Thursday, November 15, 2012

Get ready to be bullied (and worse) over "gay marriage"

Over the past couple of years, I've noticed something that seems to occur only when I write about certain topics: namely, issues arising from same-sex attraction and so-called "same-sex marriage."

What I've noticed I'll call bullying: among those who comment, who don't agree with my views--which are simply my attempt to present what the Church teaches (but in humility, I may not always get it right)--are folks who don't simply disagree, and post counter arguments; frequently they attempt to shut down the discussion.

That's what I see in the recent thread, "Questions..."; and if you go back and look for threads on related subjects, you can see the comments and discussions that form the basis for my conclusion.

Now, while I'm on this subject, I'll say this here. I had a conversation with a regular reader, who kindly said I wasn't as charitable as I might have been in the comments on the "Questions" post. My reply was, it's possible, and I told him I appreciated him telling me. I don't bring that up here to debate that point--I mean, unless that's really necessary. But I mention it to acknowledge, yes, we do bring strong feelings to a subject like this, and maybe that's all that's going on.

But is it only "strong feelings" that explains the increasingly frequent claim that those of us who oppose redefining marriage, and relatedly, believe that same-sex behavior is wrong, are "bigots"?

I'm going to push back on explaining the "bigot" label as merely "strong feelings." It's a deliberate strategy. And to the extent it's based on a real conviction, on the part of those who hurl that charge, it's wrong, based on false premises. To the extent it's not just a passionate outburst, it's pretty important that we push back on that.

Why is it wrong?

Well, others have addressed this point better, but let's spell out some distinctions and some facts.

First, racism and the sorts of prejudice we think of in connection with racism, are based on invalid distinctions. The term "discrimination" is wrongly used without a modifier. "To discriminate," strictly speaking, is to make distinctions: I "discriminate" in favor of food I like, and against food I don't.

Of course, when we use the term "discriminate" in most usage, our implicit meaning is, "unfair" or unjustifiable "discrimination." To make a distinction between, say, the innocent and guilty is valid, and we don't usually call that "discrimination"; to treat two people differently, because of race, almost always does involve invalid distinctions--that's what we mean when condemn that as "discriminatory." Rightly so.

Does this framework necessarily apply to "same sex marriage" or even to persons with same-sex orientation?

Yes and no.

Yes, insofar as society has, in the past, discriminated against gay people in unjust ways. Same-sex attraction doesn't mean you can't be a good employee, or neighbor, or citizen.

But as to marriage, no: because laws that barred couples from marriage, based on race, made invalid distinctions. Your skin color does not in any reasonable way prevent you from entering into a valid marriage. You are as capable of all the things that make a marriage, if you're white, as if you're black or Asian or what have you. And, if my historical recollection is correct, we knew that even when we had those laws!

The reason I say that is--and here is where my recollection could be incorrect (but I don't think so)--those laws did not treat marriages between blacks or Asians as invalid, did they? They were deemed valid. A black or Asian was deemed as capable of entering into marriage as a white person. That wasn't the reason anti-misegenation laws were passed. As the term I just used, indicates, the purpose of those laws was to prevent race-mixing. Those laws had nothing to do with safeguarding the right understanding of what constitutes a valid marriage.

But that is the issue with the current battle over "same sex marriage." Those of us who oppose the proposed changes do so because we contend "same sex marriage" is a redefinition of the term, and we don't consent to redefining it.

The advocates like to term it a "justice" issue, and they are free to make that argument, but we are free to push back. "Justice," Saint Thomas Aquinas said, is giving to each his due. All persons are "due" equal protection under the laws, and access to the goods of life. Some argue that includes access to marriage. Except that begs the question. Can people of the same sex "marry"? Is it possible? If it's impossible, then saying so is no more "bigotry" and "injustice" than it is to say that it's impossible to go faster than the speed of light. It would seem to be be wonderful if Einstein were proven wrong on this point--because then we might someday build starships and launch on great adventures. But so far, such speed seems impossible.

Of course, that is an impossibility that--if it bears out--can't be fixed by legislative or social change. Is marriage between people of the same sex impossible in the same way?

