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Food for the Poor Godspy.com: Faith at the Edge


Angelo Matera | 09.23.08


Adam and Eve make a stand in California

Photo by Randall Benton

You connect the dots: A California couple refuses to submit to the state’s new “gender-neutral” marriage license that replaces bride and groom with “Party A” and “Party B.” Buried within a Scientific American article on storytelling and the brain (cited by John Murphy below) is a fascinating discovery made by “literary Darwinists” about the universality of romance and sex roles:

“The idea of romantic love has not been traditionally considered to be a cultural universal because of the many societies in which marriage is mainly an economic or utilitarian consideration. But [a 2006] study suggests that rather than being a construct of certain societies, romantic love must have roots in our common ancestry. In other words, romance—not just sex—has a biological basis in the brain.

“You do find these commonalities,” Gottschall says. He is one of several scholars, known informally as literary Darwinists, who assert that story themes do not simply spring from each specific culture. Instead the literary Darwinists propose that stories from around the world have universal themes reflecting our common underlying biology.

Another of Gottschall’s studies published earlier this year reveals a persistent mind-set regarding gender roles. His team did a content analysis of 90 folktale collections, each consisting of 50 to 100 stories, from societies running the gamut from industrial nations to hunter-gatherer tribes. They found overwhelmingly similar gender depictions emphasizing strong male protagonists and female beauty. To counterbalance the possibility that male storytellers were biasing gender idealizations, the team also sampled cultures that were more egalitarian and less patriarchal. ‘We couldn’t even find one culture that had more emphasis on male beauty…’”

So much for the idea that gender roles are “socially-constructed.”

But what’s really interesting here is that these scientists were willing to leap from the undeniable biological fact of sexual difference, to the idea that there are “universal themes” about gender roles built upon our sexuality. To say that anything about human culture is “universal” violates post-modernism’s strongest taboo. Yes, the undeniable proof is in the data. But that’s never stopped politically-correct researchers from denying the facts before.

The lesson here is that Christians have nothing to fear from scientists—even Darwinists—who are intellectually honest. Their discoveries will always verify that there is something called human nature, and that sex differences are an essential part of our humanity.

Take heart, all who believe in a reality-based world. The ideologues who are trying to impose gay marriage on the public may win short-term victories, but their project is doomed in the long run, because it goes against the grain of reality. Whether you believe it’s part of God’s plan, or the result of millions of years of “natural selection,” the fact of male and female is deeply ingrained in our psyches. The couple who rebelled against the “newspeak” of California’s marriage license are proof of that. They aren’t ideologues (they certainly don’t look like fundamentalists). They’re just regular people standing up for common sense reality.

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By chassup AT 09.23.08 02:26PM Not Rated


ANGELO, you make a great point… going against Truth is always a bad idea, eventually.  I do applaud the couple’s brave stand in the face of evil “untruth.”  They are willing to suffer the punishments the state will surely bring down upon them, but each pain they endure confirms they are doing God’s will.

By Ryguy AT 09.23.08 03:07PM Not Rated


great blog and reassuring for those who cling to truth with white buckles!

By Dave AT 09.23.08 04:43PM Not Rated


This is too funny. I’m glad they decided not register with the state. They can now get a feel of what it’s like to not be legally married. I’m glad they made that decision. I hope they stick to it. They can pay more taxes, more for insurance, pay extra for estate planning, not be allowed hospital visits (they are not legally family), and get less benefits just like those that can’t get married. I’m happy for them. More Christians should do this !!!!!

By chassup AT 09.23.08 06:45PM Not Rated


ROBERTSDAVID50, It will not be long before California will change the rule to go back to the traditional wording on marriage licenses, of course they’ll allow a “choice” of wording for homosexuals who seek the benefits of legal “marriage,” but remain deceived as to the truth of the situation.  I am offended that homosexuals seek to normalize their own deviant behavior by attacking the honor and dignity of real marriage.  It is deep a character flaw.

By Dave AT 09.23.08 08:56PM Not Rated


It’s a character flaw for two people to spend their entire lives together in a monogamous relationship?

That actually is quite courageous.

By chassup AT 09.24.08 01:27PM Not Rated


No, a character flaw is evident when someone dilutes and destroys something beautiful through government fiat for the purpose of bolstering their own sense of self worth.

Human cultures throughout history have recognized and properly understood the importance of traditional “marriage” as the best building block of civilization. This wisdom is unequivocal, and fully defended by Holy Mother Church. The “gay marriage” movement is seeking normalization and acceptance by a culture that views homosexuality as a brokenness, not to be punished, but certainly not to be rewarded with special defense and recognition. To do so would produce results not ultimately beneficial to civilization.

