LET LOVE BE SINCERE

LET LOVE BE SINCERE

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Defense of marriage...Or not :)


So, I am gonna write a blog.  Right now.  About something I tend to be very careful about.  Something I take extreme caution when writing or speaking about…something sitting on my heart heavily.  I am going to write some thoughts about marriage equality, civil unions, domestic partnership and other things.  Prior to writing this blog, I talked to my Pastor, a man who is very much in love with the Catholic Church. I talked to him because I am going to dance on a line that is difficult when it comes to Church teaching and American politics.  But, I have some thoughts and want to share them.  This might make a few of you mad, just know, I am trying to write it in a spirit of charity, hopefully that works out.

But first, two things.
1.     I want you to comment, I want to hear your thoughts.  However, I find both sides of this discussion to be incredibly disrespectful and hateful when it comes to the other side.  SO…if you can’t say what you want to say nicely, know that I will delete your thoughts.
2.     I am not gay (this might be obvious).  I have never known what it feels like to be attracted to the same sex exclusively. I cannot imagine the fear, the conflicts, the tension, the rejection, the loneliness, well, frankly, the cross that would come with that reality.  I can’t imagine what it would feel like to think the whole Christian community hates me. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to have people quote Scripture to direct hate at me.  I just don’t know that.  So, those of you that might be gay, or close to someone who is exclusively attracted to the same sex…be gentle in your reading of this, I am not trying to be hurtful.

This morning, I woke up and checked facebook, about a zillion people had on their newsfeed’s this icon.  I am crazy social media girl, so I went to ‘google’ and looked up, ‘Large red square with two pink lines!’. Google let me down, but within an hour or so it became apparent posting this icon was an act of solidarity with the LGBT community.   These are very important days as our Supreme Court looks at how marriage should be defined in this country.  A LOT of people were posting about it.  And then the circus started.  You know the circus.  It happened with Chick-Fil-A last spring.  More than half of my newsfeed was filled with people supporting Marriage Equality for all, many of them adding little anecdotes, reminding people that only hateful bigots don’t agree with marriage for all, including those of the same sex.  A handful of people posted icons/articles stating why marriage simply must be preserved between a man and a woman in this country, if it is not…well, then we are doomed. 
And all this social media chatter?  Well, it made me feel sad.  And it got me to think some thoughts. I shall share them with you¸ because, praise you Jesus…my blog helps me get things straight in my head.  Here are my thoughts.

The Sacrament of Marriage (remember, Sacrament is a Catholic thing, you don’t have to believe it) is meant for a man and a woman

Dang!  That is a hard pill to swallow.  That particular pill has lost me a couple of friends.  The Sacrament of Marriage is something that is defined by my Church for a particular reason.  The Catholic Church thinks sex is super important (we love it), the Catholic Church thinks procreation is super important (clearly, Aaron and I dig that) and the Catholic Church has a completely different idea of sexuality than current culture.  The Catholic Church understands marriage starts and ends with a Cross.  The primary purpose of marriage according to the Church is procreation, which means that gay sex, birth control, divorce and remarriage, etc…are things that can never be allowed.  The Catholic Church’s teaching is one based out of love, but love understood as total denial of self.  This type of love doesn’t really make a lot of sense in this world, so I completely understand most people don’t buy into it.


I am worried allowing for same sex unions at a state/federal level, could compromise my Religious Freedom

Geez, I hope not.  But I do worry, being honest, that if we allow for same sex unions (which, btw, is going to happen), within a matter of time in our crazy culture, churches would be forced to marry same sex couples.  I get afraid, friends, often, that tolerance for lifestyle choices is true for every life style choice except ones that don’t fit within current popular trends.  That scares me, I’m just being honest.  You see, a couple of years ago there was this story in the newspaper.  It was about a church down south that refused to marry an interracial couple.  People FREAKED THE FREAK out.  I am one member of an interracial couple and I DIDN’T freak the freak out.  In fact, I thought, awesome, at least I know what church not to go to.  Unfortunately, a lot of people thought the church should face consequences, be forced to shut down, etc… Here’s the thing.  In our country, we allow for a variety of thought, and if a church doesn’t think a black man and a white woman should be married, well that makes me shake my head.  BUT, I don’t think our government should force the issue.  I don’t think our government needs to be involved in how marriage is defined in churches.


Our Government’s definition of marriage has little to do with my Church’s definition of marriage

I don’t look to Uncle Sam for much when it comes to moral authority.  I just don’t. I think that ship sailed a long time ago.  If tomorrow Uncle Sam decided Marriage Equality was a must, it wouldn’t affect how I feel about it.   There is a lot about the country’s current understanding of marriage I don’t dig.  Heck, I think divorce is pretty awful, artificial birth control is toxic in marriage, couples need to pray together, marriage has almost nothing to do with emotion, etc…(see, I just pissed off about half of you with those statements).  SO, I don’t waste a lot of energy asking the government to protect my definition of marriage because frankly, they never have.  And, I’m not quite convinced they should.


