Thursday, March 24, 2011

Class on Homosexual Marriage (2nd Class on the subject)


  1. Father,

    At 15:58 of the first video, you ask how gay marriage will not lead to polygamy. You say there's already some movement in that direction (of approving of polygamous marriages).

    The short answer is that the 37th Congress of the United States passed the Morril Anti-Bigamy Act and it was signed into law by President Lincoln in 1862. It has gone unchallenged for nearly 150 years.

    That is your answer to "How do we know gay marriage won't lead to marriages comprised of more than 2 people." Christians, fearing the Mormon religion would overtake the population of other sects of Christianity through accellerated procreation, put this law into place as a response to the perceived threat. It is the only time the Federal Government has taken the initiative on marriage issues and not left them up to the states, and the only time a Law of the United States was passed specifically in response to a religious body (the Mormon Church).

    ....just sayin'.....

  2. Final comment on the first video: While I agree that gay marriage proponents saying "well marriage has always been between 2 people" is not an intellectually viable argument for overcoming the gay marriage opponent argument of "well marriage has always been between a man and a woman"...I would also point out that neither is that argument an intellectually viable argument for overcoming the gay marriage proponent argument.

    We hear Maggie Gallagher of NOM, Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, and Focus on the Family and Pastor Rick Warren (among others) say that in the past 5000 years marriage has always been between one man and one woman. But that's not exactly true. In fact, TRUE religious marriages have outnumbered one man/one woman marriages, and they have been polygamous in nature, meaning that the TRUE 5,000 year history of heterosexual has been between one man and at least one (often more than one, and sometimes FAR more than one woman).

    So to fearmonger that gay marriage would lead to polygamous marriages really is one of the most intellectually dishonest arguments there are from gay marriage opponents, as polygamous marriages have been around for THOUSANDS of years PRIOR to gay marriage becoming an equality issue in the United States.

    And don't EVEN get me started about the trend from Jesus' time up until the present, where divorce has been more of a traditional component of traditional marriage than "till death do just the two of us part" ever has (and daresay) ever will be.

    As I have shared with many folks I have had this discussion with, it is ironic to me that during the same timeframe that the Church (both Catholic and Protestant) have been focused on gay marriages, the heterosexual divorce rate has skyrocketed to the point that over 1,000,000 children witness the divorce of their parents' first divorce, and half of them witness the their parent's second divorce, before even reaching the age of 18.

    Again....just sayin'.....

  3. On the second video, now. At the very beginning, you seem to feign ignorance at how many states currently permit same sex marriage, citing only Massachusettes, and claiming you only have 24 hours in a day to research the information you give your students. That is NO excuse for any educator to not be educated on the issue on which they themselves attempt to teach. You would have to be living under a rock to not know that 5 states and the District of Columbia approve same gender marriage, and to pretend you didn't know, is so far, the only disingenuous thing for which I believe a critique is TRULY in order.

    Our students deserve better, Father.

  4. On the last part of the second video, you allude to preachers being arrested for hate speech in Canada for "simply getting up in church and expressing the church's teaching on homosexuality", and fear mongered that it could happen in America as well, even as you later hem and hawed until finally admitting to the student questioning that you would have to "brush up on your hate speech laws" to see if what you had just told them was indeed true.

    And just as you complained about the "subtle" words like 'justice' and 'fairness" being used by the pro gay marriage "camp" as you call us, you yourself used the "subtle" words like "free speech", "religious freedom" etc. in order to strike fear in the general public and fellow pastors for something that 1). you aren't even sure is a valid point, and 2). that you should know full well is protected by freedom of speech and freedom of religion in America.

    But that damage is already done in that student's mind....or another student's mind....regardless of how you hem and haw about not being familiar with hate speech laws, there is a very real potential for impressionable young minds to take you at your first word that pastors, preists and preachers could one day be prohibited from sharing with their congregations regarding their religious beliefs regarding homosexuality.

    In this case, you serve as little more than an echo chamber, and have committed an act of "indoctrination"....that which our opponents shout from the rooftops that they fear the most if gay marriage becomes legal.