For all the “benefits” homosexuals claim they want, simple legislation would suffice, but what they really want is the honored and exulted moniker “marriage.”

By Dave AT 09.24.08 04:05PM Not Rated


“The “gay marriage” movement is seeking normalization and acceptance by a culture that views homosexuality as a brokenness, not to be punished, but certainly not to be rewarded with special defense and recognition. To do so would produce results not ultimately beneficial to civilization.”

All you have to do is switch “gay marriage” with “civil rights” and “homosexuality” with “negroes” in that paragraph. Then you can begin to see how horrid that argument really is.

By chassup AT 09.24.08 04:54PM Not Rated


That’s absolutely absurd!  Your argument requires one to accept a moral neutrality between homosexual & heterosexual behavior that just doesn’t exist, unless you reject the teaching of the Church.

Homosexuals deserve to be treated with dignity as human persons, but deserve no special distinction for playing house.

By Dave AT 09.24.08 07:31PM Not Rated


It is reasonable (in other words “with reasons”) to argue that people of a different sexual orientation such as yourself (which I assume is heterosexual) can and should be able to get married and have the same rights and benefits (including responsibilities) of any other married couple.

You act as if unless you have a heterosexual orientation, you are somehow behaving immorally which is really quite absurd.

By Alan AT 09.24.08 08:02PM Not Rated


Chassup - “Playing house”

If you believe that people who are homosexual (not homosexuals… they are people with a sexual preference, just like you) are human beings, then don’t say they are “playing house.”

Homosexuality is recorded thruout history.  Homosexuality might even be genetic.  http://www.slate.com/id/2194232/  If God created genes, then didn’t God create homosexuality.  Hell, homosexuality might even be in the Bible.  You really think Ruth and Naomi are just ‘friends’?

I am happily married to a woman (I am a man).  People who are homosexual marrying don’t make my marriage any less special.  If I treat my wife poorly and ruin my marriage, it’s only my fault.  Let people who love each other get married and have all the special stuff that comes with it.  If you hate people who are homosexual, just say it.  Don’t try to say the socially acceptable thing that “[They] deserve to be treated with dignity as human persons.”  Part of human dignity is choosing who you get to spend your life with.

By Angelo Matera AT 09.24.08 08:19PM Not Rated

Angelo Matera

Just for the record, you don’t have to believe gays and lesbians are “immoral” to oppose gay marriage. One writer who cuts against the grain on this issue is Camille Paglia, who happens to be a lesbian (and no puritan, either). She’s the rare writer who recognizes the complexities of this (and other) issues of culture. Here’s what she wrote a while back in Salon.com

...Historically, marriage was intended for the protection and provision of women and children. After the industrial revolution, when women could leave home to get jobs, marriage lost that function. Because of the sacred meaning of marriage in all major religions, it would have been better to avoid the hot-button term ‘marriage’ and simply argue for equality of gay partnerships before the law. Furthermore, too many gay complaints are without merit, since inheritance of property or hospital visits and medical decision-making can be settled in advance through wills.” 

Paglia believes homosexuality is not inborn, but “adaptive,” and involuntary. I agree, and for that reason, I (and the Church, outside the confessional) are in no position to judge whether homosexuals sin when they engage in homosexual acts, because the requirement of true freedom is usually missing.

Yes, I do believe homosexual acts are objectively disordered (probe a bit and you’ll find that most heteros will agree, even enlightened liberal straights). However, I don’t doubt that on a subjective level homosexual acts are able to express feelings of real love. I have friends who are gay, and as far as I’m concerned, a gay person can be a saint (small “s”).

What the Church opposes is the redefinition of marriage. Government does not create the right to marriage any more than it creates the right to speech or religious freedom. These rights precede, and are to be protected by, government. If the government can void the reality of “male and female,” then there’s no limit to what else it can do. That’s why this issue is important.

By dsconi AT 09.25.08 03:35AM Not Rated


Does anyone who posts at this site (and that includes the publisher/editor) ever refer to the Catechism of the Catholic Church before declaring what one “believes”, “understands” or “interprets” to be the teaching of the Church?  This is an easy one!  Number 2357 doesn’t exaclty leave any wiggle room for gay-friendly apologists within the Church:

“Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’  They are contrary to the natural law.  They close the sexual act to the gift of life.  They do not proceed from a general affective and sexual complementarity.  Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

I think we are all familiar with the duty to “love the sinner, hate the sin” and this applies to those with a same sex attraction.  Possessing deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not sinful in itself, acting upon those tendencies, however, is.  Sinful according to the Catholic Church, at least.  For whatever value that that may have among “progressive” Catholics.

