

    If a homosexual couple adopts a child, both of them are step-mothers or step-fathers. They are not two mommies or two daddies and never will be. If one “partner” in a homosexual union procreates through in-vitro fertilization, then one of them is the natural mother/father, while the other is the step-mother/father.

    The child then does not have “two mommies”, but rather one mother and one step-mother. Now, logically – since the step-mother by definition performs the social functions of motherhood in the abscence of the biological mother, then in a lesbian pairing where one woman is the natural mother, the second woman is unnecessary in the capacity of a mother. The natural mother is alive and well and can perform both the role of biological and social motherhood. There is no need for a step-mother when the child has a natural mother. The lesbian partner is more appropriately called a lover for the other woman and at best a friend to the child. She is neither the child’s biological mother nor is she the child’s step-mother, since she does not replace the absent real mother. The same scenario goes for male homosexual couples. True, the same-sex partner can certainly provide material and spiritual support – but so can an aunt, a grandmother or a friend. Aunts, grandmothers and friends who suppport children of single mothers are not called “second mommies”, they are called aunts, grandmothers and friends. Only the swollen egomania of a woman or man determined to lay waste to biology and common sense could be so irresponsible as to tell a little child that he or she has “two mommies”.

    Knowing what we know about the psychological hardships of orphans who grow up in foster families, and of children who have lost one biological parent to death or divorce, why would we ever want to impose a burden upon the child through law that fate sometimes imposes by accident? While you are right that it is possible to raise a human child under any configuration, should we therefore mandate that foster homes apply an egalitarian quota system and give children to an equal amount of married couples and an equal amount of single parents? The criteria for foster parents is usually high because we have the best interests of the child in mind. They have already been burdened by the trauma of orphanage – we want them to at least have a stepmother and stepfather. In the best case, the step-parents will love the child “like” real parents, but they will never be the real parents, nor should they pretend to it.

    If homosexuals, in pursuit of their whims, deprive a child of either a mother or a father, they are doing psychological harm to the child – on purpose. When accident harms humans, we mourn. When humans harm humans, we punish them. Children know no other reality than that which they see in the home. If they do not see the interaction of a loving marriage of a man and a woman, they will be hard pressed to copy it in their adult lives. This does societal harm because it deprives children of the basic education in family life. It handicaps children and means they will need to spend valuable time in adulthood learning the things they should have learned as children.They will be at a loss compared to those children who do grow up in families.

    Finally there is the matter of genetics. Children inherit the genes of their biological parents and grandparents. These genes determine a large part of who they become, of how they will behave, of their health and much else. A child who is deprived by homosexuals or by in-virto fertilization of the knowledge of his biological parents is thereby deprived of his history as a human being. He or she is deprived of his or her chance to know the identity of their parents, and to meet and experience and learn from these parents. Such a child develops according to a genetic map, the result of which the child is ignorant of because homosexuals deprived the child of knowledge of this genetic map in the form of the biological father or mother. This is a horrible harm done to the child. Accident and fate are its natural causes; the SSM lobby propose that law and human choice be its new causes.

    I understand we are long past theories and now firmly in this brave new world. It is a world far removed from the days when discretion was a virtue and men knew the differences between a lover and a wife. Our open, democratic society hates hypocracy and intimacy and loathes the drama of the passions and love. In a world where all loves are equal, guilt is as impossible as redemption. I have seen enough media images of homosexual couples with “their baby” as if biological motherhood and fatherhood were no longer important. Perhaps one day we shall abolish it altogether, and rather than grandparents and great grandparents to teach them of earlier times, youngsters will have computer data about their genetic make-up from the laboratory that they were manufactured in for mommy and mommy’s pleasure. Perhaps the word “child” will be abolished altogether, as will the word mommy and we shall become one great family of human beings, manufactured at the pleasure of other human beings, sold and traded, bartered and given away without regard to natural roots and familial bonds. And when that day comes, we might realize why Jefferson saw fit to place and curse Sodomy in the company of Slavery, for a society of anonymous, manufactured humans made for the pleasure of other humans and treated as commodities is actually the exact definition of Slavery.

  32. Not all children are lucky enough to have a mother and father who can provide them with a supportive, loving home. These children benefit immensely from the gift of a capable pair of human beings to raise them. HUMAN BEINGS. Two humans whom wish to raise a child, just like a heterosexual couple. Where do you derive the issue from having two of the same gender? Where does the harm lie? You state that it is immoral, but give no explicit reasoning for its immorality. Biological motherhood and fatherhood are still incredibly important, and these couples still practice these methods. Theoretically, two women CAN conceive together. In addition, who says that homosexuals deprive these children of their biological parents? I know for a fact that these children are typically informed of the methods of their conception and are fully allowed to have contact with those who gave them life. And what can you say for orphans adopted by homosexuals? Are they somehow worse off now with parents? Even if they don’t know their birth parents, they’ll be fully capable of growing up into well-adjusted adults. Furthermore, wouldn’t you say that children born to homosexual couples would be grateful for having been born at all?

    As for biological vs adoptive parents, I know children raised by both homosexual adoptive parents and heterosexual parents. Families whom as a whole I am very close to. These families are in every sense EXACTLY as loving and familial as biologically connected families. Just because you’re related by blood does not mean you’re going to raise your children well and love them with all your heart. In fact, in many biological families children are unwanted and mistreated. In comparison, adoptive families strongly desired children, even if they weren’t going to be their own biological offspring. This sentiment produces significantly stronger familial bonds than in many biological families. These children are loved and cared for because the parents decided to have children in order to love and care for them. These are not “whims”, they are natural, biological instincts to raise and care for children that homosexuals hold as well. And your idea of the “step-mother” is completely false. The second lesbian in the relationship typically functions equally as a mother in raising, loving, and nurturing the child. Or perhaps she may function more as a traditional father figure as a breadwinner. Either way, she is a legitimate parent. Just as much as adoptive parents are, and she has the right to be married to the mother of her child. Also, I’m sorry, adoptive parents are not ever “step-parents”. That is to the very definition of the words, wrong.

    As a person highly educated in the field, it’s evident to me that your genetics argument demonstrates vast ignorance on the subject and I suggest you refrain from using it as a discussion point in the future. I assure you, DNA works fine on its own in shaping humans without presence of biological parents. Please take the time to read up on the subject so you can understand that there’s nothing to fear.

    I understand your issues with homosexual relationships. You fear the abolishment of traditional, nuclear family. I understand this fear, as my family is incredibly dear to me as well. You do realize, however, that homosexuals have parents? That these parents act as grandparents to their children’s children? Homosexuals merely wish to create a traditional family that happens to have matching-gender parents.

    You reference Putin, really? I’m sorry, that’s disgusting. Why don’t you ask the children what they think about their gay parents, good lord, instead of believing things a corrupt and immoral politician has to say?

    I know you see your logic as sound, but you fail to clearly, fully think about the issue at hand. You jump to conclusions that support your views, disregarding reality (as it is well known, that the facts and figures presented in the article are inaccurate). In addition, I don’t apologize for you taking my words as condescending. You disrespect rational, honest homosexual couples with every fallacy you present. You are fearful, and you misunderstand homosexual relationships and degrade them as less than heterosexual relationships for no other reason than that they cannot procreate. Homosexuals are not all lascivious beings, many want a single sexual partner to raise a traditional-style family with. Who are you to deny them? Who are you to say their children will be any different that those of heterosexuals? Your arguments lack evidence and are based on false assumptions.Your arguments demonstrate ignorance of the world around you and of rational thought in general. I hope that you know your views are homophobic and disrespectful, and that denying the freedoms of others is the most heinous of crimes. Freedom is the greatest American value, and if two adults wish to marry, whose freedom does that impede upon? Not yours, not mine, but you insist upon denying them theirs.

  33. I would have to agree and disagree with this arguement. Even though you are correct when biologically, a child will be missing a mother or father, that doesn’t matter, it isn’t even the point. Tell me what you think is better, a man and women getting married and raising their child horribly, or a same sex couple gets married yet raises the child with all the needs and requirements met. It doesn’t matter who the parents are for the child, depends on the upbringing. It is something that I believe isn’t even discussed, you’re completely oblivious to the idea of depending on the upbringing is what shapes the child!

    • Just because an orphanage can be very loving to a child and the orphan can grow up to be virtuous, does not mean we should manifestly deny the relative weakness of the orphanage and deny the orphan the chance for a real (natural) family if it exists. Homosexuals, by adopting a child, block him from a mother-father dyad – and are akin to the deaf parents who would abort a child who could hear normally. They are only into themselves and not the real needs of the child.

  34. This is simply an argument against gay adoption not an argument against gay marriage. Holding that marriage is only valid if it involves procreation or the raising of children is a religious argument.

    Its also an argument that starts to get hazy even among religious people such as Roman Catholics, one can simply ask was the “ever-Virgin” Mary legitimately married to Joseph as you hold that he was “her most chaste spouse” and never interacted with “the mother of god” with his penis in any way? They were not open to procreation as they never had sex, so how could that be called marriage if openness to procreation is a requirement?

    Here of course Protestants (who hold the Bible says that the woman impregnated by their god brought Joseph to orgasm and bore him children) will say that Catholics are in soul-threatening error following a bad interpretation of their scripture and that the Pope can’t be considered the final arbiter of morality and natural law, a statement Catholics will dismiss as leading to moral chaos and they will hold the claim that Mary had sex as soul-damning blasphemy.

    The point I’m making here, is that as the position ultimately rests on religion and as religion is subjective to the believer, extending those subjective beliefs to policy positions will remain unpersuasive to those who don’t hold that same belief.

    Often attempts are made to try and put these belief doctrines into a more universal argument but too often the author can not fully place their imagination into the world-view of someone different than themselves. This piece is just that, as it is predicated on a religious view that marriage must be open to procreation to be valid.

    To repeat this is not an argument against same-sex marriage its an argument against same-sex couples adopting or even raising their own biological children. As the author is not saying that he is neutral on gay-marriage but is against gay adoption – he frames his argument in a fallacious way that comes close to intellectual dishonesty.

  35. When society changes the definition of marriage, it is changing the definition of the building block of society. When we okay and normalize homosexual unions, putting them as interchangeable this will have far reaching consequences .If Gender is interchangeable it is of no consequence. If two males or two females why not three? If two males why not two brothers, or an uncle and nephew? A mother and daughter? Why are these unions considered wrong in our very gut? People who love each other and want to have same sexual physical intimacy. No offspring can be produced, so no weakening of the gene pool, yet we recoil because that kernel of decency has not yet been extinguished by the media, perky likable talk show hosts, or a steady generations worth of films that have at least one funny, lovable character who is in an incestuous relationship. One cannot reason “x” and not continue in the same vein, as these tweeks and adjustments seem to have no end once the trajectory is started.
    Non -religious arguments exist in each one of us, its the natural law, we know it instinctively.
    Tinker with the building block and the whole house will be weak, and eventually fall.

  36. Thank you, Brynna, for taking the time to respond in such detail. I shall try to confront your points with equal attention.

    1. I never stated that a homosexual couple raising two children was “immoral”, but I do state that it is moraly wrong to deprive children on purpose of both a mother and a father. You continue to ignore the distinction between an ideal state and practical reality: just because the ideal is a child with a mother and father does not mean we should cast single mothers, homosexuals, and nuns who run orphanages into the flames.

    2. It is nice that you know for a fact that children are fully “informed” of the method of their conception and “allowed” to be in contact with their real parents. That is great! It is a wonderful step in the right direction and puts the United States a bit ahead of neanderthals, cavemen and certain primitive tribal societies, where children (and adults for that matter) are not privy to such information. Now, I humbly suggest you consider the benefits to both children and parents of not only being informed of their existence and being in contact, but of actually loving one another as family. You are right that both the children of homosexual couples and we ought to be greatful that they were “born at all”, but that is a rather low standard. Call me a liberal idealist, but I would like to build a world where it is not an achievement, as it was in the Middle Ages, that an infant was born alive at all, but where we strive to give children good families, mothers and fathers.

    3. Sorry, but a woman cannot function as a “father figure” in any sense of the word. She may be a “bread winner”, but that is not the definition of a father. I already made the point that a grandmother or aunt who provides material support to a child does not magically become a “father”, but remains an aunt or grandmother. Please use logic, it is a helpful tool. I understand that years of indoctrination in a culture of Gender ideology make it difficult to distinguish between a man and a woman, but I highly recommend making the attempt.

    4. Regarding my genetics argument, you misunderstood my point. I understand that DNA works fine “on its’ own”. My point was that in growing up with their natural parents, children can glimpse a mature sample of themselves, can recognize where they might have acquired certain character traits, not to mention physical predispositions. Depriving children of a life with their mother and father means that they will have less of a chance to understand themselves as human beings. In short, it was a psychological argument. I also note that America has fallen so low that in our deliberations we are talking about interchangeable parents and ignoring grandparents, uncles, cousins – in short – the family. You are advocating ripping a child out of the opportunity to have a full family and you seem unable to even concieve of the fact that “family” is not merely natural parents, but generations prior as well.

    5. There is no such thing as a “traditional family that happens to have matching gender parents”. If Mr. Putin disgusts you, that is too bad. He doesn’t seem to disgust Americans when he helps them get into space. Thankfully, it is a big world. Does Australia also disgust you? How about India? I won’t mention the various prosperous, technologicaly advanced Muslim countries that may also disgust you or the oldest Christian civilization on Earth in Ethiopia. Different countries and different cultures disagree on this issue. Will you argue that there are no educated people in Australia or India because the laws of those countries are more in accordance with my view than with yours? Are Polish people all ignorant because their Constitution defines marriage as a union of a man and a woman? China, as well as parts of tribal Africa, have other legal and cultural institutions. To my mind, the blueprint of a family that you present is a return to tribalism, a movement away from the civilized teachings on love and marriage made by, amongst others, Jesus Christ. The consequences will be (and are) higher rates of divorce, broken families and a demographic crisis for Europeans and those parts of America which have fully adopted this tribal, backwards culture. I would worry, but I don’t, because the human race is growing, and the populations of countries which reject Gender Ideology are larger than the dwindling populations of those which embrace it. The USA are a special case; American demographic growth is a function of non-Euro-American cultural elements within the borders of the USA.

    6. I do not recall ever degrading homosexual couples for being unable to procreate. Perhaps you have confused my arguments with those of someone else? I do not, like some conservatives, define marriage with reference to procreation explicitly. I am Catholic, and in my religious tradition, marriage is  a sacramental union that is between a loving man and woman, and which is far higher a thing than the mere act of procreation. I understand that people from different religious traditions will have a different view of marriage. What has always, until recently, been common amongst all people, whether theists or atheists, has been the idea of marriage consisting of a man and a woman, and of the good that comes to children from having a mother and a father. Am I to assume that you claim that any argument made against homosexual adoption of children or in vitro fertilization are automatically an “insult” to homosexuals, children raised by homosexuals and those born via in vitro? If so – please. For the love of God: can we be adults and not 4 year olds? 4 year olds pout and stomp their feet when they hear something disagreeable. 4 year olds cry and scream for mommy. As people grow up, they learn that there is a diference between arguments ad meritum and ad personum. It is very convenient for the “Gay Marriage” lobby to claim that their opponents have no place in political debate, that oppossing political views are hate speech and should be outlawed. Sorry, but we did not defeat fascism in the XXth century just to find ourselves under Gay Fascism. Or would you like me to say “progressive taxes and Obamacare hurt my feelings – therefore don’t advocate them”? That is the level that you reduce the debate to when you keep insisting that opponents of Gay Marriage “insult” and “hurt” homosexuals. I suggest that their pain may be a reflection of their condition, which is indeed a painful one for many of them.

    7. I never stated that homosexuals are lascivious. Your reject my use of the term “whim”, but you yourself talk about parental instincts. Instincts are natural whims; some benefit us and our surroundings, some don’t. Just because a person has some instinct, parental or othetwise, does not mean this instinct should be followed. That is why humans possess rational faculties and the capacity to think about their actions.

    8. Your final paragraph actually amused me quite a bit. I am not bothered by being called “ignorant”; I have been called “ignorant” on a regular basis over the years by many people who were unwilling to respectfully disagree. I am particularly amused at being called homophobic, given the years I spent working with homosexuals, enjoying the company of homosexual friends and generally enjoying aspects of the gay subculture. You might find it hard to believe, but human beings who happen to be homosexuals are actually not defined exclussively by their political affiliations, nor by ideology. Your silly presumption that I am homophobic seems to indicate that you believe I cannot enjoy music and drinks at gay clubs with my friends or have pleasent and meaningful discussions with them unless I believe in the universal right to “gay marriage” and homosexual adoption. I might be wrong about my opinions on politics, but I am not “homophobic”. The sooner you address my argumemts rather than assume I “hate gays”, the better for our conversation. Finally, I won’t begrudge you for not apologizing about your words being condescending, I understand that this issue, like some others, evokes strong emotions. Some people, including myself, have proposed solving it using classical liberal means;

    Popular soveriegnty and the abolition of government marriage laws. Interestingly enough, Gender Ideologues like Slavery advocates in the XIXth century with the Dredd Scott decision, do not accept the political compromise offered by popular soveriegnty and federalism. Just as Dredd Scott nationalized the compulsory respect for Slavery even in Free soil states, so modern Gender Ideologues use the Supreme Court to violate the will of the people in many states to impose their Gay Revolution. I realize that there are conservatives who support things like DOMA and there are serious arguments for it, but I am pessimistic. I do not “fear” homosexual couples with children, I accept the institution and the cultural revolution because I have no choice. Government marriage laws are a shallow sham anyways; government marriage laws make divorce easy, do nothing to protect the family, and put individual whims over and above the life long obligations of marriage – obligations made voluntarily. I am actually proud I don’t have a government marriage and I encourage all Catholics to take advantage of the Cannonical laws which allow Priests to disregard Civil marriage laws and conduct only a Catholic wedding ceremony. The matter is even easier for Protestants and people of other religions and atheists. Let the gays have their government marriage – it is almost a foregone conclusion that with higher levels of government intrusion into marriage, no decent person would want a civil marriage. I just hope (but doubt) that once your Gay Revolution has finished making a mockery of the legal, civil institution of marriage, you won’t take your “highest value” and impose it with Drones and bombing campaigns on those parts of the world where the law still reflects a culture that is Christian, Muslim or at least recognizes that men and women are different and that it is the right of a child to have a good mother and good father, that the law must facilitate this right where possible.

