gay marriage and the catholic church in maine

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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213 Responses

  1. M.Z. says:

    Nobody is trying to force the Church to support gay marriage, to allow gays to be married in its churches or by its priests.

    This is a variation of the argument of if you are straight, why should you care about gay marriage? Besides which, I’m not sure you discount the Catholic Church’s leadership in other areas, like say the inviolability of human life. If not that issue, I’m sure there is another in which the Church has given insight that you did not perceive otherwise.

    It’s a shame, and it makes me wonder at the thrust of my heart. It makes me question whether I should be in this RCIA class at all, whether I should join an organization which I simply want to change. Is there a conflict of interest here? Should someone join a cause or a religious group or any other affiliation if one has such fundamental disagreements?

    I’ve found these questions aren’t best addressed in public forums. Certainly I could put forth a multi-paragraph argument on how decentralization and subsidiarity are not the same thing and are often in conflict. I’m not sure it would do much good though.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to M.Z. says:

      I support the Church’s position on the unborn. I realize that personal matters are also not always resolved in public forums. But blogging is a personal experience, and at times the ugly head of autobiography rears its somber visage.

      Oh, and I know that subsidiarity and decentralization are not the same thing – but they are ideas that often as not work hand in hand.Report

  2. Michael Delahanty says:

    Imagin being born into it the same way I was born gay. After years of school, looking to God for the answeres..I am in church and they ask me to donate money to go against my own cause. Now I have no church or one that has turned against me. At least I have my partner for the past 25 years and together we will find another place to pray. It’s all about faith in God and one another. The Catholic Church willl not take that away frome me.Report

    • Nobody can take God away from you. I think the Church will change, of course, but I think it will be slow. It’s always hard to know how best to change an institution, though. The Anglican church is facing a pretty real schism over their support for gays. Then again – maybe as conservative Anglicans move to Rome, liberal Catholics will join the Anglican fold. Who knows?Report

      • T. Sifert in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Maybe this discussion would benefit from a distinction between the Church’s position on homosexual “acts”, which is absolutely clear, and its position on homosexuality as an orientation, which does not always appear to be (and which goes to the kind of inclusion Michael seems to expect from a church). If the Church changed its position on homosexual acts, and came out in favor of same-sex marriage, it would mean a change in its entire teaching on sexuality, contraception, etc. as well as, inevitably, its stance regarding bioethics–in vitro, surrogacy, etc. The “phenomenology” of John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body”, for instance, would be worthless as a way of thinking within the Church. Not just Christopher West worthless, but really worthless.

        I guess I just don’t understand the expectation that the position on the “act” can be subject to change for the sake of an inclusion that could already be accomplished on the level of orientation (see Eve Tushnet). I understand that, to a certain extent, the prohibition of the act is a kind of sin against one’s identity and against the movement of culture and history and that the demand for celibacy may seem excessive, but I don’t understand how that amounts to a revaluation of the act itself by something like the (sacramental) Catholic Church.Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to T. Sifert says:

          True. My problem here is mainly with the activism, though. Again – I’m okay with the Church having its own views which I can disagree with on my own. But the active political attempt to deny gay marriage under the law bugs the hell out of me.Report

          • T. Sifert in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            I can understand that. I don’t really know how I feel about it myself, as a Catholic. However, I think the Church does have a legitimate interest in arresting the prevalent view, always already political, of social change that is dominant even among its own members. For example, there is your own comment that “the Church will change.” Such a sentiment, though very common among Catholics, is essentially foreign to the institution itself. Does the Church not feel that burden?

            To make the same argument another way – if it were the ideal Catholic institution, would we not expect members of the diocese to vote against recognition of same-sex marriage anyway (which wouldn’t be wrong, I assume) whether the diocese funded a campaign or not? Is the objection to funding categorically different from the objection to the “ideal” Catholic voting?Report

      • Cris McBride, M.D. in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        The whole issue to me as a non-gay non-lesbian-interested individual of Christian belief for life, is not about any bad or vile feelings toward anyone especially because they think or believe differently than do I. However, “marriage” has been defined for centuries and especially in our culture today. Note that 31 states have requested to have marriage as a legal relationship between one man and one woman.

        I would suggest that any two men or any two women should have what ever relationship they desire and have legal rights to by and sell property and sign for one another for power of attorney, etc, but whatever that relationship turns out to be, does NOT meet the definition for the term “marriage”. Call it anything you want – just don’t try to change the meaning of our language by changing the definition of common terminology such as “marriage”. Make up your own term, create a new word, use some other words, but leave “marriage” out of it – it isn’t “marriage”!

        Some people want to change the term “illegial alien” to “undocumented worker”. Where is George Orwell (“1984”) when you need him!Report

  3. Bob says:

    “But Catholics? I mean, here is an institution devoted to peace and justice!”

    Gee, I took your point to be that the Church is devoted to injustice toward gays, and secondarily really not very good on women issues, or married priests, unless they be Anglican. Other than that, devoted to justice.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob says:

      Now Bob. Is snark really necessary? The point I’m making is that for many, many causes the Catholic church has been overwhelmingly a force for good. But for others, not so much. Thus the conflict, the tension, the internal debate…the drama…Report

      • Bob in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        You really do ignore a lot of unsavory aspects of the church, how about that situation in Ireland as recently as the 1950’s and 60’s? The list of misdeeds by the Catholic Church is long and sicking, and more completely listed below. You are correct, the church does put on a good show, high production values. Perhaps a good analogy is lots of perfume to cover lack of personnel hygiene.Report

        • North in reply to Bob says:

          Aww Bob, be balanced now. I hate organized religion trying to tell me how to live my life. -Hate- it. But I do think that in the sweep of human history it has been a force of good. The Catholic Church has often been a bastion of learning and organized religion in general probably midwifed the enlightenment and all of the wonderous advanced modes of thought we enjoy today.Report

    • Bob in reply to Bob says:

      North, I do not deny the good the Church has been involved with. Even today good works are done everyday in the name of the RCC and other religions. My charitable donations go to Catholic Charities and The Salvation Army because I understand they use my donations effectively. But that said I really do find the good out weighed by the bad.Report

  4. Jaybird says:

    When people discuss “marriage”, they tend to mean one of two things and can sometimes jump between the two things in the same conversation.

    There is Marriage In The Eyes Of God (henceforth MEG) and Marriage In The Eyes Of The State (henceforth MES).

    I have met religious folks who argued that MEG was not possible for homosexuals (Leviticus 20:13, don’tchaknow) and so MES was obviously out of reach. Why, it would be silly to discuss MES because we *KNOW* that they can’t have a MEG. (Interestingly, some of them are in my wife’s family and they don’t believe that we have a MEG because we were not married in The Church… they acknowledge that we have a MES, though.)

    For a long, long, long time, I thought that gay marriage was going to be inevitable because, sure, let’s say that homosexuals cannot get a MEG. What does a MES, in practice, actually consist of?

    Tax stuff. Lawyer stuff. Hospital visitation rights kinda stuff. Manila folder stuff. Boring legal stuff.

    The MEG consists of little things like shopping for groceries together and discussing what kind of hamburger helper to buy. Asking how the day was. Hearing about how the kitten pulled down the handtowels in the bathroom so he could stand on the bar. Discussion of the birthday party we’re going to come Saturday and if we ought to pick up a stuffed animal in addition to the floor puzzle and, if so, if a sock monkey would be better than a floppy teddy bear. Tiny, perfect moments that sound really dull when you put them into plain text.

    I cannot claim anything close to knowledge of the Mind of God. I have no idea what, if anything, He is thinking. I do not know whether He would agree with me that it seems that gay folks are perfectly capable of having a MEG. At the very least, I am certain that I do not have the competence to say that they do *NOT*.

    So we’re left with the MES issue. We may have the power to prevent gay folks from having a MES… but it always struck me that given the nature of a MES… you know, the manilla folder stuff…, it would eventually get really depressing to deny inheritance rights to gay folks. To deny hospital visitations. That sort of thing. These guys who do stuff like discuss which kind of hamburger helper they ought to get, who discuss their days, who discuss the kitten, who discuss the sock monkey vs. floppy teddy bear issue…

    To deny them a manila folder struck me as something that would eventually become really, really depressing and something that people who claim knowledge of the Mind of God would eventually sicken of.

    I don’t understand it.Report

  5. Bo says:

    If you read the New Testament closely enough, you’ll see that the Pharisees were a metaphor too.Report

  6. Koz says:

    This sort of thing bugs me more than it ought to sometimes. We’ve gone through several iterations of the gay marriage issue by now. Logically speaking the reasons why gay marriage is a bad thing are not tic-tac-toe, but they’re not that complicated either.

    Millions of college graduates of no particular intelligence have figured out how to apply the Chain Rule or do a delta-epsilon proof. It’s lame that there’s so many people like Erik who want to think of themselves as reasonably sophisticated people can’t be bothered to dig out the textbook and figure it out.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Koz says:

      How about you enlighten us?Report

      • Koz in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Ok. Gay marriage is the attempt to force society in general to recognize gay relationships at the same level as straight ones. This is bad because the coercive power of the state is not appropriately deployed to control the thoughts or opinions of the population in general. (Straight) marriage is among other things the default building block for raising children, therefore will always have some form of recognition by the state which is not true of gay relationships.Report

        • McDevite in reply to Koz says:

          So all straight couples should be tested for fertility before they marry? Should we ban the marriage of menopausal women?

          Since the state’s gay and lesbian citizens pay taxes equal to their straight counterparts and neither break people’s legs nor pick people’s pockets, what is the state’s compelling interest in prohibiting gay marriage, aside from a bigoted appeal to religion/tradition?