    Hypocrisy is the word that comes to mind in that particular instance. And THAT is why Canada and other countries consider it hate speech. Because as those impressionable young minds in church are being taught that Leviticus proscribes the death penalty for any 2 men lying with each other as they would with women, there becomes a "justification" in their minds that bullying fellow students for being gay, yeah, even killing homosexually identified individuals, is just a okay with God, regardless of how the church attempts to position itself as "not the far right wing".

    Tricky, tricky.

  5. Third video: At the very beginning you mention Catholic Charities being "forced to stop providing adoption services" because it would not provide adoptive children to same gender couples, saying "it's already being forced upon a religious instituion...."

    I paused the vid here, so I may have to revise this statement, but....

    Nobody ever forced Catholic Charities to be in business in the first place. If the Church was more successful in preventing unwanted pregnancies in the first place (perhaps through a papal dispensation permitting Catholics to employ contraception), then there would be less of a need for adoption in the first place. Secondly, Catholic Charities can continue to provide all the adoption services they want to, as well as to continue to refuse to place adoptive children with same gender couples....they simply can no longer recieve the MILLIONS in DOLLARS of FEDERAL, STATE and LOCAL TAXPAYERS' funding in order to do so.

    This is one of those REALLY deceptive misperceptions that I hope comes to an end sooner, rather than later....

  6. The first argument you (mis)represent is that gay marriage proponents are petitioning the government to "permit friendships?" And then you go on to say that "friendship is great, but don't call it marriage." We AREN'T, and you strike me as intelligent enough to understand the difference. You may personally consider a single gender loving, committed, monogamous and lifelong relationship as nothing more than a "friendship," but I assure you we do not. We call our marital relationships "marriage" because that's what they are. We understand the difference between friendship and marriage. We have NEVER asked the state to recognize "friendships", and you once again demonstrate a willing obsfucation for that which you seem to deliberately misrepresent. I call foul on that particular point.

    Father, I would have to search high and low to find that coming from our "camp." However, I am willing to reconsider my statemet should you be willing to cite a source for that assertion.

  7. At 6:23 of the third video, the question comes up: why not have civil unions for gays instead of marriage. There are a few reasons. 1. The Morril Anti-Bigamy law would not prevent more then 2 partners in a civil union, because a civil union would not be "marriage" by the state's definition. If the church is truly concerned about polygamous relationships, do we really want to instill into society a way to provide heterosexual polygamists with a way to side step the bigamy laws?

    You also say that it would be unfair to deny a "civilly unioned" couple the same benefits if they were not having sexual relations. But again, you have no tool at the state level to prevent unwanted polygamous relationships among heterosexual couples.

    Final point is that a civil union is not marriage. Only marriage is marriage. Marriage has been comprised of 1 man and 700 wives by King Solomon himself, whose son, David went on to become King of Israel, and whose descendants eventually gave rise to Jesus Christ Himself, and the world didn't come to an end.

    Civil unions is a half baked version of marriage under which marriage laws would not be applicable. Every state would have different terms for what constituted a civil union, and the federal and state governments would have no legal standing for granting or denying income tax filing status. The tax codes ask "married" or "single". There is no "civilly unioned" on a tax form which would permit joint filings.

    Finally, and quite frankly, those of us who are fighting for marriage equality are not fighting to pass on a half baked version of marriage in the form of civil unions or domestic partnerships to future generations of gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender people.

    Finally, the church then too would stand to become further divided over the issue as each denomination of Christianity fought over whether or not they would think God was okay with civil unions for the lgbt parishioners. Father, this is a can of worms that can only become wormier, and if civil unions become the norm, will only drive the courts to grant marriage equality more quickly in order to prevent enshrining even more discrimination into our laws.

    Civil unions are an important (albeit tentative) first step toward marriage, but they are not marriage, plain and simple.

  8. Next, you ask what compelling governmental interest the state would have in granting anyone marriage, and the response you agree with is to continue the society [through procreation].

    But society is not going to grind to a halt if gays have their relationships recognized as the marriages we ALREADY consider them to be. You say in the first part of the video that the Catholic Church is the largest adoption agency in the world. Why then would the state be concerned with the population dying out when in fact we already have MILLIONS of unwanted children?