Not exactly. We can, as a society, "redefine" what we mean by marriage. Heck, it may even be true, before long, to redefine what being human means. I'm going to get all Buck Rogers here, and some folks roll their eyes at this--but you don't have to look that far in your reading to see the things I'm going to talk about now, however weird they may sound, are potentially very close on the horizon.

We have efforts to develop "artificial wombs" so that the changes begun by "in vitro fertilization"--moving conception out of a human act of love--can result in a total divorce of begetting from the family. Heck, we've already mimicked this with wombs-for-rent and mothers being surrogates for their children's children, bearing their own grandchildren. We have a movement--google it--called "transhumanism," which covers a broad swath if ideas, some of which has to do with maximizing what we can do with our present capabilities, including dramatic lengthening of life through medical advances, to "designing" some sort of new sort of human being, with "augmented" capacities, different enough to qualify as a new species--hence, "transhumanism." And, we even have moves on various fronts to mix genetic materials, and produce "hybrid" species. Yes, even mingling human and non-human genes. All for the sake of "science," so don't worry!

In short, the effort to redefine what it means to be human is not hypothetical. It's underway. It is a problem that will unfold for us in coming decades--and given the escalating pace of change that has marked modernity, it stands to reason the problems will arrive on our doorstep far faster than we can imagine, and take shapes vastly different from what we can predict.

So why not just go along with it?

Well, of course, if something really is "inevitable," then in 500 or 1,000 years, we'll have "gone along with it" and that'll be that. But what's the rush to reach that conclusion? Who is it who insists we should just relax and enjoy it?

There are folks, of course, who aren't merely observing--they're seeking to bring about this brave new world. They want to re-invent what it means to be human.

And that includes those who strain against the realities imposed on human beings by biology and sexual complementarity. In other words, those who insist on validating same-sex attraction as "normal" and just another variation, and along with that, redefining marriage. Along these lines, you'll find folks who use "sex" and "gender" interchangeably, in pursuit of the idea that sexual identity is, itself, a fluid and non-intrinsic quality to being human. These are the folks who, when they encounter someone who says, I may seem to be a man, but I'm really a woman, "solve" this problem through surgery, hormones and "therapy." Problem solved, right?

Well, let's see how that works out. Without seeming to be up on all the literature, I think I'm correct in saying that such "therapy" hasn't solved the problem; it's created new problems. As I recall, many of those who once pioneered this approach are now moving away from it for that reason.

Plus, the whole area of sexual attraction is not neatly organized into a discrete number of categories. Even the advocates of the brave new sexual world concede this. They don't just talk of "gay," but "lesbian and gay"--no, "lesbian, gay and bisexual"--scratch that, it's "lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender!" Whoops, it's now, "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning."

I'm not saying these experiences of sexual attraction, and the conflicts that arise where they conflict with either social or physical constraints aren't real, or shouldn't be treated as serious issues. They are real; and there is real pain involved, sometimes reaching despair.

My point is that we're kidding ourselves if we think we can "liberate" ourselves from these difficulties through reinvention.

But my larger point is to say that what's going on here isn't just a tussle over this or that law. At issue is a struggle over something very fundamental--so fundamental that many don't even realize it's at issue: What does it mean to be human? Because one side says, marriage arises out of the human experience, out of sexual complementarity, and is essentially related to attraction and sex, and sex and procreation.

Oh no it's not! cries the opposition. But they aren't basing their opposition on reality, but wishes for a different reality, which for many of those in this fight, consider profoundly liberating.

It's no accident that many of the same folks seeking this revolution likewise are adamant about contracepting and sterilizing the human race, and divorcing procreation from sex. It's the same broad purpose: "liberating" humanity from being human, at least as the entirety of the race has known itself to this point.

So a battle is underway, and realize that it is increasingly going to be ugly. Don't be surprised by it.

Don't give into it. I get strong feelings too, so I don't want to fail in charity. If I do, let me know.

But let's not kid ourselves about what's coming. It's not a garden party, it's war. Even a soldier has to be charitable, but he still has to wade into battle. So must we.

36 comments:

Pat said...

Father Fox,

To answer one of your questions: yes, your recollection is incorrect. The way antimiscegenation laws worked was that those marriages were invalid ab initio. They were NOT marriages. Period. That is, if 2 consenting adults got a marriage license, and had a marriage ceremony performed by a qualified person, but the couple were of 2 different races, then it was not a valid marriage and did not need to be divorced to be dissolved because the union did not meet the definition of marriage. Under the law it couldnt BE a marriage at all if they were a biracial couple. But we changed the definition of marriage to include biracial couples.

