Posted tagged ‘same sex marriage’

Death And Decay

June 25, 2019

The Catholic Church has had it share of “front page” problems over the past 20 years.  Those problems have their roots going back 100 or more years.  The Church discovered long ago that promising a much better life after death was a gold mine for gifts and weekly contributions.  By carefully grooming church members, the over all church (especially Rome) have become very wealthy.  With money, however, comes a class of clerics who saw their religious role to insure the church’s wealth remained intact and preferably grew in value.

The money “growers”, however, needed a parallel group of clerics who created and enforced a set of rules which balanced on the toughness required to lead a “good enough” life to quality for the hereafter with a doctrine that still provided a means to amend for shortcomings were a poor soul to wander off the path and need relief to “qualify” for the hereafter.  Dogma and doctrine, both man created and made, followed.

There have been reasoned outcries over the centuries calling out the Catholic Church for wandering from reason.  Galileo, Copernicus, and the Inquisitions are well known.  Hitler, Franco, and world war II’s atrocities also showed a dim view of the Pope’s “holiness”.  Today there rages in Rome a new war for the future control of the Catholic Church.  Liberals who want to base the church upon current secular understandings, and conservatives who wish to return to doctrine and dollars, even if it means a smaller overall church.  Hmmm.

The debate around child abuse by clerics sums up neatly the paradox the church finds itself in.  How can the church punish someone who has received “holy orders” and risk adversely influencing so many other church members that there is something wrong with church teachings?

Sexual orientation is another bag of worms for the Catholic Church.  Estimates range from 1/3rd to 2/3rds of all priests are homosexuals.  Yet, these same men must stand before their followers and preach that homosexuality is wrong and strictly outside church teachings.  How much more conflicted could someone get?

Two private catholic school near Indianapolis offers an example.  Two well respected teacher entered into same sex marriages and subsequently the school administration found out.  The schools initial decision was “no harm, no foul”.  When the diocese found out, the Archbishop (hopeful to become a Cardinal?) issued a statement saying “no way”.  Either the teachers are fired or the archdiocese would disown the school.  So far, one school has caved and one has not.  Hmmm.

The reason given was that same sex marriage is against catholic doctrine and the teacher is therefore not living a “catholic” life.  This inconsistency, the diocese says, demands termination of the teachers.  Hmmm.  I wonder whether there are any divorced and remarried teachers?

What a message to send to young minds.  Like marijuana, over the years generation after generation “experimented” and have found marijuana not to be what law enforcement and hypocritical politicians have said.  Similarly, homosexuality is natural, not learned (nurture) regardless of what the church has said.   The church is once more caught up in its “straight jacketed dogma”.

And, to add to the unspoken message, what does the Catholic Church’s behavior teach followers, for instance Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as a just arbiter for woman’s health or human rights for all Americans?   

Man Of The Year

December 12, 2013

Pope Francis was named Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” yesterday.  This is a marketing game so there is no need to examine the selection relative to the other finalists.  The Pope is certainly not a bad choice and arguably he might be the most worthy for a meaningless prize.  The reasons for his selection, however, are worth commenting upon.

The Pope was sighted as having spoken out and having made sincere gestures towards the poor.  The Pope was also recognized for wondering out loud why the Church hierarchy obsessed so much about family planning and homosexuals.  (The Pope has subsequently clarified his wonderings saying those subjects were part of Church dogma and still valid).

The Catholic Church is much like the Queen Mary.  It does not turn on a dime.  Maybe Pope Francis can only fight one battle at a time, this time for the poor.   This is not a bad choice.  It is just an insufficient one.

The ironic part is that every step he takes in bringing the church clergy round to dealing with the forgotten poor, he will be shining a light on other equally great contradictions like women’s homosexuals’ rights.  The notion that Catholic Charities or Parochial Schools would not employ someone if that person obtained a same sex marriage license is as mean spirited as it comes.  But there’s more.  How is it ok to deny any employee of a church affiliate certain parts of the Affordable Care Act?  These two say it all.