    To say that society would die out if gays marriages become recognized by the state is a non sequitor at best, and another attempt at fear mongering at worst. IMHO.

  9. In closing, let me say that as the one student mentioned, "at least you're not as "offensive" as most gay marriage opponents can and have been." I found the class thoroughly enlightening and wish something like this would have been taught in my school as I struggled with coming to terms with my homosexuality identity. However, if this is going to continue in our schools, I do hope the proponents of gay marriage would be included in the discussion as well in order to give students both sides of the issue.

    You stated early in the first series of videos that "society already gives the other side of the argument", but as pointed out in some of my comments, that did not prevent you from mischaracterizing nor misrepresenting many of the pro gay marriage equality proponents points.

    All in all, I would rate this video series as a B and would deduct points as already explained in previous comments.

    I understand this series is actually 4 hours long, and I hope to view the rest of it at some point. Suffice for now to say that I am grateful for the opportunity to have a look at the inside of what I would continue to consider the same "indoctrination" of students that our opponents most vocally denounce ocurring, unless it seems, it is an indoctrination of thier own points of view. And that is of course, a form of bigotry, prejudice, or hypocrisy...whichever adjective you prefer to use.

    Bottom line summary: Thank you for your time, and for posting these videos, though I do wonder what your purpose of posting them was. Is it to further indoctrinate other students? Is it to provide a model by which this can be done in schools all over the country? Is there some self-serving interest of your own, such as being promoted to the speaking circuit in order to collect large fees for your lectures? I'm just really curious on that point.

    In closing, let me just say I hope we develop a dialogue that takes a closer look at some of the counter points the I find in Scripture as well as society either on Twitter, or via my email address:

    PEACE and BLESSINGS be yours, even as we appear to have sharp disagreements, I think you have demonstrated the ability to be respectful, and that's all most gays are really asking for from our opponents: respect...and a bit of that dignity the Catholic Church says we are due. :)

    Hope to talk to you more soon.
    Brian Anthony Bowen
    Author, The Bed Keeper: A Biblical Case For Gay Marriage.

    PS: If you decide to delete these comments from here, that's cool too. I've saved them on my computer, and can repost under another name if that's what it comes to. Otherwise, I expect you to welcome comments from all viewpoints, based on the validity of your own claims having the ability to withstand scrutiny, if they are indeed accurate, truthful, and Scriptural.

  10. I have watched the videos and find that you are not telling the truth in many instances. As a teacher you should give the students facts. If you don't know the facts, you should not teach the course.

  11. Watching your anti-gay class, I feel so thankful that I was raised Jewish!

  12. Such hatred from a man of the cloth.

    What would Jesus do?

    Marriage equality takes place all over the world, and in 5 states and DC here in the US.

    Can you--or anyone--tell me house straight marriage has been ruined thus far by marriage equality?

  13. Former Catholic, former Hoosier here - John, you make me proud to be a gay, atheist New Yorker. I tried to kill myself when I was 20 and my head was filled with the kind of garbage you pour on your students. You are doing so much harm that you're not even aware of, it makes my heart sick for your students who may be struggling with their identity.

  14. Just because something has always been that way doesn't mean it should stay that way. Slavery was the norm for thousands of years...are you saying slavery should still be legal?

  15. Oh, oh, it's "Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven" preaching on sexual morality to the young -- again. Personally, I feel that if you don't play-uh the game, you don't make-uh the rules. But hey, Pope Benedict XVI has been in a cozy and committed relationship with Monsignor Georg Ganswein for a few decades, so maybe he's qualified to speak. And if I had a penny for every single gay and closeted priest I knew, I could quit my job and retire tomorrow.

  16. I feel that Father John does not mean any hate towards any gays. He is simply saying what the Church believes. I personally appreciate his teachings.
    I see it both sides: Live and let live. But if you don't believe in the Catholic teachings then don't be Catholic.

  17. Stick to what Catholic priests know best, molesting and abusing children.

    People should never take the word of a church that has committed the horribles crimes committed by so many priests.

    What you think about the world is irrelevant.

  18. I look forward to a class highlighting the widespread, decades-long rape of children by Catholic clergy, and the Church's orchestrated cover-up.