          The state is not deploying its coercive power in recognizing gay marriage. Catholics and Mormons can still /hate/ the shit out of gays. They just have to stop promoting hate crimes and leave gay and lesbian civil marriage alone. The same way that Catholic Churchs don’t kidnap Jewish children anymore ’cause Jews are still going to Hell in Catholicism, what with the Jesus killing. It’s the barest level of respect for another citizen.Report

          • Koz in reply to McDevite says:

            “The state is not deploying its coercive power in recognizing gay marriage.”

            Uhhh, no. Marriage wouldn’t be recognized by the state at all, except that the nature of the relationship where children are raised and families constituted has to be formalized.Report

            • North in reply to Koz says:

              Koz, homosexuals adopt (a lot) and also have children by other means. Since the state is not going to take those children away (and if you think they should well we’ll see you on the barricades), ban surrogacy, artificial insemination or divorce then homosexuals will continue to have and raise children in increasing numbers.
              So even if one accepts your position the logic behind it crumples into meaninglessness since it is consigning thousands of families with children to being raised outside the formal protections of marriage. Additionally, not even Gallagher has been able actually explain how allowing homosexuals to marry will suddenly cause other families to loose the protection of marriage.
              If concern for children were the primary motive then support for SSM makes perfect sense and opposition seems counterintuitive.Report

              • Koz in reply to North says:

                No, if homosexuals or a single person (or a married couple for that matter), they have to do an adoption which is about some legal documents and somebody judging their fitness as parents, etc., etc.

                Married couples bearing their own children just have sex and fill out the birth certificate 9 mos. later.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

      How is this not a First Amendment issue, though?Report

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    I think, if Jesus were alive today, he’d agree. I just find the notion that Apostolic succession ought to be confined to men a bit outdated.

    Not just outdated, but flat out wrong. Jesus did appoint women as apostles. The letters of Paul that were actually written by Paul support female leadership in the Church. (The letters of Paul not actually written by Paul are the ones relied on by the Church to support male-only priesthood.)

    As for priests being married, PETER was married! JC and the gang hung out at his mother-in-law’s house.

    Neither Jesus nor Paul spoke out against homosexuality. Though both could be interpreted as preferring celibacy as the ideal sexual state, with marriage being a sad compromise with nature. “It’s better to marry than to burn…” (see Elaine Pagel’s “Adam, Eve, and the Serpent” for more on the early Church’s views on sexuality.)Report

    • Apostles, male or female, other than the twelve? Source? The questions surrounding Junia/us are far from answered, and asserting something as tendentious as “Not just outdated, but flat out wrong. Jesus did appoint women as apostles” with no corroboration is simply dishonest. That other “apostles”, in the looser sense, not appointed by Christ, may have existed is possible, but Christ’s apostles, those from whom Apostolic succession derives, were the twelve.

      Erik, I’m largely sympathetic to a great deal of this, but I’m going to take issue with your point about Apostolic succession being limited to men. The common argument, it seems, by opponents of ordaining women is that we can’t have women priests because Jesus ordained no women. Notwithstanding Alex’s point, this generally seems to be factual. But it’s not the proper argument.

      Rather, the argument that we who defend the all-male priesthood, should be employing, I think, is that Christ didn’t ordain women because he couldn’t. He was, qua priest, a successor to the priestly order of Melchisedec (who first broke break and used wine), and though starting a new religion (as we of Christianity believe, anyway), he was still a Jew, and beholden to many of the rules, customs, and history of Judaism.Report

  8. Reason60 says:

    As a lifelong Catholic, I agree with your sentiments; o/t, what caused a flash of anger in my heart was the decision by the US Catholic Bishops to oppose health care reform, on the sole issue of abortion funding.
    What irked me was not the Church’s opposition to abortion, but the worldly cynical political calculation of it- that there is a slim chance the health care bill might possibly have a way for abortions to receive taxpayer funding. And so it was preferable to want to kill the bill, denying millions health care.

    Which is the crux of my opposition to injecting religion into politics- people are always afraid that religion will corrupt the political process, but my fear is the opposite; inveitably, when the two intermingle, it is religion that becomes corrupt and cynical.Report

    • Kyle in reply to Reason60 says:

      You know…I’m not so sure I buy the analysis.

      It seems to me the political thing to do is to balance your interests and shut up about one thing you care about to get another thing you care about. The unyielding moralist wouldn’t make the compromise.

      In addition to that, my understanding of the Church is that they would and do prioritize providing to the needy over generalized benefits to the middle class, so making health care more affordable to young, urban, professionals and middle class families is less important than providing to the poorest, who – in theory – are already covered by Medicaid. So while the Church might be sympathetic to the aims of HCR, I’m not sure it holds the same urgent weight as you seem to think it should.

      That said, I think one of the more compelling arguments related to protecting the free exercise of religion is that certain state requirements don’t conflict with religious obligations, thus we allow conscientious objectors, we couldn’t mandate organ donation without allowing an out for religious objectors, etc…

      In the case of taxpayer-funded abortions (and the death penalty) the taxes of Catholics, opposed to both, are used to fund both and make Catholic taxpayers complicit in something that violates their faith. It’s a tricky subject, especially in the context of war, defense, and policing, but I think it does place certain people of faith in very difficult positions.Report

      • Reason60 in reply to Kyle says:

        For the Church to make the calculation that providing benefits to the lower middle class is less important than preventing funding for abortion is probably a shrewd calculation to make; if it were the position of the Federalist Society, or the Cato Institute or the League of Ordinary Gentleman, I wouldn’t object.
        It is precisely this focus on realpolitik though, that I object to- politics is inherently about compromise and cynical shrewd gamesmanship (and I mean that in a good way!) which makes it also inherently incompatible with infallible dogma and revealed truth.
        “Render unto Caesar” wasn’t just a sly dodge of a thorny question; it was a statement advocating letting the politicos play their necessary games, while the apostles should boldly speak in terms of truth.
        So throwing the middle class under the health care bus might be an effective tactic of governing, but is shameful as an apostolic message.
        Your comment about forcing taxpayers to pay for abhorrent things like abortion are well taken; however, our tax dollars were used to torture factually innocent people; yet I don’t see the Church witholding Communion from those who voted for Republicans.

        Overall, the point is that raising abortion to the single issue of concern to Catholics warps and distorts the democratic process; it causes us to support politicians who support torture and unjust wars, while opposing other politicians who support abortion.
        A Catholic in good conscience could be forgiven for thinking that the line between them is somewhat arbitrary, and that it leads the Church into the territory that should be reserved for Karl Rove and Rahm Emmanuel.Report

  9. McDevite says:

    As someone whose undergraduate and graduate work is the study of religion and a gay man, every time the Catholics or the Mormons or the Evangelicals attack my civil rights and then wear a shit eating grin saying, “Don’t mind me, that’s just my faith, so you can’t blame me for being a bigot” my politics notch just a bit further towards the Third Republican anti-clercism; even as a Quaker, it makes it very hard for be to be observant.

    And while I’m cognitively aware that the Catholics and the Mormons must do some nice things, it encourages me to be more bigoted against people who have chosen to pick a fight with me–to jeer that the Catholic Church is a criminal conspiracy to promote mass child rape and its cover up, and to generally mock Mormons as the 19th century’s version of Scientology.

    Now, aside from supporting slavery and the Holocaust, the Catholic Church has done good works. Any organized religion mixes profound acts of evil with beautiful artwork and charity, but when they meddle in my civil rights, I want to meddle in theirs right back. The more hoops that I jump through to get my wedding ring–law suits, legislatures–the less inclined I am to sit around for a special bitchslap from the Pope who wears bedazzled Prada shoes.

    This is a completely unworkable and irrational position, but if they want to be a bully, they’re going to get the cultural norms to paint them as a bunch of narrow minded theocrats. It disappoints me that Christianity can be perverted to be an instrument of Oppression–like Opus Dei–and I dislike the idea of riding around on a train of Lou Dobbsish nativist anti-Catholicism, but the Church and the LDS are both begging for it.

    It’s a mass public version of randomly clocking a guy in a bar. You look like an ass, you piss off the guy who hit for no reason, and you shouldn’t be surprised when you lose support. I certainly relish making Catholic pedophilia jokes as a response. That’s wrong, but Holy Mother Church and the Mormons have put made themselves bad guys in the process of destroying not only Catholic/Mormon LGBTQ but everyone who chose confessions that respected them as full people.

    I’d like to take this moment to advocate for closing the IRS loophole. Or stripping Catholicism of its non for profit status and taking the Mormons out of Title VII. Perhaps they should be reminded what it’s like to lack protections.Report

    • North in reply to McDevite says:

      Two wrongs don’t make a right bud. Plus, there’re few things that the religious hard liners would like more than that kind of action so they can scream “they’re throwing Christians to the lions again”!
      Let’s face it; the most moral revenge we can get will be to continue pushing. We just have to continue refusing to vanish back into the closet like they wish we would and wait for the old hard liners to die off as they invariably will. As Koz very kindly outlined above there isn’t much substance to the secular arguments against SSM so once the generation that was trained to reflexively fall back on this animus passes on we’ll be able to marry like the rest of the modern world.Report

      • Koz in reply to North says:

        “As Koz very kindly outlined above there isn’t much substance to the secular arguments against SSM so once the generation that was trained to reflexively fall back on this animus passes on we’ll be able to marry like the rest of the modern world.”