My understanding of marriage doesn’t make me a bigot, and doesn’t mean I judge you

I am so thankful for my gay friends who get, truly get, that I don’t waste a second of my life judging them. Not one second. I advocate for love towards all.  ‘Ain’t nobody got time for judging other people’ for real ya’ll.  You know, yesterday the husband and I got into a pretty bad fight.  In that fight, I ended up calling him a ‘piece of chewing gum’ (insert your own words).  You see, I have enough sinfulness that I needn’t look elsewhere to point out other’s sins.   I daily struggle with my inclination to choose the disorder of evil, so I try not to spend time a’ wastin’ thinking about yours (yours meaning all of us).  Sure, if asked, I will break down why my Church teaches what She does.  Sure, I live it (sometimes) and love it (always).  BUT, when it comes to pointing the finger and saying you are sinning because you don’t…I stop just short of that.  I am so thankful for each and every one of my gay friends who have noticed that, thanked me for that, been clear headed enough to see that…you have made up for every person who has ‘blocked me’, treated me poorly, or accused me of being a bigot.  You rock.


For those of you that have added your voice in the social media/political world demanding that marriage be kept between a man and a woman…ask yourself this, ‘how’s that working for you’.

I’m embarrassed about the homophobia I see acted out in Christian Churches

One thing I always try to point out to teens is the Catholic Church is NOT like other Christian churches when it comes to her teaching on sexuality and homosexuality in particularly.  Believe it or not, the Catholic Church affirms people that are attracted to the same sex. The Catholic Church calls out discrimination.  The Catholic Church says that people attracted to the same sex have a unique opportunity to walk with the person of Christ.  Unfortunately, a lot of people get it twisted.  Catholics and Christians alike.  If you are gay, or close to someone who is gay and have been hurt by homophobia, I am so so so sorry.  I wish I could take that pain away from you. Especially when that pain is inflicted in the name of Christ.


Having different views than you regarding sexuality does not make me homophobic

Unfortunately, current culture has got us convinced that if we say, ‘hey, there might be another way to live out sexuality’ we are automatically pegged into a corner of homophobia.  It isn’t fair.  It has been very hurtful to me.  It is a form of bullying and shaming that should be looked down on by everyone.  People throwing out words like HATE and BIGOT unfairly has stalled the conversation in this country. It has created a world where we dare not have intelligent conversation about important things (like what constitutes a family), and it creates a defensiveness in people, few have the courage to address.  Did you read the story about the owner of Chick-fil-A?  How he was unfairly attacked?  How his whole personhood got called into question?  Did you read the follow up story that I posted (if not, can I give it to you?) about a leading gay activist and him working together for almost a year to learn from one another and increase love?  If not, you should.

Those are my thoughts.  They aren’t in any order, they might not even make total and complete sense.  I needed to write them, I am hoping that at least a few of my social media ‘friends’ take a moment to read them.  Those that are posting their support for Marriage Equality and those posting their opposition.

Like I said, feel free to agree/disagree/question…but keep it respectful, or your comment will just be deleted.  There is just way too much hate going around when it comes to this subject to allow for it to get out of control. 
Have a good night.   And remember,
 ‘And the greatest of these is LOVE’ 1 Corinthians 13:13

76 comments:

  1. You are amazing! Thanks for speaking up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha, my kid won't nap right now, and I am super tired, so being called 'amazing' has certainly made my day!

      Delete
  2. One of your best posts. The lack of logic and total emotional drive of this whole sham of a "debate" is maddening. I want to talk about it and have real dialogue but it is nearly impossible to have anything close to rational discussion because of all the rhetoric and emotions. I'm not in the world as much as you are so I usually just get to have the debates in my head :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is just wonderful! Thank you for giving voice to what I've been thinking & I would assume many others as well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I truly love the words you wrote. I recognize that not everyone agrees with marriage equality. I recognize that not everyone has the same views. However, I see how you recognize that not EVERYONE has the same opinions as you and they should not be punished Legally for believing a different perspective. At least, that's what I took from your blog. I don't see hate in your words at all and I love the view and stance you take. I personally am a follower of God. I believer Jesus is my Savior. But to say a person who is gay may not legally be joined with the person they love, I find to be wrong. You see, I have my OWN views and I will not press them on others. I hope that made sense..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Im not sure I would go so far as to say people are being 'legally punished' currently.
      I know our God is a God of love and I am not sure that we, as Christians, who the belief that the Sacrament of Marriage should be between a man and a woman, do a good job basing that out of love. :)

      Delete
  5. Here are my feelings. I agree 100 percent that the sacrament of marriage is defined by the church and they have every right to define it however they want. However, having no legal protection for same sex couples causes so many problems! Couples who have children are only allowed to put one parent on the birth or adoption papers. This results in children sometimes not having access to health insurance or even being taken away from their parent if the legal parent passes away. And that is just talking about children. The adults cannot get the same rights as heterosexual couples, so I cannot understand how that is not segregation in the legal sense.

    I get where your fear is coming from. One day in the possibly distant future people will harshly judge churches for banning same sex marriage like your example with the biracial marriage. I don't agree with that at all. I can respect that a church can refuse to marry a bi racial couple if they want, but I can't respect a government that wont allow them to marry. Isn't it the same thing? Interreacial marriage was illegal once, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is why this debate over marriage equality isn't the solution to the problem. My mom, who is as I like to say Uber Catholic, and I were talking about this yesterday. The solution to the problem is to overhaul how our government works in respect to same sex couples having the same tax breaks, parental rights, etc as heterosexual couples. It also needs to be done for heterosexual same sex people who reside together (ie. 2 women living in one house or 2 men living in one house who are not related and aren't homosexual).