  19. catholic homosexualMarch 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    God bless you, Father. I am a young Catholic who has this problem. There is so much self-deception in the homosexual world. As the gay groups extend their political influence ever further, it is becoming almost impossible to hear the truth taught on these subjects. Homosexuals, Catholic and non-Catholic, need to hear the truth preached in love. Some will rage against you, but many of us - perhaps often silent for fear of the consequences of raising our voices - will be grateful to a good priest, who is living out his vocation to preach the truth that saves.

  20. All you gays that posted here are all angry cowards who try to use abuse in the church as a reason to justify your own selfish desires. Why do you NEED marriage? Why can't you have civil unions with all the same legal benefits and be happy? Why do those who believe marriage is between a man and woman considered "haters" and so forth? Face it, people don't HAVE to agree with you, and are entitled to their opinion just as much as you are entitled to scream and shout about yours. And if you want to talk statistics, I'm sure you can find many more doctors and non-Catholic pastors, counselors, or even Homosexual Boy Scout troop leaders that abused children. How would it feel if every gay guy who worked in Scouts or other public service organizations was called a child molester? Wouldn't be a very fair generalization now would it? Again, if you aren't Catholic then why read these posts and come here to spread hate and vile insults? Somehow it always seems to be a one way street. Just remember to take the wooden beam out of your own eye before you try to remove the splinter in someone else's.

  21. Well, for someone who doesn't have time to watch the videos, let me sum it up. If you commit sodomy and do not repent, you will burn in hell.

  22. The "rape of children" by the way, was homosexual molestation of male teenagers. Get your facts straight.

  23. I am a gay rights activist, and I have never met a same-sex marriage proponent who is also a supporter of polygamy. Those that are in favor of both are few and far between. So the idea that same-sex marriage begs the question "is polygamy next?" doesn't really compute.

    Polygamy and same-sex marriage are 2 completely different issues, because we say that GENDER should not be an issue in marriage, not the # of people! If there is ever a polygamist movement, I and many other gay rights activists will stand firmly on "your" side, Father.

  24. Sisters eyebrows are reaal clean, thats all im sayin.

  25. The recent sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church is not a pedophilia issue - most of the abused were post-pubescent. It was a scandal of homosexuals raping teenagers. Get the homosexuals out of the seminaries and parishes and the sex abuse scandal ends. It is quite simple.

  26. About the sexual abuse scandals - it doesn't matter if it was homosexual or heterosexual. Priests are to remain celibate and are to be protectors of human life, at all ages. The priests (and by the way pastors, rabis, coaches, scout leaders, teachers, parents, and everyone else who has participated in these acts) made poor choices and should receive consequences as well as help. However, it has nothing at all to do with the sexual identity. Before you bash the vow of celibacy, perhaps you should look into the reasons for it and the good that comes out of it. Just because it's not your cup of tea doesn't mean it's wrong or stupid. Saying that priests can't discuss sexuality because they don't have sex is like saying teachers can't teach history because they weren't there when it happened. Or that teachers can't teach about other cultures unless its their own.

    I will also say, however, that it was an interesting point to learn that the issue the government had with Catholic Charities resulted in loss of federal funding and not revoking the right to aid adoptions was enlightening. That should have been made clear in the video as the government has a right to deem how its money is spent, keeping Church and State separate.

    What I would absolutely LOVE to see is a live debate with Fr. John and a pro-homosexual marriage representative. I think we could all learn a whole lot, most importantly how to treat people with differing opinions with respect. I believe that, even though Fr. John may have had some facts incorrect or misinformed some students, he is nothing less than respectful in his postings, comments, and teachings. And that is a whole lot more than I can say for many of the anti-Catholic comments above.

  27. Thank You for explaining the Church's teachings and position on topics such as this Father! Especially in a world where our children are bombarded from all directions on a daily basis with messages that conflict with those of the Church. Some people don't seem to understand the Church's teachings aren't open to debate! We appreciate all that you do and you are an exemplary role model for the students. I can go on and on about the way people are responding to you but the bottom line is . . . this is what we believe as a Church, the students are in your class to learn these lessons because we choose to have them there! Thanks Again!!!