Also, as an aside, I don't believe anyone (except you, of course) used the term bigot in the "Questions..." thread that you reference. I was your primary correspondent there and I'm sure I didn't use it. I dont ever use that word or its synonyms. It doesnt contribute to the discussion.

Regards,

Pat

John Joseph said...

Father Fox I enjoyed reading your post. I'm going to leave it up to Him above to work this out. I feel so over powered by the left sometimes that I just worry about myself now.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

I don't think you really answered my question, or else I didn't make it clear.

My question was, did anti-miscegenation laws declare that non-white people could not enter into valid marriage, even among each other?I.e., a marriage between two people who were black, or two people were Asian, are not and cannot be, valid?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

In the other thread, you chose to compare opponents to redefining marriage to your uncle who wouldn't serve blacks.

That's calling us bigots, even if you don't use the word "bigot."

Or do you not consider refusing to serve black people to be bigoted?

Pat said...

Father, no, I do not think my uncles actions were bigoted. I think they were unlawful.

Secondly, the antimiscgenenation laws did not in any way address same-race marriages. Miscgengenation means intermarriage betwen races or mixing between races.

I'm not understanding your confusion. Our laws said that mixed race marriages were invalid, and not marriages.

Asking if black on black marriages were valid is not informative, as non-informative as asking if male-female marriages are currently invalid under current laws.

Jackie said...

Father Fox,

I think you are spot on with the 'real' question - "What it means to be human". Another part of the real question is 'What is the purpose of government?'

And you're also correct that the incorrect language, the change in definition, the lack of logic combined with the 'bulling' tactics will continue and increase.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

I don't know why you're confused.

My point was plain enough in my original post. The claim is made that redefining marriage to allow for same-sex marriage is just like repealing anti-miscegenation laws. But they aren't.

I'm not going to retype several paragraphs of my post here for you. It's in the original post.

Pat said...

Father,


I am happy to continue to teach you about our civil laws. I appreciate your interest in understanding them and how they sometimes differ from religious laws or rules regarding marriage.

Your last post asserts that efforts to redefine civil marriage to include same-sex couples is unlike repealing civil anti-miscegenation laws. That is not accurate.

When antimiscigenation laws were in effect, to have a valid marriage you must have had (in general, that is, the rules vary slightly state to state):


1. Two Persons

3. Of the same race

4. Of opposite genders

5. Of legal age

6. Who are not very closely realted in consanguinity

7. Who are mentally capable of entering into the contract

8. Who have a state-issued license to marry

9. Who are presently unmarried

10. Who solemnly declare in the presence of a state-authorized officiant and a witness that they each consent to be married to each other for as long a period or as short a period as the 2 wish.


If one of these elements is missing, then, it's NOT a marriage, and never was, regardless of license or consent or desire or marriage ceremony.

After repeal of civil antimiscigenation laws, the list looks like this:

1. Two Persons

3. Of the same race or different races

4. Of opposite genders

5. Of legal age

6. Who are not very closely realted in consanguinity

7. Who are mentally capable of entering into the contract

8. Who have a state-issued license to marry

9. Who are presently unmarried

10. Who solemnly declare in the presence of a state-authorized officiant and a witness that they each consent to be married to each other for as long a period or as short a period as the 2 wish.


And, after repeal of anti-gay marriage laws in states that have repealed them, the list looks like this:

1. Two Persons

3. Of the same race or different races

4. Of opposite genders or the same gender

5. Of legal age

6. Who are not very closely realted in consanguinity

7. Who are mentally capable of entering into the contract

8. Who have a state-issued license to marry

9. Who are presently unmarried

10. Who solemnly declare in the presence of a state-authorized officiant and a witness that they each consent to be married to each other for as long a period or as short a period as the 2 wish.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father,

I am happy to continue to teach you about our civil laws.


Pat:

Is it really necessary for you to be so insufferably arrogant?

My original point is clear enough, but I can readily understand your determination to obfuscate it.

