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.


  1. Maybe I should be an editor....Please change Metal of Honor to Medal of Honor.

    Other than that great post!

  2. You expect your students to get their education from Friends and Will and Grace?

    Here is some actual information you can read on how homosexuality can be biologically based and still happen without homosexuals reproducing. Not all is known on how it works, but there is plenty of evidence that it is biological.

  3. Come on now - Will and Grace, Friends, etc. have done more to further the cause of those who would seek to redefine marriage than anything else.

    It is the same reasoning behind why the U.S. exports culture (songs/movies/TV etc.) - it is the easiest way to make something seem normative. You may WISH something else has changed people's minds on this issue, but the cultural acceptance of homosexuality is most attributable to the battle, at the level of culture, fought and won long ago by those who support homosexuality.

  4. Yes, your students, I have no doubt, are familiar with those shows. That is NOT an education on the science of homosexuality. Does Ritter have a government class or is it just assumed that the students watch West Wing on Hulu?

  5. I believe that more people take their understanding of government from shows like West Wing than they do from their high school government class.

    What would be taught in a "science of homosexuality class" anyway?

  6. However much I disagree with Rick Warren, he had a great response to the "It's biology!" argument by saying that he was biologically inclined to have sex with every beautiful woman he saw, but that doesn't make it right. Really, if you look at two of the common justifications for perverse sex acts: 1. I was born this way 2. We find examples of said sex act in the animal kingdom, then you realize how dehumanizing they are. The first implies that one is a slave to genetic programing, the second a slave to animal impulses.

  7. Although I didn't know Rick Warren also said it, I did use that idea in class - I am biologically inclined and attracted to have sex with every beautiful woman I see.

  8. Father Hollowell,

    You are supposed to be an educator. Your job is supposed to be to make sure that kids aren't getting their information from Friends and West Wing, not just throwing up your hands in helplessness. You seem upset that they are getting the "pro-homosexual" message from the media, yet you are not willing to give them the real information.

    But, I am glad to see that you are at least now admitting that homosexuality is biological.

  9. "make sure that kids aren't getting their information from Friends and West Wing" - so I should blow up their TV's and not let them go to movies or listen to the radio? People have been telling kids (and adults) for years to not get their information from the media, but do you really think that is working?

    I have never said I believe it is biological/genetic because I have never seen any study indicating otherwise. My comments about being biologically attracted to every beautiful woman was to suggest that EVEN IF homosexuality is shown to somehow be genetic/biological - and that is a big difference from saying it IS biological/genetic

  10. I love that the source of "there is plenty of evidence that it is biological" comes from Wikipedia!!! What a great reference to be used!

  11. My apologies to the person who complained about Wikipedia. I assumed that you would know how to use Wikipedia to read the original studies if you so desired; you click on the highlighted words. I refrenced wiki because it gives a nice concise summary of the studies and you can then easily read them in greater detail if you choose.

    Father Hollowell, I don't expect you to blow up their TVs, I expect you to educate them. If they ask you questions you should respond with actual factual information or say that you don't know the answer. What you shouldn't do is say that you would give them the answers to their questions because they already know the answers from Friends.

    If you have never seen a study indicating that it is biological, that is because you aren't looking.

  12. I did know that about Wikipedia.

    My point is that ANYONE can put ANY link to ANY study conducted by ANYONE on Wikipedia. I might put a link on there to my "Anonymous Blog Poster/Scientist Study CONFIRMS Their is No Biological Component to Homosexuality Study". Check out my link on Wikipedia! The truth is finally out there!

  13. Yes, that is true about wikipedia, however, you should be able to look at the information and go to the original source and judge for yourself. Dismissing something from wiki, just because it is from wiki isn't a good idea. You should try to add false data on that wiki page and see how long it is there before it is removed. I would bet it isn't up there long at all. Wiki pages are monitored by people knowledgable about their subject.

  14. The Catholic Church is knowledgeable about the subject so dismissing something from the Catholic Church just because it is from the Catholic Church isn't a good idea.

  15. From the Wikipedia "source" you provided us:

    "Some studies have found correlations between physiology of people and their sexuality. These studies provide evidence which they claim suggests that:

    * Gay men report, on an average, slightly longer and thicker penises than non-gay men."

    Great "studies", I'll be sure to keep reading these.

  16. That study was done from 1938 to 1963. The men didn't "report" themselves. I have never read that particular study, but it looks like scientists attribute the *slight* difference to hormones in the womb, which they think it responsible for some cases of homosexuality.

    The more older brothers a man has, the more likely he is to be gay...unless the man is left handed. Odd, huh? Gay men are also significantly more likely to be left handed. To me, it sounds like there is more than one cause of homosexuality, one genetic and one biological (hormones in the womb).