  37. Jame Matthew,

    Natural law is not hazy. I suggest acquainting yourself with natural law philosophy. It is also not necessarily religious argument to link marriage to procreation – natural law is philosophy and not theology.

    It is clearly the author’s contention that marriage is a special institution because of its role in procreation. How this is necessarily religious or dishonest, I’m unsure and your post gives little support for such claims.

    • Natural Law theory makes the claim that there are ways that humans should act socially that can be deduced merely from observation of the nature of human beings. The difficulty with this claim is that every proponent of Natural Law theory comes up with a set of human laws that they hold are derived from the Natural Law, but it just so happens that there laws are always “echoing” the laws of the religion that the “observer” had to begin with.

      Thus Maimonides of Judaism and Averroes of Islam hold that Natural Law theory allows polygamy while Thomas Aquinas of Catholicism holds that it is forbidden. While Aquinas holds that divorce is forbidden by Natural Law, Hooker an Anglican holds that Natural Laws shows that divorce is permitted. The great originator of Natural Law theory Aristotle even holds that in some cases homosexuality is natural, something his culture and religion held, but something that the Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Natural Law “observers” hold is unnatural – coincidentally in perfect accord with their own religions.

      So the claim that Natural Law theory is objective and independent from religion is a falsehood. To put it simply by Natural Law theory there has to be a lawgiver and every Natural Law theorist “coincidentally” holds that the nature of things proves the religion they professed before they began their “investigation”. Natural Law theory is just religion posing as philosophy.

      The author makes the contention that marriage must be equated with procreation but that contention is not supported by any non-religious argument.

      The author is not saying heterosexuals who are infertile must be prevented from marrying, nor is he saying that single heterosexual parents should have their children removed (he does not say that a mother should have her children take away if her husband dies bravely in the army fighting terrorists – because a child need two parents of different genders). So the connection between marriage and child rearing is not even consistent in his piece.

      What I am saying is simply this, the author is not saying its okay for homosexuals to get married as long as they agree to not raise children – his argument is merely that homosexuals should not have kids, feeling he has proven this he claims that this has some reflection on the question of whether gays should be allowed to marry.

      This is like putting forward arguments to prove that a shape is round and then at the end declaring that you have proven its made out of sugar.

      A claim of revelation allows leaps of thinking but the authors stated purpose was to make an argument that doesn’t require religious belief – he has not done that.

  38. Well, it simply does not follow from what you say about the differences amongst natural lawyers that it is a falsehood that natural law cannot be severed from religion. You are, for start, using religion somewhat ambiguously. The best intepretation for your usage is that you mean special revelation by the term. How do the examples you quote prove that it is in principle not possible to separate natural law and religion? After all, it is the point of natural law, at least in the Catholic tradition, to not just rely on special revelation and, importantly, it is quite possible to be a non-religious and accept natural law.

    Natural law, in the Aristotelian sense, is founded upon following our natural telos or ends as human beings. This is its foundation in the broadest sense, but, of course, there is a hierarchy of processes and aspects to man that act as means to his over all end, in natural law teaching. And then, of course, there are complex real life moral situations that we all face continually. That there are differences of opinion about the exact ends of certain aspects of man, and about the myriad of complex, real life moral issues we face, does not prove either that natural law must be based on revelation or (although this is not your current argument) its foundations are incorrect.

    I don’t think it is suprising that many natural lawyers have been swayed by their religious traditions in evaluating certain aspects of man or particular acts. Religious tradition, like tradition and history, social associations, art and literature and so on, in fact, form what Russell Kirk would have called the Moral Imagination, which can help us to understand how to seek the ends of human nature in particular circumstances. But none of this means that the philosophical case for the truth of natural law requires the truth of a special revelation as its premise.

    I don’t think Aristotle did condone homosexuality. Where is your soruce for this? Remember, adult male homosexuality was not generally accepted in the ancient world, and the acceptance of pederasty, though more widespread, was never as general or as unambiguous as is sometimes made out today. Female adult homosexuality was rarely mentioned.

    There are good arguments one can make, from a traditional perspective, that it is perfectly consistent to allow infertile heterosexual couples to marry and yet not allow so called homosexual marriage. It is certainly not an especially trying objection to the classical natural lawyer. But I’ll leave them aside, because it is not what we are primarily discussing.

    I agree the author needs to link marriage more strongly to procreation, or the sexual and romantic aspects of man with procreation as their end at least. He does make it clear there is something unique about the male and female monogomous relationship because of its procreative (in the broad sense of raising healthy children to adulthood), but he could better link this uniquness to the entire sexual and romantic nature of man and woman, thereby including even the infertile and making marriage basic to healthy human sexuality.

    • Natural Law requires a supernatural law giver, all “natural lawyers” somehow come to the conclusion that this law giver is the god they’ve happened to be worshipping the whole time. In no case do you find a “natural lawyer” coming to the conclusion that their god is false because of their observation of the nature of things. My point is solely that its a fraud. They are not objective in their observations they go in and find exactly what they wanted to find. All “natural lawyers” claim that one natural law can be determined from observing the nature of things but that is not the results that we find when we compare their results, rather we get diverse, subjective opinions. That’s not evidence of some objective law, the findings of these “truths” are relative to the “observer”.

      Claims of “Natural Law” is also the reasoning that theocracies say they can force their opinions on non-believers, such as “natural law” saying that contraception is an evil (just ask the pope or Thomas Aquinas) therefore a rightly ordered state must not allow anyone to have contraception as that would be a perversion of human nature and damage the citizens that use it – therefore it is wrong that Protestants claim some right (that does not exist – as all rights come from the Natural Law Giver) to choose to use birth control if they wish.

      Your mention of romance is not an appeal to “natural law” as the bonding neurotransmitters vassopressian and oxytocin released in the brain when individuals express that they are in love can be objectively measured by science and are present in both hetero and homosexual couples. Perhaps you wanted to make some statement about “the unitive aspect” of sex which may be defined differently than “romance”.

      Aristotle in his book Nicomachean Ethics (while silent on lesbians) sees nothing unnatural with men inserting genitalia in men. Still he is perplexed why any male would receive another’s genitalia saying it makes them “passive”, a quality he assigns to women (whose nature he holds as inferior – “a mutilated male”). Wondering why any man would be sexually “passive”, he lists several reasons, one of which is that some find this pleasurable “by nature…[And] No one could describe as ‘lacking in self-control’ those for whom nature is the cause, any more than women because they do not mount but are mounted.”

    • Aquinas states that Eternal law is what governs the universe and is an expression of an unchanging god so that is why it like him is eternal. Divine Law is what is contained in his self-revelation that humans have in scripture and the majesterium of his Church (things like keeping holy the Sabbath that could not be determined otherwise are laid out here). Natural law is eternal law that applies to us which we can know by reason. Human law is promulgated by humans but to be rightly ordered must be in line with Natural Law. As Natural Law rests on the eternal and unchanging its source can not be found in a changing universe.

      How do you propose that Natural Law would be eternal and unchanging if it is part of a universe in constant change rather than coming from a lawgiver that is immune to time and change?

      I am saying that as there is no consensus among “natural lawyers” the claim that Natural Law theory gives discernible objective truth is false, the truths proclaimed are completely relative to who does “the lawyering”. Why is one to be held as superior to the other? If all but one say one thing, should we declare it true because we will have truth by consensus? Who shall qualify as worthy of a such a vote? Shall new or divergent opinions be barred? If we decide that we will be natural lawyers why should we assume our conclusions are superior to our predecessors?

      Aristotle plainly states that one of the reasons a homosexual may be passive is because to that person it may be natural, also he has no problem with “the active” member of a homosexual union. Yes it seems he finds it personally distasteful but he does not say it is always unnatural. This puts him at odds with other “natural lawyers”. Should his lawyering be dismissed on this matter? By what criteria shall we toss out conclusions of “natural lawyers”?

      I mentioned neurotransmitters because the comment spoke of “romance” which is not a term used in natural law theory. Perhaps what was meant was the natural law term “unitive function of sex”. If one leaves natural law theory one can not argue about what is “natural” and “unnatural” unless one is speaking about things that are manufactured versus things that one encounters in the natural wilderness.

  39. Mr. Matthew,

    You write:

    “In no case do you find a “natural lawyer” coming to the conclusion that their god is false because of their observation of the nature of things”

    I recomend reading St. Augustine, not to mention familiarizing yourself with the Catholic St. Lidia, whom Paul describes as a Pagan woman, leaning towards monotheism who was converted to Christianity (Apostolic letters 16 & 14) I will spare you the embarrassment of providing a thorough list of Natural Law philosophers who constitute the “cases” you claim do not exist.

    I also suggest that millions upon millions of Greeks and Romans, amongst whom philosophers were not wanting, actually did come to the conclusion that their god is false because of their observation of the nature of things – how else do you think Europe became Christian? An excellent literary drama portraying this process is Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz.

    As to your citations from Aristotle: we are not debating whether homosexual sex is unnatural, we are wondering whether taking away either a mother or a father from a child, or pretending that you can call a father a mother or a mother a father is unnatural. We are also debating whether marriage has any meaningful definition, and how radically altering its traditional definition might cause harm to the body politic.

    Finally, I think you seem to treat Natural Law as if it were Natural Science. Aristotle warns towards the beginning of the Politics not to do this because human things are not mathematical things. Likewise divine things are not mathematical things.

    Lastly, Which “Pope” claims contraception is “evil”? Surely not Benedict XVI who explained that in the Ordo Caritas there is an ideal norm, and then gradations of intermediary states – he gave the example that using a condom in Africa, if one was already promiscuous, was morally acceptable due to the risk of AIDS, given that dying of disease is a fate we wish to help people avoid. You do understand that this is not the same as advocating promiscuity and contraception?

    Finally, the Church allows for contraception in a variety of forms, i.e. hormonal, if it is used to mitigate threats to the life of the woman in certain medical cases. This is not the same as advocating mass, thoughtless use of contraceptives for casual sex. I expect the lack of a Hamuarbi like codex on this subject may upset those who hope for morality to be as clear and low as government regulations tend to be, but as with all things in Christianity: the fine print is where ever your conscience meets the voice of God.

    • Concerning your claim that Natural Law theory was a great converter of Pagans:
      The Romans and the Greeks (part of the Roman Empire) were converted by use of force – Constantine moved against some of their temples but it was Constantius II who passed laws against Paganism making it punishable by death. Systematic state persecution not persuasion or appeals to Natural Law theory is what converted the Romans and Greeks.

      Greater Europe becomes Christian because Kings converted to get better relations and trade deals with the military and economic power of the Roman Empire, than these converted Kings also make Paganism a crime punishable by death. This same manner is how Russia became Orthodox, except for them it was better relations with the Byzantine Empire. There wasn’t a flood of Natural Lawyers converting either Russia or the West.

      On the Aristotle quote:
      My mention of Aristotle’s take on homosexuality as natural is to contrast it to other natural law theorists who held it wasn’t, I’m arguing this is a proof that there is no objective natural law because the outcome is completely relative to the theorist’s background. I’m flatly saying the claim that Natural Law theory is objective is provably false.

      My point that arguments vs gay adoption is not an argument against gay marriage stands:
      When speaking about this piece you like the author talk about parents and not about marriage, which was my original point – even if we assume that the author has, as he believes, made an argument against gays raising children that isn’t an argument about marriage. He doesn’t even try to make an argument religious or otherwise that marriage is all about kids. So the target he sought to hit isn’t struck.

      On your point about the definition of marriage:
      You say that the piece is about seeking a definition of marriage, but it should be clear that marriage already has a very old meaning in American society – its a contract. The claim that marriage should be seen as a covenant is the new and novel idea. This is obvious as you never hear even the staunchest of Catholic bishops call for divorce to be made illegal.

      The desire to hold marriage as a covenant was lost with the Reformation if not before that when popes gave dispensations for well connected aristocrats to have their marriages annulled. The reason Henry VIII didn’t get a dispensation was because Catherine’s nephew Charles V could threaten Pope Julius II with physical harm as he was his military hostage.

      This past dispensation system for the well connected wasn’t nearly as bad as today’s “Catholic divorce” system where 6% of the world’s Catholics (the Americans) get over 60% of annulments. (I’m aware that annulments are suppose to be saying “no marriage ever happened”, I’m saying that its just a rubber stamp and is an open scandal due to an unimaginable level of abuse where few if any are turned away). And it is solely a handful of Catholic hierarchy that maintain Jesus forbids divorce, none of the Protestants and not even the Orthodox hold this (neither do members of Judaism or Islam).

      Therefor it is not homosexuals and their supporters that are trying to redefine marriage it is a handful of Christians and even among this number if they had to accept that divorce would have to be outlawed or fertile people must be open to pregnancy/procreation those numbers would thin even below single digits. (Polls show that somewhere around 98% of otherwise fertile Catholic couples use man-made birth control – so even the Catholic laity in America could not be counted on to accept this definition).

      Extending the class of adults who can enter a contract, makes sense under contract law which is what we have in this area in the US. Getting people to accept convent marriage when even Christians in huge numbers get divorces or “annulments” is the intellectual novelty. A few Christians are screaming that the house of America will fall to the ground if contract law is extended to gay people, while the foundations of their own homes are shattered into dust. You can no more build a meaningful argument on dust than you can build a house on sand.

      On my point that the Popes and the Catholic Church hold man-made contraception are intrinsically evil:

      The Catholic Church holds all man-made contraceptives are tools of evil as they interfere with the procreative aspect of sex or in some cases such as in the use of condoms both the procreative and unitive aspects of sex (both aspects they hold must be present in sex to have it be in line with their version of “Natural Law”). This is plainly stated by John Paul II in “Familiaris Consortio”, “When couples, by means of recourse to contraception, separate these two meanings that God the Creator has inscribed in the being of man and woman and in the dynamism of their sexual communion, they act as ‘arbiters’ of the divine plan and they ‘manipulate’ and degrade human sexuality-and with it themselves and their married partner-by altering its value of ‘total’ self-giving. Thus the innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.”

      In the same document John Paul II lists “a truly contraceptive mentality” as among the signs of “a disturbing degradation of some fundamental values” and “negative phenomena”. JP2 goes on to say that due to selfishness and closing themselves off from YHWH’s will couples are refusing to have children, and therefor much of “the culture of death” is traceable back to contraception: “Still others, imprisoned in a consumer mentality and whose sole concern is to bring about a continual growth of material goods, finish by ceasing to understand, and thus by refusing, the spiritual riches of a new human life. The ultimate reason for these mentalities is the absence in people’s hearts of God, whose love alone is stronger than all the world’s fears and can conquer them. Thus an anti-life mentality is born”.

      JP2 is merely repeating the teaching of Paul VI in the most famous of papal documents that clearly hold that man-made contraception is evil – his encyclical “Humanae Vitae”. Under the heading “Unlawful Birth Control Methods” he declares abortion, for even therapeutic reasons “to be absolutely excluded as lawful means of regulating the number of children”, direct sterilization permanent or temporary is “Equally to be condemned”, then he condemns all man-made birth control “Similarly excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means. Neither is it valid to argue, as a justification for sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive, that a lesser evil is to be preferred to a greater one…it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it — in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general. Consequently, it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.”

      So not only does the Pope call contraception “intrinsically wrong” but he actual plainly calls it “evil”.

      Concerning the illusion that Benedict XVI authorized condoms:
      You gravely mistake Benedict XVI’s comments on condoms. He was addressing the question is it evil or good for a gay prostitute who knows he has HIV to use a condom and not spread the disease to his client. The Pope obviously holding that homosexual acts are evil, obviously holding that prostitution is evil, said that for the gay prostitute to consider the welfare of his client and use a condom in that particular case would be a good as it would be starting to see the other as an image of god who should not be knowingly infected with a fatal disease. Obviously the Pope would also say it would be even better if the gay prostitute stopped selling sex for money, took up a life of chastity, and sought either baptism or confession (depending on whether he was a member of R.C. already or not). Again his comments are limited to the specific case of a homosexual prostitute who knows he has HIS, in no other case is it allowable to use condoms – it is not even allowable if the prostitute with HIV is a woman as she would be interfering with the possibility of a procreative act if divine providence so desired.

      Concerning therapeutic use of the hormones of the pill:
      The Catholic Church does not allow any use of man-made products which have the intent to contracept. If a women was in crippling pain during her cycle and the hormones found in the pill would alleviate this she could get a dispensation to use the pill – as her intent is not to prevent childbirth but to alleviate pain. The accompanying temporary sterility would be an unfortunate side-effect not a goal. The issue of intent is one of the key factors in Catholic morality. This system is far clearer than Hamuarbi’s code, if your intent in using any contraception is to prevent pregnancy that’s an evil and must not be done if one does not want to commit a mortal sin against Jesus.

      In no way does Catholicism hold that one is merely to proceed following “where ever your conscience meets the voice of God”, they hold that an improperly formed conscience will lead a person into hell, and that it is the duty of all who would follow Jesus to empty themselves of their own self-motivated thinking and fill themselves with the mind of Jesus present in his Majesterium and his Scriptures which he gave to the Catholic Church and which have been preserved there by the Holy Spirit.

    • Lydia of Acts 16:14-15 is said to be “one who worshipped God”, that’s a “god-fearer” a person who isn’t ethnically Jewish who believes in YHWH and follows the seven noahide laws as only members of Judaism are called to fulfil the 613 mitzvahs. Paul has no luck converting actual philosophers when he appears in Athens and preaches to them on Mars Hill. There is nothing in the story of Lydia about Natural Law theory at all or even philosophy.

      Augustine knows nothing of Aristotle’s thinking in this regard as only the Byzantines had his works on these matters. People in the west in Augustine’s day would have only known of Aristotle as a great rhetorician. Augustine doesn’t even ever read directly from Plato, he reads about Plato’s ideas third hand from Neoplatonic thinkers.

      Augustine’s mother was Catholic and raised him as such, he lost the faith but returned to it after Ambrose explained difficulties he had with the Bible and after he had what amounts to a private revelation with a child’s voice telling him to take and read – which he took to be about the Bible. Private revelation is not the same as persuasion due to studying Natural Law theory. Its odd to claim Augustine knew anything about Natural Law theory when no one in Catholicism would hear about it until refugees from the East would bring copies of Aristotle’s work west and it fell into the hands of thinkers like Thomas Aquinas around the 1260s.