Keep in mind that homosexuality was listed as a disorder in the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual of the American Psychological Association until it was summarily removed in the early 1970’s without any corroborating research—just a change in attitude among the leadership of the APA.  A “gay gene” has not been isolated and verified despite the recurring reports of such, and an “adaptive and involuntary” cause for the condition hardly qualifies as a lifestyle choice ordained by God.  Research the two diametrically opposed approaches to ministering to Catholic homosexuals, “Courage” and “Dignity”, and try to determine which is popular in San Francisco and which is recognized by Rome.

Gay activists cannot have it both ways.  They claim that their orientation is biologically determined, like race, when pursuing “equal rights” with the same strategies and arguments that successfully ended legal discrimination against African Americans, but declare sexual orientation to be a personal choice when seeking to legalize to use of opposite sex bathrooms or explain away bisexuality and transsexualism.  We have ceased to recognize and respect natural law and are now legislating on the basis of libidinal proclivities.

A solid Catholic defense of traditional marriage and the threat posed by any legal recognition of same sex unions is easy enough to find at any of the many websites more concerned with transmitting Catholic Truth than questioning it.  I am finding all too often in these articles and forums, that discovering and genuinely understanding what the Church actually teaches doesn’t seem nearly as important as attempting to justify one’s rejection of it in favor of a more personal interpretation.  How sad to find that one’s personal views are beyond questioning, but the teaching of the Universal Church is not.

By chassup AT 09.25.08 02:02PM Not Rated


DSCONI, well put, very well put!  It is sad, by the way, that personal views too often supersede the teaching of the Universal Church.  I blame bishops and priests in a large part for poorly catechizing the flock.

And just for the record and in reply to others on this thread:

1. No, I don’t hate gay people… I love them.

2. Yes, I understand the difference between sin and temptation.

3.  No, I wasn’t just being politically correct, I am not a liar, please don’t call me one.

4. “Part of human dignity is choosing who you get to spend your life with.”  Thinking like that gave us abortion.  (see #6)

5. “I don’t doubt that on a subjective level homosexual acts are able to express feelings of real love.”  So, “feeling real love” during fornication is the test of morality?

6. “If the government can void the reality of “male and female,” then there’s no limit to what else it can do.”  Yes, that is correct, moral relativism is an evil tyrant over society, not only has it resulted in the scourge of abortion, but also slavery, Jim Crow, socialism, fascism, oral is not sex, destruction of families, and [place your favorite social ill her].

By Lawrence Gage AT 09.25.08 11:41PM Not Rated

Lawrence Gage

“For now, they are busy with their family (she has two children from a previous marriage and he has three) and starting their new life.”

Is this the Brady bunch (widow-widower), or are these two a little soft on the sanctity of marriage? Hopefully the former.

In any event, it does point out that as far as preserving the institution of marriage is concerned, the horses (alas!) left the barn a long time ago. Our whole society needs to radically rectify its attitude toward marriage.


By GTN AT 09.27.08 03:36AM Not Rated


Golly, the Bible is pretty clear on the subject! And by no twisting of the words does the changing the family, the basic unit of society, not to mention contradicting biological realities, equal have darker skin! Whatever you may think, many of the people who are anti-gay marriage would have been pro-integration. I myself am one of them.

By Dave AT 10.07.08 02:17AM Not Rated


One of the top U.S. stories today:



By TonyC AT 01.11.09 02:30PM Not Rated


Angelo, while I generally agree with your post, one of your statements seems to contradict the earlier part of your message:
“However, I don’t doubt that on a subjective level homosexual acts are able to express feelings of real love.  I have friends who are gay, and as far as I’m concerned, a gay person can be a saint (small “s”).”
If we accept the Church’s teaching that homosexual acts are objectively disordered, then they are not able to express real feelings of real love. So what do they express, then? Can their expression, at a subjective level be properly termed “love?”  If a scientific survey of cultural narratives overwhelmingly finds heterosexual romance as the human norm, then perhaps we need to take a step back and look at our times within the larger perspective of history. 100, 200 or even 500 years later, our era will be just another “period” with its own errors and advances. 

Secondly, your statement “As far as I’m concerned, a gay person can be a saint” follows from your remarks about your belief that homosexual acts can express real feelings of love.  Are you saying that a person engaging in homosexual acts can be a saint? Or are you saying that a person with a homosexual orientation can be a saint? While holiness belongs to Christ, and it is his to bestow, are not genital expressions of sexuality outside of marriage a kind of refusal to participate in Christ’s holiness?


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