  28. Wow. Such hate from the self-appointed tolerance police in the comments here. The fact is that Father explained both arguments for and against same-sex "marriage" in a theology classroom at a Catholic high school. What did you expect him to say? He did so in a manner that was not at all "hateful" (show me where that is), "bigoted", or "indoctrinating" (a fancy word for "you said something I didn't like").

    The critiques here, especially from BrotherBrianBowen, are uncalled for. Father's analogy to alcoholism and "prostitution" (he didn't use that word) were not meant to equate them with same-sex attraction, but to point out that clearly not every inclination, even if one is genetically predisposed should be indulged. If you really think he was equating them all, you missed the point of the analogy.

    It is also unfair to criticize Father for not knowing each and every statistic on same-sex "marriage" by state off the top of his head. I'm sure students frequently ask him questions on particular issues where the details escape him in the moment. It is unreasonable to expect him to know everything about everything off the top of his head. But this criticism is really irrelevant, since the primary purpose of the class was not legal history but to give the theological and philosophical reasoning the Church offers for its opposition to same-sex "marriage" and homosexual activity (or any sexual activity outside marriage, for that matter).

    Kudos to Father for explaining a difficult topic and one for which he was sure to get labeled if he didn't tell certain people what they wanted to hear.

    Same-sex "marriage" supporters...many of us disagree with you, and it is not bigotry to say so. And if it is, then you are guilty of the same.

    Ryan, a fellow Catholic high school theology teacher in the Bay Area.

  29. @ Ryan,
    You are absolutely right - teachers can't be expected to have all the details about everything, and it doesn't really matter anyway because this was a lesson about the Catholic Church's teaching - to students who pay to attend a school that will teach it! And I really wish that people who had watched this class had watched the first class as well. I also appreciate your comment, and Fr. John's explanation, that we, as humans that differ from animals, should learn to control our desires!

    And for the haters, this comes from someone who does not agree that polygamy will follow homosexual marriage.

    To the comment about friendships: I believe that Fr. John was saying that if anyone is allowed to marry anyone, what would stop any two people from marrying just for the tax or citizenship benefits? Would it not be even more difficult for the State to discredit fraudulent marriages? Do not misinterpret this comment: I do not intend to imply that all heterosexual marriages are honest and faithful, nor do I intend to imply that no homosexual relationships are honest and faithful. Merely playing devil's advocate here. And I believe that Fr. John, in other situations (be reminded that the topic of this class was homosexual marriages and the Church and he could therefore not cover all aspects of marriage in itself) has also discussed the sanctity of marriage and how society has severely diminished that - see posts/classes regarding contraception and its affect on society and marriage.

    I have yet to see disrespect from the "marriage for one man and one woman only" camp on this blog, only from the same-sex marriage camp. Just because someone, or an institution, disagrees with you, and eloquently explains its position, does not mean that there is any disrespect to the individuals on the other side.

  30. Kid above me.

    He only taught one side. As the opposite side, learn at least that much. Thanks.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Hey Ryan,

    Not sure where you got anything from me about the Father's analogy to alcpholism or prostitution.

    I did however, share plenty on divorce, which you fail to even mention...and if you're also a theology teacher, it would seem to me that focusing on heterosexual marriages more, and focusing on gay marriages less, may just indeed be the answer the church needs in order to rein in the divorce rate.

    Again, divorce harms the children involved. Gay marriage does not. Where are your priorities? Wait...your comments answered that already.

    A better question: Why isn't preventing DIVORCE and unwanted pregnancies your priority...especially when that affect 10 times the amount of the population and the church?

  33. Anonymous 3/29 10:11 PM- No, he did mention (and argue against) some of the arguments for same-sex marriage. This is a fact. You may not agree with him or with me, but he did give some of the arguments for. He even showed a CNN clip that showed a same-sex proponent speaking.

    BrotherBrianBowen-You're right, you're not the one who critiqued that analogy. My mentioning it right after calling your many criticisms uncalled for did make it seem that it was you who said it. That wasn't my intent, I was speaking generally about some of the criticisms.

