Thursday, April 7, 2011

Response to Classes on Homosexuality

I have been able to read all of the comments on Youtube, Facebook, and my blog, and at this point, I'd like to issue a statement addressing those comments which merit a response.

Before that, I would just say that President Obama has called the nation to a more civil discourse, and judging between the tone that those in favor of "gay marriage" used and those who posted in support of the Church's teachings, I'd say Obama has more work to do with his liberal supporters than with Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks of the world.

While most of the comments on the blog and Youtube were polarizing, some merit a response, and so I hope to provide that now. With those who actually plan to engage in civil conversation, I hope that this serves as an invitation to further discussion.

One of the good points raised, and one that I failed to consider, was the point some made concerning polygamy. In my video I noted that "society has always understood marriage to be between one man and one woman." Many posters brought up the issue of polygamous relationships, even among folks in the Old Testament of the Bible. One wonders though, even given these examples, how common polygamy was/is, and whether or not marriage between one man and one woman was still, in those societies, normative. Polygamy as a societal norm would seem to be physically impossible given the fact that, outside of war time where a large number of men would have been killed, the population of men and women would be about the same, thus making it hard for every man to have two wives.

While polygamy poses a problem for those wanting to say marriage has always been understood to be between one man and one woman, it also poses problems for those who would want to see marriage redefined. The first problem it poses is that one would have to explain why society moved away from polygamy to a place where marriage is today. Why have societies (usually as they become more educated) moved TOWARD marriage as it is currently understood?

The second problem it poses for those who want to redefine marriage is that there is nothing that logically stops polygamy from returning if one undoes how marriage is defined. One poster noted that Lincoln signed a bigamy act in 1862 that would prevent polygamy from occurring, but Clinton signed a defense of marriage act in 1996, and we're seeing how sacrosanct that presidential act is considered today. One poster even said “we’ll be on your side if polygamy is ever put back on the table as an option” (read: we won’t push the envelope TOO far) but the question is simple – there is no logical answer to why, if we say the gender doesn’t matter, that we can simultaneously hold that the number of people entering a marriage does matter.

Also, before beginning, it should be noted that the videos were three different classes.
Class 1 - What the Church teaches on homosexuality
Class 2 and Class 3 - The Church says not letting homosexuals marry is clear simply through reason, and so that class was arguments from reason against homosexual marriage

The accusation that I did not present both sides is ludicrous in that in class 2 we watched a debate hosted by CNN on the issue for almost 8 minutes. It was CNN people! Also, I wonder where my kids would ever get "the other side" without me teaching it - perhaps on "V for Vendetta," "Will and Grace," "Modern Family," "The Family Stone," "The Kids are Alright," "Friends," or any of the shows listed here on wikipedia.

1. I had a lot of statistics about homosexuality thrown at me, but I still haven’t heard how, if it is biological/genetic, it is passed on to the next generation. Especially if one wants to say that this generation of homosexual persons is the most liberated, and no longer feels the need to hide in marriages, then homosexual people should be having children at a record low, so should one expect the numbers of homosexual people to drop off dramatically when this current generation of 20-40 somethings passes away? I think it is interesting how strongly some cling to Darwin’s philosophical claims but never apply them to the issue of homosexuality.

2. Some were upset that I didn't know which states one can currently get married in as a homosexual, or that I didn't know the current wording of hate speech laws. These things, while I agree to them being important, are really quite superfluous to the discussion we had in class.

3. Someone went off on the fact that Leviticus considers lots of other things to be sins of varying degrees - I covered that, at length, in the first class, and also talked about the Church's response to "the Leviticus issue"

4. Prop 8 was a federal judge saying that it is unlawful for a state to change its Constitution according to our nation's Constitution. Fair enough - thanks for pointing that out.

5. "Popular opinion is swinging in the direction of gay marriage." Has popular opinion always been a good indicator of what is right? Certainly, with issues like interracial marriages and slavery and so forth the public's opinion slowly warmed to finally adopting laws that were just.

However, there have also been plenty of times where popular opinion slowly moved towards favoring something that history later looked back on as disastrous. Popular opinion in Germany no doubt slowly warmed to Adolf Hitler.

6. Someone wondered why the state would be concerned about the population dying off (and thus wondering why the state would want to protect marriage as it is) when we already have millions of unwanted children. That point doesn’t hold water, though, because whether the children are “wanted” or “unwanted” they are children who are going to continue the species. “unwanted” children still go on to contribute to society, and most end up having kids of their own.

7. As the man on the CNN video said, people are looking to have their homosexual unions "solemnized," which is what I was getting at with my "friendship" comment in the second class. Wanting people to "solemnize" something doesn't in fact mean that the government SHOULD solemnize something. I can't DECIDE I deserve a Purple Heart or a Medal of Honor - I meet criteria beneficial to the state, and the state turns around and solemnizes my contribution. I can't just say "Hey, I want to be recognized too" and have that be a valid argument.

8. Issue of some heterosexual couples being infertile - covered in class.

9. One poster noted that Catholic Charities in Boston chose not to offer adoptions anymore because they wouldn’t receive federal money – and this is a completely false claim. From the Weekly Standard: “To operate in Massachusetts, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. And to get a license, an agency must pledge to obey state laws barring discrimination.”

It had nothing to do with federal money – Boston Catholic Charities adoption efforts were closed down by the state.