  40. Mr. Matthew,

    thank you for your replies, and all of the interesting sojourns that they take us on. Allow me to reply in brief, not because I disregard your points, but because I will be silent where I either agree with you, or where I simply find the argument immaterial to the present debate.

    First, I maintain still that your definition of Natural Law is too (conveniently) narrow, as is your definition of philosophy. A philosopher is a lover of wisdom. By this definition, Lidia, like Paul, were philosophers, as were all who came to the Lord because they loved Wisdom and discovered its endless stream in Him. A philosopher is not a disciple of Plato or Aristotle, nor a man who holds an academic title, nor even a man called a philosopher – a philosopher is a lover of wisdom. Likewise, a philosopher of Natural Law is not a man who reads Plato and Aristotle, but a man who loves wisdom and seeks to know the nature of things and whether some laws exist in the nature of things.

    Secondly, and consequently to point number one, I take issue with your historicism (not necessarily your history) and your tendency to atribute apparent abstract, political and material causes only to the spiritual transformations of European civilization. The very fact that Princes often applied force to compel religious piety is itself indicative of the existence of unforced religious piety. If people had been oblivious to religious matters, no force would have been necessary to alter their public professions, and as is well known, the use of force did not alter the faith of the heart. The great and final victory of Christianity was the abolition of religious persecussion, and where it took place under the guise of Christianity, it was not Christianity, just like Sophism – though carrying the name of wisdom – is not wise. Each of us, as a human, is prone (as even Aristotle notes in his Metaphysics) to wonder. This wonder and the quest to understand is Natural law philosophy.

    Thirdly, I feel that your understanding of Catholicism is rather Jewish. Catholics do not build kosher elevators, drive on water bottles, keep pigs on platforms, nor concoct “correct” vs “incorrect” contraceptive methods (that is not the idea of what some call natural family planning, to give one example). Nor do they check whether it’s ok to use a condom if they’re homosexual prostitutes with AIDS or just when they’re homosexual prostitutes. Likewise, annulment is absolutely not what you describe it to be. I have far too much knowledge in the area to believe anything but the opposite, but to argue the case is impossible because all cases of excellence in the Church in this area are private, as they should be. The Papal documents you cite are not legal acts that we are to read like civil lawyers; they are meditations meant to move our conscience to apply ethical standards to our lives. You must also take into account that they are written to a general, large audience, not to particular individuals. The real work of applying ethics to an individual is done in private, between the priests and their flock, over time, wrangling with the complexities of particular lives. For example, have you noticed how, during holidays like Christmas, Churches fill up and the sermons become very basic, routine and almost banal? This is because priests understand that some people only attend Church on those “important” holidays and therefore the “message” is made basic and general in the hope of evangelizing the masses to perhaps attend Church regularly. On the more typical Sundays in the liturgical calleder, the sermons can be far more complex. Also, you yourself say that dispensations are possible. Do you imagine that dispensations are issued on the basis of a procedural book or a price list? In fact, dispensations are issued on the basis of a relationship that develops over time between priests and parishoners and bishops and priests. These personal relationships are loving communities within which people take care of one another. Sermons and Papal enciclicals are not the place to engage in this very private kind of ministry. Contraception, like marriage annulment, is a very private, often dramatic issue that is treated seriously by serious priests and serious bishops. These serious priests and bishops are not heard of in the news because their work is done in private, as it should be. Thus, we only hear about those priests and bishops who turn people away rather than open their hearts to them. Finally, the Russian Orthodox church, while we are on the subject, is also a very beautiful tradition in its own right. The few Orthodox persons I have encountered have impressed me with stories of how their Churches function. I do not mean to suggest in these remarks of mine that everyone needs to be Catholic, especially since Catholicism, as the name suggests, is a universal religion. We find ourselves often misunderstood because Catholicism is a moderation between the extremes of protestantism and Orthodoxy, but there it is.

    You will, I hope, understand that rather than engage you in a debate over the history of Popes and Kings, I have instead talked about the life of the Church and regular people in the Church. Homosexuals, no matter what their situation or circumstance, are children of the same loving God and no one is advocating to cast them into the flames. Again: the worry is that rather than forming children into ladies and gentlemen, we shall harm their formation by introducing them to a kind of life which is meant, if it is meant for anyone, for a small minority who cannot behave otherwise. I think that if an Ancient Athenian proposed that someone ought to say of his boy “this is my wife”, it would be laughable. Likewise, it is laughable now to pretend to such things.

    • Concerning Lydia:
      Full quote: Act 16:13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

      Neither philosophy nor wisdom is mentioned, nor does it say she was a worshipper of pagan gods but of capital G god meaning YHWH the same as Paul. Nor was she convinced by philosophical argument but “The Lord opened her heart” a supernatural action that was done to her not a logical conclusion she reached by human reason.

      Theology and philosophy should not be confused, philosophy is the actions of humans seeking wisdom, theology is defined as the receiving of knowledge by means of self-revelation by divinity.

      Natural Law is not synonymous with philosophy:
      You say “This wonder and the quest to understand is Natural law philosophy.” By your definitions Natural Law theory is synonymous with philosophy, but it isn’t. Natural Law theory was developed by Aristotle, neither Plato nor Socrates, nor the Pre-Socratatics held it. Nor was it universally accepted by philosophers during or after the life of Aristotle. Natural Law theory is one theory among many in philosophy, its analogous to saying animated cartoons are one expression of art – not all art is about cartoons just as not all philosophy is about Natural Law theory. Most modern schools of philosophy are not grounded on it in anyway – only Neo-Thomism.

      On the historical use of force in the name of “conversion”:
      Your position on the use of force is unclear. I maintain that in most cases the Kings feigned conversion for political goals and not for a concern over the truth. I maintain that their people previously devoted to their pagan gods were only compelled to pretend to be Christians outwardly by use of force. I maintain that those desiring for their children to get ahead in the new society allowed them to be raised with knowledge of Christianity. Those raised in such a manner may actually have believed, but they would be the first in the scenario to act out of concern for truth rather than worrying about economic advantage. These would be people raised in the faith, they would not be converts. In this scenario few are converted, merely a generation is raised to hold that the new religion is the societal norm they must operate under. A similar thing has happened in the middle ages when Christian communities are pressured to convert to Islam when Muslim rulers conquer the territory.

      I do not understand your statement “If people had been oblivious to religious matters, no force would have been necessary to alter their public professions, and as is well known, the use of force did not alter the faith of the heart.” This doesn’t even seem to be addressing your claim that Natural Law theory aided in conversion.

      You are in direct error when you state: “The great and final victory of Christianity was the abolition of religious persecution, and where it took place under the guise of Christianity, it was not Christianity, just like Sophism – though carrying the name of wisdom – is not wise.”

      Natural Law theory is against religious liberty and calls on a “rightly ordered state” to use whatever means necessary to insure that society is inline with the will of the divine law giver that is held to be backing the state. As Natural Law theory holds all rights come from the divine law giver in Christianity this means all rights come from YHWH. This is the same god of the Bible that forbids worship of false gods (and in the case of Jesus forbids heretical worship (such as those saying you must circumcise yourself to be a real Christian) so where would a person get a “right” to worship a false god under this system. An individual would not, no such right exists – humans can’t make up there own rights, all rights originate with god. Therefor a state seeking to be seen as “rightly ordered” forbid people from publicly expressing their religion, from preaching it, from building houses of worship, etc. by use of its policing power and force. Most clearly on display during the era of upheaval called the Protestant Reformation.

      So the idea that Christianity has been historically against persecution is provably false, not just in the matter of history but of philosophy as well. The Enlightenment was a reaction against such Christian philosophy and the Enlightenment is the source of religious freedom historically. To be sure there were the Anabaptists and Quakers rejecting the overriding Christian philosophy of Natural Law theory but they were persecuted onto death by the Christian majorities (both Catholic and the other Protestants) who acted against them while citing Natural Law theory. So Religious freedom in the West, isn’t an outgrowth of Christianity its a reaction against its over a millennium and a half use of Natural Law theory.

      On your take on what Catholicism:
      Your comments on Catholicism are not inline with the Catholic Catechism nor do they show any regard for papal authority, which if your claiming to be a Catholic makes one wonder why you bother.

      You say Catholics don’t have “correct” or “incorrect” options on contraception, this is flatly false. You yourself cite Natural Family Planning (also called the Sympto-Thermo technique) which is one of the “correct” ways Catholicism says a faithful Catholic can use to space child-birth and there are other ways which all focus on the woman’s reproductive cycle, times of fertility and infertility that occur naturally in this cycle.

      Anything that uses outside means or man-made objects to prevent birth control is held by Catholicism as “incorrect”. The quotes I gave from papal documents show this clearly enough.

      You say “You must also take into account that they [papal documents] are written to a general, large audience, not to particular individuals.” Again this is an error. These documents are written to all of humanity, just as Christian Scripture is written to all of humanity. For instance Humane Vitae’s opening line includes “To the clergy and faithful of the whole Catholic World, and to all men of good will, on the regulation of birth.”

      If one is free to disregard this saying its not specific enough to the individual then Catholics are free to disregard Jesus’ saying on willingness to forgive “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven”(Matthew 18:21–22). By the logic you put forward only Peter has to forgive people like that, everyone else, because the message wasn’t specifically said to them, is free to be completely unforgiving, hate their neighbor, hate their enemies, and change money in the Temple/Church if they want.

      Your take on Papal documents is not one that is line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, they are not held as “meditations” but are instructions to the Catholic Faithful to avoid sin and damnation and Catholicism (which holds that the Holy Spirit assists the Pope in making pronouncements about faith and morals so that they never teach error) tells all the faithful that they are to follow these statements as they are backed up by the Holy Spirit which guides the Church.

      Catechism of the Catholic Church: “[E]very action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil” (CCC 2370). “Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means . . . for example, direct sterilization or contraception” (CCC 2399).

      “The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved….and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s Faith and of Catholic Doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church’s Magisterium.
      I declare it to be a sure norm for the teaching the Faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” – Pope John Paul II (pg 5 CCC)

      Protestants can reject Papal documents and the Majesterium of the Catholic Church as they hold Catholicism is a false church, if you are a Catholic there is no authority to reject the authority of the Pope and the Church’s Majesterium at all. Luther rejected it saying it was at odds with his conscience. If that is what someone calling themselves a Catholic does today, its perplexing why they continue to be a part of such a Church – it seems like a concern for physiological benefits rather than a concern for truth.

      Returning to the topic of gay marriage:
      You return in the end of your comment to the question of gay marriage. The argument of the author the piece we are commenting on tried to make a non-religious argument for opposing it. He has failed to do so. If one wants to say that their god is against it, they should be free to do so. They are going to have little impact and little persuasive power to people outside of their religion. Therefor if they wish to oppose gay marriage they will have to try non-religious arguments – the one presented here failed to do so.

      You close with an assertion about Ancient Athens that does not address Aristotle’s quote nor any historical quotation at all, you present a construct of your own and then knock it down. This isn’t an argument against Aristotle’s position that homosexuality is natural for some, but is a strawman and it appears to also be an argument from personal incredulity – you can’t believe he would hold such a thing so you laugh at it and hold all should join you. These types of relationships openly existed throughout the ancient world and were also found in North American Indian tribes. It can be noted that you find them personally distasteful, but that’s not an argument against the idea that contract law should be extended to another class of adults.

      Neither the author of the piece we are commenting on nor yourself have made any claims that marriage in the West is anything other than man-made contract law. Nor have either of you presented an argument against extending contract law to another class of adults. If you wish to argue that gays should not be allowed to adopt that remains a separate issue. It does not appear that either of you are indifferent to gay marriage as long as assurances are codified into law that they are not allowed to rear children – you both appear to oppose it in any form. As such the argument isn’t on topic, its like arguing that the color blue is the best when asked what kind of tax policy you prefer.

  41. Mr. matthew,

    Thank you for your further thoughts, it is always an invigorating joy to learn from confronting knowledge and opinions.

    St. Lidia:

    Regarding St. Lidia: merely quoting the relevent Biblical passage and then rushing to conclusions is rather useless. Depending on how you translate from the original, what you cite as “she was a worshipper of God” can be and is translated by many as “she feared God.” In Biblical exegisis there is apparently a very big difference Those who “feared God” rather than “worshipped God” were Judaic “proselizers” who did not fully comply with Mosaic Law. If we dig deeper, we discover that a “Judaic proselizer”, in the Biblical sense of being a “proselizer” was a term used to identify a Pagan who came to accept Judaism.

    Certainly, St. Lidia could not have been in “full compliance” with Mosaic Law, given that she was likely of Greek origin, not Jewish, and given that the city she resided in when she encountered Paul had no Jewish temple for her to worship in as prescribed by Mosaic Law.

    But most importantly – the fact that she was a proselizer and not a worshipper in the traditional Judaic sense means that she was by definition a philosopher. Proselization is akin to going to other people and trying to convince them of the truth of a proposition regarding the Nature of things. Proselization means confronting one view to another. Certainly, the philosopher, in contradistinction to the proselizer, “knows he does not know”, while the proselizer believes they do know and wishes to spread this knowledge. But what is common to both is the engagement in dialogue as a means towards knowing. Having such a character, it is little wonder Lidia found Paul intriguing and, being incapable of ever becoming fully Jewish (since Judaism is not a universal creed), yet not willing to remain a Pagan whorshipping many false gods, leaning towards Monotheism – she obviously concluded from conversations with Paul that Christ was the one true path she had been seeking all along.

    Now, of course we cannot know precisely what they said to one another, nor be sure of these details; but certainly it seems quite logical to presume that, if you accept a more accurate translation of the Biblical passage you cite, and you accept the exegetic notion of a difference between a “worshipper of God” and one who “fears God”, as well as that the Biblical concept of a “proselizer” is different from a worshipper, and more akin to a philosopher (since both a proselizer and a philosopher engage in dialogue with a view to truth), then you cannot but conclude, as accepted Catholic (and quite possibly Orthodox) scholarship on the matter seem to conclude – that Lidia was a Pagan who had leaned towards Judaic Monotheism and, as a proselizer, engaged in dialogue with others in pursuit of the true nature of things, and having come upon Paul, found Christianity to be an adequate description of the true nature of things.

    In short – you are simply mistaken about St. Lidia, the Bible citation you produce is both an inaccurate translation and, more importantly, you failed to be careful about taking what you read in the Bible too literally. It is always necessary, with every word in the Bible, to consult even rudimentary scholarship on the subject.

    On Princes, Religious Persecution & Natural Law

    One ought not write things like “Natural Law theory is against” as if “Natural Law Theory” were a homogenous codified doctrine or a man walking round the city being “for” and “against” things. We clearly have very different views on the history of the religious development of Europe, which is fine. I think your analysis fails to take into account that the Enlightenment was a Western phenomenon, like the Reformation, and that it simply had no place in the East, where – at best – it was an exotic topic of conversation amongst the philosophers. I think it is superfluous to argue about this, because it moves us too far away from the topic at hand.

    As to the distinctions between Natural Law and Philosophy, I must say that I find you reasoning hard to fathom. You really claim that Socrates and Plato had nothing to do with developing Natural Law theory? To maintain this position, you would have to really limit the definition of Natural Law theory. As I noted in my previous post – you obviously have a conveniently limited definition of Natural Law. I simply do not agree with it. Again – I think debating the matter is superfluous. If you hold that “Natural Law theory” is always and everywhere not what Socrates, St. Augustine and Plato argued, but only what “neo-Thomism” argues – then there is not much for us to debate, especially since I hold that, as important as Plato, Socrates, St. Augustine and St. Thomas were to Natural Law theory, they by no means should be treated as the equivalent of Moses with his tablets.

    The Catechism:

    All of those quotes you provide are very interesting, but rather beside the point. We can agree, since you do not like the term “meditations” to call them “instructions.” But the point still stands that instructions are not the same as civil law, and that Catholic doctrine is not orthodox Judaism. As to natural family planning, I specifically mentioned it only to say that it too was not an example of a Judaic-minded application of Catholic religion, but one of many attempts at applying ethics to sexual life following consideration of the ethical problems of sexuality raised in the various Catholic documents on the subject. I did not advocate “natural family planning” as any more or less “correct” than any other mode of contraception. Again – Catholics aren’t Jews, they don’t have kosher elevators and they don’t have a rule book about sexual life that you can open to page 3, paragraph 5, subsection 7 to discover the correct manner of engaging in sexual intercourse. Catholics have two thousand years of doctrine aimed at awakening the conscience in all aspects of their lives.

    If your view and use of the Catechism was correct, then there would be no place in the Church for sermons, books, debates, scholarly meditations,pastoral consultations and the like. Furthermore, there would be no need for Churches, priests, confessioners and the lot. We could just save everyone the time and money by posting the Catechism online, or, like the health regulations in grocery stores and restaurants, we might post the thing on our living room wall and walk around with a check-list to see if we have fulfilled St. John Paul II’s every word to the letter.

    I maintain that a Catholic who does this is a very Jewish Catholic and is missing the point, although I do realize that in such a big Church, there are people with differing needs and levels of sensitivity. There are Catholics who are more mystical, others who are more rational. There are also priests who, independent of what they think, must often confront complex matters in the lives of parishoners and – to the best of their ability – apply ethical standards in a loving way.

    The more you quote the Catechism, the more it sounds like you wish to apply the standards of a 12 year old’s Catholicism to the problems of adult life. That is not, in my opinion, a mature use of the teachings of the Catechism.

    I realize that this “12 year old’s Catholicism” is the prefered Catholicism of the liberal West and the fundamentalists of Christian persuasion (who are allies in their attempt at making all things jeuvenille), but thankfully there are too many good books by too many serious Catholics (and non-Catholics) to accept the line of argumentation according to which throwing around long quotes from St. John Paul II necessarily closes the debate in favor of the one who uses these quotes.

    Each of the citations you provide deserves a seperate discussion, which, however interesting it might be, would move us away from our topic.

    Theology & Philosophy

    While you are correc that there is a difference between theology and philosophy, I think that you betray a tad bit of dogmatism in the firmness with which you insist both of them are completely opposed to one another as seperate disciplines. Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Theology is the logic of divine things. Wisdom can be of natural and super natural, human and divine things. A lover of wisdom therefore loves (and thus longs for) the knowledge and comprehension of divine things and human things. A philosopher therefore engages in theology. I really see nothing more to say on this matter.