    Gay men are also more likely to have a counter-clock wise hair swirl, which scientists think it probably related to the left-hand thing, but its still cool anyway. There are also several other physiological differences.

  17. And the Catholic Church continues to spiral down and circle the drain...

  18. EQUALITY is a basic concept in America.

    Marriage is a secular (S-E-C-U-L-A-R) institution in the America.

    Why do you hate America so much? Why do you hate the FREEDOMS that America stands for?

    Perhaps you, a HATER of America need to go someplace else.

  19. Teaching the Catholic faith has nothing to do with America.

  20. Why do you hate America so much? Why do you hate the FREEDOMS that America stands for?

    Actually if you study these mad rushes to create the legal fiction of same-sex marriage, you will notice a conspicuous absence of anything resembling conscience protection clauses for those who refuse to affirm the sham. Want to opt out your child out of a sex-ed class that teaches homosexual acts as normal? A Connecticut family was told they couldn't by the school board. If my boss gets in a same-sex "marriage" and try to keep my mouth shut until he pesters me enough that I finally say I don't think his marriage is real, am I protected from firing? Nope, and that is exactly what happened to an employee at Brooks Brothers. If I am a woman and enter a same-sex marriage, have a child via sperm donor, then realize that homosexual acts are evil, can I tell my "partner" who has NO biological connection to my daughter to leave? Nope. See the Lisa/Isabella Miller story.

    So where is the hatred of freedom really?

  21. I would have appreciated seeing a comment that implied that you were sorry if some were offended by your class. An apology does not mean you think you were wrong in what you presented, but would acknowledge that many were hurt. I can't see where comparing conservative vs liberal incivility is helpful here. Both sides need to improve their discourse. If you look back at some of your own posts you will find instances where you seem to belittle and mock those who disagree with your views. No matter how wrong you feel someone's beliefs or actions are, shouldn't the goal be to present your side without derision?

  22. I would have appreciated seeing a comment that implied that you were sorry if some were offended by your class.

    One should only apologize if they have done something wrong. "I'm sorry if people were offended" isn't an apology at all. "Many were hurt" is begging the question.

    If you look back at some of your own posts you will find instances where you seem to belittle and mock those who disagree with your views.

    Example please. "seem to belittle" isn't going to cut it as evidence.

  23. one example of a derisive tone:
    "There is actually another "pope" in Montana that looks even more outrageous - Pope Pius XIII. One Easter about 5 years ago my family started looking at his website, and it quickly became one of those things where people were laughing so hard they were choking and crying!"

  24. Have you been to the website of Pope Pius XIII? After you go there, let me know if my family was being derisive or observant.

  25. Father's job as an educator is to do just that: educate. As a young priest, his mission may be in part to present my generation with, in light of the Catholic Church, present social issues. With this in mind, hasn't he educated his students and all who read his blog on the modern issues that constantly surround us? And isn't it fitting that in a Catholic high school, Catholic viewpoints are being discussed? So couldn't one justify that Father was successful in teaching his students where the Catholic Church stands on the issue of homosexuality?
    I think that we as a society obsess over any little thing that may spark a response, debate, or argument. We engage ourselves in trivial matters for what purpose? I'm having a hard time grasping how this drawn out argument takes precedence over everything else affecting and corrupting God's world- war in Afghanistan and Iraq, devastation and death in Japan, the killing of innocent lives, children not being educated, child soldiers, AIDS, our brave soldiers dying every single DAY, gang violence, drug addictions, alcoholism, 50% divorce rate, child abuse and neglect... just to name a few! For Heaven's sake, when you look at it that way, can't you find something else to take such a passionate stance on and focus energy on CHANGING a life instead of criticizing people's beliefs?

    Father, thank you for explaining from the Church's stance homosexuality. I know students at Ritter find your talks intriguing and are able to fid fulfillment as young adults. I think that in order to "rebuild His Church," we need a little bit of spunk and truth from our priests.

  26. "There is actually another "pope" in Montana that looks even more outrageous - Pope Pius XIII. One Easter about 5 years ago my family started looking at his website, and it quickly became one of those things where people were laughing so hard they were choking and crying!"

    THAT'S your example? Well, I'll confidently leave it to readers to decide if your case has any merit.

  27. All of the arguments against gay marriage seem to miss the key point: committed love between two consenting adults. I have been with my partner for 10 years, and we have been LEGALLY MARRIED for nearly 2. I will gladly put our bonds next to anybody elses', gay or straight. Like other gay couples, we are just trying to live out our lives in peace and happiness. I would like the good father to explain why he and others spend so much time, effort and energy trying to prevent the joy and equality of others? Britney Spears can get married to a guy she met 30 minutes prior at a bar in Las Vegas, and have all the rights that we and other loving, long-term committed couples cannot obtain.

