RE: Driving a Wedge into the ‘Evangelical Center’ on Gay Marriage
So far in this discussion, I'm with Chassup, in that: In my understanding, our society has favored the institution of marriage with certain tax perks and 'rights of sharing' because of the benefits marriage provides for children, not out of any sense of fairness or 'social justice' for the couple themselves. These benefits include a stable home environment in which early childhood socialization and education takes place, economically useful skills are learned, etc. This is why marriage (in the civil sense) has been protected and specifically supported by Western law and custom up to this time (whether or not it was Christianity's influence that magnified these benefits in the minds of previous civilizations' lawmakers). I believe the modern idea of "happiness in love and marriage" is influencing our thinking here more than we admit. We heterosexuals have mangled divorce law into an exquisite system of torture for children in order to accommodate our ideas of 'happiness' in relationships. Historically speaking (and I would say in actual fact), marriage laws do not exist to guarantee our success or happiness in the person we married. Marriage laws do not exist to guarantee some form of 'social justice' in the present; they are about securing the future of society through strong, well-adapted offspring. The fact that we're having this discussion at all witnesses to the fact that marriage as we have known it (in this child-centered sense, let alone in the sacramental sense) has already been pretty much dismantled in our society and holds little sway in most Americans' minds. If the goal is, as Angelo M. says in another article, to "reconfigure" our society's institutions and cultural touchstones in the image of the Trinitarian God, I believe that resisting societal approbation of homosexually-based households is necessary. If, on the other hand, we believe that such reconfiguration of society's conception of marriage and child-producing relationships is "utopian wishful thinking" and holding the line at this juncture is hopeless, then I do see the point being made about social justice in the short term. In sum: Since the high ground on sexual morality issues has been all but conceded by the Church to the culture (in the form of no-fault divorce, contraception and abortion being freely available) is there any other rational ground on which to make a stand against civil unions for homosexuals? If these earlier battles had been fought and won, would this even be an issue? Where are we now, really, and how do we work toward that redemption/reconfiguration of culture on this score without inadvertently making things worse? P.S. I don't see any problem with obtaining legal protections and rights for other non-sexual family units (widowed sisters, guardianships, etc.)
RE: After the Pope: Time to Hit the Books?
Beautiful, Debra. Looks like I'll have to get to my book pile now...
RE: Christian Witness in the Aftermath of Hate
Thanks for writing about this incident, Father. Many debates have been going on at various places on the Web, and I appreciate your encouragement to focus on education and prayer. It's really easy to let outrage determine our words and course of action in a situation like this. May we all seek to unite ourselves with Christ, whose own body He delivered into our hands to be crucified - and then write, pray, and speak to our friends.
RE: Why Prop 8 Won: TV Commercials Based on Reason, not Fear
Great post, Angelo - that video is very well done, and makes the sort of heart-level, concrete statement that gets underneath all the abstraction and ideology. It's very encouraging and helpful in my thinking and speaking to my friends on this issue.
RE: Mission Impossible
A good review - thanks, John. I saw the movie this weekend and agree with your assessment. Though it has the few flaws you noted, I recommend Valkyrie - it's well-put-together, entertaining, and the actors make you care about what's happening. (Since I usually can't stand Tom Cruise in anything he does, that's saying something.) ;^)