      I think that same sex couples should be able to marry, have a civil union, or whatever they want to call it; but I don't think the church should have to take part in it at all. But, the problem and solution doesn't end at the Supreme Court allowing for same sex marriage.

      Delete
  6. Here are my feelings. I agree 100 percent that the sacrament of marriage is defined by the church and they have every right to define it however they want. However, having no legal protection for same sex couples causes so many problems! Couples who have children are only allowed to put one parent on the birth or adoption papers. This results in children sometimes not having access to health insurance or even being taken away from their parent if the legal parent passes away. And that is just talking about children. The adults cannot get the same rights as heterosexual couples, so I cannot understand how that is not segregation in the legal sense.

    I get where your fear is coming from. One day in the possibly distant future people will harshly judge churches for banning same sex marriage like your example with the biracial marriage. I don't agree with that at all. I can respect that a church can refuse to marry a bi racial couple if they want, but I can't respect a government that wont allow them to marry. Isn't it the same thing? Interreacial marriage was illegal once, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, although I am not a fan of defining domestic partnerships as marriage, because marriage already has a definition, I am completely okay with getting rid of "marriage" language on a legal level and, in terms of domestic partnerships, allowing rights to be extended to all. Well, fan might be too big of a word. I am willing to concede as a nation that is where we are headed.

      Delete
    2. Sorry for hitting enter twice. I don't know how to delete the second comment . . .

      Delete
  7. Oh I am so jealous of your ability to put your thoughts out there and make sense and be logical! Thank you.

    I have exactly the same thoughts and am so disheartened when I try to express them and get attacked.

    thank you for this post

    blessings
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad it spoke to you. It is so hard to talk about, but one thing I am convicted of is we, as Christians, need to get better about it. We have to 'be the bigger people' and work with language that people understand and make sure that our Church's teachings, built in love, are heard. Whew, it is hard work.

      Delete
  8. I would just like to add that as a country, we are supposed to have a separation between church and state. But, unfortunately that is a myth more than a reality in the U.S. If there was a true separation, then heterosexual atheists would have no more right to marriage in the sacramental sense than do homosexual couples. What makes heterosexual atheists' marriages any more acceptable than homosexual Christians' marriages in the eyes of the Christian church? I don't think that churches should be forced by law to marry anyone (heck, I wouldn't want to be married in a church that didn't want me there), but I also do not think that the Christian view of marriage should dictate national law either. If marriage is a word so attached to religious meaning than any union excluding the church should go by a different legal term, not just homosexual unions. To deny legal rights based on sexual orientation is discrimination, plain and simple. What is practiced in individual homes and places of worship is a totally different story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I SAY THE EXACT SAME! Gay or straight, if you don't ask God to be part of your union, define them all as something other then marriage! If you truly want separation of church and state, why do you want to be connected to a religious institution anyway!

      Delete
    2. Which is why I say, 'SO, I don’t waste a lot of energy asking the government to protect my definition of marriage because frankly, they never have. And, I’m not quite convinced they should.'

      Delete
    3. First i love this blog entry! Thank you. Second, i love this comment. It is so right on. I am a Christian, but the government doesn't come worship with me on Sundays. They are separate.

      Delete
  9. Just so you aren't caught off guard by other comments. You might want to mention that the church has two purposes for marriage, not only procreation but unity as well. Though the two shouldn't be separated. Also, love isn't just a denial of self, but a denial of self and giving of oneself for the good of another. Anywhoo, good points. Just wanted to add my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just so you aren't caught off guard by other comments. You might want to mention that the church has two purposes for marriage, not only procreation but unity as well. Though the two shouldn't be separated. Also, love isn't just a denial of self, but a denial of self and giving of oneself for the good of another. Anywhoo, good points. Just wanted to add my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the article left room for other dimensions of the marriage union, such as the unitive dimension, but for the purposes of this discussion, the primary purpose, which is procreation, is the point of focus that makes gay marriage impossible for the Catholic Church, which is why it was the only one I mentioned. In terms of the gift of self in order to will the good of the other for the sake of the other...you are correct, but again, this wasn't so much to lay out a case for Christian marriage, as much as it was to briefly and quickly point out that the Catholic Church has an entirely radical approach to love, which includes self denial as it's base.

      Delete
    2. I think it is misleading to say that the Church says the "primary" purpose of marriage is procreation. The dual purposes are unitive & procreative, and if one is considered more important than the other by some, it is considered equal by others. It leads the public to a false conclusion to say definitively that procreation is primary.

      Other than that, my heart agrees with much of what you say. I am not yet willing to concede the fight to protect children (the more I work with the poorest of the US poor, the more it is clear to me that having only one sex in the home is the perpetual cause, the root cause that will never allow the problem to be solved until it is solved), but I am close to conceding a domestic partnership type of compromise.