        Yeah right. I get a little nervous with all the religious arguments around this issue. Correct exegesis of the Bible is very important for it’s own sake, but the case against SSM in no way depends on them.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

          It helps those who believe that We, As A Society, ought to use the power of The State to Protect Our Children and Uphold Traditional Marriage if they ignore questions about whether marriage is a First Amendment issue that ought be incorporated to the States, as well.Report

          • Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

            I guess it is sort of a First Amendment issue, or free speech issue to be more precise. But I’m guessing you have a different angle on this than I do. Certainly gay people can proclaim themselves as married now, and many do, or maybe you’re thinking of something else.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

              Well, if you agree that gay people can call themselves married, are you okay with gay people having abominations that they refer to as “marriage ceremonies” in the basement of the Unitarian Church?

              I’ll assume that you are okay with that too.

              How about joint ownership of property? A house?

              Would you be okay with them sharing a bedroom? A bed?

              I’ll assume that you’re okay with all of the above.

              I’d then wonder what your opposition to gay marriage amounts to.

              Is it the hospital visitation that you are opposed to? Tax breaks? Automatic Inheritance?

              At this point, it strikes me that opposition to “gay marriage” is little more than opposition to joint filing of taxes.Report

              • Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                Several things, but the main thing is the thought control of the state, ie, these people ARE MARRIED, end of. Why is this not clear?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:

                Because The State does not have the competence to determine whether two people are “really” married. This seems (equally?) obvious.Report

              • Koz in reply to Jaybird says:

                Actually it does, at least to the extent that it can two that two men are not married to each other.

                Even so, if the state can’t figure out that two people are “really” married (whatever that means), it should let people figure it out for themselves, ie basement of the Unitarian church and such.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Koz says:


                Which brings us to denial of hospital visitation rights.Report

      • McDevite in reply to North says:

        Two wrongs don’t make a right, but the Mormons and Catholics picked a fight. They can now suffer the blowback of being aggressive bad actors. Because my participation in civil society is insufficient and the courts will not protect my rights as a citizen, I need to not only convince the lazy middle, but to turn the Mormons and Catholics public bigotry radioactive. There needs to be a deterrent against their bigoted assault on my civil rights–they need to keep their church out of my state.

        Yeah, in a while, they’ll remember this episode shamefully, but it won’t stop them, and they are stealing my civil rights now. They’ve earned a good kick in the teeth for the fact that their interventions in marriage fights has lead to more gay bashings.

        I don’t give a damn about waiting hands folded for the magical moment where society will let go and give me my full citizenship because I’m such a good boy. Everyone should look at the Beehive and see bedsheets. I refuse to wait for these theocratic punks to die off; the more they entrench hate in law, the harder it is to get out–we should perhaps repeal the statute of limitations in some states to finish chasing down the rapes the Catholic Church committed in the thirties?

        Besides, I’m not throwing Christians to the lions, it’s Catholics and Mormons, neither of whom are RTCs. And the former listens to a foreign cross dresser who hears voices.

        I deeply dislike the Dawkins-Hitchens’ access of atheism, but if the Bishops and the Beehive keep stealing my civil rights, they should expect brickbats. If they want a politics of righteousness in which they do violence against the minorities they don’t like, we should be able to secularize our politics to make everyone safe from their fanaticism.Report

        • North in reply to McDevite says:

          I understand your anger and share it. But we are not going to win this fight by the heat of our fury. It’s only by being behaving better than they do that we will continue to convince our friends and neighbors to take our side in this.Report

          • McDevite in reply to North says:

            I agree with you; I must look pretty locked in on the seething rage thing.

            The pitch matters, I know. And for the most part, holding four-ish states means that we’ll win eventually, but I want to grab a state with a major city–Chicago, New York–to push the date of the endgame up.

            Part of pitching to our relatives/neighbors/etc to help us is working the ref so that our enemies are deluded religious fanatics, and like minded honest Americans don’t want to be clumped in with those nutty bigots. So, that’s what I want.

            Plus, Harvey Milk stopped short of the occasional riot to press the point.Report

            • North in reply to McDevite says:

              It’s cool. It’s hard. Me too. But it’ll be okay. New York is close, it could flip over any election now. Once the Californians get their act together you’ll see the Golden State reverse their prop in no time. I know it seems like it’ll take forever, (I’m in Minnesota for gods sake we don’t have even a chance of it) but we have to do it right or else we may never get to do it at all.Report

              • McDevite in reply to North says:

                I sometimes think the Mormons are trying to see how long the veins in my forehead will pulse before they burst. When the voices the Mormons here tell them to suck it up and endorse gay marriage like they made black people human in ’72, I plan to bring a brass band and some high quality gay taunting. Possibly with go-go dancers.

                It’s also annoying because I know it’s all over in about fifteen years, but I want to make it about seven, and what they do makes me sound like a crazy irrational mess. I don’t want to hate them, but they keep trying. Sigh.

                Then there’s things like Dan Savage’s post about the 14 year old out gay kid who went on Halloween as Lady Gaga with is parents’ help. And that NYT Sunday Mag article from a while back–if Oklahoma City has gay middle schoolers that the school district and the PTA meetings have gotten over, it means that the Mormons and the Catholic Church have lost the argument.

                I just feel badly that institutions that I was indifferent to before have done so much to earn indignation and distrust, and I don’t really know what to do about them.Report

  10. Sam says:

    “I think, if Jesus were alive today, he’d agree. ”

    Uh, Jesus IS alive today, at least if you are a believing Christian.

    What I get out of your post is that you like Catholicism because it has lots of pretty and colorful stuff …”the saints, the rosary, the colors, the solemnity and the joy involved in the liturgical year, the intellectual and mystical traditions of the Church.” that you like. Too bad it also has
    all those archaic and burdensome rules and morals and stuff.Report

    • North in reply to Sam says:

      Yeah because Catholics are very strict with adhering to church teachings. You know like contraception and divorce (oh wait, they just go back in time and make the marriage never occur in the first place my bad) etc etc.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Sam says:


      Right. Thank you for avoiding the point. Of course Christians believe Christ is alive and with us – however it is in a slightly different form than during his Gospel days. To me, Christ speaks mainly of love and forgiveness, of earthly transcendence and salvation. Very little about barring gays from marriage.Report

      • Sam in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Right – he never said anything about that boring and judgmental “sin” stuff.

        My point is pretty clear – you really don’t want to be a Catholic – you just want the pretty parts and the teachings that you happen to agree with.

        At least I am not arrogant enough to presume to know what Jesus would say if he walked the earth today. What he said 2000 years ago works for me.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

          “Right – he never said anything about that boring and judgmental “sin” stuff.”

          He said quite a great deal. About whom did he reserve the best rants?

          Would you say that the homosexuals are more like these people or the people who are appealing to God’s Name as they deny, say, hospital visitation rights to homosexuals are more like the people that Jesus gave the best spittle-flecked rants about?Report

          • Sam in reply to Jaybird says:

            I was unaware that Jesus gave any “spittle-flecked rants” – this sounds like a classic case of projection to me, but never mind.

            Is your point that homosexuality is not the worst of sins? I agree – there are many more that are much worse.

            Now, a question for you – Do you agree that homosexuality is, in fact, a sin? If you don’t, then spare me any more appeals to Scripture, because you don’t really believe in any of it, except as it can be cherry-picked to support your own ideas.Report

            • Cascadian in reply to Sam says:

              Money changers? The Pharisees? ring any bells? How about walking about preaching on the Sabbath? Sin? Could you show me Christ’s stance on gays in the red letters? Where he decides that shelfish isn’t really a sin?Report

            • E.D. Kain in reply to Sam says:

              Heh. Unless you can say with a straight face that you believe Leviticus word-for-word then you’re cherry-picking yourself. Do you follow all 600 or so commandments laid down in that book? Do you know that it also allows fathers to have sexual relations with their daughters? Some might consider that a sin regardless. Nobody – and I mean nobody – follows scripture to the letter. Accusations of cherry-picking inevitably end up as hypocritical.Report

              • Sam in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                Never mind Leviticus – do you always follow the Ten Commandements to the letter?

                No? – well, then, for you to comment on anyone else’s behavior is hypocritical. ZOMG!!!!!!

                We are all hypocrites, and liars, and thieves, and adulterers; we all worship false gods of one kind or another. We certainly don’t love our neighbors as ourselves.

                I guess we should throw out all those teachings as well. Otherwise, we might be hypocrites!!!!!!Report

              • Cascadian in reply to Sam says:

                That’s right. Own it.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

                The 10 Commandments are fairly easy to follow, actually.

                Well, the Catholics are idolators. So they’re breaking that one. But it’s pretty easy for an atheist to follow them. Surprisingly so.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

              Dude, what I don’t believe about scripture could fill a warehouse.

              I put The Bible in the same category as Winnie The Pooh, only with more stoning.

              That said, it never ceases to surprise me to see people who argue that we live under a new covenant now appeal to Levitical law, or those who appeal to Chapter 1 fail to read Chapter 3.

              I’m sure that Jesus is spinning in his grave.Report

          • T. Sifert in reply to Jaybird says:

            Jaybird, what you say in that last paragraph is most of the reason that Douthat appears “visibly uncomfortable” when asked about the issue. But it leaves out the, “Go forth, and sin no more”, that accompanied both Christ’s “rants” and his communion with sinners. I think you make a good point about visitation rights. But, aside from that (and if we can put aside the problem of being “judgmental”): if, for Catholics, homosexual acts are sins like any other, then you can’t expect a Catholic who might recognize the likeness between homosexuals and the downtrodden of the New Testament to condone homosexual acts, any more than you can expect Christ to say to the nearly-stoned woman, “go forth and continue to commit adultery.”Report

            • Jaybird in reply to T. Sifert says:

              Focusing on the “go and sin no more” seems to be an attempt to find a rock that we can safely throw at the chick.