    Do please note that Dr. Bauman’s “non-religious” argument takes the word “religious” to mean what the word “religious” means – namely respect for what is sacred and reverence for the gods” as well as “the bond between men and gods”. As such, his argument is presented in the form of a set of statistical analysis purporting to demonstrate what happens to children who grow up without either a father or a mother. In this sense, it is not religious because it is with a view to an empirical study. Dr. Bauman is attempting to highlight the fact that the Same Sex Marriage lobby, purporting to be “value neutral” and “tolerant” about theological and philosphical things, ignores hard facts about what the result of their policies will be. That this deliberate ignorance of hard facts is itself actually an indication of their “tolerance” masking a concrete opinion on matters theological and philosophical, Dr. Bauman intimates when he writes:

    “Same sex marriage advocates also argue that it is wrong to make value judgment about marriage. Yet they allow themselves to make value judgments about who should get to marry. Here again they fail logically. By insisting that same sex unions ought to be considered marriages on a par with heterosexual marriages, they make a value judgment about marriages, both their own marriages and those of others. If they are against making value judgments about marriage, then they have to stop saying what they say. But of course they won’t. Rather, they press their judgments on others while, at the same time, refusing to permit others to make judgments.”

    By writing this, Dr. Bauman is merely trying to demonstrate that the advocates of Same Sex marriage pretend that religious and philosophical questions are “private” and “personal” while their arguments are based on science and evidence. Yet Dr. Bauman presents empirical evidence that contradicts their prefered political ideology, and happens to also point out that the “neutrality” of the Same Sex marriage lobby is a sham, since their views are indeed governed by an underlying philosophical and theological presumption.

    Dr. Bauman was making a common sense argument – picking it apart and suggesting that he failed to make a “non-religous” argument is, against, beside the point.

    I recognize that the majority of Americans refuse to see that broken families and a light hearted approach to marriage, family structure, fatherhood and motherhood are detrimental to their society. It does not particularly worry me. Romans under Nero seemed equally oblivious to their slow collapse. It appears sexual confusion is in fashion now anyways; I have seen the picture of the androginous winner of some European song and dance festival (I forgot what the thing is called…Eurovision?) The mass media, and the governments of the West, enjoy promoting sexual confusion. It makes people who are incapable of governing themselves and sustaining healthy relationships feel better about their failures, gives social status to those homosexuals who have embraced “gay” ideology and helps us move further and further from considering more serious political issues. I accept there’s nothing I can do about it except be happy that Russia, Australia and a few other choice countries, including Poland, where the constitution prohibits same sex marriage by explicitly defining marriage as between a man and a woman (which in no way makes it impossible to pass or strengthen laws helping homosexual couples take advantage of tax breaks, visitation rights etc) have not succumbed to this siliness. In the end, we shall not convince one another otherwise, I think, nor should we.

    There are places on Earth, mostly Christian, where people understand the idea of marriage and family. There are African tribes where one can observe the phenomenon of polygamy in action. I have watched a few television programs with a Polish (staunchly Catholic) man who travels to such places and presents these tribes and their customs to people. He is very respectful of them, and tries to learn the virtues of their marital structure. He, of course, never questions their polygamy, which would be an insult to their tribe. He also, being a Christian and European, thinks that homosexual marriage in Europe is a bad idea because while it is interesting to look at polygamous African tribes, it is not so interesting to regress to their level from the heights of European civilization.

    Perhaps in the future, we shall send similar explorers to America to film the tribes on the Hudson or in San Fransisco who engage in equally exotic behavior. That is fine. People are different; if America wishes to take for its guiding example Sodom and Gomorah rather than Rome, Athens and Jerusalem – fine.

    Only please do note that there is a big different between Athens and Sodom and the approach that each of these places, historically, had towards homosexuality and the family.

  42. On Lydia I pointed out that she was a “god-fearer” this is a historical term, not some invention. Its people who were raised Pagan but due to exposure to Judaism become convinced that YHWH is true. As it was difficult to convert at the time of the Roman Empire and as men who were to convert would have to be circumcised, Judaism declared that such people could serve YHWH by following the commands at Gen 9:1-17 that he gave to Noah who was the father of all humanity, while only those who were the children of Abraham and Isaac were commanded to keep the Torah. The big draw back at this time for full conversion for men was having to cut off your foreskin without modern anesthesia.

    Pharisees were spread out across the Roman Empire as there had been a type of Diaspora as not all Jews returned from Babylon and many sought opportunities across the Roman Empire. As they were literate and their religion seen as novel, lots of pagans saw them in light similar to how many Christians in the US see the Dalai Lama, investigating and sometimes converting due to the respect they have. You can see the apostles running into these kind of people a lot in the book of acts, such as in Acts 13:16 and 13:26. They do not study Plato or philosophy they study the Hebrew Torah and the Jewish psalms and prophets – so they are already familiar with the concept of Messiah whom Paul is proclaiming is Jesus. God-fearers are not proselytizes as that term means someone who tries to convert others, they are not in a position to convert people to Judaism as they are not full converts themselves. Further at the time of Paul the Temple had not fallen and a member of Judaism would try to visit the Temple on high holy days, but as she would still be a Gentile this duty would not fall on her and she would likely visit the local synagogue to hear more about the Torah, prophets, and writings of Judaism. See Acts 17:17 “So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks”.

    Lydia is not someone who is interested in Greek philosophy which has Apollo as its patron god, this is someone who sees paganism and its thought as an affront to YHWH. Unlike Christianity, Judaism was a legal religion in the Roman Empire due to it being ancient and because Jews had sided with Julius Caesar in the Roman civil war. So god-fearers would be seen as following a legitimate religion and not be expected to worship the pagan gods of the state or face death. Roman officials soon after the death of Paul realized that Christianity wasn’t some kind of Jewish sect, largely because Rabbis informed them of such and since Christianity was seen as new it was seen as a man-made superstition that could upset the gods and needed to be eradicated.

    You have an extremely expansive definition of both philosopher and philosophy that is unique to yourself. The proselytizer is not using reason but is calling on people to “open their heart” to a supernatural deity, they speak in terms of theology not philosophy. Theology is defined as information coming from the self-revelation of a deity – Paul tells people Jesus is risen that’s not something that can be backed up by philosophy, nor did he come to it by philosophy but by private revelation when he was knocked off his horse on the Road to Damascus. Lydia is not convinced by argument but because “The Lord opened her heart”. You continue to avoid addressing this quote that makes her conversion hinge on divine action or private revelation and you insert the concept of proselytizer in that passage when its not there.

    If you wish to continue talking about Lydia please explain how you hold that “The Lord opened her heart” is correctly read as Paul convinced her by didactic method bringing her to Socratic elenchus so that she reached a recollection of anamnesis of her preexistence in the metaphysical plane of the forms. It doesn’t say any of that, it doesn’t really give Paul much credit at all, he didn’t convince her – a divine action did. The Bible says it wasn’t fancy arguments but divine grace – Paul never converted this woman, Jesus did. If she had been convinced by Paul, Jesus would not have had to act.

    On your extremely liberal modernist take on what Catholicism is:

    If you claim that a Catholic can dismiss the teachings of the Church and the teachings of the Pope than what is the difference between a Catholic and Martin Luther?

    Why if a Catholic is free to dismiss everything that the Pope and the Majesterium of the Church says, would it not be possible for Catholics to dismiss the Church’s teaching that same-sex marriage is wrong. By your argument they would be perfectly within their rights to declare that their conscience tells them that Jesus is totally cool with gay marriage and that he thinks Catholics should all back same-sex marriage being performed in Catholic Churches. If Catholicism is just another word for whatever your conscience tells you, why should they not call on this to happen – polls show a majority of Catholics in America (58%) don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage, would it be okay for them to cast-off what you call the “meditation” provided by the Papacy and the Majesterium of the Catholic Church and start having gay weddings which have the sacrifice of the Mass as an element within them?

    Returning to the original article:
    Speaking of the article we are commenting on, you do not address my point that the author is making an argument against gays raising kids and not about same-sex marriage. He makes no claim that marriage must be defined by child-rearing. As he claimed he was going to make an argument against gay marriage he failed to even address that, he has made an argument against allowing gays to raise kids that’s all he has done. Nobody, including yourself, has yet to say that your okay with gay marriage as long as a law is passed forbidding them from adopting or raising children they gave birth to or sired (by previous relationships, by the use of technology, or by the use of surrogates).

  43. James Matthew,

    Your first paragraph in response to me is simply false. Where is your support for the claim that natural law makes reference to a law giver? Classical Natural Law is based on the idea that the Good of a thing is to follow its nature. And the nature is the Platonic or Aristotelian conception of a nature or essence or form. Where is the law giver here?

    You just repeat your claims about the divergence of natural lawyers with no reference to my points and no real support for your claims. That natural lawyers may disagree about certain things is simply not proof that natural law is incorrect. The ends of aspects and processes of human nature is not always self-evident and this means there can be disagreements about what is correct action, especially in the varied and dynamic circumstances of everyday life. You must address these points to actually address natural law.

    The stuff about theocracies is question begging. It assumes natural law is wrong and just a ruse, which is what is in dispute.

    On neurotransmitters, the point is about whole processes and not dubiously interpreted parts of them. Homosexuals can have ‘sex’ of sorts, but this does not take away from the interpretation of their actions as unnatural, in itself.

    I think you are interpreting Aristotle incorrectly. He is talking precisely of homosexual predilections, at least for those assuming a passive role, as diseased and unnatural – that is the larger context of the quote. He is differentiating what is natural to women – who cannot be blamed for it – with what is diseased or degenerate in men. It is, after all, part of these physiological differences that causes Aristotle to think women inferior to men. Aristotle, at other times in the same work, makes reference to barbarous practices and includes homosexuality amongst them.

    • Sorry I responded to this comment soon after you posted it but I mistakenly posted it in reply to your earlier comment. I repeat it here for clarity:

      Aquinas states that Eternal law is what governs the universe and is an expression of an unchanging god so that is why it like him is eternal. Divine Law is what is contained in his self-revelation that humans have in scripture and the majesterium of his Church (things like keeping holy the Sabbath that could not be determined otherwise are laid out here). Natural law is eternal law that applies to us which we can know by reason. Human law is promulgated by humans but to be rightly ordered must be in line with Natural Law. As Natural Law rests on the eternal and unchanging its source can not be found in a changing universe.

      How do you propose that Natural Law would be eternal and unchanging if it is part of a universe in constant change rather than coming from a lawgiver that is immune to time and change?

      I am saying that as there is no consensus among “natural lawyers” the claim that Natural Law theory gives discernible objective truth is false, the truths proclaimed are completely relative to who does “the lawyering”. Why is one to be held as superior to the other? If all but one say one thing, should we declare it true because we will have truth by consensus? Who shall qualify as worthy of a such a vote? Shall new or divergent opinions be barred? If we decide that we will be natural lawyers why should we assume our conclusions are superior to our predecessors?

      Aristotle plainly states that one of the reasons a homosexual may be passive is because to that person it may be natural, also he has no problem with “the active” member of a homosexual union. Yes it seems he finds it personally distasteful but he does not say it is always unnatural. This puts him at odds with other “natural lawyers”. Should his lawyering be dismissed on this matter? By what criteria shall we toss out conclusions of “natural lawyers”?

      I mentioned neurotransmitters because the comment spoke of “romance” which is not a term used in natural law theory. Perhaps what was meant was the natural law term “unitive function of sex”. If one leaves natural law theory one can not argue about what is “natural” and “unnatural” unless one is speaking about things that are manufactured versus things that one encounters in the natural wilderness.

      • James Matthew,

        The universe is not in constant change. This implies some sort of Heraclitian viewpoint, whereas most traditional philosophies repudiate the notion that there is only ceaseless becoming. All that is required for classical natural law is that things are ordered through their final causes towards their good.

        Your point about no consensus amongst natural lawgivers is fallacious. It simply does not follow that because there is no consensus that truth is relative. This is simply a non sequitur. This is obviously an old sceptical argument, which can be applied to almost any intellectual topic, as there is much disagreement, even amongst intelligent people, about almost all intellectual topics. But it simply does not follow from this that, on any given topic, there is no a rationally discernable correct position.

        Besides, classical natural law sets up a system for understanding the good, the ends, of human nature. But our nature in the world is complex and our lives are indefinitely varied. So, of course there is much discussion and dissent amongst natural lawyers. Natural law is not meant to provide a few simplistic formulas to be applied universally with no concern for particularities or circumstances. But this does not mean it cannot be a good guide to our conduct – it can help to come to conclusions about moral conduct. Natural law is as complex and multi-faceted as any moral viewpoint. So, I just can’t see there is any merit in your claims based on a lack of consensus amongst natural lawyers.

        Aristotle does have a problem with homosexuality, even the active partner. As you say yourself he finds it distasteful. He also refers to it as a barbarous and uncivilised activity at one point. He makes some ambiguous comments on the naturalness of passive homosexuals, but this is not an endorsement, as he sees the same natural proclivities in females to be a source of their inferiority. All he is saying is that, in terms of homosexuals, these people are not necessarily warped and depraved but they are engaging in demeaning conduct. It is quite clear he thinks man should not engage in homosexual acts. So he is not disagreeing, necessarily, with other natural lawyers on this point. But anyway, the criteria we would use to judge whether his opinion should be accepted are reason and what natural law tells us about the ends of human nature. I’m unsure what kind of point you think this makes against classical natural law.

      • James Matthew,

        Aquinas makes it clear that natural law does not require the premise of God as lawgiver. Yes, he certainly saw natural law as a reflection of God, and he believed that natural law was part of a philosophical system that affirmed God’s existence, but that is different from God’s existence being a premise of natural law. All classical natural law requires is the Platonic and Aristotelian view of natural ends and goods.

        The big about consensus simply is a non sequitur. It is obviously an old sceptical argument that disagreement, especially amongst the intelligent, means we cannot come to a reasoned conclusion, but this is fallacious. It simply does not follow that there is not a rational conclusion to a question or a method because of this. Natural law is a doctrine that outlines the good for moral agents. This good is to follow the nature and ends of this agent. But this nature and ends are not always easy to understand, especially in the myriad circumstances and great intricacies of life. Natural law is not supposed to be simplistic, providing a simple formula to be applied regardless of circumstance. Rather, natural law is as complex and sophisticated as any moral system. It is therefore not surprising there are disagreements amongst it supporters. But these disagreements do not stop it being a guide to the moral and good life, nor it providing a solution to moral questions (whether or not humans can easily discover this in some situations).

        Even you admit Aristotle was averse to even active homosexual acts. He makes it clear he has a low opinion of homosexual acts. His talk of the naturalness of homosexual desires is – it is clear – not an endorsement. He says the same thing about women but feels there is something inferior about the desire of women to be passive partners. In fact, for Aristotle women are inferior or incomplete men, in a sense. One can debate just what Aristotle’s views of homosexual acts were. But it is clear he did not simply endorse them. Other than that is somewhat unclear. So, one can hardly just quote him as a natural lawyer who accepted the morality of homosexual acts. And even if he did, it wouldn’t mean much. You act as if it is somehow impossible for the natural lawyer to rationally weigh claims on such acts and see if they do square with natural law.

  44. Mr Matthew,

    Happily, we are now getting somewhere in our discussion. To your questions:

    Lidia –

    I conclude that God opening Lidia’s heart means that she had a didactic or Socratic realization on the basis of her humanity. God is not a magician, Paul and Jesus did not carry wands, and it would be a poor religion indeed if Christianity won converts for no apparent reason. By opening her heart, God’s miracle consisted in allowing Lidia to finally be at peace because she had found the Truth; and whatever doubts or lingering inquiries a person might have regarding the nature of that Truth are to be found within it, for the Truth of the Lord is like the unending tides of the cosmic ocean. There are many seekers of Truth who have closed hearts, who insist (like characters from CS Lewis’ Great Divorce) that God give them answers, not love. When God opened Lidia’s heart, I think she was given the grace to accept love.

    “Liberal” Catholicism

    My Catholicism is not liberal or conservative, but really quite specific and likely to evolve as I continue going to Church, reading and learning. The most important influences on my Catholicism as it is can be found in some French Jesuit writers, amongst whom the most influential is Pierre Tielhard de Chardin. In fact, per your question about Luther – if Luther had been a Jesuit, maybe he would have just been sent away to China for fifty years to await the maturing of his fellow clergy men and the whole “schism” thing would have blown over? After all, most of Luther’s teachings are now accepted by the Catholic Church, at least I can’t say anything but explicit anti-Papism would justify leaving the Church nowadays (on protestant grounds). Luther might also have been told, if he were around today, that he was being impolitic. In any event, the controversies that led to the original reformation are, I think, largely moot and really only have meaning for certain evangelical fundamentalists. De Chardin, once ostrasized, is now explicitly praised (or was last praised by Benedict XVI) and Father George Coyne (former head of the Vatican observatory). The other major influence on my Catholicism was Benedict XVI, by far my favorite Pope of my life time. I read his biography of Christ (TIC was even nice enough to publish my review), and was also moved by his ministry in Lebanon towards the Muslim world and by his academic predispositions. I grew so attached to him, that on the day he announced his resignation, I found myself shedding tears during weekday Mass in his intention, knowing that it was the end of the Scholar as Pope. I also admired his work on behalf of ending war.

    Finally, no doubt my Catholicism is influenced by my Parish. We have a number of priests (six, I think) and they all have very different approaches. My favorite is a professor of theology. When he explains a miracle from the New Testament, it makes perfect sense. He uses a phenomenological method rather than relying on positivism (like the Shroud of Turin school), and this is far more convincing (at least for me). But just the fact that all the priests are different and have different approaches to the faith inspires me to also actively seek my own understanding.

    A final part of what formed my Catholicism was what an Anglican minister told me to consider a “Eucharist fast”. I had to prepare for about one year (although nobody told me how long it would take, so in theory it was really “until your Jesuit master says so”) for my first communion, and could not partake in the Eucharist at the time. In the begining, I felt some protestant…well…protestations about Popes telling me when and when not to take the Eucharist, but the aforementioned High Anglican said “think of it as a fast” and after a while I realized that being prohibited from the Eucharist for a possibly indefinite period of time was a blessing because it awakened a yearning and understanding of Communion I never had before.

    Homosexuality –

    As to your questions, it might have omitted your notice due to the length of the comments in this topic, but I have already stated that a) I wrote an article advocating abolishing marriage laws and letting people and churches regulate their own personal lives, b) I could theoretically support civil unions for homosexuals and c) that I myself have such low respect for current government marriage laws that I only have a Church wedding, and do not want a civil wedding.