      Delete
    3. oh yikes! I am sorry, but in the language of the Church, the
      'primary' purpose of marriage is procreation. The unitive aspect is the secondary purpose. I try to be really good about not makin' stuff up :) And, especially when speaking in 'Church language', I am pretty intentional about making sure not to misstep. (lemme know if you'd like some documentation to back that up, I try to be really good about not throwing out documents just to do so, but am more than willing to point you in the right direction if you'd like).

      And I hear you on your second point. To be frank, I am still go back and forth. I think this REALLY tricky stuff, that, unfortunately, can rarely be talked about because awful accusations get thrown at you if you try.

      Delete
    4. On the first point, I think my problem is less saying that procreation is primary and more that when one says that without also emphasizing the unitive aspect, the public goes away with its already preconceived notion that Catholic marriage is simply about making babies, and as we who live it know, that is far, far from the reality. It is about making every member of the family saints, and the unitive & procreative aspects are both critical to that.

      Sorry for the pitiful linguistics in my other last paragraph; had children dancing on my head. Yes, you are critically right that there is so much emotion tied up in this that "awful accusations get thrown at you if you try" to discuss it.

      Delete
    5. Right, I can see that. But, for the purposes of this discussion, the point of procreation is the greatest impediment to same sex marriage in our Church. So, the unitive purpose, although important, wasn't really something I wanted to get into. Trust, the unitive purpose is my favorite and I don't think saying that procreation is the primary purpose, takes away from the unitive aspect. Though, I get that some people doe :)

      Delete
  11. So I've been thinking about this. I want to say that I don't really care much if the government were to recognize civil unions or give partnership benefits or whatever. (Although, the bigger part of me says that the government should just not be a part of it at all since marriage has lost what makes it marriage in the secular world anyway...and that would solve a whole lot of problems.) But here's the thing...I don't think that those who are fighting the most aggressively for gay marriage would be happy with that. If I understand correctly, a whole lot of states have those legal protections, especially CA. What I see is a push to force people to recognize that the two relationships are the same. And they're not. And whether the government changes the definition or not does not change that, the two things are in themselves different. I seriously wonder if THAT reality is what is at the heart of it.

    I also find it strange this whole simultaneous push for saying government should get out of the bedroom while still wanting government sponsorship. Is it just me or is it very similar to the hypocrisy of the HHS mandate? My personal life is my business but I want to force you to validate it...

    I don't know. Sort of thinking out loud here and I reserve the right to be wrong :) I wish I could talk these things through with you in person!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. totally agree with you on all of our points. That being said, what I define as marriage and what the government defines as marriage is already two very different things. a couple contracepting, seeing marriage as a temporary thing they can get out of, cheating on each other, are living a totally different reality of marriage than aaron and I are. We are living in some crazy crazy times, and I think our response needs to be one of consistent witness and consistent demands. And, frankly, we are forced to really define what our government is there for. And to me, it is not there to make distinctions about what marriage really is. I could care less about the 'state's' opinion on that.

      Delete
    2. Mary-
      I think you are right on . . . I think that this battle is really about people wanting people to recognize that marriage between a man and a woman is no different than a union of a same sex couple.

      Delete
  12. First, let's ask what the purpose of legal marriage is. It is NOT for the adults. Legal marriage is for the protection of children, in recognition that they have the RIGHT to be sure their parents are accountable for raising them. (It also was for the protection of women who were left to raise the child if the father lost interest or was killed in battle.) Legal marriage has nothing to do with sacramental marriage, except that a sacramental marriage must, by law, be recognized as being legal. (All priests and deacons have the power to legally marry two people.)

    So, on the legal front, if the purpose of legal marriage is to ensure the rights of the child, what does this mean for homosexual unions? Well, as uncomfortable as it may be, children are born with a core desire to have a mom and a dad. All children who are missing one or the other struggle with the loss of that parent. Adults can do as they please with their relationships, but marriage binds a father to his child in a way that recognizes that child deserves to have his father bound.

    I am for civil unions that have no consideration for the sexual relationship. If two widowed sisters want to move in and have one stay home while the other works, that is a legal protection I would support. But marriage is a thing meant for the protection of children. All these grown ups whining that they have a "right" to this type of union have not been properly taught the history of what the purpose of legal marriage is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you, I really do and I think that is the Bishop's motivation for being cautious to endorse any type of union between the same sex. That being said, I just happen to disagree. Well, ish.
      I agree with what you are saying, in theory. I think kids have the best chance when born into a family of two loving adults who desire to raise them in an environment of love, responsibility, etc...etc...
      but, I think your kidding yourself if you think gay marriage is the biggest impediment to this. I think kids do a lot better in same sex households than they do in households that don't share love. I think kids do a lot better in same sex households, than they do in households where parents have been through multiple divorces. etc...And frankly our government doesn't get involved in that. So, I think it is super inconsistent to campaign on behalf of children who are put at a disadvantage in households with same sex parents, and not be campaigning on behalf of the others (which, I am assuming you are not). I think it is high time that we admit our government is not protecting any type of morality in marriage for the 'good of the children' and move on in the situation we have.