    Concerning the rest of your comment at 3/30 8:30 PM...Red Herrings. Your post was condescending. What do you think my "priorities" are? And how do you know that preventing divorce and "unwanted" pregnancies are not a priority for me? These issues are all important. One at a time...

    I didn't mention divorce. Why? Because I just didn't. You posted a LOT. I just didn't respond to everything, for no other reason than that I just didn't. I agree with you that the state of marriage is in trouble and that yes, children suffer tremendously because of it. And as a theology teacher, I talk to my students about a number of assume I spend all my time on one. Incorrect. But we ARE talking about same-sex marriage I chimed in. Wow your posts are condescending.


  34. Father, it is dangerous to tell the truth, but this world needs truth tellers. I'm with you 100%. Your students might find this essay helpful:

    Best wishes to you!

  35. Father Hollowell,
    Thank you for speaking the truth courageously in the face of this hatred and calumny. We're tired of the pro-homosexual lobby pushing their ideology on the rest of us, and screaming "hate" if we peacefully disagree with their choices. It seems they don't really believe in tolerance or free speech; it's their way or the highway.

    Thank you again.

  36. Keep on Keeping on Fr. Hollowell! These students need the truth. God Bless you.

  37. God bless you and your work, Father. I find it ironic that those who wish you had included pro-homosexual viewpoints have not seemed to notice that you have published their comments on your blog, despite having no need to do so. Our teens are bombarded by the entertainment industry, the Internet, and indeed even their schools to embrace a form of tolerance that would eschew love, for true love is not afraid to name that which is evil as evil in an effort to redeem it. Weary not in well doing. I pray your Rome trip was restorative to you in body, mind, and spirit, and that you return to the battlefield, i.e. the classroom, ready once again to take up the arms our Lord has given.

  38. Br. Brian condoms aren't the answer, even w/ wide spread use of birth control, there are still so many "unwanted" preg. Resulting in 50 million abortions we have seen. I have to wonder also what self seeking interest you had by posting several lengthy comments & then putting a book you wrote along w/ your address for all to see....just saying....ft. H. Keep up speaking the truth in charity & giving our kids the truth, no matter how hard it is to hear ....truth isn't always easy to swallow & digest. Speaking the truth some will scream HATE, but these same screamers have no problems screaming obscenities back to you they want tolerance and understanding but sure dont give it in return.

  39. If you explore Fr. Hollowell's blog, you will notice that he does discuss divorce in many instances. Specifically, in relation to birth control. His explanation of the Church's stance, for which he has statistical evidence, connects birth control with higher rates of divorce AND unwanted pregnancies. For you to assume it has the opposite effect shows that you have not done the research.

  40. Father John is teaching a THEOLOGY CLASS. People act as if he went into a math class and began a homily. This is a theology class at a Catholic school, he is charged with teaching these children what the Church says, not popular opinion, not both sides of the debate. If you don't like what he is teaching, don't watch the video-I don't watch videos of things I don't agree with, so why do you?

  41. Father,
    Again, forgive the late response, as I am just now reading your blog.

    A bit of background to support what I am saying: My ex-husband was an EMT at where I work. He swept me off my feet and asked me to marry him very early on. Anyway, I rented out my house to my parents and, after we were married, moved in with him in his house (and took out a home loan on mine to pay off his credit cards). He dumped me the week after getting his Green Card. He got it through NACARA, but needed the wife and the house to look good because it turns out he had a criminal record...He is gay and was having anonymous gay sex while we were married. He and I had a long discussion (argument) after the fact about gay marriage and would he have used someone if he were able to marry a man.

    His opinion and that of his friends?

    That they don't believe in marriage between two men, only legal unions, because marriage is supposed to be monogamous and they all agreed that the men in long term relationships that they knew all had "open relationships." They said that they knew of literally zero relationships between two men that had lasted for over two years that didn't allow for sexual activity with other men "As long as there were no emotions."

    This says quite a bit to me. Oh, and I still rent the house out to my parents-I figured the fast track to hell was kicking one's parents out onto the street, so my husband (my husband now) and I are living in an apartment until they are ready to buy my house...

    Before the hate responses begin if anyone else reads this, I am stating what they said, I am not trashing anyone if they are in a monogamous relationship or stating that it's not possible.