    And yes, I am pretty much bothered by the idea of homosexual adoption, and by people pretending that men can be mothers and women can be fathers and that family structure is unimportant. I agree with Dr. Bauman and those who opppose or fear “gay marriage” for these and a few other reasons.

    I hope that helps.

    • “… but I have already stated that a) I wrote an article advocating abolishing marriage laws and letting people and churches regulate their own personal lives, b) I could theoretically support civil unions for homosexuals and c) that I myself have such low respect for current government marriage laws that I only have a Church wedding, and do not want a civil wedding.

      And yes, I am pretty much bothered by the idea of homosexual adoption, and by people pretending that men can be mothers and women can be fathers and that family structure is unimportant. ”

      One paragraph contradicts the other. To be opposed to homosexual adoption means opposing civil weddings for homosexuals, since the civil wedding is the official “parenting license” granted by the state.

    • Teilhard de Chardin was a modernist so not much of a surprise that you cite him. Many of his writings were censored by the Roman Curia for teaching false doctrines especially his take on original sin.

      Catholicism has always taught that the story of Adam and Eve is true. Whether the Creation story is literal about the days or if YHWH used evolution in his creation is open to the believer to decide at this time as no dogma has been stated on that matter (John Paul II stated he thought there was evidence for evolution, but did not declare followers must believe one way or the other). Still the Church holds that even if one holds evolution happened, there was a first Adam and Eve as whatever was before only becomes human by the placing of a soul within. So Adam and Eve are held to have literally existed and been the first animals to have souls. There sin in eating the forbidden fruit caused the fall of humanity and all of material creation. Much of the New Testament speaks of Jesus reversing the effects of Adam’s sin and being the New Adam.

      Teilhard de Chardin disagreed with the Church holding that if there was such a thing as Original Sin it had to be with the very beginning of matter – not only later when humans ate the wrong fruit. The Church held this was in direct opposition to Scripture and Holy Tradition and condemned his idea. Out of obedience to the Vatican he submitted to changes.

      Later as more Catholics took up modernist ideas Teilhard de Chardin’s reputation has been reconstructed by his admirers and his novel ideas hailed as great insights.

      You say “After all, most of Luther’s teachings are now accepted by the Catholic Church”. No this is not true.

      Catholicism holds that the communion wafer miraculously becomes literally the full on living man/god Jesus Christ merely behind an appearance of bread, Lutherans hold that Jesus is there but the bread never loses its breadness.

      Catholics hold humans are able to freely choose to do good or evil and cooperate with grace which brings about their salvation, Lutherans hold that humans can only do evil until after they are saved and have no part in their salvation.

      Catholics hold that Mary was born without sin, never had sex, had her hymen miraculously preserved during Jesus’ birth, is rightly called “the mother of god” as Jesus was a divine person with a human nature (a woman gives birth to a person not a nature), and had such an important role in the salvation of humanity that she can be called the co-mediatrix and was bodily assumed into Heaven rather than facing decay; Lutherans hold that Mary was born with original sin and during her lifetime was a sinner, had multiple children with Joseph (so she isn’t an “ever-virgin”), died and rotted into nothing like any other human.

      Catholics hold that Jesus gave seven different rites that his apostles were to use and to pass onto his followers called sacraments, Lutherans hold that he only gave two.

      Catholics hold that their ministers are priests who act as conduits for Jesus who acts through them during the Mass at the altar to mystically take the congregation into himself and bring them to the sacrifice at Calvary and the presentation of that sacrifice to YHWH in heaven – the call their rite “the sacrifice of the Mass”, Lutherans have a reverend who is well-versed in the Bible and he or she leads the people in a “the Lord’s Supper” where they share bread and wine in memorial of Jesus and celebrate their community.

      Catholicism holds that where the Bible says Jesus gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of God that he put him in charge of the apostles and made it Peter’s job (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to ensure all who would want to truly follow Jesus would walk the correct narrow path – and Peter passed this duty, the papacy, on to his successor who passed it on to their’s all the way to Pope Francis today. Lutherans hold that you do not need a human mediator between you and YHWH and that all that is required to know how to walk with Jesus is the Bible and an open heart.

      I could go on and on here, but I will just return to my previous statement that you are an extremely liberal modernist Catholic if you don’t think there is any real difference between Lutherans and Catholics.

      Its bizarre that you claim to love Benedict XVI but dismiss the Roman Catholic Catechism which he played a vital role in creating. You can find his letter praising the work if you Google “Current Doctrinal Relevance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church”.

      You are correct in that I have not read every comment on this article and have not read all your postings here. If your position is that there is a difference between religious and civil marriage and the changes to the civil are of no concern and no effect on the religious ceremonies – I think that is a logical position. No state action can claim to be holy and if someone seeks that attribute to be applied to their status of matrimony (to be able to say they are in a state of holy matrimony) they must conform to the practices and rites of the religion they hold is holy. I would also say that there does not appear to be any movement to force religions to officiate gay marriages, but if such a move happened it would be pure tyranny that people of any stripe must join in opposing.

  45. Sue:

    There is, thank God, no license as of yet for children, and the state cannot grant one because children belong first to God, next to parents, never to the state. In a republic, the state belongs to the people, the people and their children do not belong to it.

    A civil union is not a real wedding, it is merely a civil contract between two lovers securing mutual rights like property, visitation etc.

    In principle, I think it might be worth abolishing marriage laws altogetherand letting Churches and associations and individuals govern themselves.

    In practice, I realize this postulate has 0 chance of coming into effect, so maybe the next best thing is civil unions for gays, with strict limitations.

    The goal is to resolve the issue and make it go away, back to the private and intimate life where it belongs.

    Some conservatives, and I understand them, fear the issue will not go away and will actually interfere in Church and private life until a revolutiom in customs is effected. They thus support DOMA or a Constitutional amendment. I have no problem, in principle, with this either – if it could be done and if it solved the problem. But it seems as impractical as the libertarian idea.

    That leaves us with a world where civil unions seem a foregone conclusion, in which case, I favor limiting them to visitation rights, taxes, property, but never children.

    No contradictions there, just politics.

    Mr. Matthew:

    I forgot to ask one question:

    Let us assume you are right, for the sake of argument, and agree that civil marriage law is a contract law.

    If two people undertake a civil union and speak the words “till death do us part”, would you then agree that should one of these persons leave the other, the other can call the police and say “my husband has iust left me! Get him back!”

    If that’s in a marriage contract, then why doesn’t civil law defend the inviolability of such a contract? Why does it allow for what is known as “divorce”?

    Divorce law is one reason I refuse to have anything to do with government marriage; it’s not a serious contract – government civil marriage is, in my view, a sham. People swear oaths and the law does not uphold them, but helps people break them. The person who breaks the oath gets legsl protection, the person who honors the oath is not helped by the law. Ridiculous.

    It’s the mess that heterosexuals made with marriage law that has gotten us to “gay marriage”

  46. Contract law depends on the willingness of both partners to continue within the contract, if one of the people breaks the contract or wants out consequences are applicable, these consequences are laid out before one enters the contract. The most well-known thing addressing such consequence in marriage contract law are pre-nuptial agreements that layout what will happen should the marriage, and therefor its contract, fail.

    In Catholicism marriage is seen as a covenant and is unbreakable, even in the case of physical abuse the marriage can not be ended one can only go into separation (permanently if needed) but one is never free to re-marry.

  47. Mr. Matthew,

    First- for the longest time, I thought your Avatar was a Pig’s nose, but now I happily notice that it is a cat that looks exactly like my cat.

    Next, and also happily, we agree (about “gay” marriage) – insofar as we both believe that there is a vast difference between civil and religious marriage law, and that the two should be seperate.

    We do disagree about culture, and what kind of culture we would prefer to see develop. I think that bridging this disagreement is impossible, and we should just let our arguments as they are presented above stand as testimonies to our views of culture.

    As to Catholicism – well – I don’t mean to ignore your points, but I just disagree. As I noted, I already wrote a review of Beneddict XVI’s biography of Jesus, which I invite you to read:

    I do plan, in future, to write articles about de Chardin, as well as the Polish priest Józef Tischner (a good friend of Pope John Paul II, and a phenomenologist). My religious views are also influenced by Levinas’ God,Death and Time – to name another (non-Catholic) source. The debate between Thomist Catholics and Phenomenologist Catholics is, to my mind, a lively one which breathes life into the Catholic religion. I admire Benedict XVI because of his comportment towards this debate.

    I will say this much: One of the things that makes the Catholic Church possible is that to be a Catholic you do not have to accept lock, stock and barrell every single iota of every single dogma of every single Pope.

    Dr. Birzer wrote a great article here at TIC about the Virgin Mary –

    You will notice that he has not fully accepted all aspects of the dogma on her – nor is he expected to. We go to Church, we are members of the Church – not as robots who go to recieve programing, but as living souls who thirst for truth.

    We hear the dogma, we hear what the Apostles witness to, and it hits our hearts and our minds – and some are graced with more open hearts, some more open minds, each with a different heart and mind – each of us comes to God at his own pace, in his own time. This journey – and all of its’ doubts and questions and fears – is best had WITHIN the Church, not alien from it. You can, contrary to what you say, be a “Lutheran Catholic” – so long as your goal is truth, not argument.

    You are right to point out De Chardin’s OBEDIANCE. The key here is that the Jesuits who censored him were RIGHT. Not because De Chardin was wrong, but because the world and the Church were not ready for what he had to teach them. The Church stretches out through time – a faithful man understands that – if he has hit on a a truth – it can wait 50 years. What is 50 years for a faithful man? Nothing.

    Obedience and acknowledgement of hierarchy and order, to protect the Church from charging too quickly in some direction and squandering the work of centuries of Christians who came before – that is often the reason why the Church prefers to censure people.

    Also – the Church loves quiet. As Tischner said “The truth of God is audible in the quiet of a Church.”

    It is not a discussion club, but a place for worship. Some Catholics (like me!) love to discuss, but we must respect that everything has it’s place.

    That’s a very short reply.

  48. Post Scriptum:

    A clearer way of putting it: The Church does hope people will come to believe in some very important and concrete things, but if you hope for a man to believe something, you do not merely want him to say he believes it, or to accept it on pentalty of punishment, you want the man to really and authentically in his heart believe it.

    This process can take a while, and can take a man through many twisted paths. The Church is there not to check your “Believer’s ID” at the door, but to shepherd you through the process of growing and maturing in your faith.

    Again – I am not trying to ignore the theological issues you raise, just trying to illustrate the difference between a Church and an academic faculty lounge for theology professors.

  49. Sorry – three more things for Mr. Matthew (we are hopelessly off topic now):

    Since we are quoting Pope John Paul II here, I like this one – written by Cardinal Agostino Casaroli “writing in the name Pope John Paul II” to the Catholic Institute in Paris (very clever):

    “…Despite the difficulties which Father Teilhard’s conception presents us, and his choice of means of communication that were not always the best possible for conveying this bold attempts at synthesis, the modern world will doubtless always remember his witness; the life of a man, who always tried to honor in equal parts both faith and reason, as if pre-emtively replying to Pope John Paul II’s future call ‘Do not fear! Open the door to Christ! Open wide the areas of culture, civilization and progress.”

    That’s a fragment of a larger letter (and my very rough translation). No link – it’s in the (Polish) book on my lap. To me – that’s the quintessence of the Catholic approach to difficult problems.

    Secondly – I will take just one of your theological points about the difference between Lutherans and Catholics- namely your claim that Lutherans believe in two rites set down by Jesus, Catholics seven – well – not to be flipant, but two out of seven ain’t bad. If a Lutheran can accept two rites which a Catholic accepts, then why not share in the joy of that common faith rather than quarrel over the other five? In time, perhaps the Lutheran will return to an understanding of the other five if he attends a Catholic Church. Certainly the Catholic Church will not suffer for having a worshipper who believes in two out of seven rites – given how many there are who believe in ZERO. But again – as I have already said – I don’t think everyone must necessarily become a Catholic to be a good Christian; although to the best of what I know – it seems to me to be the one true Church.

    Thirdly – and finally – another example from my own life: For the longest time, I never understood Iconography. I always thought it was some superstition that old women engaged in. I was then, thanks to engagement in the Catholic Church, educated in the meaning of Icons and understood how amazing they were. I now, thanks to having learned this, have also suddenly understood why the Orthodox Church treats them so seriously. But more importantly than “understanding” Icons – something which was for a long time “just a picture” has now become a source of spiritual happiness.

    Protestantism, remember, is really just Catholicism minus a number of things that at a certain point in time Catholics were seen to have abused or misused. Protestants, in my view, are Catholics who just happen to really be fixated on certain aspects of Catholicism to the detriment of others, as well as jealous of their religious liberty and afraid that “some Pope” might come along and “change” everything or “command” them to reject the faith of their hearts. In my view, even if “some Pope” did that – he would die, like the Borgias, and the Church would live on. It’s all a matter of your approach – obviously, during a Catholic Mass, you ought not walk up to the Priest and say “so, why can’t I do this myself?” – but if you attend Mass and seek to understand it, I am sure (if you’re lucky enough to find a caring Priest), you will be able to ask such questions. Then it’s all a matter of the individual person where that can lead to.

    • De Chardin’s position on original sin was not examined by the Vatican in comparison to the current feeling among speculators at his time, and found to be out of step with the prevailing mood. Rather the Catholic Church holds that De Chardin’s position was at odds with the words of Scripture recorded by the apostles inspired by the Holy Spirit, that his take was twisted and was trying to declare the Scripture full of lies.

      You say “the world and the Church were not ready for what he had to teach them”, you are free to say whatever you like about the secular world, but the Church would say it never needed him to teach them anything about Original Sin as they had been taught by Jesus himself in an unbroken line through his apostles and their successors, and as his theory was different its was an error about God – it was a heresy.

      Further De Chradin never claimed that it was anything other than his own speculations and not that he was some prophet, like in Mormonism, come to correct the Church’s false take on Original Sin. The Catholic Church holds that the dogma about the existence of Original Sin and the timing of its arrival is a truth revealed by the Holy Trinity and that one must accept what is revealed rather than create falsehoods.

      You seem confused about dogma, to be a Catholic in good standing with the Church (which they would say is also being in good standing with Jesus) you have to believe in all of the Catholic dogmas – that in fact is why they are called dogmas to differentiate them from things that the Church has not made any decisions on.

      So you are free to put forward your own theory on how old St. Joseph was when he married Mary, you are not free to say he ever had sex with her. You are free to wonder if Mary died or not before she was assumed into heaven, you are not free to say she is still rotting in the ground. You are free to put forward a theory on Jesus’ beard length, you are not free to say he was not fully man and fully god.
      You are even free to reject private revelation and hold that Mary never appeared at Fatima, you are not free to reject that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.

      On statements of the Pope, you are free to ignore anything a pope says that isn’t about morals or faith. If he says he doesn’t like baseball and doesn’t understand how anyone wouldn’t prefer soccer you don’t have to stop liking baseball. If he says its immoral to use in vitro fertilization, you have to not use that procedure.

      You are mistaken if you think the Catholic Church is concerned about “changing too quickly” the Catholic Church maintains that it can not change anything about dogma at all, because truth doesn’t change. They hold that the Pope is like a guard-dog of the Holy Tradition (which includes the Bible) he can not reverse dogma like the President/Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a the Mormons), he can only guard it.

      You speak of “open hearts”, that is irrelevant according to Catholicism the truth is the truth and if you aren’t accepting it and following it your are damaging your soul and your relationship with Jesus and are walking away from him and towards hellfire. They hold it is not necessary to understand what Jesus commands its necessary to obey him – the apostles did not understand many of his statements but they followed his commands anyway. Christianity declares Jesus is the King of Kings, he isn’t interested if you would vote for the policies he orders, his followers are to obey, that’s why they call him Lord and Master. Christians are to submit their wills to his.

      Yes the Church hopes people will come to believe its dogmas, but if a person can not believe them they can not call themselves Catholic and should not lie about it and should especially not consume the Eucharist as that is a sign of being in one body which has Jesus as its head and follows his thoughts rather than placing his commands up for their own personal judgement. Yes the Church wants to help people grow in the faith, that means growing closer to Jesus spiritually, not judging him and tossing out any of his commands and dogmas that you think are stupid.

      Your arguments are full of rationalizations and seem to render Jesus into a paid babysitter who supplies a bunch of coddling rather than a Lord and Master who comes with a fiery sword out of his mouth to slay the wicked and orders his followers to take up the cross and follow him to Golgotha – follow him into death. Are Christians really to be saying “we’ll I don’ know how I feel about that, maybe I’ll get around to that at some other time, I have to go at a slower more comfortable speed, you know my speed, the speed that I feel suits me.”

      Catholicism would agree that a non-believer can only come to God at their own pace, but if that pace is too slow and they aren’t doing what he wants they are in a state of sin and if they die their souls could be forfeit. If you claim Jesus is your Lord then doubts, questions and fears are no excuse for disobedience.

      And no you can not be a “Lutheran Catholic” – Catholicism holds that their dogmas are direct from Jesus in his words to his apostles and in his scriptures – Lutherans hold that these dogmas are man-made and sinful. These things can’t be both holy and sinful at the same time – they have to be one or the other.

      I stated that Lutherans only believe in two sacraments – by which I meant Baptism and Communion. But if we are talking about the Catholic definition of sacraments that’s actually a charitable stretch, they don’t actually believe in the Eucharist as Catholics do. They hold that the term “priest” and “father” are unbibilical and even sinful title, that Catholicism in its “sacrifice of the Mass” are in effect claiming that they can re-sacrifice Jesus rather than accept his once and for all sacrifice at Calvary, and that therefor the sacrifice of the Mass is a mockery of Jesus and what he intended. One can not hold that Jesus both hates the Mass as blasphemous idolatry and at the same time loves it and commands it be done till the end of the world.

      It is true that as of late with a great influx of liberal and modernists in today’s Catholicism, there appears to be an intent to water-down what it held as true, given to them by Jesus, and guarded through the ages by faithful successors to the apostle – all to be played down and compromised in order to pursue some kind of ecumenical unity. But what is happening is that people don’t even know what their Church even stands for anymore, and most of the time you have to explain what Catholicism is about if your going to debate people claiming to be proud Catholics.