Anti-miscegenation laws are irrelevant to the current campaign to redefine marriage, as you admitted in an earlier answer. Because: the old laws, as framed, conceded that those being restricted were perfectly capable of valid marriages.

So since you either don't understand this simple fact, or else you do and you want to blow smoke over this, I think you aren't in a position to "teach" anyone, particularly in such a supercilious way.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Folks:

The horse-and-pony show by "Pat" is Exhibit A of the sort of tactics we can expect going forward.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Let me illustrate my point this way:

Anti-miscegenation laws: non-whites are, by nature, perfectly capable of entering into valid (i.e., heterosexual) marriages, but we won't allow it for inter-racial marriages, not because they are intrinsically invalid, but because we don't want race-mixing.

Opponents of changing definition of marriage: two people of the same sex are not capable of entering into valid marriages with each other, because marriage--by it's essence--is heterosexual.

Two different arguments. I brought it up because the other side makes this invalid comparison.

Why? Because they want to tar those who oppose redefinition as bigots. Even if Pat didn't use the word, others in prominence--including members of Congress--have.

(And it says something amazing that Pat doesn't think refusing to serve black people in restaurants isn't bigotry. Things that make you go "hmmm.")

Pat said...

Father Fox,

Your statement is 100% inaccurate.

Inter-racial marriages were intrinsically invalid. Void. Not marriages. Not falling within the definition of "marriage."

By your own words: "the old laws, as framed, conceded that those being restricted were perfectly capable of valid marriages," show that the similarity between the gay marriage argument and interracial marriage argument.

That is, James, a black man could have a valid marriage with Vanessa, a black woman, but James could not have a valid marriage with Claire, a white woman. Then the law removed that restriction and either of those unions would be a valid marriage.

Similarly, today, in Texas, John, a man can have a valid marriage with Tessa, a woman, but John cannot have a valid marriage with Peter, a man.

In Massachusetts, however, the law is changed so that either of those unions would be a valid marriage.

The fact that James could ALWAYS have had a valid marriage with a black woman didn't change the fact that depriving him of the ability to have a valid marriage with a white woman violated his civil rights.

In the same way, John's ability to have a valid marriage to Tessa doesnt change the fact that depriving him of the ability to have a valid marriage with Peter violates his civil rights.

And Father, with respect, I'm only trying to teach you about our civil laws because you expressly asked for such in your original post.

Sevesteen said...

The major issue here is how much control the government should have over us, how much government is allowed to discriminate and for what reasons. (I'm not intending to use discriminate in a pejorative sense--our laws properly discriminate between citizens and non-citizens)

It winds up a bigger issue than just defining marriage--We have a tax code that discourages individual choice in health care by having worse tax treatment for coverage we pay for ourselves vs, coverage our employers or spouses employers pay. This in turn forces employers to make a choice on whether to recognize a particular marriage, whether to cover birth control, abortion, fertility treatments or Viagra--or whether to hire someone with medical issues that are likely to increase the overall cost of insurance premiums.

We should default to minimal interference--An employer (including the Church) should be free to hire who it wants, give what benefits it wants, and the government shouldn't use taxes to make employer paid insurance cheaper than self-paid. Freedom includes the freedom for others to do things that I find distasteful or even immoral. If you want Government to use the power to define legal marriage, it implies the power to define it in a way that you find wrong, and also implies the power to force your church or it's business-owning members to pay for health care coverage that includes abortion or birth control.

Logically, anti-miscegenation and anti-gay marriage are very similar--all the people involved are allowed to marry, just not to the partner of their choice.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

You seem to like to argue.

The point I was making is plain enough to anyone who isn't trying to bully or shout down discussion as you are trying to.

Even under anti-miscegenation laws, there was no dispute that non-white people could validly marry. That is a fact, stop trying to obfuscate it.

The issue was never that a non white person was, by nature, incapable of a valid marriage. Stop trying to obfuscate this. If they were, then their attempts and any marriages would have even invalid, altogether. They weren't. As you conceded, they did validly marry one another. Stop trying to obfuscate this.

Thus, those laws did not--repeat, NOT--deem non white people incapable, as such, from entering into valid marriages. Stop trying to obfuscate this fact.

The laws declared, positivistically, but contrary to nature, that a difference of race, rendered marriage "invalid." But only in an arbitrary way.