      Delete
    2. Hmmm...the government does try to protect some sort of morality when it comes to divorce situations. In a divorce the couple either have to come to an agreement on who the children are better off with or else the state decides.

      I suppose we also need to figure out what "do better" means. Which I feel is a crazy complex discussion.

      I agree with Barbara about civil unions with no regard for sexual relationship. Why not just have any union bound under legal contract, whatever it is? Those of us in the Church could be married in the Church, it would be a real Sacramental Marriage and then we'd have to also draw up a legal contract if we wanted state protection for that. And I think there should be REAL ramifications for reneging on that contract...i.e. no such thing as an easy "divorce".

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. LLBS, here is where I really depart from what you are saying. Mary is absolutely right about the reason for legal recognition of marriage. Society defining marriage between a man and a woman *does* protect children better than any other arrangement. This is still true when a percentage of marriages have no love, fall apart, or end up as serial polygamy. It is still true when that percentage is growing. The solution to the growing percentage is not to destroy the concept altogether, but to work harder to reduce the percentage.

      After working with the poor as much as I have, it is heart-breaking to think of a societal stamp of approval on more children being raised without a mother and a father. The complementary nature of the sexes is essential for their well-being in ways that no other type of union is.

      This is a terrible discussion to have to have. It's terrible because we all have loved ones who are divorced, widowed young, & gay, and it's terrible to have to face the harm that such situations cause children. We know they will be doing their best to raise their children the best they can. But it is one thing to have a bad situation happen to you, and quite another to choose it.

      With you, I cannot imagine the cross of having SSA in a world that still largely abhors it. Science is quite clear in showing the mounting pile of evidence that this situation is growing rapidly because of the lopsided hormonal profiles of conceiving and gestating women, amid waters so full of hormones that fish are spontaneously sex-changing. When you have such a cross foisted upon you without your consent, the choices of what to do about it in a sex-saturated world seem obvious - embrace the lifestyle you feel urged toward.

      What a terrible choice to have to make. God bless and strengthen all those bearing it.

      Delete
    5. Right, so your solution would be to work harder to protect the traditional definition of marriage on a legal level. I just don't think that is a good solution (but I think there is lots of room for discussion here). I think we need to work harder to evangelize and catechize the people we come in contact with so that choosing God's plan for sexuality (which, of course, brings about so much freedom, so much real love, so much joy) is the only option. I think campaigning at a state or federal level is working against us in terms of evangelization. I think we need to start introducing people to the person of Christ and the friendship that comes from that. Currently, I think solid Christians are thought of more for the things we stand against, vs. the things we stand for. So, I guess, we just see different methods of achieving the same end (if I understand you correctly). Your method would be campaigning for the state to endorse what we see as the best possible reality for children...and mine would be working on individual hearts and letting the state proceed as the state proceeds.

      Delete
    6. Well, I think that's the same dichotomy we see in the abortion debate. Do we focus on protecting all the unborn in law, or on changing people's hearts through science & God's love, & supporting pregnant women & all mothers?

      BOTH/AND.

      Delete
    7. right. I don't like the comparison. I don't look towards the government to define my morality, I do look to the government to protect my life and ensure that people aren't murdered. A pet peeve of mine is when people put the gay marriage debate on the same plain as the abortion 'debate'. Abortion is about killing children. Our laws must protect against killing children. So, with that being said, I pretty much won't go there :)

      Delete
    8. What I am saying is what Loveyourmother is saying: The debate should not be framed about my "right" to marriage as much as "What is the purpose of society?" Which is to preserve ourselves, which to do that, we must raise the next generation in the healthiest setting as is possible.

      I used to agree with you Mary. I once said to my mother, "How are we supposed to argue about marriage when the lawmakers are all thrice divorced and have mistresses on the side?" The issue must be taken on from a political standpoint because the conversation is about the future of our nation. If we do not address the question of what the purpose of our society is, then we are doomed.

      Ultra Libertarianism, or "What I do behind closed doors is my business." fails our community and country because it is based on Hedonism and individualism. There is a reason society is described as a fabric: all the thread must be woven together to make a cohesive unit.

      In short, I do think I attack the divorce culture with the way I discuss the homosexual marriage issue. It's all intertwined. We have to stop treating children as though they are lumps of clay with no actual rights and needs. We are raising more and more confused, emotionally bankrupt, psychologically damaged adults. It's got to be addressed in a big picture way before we lose all hope of changing the culture.

      You shouldn't look to the government for your morality, but you absolutely have an obligation to fight for a moral government.

      Delete
    9. Advocating for children is essential. advocating for Sacramental Marriage to be protected is essential. Changing hearts is the only way this 'fight' will be accomplished, and B, we aren't doing that. Fighting for the government to reflect my morals/sexual understanding just doesn't seem important for me. I think it is a waste of resources, I think it goes at the problem in the wrong way, and honestly, I think it does way more harm than good, and you only need look at where we are at right now to prove that reality. Any damage that allowing for same sex unions will do, has already been done, 10 fold through different laws and realities in our country. I am just trying to effectively figure out how to bring about a message of love and God's plan for sexuality in the best way possible. And I don't think campaigning for an exclusion of same sex unions at a government level is the best way to go about it. I just don't.