      You ask what’s the problem if Catholics and Lutherans just take joy in what little they have in common – I guess nothing if your a Lutheran, because you will leave poorly formed Catholics with the impression that their isn’t really a difference, and they will become de-facto Protestants. If your presently taking part in such things make sure that you don’t mention John Fisher & Thomas More. They were declared saints by the Catholic Church for refusing to submit to Protestantism even though it meant their painful grizzly deaths – apparently now both you and the Protestants can agree these men were idiots holding fast to nonsense that was no better than theologians gabbing in a faculty lounge. If only these martyrs for the Catholic faith knew Catholicism as well as you do – they would never had to go heroically to their deaths rather than betray the dogmas of the Catholic Church. Perhaps if you had been alive at their time you could have instructed them that such things proclaimed by the papacy were just mediations and suggestions – no need to take Jesus’ commands literally and follow in his footsteps onto death – surely that was just a mediation as well.

      Returning to your logic that one can reject the papacy’s positions and still call oneself a Catholic, I bring up the example you conveniently skipped over (and also return us in a way to the topic of the article we are commenting on). By the logic you have put forward a person declaring themselves Catholic could reject the papacy’s declaration that extending the definition of marriage to include same sex couples is an intrinsic-evil and still call oneself Catholic. By your logic one could dismiss the papacy’s interpretation of Scripture and Tradition and proclaim that Jesus approves of homosexual sex and still call oneself a Catholic. In fact by the logic you put forward, if one is free to declare the papacy as merely putting forward suggestions, one could say Jesus was an active homosexual and still declare oneself Catholic. This is not the case. There are lines one can not cross if one is going to be able to honestly say they are Catholic, these lines are called dogmas.

  50. Mr. Matthew,

    thank you for continuing your engagement in our dialogue.

    1. I think one cannot write “The Church would say” except in extreme shorthand. The Church is the eternal community of souls directed towards God, while the institutional Church is a very old institution with many notable Popes, saints, laypersons, theologians, families and others. It is more useful to talk about what specific people in the Church had to say than about what the abstract “Church” says. Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI have spoken well of De Chardin. This should not be confused as endorsing all of his thoughts. There are multiple societies in the Church, each indulging their own path, yet in community with the whole. It is normal to find different Catholics more attached to different aspects of the tradition; this does not mean we reject one another.

    2. By your reasoning, we should excomunicate the vast majority of Catholics, especially children who come to first Communion. Do you really think we should ask a 12 year old to explain whether the Eucharist is Real Presence or Transubstantiation? These theological questions are important (I lean more towards Aristotelian hylomorphism and transubstanatiation), but they risk being counterproductive insofar as they take us away from a confrontation with the mystery of a personal meeting with the historical person of Christ. This meeting takes place in each individual heart, and as with any relationship, develops over time. Just as we do not build friendships merely on metaphysical theories, so too with religion.

    3. Your view of the Catholic Church seems to be somewhat protestant; by this I mean you seem to think that the Pope develops a very precise and detailed dogma and then consequently excomunicates those who disagree about anything, fragmenting and fragmenting until the Church is split into pieces, all fiercely convinced that their interpretations of what St.Paul or St. Thomas Aquinus said is true, jealously guarding against unity amongst Christians in the spirit of love. How do you explain the wonderful work of Pope Benedict XVI in bringing Catholics and High Anglicans into the same communion, and in allowing married Anglican pastors to become ordained and hold Communion in the halls of the Catholic Church? In point of fact, my first step on the long road to Catholic communion was a service by one such High Anglican who gave me some good advice about how to comport myself towards the road ahead to Rome. Also, how do you explain Benedict XVI’s holding Mass with Muslims in Lebanon, and all of the other efforts at inter-religious understanding? The Catholic Church, being a serious institution, does not function in the robotic way you suggest in your prose.

    4. The Saints you cite, who died at the hands of protestants, are not saints because they died at the hand of protestants, but because they died for their faith. Religious wars are always foolish, particularly for Christians, because no Christian can ever defend his faith by slaying another man. Beyond that, if we accept that Saints are with us through eternity, you cannot close their stories within the context of their time. St. Andrew Bobola, for instance, was martyred when Orthodox Christians killed him. Four hundred years later, Orthodox Christians prayed to him regularly in the Soviet Union and recently the Catholic and Orthodox Churches began the process of coming closer to one Communion. Finally, please also take note of the great mystic and scientist, St. Hildegard of Bingen, elevated to a Doctor of the Church by Benedict XVI. She was persecuted by Catholic men, jealous of her wisdom and unyielding faith. Should Catholics be afraid of speaking of her because she stood up to injustice within her Church?

    5. Your vision of Christ as coming with the sword, to divide us, does of course have Biblical sources, but I think your forget that the idea of Christ as what you call a “baby sitter” is also a Biblical one: remember the words of Christ about the wisdom of Children, as well as how he was a Child of God. We humans are in fact very much like babies who require a baby sitter to shephard us while our True parent is away. The notion of division you cite is with a view to the sacrifices Christians might have to make when their mothers and father or neighbors refuse to accept that a person has transformed their life in accordance with the Word. It is not a call to sow division, but to be ready for the hard fact that it may befall us as a consequence of our choices.

    In general, I think you are still missing the point of Catholicism. Nowhere did I argue that a man can reject the teaching of the Church or the Popes, and by calling certain Papal pronouncements a meditation, I have not belittled them, but elevated them. A call to serious moral reflection and prayerful meditation is far higher and more difficult a call than a mere command or instruction. The sacrament of marriage cannot be between two people of the same sex, this is rather clear. Toleration of homosexual unions, pairs, perhaps even legal civil unions is a seperate matter and can be understood on the same basis as toleration of other religions and cultures. Lastly, the question of what kind of culture a nation ought to have, particularly America and European nations, is yet another matter, and Christian political thought (not necessarily Papal thought) on this matter follows its logic, put forth in numerous arguments I and others have made in the preceeding posts. This logic, though Christian, need not and is not merely religious, but also sensible from a non-religious perspective.

    • You say by the reasoning I put forward the Catholic Church “should excommunicate the vast majority of Catholics”, you apparently have not heard of the concept of self-excommunication. When people purposefully ignore the teaching of the papacy and the tradition of the Church they are held to have excommunicated themselves from the body of Christ (not just some building or some kind of social group). When people ask why Hitler, a baptised Catholic who continued to hold that he was within the Catholic Church, was never officially excommunicated the Church’s answer is that there would be no need as he self-excommunicated himself by either wilfully ignoring the Church’s teaching or by indifference to the Truth. Most Catholics in America have in fact self-excommunicated themselves by ignoring the Church’s position on issues like gay marriage, abortion, divorce and remarriage, and especially birth control.

      As for children raised Catholic not understanding the doctrine of the real presence it would be considered blasphemous by Catholic dogma to let them receive first communion if they did not have an understanding of it. The Church would say no one can have a complete understanding of it as its a mystery beyond the human mind, but if they child can not explain that its really Jesus behind the mere appearance of bread than they should not receive according to Catholic doctrine and canon law.

      The men Pope Benedict XVI allowed to become Catholic priests were from the High Anglican order similar to what happened to Cardinal Henry Neuman when he examined the doctrines of the Anglicans compared to that of the Catholics and came to the conclusion that Catholicism’s doctrines were true. He converted and joined the Catholic Church, casting aside the doctrines of Anglicanism that were opposed to those held by Catholicism. The men you mention did the same. Celibacy is not a question of dogma its a question of order, Peter and the apostles were married, only in the middle ages when questions of inheritance for priests’ children arose (did land belong to the Ruchbah or the priest and therefor his heirs) did the Church to ensure good order require celibacy, so the Pope can give dispensations for this as priestly celibacy isn’t a dogma. These converting Anglicans could not be converts if they didn’t accept the dogmas of the Church, such as the Catholic doctrine of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist (which Anglicanism holds is an evil blasphemous claim). There was no Mass with Muslims in Lebanon, Benedict XVI prayed with them. Nor if a Muslim came to witness a Mass would that be a problem unless they wanted to receive Communion which they would not be allowed as they don’t hold the dogmas of the Catholic faith, so cannot be said to be in communion with the Church/the body of Christ, nor with Jesus.

      Both the men I cited who are held to be martyred saints by the Catholic Church could’ve avoided their deaths even on the scaffold if they had publicly embraced the doctrines of Protestantism, they didn’t because Catholicism teaches that those are lies that lead people away from Jesus and towards hell. Nor as it seems you implied where they slain in some kind of religious war, England was not under attack by military forces when these men were killed for upholding the dogmas of Catholicism. There are hundreds more slain in the same manner, notably priests smuggling themselves into Protestant states to offer Mass for those refusing to submit to Protestantism’s claims which they held as lies in light of what Catholicism preached as truth. Those Protestant doctrines haven’t changed, nor has those of the Catholic Church – the only thing that has changed is that ever more people are willing to cast aside the pursuit of truth in the name of unity. It certainly appears that if someone asked you to renounce what the Catholic Church proclaims on birth control or you will be beheaded, your head would be safe. In fact it doesn’t seem like there is anything that you find objectionable at all in Protestantism.

      You appear to be completely willing to throw any doctrine under the bus that might be see divisive to Protestants. Let me rephrase that – you claim to be a member of the Catholic Church and accept what it proclaims as truth, but you are willing to throw that truth under the bus if its upsetting to Protestants because you desire unity over truth. If that truth is painful and forces one to walk alone this must be abandoned; as if Jesus on his lonely walk to Calvary threw down his cross and recanted all the things he had proclaimed as truth because he didn’t want to be alone and wanted unity with the world.

      You say “The Catholic Church, being a serious institution, does not function in the robotic way you suggest in your prose.”
      –It just seems that you are declaring declarations and commands you don’t like as “robotic” – do you think the Catholic Church is calling on its members to be “robotic” in asking them to say same-sex marriage is wrong, to say abortion is wrong, to say birth control is wrong, to say adultery is wrong? The Catholic Church holds that some things are always wrong and must be avoided and says that it knows this because Jesus Christ told them so. Members of the Catholic Church are called on to proclaim the teachings of Jesus which include plaining telling people to avoid things that Jesus is held to have said is evil and soul damning. The Catholic Church wouldn’t say that makes you “a robot” it means you have emptied yourself of your own worldly standards to accept Jesus’. What exactly have you been doing in your “meeting Jesus in your heart” if your unaware of what he holds as good and evil and what your suppose to do with that knowledge?

      You say “Nowhere did I argue that a man can reject the teaching of the Church or the Popes”, you certainly seem to have done that to try and claim that you don’t have to listen to the papacy and the Church on the issue of birth control.

      Here are a few of your comments that give the impression that you believe Catholics do not have a duty to refuse to use birth control:

      You said “The Papal documents you cite are not legal acts that we are to read like civil lawyers; they are meditations meant to move our conscience to apply ethical standards to our lives.”

      You also said “Sermons and Papal encyclicals are not the place to engage in this very private kind of ministry. Contraception, like marriage annulment, is a very private, often dramatic issue that is treated seriously by serious priests and serious bishops.”

      –-The difficulty is that it seems you want to proclaim sure and
      eternal truths for the things that you hold are true and if this happens, out of coincidence, to be what Catholicism holds as true – all the better, but it also seems you wish to declare that anything that Catholicism teaches as true that you don’t hold is open to debate and can change and is likely just “meditations” and suggestions that can be put aside if ones own reflection is more in agreement with the world.

      In Catholicism the priests are not the successors of the apostles, only the Bishops are, the priests are stand-ins for the local bishop as a bishop can’t perform all the duties in a diocese at one time. Therefor a priest of themselves has no authority other than to do the will of his bishop and likewise the bishop has no authority to dismiss the instructions of the Pope nor the dogma of the Church. Their legitimate work can only be to bring people to the truth and live in accord to it, this truth is held to be promoted and safeguarded by the papacy. If a priest or bishop is saying anything counter to the papacy or the Majesterium of the Church, which is conveniently found in the catechism – then they are held to be in serious error by the doctrines of the Catholic Church (which it holds to be the truth delivered by Jesus unto the apostles and then passed down).

      Here is a quote on the duty of obedience to the bishops and the papacy from a document of Vatican II called The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium):

      “Bishops who teach in communion with the Roman Pontiff are to be revered by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth; the faithful, for their part, are obliged to submit to their bishops’ decision, made in the name of Christ, in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a ready and respectful allegiance of mind.

      This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme teaching authority be acknowledged with respect, and that one sincerely adhere to the decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated.”

      Lets now return to some of your comments that appear to mock the concept that Catholics are suppose to obey the papacy and the Church on matters of faith and morals:

      You said: “I expect the lack of a Hamuarbi like codex on this subject may upset those who hope for morality to be as clear and low as government regulations tend to be, but as with all things in Christianity: the fine print is where ever your conscience meets the voice of God.”
      –The Catholic Church prides itself on offering clear distinctions between good and evil in accord with what it holds that Jesus passed down to his apostles and their successors. Simplicity and clarity in the same vein as Jesus in Matthew 5:37 “But let your word ‘yes be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no be ‘no.’ Anything more than this is from the evil one.”
      Its also odd that you manage to express your pridefulness in your gnostic like ability to be able to be better than those “who hope morality to be…clear” – it seems you are saying they are a bunch of rubes – if only the knew as much about Catholicism as you, than they could put papal declarations aside in the name of their superior conscience.

      You said: “I feel that your understanding of Catholicism is rather Jewish. Catholics do not…concoct “correct” vs “incorrect” contraceptive methods (that is not the idea of what some call natural family planning, to give one example). Nor do they check whether it’s ok to use a condom if they’re homosexual prostitutes with AIDS or just when they’re homosexual prostitutes.”
      –Liberal “Catholics” might not, Catholics who hold that the Papacy was established by Jesus and must be obeyed as it acts to promote and guard Jesus’ truths actually do.

      You said: “All of those quotes you provide are very interesting, but rather beside the point. We can agree, since you do not like the term “meditations” to call them “instructions.” But the point still stands that instructions are not the same as civil law, and that Catholic doctrine is not orthodox Judaism. As to natural family planning, I specifically mentioned it only to say that it too was not an example of a Judaic-minded application of Catholic religion, but one of many attempts at applying ethics to sexual life following consideration of the ethical problems of sexuality raised in the various Catholic documents on the subject. I did not advocate “natural family planning” as any more or less “correct” than any other mode of contraception. Again – Catholics aren’t Jews, they don’t have kosher elevators and they don’t have a rule book about sexual life that you can open to page 3, paragraph 5, subsection 7 to discover the correct manner of engaging in sexual intercourse. Catholics have two thousand years of doctrine aimed at awakening the conscience in all aspects of their lives.”
      –While Catholicism does not have as many rules about married sex as Judaism it does have doctrines that one can not cross without falling into serious sin and these doctrines can be conveniently found in the Catechism – and include prohibitions not only against birth-control but against any type of sex that involves genital contact with other orifices, multiple partners, lack of consent, and the list goes on. A Catholic is held to be duty bound to inform their conscience to be in accord with the Church’s teaching. Having “a clear conscience” is no guarantee of sinlessness. The Church does not hold that as long as homosexuals have a clear conscience on the matter of having homosexual relations they are sinless in their actions. Rather the Church says that their consciences are malformed and that they are committing grave sin.

      You said: “We could just save everyone the time and money by posting the Catechism online, or, like the health regulations in grocery stores and restaurants, we might post the thing on our living room wall and walk around with a check-list to see if we have fulfilled St. John Paul II’s every word to the letter.”
      –The Vatican has placed the Catechism online and calls on the faithful to become familiar with it, though they would not say doing so is a matter of fulfilling John Paul II’s every word, but of fulfilling Jesus’ Christ’s every word of whom John Paul preached.

      You said “My Catholicism is not liberal or conservative, but really quite specific and likely to evolve as I continue going to Church, reading and learning.”
      –This is false, your Catholicism is liberal by the Catholic definition, anyone who claims to be Catholic but holds the papacy is not the final arbiter of Natural Law and is not the vicar of Jesus who is to be obeyed on matters of faith and morals without hesitation is a liberal “Catholic”.

      You make great mention of your local priests in your comments, many people after Vatican II decided that they could finally dismiss anything they did not like about Catholicism and stop being politically and socially isolated by the Protestant majority in America. This included many Catholic clergy. They say such things as “The spirit of Vatican II” allows them to jettison previously declared dogmas. Many laity were mad that Paul VI ruled against birth control and went “priest shopping” travelling to different parishes seeking priests who held that Paul VI declaration was not binding and that the laity must follow their conscience. Finding such a priest they could claim to be Catholic while ignoring the Pope and cite the priest as their excuse for their behavior that the Pope declared a mortal sin. Your focus on your local priests and your constant talk equating conscience with Catholicism makes me suspect that these men may be the type of priests people unhappy with the Church’s teaching might have shopped for.

      I don’t know why you want to claim to be a Catholic if you so dislike the concept of dogma and declare it “Jewish” or “robotic”. The Catholic Church holds that it is repeating the commands of Jesus, these are not open to debate – if you wish to follow the Christ that Catholicism proclaims you have to follow them. Commands are not for meditation they are for following. If you don’t hold that Jesus gave Peter and his successors the keys to bind and lose why call yourself Catholic? If you wish to say that where the Pope has declared a thing bound (such as birth control is an evil that if you knowingly make use of you close the gates of heaven to your entry) can be rendered unbound by your personal distaste for that doctrine – why do you call yourself Catholic? Isn’t that just hypocrisy? You seem to be claiming to be a thing and you don’t do what would be required to be that.

    • You say “Your vision of Christ as coming with the sword, to divide us, does of course have Biblical sources”.
      –You are confusing my citing the sword of judgement in Revelation 19:15
      “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God”, with the sword imagery in Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” I was saying that according to the Bible, Jesus isn’t always about group hugs and making sure everyone gets a fish for their grumbly tummies, sometimes he’s about killing people who upset him.

      I think you are right on Matthew 10:34, the division of the sword he speaks of is the tear that happens between those that give up their complacent jobs and previous lives and all their possessions to follow him and their families who don’t understand and think this is madness and betrayal of the family and their traditional faith.

      But the division that happens between those claiming to be followers of Jesus happens, according to the bible, because some are relying on their own understanding rather than emptying themselves and accepting his will – “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). Those who rely on their own understanding are like those Paul warns against in Galatians 1:7-8 “there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.”

      You say “remember the words of Christ about the wisdom of Children”
      –Again this is along the same lines as people are called to be like children who are open to the truth without their own preconceived notions. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

      You say “We humans are in fact very much like babies who require a baby sitter to shepherd us while our True parent is away.”
      –Odd that you would put it like that, as Catholicism would say that this person trying to make sure you don’t hurt yourself while your divine Father is away is the Pope. “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep” (John 21:17).