You know full well thati am referring to validity by nature. Stop playing word games.

Apparently, you don't even believe in any truth or reality that arises by nature--only those declared positivistically by the state. Hence you can do intellectual flip-flops and say that a couple perfectly capable of marriage, by nature--and conceded as such by the very racist govt in question--but then be incapable of seeing that same couples' intrinsic capacity of a valid--that is, true and effective and real--marriage, for NO OTHER REASON than that govt says so.

If govt declares you a non person, will you so docilely agree? Because reality is whatever govt says it is?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

Please quote me when I said, in this thread, including the original post, where I asked you, Pat, to teach me, or anyone, about civil law. I missed that.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Let's examine the word games Pat is playing, in order to confuse and seem to refute--but at all times advance an agenda. S/he knows the concept of "validity" has more than one application, just as "marriage" can.

Pat knows that marriage--and hence the "validity" of marriage, has overlapping meanings when talking about it as a strictly religious reality, as a civil reality, and as a natural reality. Pat must know these things if s/he is as expert in these subjects as claimed. So the pretense of saying, oh, didn't know you meant... Is a ruse.

Pat knows very well that I. Am speaking of marriage in its intrinsic reality, which may or may not coincide with its legal/civil reality, and its spiritual reality.

In other words, natural marriage--marriage by its nature.

More later, I'm about to lose my signal.

Pat said...


Father Fox,

I tend to agree with one of your more sympathetic correpsondents that you are not being charitable to me. I believe I am extending you a great deal of charity and grace. I am not arguing for the sake of arguing, and I'm certainly not shouting you down. I'm also not attempting to obfuscate the isssue. I'm trying to clarify it. You raised the parallel issues of gay marriage and biracial marriage and then expressly asked in your 15th paragraph (and thereafter) if your understanding was right or not.

Please don't call me a bully. Calling me a bully doesn't make me a bully. When you type things that are patently wrong about an important legal, social issue, I think I should be persistent. Children read this blog. They should walk away with an accurate understanding of the civil laws and how they work.

I was NOT aware that by "invalid" you were "referring to validity by nature." That phrase has no meaning in this context.

When you use the word "valid" in discussing these legal, civil matters, I think it's fair for me to assume you meant the word "valid" to have the same meaning as it does THROUGHOUT our marriage laws. Have you read our marriage laws? There are whole chapters on marriages that "valid", "invalid", "void" and "voidable". Those laws don't say anything about "validity by nature."

These words have REAL meanings. So when I discuss the validity of a civil amariage, OF COURSE I'm using "validity" in the same way that our marriage laws do. The question is: Why aren't you?

So, please know that whatever you may mean when you say "validity by nature" is NOT what the law means when it uses the word "valid". So, no, Father Fox, I am not playing word games. Quite the opposite. I am construing our civil laws by using the words that appear in our laws as they are used in our laws.

As an important aside, the people who eventually decide this matter (legislators, judges, lawmakers) will interpret the word "valid" (and every other word) in the way that it is used consistently in our written laws, and not the way that Father Fox determines to use it.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat :

Very well then, lets Remove all unclarity hereafter and forever, world without end. OK?

In this discussion, about marriage, I am NOT limiting myself merely to how marriage may be defined in civil law, clear?

I am not speaking of how marriage may be discussed merely as a sacrament. Clear?

I am speaking of marriage as a natural reality, " natural marriage. " marriage under Natural Law. Clear?

And are you seriously going to say you didn't know that's what I was talking about all this time?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

You claimed earlier that I invited you to teach me or us about civil law and I asked you to remind me of my statement in this post. Have you found it yet?

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

Since you are apparently unfamiliar with the concept of marriage in relationship to Natural Law, may I suggest that you become familiar with this subject? It's shocking to me to hear someone say, as apparently an expert in civil law, that Natural Law and is understanding of marriage, are unfamiliar.

Of course, I suppose its possible wherever you are in the world, the study of civil law entirely omits consideration of Natural Law theory; that may even be true in this country. I am skeptical, and I will verify that notion.

Pat said...

Yes Father Fox, as stated, I reasonably concluded that you were talking about civil marriage, not sacramental marriage, since civil marriage -- and only civil marriage -- is at issue today in these United States.