    Religion is not relevent here. We are not a theocracy. And in any event, nobody can agree on what religion is "true", or even the correct way to interpret any of the many religious texts. There are those far more learned than Father Hollowell who take a very different view of homosexuality and spirituality. Who is to say that he is right and they are wrong? Nobody can say. Everything about the Bible or any other religion is up for debate and interpretion, and indeed - - even those who profess to believe in the Bible and study it endlessly cannot agree on what it says. Yet we are supposed to live our lives based on the interpretation that some people have of a collection of folklore written and cobbled together by men for a particular purpose hundreds of years ago?

    Please. It's utterly ridiculous.

    We are here, and we aren't going anywhere. The father compares the growing acceptance over a long period of time - and many many years of hard work and pain by many people - with the fleeting surge of popularity enjoyed by Hitler. That just goes to show you the dismmissive attitude that anti-gay zealots have. It's a game to them, and us vs. them - - when all we want to do is live our lives out in peace and equality. That's it.

    But the good father and his other defenders can't stand the happiness of others. So be it. If you want to live beholden to archaic superstition and hate and fear, that is your choice. But as I said before, the tide is turning on this important civil rights issue. When I was young, the notion of getting legally married in ANY state of the union was just fantasy; unimaginable. Now we can legally marry in 5 states plus DC, and can get civil unions in several others. Delaware just in the past week or so passed their civil union bill. And more people every day are becoming more tolerant of this. Just last week, one of the prominent organizers of the anti-gay National Organization of Marriage came out to repudiate NOM and explain that he now supports gay marriage. The reason? In his travels with NOM, he realized what I've been telling you - that gay people are just like everyone else, who want only to live and be happy in their loving relationships. He also realized that the NOM rallies, and websites, were loaded with people who simply hate gays.

    Maybe some of you should really examine what side the Saviour you profess to believe in would really be on, and put your owns prejudices up to the light for contemplation.

    Gay marriage is coming - - you will all watch it happen. You can spread misery and pain and shame, or you can lovingly embrace all different types of people. That choice is all yours.

  28. FYI - Britney Spears could not have gotten married in the Catholic Church in that manner.

    Question - is "marriage" something that society created to honor "committed and loving relationships" or does it have value outside of that?

    Rephrase: is "marriage" a merit badge that society thought up or are there reasons beyond religion that society has always honored the institution of marriage?

  29. There is no single definition of marriage; it is ever-changing, and is different for different people, different religions, different societies.

    When my Dad was a young man, it was still illegal for a black man to marry a white woman. We have progressed since then. The definition has evolved, and continues to evolve.

    Ultimately it comes down to equal rights under the laws of the state. Even though my partner and I were legally married in Massachusetts, in our current state we are nothing more than roommates. 10 years of enduring everything that any "traditional" married couple endures - the joy, pain, hardships, heartbreaks and celebrations - means nothing here. So "marriage" is different depending on the state you live in. It's different from couple to couple. It's different from religion to religion.

    If the Catholic Church wants to prohibit marriage based on whatever criteria they choose, then so be it.

    But there are religious denominations that will happily marry gay couples. And, as we all know, one needs not be married in a religious ceremony at all.

    From a legal perspective, and as it pertains to equal rights under state and federal law, there is no reason why gay marriage should be prohibited.

  30. I agree that we don't need religion in this argument - continuing to think of marriage as being something between one man and one woman is not something you even NEED religious arguments for - and that is what the Church has always said on this issue.

    Look at the Church's statement on the issue, it is about 2 pages long and all it says is "this is something that we leave up to common sense."

    The fact is that the Hobbesian notion that societal laws are merely meant to protect us from each other, and thus the idea that anything that isn't a direct attack on another human being is okay is completely ridiculous when applied to our entire body of laws. We are not Hobbesian and will never be so. The whole "I can do whatever I want if I'm not phycically harming anyone" rings utterly false and hollow when applied to our entire body of laws - yet that is what those who would redefine marriage keep falling back on - "just leave me alone, mind your own business, etc."

  31. You seem to be mixing discussions here. The Church says no to homosexual marriage because of arguments of reason.

    As regards the issue of homosexual attraction and action (a different issue than marriage) then the Church has a lot to say from a theological perspective; speaking of which I appreciate you raising the issue of happiness - that is precisely why the Church enters ANY debate that it does - to talk about happiness, what it is, and where to find it.

