8.12.2010

It Takes a Family

        to Raise a Village*

The whole overturning of Proposition 8 in California has really been weighing heavy on me.  I'm frustrated by the fact that I am not able to articulate why.  By opening my mouth (or clicking my fingers), I feel like I'm putting my foot on a railroad track just waiting to be flattened by a zooming train.  How do you defend something so primal, something that has not needed a definition since practically the beginning of time?  Now, all of a sudden, a minority of people want to define marriage in very different way than it has ever been defined in all of human history.

Cardinal Mahony, the Archbishop of California (and liberal by most standards), had this to say after the judge/activist, overturned the will of the people that a marriage should be between one man and one woman:

"The union of a man and of a woman in a life-long loving and caring relationship is of divine origin. No human nor civil power can decree or declare otherwise...For many of us, we will continue to believe that God is the origin of marriage, and we will follow God's constant revelation to that effect."

I would also add that, as the Catholic Church teaches, there are two ends for marriage, union and procreation.  Without these two purposes, marriage becomes just a committed relationship between two (or more for that matter) people of whatever gender.  Also, as Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse from the Ruth Institute points out in a video you can watch on their website, the essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to children and to each other. Otherwise, even college roommates could be considered "married." 

The redefinition of marriage has been in the works for a long time now.  It seems that there is not much that can be done to change it back.  That is why it weighs heavy on my heart.  I worry about what kind of world my children are going to live in.  The unknown consequences of redefining marriage in our society and world are unfathomable.  Strangely, we  will now have to teach our children, in a straight forward and strong way, what God's plan for marriage is and for this, they will be labeled (unfairly and unjustly) as bigots, haters and close-minded, that is if they can stand the pain of having a foot under the crushing train of the world around them. 

There is so much more to say on this topic.  I want to go into paragraphs of explaining how this argument has nothing to do with hating people who are gay.  The perceived discrimination is real to them.  It does seem fair and just to give them what they so desire.  But with some careful thought on what a family really is, the original cell of social life (Catechism of the Catholic Church #2207), maybe they could be content with civil unions; a contractual union that bears the same weight as a civil marriage, except it is not defined as a marriage.

I guess I just have to echo what Cardinal Mahony said, "...we will continue to believe that God is the origin of marriage, and we will follow God's constant revelation to that effect."

Lord, have mercy on us.

*I did not make this phrase up.  I read it on the Ruth Institute website and thought is was very clever.

2 comments:

  1. I think this was a very good articulation of my position as well. I'm tired of being called a bigot because I don't support gay marriage, I'm tired of being racist because I don't like Obama. I'm also, paradoxically, tired of people I agree with giving others of us a bad name by fearing gays and others instead of loving and still disagreeing with them. There is a fair amount of "my way or the highway" going on on all sides, and not a lot of charity. Charity in all things, I say, but I sure wish I could be sure of charity for my children who will be raised similarly to yours. I will do my best by teaching them to love and serve the Lord lovingly, and not to judge or speak harshly when doing so would not produce any good fruit. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua?

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  2. I couldn't agree more. But I started to wonder who these people are. Do they only think hard left? Do they leave no room for the sensitivities of their neighbors?

    I know a young man who is gay and is in the military. I asked him if he supports repealing DADT. Hands down, he does. I asked him what he is going to do when it is repealed. He said, "Nothing." He went on to say "I won't force anyone to know, but I won't lie anymore, either." I then asked him what he thought of the efforts to change the marriage laws and he had plenty to say. "Marriage is a spiritual union between a man and a woman, and I don't think that should be redefined anywhere!" I was stunned. But, he is a Christian, even in spite of his sexual orientation. He is one of those who points out the mercy of God as being greater than the judgment of God (Interestingly, that argument acknowledges the sin of homosexual acts). I was impressed with his ability to acknowledge some basic truths of the Christian Faith, particularly regarding marriage, but he clearly doesn't acknowledge that God must be God; both in mercy and in judgment. He is only 22 years old and he is halfway there, so I will pray for him and his generation, because I am sure that there are many more who do not support changes in marriage laws. It's only a start, but it is a start. We must pray.

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Thanks for the comment. I really appreciate it!