Please know that you would do well to limit yourself to framing these issues as civil law issues and not sacramental issues, since the people who decide this issue will not give any weight to what our church or any church considers the sacrament of marriage.

And back to the validity of any marriage - which is again at the heart of all of these issues - why would you ascribe a meaning to that term other than what the law does? Again, its the legal meaning of these terms that is dispositive. Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. And civil marriage is most definitely Caesar's.

Now come on, be a mensch and admit you're learning something here about our civil marriage laws.

Pat

PS Your fifteenth paragraph held an express request for clarification about antimiscegenation laws.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

All right, I did invite comment on anti-miscegenation laws; not quite the same as a general invitatation to teach about civil law, so I realize you parse words quite tightly. Consider the invitation to have been on an extremely narrow question related to anti-miscegenation laws, period--since my request was not sufficiently precise for you. Is that acceptably precise and clear now?

Also, you have provided the information solicited, so that's that.

I'm still stunned to consider, as indicated by your response--but not expressly stated--that the relationship of marriage to Natural Law is unfamiliar to you.

In that case, please be advised herewith that that's the primary context of my comments.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Sorry, I see I wasn't precise enough, I imagine. Pat, I meant by the OMISSION in your response.

Pat said...

OK, but the judges and legislators and law makers who ultimately decide this issue will not do so based on natural law theory, so its not clear to me why you would limit your legal analysis to natural law theory.

Greta said...

It is idiotic to use race in the argument for gay marriage. There is no way that I can change the color of my skin. However, there is a choice as to how I handle an attraction to the same sex or how I handle an attraction to my sibling or parent or cousin. There is a choice in how I handle greed or anger or lust. Each of us are born with a splinter in our heal and overcoming those things are part of developing a society, a family, and us as a person created by God. Over time, in society, we have looked at what is good and bad and often find that what God advised against in the words He has given us have proved to be the right course.

A good friend found out his 14 year old daughter had a sexually transmitted disease which she will have to live with for the rest of her life. We are living in an age where STI's are exploding at the rate of 9 million new cases a year. One and only one way to make sure to avoid them is abstinence leading to a marriage between a man and woman united and committed to that relationship. But our society led by the likes of Pat push that ignoring God's natural law has no impact on others. Tell that to the kids who have been lied to about the consequences of sex outside of marriage or between people of the same sex. Sodomy is wrong for a number of reasons, but one of the important ones is that it is not natural and can lead to a lot of problems that do impact us in our society who have to pick up the tab for this type of behavior. We also know that the use of birth control has led to the massive increase in breast cancer and also that abortions to young women can also lead to increase in breast cancer.

There is nothing wrong with a black man and a asian woman deciding to marry as they were born with that skin color. There is something massively wrong with giving approval to behavior which is wrong and has given us a massive increase in disease. Placing a penis in anothers rear is not healthy thus the laws against sodomy.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

There are elections.

And while you may never have heard of Natural Law's theory of marriage, it's a subject about which a lot has been written over the years. Maybe you'll want to check it out sometime.

Pat said...

Father Fox,

I studied natural law theory at my Jesuit college and my Vincentian law school. I don't mention NLT in this discussion because domestic relations laws are not based on natural law theory, which is a good thing, because natural law theory fails miserably when applied to intimate human realtions like sex and marriage.

Our laws are based on existing statutes, the common law, historic case law. Not NLT.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

It was so nice of you to stop by and offer your opinions.

Pat said...

My pleasure, Father Fox.

Be well. I will keep you in my prayers.

Fr Martin Fox said...

For my readers:

No doubt you've noticed the labors "Pat" went through to argue that Natural Law has nothing to do with civil law. Since I'm not an expert in law, I am not going to argue about such a matter.

However, if you care to check out this notion, all you need do is use your search engine and type combination of terms such as:

"Natural Law"

"Natural and civil law"

"Natural law and marriage"

You get the idea.

There's quite a bit written on the history of law has developed, all of which you can read on your own.

But I don't think you'll find that it's true that Natural Law has nothing to do with the development of civil law, particularly law on marriage.

Pat said...