              The point of the parable was not that Jesus told the lady to go and sin no more. Now, I *DO* agree that the woman would have been well-served to find a good man and settle down and squeeze out a half-dozen children.

              In the same way, I support gay marriage because it can’t be good for all those guys to be having sex outside of a life-partnership relationship. Hey, put a ring on his finger, pal!

              The opposition to gay marriage seems to be saying “we will not give you an option where you can go and sin no more”. While, at the same time, screaming about how the point of the parable was that we get to yell at the women, even if we can’t kill her.Report

              • T. Sifert in reply to Jaybird says:

                “The point of the parable was not that Jesus told the lady to go and sin no more.”

                Then why did he say it? This is why I asked that we put the issue of judgment aside. Judgment is accomplished in the view that an act is a sin (which forms part of the ground of the parable). The “focus” of the parable is the whole event, not just one of its parts – from “you who are without sin throw the first stone” to “go forth and sin no more.” In the political sense, Catholics do not and cannot stop homosexual people from committing what they believe is a sin – they do not remove the option for sin. They cannot even keep it from being a norm. But they can, in the American political context, hew to their view of “the good” in their political decisions.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to T. Sifert says:

                Because the lady was committing adultery! Sex outside of the bounds of holy matrimony! This is something that she shouldn’t have been doing!

                I agree with Jesus on this. This is why I want a gay marriage option.

                As for Catholics, hey. I fully support the right of the Catholic church to say “sorry, we don’t provide marriage ceremonies to you people, why not try the children of schism down the street” to whomever they want.

                I don’t think that they should be able to tell the children of schism down the street that they shouldn’t be able to provide the service to those people.Report

              • T. Sifert in reply to Jaybird says:

                Come on, this isn’t some authority issue. They aren’t able, as the Church, to tell them that. Catholics are able to vote, just like everyone else.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to T. Sifert says:

                Well, sure. They can vote however they want.

                This is me arguing morality. Not whether they have the power to impose their will on those weaker than them. Of course they have that power.Report

            • Cascadian in reply to T. Sifert says:

              It’s fine for the Catholics to believe whatever they want. The question is about using ones institutional power in the political setting affecting non believers. If monogamy is a sin to believers of the FSM should they try to use their power to criminalize monogamous behavior? Do you really want this to be mob rule? If the US or Canada becomes strongly secular, are you willing to die by this same sword? Or will you cry for religious freedoms and protection, based on what? you’re own example?Report

      • T. Sifert in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        E.D. – I’m not a fan of Sam’s post, but “very little about barring gays from marriage” is a little disingenuous in the context of the Catholic Church. Its teaching is hardly limited to those issues which Christ explicitly addressed. It seems you would condemn those who retreat to Leviticus for their condemnation of homosexual acts while demanding that Catholics make exactly the same retreat to the New Testament – avoiding on the way tradition, theology, philosophy and what is called the “global context.”Report

        • E.D. Kain in reply to T. Sifert says:

          A fair critique, T. Sifert. I suppose I’m where I always am on this issue, though. While I would urge traditionalism as much as possible within the Church (heck, go back to Latin Mass even) and support life issues fully, I simply think that this issue is wrong. I believe that it is wrong. Nothing in scripture can change that, however heretical that may sound.Report

          • E.D. Kain in reply to E.D. Kain says:

            That is – the Church I believe is wrong on homosexuality.Report

          • (The Latin Mass really is amazing, E.D. I’ve been going weekly at a really vibrant parish in Chicago, and it’s wonderful. Heck, even the new Mass is pretty amazing in Latin. Just wanted to throw a little happy-thought-ness into the debate.)Report

            • Nathan – we have one only once a month here. I’d love it to be always Latin all the time, myself. And I know that one critique leveled at me has been that I’m only interested in the “bells and whistles” of the Church, but that’s not it at all. I do like that. I like the presentation of worship in Catholicism. But I also like the immediacy of it. I love that Catholics believe Christ is present – that we are not merely re-enacting the last supper, but participating in it. I also believe that Christianity was meant to be one group, one communion. I would love it if the Church could entirely re-unite (though I’m realistic enough to know this will never happen). The strength of tradition and solidarity in the Catholic Church is inspiring.

              I just think they’re wrong about this (and a couple other things). But many Catholics probably agree with me.

              So I won’t be scared off to the “liberal mainline protestant” Churches over a disagreement with doctrine. Disagreements over doctrine have always been and always will be. World without end.Report

  11. zic says:

    The real sadness at the heart of the gay-marriage ban is children.

    And I don’t mean in the way the “Yes on One” campaign used children — “Be afraid, they’ll have to teach this in school.” (I live in Maine, and that was the total content of the Yes on One campaign.)

    No, the real sorrow in my heart is for my brother, who still can’t marry his legal partner of 25 years; next to my own marriage of 33 years, it’s the longest relationship in our generation of our family. And it’s my thoughts of him as a young man, trying to understand his sexual identity in a world that claimed the only good love was the “man/woman” variety; the despair he want through trying to first understand himself and then to come out and live openly with his family.

    There’s a reason why homosexual teens have the highest rates of suicide. I weep to think that voters in my state just reinforced the message, ‘You’re worthless.”Report

  12. Sam says:

    “Neither Jesus nor Paul spoke out against homosexuality.”

    Neither spoke out against slavery, either, so I guess that’s cool, too.

    BTW, you are wrong about Paul. Go back and re-read the New Testament.Report

  13. E.D.,

    As a Catholic I long ago accepted my inability to affect Church doctrine. There is just no real mechanism for that kind of agitation. Vatican councils happen roughly every 100 years. The bishops and cardinals here the people, but they are very slow to recognize it. My opinion is that is how the Church has endured for 2000 years. It’s ultimately a very conservative organization.

    The question then for Catholics becomes, do we slectively ignore the things we don’t like? Most of us do. That’s a personal choice I think.Report

  14. Sam M says:

    I know that a lot of people have used this argument as cover. But some really believe it. To wit:

    “To deny them a manila folder struck me as something that would eventually become really, really depressing and something that people who claim knowledge of the Mind of God would eventually sicken of.”

    The people of whom I speak were saying… OK. Give them a folder. Give them the stuff. But call it something else. Because it’s fundamentally different. So… fine. Civil unions with equal rights.

    But then they see people say, “No, no, no, not nearly good enough,” and the reaction is… wait. I thought you just wanted the stuff in the envelope. If that’s all you want, if it’s not some larger project, then why take issue with civil unions? Nobody refuses their paychek beause it comes in a blue envelope instead of a yellow envelope. Because what they really want is the check. So when someone DOES make that objection… I don’t like the envelope… that strikes people as odd.

    This is not my position. But logically, as a part of the larger debate, this argument has some salience.

    As for this can of worms:

    “what is the state’s compelling interest in prohibiting gay marriage, aside from a bigoted appeal to religion/tradition?”

    I think that if you throw out bigoted appeals to religion/tradition, marriage will no be the only thing we are changing around here. Christmas as a federal holiday? Tax incentives for large families? You can keep going. Not to get all Santorum… but the only thing truly mitigating against almost ANY expansive definition of marriage is, um, a bigoted appeal to religion/tradition. People who marry their sister really don’t have kids with four heads, you know. And the only reason we don’t allow those weird (yeah, I said weird) communes where an old guy marries 63 teenagers is because we are bigoted against their religion and we thing their traditions are stupid.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      Sam, there are excellent cases made against polygamy, incest, bestiality, furniture marriage and all those other things that gay marriage gets lumped in with that do not depend at all upon religious doctrine or appeals to tradition.

      As to civil unions I personally would probably be fine with them. The problem is a more pragmatic one in that the moment SSM supporters move back to civil unions, suddenly SSM opponents are merrily gutting those statutes out to make them as pointless as possible or are furiously trying to forbid even the incidences of marriage from being given to same sex couples. The hypocrisy on the right is also amusing when you consider the hue and cry they set up when civil unions first appeared on the political scene and how they’ve now become a refuge that is retreated to any time that it looks like they’ll get into marriage instead.Report

      • I’m curious to hear those reasons. For example, why is it okay to redefine marriage away from gender, but not okay to make adjustments for the number of partners? Why is one forward-thinking and the other still worthy of liberal opposition?Report

        • Cascadian in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Because ones mistress could demand legal claim to ones assets?Report

        • North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Well you seem to have picked out polygamy so I’ll just answer that one Mike in the interests of brevity.
          Secular arguements against polygamy run in flavors of practical and principle. Practically speaking a switch to polygamy would require a complete and fundamental rebuild of our entire binary system of civil marriage and inheritance. Speaking from principle the problem with polygamy is that it tends to cause the wealthy and powerful to accumulate wives to the detriment of the poor. This also causes abuse of women and civil unrest from poor men who have small hopes of obtaining partners.Report

          • Cascadian in reply to North says:

            These are arguments you can make from the left. The State has an interest in regulating markets and fundamental necessities for the good of all. It’s still a bit embarrassing though; “Without the help of the government, there’s no way you’d get laid”.

            The abuse of women thing is misguided. Giving legal protection to women in group settings empowers them and gives them a way out where keeping them in the shadows exposes them to true exploitation.Report

          • I’ve heard the inheritance answer before – and it seems bogus to me. When my father passed away his estate was split evenly between myself and my 2 siblings. When my grandfather passed away his estate was split unevenly between 3 children and 5 grandchildren.Report

          • Sam M in reply to North says:

            “Practically speaking a switch to polygamy would require a complete and fundamental rebuild of our entire binary system of civil marriage and inheritance. Speaking from principle the problem with polygamy is that it tends to cause the wealthy and powerful to accumulate wives to the detriment of the poor. This also causes abuse of women and civil unrest from poor men who have small hopes of obtaining partners.”