    With regards to those who want to act on their same-sex attractions the Church says it must speak about the immorality of such things BECAUSE of happiness and wanting people to experience true happiness. No doubt you will reply that you are perfectly happy and don't need the Church's help, and ultimately that is your choice. But it is also a civil right of the Church to continue to talk about this issue and try to lead people to happiness who DO WANT the Church's guidance.

  32. I certainly agree with you Father that the Church is within its rights to teach whatever it wants to teach about morality (or lack therof) concerning same-sex relationships.

    But that is a wholly seperate issue. Nobody is saying that the Catholic church or any other church should be prohibited from teaching what it wants to teach.

    No doubt that when folks from a variety of religious viewpoints argued so vehemently against legalization of interracial marriage, they did so because of - in their view arguments of "reason" and "common sense". We look back on those arguments now with sadness and a great deal of bemusement. I would imagine future generations will look back on our current arguments the same way.

    I have never found any convincing reasonable or common sense argument that gay marriage should be prohibited. Further, even if you presumably take religion out of the equation and rely solely on other arguments, I would argue that religion is still at the base of those arguments. One who is predisposed because of religious sentiment to oppose something is going to look for whatever additional reasons to support the argument they are predisposed to believe. It's no accident that the vast majority of anti-gay marriage organizations are either religious in nature, or closely tied to religious organizations.

    What I never see acknowledged by those who oppose gay marriage is the hurt and pain you cause by helping so intently to put up roadblocks to our happiness. You might think that you know better then we what should or will make us happy, but that is simply not the case. I understand that when you view things through a prism of a particular religion or philosophy, then everything is colored by that. "We're only trying to help you by saving you from yourself!!!" Freedom means making our own choices. The more folks understand the true love, commitment, sense of family and devotion that exists among same-sex couples - - exactly as it exists between opposite sex couples - - the more folks begin to realize that denying these loving couples the ability to marry legally serves no purpose.

    After all, we're here and aren't going away. What will preventing marriage accomplish? We aren't going to say "Oh, well, Okay" and then slink away into "normal" heterosexual relationships. Without marriage, we simply continue as we have been. Marriage would provide and encourage more stability, more serious, long-lasting relationships. A "common sense" approach from the Church might be to encourage the stability and fidelity that marriage helps bring.

  33. Either an argument is based on reason or it isn't - you can't say "that's true, but it SOUNDS like religion, so it isn't true."

    I'll ask again - is "marriage" something that society created to honor "committed and loving relationships" or does it have value outside of that?

    Rephrase: is "marriage" a merit badge that society thought up or are there reasons beyond religion that society has always honored the institution of marriage?

  34. I answered your question but the post seems to have disappeared. I'll post it again.

    "Marriage" has different meanings in different places, times, and for different people. When my Dad was a young man, it was illegal for a black man and a white woman to marry. That hasn't been that long ago. Society has evolved, and has become more enlightened in many ways. It's about fundamental fairness.

    There can not be one definition of "marriage" imposed by "society" - there is no such thing, nor can there ever be. You might have two elderly people who have been alone for years and years meet, fall in love, and marry. What is the value to anybody, but to them? Does there need to be? What about a 65 year old Elder of the LDS church marrying a 17 year old girl. Legal? Sure. Does it fit within a societal norm? Is it distasteful to see a rich old rock star like Ron Wood in his 60s marry a 21 year old super model? As long as the approrpiate body parts are present then nothing else matters?

    Marriage is about whatever the individuals making the commitment choose for it to be about.

    I personally feel that marriage is a lifetime commitment to share the life of another individual. I took and take my vows very seriously. It was not something done lightly, or to be a part of a political movement. My partner and I had been together over 8 years when we married. We've gone through deaths in the family together; joys and heartache. Job loss; good fortune. Amazing trips and good times with friends; arguments and disagreements over stupid things. We are both who we are. If we weren't married, we would still be together. I knew that I was attracted to members of my own sex before I even knew what the word "gay" meant. It's just who I am - part of my identity. The idea of having sexual relations and entering into a relationship with a woman is as foreign to me as the idea of doing the same with a man would be for a typical straight person.

    Am I to hide who I am, and live a life of shame and secrecy? If that is what the Catholic church teaches, then so be it. But as an agnostic - but also an American taxypayer and a free person - why should I be bound by the constraints of Catholocism, or any other religion?

    Marriage is symbolic, but it also has tangible meaning and benefit. We are all equals on this planet; some of us are gay, the vast majority are straight. Some are black, white, brown, etc. Some believe in one God, some believe in another, others still believe in none - or don't think about it at all.