I never argued that Natural Law has nothing to do with civil law. I choose my words much more carefully than that. I would never make such a broad statement.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Pat:

I really don't care to argue with you further. I think you've been disingenuous...to say the least.

You've had plenty to say here. Thanks for visiting.

Fr. James Reutter said...

Fr. Fox:

If I may be so presumptuous as to comment, I think it is not especially helpful to argue whether or not your correspondent is yet familiar with natural law theory and exactly when you are referring to it.

The wider issue, which you allude to, is that the correspondent seems to be engaging in the fallacy of petition principii, or “begging the question.” (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question) That is the logical fallacy of assuming the truth of a proposition which requires proof, without taking the trouble actually to prove it.

Here is the fallacy, in a nutshell, as the argument is implicitly or explicitly made by pro-homosexual “marriage” proponents.

1) Anti-miscegenation laws were unjust (and positivistic) attempts to prevent people from entering into marriage when they rightfully should be able to do so.
2) Laws requiring marriage between one man and one woman are parallel to #1 in their “injustice”
3) Therefore, laws restricting marriage to one man and one woman are unjust.

The problem is that, in all of the pro-homosexual “marriage” arguments, the truth of #2 is assumed, without making any effort to justify or prove it. It is axiomatically asserted without evidence. What is substituted for evidence is invariably emotivistic arguments that state explicitly or implicitly that anyone who disagrees is (choose at least one : ) neanderthal, bigoted, unenlightened, homophobic, behind the times, etc. Hence, the bullying charge.

Watch carefully what happens when someone arguing for traditional marriage insists that #2 be factually and logically supported. I have seen that almost invariably, the pro-homosexual “marriage” parties become hostile and condescending. Why? Because they simply can not prove this premise by any logical argument. Philosophical reasoning and the tradition of all cultures through the ages are stacked against them. They figure that, rather than revealing that this is the case, they must shut down their opponents (and quickly) by emotional appeals.

Hence, even if explicit “bullying” doesn’t occur, propaganda will be employed. For example, President Obama, and his pro-gay-“marriage” ilk, incessantly talk about “marriage fairness.” Because, emotionally, we have an instinctive resistance to anything being “unfair.” He begs the question, however, of whether two men or two women really can truly be considered married, or whether it is a different kind of relationship altogether.

There is something of an “Alice in Wonderland” quality to pro-gay “marriage” opponents who want to make words mean whatever they say they mean.

Here is the famous quote from Lewis Carroll, in an exchange between Alice and Humpty Dumpty:

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."
"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master - - that's all."
(Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6)

While seeking to defend and protect marriage, proponents of traditional marriage should constantly remind a very confused populace that the burden of proof to claim that homosexual relationships can be a “marriage” rests on with those who seek to change it, and, as Fr. Fox so ably details, that there will be extraordinarily negative consequences to society as a whole if they are successful in their quest (to paraphrase Caroll) “to become masters” of the social order of marriage and family life.

-- Fr. Reutter

Fr. James Reutter said...

Correction: petitio principii, Latin for "Begging the question" -- darn Microsoft spellcheckers :-)

Pat said...

Fr. Reuter,

With respect, you have it backwards.

In this great country, the burden is not on the citizens, it is on the government. When the government grants or denies a government issued license, such a marriage license, and excludes certain couples from obtaining that license, the burden is NOT on the citizens to prove that they deserve it, but on the government to show that (A) the government is justified in denying the license because of a compelling governmental interest (e.g., national security), (B) the restriction in question is narrowly tailored to achieve that compelling interest and (C) there is no less restrictive way to effectively achieve the compelling government interest.

This is not my opinion, this is the settled law of the land according to (among others) the following USSC cases:

United States v. Carolene Products (1938), Korematsu v. United States (1944), Sherbert v. Verner, (1963), Wisconsin v. Yoder, (1972), Employment Division v. Smith, (1990), Romer v. Evans, (1996), City of Boerne v. Flores, (1997), Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal(2006).

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Reutter:

"Presume" away! I grew tired of said correspondent's tendentiousness, which continues in the most recent post--which ignores the carefully explained substance of your argument, and throws up a barrage of legal citations, which are not on-point to your argument, or mine, at all. Instead, "Pat" insists, in a remarkably superior way, that the only arguments s/he will take seriously, are his or her own--i.e., from civil law, period.