      You say “It is not a call to sow division, but to be ready for the hard fact that it may befall us as a consequence of our choices.” This is confused, yes the sword of division is about the consequences of someone giving up everything to follow Jesus, but the intellectual division between people who have competing versions of Jesus as a result of pridefulness is caused by humans but the physical separation of such worldly people from the faithful is a commanded “I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them”(Romans 16:17). “If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them”(2 John 1:10).

      In your comments such as “If a Lutheran can accept two rites which a Catholic accepts, then why not share in the joy of that common faith rather than quarrel over the other five?” and “You can, contrary to what you say, be a ‘Lutheran Catholic’ – so long as your goal is truth, not argument.” You seem willing to cover up the truth of differentness for a false face of unity.
      You seem to put unity with anyone claiming to worship Jesus above the demand that these people accept the truth. This is the exact opposite of what Jesus does in the Bible – Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Here Jesus doesn’t say they weren’t doing miracles nor does he say that they weren’t doing them and claiming they were able to do them in his name – he says despite this they are damned because they had no real relationship with him outside of their own heads.

      Likewise in Matthew 25 in the parable of the bridegroom, the foolish virgins who had not correctly readied themselves miss out and despite calling out “Lord, Lord” they get the reply “I don’t know you”.

      It seems that Luke 6:46 is instructive here where Jesus says:
      “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”

      Elsewhere in the Christian Scriptures:
      Romans 2:13
      For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.

      2 Peter 2:1-22
      But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

      Like I said, logically there can not be both a Jesus who condemns the Catholic sacrifice of the Mass as blasphemous evil idolatry and also holds it to be holy and commands it be performed until the end of time. It would seem this passage would agree that there can at most be only one correct version of Jesus:
      2 Corinthians 11:4
      For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

      Why did the papacy not make nice with Martin Luther? Because they held they were commanded not to by passages like:
      Titus 3:10
      As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him

      –This just keeps on going like this in the Bible, with zero passages saying to put aside claims about Jesus as unimportant because its better to have a big group hug then worry about your salvation. Yes, unity with Jesus is held as of ultimate importance, but unity with the worldly who promote man-made ideas is actually warned against.

      To me it seems you are stuck between Protestantism and Catholicism, and that your whole position questioning the demands of Catholic dogma can be summarized by your statement “You can, contrary to what you say, be a ‘Lutheran Catholic’ – so long as your goal is truth, not argument.” It seems you are trying to be two things at the same time and wind up being neither. Like trying to be both hot and cold at the same time, the Bible has Jesus say of such people “because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16).

      It always strikes me as odd when Christians seem to hold that there are no extraordinary demands on believers of Christianity when the things it promises are extraordinary. As if eternal bliss was the default, the door prize for having showed up.
      It would seem that according to the Bible the sword of Matthew 10:34 doesn’t strike the new Christian’s old family, rather it strikes the believer’s life – rupturing it, so that they die to self and can be born anew in Jesus. But in today’s age such swords rust and crosses are left on the ground – utility, unity, usefulness is how religion is judged – not by criteria of truth. Apparently the idea is that if religion requires pain and sacrifice then it self-negates its purpose of being advantageous and making its adherents feel good. It just seems like so much self-congratulatory hypocrisy. What a strange era to live in.

  51. Well, please understand that Catholics – including the Pope (Francis, but also Popes before him, as well as Priests) often repeat that atheists can be atheists as long as it is truly their conscience that tells them so.

    You see – for Catholics, the human conscience is the voice of God – it is God’s voice of love within us that manages to shout down both our rational and irrational evil and – against all things reasonable and unreasonable – introduce love into our lives. This voice of conscience, which is – according to the Catholic teaching – the voice of God – is that which moves people towards the Truth; makes them hungry for the truth.

    Now – so long as someone is motivated by this voice of conscience – then his thinking and action, to the extent possible for an imperfect human being – will be the thinking and action of a Catholic – even if they are an atheist, let alone a protestant.

    You focus too much on the name we give these people “protestant” or “catholic” (now you will say I have added a third blasphemous category – “atheist”). It is not the name or category, but the heart of a person that matters. What is in it? Where is this person in life? What are they doing right now? Why? What have they done? What will they do?

    The Catholic Church has always fulfilled its mission best when it focused on the inividual person and shepherded that person on the path towards truth.

    You realize that the Biblical passages you cite can and are debated, and will be debated until the end of time? That debate can take place within the Church, in private, amongst friends, in seminaries, in books, academic journals, prayer meetings, pilgrimages, in discussions – as well as between Catholics and those from other faiths. Or – it can not take place.

    There is a place for everything. I do not support any notions of changing the rites and rituals of the Church, nor of any radical changes in the accepted dogma. Mass has its’ purpose, as to all of the other sacraments and rites. But where possible, Catholics should be and are open to all people, particularly to Christians who are not Catholics, but also to Jews (from whose customs much of the structure of the Catholic Mass is borrowed) and to Muslims. The aim of inter-faith dialogue is the same as the aim of worship within the Church: a confrontation of individuals seeking truth, of their lives and their conscience.

    I understand the danger of diluting the faith, and I have no intention of dwelling upon why the Catholic Church could not come to terms with Luther at the time; though much time has passed since then, and the Church has learned from its’ mistakes (I think) – for the Christian – the question is always “what now?”

    Now – all Christians should work towards unity, in my opinion, because the religious sentiment in mankind is dying out; because serious religious yearning is dying out, because a serious wonder and curiosity about who we are and what we were meant for is dying out. If we, as Christians, choose to continue fighting battles which people 500 years ago fought – rather than choosing the Unity of Christians that has been the norm for most of the centuries since the birth of Christ then we choose to prolong something destructive of Christian tradition – not something that is a part of Christian tradition.

    Our conversation is, I think, the kind of conversation that the Catholic Church welcomes because it wants people who take these matters seriously, and are motivated by conscience, to exist. It would be good if they accepted all of the teachings of the Church, but it would be horrible, terrible and no good at all if they were completely seperated rather than made part of the community of the faithful.

    So; if you think I am not being much of a Catholic with that point of view, then so be it. I hope, however, that you can at least agree that we both are trying to be inquiring and thoughtful Christians in universal communion – and that is the most important thing. It is also the actual definition of the word “Catholic”

  52. Concerning Pope Francis:
    The secular media does not understand Catholicism so they don’t understand the Pope’s statements. When he speaks about atheists he is repeating the Church’s position that grace extends to all and can be cooperated with which is the first stage in conversion. So he is saying that no one is beyond the grace of Jesus and doing good if they cooperate with this grace. This is in an outgrowth of Catholicism position on freewill, whereas many Protestants like Calvinists and some Lutheran synods hold that predestination means that only those who YHWH knows will be saved get grace – his grace is irresistible and can’t be rejected by those he chooses to send it to, whereas Catholics hold that a type of grace goes to all and can be rejected or accepted. So no Francis is not saying atheists can please YHWH on their own, as Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

    So the media is presenting Francis as if he some arch-modernist but so far he hasn’t done anything too drastic – the feet washing of women is a bit strange but doesn’t seem to be a violation of dogma, on the other hand his reported phone call to a divorcee that she should switch priests if the one she has doesn’t give divorced people who are civilly remarried the Eucharist would indeed be modernism, but all we have is one woman’s claim about the conversation – the upcoming synod Francis has called over the divorce issue may come out with something that would shock Catholic conservatives, but we will have to see. If the practice of forbidding divorced and civilly remarried people from receiving communion changed it would be a break with previous proclaimed Catholic dogma.

    You say “you can at least agree that we both are trying to be inquiring and thoughtful Christians in universal communion”, this is mistaken I am not a Christian, I am a student of comparative religion. That’s why I say things such as “according to Christian Scriptures Jesus said” rather than say, as a believer would, “Jesus tells us”.

    I find it interesting to communicate with you as your a liberal Catholic and I can come closer to understanding how they think.
    Its been far easier to understand how conservative Catholics think as they follow the Catechism and papal documents.
    Its perplexing to try and understand liberal Catholics because it would seem that they have to set aside so much to maintain their positions.

    Conservative Catholics make the claim that liberal Catholics are just unfamiliar with what the Catholic Church actually teaches and if someone put these documents in front of them they would become conservative, but this certainly hasn’t been the case in our discussion.
    So it certainly seems that there are many different versions of Catholicism at odds with each other that is not merely the result of textual ignorance.

    Conservative Catholics like to say that Catholicism is one Church, with one Pope, and one faith but all their arguments that I have presented to you were not convincing and so their definition of Catholicism must be put aside for an expanded one. For certainly if their was one definition then Bishops would be enforcing that with excommunications and such, but they are not.
    Having now come to the conclusion that there is more than one Catholicism, I see now that in previous responses where I previously said “According to Catholicism” or “Catholics hold”, I should’ve said “According to conservative Catholicism” or “Conservative Catholics hold” rather than assuming that all Catholics are either united or just divided by unfamiliarity of the documents and teachings proclaimed by the papacy and counsels.

    So as your definition of Catholicism centers around conscience please explain in more detail what you mean by that term.
    I don’t understand your statement “the human conscience is the voice of God”, the kind of conscience is a “human conscience” but it is also divine? It would seem that according to Christianity the only human with “the voice of God” was Jesus.
    According to conservative Catholics a person could have a perfectly clear conscience that having gay sex was cool with Jesus, but that would not make it so. What would be your response to this?

  53. Mr. Matthew,

    Thank you for clarifying; I trust your studies will bring you edification, rather than condemning you to the lot of the man who walks around the truth and knows it from every angle, but has never partaken in it. I am only in my fourth year of being a Catholic, so I am probably a poor representative of the religion; nevertheless, I will try to answer your questions.

    1. Conscience as the Voice of God:

    Pope Paul VI, in Gaudium et Spes (1965), made the lovely claim that “Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.”

    What this meant was, in my view, best explained by Father Jozef Tischner, a Polish priest who was friends with Pope John Paul II and who I grew up reading (though not necessarily understanding). [as an aside, I was blessed with the opportunity to pray in the small Church in the Mountains that Father Tischner was a priest in, and even met his supremely kind brother who welcomed me off the street, just like that with no previous announcement or engagement…] Father Tischner spoke the following homily in Krakow in 1980. My translation of the pertinent fragment follows:

    “Let us look at the burden which we carry. What does this old, yet freshly new word, solidarity mean? To what does it call us? What does it recall us towards? If we had to more accurately define this word, ‘solidarity’, then we would have to reach for the Evangelists, and seek its genesis there. The meaning of this word is to be found in the words of Christ “Bear one another’s burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of God”. What does it mean to be in a state of solidarity? It means to bear the burden of the Other. No one is an isolated island. We are interconnected even when we do not know it. We are connected by place, by body, by blood – we are connected by work and by speech. We often do not recognize these connections. When solidarity awakens, conscience awakens, and there also appears speech and the Word – that is when that which was hidden appears out in the open. Our interconnectedness become visible to all. That is when man bears the burdens of the Other. Solidarity says, calls for, shouts for, the act of making sacrifices. That is when the burden of your neighbor often becomes greater than your own burden. Thus does a student of Christ fulfill His law. Solidarity has one other aspect: solidarity does not require the external coercion of man through the use of violent force. The virtue of solidarity awakens by itself, spontaneously, from the heart….and another thing – solidarity, born of the Evangelists, does not require an enemy or competitor in order to become strong and develop. It calls out to all people, but never against any people.”

    In turn, to understand this, it is necessary to read Levinas, Heidegger and Husserel, but especially Levinas and his philosophical concept of “la visage de l’Autre”

    2. ‘According to conservative Catholics a person could have a perfectly clear conscience that having gay sex was cool with Jesus, but that would not make it so. What would be your response to this?’

    My response: In matters of sin, there is no possibility of forgiveness or repentence unless the conscience of the individual is moved to confession. If the conscience is not moved to confession because the individual has a clear conscience, then either their conscience is not awake (and this individual mistakens a slumbering conscience for a clear conscience) or their conscience is in fact clean, and then we should be happy for them. This applies to all sins, not just the one you mention. Catholicism does not make a special provision for this or that sin. While there are mortal sins, the principle remains the same: the individual conscience must be awakened. Now you will ask me “what if someone really does have a clear conscience as a gay person?” – I will say: it is not for me to judge “if they have a really clear conscience or not”; particularly since homosexuality is an acquired genetic disorder in the vast majority of cases, and demanding some sort of repentance of a homosexual for being a homosexual is as inhumane as demanding of a cripple that he repent for being a cripple.

    Above all though, you cannot generalize. You treat every individual as an individual. There is no general rule here. Confession, as I was taught it – in the Ignation tradition – ought to be a daily exercise anyways. Every day, we ought to try to account for our sins according to the Ten Commandments – the Ten Commandments are a wonderful “training manual” for Ignatiun spiritual exercises – you look at them, and you wonder to what extent you broke or upheld them on a given day – this type of exercise is at once a training routine for the conscience – it awakens your conscience in practice, just like fitness training awakens dormant muscles. It does so because one must consider ones activities from an ethical perspective if one is to accompish the training. Like body building – one does this alone. In Body Building, you can cheat – you can pretend to have really performed a magnificent Bench Press even though your arms were not spread wide and you actually engaged your triceps and therefore decreased pressure on your pectoral muscles. You CAN train like that – but it will get you no where. It’s the same with conscience and sin. You can pretend to do your Ignatiun training – and it will get you no where. If you want to build a good Soul, then you must be honest with yourself – just the same as if you wanted to build a great physique.

    There is, amongst many, a sophmoric preoccupation with arguing over the theology of sin rather than dealing with the phenomenon of the human person, their deeds and their conscience. What matters to the Catholic in confession is not the proverbial mea culpa, but the actual transformation of the man from one with a slumbering conscience to a conscience that awakens. Thus Catholics do not and should not judge anyone – homosexual or otherwise – for any sin. The individual must judge himself – the individual must come to confession himself, and it must be a true confession. Catholics can pray for this individual, engage them in discussion, but never judge them (which, I would like to underscore, is quite different from letting homosexuals raise children as a norm- just so we don’t misunderstand one another). I personally do not think that homosexuality is any more hideous a sin than any other. I do not frown upon gay couples, nor gays with children – I simply frown upon children without mothers and father. I think it is sad that they do not have good mothers and fathers. In the one case, we are talking about a Catholic approach to the individual person, in the other case, we are talking about applying Catholic teaching to political or societal matters, which necessarily demands a kind of generalization that Catholics are often not very good at presenting (although – in fairness – our hyper-sensitive society is not very good at accepting any attempt at moral reflection; say anything about morality, and someone will pounce on you for discriminating, judging, imposing, etc etc)

    3. You seem intent upon focusing on theological differences and theological debates, particularly on the Bible. I think that if you want to understand Catholicism, this is not the road to follow. St. Anselm (whose name I chose for my Confirmation) managed to write an entire defense of the Catholic faith without any references to the Bible whatsoever (he wished to prove that reason alone can lead one to the conclusions of Christ). Catholics revear the Holy Bible, but they do not say that it is the be all and end all of Christianity. After all, all of us are made in the image of God, each of us is – as it were – a “word” in the book of the universe that God writes through Time.

    Also, even if we are going to focus on the Bible, my experience (which I admit is mainly of Ignatiun Christianity, since my faith was formed by Jesuits above all), has been that a Catholic cannot “read” the Bible. The Bible is not a book you “read” and then “discuss” in a “theological debate.” The Bible must be prayed.

    Since you are not a Christian, but rather study comparative religion – I think that you might have some difficulty with this concept; it is akin to the difficulty any student of a religion has when confronted by revelation. If you have not been witness to a divine revelation, and you are told that to understand, you must be a witness of it – then by definition you are prevented – as a scientist – from understanding to the degree you would wish. It is a bit similar with Catholicism and the Bible. Notice that during Mass, the Bible is not read so that people can engage in philosophical disputes about theology, but rather it is read as part of the prayer service; the Bible is prayed. According to the Ignatiun method that I was taught by my Jesuit Master, reading the Bible is somewhat a waste of time. One must PRAY the Bible; one ought not – for example – decide “well, today I’ll read Luke” and sit in an armchair reading Luke, and then go off to the pub for a discussion of Luke. Instead, one must , as a part of a daily ritual, pray verses of the Bible, say the rosary, and confess ones daily sins, thank God for blessings and present God with ones hopes and desires. For Catholics, this process of a daily spiritual exercise (in fact, St. Ignatius even calls them “spiritual exercises”) is far more important than engaging in theological disputations. For the Bible is not a story book or a novella to be interpretted like Moby Dick or treated to scientific exegisis, it is instead considered to be the witness of men who knew the living God; if we are to know the living God then we must also train ourselves spiritually to do so.

    I do not mean, in writing this, to sound esoteric. The best I can do to explain it from a protestant point of view is to reference Kierkegad’s Fear & Trembling and the extent to which Kierkegard focuses on the personal and subjective dimmension of religious experience. Yet, by saying “personal and subjective” this does not mean, for Catholics in the Ignatiun tradition, that it is whimsical – “doing whatever you want” – we ought to presume that since the Apostles said and did certain things, and Jesus said and did different things, then we ought to try in a serious manner to echo them.

    I can compare it to my experiences working out in the gym. Anyone who practices the art of Body Building knows that there are methods and techniques that need to be understood and perfected if one is going to succeed. But we also know that since each human body is different, the application of these methods and techniques will differ. Experience is the teacher here, just as much as theoretical wisdom. It is the same in Catholicism. The rites and rituals, the rosary, the daily prayers that should be the life-blood of the Catholic household are in many ways like a Body Building methodology or plan – only it is for building the Soul. Yet, they are not an instruction manual, as if for a machine, only a blueprint or work in progress that helps us along our path.

    I hope that helps.

  54. So, I have some facts/opinions that people can take or leave:

    1.) Sex is not the same as gender. Sex is the physical aspect – the physiology with which one is born. Gender is completely a societal construct. This is where the words ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ come from – from gender roles, not inherently from the sex of a person. There have been societies in which the gender roles have been reversed: women (sex) have acted similarly to how men (gender) are expected to today. Therefore, the respective sexes of ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ would have been opposite what they are now. Both sexes have the potential to be our modern understanding of either male or female (gender) regardless of to which sex they belong. Therefore, the only reason why two women couldn’t be a mommy and a daddy to a child is because society expects them to not be able to – there’s nothing inherent to men and women (sex) that forces them to identify with society’s current gender ideals.