      Delete
    10. Mary, you know I love you right? So please do not take what I am about to say personally, but be careful of your language . . . we are not campaigning for the exclusion of anything. We are campaigning to keep the definition of marriage the same, between one man and one woman. That may seem a battle of semantics, but that is clearly what this battle is. We are not saying, "We do not want . . .", the Bishops, etc, again and again say we want to uphold marriage, that is what this fight is about.

      I agree with some other commenters . . . I do not think we have a choice. Whether we should be have done something else before this point or not, we have to fight this. If we do not, it seems like impilicit agreement. How we fight it is important, but it must be fought.

      Delete
    11. *campaigning to keep marriage as defined between a man and a woman

      Delete
    12. Perhaps that is because you, Mary Wilkerson, are being called to act through your individual contacts. I would never say that all of us have to respond to this problem on the same front. That is absolutely myopic, and as you say, would never change hearts. But I wouldn't discount the importance of political front as a place where morality ought to be taught. Morality, natural moral law that is, has a place in all times, in all circumstances, in all cultures. The Catholic church teaches marriage is meant to be between a man and a woman. Okay, but why? Well, it's down to our creature level that this teaching goes. This is not about the True Presence in the Eucharist, this is about humanity. I am pretty sure that Hammurabi is the one who first made marriage a legal issue. He was not connected to Catholicism. Catholic Moral Teaching is human moral teaching with the added bonus of sacraments for our own fortitude to continue being moral people.

      Delete
  13. I'm glad you wrote this. It's nice to be reaffirmed. I don't Hate Gays/lesbians. I know their Actions are wrong, but so is living w/ someone b4 your married, etc. so I'll continue to pray for them, and for our country. I don't know how to address this whole political thing of "marriage" b/c what I was told by some gay couple was that they wanted to be able to be let into hospital rooms if the "love of their life" was very ill etc. and only married people are afforded those rights... but I don't think you have to be "Married" to be afforded those rights....and Being Gay/Lesbian people are called to have an extrememly close walk w/ Jesus, I just have yet to see anyone step up to that challenge or even want to try to..... it makes me sad, and I'm confused about that. Your words have shed some light on the subject. thanks and God Bless you and your fam.!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I agree with you to a point on this, Mary. While I do not think government should necessarily be involved in making laws to define things, society should. We should have standards, we should have definitions for things and we should know why they are in place and for the good society.

    There is that quote "If you do not stand for something, you will fall for anything." (or something like that) . . . . and that applies to our society as well. I want our governement to uphold the definition of marriage because then we go on a very slippery slope and we have to ask, "What is next?" (My hubby worked with this issue directly in his previous job, so we know what may be coming if marriage is redefined.)

    The hatred on both sides of this argument makes me SICK. I seriously was in tears this morning as I was praying about it. We, as Christians, can be so far from Christ's example and HIS call for us to love. Yet, we still need to be lights in the darkness and speak out against things that are wrong. (That goes for our own sinfullness as well . . . the plank in our own eye vs the speck in our neighbor's). If we do not, then our stance can seem like relativism and it robs our faith of its power and the teachings of the church of its beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yup, I think this is really tricky stuff. REALLY tricky. Truth be told, I am a very VERY small government minded person, almost a leaning libertarian, so I have no problem with our government, laws, etc.. not upholding my definition of marriage, as long as it doesn't infringe upon my right to have that definition. But, I really do get that others feel differently about it.
    I am pretty clear that my understanding of marriage is between a man/woman for the purpose of procreation and unity. That is what is best for society, or I wouldn't believe it/endorse it/etc... That being said, as I stated, I don't look to the government to affirm or deny my understanding of marriage.
    The thing is Katie, right now, I really believe we are focusing on the wrong/wrong/wrong thing. I see facebook after facebook post from orthodox Catholics posting about the horrors of same sex marriage, I hear weekly priests begging for marriage to be protected at Mass on Sundays, but the thing is, in order for people to assent to that teaching, so many things must come first. Mainly, a recognition of a God who loves us. An understanding of the happiness He desires for us. An explanation of the freedom that comes from living in His plan for sexuality. So, I guess what I am saying, is we are fighting the wrong fight. I think if we went at it a bit differently, if we invited people to consider that God loves them, and what the could mean in their lives...we'd be a lot more effective at creating a conversion experience that directs people towards freedom in sexuality. But, I could be wrong :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, you are right there. That is why I mentioned the beauty of the teaching of the Church . . . a teaching that does not really get taught much. We were blessed to be taught it, but sooooooo many people never hear it. I think we can both teach that and still fight the marriage fight, as it seems our times are requiring us to. But, you are right, all of it is lost without a conversion of heart and knowing, first, that the person we are speaking to is both loved and respected by us.

      BTW- Who are your Facebook friends??? ;-p I do not get most of those types of posts! (But I do get the ones on the otehr side of the issue, equally as hateful).