    We all want to love, and be loved. Marriage is recognition, it is symbolic, it is something we can be proud of, but also something tangible that impacts us directly. For all of these reasons, my husband and I traveled to Massachusetts in July 2009 and were joined legally. In my home state, we are viewed as nothing more than roommates.

  35. You said two things:
    "There can not be one definition of "marriage" imposed by "society" - there is no such thing"


    "Marriage is about whatever the individuals making the commitment choose for it to be about."

    So then marriage means nothing?

    You then say "Marriage is symbolic, but it also has tangible meaning and benefit."

    Do you see the ways that these statements, when put next to each other, make no sense.

    "there is no definition of marriage...I define has tangible meaning."

    Why would it mean anything if each of us defines it to be whatever we would want it to be?

  36. This whole discussion (and the issue of homosexual marriage itself) highlights the end product of the post-modern project - the attempt to convince people that words mean nothing except what we want them to mean and that the fight over words is simply a struggle for power.

    Everything coming from those who want to redefine marriage as being "whatever the heck I want it to be" is laced with this world-view. We need to get to a spot where words mean things again.

  37. Words having a variety of meanings does not equate to "words meaning nothing." Family, for instance. It does not mean a mom, a dad, 2 kids, a dog and a picket fence. It means many different things. So does marriage. And I reject the notion that gay marriage equates to "whatever the heck I want it to be" as if it's some capricious, selfish, irresponsible act. The definition and meaning of marriage HAS changed - and continues to change. You say we need to get back to words "meaning" something - as if all societal constructs can fit into neat, specifically defined definitions. Ultimately who has the power to impose such a meaning on others? And where is the harm in allowing gay people the same rights as straight people - meaning, the ability to choose a life partner, fall in love, get married, and having equal rights as a citizen.

    We need not fear change. We've all witnessed change in our lifetimes, and so did our ancestors. Imagine a citizen of 1861 Virginia or Alabama contemplating society as we have now. A black president. Wide acceptance of interracial marriage. It would have been unfathomable. We cannot make the mistake of trapping ourselves into this notion that things can't progress because of an archaic notion of what "words mean". We are talking about real people here, real relatonships, real rights that one group of citizens have that the others don't. (And this is when someone will usually say that, darn it, gays have the same rights as straights - to marry a person of the opposite sex. Which again shows the disdain and lack of understanding of the true depth of feeling, love, connection that exists between same-sex couples, the same as straight couples).

    What about the questions I've posed - - does it not trouble you to see the pain caused by the brazen discrimination against gay people? Does it make sense for one group to impose their own notion of morality or 'normalcy' on another? Is that was freedom is about? What harm to the Catholic church if gay marriages are permitted and recognized by law, but (as the law exists everywhere gay marriage is legal) no churches are *required* to take part? Why prevent the happiness of others if it doesn't impact you in the slightest?

    I don't understand why you would stand in the way of the happiness of others, because doing so does nothing to make gay people go away, or change. It just makes the world a little less just.

  38. Words AFFECT people - the diatribe above about "Marriage is about whatever the individuals making the commitment choose for it to be about..." that is a DARK outlook on the future if that is the understanding that people are bringing to the table... and that is the understanding that a lot of people are bringing to the table...but there are some who have resisted!

    words mean things and those words AFFECT people. As Richard Weaver famously noted - "Ideas have consequences." Saying "a woman's right to choose" is an attempt to manipulate people's feelings and emotions - it is a war waged with words - but when the Church stands up and reminds people about the importance of words She isn't just arguing about words because those words impact the tens of millions of children aborted every year. It is about words, but it is about a lot more than words - it is ultimately about people.

    As to this issue not affecting the Catholic Church - you don't really believe that this wouldn't affect the Catholic Church do you? Pointing out the presence of a slippery slope is perfectly valid in those cases where a slippery slope is indeed present. In fact, it would be unjust to not warn anyone about the presence of a slippery slope if one were indeed present.

    This same line of reasoning was used by another poster elsewhere. I asked the question "what would keep marriage between two people if it is redefined from how it has always been understood." His response - "trust us, we'll be alongside fighting with you if polygamy is on the table." The same thing was said when our society started allowing homosexual couples to start adopting kids. "Don't worry, it won't affect the Church." A few years later - BAM - Catholic Charities in Boston and San Francisco are closed because they won't allow homosexual couples to adopt through them. This line of thinking - "don't worry it won't affect you" - is both false, and it also betrays the mindset that many in your camp have, the mindset that the sole criteria for something being right or wrong is whether or not it "affects us."

    I ask again - what do you define marriage as and what is its purpose? Is it a merit badge for couples?