Pope Francis needs to do more to earn the title Man of the Year but if he does, he would deserve at a minimum “Man of the Decade” status.

 

Prudent, Or Just Being Realistic?

October 23, 2013

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, there is an interview with Senator Pat Toomey.  He was one of 18 Senators (along with Ted Cruz) who voted against the compromise legislation which has temporarily reopened Government.  Toomey said he was for reopening but against the pork spending that accompanied the reopening.  Was Toomey’s explanation prudent, or just being realistic?

Toomey faces reelection in 2016 and already Democrats are portraying him as a Ted Cruz disciple.  I suppose Toomey’s explanation is aimed at that sweet spot between Cruz’s “shut down, damn the injuries” and Toomey’s more “principled” stand “shut down, sob, sob, but I had to vote against the bill because it would not have savings to offset the debt increase limit”.  Toomey’s explanation also sits in the context that his former organization, Club For Growth, is full square behind shut down and default on the debt regardless of the consequences.

But Toomey is not the only leading Republican needing to step lightly.  Governor Chris Christy took a less combative stance versus same sex marriage.  Governor Christy originally objected to an appellate court’s decision that New Jersey’s Constitution guaranteed equal treatment under the law to all citizens and therefore same sex couples were being treated differently because they were denied Federal benefits.

The Governor withdrew his objection without comment.  Observers said the Supreme Court would have decided in favor of same sex marriage.  So was Christy’s decision “prudent or just being realistic”?

Hmmm.

If Governor Christy has any designs on the GOP Presidential nomination in 2016, he will have to withstand the evangelical conservative’s wrath because he did not fight harder.

If Senator Toomey wants to be reelected, he will have to overcome those who think government closure and defaulting on the debt are  unwarranted.

Of the two, Governor Christy has made the wiser bet history will reveal.

 

The Pope Speaks, Is Anyone Listening?

September 25, 2013

Pope Francis spoke recently about the Catholic Church being fixated on little things.  It all depends how you personally view sexual matters as to whether they are little or not.  But in the Pope’s view, making the Church open to everyone was a big matter and sexual issues were small in comparison.  In comparison to his predecessor, Pope Francis’ words were earth shaking.

Apparently, however, the earth has not shaken in Providence, Rhode Island.  There, Providence College, a Dominican liberal arts college, “uninvited” John Corvino, Professor and Department Head at Wayne State University from delivering a talk titled “The Meaning of Gay Marriage”.  The invitation withdrawal was attributed to an older resolution by the American College of Catholic Bishops which said that church affiliates should not recognize anyone who holds view opposite to accepted church dogma.

Hmmm.

Of course, the Pope did not speak of new Church law or teaching.  He just gave his opinion.

American Bishops have been trapped in “no win” (and non-sensical) positions relating to sex, reproduction, family planning, and marriage for some time.  Surveys have shown most Catholics do not agree with Church teaching in these areas.

The “head scratching” part of this event is that Providence College prides itself in educating the student.  How is it possible that a Department Head from another respected University does not qualify (1) as an educated person, and (2) one worthy of sharing a point of view.  Hearing other views does not make them correct, for sure, but denying differing views is intellectually dangerous and educationally inhibiting.  The Providence College “educators” should know this.

As they say, there is no free lunch.  Gay marriage is here to stay regardless of what some church leaders would like.  More to the point, time will show that gay marriage are no better, or no worse than heterosexual ones.  Some same sex marriages will last and their partners will thrive and contribute, just as in heterosexual unions.

What will change, however, will be the Providence College graduates who grow to see the shortcomings and pettiness of Catholic dogma.  It may take a few more years but the church are most likely to have plenty of room when Pope Francis’ “Home For All” message finally sinks in.

 

Game On

June 29, 2013

The Obama Administration announced yesterday the Affordable Care Act permanent rules.  The good news is that no one will be forced to use any benefits associated with women’s reproductive health.  It will strictly a personal choice.  The even better news is that except for genuine religious organizations, no female employee of any other organization (or affiliate) will be denied full reproductive health coverage (including birth control measures).  Let the games begin.