            But this is still an argument based entirely on tradition. Not so much religious bigotry. But… tradition. And people can turn the tables on you here. Your argument appears to be, well, people must not REALLY think marriage is for conceiving children, because nobody is proposing fertility tests before granting a marriage certificate, or banning post-menopausal women from marrying.

            Well, if you are really against polygamy becasue it flies in the face of western traditions regarding inheritance (!), there are all sorts of other arrangements that complicate matters to a great degree. Divorce and remarriage, mixed families, etc. Let’s say I am married to one woman and we have three kids. I get divorced and marry another woman with three kids. I get divorced again and marry one of the wife’s kids from the previous marriage. Complicated? Yeah. I would hate to be at the reading of that will. But illegal? No.

            If simple lines of inheritance is what people REALLY want, we would demand estate planning in cases of plygamy, not ban polygamy. so, seeing that there are simpler and less obtrusive solutions to this problem, I suspect that the real objection to polygamy stems from…

            …tradition and religious bigotry.Report

          • Sam M in reply to North says:

            Also this:

            “the problem with polygamy is that it tends to cause the wealthy and powerful to accumulate wives to the detriment of the poor. This also causes abuse of women and civil unrest from poor men who have small hopes of obtaining partners.”

            Which, of course, is an argument based entirely on tradition and cultural bias. Is there any reason to prefer a system in which poor people have equal access to “women”? Many cultures operate differently. “Abuse of women” and “civil unrest” are also concepts that cannot be understood outside of religious and cultural norms.

            What I am getting at is, yes, OK, defining marriage as something between a man and a woman is loaded with all kinds of religious and cultural baggage. I agree with that. But that can’t be a serious objection to defining marriage that way, because any definition of marriage is going to have that kind of baggage. Earlier, you mentioned consent. Most cultures throughout history would be fine with taking consent away from various parties. I wouldn’t. But you can’t pretend that your preferences operate in a cultural or religious vaccuum.Report

            • North in reply to Sam M says:

              I amswered you below. Long story short, I believe my answered were couched in terms of objective rational goods rather than appeals to any cultural traditions. I do not believe that the concept of consent for instance is merely an artifact of our cultural traditions.Report

    • Cascadian in reply to Sam M says:

      I’m with you on the different name thing. I just want access to it as well. Most of these Civil Union things are only open to Gays and those over 65. I’ve never understood why Gays, given an opportunity to create a clearly secular institution, fight for the right to get all the baggage of marriage. I recently got married, and my god, I hate the cultural baggage that goes with it. I’m embarrassed. I insist that my partner be referred to as my partner and never my wife. I want no part of the religious institution in my relationship. I find it difficult to have a MES without people assuming that at some level its a MEG.Report

      • McDevite in reply to Cascadian says:

        Mostly because in states where we get the separate and less equal–NJ, WA, OR–it’s immediately and persistently assaulted by the same theocrats who swoon and pretend they’re only acting their faith to defend marriage but would be OK with civil unions, which is why the Mormons went after the 18,000 gay marriages in CA after they got Prop. 8, and why they put money into R-71 in Washington.

        On a more meta level, being “civilly united” sounds dreadful, it doesn’t cross state lines, and many/most companies don’t recognize it, leading to lawsuits (UPS in New Jersey) to try to resolve basic issues that a paper saying “marriage” would get me.

        I don’t want to get married in a Catholic Church. I want a civil marriage by a justice of the peace. But if team pedophilia conspiracy keeps coming after me, I’ll go to a Catholic Church with a Molotov and a mob.Report

  15. Cascadian says:

    I feel for you E.D. I’m one of those PKs that struggle with any kind of faith. I’m torn between the knee jerk reaction of McDevite and the desire to find spirituality far from any church. Ultimately I think most of Christianity has slipped into pharasism, losing God for the rules. Anyway, before I slip back into complete negativity, I’d recommend that you look at the work of Simone Weil. She was profoundly influenced by the Catholic church but chose not to join.Report

    • McDevite in reply to Cascadian says:

      It’s not exactly a knee jerk reaction. They appeal to emotion and smells and bells to attack me, I want to defend myself from religious fanatics.

      It’s not that I dislike God, it’s his camp followers I can’t stand. Because if they can kill marriage and civil unions, they’ll go after employment discrimination, and then hate crimes. Better to meet them here than there.

      We didn’t let Mississippi vote on civil rights in the ’60s. We should stop these jerkwads from intervening. Either that, or I’m opening up a private liquor store in Utah, with nudie mags.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to McDevite says:

        I hear you. My inner Jacobin is screaming. However, when I think of my own region, I’d like to find a way to accommodate the Christlike Christians, the Unitarians and the Deists. Sending them all to the lions seem to be counterproductive in the long run. There needs to be carrots and sticks.Report

        • McDevite in reply to Cascadian says:

          Oh, I certainly understand. Which is why I’m more interested in fixing the IRS exemption so that the Anti-Christ in Rome and the Beehive can’t exploit the loophole to hurt me–or if they try, they get appropriately punished.

          If they feel a need to be the judge of my private life, I’m totally open to digging up dirt on both and blasting it over a loud speaker:

          The Mormons spent more money stealing Anne Frank’s soul and stopping civil weddings than it did on feeding the poor and clothing the homeless by a factor of five or so.

          The Catholic Church not only smuggled childraping priests across countries and the globe, it frequently helped get them new identities so they could continue to rape with clean rap sheets.

          Some moral arbiters, those two.

          If we’re talking about carrots and sticks, I’m really glad that the pro-gay Anglican church has been so proactive in defending its gay laity, oh, wait, never mind.

          I don’t want politics of the Third Republic, but that’s what they’ve foisted on me.Report

  16. M.Z. says:

    All the religious arguments against gay marriage are premised on the idea that children have the right to be raised by their natural-born mother and father. In other words, it really isn’t a religious argument. To the extent accommodations are made, the most obvious situation being the premature death of a parent, there are just that, accommodations.

    And to address the usual objections:
    1) I support banning IVF.
    2) I have significant issues with the adoption industry, specifically cross-country adoption.
    3) I would be very supportive of eliminating no-fault divorce.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to M.Z. says:

      Yay! Divorce police!

      Is there any corner of my life that you don’t think that you have a right to fiddle with, you puritan busybody?Report

    • North in reply to M.Z. says:

      M.Z. if I accept your initial premis you have made an excellent case against IVF, adoption and divorce but have not made one against allowing same sex couples to marry. I see no reason why gays marrying would cause children to be raised by people other than their birth parents more or less than they are already.Report

      • M.Z. in reply to North says:

        One of biggest causes behind gay marriage has to do with adoption and visitation rights.

        Civil unions is an allowance in my argument though. It isn’t something I would necessarily advocate though.Report

    • Koz in reply to M.Z. says:

      “All the religious arguments against gay marriage are premised on the idea that children have the right to be raised by their natural-born mother and father.”

      What leads you to believe this?Report

      • M.Z. in reply to Koz says:

        There are some newer arguments in Evangelical circles giving pop psychological babble about personal fulfillment in marriage, but the serious philosophical arguments have to do with the forming and rearing of children.Report

        • Koz in reply to M.Z. says:

          Those are there, but the main ones have to do with the ontological “God created them male and female” business which I’m surprise you overlook. Again, you can argue those if you want to but no one has to rely on them to oppose gay marriage.Report

  17. Sam M says:

    “Sam, there are excellent cases made against polygamy, incest, bestiality, furniture marriage and all those other things that gay marriage gets lumped in with that do not depend at all upon religious doctrine or appeals to tradition. ”

    Are there? I would be interested in hearing them. If not based on tradition or religion… what are they based on?Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

      Polygamy can be based on tax law (Social Security benefits, for example).
      Bestiality can be based on some notion of “consent”. I’d put furniture marriage in there too.

      Inter-familial marriage strikes me as something that we ought to have.
      I have a friend who has what he calls a “spinster aunt”. She lives with his gramma (grampa died in the 70’s) and they have lived together, like, forever. They cook, they go to church together, they don’t share a bedroom… but they live together. It strikes me that the civil benefits of a marriage ought be extended to this mom and spinster aunt. Both would benefit from it. Society, insofar as society exists, benefits from it. Why not give them an additional .375% tax break or whatever it would end up being? “Because we have to protect marriage.” “Oh, yeah. That.”Report

      • Cascadian in reply to Jaybird says:

        How does the tax law thing work for polygamy? Civil rights are only available if they’re easy to accommodate legislatively? We’d like to give you freedom of speech but it’s so hard to distinguish art from icky pornography we’re going to err on the culturally safe side?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Cascadian says:

          “How does the tax law thing work for polygamy?”

          I don’t know how it works for other countries. It isn’t acknowledged here, particularly.

          “Civil rights are only available if they’re easy to accommodate legislatively?”

          There are several answers to this but I’d say that “Civil rights are only protected if they’re acknowledged. They get violated the second you have a critical mass of people explaining how you don’t have a right to *THAT*… and therefore they have the right to keep you from having it.”

          “We’d like to give you freedom of speech but it’s so hard to distinguish art from icky pornography we’re going to err on the culturally safe side?”

          That does seem to be how it works in practice, doesn’t it?Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      Hi Sam,
      If you scroll up to my first response to Mike up above you’ll see a very quick non-moral non-religious brief against polygamy.

      Jay generally is spot on with bestiality and furniture marriage. You just can’t have consent with Fido or the Lazyboy(this would also apply to child marriage).