      Delete
    2. Mary, consider this: There have already been instances where the Church has been punished for Her teaching. In Chicago Catholic Social Services can no longer place children for adoption. In California Catholic therapists cannot suggest to a child that he/she may not be gay after all, or should not act on their homosexual feelings. In Massachusetts a man was arrested for trying to keep his child home during the classroom discussion about how homosexual households are just like everyone else's. I've heard the term "heterosexual" marriage on the T.V. I'm afraid tolerance is not enough, we are being required to approve or facing the consequences. Darkness and Light cannot coexist, neither in the Church, nor in the government.

      Delete
    3. considered and reflected upon in my second point.

      Delete
    4. You never really resolve that in your post. You say you worry about it, but it's already happening. Then you go on to say that the government definition of marriage has little to do with your definition of marriage, but Mary, it does affect your ability to be genuinely Catholic under the law. Because what comes with the government definition of marriage is the mandate that all institutions recognize those marriages as valid. So what devices to we have at our disposal to object? We have social media, we have the political sphere and we have our communities. If we are silent in any one of these areas there is a real danger that our silence is interpreted as consent.

      The true problem with the social media objections is that they are not well thought out statements, but shots in the dark that harm many and educate none.

      Delete
  16. I also want to add that I absolutely agree that the hatred that is spewed on both sides of the issue is sickening. However, this is EXACTLY why the Church has to enter the fray - We have to lead by example.

    ReplyDelete
  17. One of my favorite mantras is that hearts are won for Christ through compassion and authentic relationship. I think we as Catholics can do so much better when it comes to that. This was a wonderful article, and I can only hope more people are open to a real discussion about this. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And a p.s. everyone should check out Steve Gershom's blog. I think I've put in a plug for him about ten times in the past few days :)

      Delete
  18. I am so glad you wrote this post, as it perfectly articulates my position and I was worried I was the only one!! I love and respect our Bishops, but I just do not agree with them that turning to our government to uphold the moral law is a good idea. Absolutely, when it comes to abortion, we need to protect the vulnerable. Absolutely, we need to fight for our right to practice our faith in the way Christ calls us. I am a strong defender of religious freedom and religious debate in the public square. But marriage as a legal construct is about tax breaks, insurance benefits, division of property, and responsibility for children. Once gay couples could have children, that ended the debate as to whether their union should be protected by law. For the sake of their children, it must. The reason I won't put that red equal sign on my Facebook page is because of my concern that religious freedom will be limited by the declaration of gay unions as equal to heterosexual ones. It has already happened in several states. I have very little faith that our government will make the right decision here: to extend complete freedom and protection of the law to all marriages (homosexual or otherwise) AND to preserve the rights of religious organizations, individuals, and companies to express their convictions concerning homosexual unions.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yes to all of this! I have always been a believer that our government should provide things like infrastructure, military protection and maybe some sort of education (debatable at times, of course). And, well, that is pretty much it. I don't need them to get involved in any other aspect of my life so much. What I love about your posts like this is that you give me the words to put those thoughts out there. Sometimes I have a hard time articulating my thoughts about matters like this, but you help!

    Also, one thing I struggle with is the fact that I do not believe in same sex marriage for all of the reasons the magesterium gives. And, like you said, because that has nothing to do with the government, if they made the change, it would have nothing to do on my thoughts about it. But, if someone where to ask me if the government should change the definition, my answer would still have to be no. It's hard for me to separate my life (which I want to be all about Jesus) with my opinions on anything. I'm not sure where I was going with that, so, um, great post again ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. the debate is corrupted in the same fashion so many are. i see a great power thrust behind this from washington. once agin a power that negates the intent of federation. side stepping the states power to govern is why we declared independence from England. it is why we went to war. it is what makes this cooperative union great that is threatened. i believe there is a fundamental lack of constitutional knowledge and somehow that will be our undoing as a nation of free people.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well, actually marriage in the Catholic Church is seen as primarily to die to self and to assist each other to get to heaven. Not procreation. Please re-check your Cathechism! Most everything else - totally agree with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol :) I was referring to the primary purpose of marriage, as defined by the Catholic Church :) Not, the primary purpose of the Church. Or, the primary purpose of life/salvation! ha ha ha. I enjoy your enthusiasm however :)

      Delete
  22. I have plenty of things to say, but one thing is that I am making so many Holy Week connections in this drama. For me, it seems not so accidental that this is taking place during Holy Week. I guess it's just because I'm so darn Catholic and can't help but notice certain things. Have a holy Holy Week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, that was not lost on me either. Wonder if God is calling us all to a deeper prayer regarding this. Also, Pope Francis' reflection on Holy Week lent itself to the conversation as well, the ol' husband pointed that one out!

      Delete
    2. I was thinking more of the multiple injustices flying from people to people in all directions. You know, how everyone shouts "Crucify him (them)!" to the innocent.

      Delete
  23. beautifully written. thank you for writing what i could never really put into words. peace.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Mary, I will always repect you for being yourself. That's something that I've found to be very rare in people, so I applaud you for that. There are some points in here that make sense to me & some that kinda make me go 'Huh?' I've yet to find someone who I can talk to about this issue, ask my questions, etc. I am Catholic and I still struggle with it daily and I'm honestly not sure what to think. But I know what is right & I know what I believe. Pray for me that I eventually find someone I feel I can talk to about this! And have a beautiful day :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We well thank you thank you thank you. And, though i don't know who you are, if you would ever like to talk, I'm game!