Not so long ago, this game was also played.  The Catholic Church asserted that its deeply held beliefs that birth control was wrong supported its contention that it should not be required to provide full woman’s health coverage.  The Church said they did not need to provide full coverage even to the female employees of the $70 million per year Notre Dame football team.  This position is a testimony to how far astray an organization can get when it allows compassion to be drowned by narrow beliefs.

The HHS announcement’s timing may be just chance.  In any case, it was clever following just days after the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and effectively allowed same sex marriages to return to California.  Many religious organizations were not happy with that outcome, and some see the world’s end following soon.

President Obama was in Senegal this week.  He and Senegal President, Macky Sall exchanged words over the treatment of homosexuals and potentially their rights to marry.  Senegal is an overwhelmingly Muslim country and surprise, surprise, god has told the Senegalese that there can be no same sex marriage.  Hmmm.

The HHS announcement, same sex marriage, and anti-homosexual laws all have something in common.  These are about restrictions where someone has said “I don’t approve of doing X myself, and I don’t approve of you doing it either”.  They hold these views despite the fact that no one is forced to use contraceptives, no one is forced to marry someone of the same sex, and no one is forcing anyone to become homosexual.

Why can’t some choose to live their own lives they way they wish (like practicing Catholics or Muslims) and let others follow a different life style (providing the other person is not harming others)?

I Wish, I Wish, I Won’t

April 2, 2013

Republican political leaders are undergoing a soul searching time.  Having lost the 2012 Presidential election with demographics that point to a repeat in 2016 unless the GOP changes, these leaders are caught in a conflict between “wishing” and “reality”.  You can almost hear some leaders saying, “I wish, I wish things were different, but I won’t change”.

To the subject of same sex marriage, more and more GOP political heads are coming to realize the inevitability of marriage equality and the penalties of still speaking against it.  To most of these politicians, the issue is about votes.  They may personally oppose marriage equality or they may in fact be neutral.  The overwhelming factor is the same sex couple’s vote.  These leaders will hold their nose, look the other way, and vote in favor.

The evangelical GOP wing are still leading the “I wish, I wish, I won’t” campaign.  Lead by former Governor Mike Huckabee and former Senator Rick Santorum, these two are saying (in so many words) “I wish this issue would go away because I want your votes, but I won’t change my public position that same sex marriage is wrong”.

That type of public position is not so wrong if that is their belief and they use this belief to guide their own private lives.  Two problems arise from their public statements.

  • They apparently miss the point that homosexuality is a natural occurrence and in no way represents a mislead life.  Under our laws and customs, all citizens are to be treated the same.
  • Just as dangerous is the acting out of personal (unscientific) religious views, and hoping to force those views on others.  Again the Constitution is clear that government laws can not establish a state religion.

“I wish, I wish, I won’t” fortunately will lead to political extinction for those who follow it.  For those GOP members who have held in the past these views (for politically expedient purposes), the quandary of what to do with evangelicals just got more difficult.

 

Victimless

March 26, 2013

Laws prohibiting prostitution are often held up as laws about “victimless crimes”.  In a similar fashion, the Supreme Court this week will take up two cases which are also about “victimless crimes”.

Sweeping aside for a moment the whole notion of why Federal, State, or Local governments are in the business of marriage, the Supreme Court deliberations on California’s Proposition 8 and Congress’ Defense of Marriage Act deal indirectly with a concept where there is no victim.

While it is clearly true that certain religious organizations and many Americans strongly believe that marriage should be about one man and one woman, same sex marriage in no way impacts the quality of any heterosexual marriage nor does it eliminate any right or benefit authorized by government.

Those who seek to maintain laws that are exclusionary are special.  They seem to lack the capacity, I think, to look into a mirror and see themselves.  Instead what they see is everyone else as less perfect and out of step.   Those highly hooked in their religious dogma, go further.  They see others as doomed for eternity.

My question is, so what.

Just suppose same sex couples are doomed (this of course presupposes there is some spirit to “doom” and someplace for the doomed to go), in any case, how does their marriage effect anyone else here and now?