      Jay, on the subject of incest the best argument I’ve heard is that an incest taboo allows for young children to be reared in a non-sexualized environment. Siblings, cousins and parents not being allowed as potential partners is conducive to the forming of more constructive relations with these persons and also strongly guards against the specter of abuse that could easily arise from generally accepted incest. Oh and also with sufficient inbreeding you will get anemic and weakened descendants.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to North says:

        I can never tell when we’re discussing marriage as the thing that society bestows or marriage as the thing that society doesn’t have the competence to bestow or deny.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          I’m sorry for being unclear Jay.

          Any time I am referring to marriage I am referring to the socio-legal construct marriage that governments have been administering since Babylon (MES to use your terminology).
          As an agnostic I am ignorant of and have no place to talk about the sacred covenants between man and woman that are handed out by various faiths and are also called “marriage” (MEG I think you call them).
          I have no beef with MEG nor do I have any interest in it. If I want one there’re plenty of faiths I can get one from. MES is my only concern.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            Fair enough. I’ll try to keep that in mind.

            My wife and I have a MEG despite my atheism. We also have a MES, but that’s just the ceremony the gummint made us have because of the fiance visa.Report

      • Sam M in reply to North says:

        But again, ALL of these arguments have a strong traditional/religious element to them:

        “on the subject of incest the best argument I’ve heard is that an incest taboo allows for young children to be reared in a non-sexualized environment.”

        Who says we need to have children raised on non-sexualized environment? Uh… tradition says so.

        “Siblings, cousins and parents not being allowed as potential partners is conducive to the forming of more constructive relations with these persons and also strongly guards against the specter of abuse that could easily arise from generally accepted incest.”

        But it’s not abuse if it’s generally accepted. Plato and Socrates diddled the boys, after all. What tells us that counts as abuse? Again… tradition and religious bigotry.

        “Oh and also with sufficient inbreeding you will get anemic and weakened descendants.”

        If this is truly your concern, surely you would propose genetic testing of all married people to weed out any with genetic codes that would predispose the kids to disease and cognitave problems?

        This of course goes back to the issue of “marriage is for conceiving kids.” Can’t be so, you say. Because we allow menopausal women to marry. Hypocrisy!

        Well, if you REALLY object to incest because of the spectre of birth defects, surely you would want a ban on marriage for people with genetic disorders.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

          The Nazis ruined eugenics for a while, sadly.

          Thank goodness for abortion. Maybe we can get rid of the bad genes in utero.Report

        • North in reply to Sam M says:

          Sam I’ll try and address all your responses to this item here. I do not agree with your conclusion because you seem to be wrapping every form of conception of good or law with inside the trapping of religion and tradition.
          As far as I am concerned I believe my answers are rooted in objective, empirical or philosophical principles. I don’t think you do not need to be a religious person or a traditionalist to reject the morality of murder or theft. Similarly an secularist, atheist or non-traditionalist can reject bestiality, polygamy, incest and furniture marriage without any appeals to religious doctrine or blind tradition.

          I do not believe that there are sound secular/athiest arguements against allowing same sex couples for have civil marriages.Report

  18. Bob Cheeks says:

    Good grief, ED, the micks stand up for what’s right and you complain! I think you’d be more ‘comfortable’ with a mainstream Protestant church, though the micks have a loosey-goosey left wing you might like
    Homosexual acts are not normal, dude, no matter how you cut it! I couldn’t believe Maine told to stick it, if you’ll pardon the pun.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Bob, maybe you could answer:

      How is marriage not a First Amendment issue?Report

      • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

        North, you are a gentleman. Taking care of the resident, aging paleocon so’s he doesn’t get hurt feelings…thanks!Report

      • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

        JB, my critique of homosexuality isn’t in a Constitutional/legal context, rather a moral objection. I’m quite libertarian when it comes to privacy of the home, consenting adults, ect. and don’t think the police should jack people around…though being a homosexual these days comes with certain perks.
        I just think that it’s abnormal to want to bury mr. happy in some fellow’s anus…! It’s either a psychopathology or a pneumopathology and it sure ain’t normal!
        Gee, I guess that makes me politically incorrect…well, that’s a bummer!Report

        • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          So, nothing but the missionary for procreation (not that there’s anything wrong with getting off on knocking someone up) interests you?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

          I am 100% down with thinking that (lifestyle) is immoral.

          My issue comes when the government starts thinking that it can make you stop being an immoral person.

          That way madness lies.Report

          • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

            Interesting, JB ! Does gummint have the right to stop you from stealing, murder, fraud, larceny, ect.? These are not only illegal acts, they are immoral and if the gummint catches you in the act, they’re going to throw you in jail.
            Should prostitution be legalized and if so, why?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

              Should government have the power to stop you from saying hurtful things about people with alternative lifestyles?

              Things that might be construed as racist? As sexist? As nationalist?

              Words can kill, Mr. Cheeks. It just might be time for a little re-education.Report

    • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Typing on computers and not crapping yourself to death from any number of horrible bacterial diseases is also not normal Bob old boy. But I don’t think that means you’ll be stripping down to your birthday suit and going stalking antelopes on the Serengeti any time soon. Or at least I hope not.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

      Meh. I think Catholics are fighting a silly war when they could be focusing on so many other lovely issues like the loss of people in their ranks, the threat of radical islam, the unborn, etc. etc. etc.

      But oh my – we must all be “left-wing” now if we support gay rights. I suppose at one time any conservative who supported womens’ right to vote were similarly cast out. Or the right of black people to marry white people. The list goes on. Perhaps conservatives should abandon the fight against equal rights and stand up for more principled causes.Report

      • Kyle R. Cupp in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Well, “rights” were an invention of that left-wing Enlightenment.Report

      • Sam in reply to E.D. Kain says:

        Yes, how “silly” of the Church to not discard one of its basic teachings because you and the rest of the enlioghtened disagree with it.

        Oh, and opposition to gay marriage is not “principled.” I guess no one is allowed to have principles that conflict with yours.

        Why can’t we all stop bickering and just agree to go along with what you and the other enlightened ones want?

        Arrogant much?Report

        • Cascadian in reply to Sam says:

          I can’t wait until I can start legislating mine.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Sam says:

          I am 100% down with people having different principles than mine.

          More power to you.

          Just try to keep them in the closet, if you don’t mind. Nothing pisses me off more when you people get all out in public and saying “oh, we’re here, we’re evangelical, get used to it!” and you’re yelling stuff about 9/11 to each other.

          Hey. I’m trying to eat. What if I had kids with me and I didn’t want to have to explain your lifestyle to them? “Yes, Billy, those guys think that they can tell other people how to live just because there are more of them than there are of us. It’s wicked. It’s disgusting. Don’t be like them. Don’t stare.”

          I’m not saying you have to stop being the way you are. You’ll probably say it’s how God made you so I should just avert my eyes.

          Well, it’s my society too and I’m just asking you to keep it in the house and keep your blinds closed, thank you very much.Report

        • Roger Evans in reply to Sam says:

          What are you calling “basic teachings” here? I can’t imagine what clauses of the Creeds relates to this.Report

  19. Koz says:

    “Which brings us to denial of hospital visitation rights.”

    Yeah, straighten it out with the hospital.Report

  20. Sam M says:

    Of course, the obvious solution is not to have government use the word marriage for all of these kinds of unions, but to get them out of the business altogether.

    There are all sorts of legal arrangements I can undertake. I can give someone power of attorney. I can bequeath my assets to anyone I choose to designate. I can designate someone to come visit me in the hospital.

    So instead of applying for a marriage license, why not just go to a lawyer and have all of these arrangements made? Most states could put a package of highly requested ones together and call it a “domestic corporation,” or some such. If I have strong feeling about other stuff in this regard, I can get some more lawyers to perform some more services. whether I am gay or straight or whatever. If my church wants to allow me to “marry” 19 women and I have a lot of kids? And I want a rational line of inheritance when I die? I can hire an estate planner.

    Get the government out of it entirely.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:


      That said, if that’s not a realistic option (and, let’s face it, it ain’t), we get to deal with the issue of all those gay folks who are, in practice, being denied stuff like “hospital visitation rights” and the short-term achievable (or, maybe it’s not…) goal was allowing for such things as “gay marriage”.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      Yes, well Sam, you get government out of marriage and you can be certain that the gay “assault” on marriage will vanish. Good luck with convincing the voters to do it of course.Report

  21. Sam M says:

    But here’s where “honesty” comes in. I agree that a ton of people who are “for civil unions” really aren’t. They really have an animus towards gay people, and want to punish them in whatever way possible.

    On the flip side, I don’t think the argument that “all we want is hospital visitation and equal inheritance rights” is really true, either. Look up at the post. At the update. As sullivan says, what advocates of gay mariage have in mind is an aggressive restructuring of the culture. That’s understandable. But it’s a good deal more ambitious than some niceties regarding this legality or that. I really think that very, very few people want gay marriage because they are concerned mostly with being allowed into emergency rooms.

    Proponents of gay marriage seem to support it as a way to rethink human relationships and how society views them.

    Opponents of gay marriage oppose it for the same reason.

    All the other arguments strike me as BS.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

      Sullivan is a nutball.

      I take the attitude that marriage ain’t nobody’s business but God’s and society shouldn’t interfere unless the contract has been broken and civil law is required to help deal with the whole broken contract thing.

      As it stands, however, we have all sorts of government infringements into every corner of our existence and marriage provides the tiniest protection for two people.

      Of course if the government didn’t infringe into every corner of our lives, marriage would be a moot point. Of course if everybody wasn’t used to being a puritan busybody who felt that they had a right to tell people they couldn’t, for example, engage in some light IVF then this wouldn’t be an issue.

      As it stands… we’ve got two groups of people who want the culture to be a certain way.