    2.) Just what can a man bring to the raising of a child which a woman couldn’t, or vice versa? People seem to believe that there is ‘something’ which the child will miss out on, but I’ve never seen a concrete example of exactly what. There was an example in the comments that a father had had the experience of growing up as a boy and therefore knew which toy his child would like. This isn’t a great example, though, as judging your child’s preference is a better indicator of which toy they will like. Just because you grew up as a boy doesn’t mean that your child will automatically like the same things you like or play with the same toys with which you liked to play. Someone please argue against this point – I would LOVE to see exactly what people think would be missing from the child’s life other than some mysterious, undefined ‘mommy’ or ‘daddy’ figure. As stated in my point one (and one only needs to attend the first week of an anthropology course to see that this is fact), gender roles are created by society, so there is no reason why a female (sex) need identify with a female gender role and can’t adapt to fill more of a male gender role. This is the same for the male sex and the female gender role.

    3.) Same-sex couples who have children usually need to plan in advance that they are going to have children to either bear a child if possible (in vitro, via sex with the opposite sex, etc.) or to adopt. In the case of adoption, those children would have otherwise stayed in orphanages – is that any better than being raised by two people who have planned to have a child and will love them as their own? While literature claiming same-sex children are disadvantaged is mostly controversial at best, the literature showing the detriment to children raised in orphanages is long-standing,repeatable, and sound. So, in the end, what are you really saving these children from by not allowing homosexual couples to adopt? As for the ones born to the couple, the chances of an unwanted child are lower because more planning is necessary for conception in these cases than in the case of a heterosexual couple.

    4.) As stated by some others, this is not an argument against same-sex marriage at all, but one against the raising of children in same-sex households. Therefore, the discussion of children being raised in non-ideal, heterosexually-based households is relevant as a comparison. However, as homosexual couples already raise children even outside of marriage, the issue of same-sex marriage is, at best, only relevant to the entire argument of the article insofar as the prevalence of children raised in same-sex homes may increase with legalized same-sex marriage. Instead, as others have stated, this article seems to be a dishonest appeal to the readers’ emotions.

    • “As stated in my point one (and one only needs to attend the first week of an anthropology course to see that this is fact), gender roles are created by society,”

      Apparently it took only one week to become brainwashed, since the statement “gender roles are created by society,” is a political/ideological statement and not one based in any way on fact.

    • Actually, whilst it is certain there is some social interpretation of sexual roles (gender is a grammatical term and has nothing to do with sexual roles), this does not mean they are totally depend on social construction. Society cannot construct except from the materials it has available, and if it stretches these too far it risks chaos and destruction.

      It certainly must be proven that sexual roles are so fluid as you claim (few people, of course, would claim they are simplistically static – but your claim seems to be they are almost indefinitely pliable).

      All the literature showing children raised by same-sex couples has massive flaws – small, non-random samples, and so on. It is not better, at least, than the literature which shows negative findings about these arrangements.

  55. “3. Your view of the Catholic Church seems to be somewhat protestant; ”

    No, it is distinctly atheistic, with all the usual arrogance that comes with it. He sneers at all religion, then has the arrogance to assert that only HE can dictate who is a true Catholic and who is not. He’s like a person who’s made a huge fortune off of pornography and prostitution and who then screams “Hypocrite” at the otherwise happily married Christian couple who had sex just once before marriage.

  56. This debate upsets me greatly. It makes me feel selfish for wanting children, and for wanting to marry another woman.
    If I’m so damaging to children that I shouldn’t have any I really don’t know what I should be aspiring towards, seeing as family clearly isn’t a reasonable goal. I’m not saying anyone who has this opinion is intentionally cruel or even wrong, I’m just sad that a healthy family is something I can’t have.

  57. Lexie:

    1) “This is where the words ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ come from – from gender roles, not inherently from the sex of a person” ? I feel you are confusing cultural anthropology with strict biology. “Mommy” is the female human with one set of reproductive organs within which the child develops and who ultimately gives birth to the child. “Daddy” is the male human with a different set of reproductive organs who is necessary in order to concieve the child in the first place. “Mommy” is not dervied from “gender” roles, but from biology. The word “mother” has always refered to the person who gave birth to the child, no one else. That non-biological motherhood is identified by words and concepts such as “other mother”, “surrogate mother” etc etc is indicative of this. If “mother” was really only indicative of the “gender role” and not of actual biological motherhood, then there would never be any need to distinguish them. This is common sense. If someone says “this is my mother” – our first assumption is “biological mother”. If biological relation is not obvious, we wonder “is this the real mother?” It is the same with fatherhood. It is a fact of science – a fairly basic fact – that motherhood exists ONLY because of human reproduction and fatherhood exists ONLY because of human reproduction. The basis of all of the other functions of the mother and the father in the family structure derive from the natural capacity to sexually reproduce. It is true that there are layers and layers of secondary roles identified with “motherhood” or “fatherhood” that are societal or cultural in structure. There is nothing in biology that dictates who should teach the child math, or who should change the diapers. However, NONE of these secondary roles would ever be possible unless there was a primary distinction between male and female and a biological relation between male and female that leads to the creation of a human life, and therefore gives rise to the words “mother” and “father”. When you write “Therefore, the only reason why two women couldn’t be a mommy and a daddy to a child is because society expects them to not be able to,” you are quite wrong.

    The reason why two women couldn’t be “mommey” and “daddy” is because two women cannot sexually reproduce. A woman who does “stereotypically male” things with the child – like playing football, does not therefore become a “father” because the principle root of the concept of “fatherhood” is the biological function of sexual reproduction.

    As I have already noted more times than once: is the Aunt of a child called “mother” because, if she actively takes part in the family, then she fulfills many of the roles of a mother? No. She is an aunt, not a “second mother.” Is an active uncle of a child called a “father” because he fulfills many of the roles of a father? No. He is the uncle. All family designations – actually – have biology at their root. Two friends could say “we’re like brothers” – but they are not actually brothers; only “like” brothers. What makes two men brothers is that they have the same mother and father. If they share one parent, but not the other, we call them “half-brothers”. Of course, friends and half-brothers will go on calling themselves “brothers” – which is fine, just like surrogate parents will call themselves “mother and father” – but the very fact that this is an act of the will, that we acknowledge the distinction between “biological brother” or “biological father” and “brother” and “father” indicates that the words we use are not because “society expects” us to, but because there is an actual, real difference rooted in biology.

    2) Now you are asking about psychology. For an answer to your question, I recommend you read Eric Fromm’s Art of Love.

    3) Here I am in relative agreement with you, insofar as you ask “what are you really saving” the orphan child from if you don’t allow a homosexual couple to adopt. However – you do realize that the only reason why you are right here is because our common sense tells us that ideally, the child should be with his mother and father who love the child and are good for the child. Our common sense tells us that being in an orphanage is a disadvantage and a sad situation, and our common sense tells us that being raised without a mother or a father (in a homosexual household) is also a disadvantage and a sad situation. Ergo – you only prove Dr. Bauman’s point here: homosexual households are really no better than orhanages – because the ideal state for a child is to have a real mother or father, and the second best option is a substitute mother and father. That is exactly why orphanages should not shift children who are already in one bad situation into ANOTHER bad situation. It is why orphanages should look for responsible marriages (and unfortunately I have to underline that by “marriage” I mean “man and woman” and by “man and woman” I mean male and female sex, because apparently we live in an age wherein people who attend university unlearn these things and no longer take them for granted). Orphanages save children by finding loving married households for them, real wholesome families. It is good that Russia bans Americans from adopting children, because America does not understand what a family is anymore and therefore letting orphans go from one tragedy (an orphanage) into another (an American homosexual household) is wrong. As you rightly say “what are you really saving” by doing so? Nothing. That is exactly why orphanages should seek out responsible married couples (again – male and female).

    4) The fact that homosexual couples “already raise childen” is a catastrophe that American society will pay for in the long run. You are right that at this stage there is “nothing” that can be done about it, and that the argument is somewhat superfluous. Legal homosexual marriage, homosexual adoption – these are already realities in many states and are almost by definition sure to spread to other states. It is also clear from reading many of the opinions on this page that vast numbers of Americans are uninformed and do not understand what a family is. This is not a surprise. Given the failure of heterosexual marriages in the western world to take their marriage vows seriously and to uphold the ideal of marriage as more than merely an institution satisfying individual whims, but as an important civic component of a free society, the resultant last few generations have grown up in broken homes, and become accustomed to a variety of unorthodox family arrangements. Looking at anthropology, you have then discovered that in jungles and in primitive societies, there have been and are family arrangements that are different from the ones that have traditionally developed in the West. Instead of understanding why the family, as it has traditionally been understood in the West, is perhaps preferable and need sto be rescued, Americans have concluded from their mess that it is not a mess, but a natural state of affairs, consistent with the mating habits of homosexual penguins, African tribes and other societies. This has led Americans to accept a Gender ideology which legitamizes the demographic and social catastrophes of the American family as actually not being catastrophes at all. The breakdown of the traditional family has already had a catastrophic effect on American society and will continue to do so. You are right – this is no longer a debate, and it certainly is no longer about individual rights of people who are genetically predisposed to homosexuality (rights which I support) – instead – it is a vast attempt to enshrine a revolutionary vision of familial relations based on the notion that the present catastrophe is actually a good thing.

    In this sense, it is reminiscent of Soviet Socialism, which first created economic impoverishment where there was none, and then did all it could to “fix” the problems it created by treating these problems as absolutely “normal” features of human life. The results for the Soviet system were utter collapse and decades of misery. America is and will experience the same until Americans recognize there is something fundamentally wrong about how they have decided to organize their society.

    Finally, Bella:

    “If I’m so damaging to children that I shouldn’t have any”….

    You misunderstand the point – you are not “damaging to children” – no one has made the argument that a human being, a man or a woman, who happens to have a homosexual orientation is “damaging to children.”

    People have various sexual predispositions – usually we keep these predispositions private (strangely, there is one group, the “gays” who apparently feel it necessary to loudly continue to inform us of their sexual preferences). We don’t ask people about their sexual preferences when they interact with children, because in general – sexual matters are intimate and for adults.

    What IS damaging to children is DELIBERATELY depriving a child of a mother or a father.

    Homosexual couples who desire children and acquire them through in-vitro or other means beyond natural male-female procreation are deliberately depriving a child of either a mother or a father.

    No surprisingly, in order to get around this moral crime, the academic world has been busy coming up with Gender Ideology in order to blur the concepts of “mother” and “father” in the minds of Americans and inculcate into them a sense of shame that they should even think in such categories.

    That said, I am a tolerant person, and I don understand that different societies of human beings develop differently. Just as I tolerate and oppose all attempts to interfere with the customs of African jungle tribes which practice polygamy, and am even sceptical about our capacity as a civilization to do anything about those tribes which practice genital mutilation against women (although I think it is horrible), I also understand that Christian cultures like those in Eastern Europe or Russia can’t really do anything about tribes in America which practice “homosexual parenting”. The only thing they can do is protect Russian children from these practices by forbiding the adoption of these children by Americans. Each nation has the right to nurture their own culture. It is interesting to discuss the exten to which a culture is more or less just, and while no culture can lay claim to universal justice, it seems to me that in terms of familial relations, Russian and Eastern European culture is more just for its’ children than American culture is – because Russians and Eastern Europeans agree with Jesus Christ that marriage is a sacred union of men and women and usually ends in procreation of children who benefit from loving mothers and fathers. These cultures do not allow the exceptions to this general rule to dictate their laws. America was once a nation that also held these ideas – but it no longer does. C’est la vie.

  58. Dr. Bauman,

    I don’t understand how your article even addresses gay marriage. Even if we were to blindly accept your conclusions regarding same-sex parenting as being damaging to children, surely the logical conclusion would be to advocate a ban on homosexuals adopting children. Where is the connection between your arguments about parenthood and the incredible leap into the realm of marriage? You’ve said absolutely nothing about same-sex marriage here.

    • The point is that part of marriage is the openness to reproduction. This openness follows from the characteristics of man and woman and the requirements of human reproduction, in the broad sense of raising healthy children to adulthood. That some heterosexuals cannot have children doesn’t change the qualities which create this peculiar relationship, nor does it mean that homosexuals can enter into it. Whatever relationships they have, they are not based on the same dynamic of biological and romantic qualities that heterosexual monogamous relationships include.

      So, there is clearly two distinct relationships being spoken of, whatever we call each one. And the question is why homosexual relationships, which can only be founded on romantic attachment, should be marked out as monogamous? That is, if romantic attachment is the only determining factor, why single out monogamous relationships? Indeed, why have the state recognise such relationships at all? Seeing as the socially crucial activity of reproduction has been separated from them.

  59. Dr. Bauman,

    Most gay couples that raise children do so through adoption. If a child is up for adoption, they have NO PARENTS to take care of them. Yet you point to the fact they they will only have 2 mothers or 2 fathers and not a mother and a father as a bad thing. Isn’t having 2 fathers or 2 mothers better than having no parents at all? I don’t think I follow your logic here…

  60. The entire premise of the article is that children do better with two parents than with one. Same-sex marriage supporters completely agree.
    Robert S

  61. After reading the article, I still see no evidence against same-sex marriage. Marriage does not equate having children. A gay person can adopt and have a relationship with someone. That isn’t being stopped. Also, your studies seem very biased. I did studies on homosexual parents, and it shows that children of homosexual parents are as well-rounded and sometimes even more so than those of heterosexual couples. Either way, your argument is moot. You cannot say “I’m against same-sex marriage because of the children.” When Jeffery Daumer can get married. I do tire of this argument against same-sex marriage. Try something that actually holds weight.

  62. It seems to me, and this is just my humble opinion, that in this article there has been nothing addressing whether or not LGBTQ people should not be able to engage in a non-traditional marriage. You have merely stated that children is such a relationship would be psychologically damaged by not having a “Mommy” or a “Daddy”. Well lets stop right there, because first off thats disgusting, using emotional terminology to get a response from your readers, its simply terrible journalism. Secondly, even if we assume that the Regnerus study held any water- which, by the way, we can’t as its under far to much controversy to have any kind of scientific use- then you must admit you have not discussed non-traditional couples being married, and NOT having children. The argument that may follow this is that non-traditional marriages can cause children who view them to become gay, which is simply nonsense, and there are plenty of studies to prove this wrong. I’d greatly enjoy a response to this comment, and would enjoy speaking with anyone who can argue intellectual fashion on this topic. Logic only please, no religion, no opinions.

  63. This was an awesome article that i just read. It’s very hard to argue with someone and just use religion. Alot of people are starting to ignore what God’s law states. They put themselves in the spot to say, “well yeah he says that they are condemed to hell, but he’s all loving and do you really think he’d condem them for being happy?” well, I don’t have an answer on what God will do, cause quite frankly..I’m not God. What i do know though is that, he said these practices were abominations way back since the beginning of time, and if they were back then, then I’m pretty sure he hasnt changed his mind about them today. everyone can argue as well, “So you’re saying that they can go fight for their freedom but can’t marry the person they love?” well, do they really love them? or are they blinded by lust? if they can’t have children with that person that they “love” then why are you marrying them? yes, i agree that love is a big play in marriage, but it is also a huge tool that the devil uses to trick us into doing wrong things. let’s say for example, i loved to steal money. stealing money is what made me happy and i loved it so much and if i can vote and fight for my country i should beable to do the thing i love most. Now, I’m in the wrong for breaking not just the law that the government has put forth, but also the Law that God has put forth. but ill argue, “i love to steal money! it’s what makes me happy! why can i vote and fight but i cant do the thing i love most?” everyone would argue, because its wrong.. gay marriage is no different. We are in no place to say whether or not we agree with what He says and in doing so would be us placing ourselves as equals to God. Good joke. We are merely dust, and dust is where we shall return too. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen

  64. At the fundamental level it is an abrogration of the Rights Of The Child. and as far as I can see thus against international law. Under Article 7 of the Covenant on the Rights Of The Child children have the right to know their parents and, as far as possible, to be cared for by them. That the Covenant refers to natural parents is supported by Article 30 which states that children have the right to learn and use the language and customs of their families, which clearly means their biological families.

  65. Thank you for posting this. I am not overly religious, yet homosexuality feels out of balance to me. To see it pushed as a viable choice for my children to see is upsetting to me. I feel as though we have all fallen down the rabbit hole.

    • Hi Christie,

      Your opinion is based on the knowledge that being homosexual is a choice. If science hasn’t done a good enough job proving that then there is the process of deduction: History hasn’t been kind to homosexual people, only a century ago there was probably no place on the planet where an openly homosexual person could live without fearing for their life. Along with all the other laws that made a homosexual person less equal, it makes no logical sense for a person to CHOOSE to be gay unless they’re some kind of masochist or adrenaline junkie who wants to live dangerously. Where is the up side ? What could it be ? I don’t see a single reason a person would give up their security unless they had a very good reason to. Case in point: Dr. Alan Turing, the English mathematician known as the father of theoretical computer science and the man who broke the German enigma code during WW2, without which the allies would have lost was prosecuted for gay acts(it wasn’t for being caught doing the act in public but for admitting to being in a gay relationship as part of an investigation of his house being burgled. So he was actually prosecuted for being gay). He chose to speak the truth, chemically castrate himself as punishment and then commit suicide 2 years later rather than lie and say he isn’t gay. We even know that he had women interested in him so it wouldn’t have been tough to lie. Why do this?

      Secondly, if it’s a choice then one should be able to change, right ? Did you ever make a choice to be attracted to the gender you’re attracted to ? And do you think you can choose to be attracted to the other gender? just for the sake of the experiment.

      Regarding the author’s point about children being worse off in a household without a mother or father, should we take single parent’s children away as well? Surely having just 1 mother or just 1 father is worse than having 2 of each. Is it not good that children up for adoption get more eligible parents for them ? Homosexual parents can’t make their own children, adoption is the only way to go. Is having 2 parents of the same sex worse than having to stay in foster care/govt care ? Adopting a child isn’t easy in this country, the same safeguards apply to gay parents as they do to straight parents. This ensures that the child has a stable household to grow up in, with parents who can actually support them. Is this not better than being parentless, which btw is only the result of straight sex. Gay people are responsible for NO abandoned babies(they can’t have any!)

  66. Hi. This was quite an interesting article to read, but I was wondering if you have any sources for the statistics you used in this article?

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