      Delete
  25. So, what would you have members of the LGBTQ community do exactly?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow, I cannot believe I missed this whole debate on your blog, Mary! I have homosexual family members and friends and I agree that we must show the love of Christ to all of His children, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, as a lawyer, I cannot say that I agree entirely with all that has been said. We do legislate morality in a number of different ways in the United States...we outlaw murder, rape, incest, and even designate by state what line of blood people may marry (i.e. whether you can marry first cousins, second cousins, etc.) We legislate taxes in order to provide services to those less fortunate in the best interests of society in general. We outlawed child labor as an "inherently evil" practice. I am not saying that the United States Congress and presidency always pass laws that I agree with, but we cannot stop fighting against those laws that we find morally wrong. A child has a right to their biological mother and father. Although that isn’t always possible and people can rise above situations where this ideal is not met, the ideal is worth defending and promoting. By defending marriage to be between a man and a woman, you are defending a child’s right to their biological mother and father. And what I intended to be a very short comment turned into a crazy long one. But thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I am not a lawyer, so I don't 'see' things that way, you know? I get why you would have a different perspective.
      What I think I know well (or ish) is ministry. And, I guess my greater point, is that we are doing a really crappy job evangelizing and spreading the message of Christ, which for us is what it HAS to boil down to. I think the campaigning for the defense of marriage act has done way more harm than good in this country in terms of showing the beauty and FREEDOM that comes from the sexual teachings of our Church. In fact, I think by trying so hard to protect children and give them their right of a mother and father (and remember, we are not perceived as campaigning that a child deserves a good/loving mother and father...as long as they are male/female, the perception is we just don't care about the rest), we have probably helped pushed the 'marriage equality' concept further in this country.
      It's tough stuff. Really really tough stuff.

      But, I think we can all agree, as Catholics, we are falling short of introducing people to the LOVE of Christ which leads and works with the TRUTH of faith. See, the Love of Christ, when presented correctly is attractive, people want it. People who are exclusively attracted to the same sex and being told that attraction acted out shouldn't happen, MAN, that is tough stuff. I can't imagine struggling/toiling with that reality. I think the only thing that can bring clarity and hope to the reality of exclusive same sex attraction (from a Catholic perspective) is an intense relationship with a God who died on a cross. For real.

      Tough tough stuff.

      Delete
  27. Very nicely stated!!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I just think that, you know, in some places, your own marriage would have been illegal not too long ago. I can't imagine that you have failed to see the irony in this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, although I see why the two ( same sex marriages and interracial marriages) are widely compared by a lot of people in the secular world, the two are completely different issues, baring almost no similarities. I can expand on that if you'd like?

      Delete
  29. It has seemed to me for a long while that the thing that is most divisive in the debate over same-sex marriage is the terminology used. There is absolutely no excuse for not affording same-sex couples the same rights and benefits accorded to heterosexual couples. That is civil marriage. There is a distinction between civil marriage (as opposed to civil unions) and "religious" or "holy" marriage, that is, holy Matrimony. I am a gay man and also a Catholic. I definitely applaud today's strikedown of DOMA, but I would not support forcing a church or any other non-profit to perform a same-sex marriage (of course I would wholeheartedly support any church that did perform same-sex marriages). I really can't imagine why a same-sex couple would want to marry in a hostile church environment anyway. Separation of church and state goes both ways. As you said in one of your comments above, the government doesn't worship with you on Sundays. By the same token, America is not a theocracy and the Bible is not our constitution, and it is wrong and unAmerican to force all American citizens to submit to one religion's ideal of what is right. Church and state must exist separately. Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and give to God what is God's.

    - Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tend to agree with everything you said.
      I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why so many Catholics campaign against this particular issue...knowing full well that secular society's definition of marriage has very little to do with the Church's.
      However, as I watch over-stretches of government (not necessarily in this case), I get very concerned about what it will be like for me, (as a Catholic woman who LOVES Church teaching on sexuality) in terms of tolerance of both our government and my peers. I worry about raising my kids to uphold the values and morals of the faith that we claim (as well as the love we will teach them is the FIRST thing they must worry about)and the prejudice they will face as a consequence. Honestly, the best idea I have read/heard is the Church exiting itself right out of the civil marriage idea all together (i.e. much like the Amish, not requiring or requesting any governmental affirmation of union)...I'd be willing to lose federal privileges to preserve our Churches def. of marriage. Although it is hard for you to fathom why a gay couple would want to get married in the Catholic church (or other Churchs hostile to their union), as you know, there are plenty of couples that campaign on the regular to see just that happen. Plenty of Catholics that are anticipating a day when our antiquated Church will change Her views. Of course, a simple examination of moral theology would show anyone that cannot and will not happen...but I don't think it is unreasonable to be concerned that a 'next step' in this country would be 'forcing' Churches to marry couples or face consequences (i.e. HHS Mandate). But, alas, my husband thinks that's a bit 'conspiracy theory' of me :)
      Anyway, I think you said it best with your last line...'give to Caesar what is Caesar's' I would just add, 'and cross your fingers that Caesar doesn't insist you give to Ceasar what is God's'.

      Delete