      There are anti-gay bigots who are standing on protecting children.
      There are anti-Christian bigots who are standing on deeper morality arguments.

      I tend to think that marriage ain’t anybody’s business but the two (or three or more, but that will all end in tears) people and God (and that’s only if they want to involve Him).

      That said, that’s a destination a little bit further down the road than many are willing to go.

      Settling for “gay marriage” is what I got.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      Can’t agree. I don’t give a damn about reshaping society. I do give a damn that after my partner and I shelled out money to our attorney for a medical power of attorney he has to sit us down and explain in horrifying detail A) how many states would simply ignore it and B) how in almost any state if his relatives were to issue a challenge to it the presumption would be against it and I’d be out on the sidewalk until the court date.

      Now that’s just a small example but it’s a pertinent one. If right wingers really care about marriage and truly want same sex couples out of it then opposition to their inclusion is insufficient. We have proven that there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Pretending it doesn’t exist will not address the issue. If conservatives don’t want same sex couples in existing civil marriages then they have to offer something else. Since they are not doing so it’s patently obvious that they’re full of shit on that subject. If they truely cared about defending marriage they’d have laid out proposals for some form of civil union regime for same sex couples by now. If the full text of their position on same sex couples is “just go away” then eventually they will loose.Report

      • Cascadian in reply to North says:

        Hey, don’t hog the civil unions. I want a way out of this marriage thing too! Leave marriage for the Christians. Give them all the rope they want.Report

      • North,

        I have to concur with Sam. The reason that civil unions are brushed aside by a lot of gay marriage proponents is that it isn’t really about the legal’s about the social trophy. They NEED Uncle Sam to say, “I endorse your lifestyle.”Report

        • North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          We may have to agree to disagree here Mike. Perhaps the liberal intelligentsia views it that was but I dare say the majority of the masses that are in support of this issue are mostly concerned with the bread and butter civil marriage issues. If those issues were concretely addressed, perhaps by a national civil union option for instance, then the drive for SSM would be robbed of a lot of force that drives it.Report

          • I’m all for civil unions – provided they are extended to any two people who want to be responsible for each other and don’t necessarily obligate one’s employer to cover your burnout roommate. I’d also be willing to discuss expanding these civil unions to three or more people (back to the polygamy question).Report

            • North in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

              That’s a fair enough position to take Mike. Though I’d add that if you wanted to destroy civil marriage then instituting the kind of Civil Unions you are describing would be one of the best ways to do it, far more destructive than allowing gays into the existing institution.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Mike at The Big Stick says:

          Stuff like the media making hay out of cases like Langbehn v Jackson Memorial Hospital isn’t helping the cause, that’s for sure.Report

  22. Sam M says:


    “B) how in almost any state if his relatives were to issue a challenge to it the presumption would be against it and I’d be out on the sidewalk until the court date.”

    This isn’t limited to the issue of gay marriage. As we saw all too starkly in the Schiavo case. The husband, as straight as he was, was on the sidewalk for what… decades?

    So I am not at all sure that gay marriage is going to address your concerns here. What you seem to really be after is reform of laws regarding medical powers of attorney.

    That is, if what you want to do is gain access to the hospital room, reforming marriage laws seems like the long way around.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      Schavio was an exception to the rule and if you review that case you’ll note that it took extraordinary intervention by the right wing to merely delay, not prevent but delay, the enactment of the husbands wishes.
      With same sex couples the dynamic is reversed.

      And this goes for an entire raft of civil marriage issues. And I ask again, if the right wing is only concerned about preserving the sacred status of marriage why has there been 0, -zero-, positive answers from them. What alternatives have they offered to this issue other than “please dissappear” ?Report

  23. James Young says:

    Of course, the issue is not about “afford the same dignity to others,” or about “equality,” since homosexuals have the same right to marry members of the opposite sex who will have them that normal people do.

    What it is about is whether a discrete minority will be allowed to REDEFINE the fundamental institution of human society to suit their own ends, and thereby obtain VALIDATION.

    You and your/their perverse beliefs are entitled to no more than toleration, and probably not even that. Gay “marriage” isn’t about toleration, though; it’s about ACCEPTANCE, and that is something to which no one is ENTITLED.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to James Young says:

      What about the VERY idea that people HAVE a right TO privacy and what they DO in the privacy OF their OWN home is something THAT you don’t get TO legislate against if IT involves consenting adults. THE first amendment allows FOR them to call THEMSELVES married, to GO to a unitarian church AND have a lifepartnership ceremony, buy A house together and HAVE sleepovers.

      AT this point I don’t SEE how you could possibly CALL them anything BUT married unless YOU believed that marriage WAS defined by you rather THAN by two people (AND perhaps their relationship WITH god).

      You CAN still believe THAT they are going TO burn in hell FOR all eternity and comfort YOURSELF with that thought.Report

  24. Cascadian says:

    “ACCEPTANCE, and that is something to which no one is ENTITLED.”
    Back to McDevite’s solution.Report

  25. E.D. Kain says:

    175 comments. We can break 200 if we try.Report

  26. Sam M says:

    “And this goes for an entire raft of civil marriage issues. And I ask again, if the right wing is only concerned about preserving the sacred status of marriage why has there been 0, -zero-, positive answers from them.”

    Fair enough. But again, this tactic can go the other way. If you are really focused on the rights of people to see who they want to see in the hospital, and that’s the extent of it… what measures have you put forward to amend or change medical power of attorney laws?

    Seems to me that you are right. Conservatives really haven’t apoffered much in the way of an alternative. And when they have offered something along those lines, like civil unions, it appears to have been a pretty transparent diversionary tactic.

    Similarly, i have seen nothing of real substance from any liberal or gay rights groups really hammering the issue of medical power of attorney as a distinct issue. Or even a raft of such issues taken as a whole. Instead, I see a lot of stuff like Sullivan is putting out: namely, this is about changing the larger culture.

    If the lack of substantial alternatives is a sign that the anti-equality corwd is being disingenuous, I think the same applies to the pro gay-marriage crowd.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      The left has already presented its’ answer to these issues: Let same sex couples into the institution of civil marriage. Doing so would address all of the issues in one fell swoop.

      The right has said “NO” to the Left’s proposed solution. They have not, however, proposed an alternative.

      There is no onus on the left to propose another solution. They already have proferred their preferred one.

      The onus is on the right. I know that you can read the writing on the wall. You surely can see where this is going. Every time a coffin goes into the ground the odds are it’s one of the opponents of SSM. Every time a stroller rolls by the odds are you’re looking at a supporter of SSM. The walls and the timbers on the dam against gays in the military are shaking and cracking and we both know that ban will be gone soon. How long before the left can say “here is a hero who put it all on the line for his country but he isn’t allowed a civil marriage with his life partner”? Do you truly believe the narrative is suddenly going to reverse?

      For around a decade now social conservatives have been pressing their hands over their ears and screaming “No!” over and over. Every time the referenda’s rolls out the margins get smaller. The left has it’s answer: Marriage for gays. If the only response the right has is “No!” then there’s only one way it’s going to end.

      If my memory serves it was the doughy Jonah Goldberg who mused a while back during the kerfuffle in Vermont that social conservatives in their stalwart defense against civil unions were going to loose the overarching war. I think social conservatives reading his article now would probably agree. Sooner or later the right is going to have to decide what they’re going to do. The options are clear; either provide more of an answer than “No, drop dead” or loose the debate.

      Personally I’m okay with civil unions if that means the right would get their heads out of their asses and get it enacted quickly. But if the right is going to drag this out for the generation that it could quite possibly take to overcome their built in intrasgescence then no, I’d not be interested in settling.Report

  27. Sam M says:

    “Schavio was an exception to the rule ”

    Not sure if this is correct. My wife and my mother are both nurses, and both complain constantly about the ridiculous state of affairs with living wills, powers of attonery, etc. Nobody seems happy with the system or its results.

    Seems that there is a huge amount of support for fundamental reform in that regard. But I don’t see anyone proposing anything along those lines.

    Seems that is this were REALLY the issue, something would be floating around out there.Report

  28. Sam M says:

    Mike says:

    “I’m all for civil unions – provided they are extended to any two people who want to be responsible for each other and don’t necessarily obligate one’s employer to cover your burnout roommate. ”

    I think this speaks to some very important issues, particularly the ones raised in the individual post about the Catholic Church and why it has inserted itself in this debate.

    We have a lot of laws, based in tradition and religious bigotry and all the rest, that speak to marriage. One of the most important is the idea that employers provide health insurance to workers AND FAMILIES. Traditionally married families.

    So what happens when the Catholic guy who owns a factory hires a guy and… we know the story. Should he be forced, under law, to provide benefits to the partner? This is less and less of an issue as the culture shifts, as many companies are going ahead and providing those benefits anyway. Which, for the record, I think is great. But should you HAVE to recognize that partnership as equal to a marriage? You DON’T have to support cohabitating lovers in this sense. You DON’T have to extend the benefits to NUMEROUS wives, as having numerous wives is illegal. But where do you draw the line.

    My sister is a very conservative, Catholic pharmacist. She does not want to fill prescriptions for Ru486. Or even the pill. So what she did was find a job at a pharmacy owned by someone who shared those beliefs. The pharmacy doesn’t provide those medicines, in the same way many OB/GYNs refuse to perfrom abortions. The same way some motorcycle mechanics refuse to work on Japanese bikes. Wouldn’t be my choice, but they are making their own living and can choose for themselves what services they want to perform.

    EXCEPT! There are apparenly some laws being considered now that would FORCE my sister to fill RU486 prescriptions. I am not talking about her working at a place that sells this stuff, and she refuses to do her job. She’s at a place where the OWNER doesn’t carry these products. But it seems he might have to.

    So back to the Catholic Church. They see this. And they know where the battles are being fought. So they fight them.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

      “My sister is a very conservative, Catholic pharmacist.”

      So, let’s see. We’ve got a situation where the government has handed out a license to sell Product X.

      If I try to sell Product X without a license, I will be arrested and go to jail.
      If I try to buy Product X from someone who doesn’t have a license to sell it, I will be arrested and go to jail.
      If I try to sell Product X with a license to someone who does not have a prescription for Product X from his doctor, I will be arrested and go to jail.
      If I try to buy Product X without a prescription from my doctor, I will be arrested and go to jail.
      The licenses to sell Product X at all are kept artificially scarce by the government who is colluding with both the manufacturers and distributors of Product X.

      And the complaint is “but what about Liberty?” when it comes to the conscience of the people who actually have a license to distribute Product X to people?

      Welcome to the struggle for human freedom, Comrade. I hope you did not strain anything in your hurry to get to the front line.Report

      • Bo in reply to Jaybird says:

        That’s a nice sentiment, Jaybird, but Sam is kinda BSing you here. RU486 is not distributed by pharmacies at all in the US; it has to be administered on-site at a specially licensed doctor’s office. His sister (assuming she exists) was probably referring to birth control pills.Report

        • Bob in reply to Bo says:

          Maybe it was Plan B. I think that is the morning after pill Bush fought so long against.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Bob says:

            Yeah, that was it. That led to arguments on Redstate between me and people who argued that no one seriously argued that life begins at conception but instead it begins at implantation and then someone would misunderstand one of my longer sarcastic rants and argue against the other guy as if he was the libertine in the conversation.

            Good times.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      “My sister is a very conservative, Catholic pharmacist. She does not want to fill prescriptions for Ru486. Or even the pill. So what she did was find a job at a pharmacy owned by someone who shared those beliefs. The pharmacy doesn’t provide those medicines, in the same way many OB/GYNs refuse to perfrom abortions. The same way some motorcycle mechanics refuse to work on Japanese bikes. Wouldn’t be my choice, but they are making their own living and can choose for themselves what services they want to perform.

      EXCEPT! There are apparenly some laws being considered now that would FORCE my sister to fill RU486 prescriptions. I am not talking about her working at a place that sells this stuff, and she refuses to do her job. She’s at a place where the OWNER doesn’t carry these products. But it seems he might have to.”

      Sam, I would fight against any law that would attempt to force your sisters employer to offer those products and services tooth and nail.

      I would also not spend one red dime at said store and would encourage any associates of mine to similarily take their business elsewhere and I would feel genuine satisfaction if they went out of business.Report

      • Sam M in reply to North says:

        “I would also not spend one red dime at said store and would encourage any associates of mine to similarily take their business elsewhere and I would feel genuine satisfaction if they went out of business.”

        I find this reaction interesting on a lot of fronts. When I lived in a city, the bodega down the street was run by very conservative Pakistanis. They were nice enough, but they had some pretty retrograde ideas concerning women. But it never occurred to me to not shop there for that reason. And certainly, had they gone out of business, I would not have cheered that outcome.

        I suppose there could be some situation in which a merchant’s views were so repugnant that I would enact a boycott. But it would have to be really, really high-grade tomfoolery. And public tomfoolery. Disagreement with me about birth control, one way or another, would not even come close.

        This works in both directions. A few years back, some people refused to buy American Girls dolls because of some alleged transgression concerning abortion. If the standard were really that low, I suspect I would spend most of my time policing the politics of the global marketplace. Meh.Report

        • North in reply to Sam M says:

          Sorry Sam, I’m a firm believer in abortion rights. I certainly wouldn’t be out organizing a picket of the pharmacy in your scenario but I would not patronize them and I’d encourage my associates not to do so as well in favor of a full service pharmacy instead.

          Since I believe in markets I also believe that they function best when consumers make informed choices about their buying habits. Since I support the right of women to reproductive freedom I will favor pharmacies that cater to that preference and disfavor pharmacies that do not. I would also think it perfectly fair for people who are morally opposed to birth control and abortion to behave in the opposite manner to mine.Report

        • North in reply to Sam M says:

          To your last statement:
          “If the standard were really that low, I suspect I would spend most of my time policing the politics of the global marketplace. Meh.”

          If consumers spent a bit more time policing the politics of the global marketplace and buying accordingly we’d have a significantly more efficient and moral market and significantly less left wing objection to capitalism I imagine.Report

        • Cascadian in reply to Sam M says:

          If it mattered enough to your sister to change her behavior in the market place of jobs, I think it fare for customers to do the same. Of course, such a pharmacy could never exist in my neighborhood but if it did, I’d be pretty interested in who shopped there as well.Report

  29. IT says:

    The hypocrisy of the Catholic Church is clear in the treatment of divorce. The church opposes divorce. It will not marry people who are divorced (sans annulment). However, it does not raise money to outlaw civil divorce and remarriage, and can co-exist in a world where some marriages are civilly legal but sacramentally invalid. Same sex marriage should be no different in the public sphere. INstead, the RC attack us and put our fundamental rights up to vote. (Does anyone really think that women would have gained the franchise or African Americans civil rights if they had been subject to the tyranny of a “popular” vote?) After enduring fulminating attacks on GLBT people from the pulpit of the RC church, my wife, the Cradle Catholic, is moving to the Episcopalians, where her validity as a complete human being is respected and welcomed.Report

  30. JR says:


    I found it striking that in your description of what you wish the Catholic church to be, in the love of ritual yet the desire for congregational decentralization, you could have been describing our new Episcopal church home.

    I was not raised Catholic, but my wife was. I was raised in an evangelical church, and we were both unhappy in our original churches for similar reasons: the focus on the negative aspects of spirituality, including the treatment of women and gays as unequal in the eyes God, as well as the official disdain for other denominations as being somehow less Christian.

    Ultimately those sentiments kept us from wanting to attend either, and so we decided NOT to join a religious group with “such fundamental disagreements.” I’m sharing this because when we finally found our new church home, we were honestly surprised that there were so many religious people that saw the world as we did. We felt welcome for the first time, happy to attend, and thrilled to see our priest and his family at the local Thai restaurant.

    Frankly, I don’t think the Pope will be any more eager for congregational leadership than the Pope was hundreds of years ago. As I understand it, Catholic opposition to that form of church governance runs very, very deep.Report

  31. Bob says:

    E.D., will there, could there, be a point at which you might admit that there is less to Catholicism/religion than meets the eye.Report

  32. Michael says:

    “Should someone join a cause or a religious group or any other affiliation if one has such fundamental disagreements?”

    NO……………a thousand times NO.

    So many of us have left because of this and other issues. The Right wing no longer wants “cafeteria catholics” they will tell you to your face, ” go be an Episcopalian” they will sayReport

  33. Sam M says:

    “And the complaint is “but what about Liberty?” when it comes to the conscience of the people who actually have a license to distribute Product X to people?”

    Interesting. In my community, you also need a liquor license to sell beer, wine and whiskey. Which you are permitted to do from 6 am until 2 am.

    Are you of the opinion that this license should require its holders to be open from 6 am until 2 am? Is it your opinion that, since the license allows you to sell beer, liquor and wine, that you should be requirted to sell all three? Within a category, what about low-end beer versus high-end beer? I know of some establishments that discriminate to a terrible degree in this regard. Some seel only micro-brews that cost $8 a pint. Others only carry cheap stuff that costs $1 a pint.

    Is it your opinion that holding the license should require someone to sell the full range of products that the license permits?

    Clearly, any license holder that objects could switch to selling something else. Pizza, perhaps. Lots of successful pizza places in town. But I am not sure where supporting such a requirement would put you on the political spectrum.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

      Hi, I’m Jaybird.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Sam M says:

      Rephrased: Why in the heck would they need a license to sell beer, wine, or liquor? Let’s say that I wanted to open a grocery store and wanted to sell beer, wine, or liquor. Would I be able to? Oh, I’d need a license, you say?

      Insert rant about creation of artificial scarity of licenses here.
      Insert rant about the 18th Amendment here.
      Insert rant about puritan busybodies here.
      Insert story about peach schnapps here.
      Insert rant about your right to put your nose in my business or the lack thereof here.Report

    • North in reply to Sam M says:

      Sam ol buddy, you clearly haven’t read much vintage Jaybird. Just drop the subject of liscencing before I have to get a bucket of water and call a cab to take him home to his missus.Report

  34. Seth R. says:

    E.D. Kain wrote:

    “The Mormons did it in California, and they were an easy target for my ire, I have to admit. I’ve always had issues with Mormonism, whether that’s fair or not. But Catholics? I mean, here is an institution devoted to peace and justice!”

    If the Catholic Church can be called an instrument of “peace and justice” so can the LDS Church.

    Really, I think the only reason people aren’t quite so keen to rip into the Catholics they way they ripped into Mormons is because there are too many Catholics around to pull that kind of crap. But Mormons are a small minority, disliked by numerous groups for different reasons.

    They’re an easy target.Report

  35. DannyK says:

    The same institution that is raising money to change the laws, is strategically declaring bankruptcy to avoid disclosures and payments to abuse victims. Google “Wilmington Diocese” to see the latest episode of a long-running saga. Sure, E.D., you can buy into this institution, but you’re also buying into a life time of bad-faith rationalizations of bad behavior — which corrodes the soul. Honestly, if you love the incense and candles, look at being a high-church Anglican. Or a Wiccan.Report

  36. Sam M says:

    OK. Understood. I was a bit perplexed, but now I gets it.Report